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Spaceflight Now: Mission Status Center

FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2013
1612 GMT (11:12 a.m. EST) 

 

NASA spokesperson Pat Ryan says flight controllers in Houston and at SpaceX's headquarters in California are studying whether they may need to change the sequence of rendezvous burns to approach the space station.

 

"It is a possibility that part of the response to the issue may be a rearrangement of the planned burn sequences for the Dragon spacecraft," Ryan said in a televised update from mission control in Houston.

 

Meanwhile, Elon Musk is tweeting updates on the situation. His latest update: "About to pass over Australia ground station and command inhibit override."

 

Musk is referring to an attempt to recover at least one of the three disabled thruster pods.

 

Dragon uses 18 Draco rocket jets to control its orientation and change its orbit to approach the space station.

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2014 Bigelow Aerospace Promotional Video | YouTube

Founded in 1999 by visionary entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, the goal of Bigelow Aerospace is to create a new paradigm in space commerce and exploration via the development and use of revolutionary expandable habitat technology. Expandable habitats offer dramatically larger volumes than rigid, metallic structures as well as enhanced protection against both radiation and physical debris. Additionally, expandable habitats are lighter than traditional systems, take up less rocket fairing space, and most important of all in today’s fiscally constrained environment, Bigelow habitats are extremely affordable.

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SpaceX Rocket Detonates After 'Anomaly' During Test Flight in Texas | NBC News

SpaceX Rocket Detonates After 'Anomaly' During Test Flight in Texas | NBC News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A SpaceX prototype rocket automatically detonated after an "anomaly" was detected during a test flight Friday in McGregor, Texas, the company told NBC News on Friday night. No one was injured.

John Taylor, a spokesman for SpaceX, said the rocket was a three-engine version of the F9R test vehicle, the successor to the company's Grasshopper, a prototype intended to pave the way for fully reusable rockets that would fly themselves back home. It's similar to the Falcon 9, which SpaceX uses to launch unmanned cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.


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Eventful Friday for SpaceX amid Static Fire and Test Failure | NASASpaceFlight.com

Eventful Friday for SpaceX amid Static Fire and Test Failure | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX has had a dramatic end to the week, with a successful Static Fire test of their Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket at Cape Canaveral, concluded just hours after the F-9R Dev-1 test rocket failed during testing in Texas. The test failure holds no impact to next week’s ASIASAT-6 mission, currently targeting Wednesday.


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Executives talk about Midland’s space venture

Executives talk about Midland’s space venture | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The idea of a West Texas oil town as the future site of space travel, much less a place with a secondary industry, is not that far-fetched in the minds of two prominent private space industry insiders.


Orbital Outfitters CEO Jeff Feige and Holder Aerospace partner Livingston Holder talked with the Reporter-Telegram on Wednesday after presenting the design of the altitude chamber complex to be constructed at Midland International Airport’s spaceport. They discussed how fitting a spaceport would be for Midland.


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SNC Abandons Own Hybrid Motors on Dream Chaser | Parabolic Arc

SNC Abandons Own Hybrid Motors on Dream Chaser | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Sierra Nevada Corporation won’t be using its own hybrid rockets for its Dream Chaser space shuttle, making it the second company in recent months after Virgin Galactic to dump the nitrous oxide-rubber motors.

Kathy Lueders, program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), revealed the change in an update during the third quarterly meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) on July 24.

“SNC has also baselined a new propulsion system design (a pure liquid system design rather than a hybrid) in conjunction with their purchase of ORBITEC,” according to the meeting minutes.

Dream Chaser would have used two small hybrid motors per flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo would have used one larger nitrous oxide-rubber hybrid motor.

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Deep Space Industries Opens Lab in Silicon Valley

Deep Space Industries Opens Lab in Silicon Valley | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Deep Space last month opened a lab and office at the NASA Ames Research Park at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley, and expanded its staff.  The new facility provides space to begin assembly of the company’s initial spacecraft for an exciting project to be announced next month, with room to expand.  The new location enhances the visibility of Deep Space with the NASA-Ames leadership for partnering and contracting.  Ames is NASA’s lead center for small spacecraft and hosts a number of agency experts in commercial space.  The new facility is in close proximity to technology-savvy investors, partners and a skilled technology workforce.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Is Raising Money At A Valuation Approaching $10B | TechCrunch

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Is Raising Money At A Valuation Approaching $10B | TechCrunch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Space Exploration Technologies, the commercial space transportation startup founded by Elon Musk with ambitions to land people on Mars, is raising investment that values the company somewhere south of $10 billion, TechCrunch has learned.


These new details are emerging while SpaceX, as the company is more commonly known, continues to make advances with its own spacecraft and rack up more agreements for future commercial and government launches. The company also potentially faces stiffer competition from other commercial firms that are looking to compete more aggressively in the new space race.

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CCtCAP Commercial Crew Announcement Expected Soon

NASA declined today (August 18) to confirm rumors that it will announce the winner(s) of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contract by the end of the month, but anticipation is mounting.  Whenever it happens, it will be a major step forward for the commercial crew program and achieving the oft-stated goal of restoring America’s ability to launch American astronauts into space on American rockets from American soil.

A NASA spokesman replied to an email query this morning by saying only that NASA still expects to make an announcement in the late-August, early-September time frame, as it has been saying for months.

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NASA Closes On Commercial Crew Selection | Aviation Week

Almost five years after beginning its search for a U.S.-developed spacecraft to carry humans into orbit, NASA is poised to award at least one contract to its industry partners in the Commercial Crew Program.


The three contenders—Boeing, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Sierra Nevada Corp.—could hear as soon as the end of August which of their proposed vehicles has been selected for a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract to fly to the International Space Station.

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Kickstarting a rocket company - TMRO 7.25 | YouTube

16:00 - This week we bring on Tyler Reyno, CEO and founder of Open Space Orbital to talk about their Kickstarter campaign to start a rocket company. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...

Space News:
1:54 - Copenhagen static fire of their HEAT2X engine
5:20 - Falcon 9 re-entering on Orbcomm mission
6:55 - WorldView-3 Satellite Launched
9:10 - ULA announces new president and CEO
11:07 - Chinese surveillance satellites launched via Long March
14:29 - SPACEHACK.org - a directory of ways to participate in space exploration.

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Road to SpaceX: Activity surrounds impending launch site

Road to SpaceX: Activity surrounds impending launch site | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

BOCA CHICA BEACH — Mounds of dark gravel dot the last 15.1-mile stretch of State Highway 4 that leads to the Gulf of Mexico, awaiting construction crews for a needed facelift.


The road repairs will run from the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint to the eastern end of the roadway, which abuts Boca Chica Beach in Cameron County.


The repairs, while long in the works, are significant because this is the main — in fact, the only — thoroughfare to the much anticipated SpaceX launch site.

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Branson Reiterates Plan to Fly By End of Year | Parabolic Arc

Branson Reiterates Plan to Fly By End of Year | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Parabolic Arc sources say that Virgin Galactic is operating under a Dec. 31 deadline to fly Branson into space from its primary backer, aabar Investments. Virgin Galactic denies it is under any deadline from aabar, which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

SpaceShipTwo has flown three times using rubber-nitrous oxide engines that burned for 16, 20 and 20 seconds apiece. On the final flight, the spacecraft reached 71,000 feet after being dropped from its WhiteKnightTwo mother ship from about 50,000 feet.

Seven months have passed since that Jan. 10 flight. SpaceShipTwo has been modified to use a new nylon-nitrous oxide engine that burns smoother and will take the ship to a higher altitude. The goal is to get above 50 miles or 264,000 feet.

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Mojave Journal: Memorial to a Forgotten Astronaut | Parabolic Arc

Mojave Journal: Memorial to a Forgotten Astronaut | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

If there was a prize for the most isolated memorial to an America astronaut, the one for Maj. Michael J. Adams would win by a wide margin.

From Mojave, it’s a drive of nearly 50 miles through the sagebrush and Joshua trees, around dry Koehn Lake, and through the old mining towns of Randsburg and Johannesburg before you reach the unmarked dirt road leading to the site. A half mile of bad road later, you arrive at the modest but heartfelt memorial to one of America’s forgotten space heroes.

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A Tiny 3-D Printed Space Camera To Fit Inside CubeSats | Popular Science

A Tiny 3-D Printed Space Camera To Fit Inside CubeSats | Popular Science | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“ NASA is experimenting with small space cameras made almost entirely of 3-D printed parts. One experimental telescope, sized to fit inside a four-inch CubeSat, will likely be finished this September, according to the agency.”


Via iz1crr, Fabrice Chenille
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SpaceX rocket prototype explodes in test flight | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX rocket prototype explodes in test flight | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A SpaceX rocket prototype designed to fine-tune vertical landing technology for reusable launchers exploded in a test flight in Central Texas on Friday, according to multiple eyewitness reports.


Photos posted to social media showed a fireball above SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas, about halfway between Dallas and Austin. Videos apparently depicted debris falling from the sky and firefighters responding to grass fires at the test site.

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Falcon 9 test vehicle destroyed in accident | NewSpace Journal

Falcon 9 test vehicle destroyed in accident | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

An experimental version of a Falcon 9 first stage used to test technologies for future reusable versions of that launch vehicle was destroyed during a flight Friday at SpaceX’s Texas test site, the company confirmed Friday evening.


The vehicle, known as F9R-Dev, was performing the latest in a series of test flights at the McGregor, Texas, site when the vehicle suffered an unexplained “anomaly,” according to a SpaceX statement issued Friday evening. Video of the flight published by local news media showed the stage perhaps tipping too far during a maneuver to translate, or fly sideways, during the test.

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Northrop Unveils XS-1 Spaceplane Design For Darpa | Aviation Week

Northrop Unveils XS-1 Spaceplane Design For Darpa | Aviation Week | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Northrop Grumman has unveiled its vertical-launch, horizontal-landing reusable booster design for the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (Darpa) XS-1 experimental spaceplane program.


Northrop, teamed with subsidiary Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic, is working under a 13-month, $3.9 million Phase 1 preliminary-design contract, awarded in July. Contracts also went to Boeing with Blue Origin, and Masten Space Systems with XCOR Aerospace.


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ULA Takes Delivery of Two RD-180 Rocket Engines from Russia | SpaceNews.com

ULA Takes Delivery of Two RD-180 Rocket Engines from Russia | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — United Launch Alliance took delivery of a pair of Russian-built RD-180 rocket engines Aug. 20, boosting the inventory at the company’s Decatur, Alabama, assembly facility to 15, the company said in a statement.


Denver-based ULA, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, uses the Atlas 5 along with its Delta 4 rocket to launch the vast majority of U.S. government payloads. Future availability of the RD-180, particularly for U.S. military missions, has come into question amid a decline in U.S.-Russian relations following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and continuing threats to Ukraine. 


The uncertainty has put momentum behind proposals to develop a new liquid-fueled main engine in the United States.

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What you need to know about commercial spaceflight

What you need to know about commercial spaceflight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In May 2012, the International Space Station's robotic claw, the Canadarm2, caught and secured the first commercial spacecraft to ever dock with the ISS: SpaceX's Dragon capsule. The bullet-shaped vehicle flew to the ISS carrying cargo for its crew, making history for the private space sector in the process. SpaceX has grown leaps and bounds since then, signing contracts with NASA and other government agencies and developing more advanced technologies for space travel. It's even in the midst of designing Dragon version 2, which, unlike its unmanned predecessor, will be able to fit up to seven passengers. While Elon Musk's company is the most well-known commercial spaceflight firm today, it's hardly the only one. The private space industry is huge and it continues to grow; read on to know more about it.

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The curious case of a deleted Forbes.com commentary on SpaceX | Space Politics

SpaceX is no stranger to both strong support and harsh criticism of its activities, particularly in political circles. 


One criticism of SpaceX, though, may have gone too far. On Friday, Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the Lexington Institute and a regular contributor on defense issues for Forbes.com, published an op-ed on Forbes titled “When SpaceX Falters, Washington Looks The Other Way”. As the title suggests, he claimed that some in Washington, including NASA and the White House, were playing down those anomalies as SpaceX “struggled” to meet its commitments.


By Friday night, though, that link above went to an error message. The op-ed was no longer available on the site, although it is preserved in places like Google’s cache. Neither Thompson nor Forbes have commented on the piece’s disappearance from the website.

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Hot Summer of Resupply Concludes and Continues Aboard Space Station

Hot Summer of Resupply Concludes and Continues Aboard Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A hot and feverish summer of International Space Station (ISS) resupply operations is in high gear, following the successful deorbiting of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s second dedicated Cygnus cargo ship (ORB-2) on Sunday, 17 August, and preparations to resume unloading the European Space Agency’s (ESA) recently arrived fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-5) on Tuesday, 19 August. In the meantime, waiting in the wings, SpaceX plans to deliver its fourth Dragon cargo mission (SpX-4) toward the multi-national outpost a week later than originally planned, on 19 September, carrying among its payload complement critical long-life batteries to support a pair of U.S. EVAs later in the year.

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CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser | NASASpaceFlight.com

CCtCap: NASA won’t abandon Commercial Crew loser | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

As NASA closes in on the next major milestone of its Commercial Crew Program (CCP), the Agency has noted its desire to continue the “sharing of knowledge” with any partner that loses out on continued NASA funding. The first NASA crew to ride on a US commercial vehicle is expected to occur in December, 2017 – a date that continues to be challenged by funding uncertainties.

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NASA Nears Multibillion-Dollar Decision on Commercial Space Taxis | NBC News

NASA Nears Multibillion-Dollar Decision on Commercial Space Taxis | NBC News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Private space companies are chomping at the bit for a new race to the stars. Now all they need is the money.

NASA is preparing to make a decision in the coming weeks that will dole out billions of dollars toward the goal of sending American astronauts into orbit on U.S.-built spaceships for the first time since the space shuttle fleet was retired in 2011.

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Branson suggests SpaceShipTwo powered flight tests to resume in next few weeks | NewSpace Journal

Branson suggests SpaceShipTwo powered flight tests to resume in next few weeks | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It’s been more than seven months since SpaceShipTwo last flew under rocket power, a hiatus linked in large part to a decision by Virgin Galactic in May to change the fuel used in the vehicle’s hybrid rocket motor. In late July, SpaceShipTwo made its first free flight since January, a glide flight.


Now, Sir Richard Branson hints that SpaceShipTwo will soon resume powered test flights. In a wide-ranging interview with Maria Bartiromo published by USA Today on Sunday, Branson says that Virgin Galactic is still on track to make its first commercial flight before the end of the year, just four and a half months away.

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Bartiromo talks IPOs, space travel with Branson

Bartiromo talks IPOs, space travel with Branson | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"I'll be bitterly disappointed if I'm not into space by the end of the year. The rockets have now tested successfully. We've got three more rocket tests and then we should be up, up and away by the end of the year. That should be the start of the program. The space port's ready. We are now in the last few weeks before finally embarking on the space program."

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Falcon 9 First Stage Reentry Footage from Plane | YouTube

Following the successful launch of six ORBCOMM satellites, the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage reentered Earth’s atmosphere and soft landed in the Atlantic Ocean. This footage is from a chase plane filming the decent of the first stage back to earth.

Towards the end of the video, the camera operator attempted to zoom in and unfortunately lost sight of the stage and was unable to capture the tip over into the water.

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Russ Roberts's curator insight, August 15, 12:35 AM
Here's some of the reentry video from the Falcon 9's first stage. The Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched six ORBCOMM satellites today--another success for SpaceX. Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).
Allen Taylor's curator insight, August 15, 1:28 PM

Amazing footage of a rocket-powered landing from space onto the ocean surface.