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SpaceX considering a new commercial spaceport in Texas

SpaceX considering a new commercial spaceport in Texas | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX founder and all-around renaissance man Elon Musk told the packed crowd at his keynote at the South By Southwest Interactive (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, that he didn't make the trip to the Lone Star state just for them. Musk said he's also in the state capitol to chat with lawmakers about the possibility of opening a new commercial launch facility in the state.

 

So far SpaceX, which claims NASA as a key customer, has conducted its launches from Cape Canaveral in Florida or Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Musk said that given SpaceX's billion dollar contracts with the federal space agency, it has made sense to launch from those two government facilities, but opening a solely commercial spaceport is a key next step for the company.

 

 

Stratocumulus's insight:

SpaceX has not yet launched from Vandenberg. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to lift off from there on its first flight sometime later this year or possibly not until 2014. So far SpacX has launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean and from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

 

 

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All About That Space | YouTube


“All About That Space” is a volunteer outreach video project created by the Pathways Interns of NASA's Johnson Space Center. It was created as a parody (to raise interest and excitement for Orion's first flight) of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”. The lyrics and scenes in the video have been re-imagined in order to inform the public about the amazing work going on at NASA and the Johnson Space Center.

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CRS-5 LAUNCH UPDATE

CRS-5 LAUNCH UPDATE | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Today, SpaceX completed a successful static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket in advance of the CRS-5 mission for NASA. The test was conducted at SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and ran for the full planned duration.

SpaceX also conducted a static fire test on December 17 and while the test accomplished nearly all goals, it did not run the full duration. The data suggested we could have pushed forward without a second attempt, but out of an abundance of caution, we opted to execute a second test.

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SpaceX Completes First Milestone for Commercial Crew Transportation System

SpaceX Completes First Milestone for Commercial Crew Transportation System | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA has approved the completion of SpaceX’s first milestone in the company’s path toward launching crews to the International Space Station (ISS) from U.S. soil under a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with the agency.

During the Certification Baseline Review, SpaceX described its current design baseline including how the company plans to manufacture its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket, then launch, fly, land and recover the crew. The company also outlined how it will achieve NASA certification of its system to enable transport of crews to and from the space station.

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ISS astronaut uses 3D printer to make socket wrench in space

ISS astronaut uses 3D printer to make socket wrench in space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Astronauts on the International Space Station have used a zero-gravity 3D printer to produce a working socket wrench complete with ratchet action – using digital plans that were emailed to the station by Nasa mission control on Earth.

Engineers at Made in Space, which built the experimental printer, overheard space station astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore mention on the radio that he needed a socket wrench. The company used computer-aided design (CAD) to draw up plans, produced an earthbound version of the spanner for safety certification by Nasa, then had the plans relayed to the ISS, where it took four hours to print out the finished product.

“The socket wrench we just manufactured is the first object we designed on the ground and sent digitally to space, on the fly,” said Made In Space founder Mike Chen.

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In Pictures: XCOR announces continued significant progress on XCOR Lynx Spacecraft

In Pictures: XCOR announces continued significant progress on XCOR Lynx Spacecraft | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Mojave, CA, Dec 18, 2014 – The XCOR Lynx® suborbital spacecraft continues to make rapid progress towards final assembly. 


“We’re really excited to have achieved this step.  It paves the way for the strakes to be attached as the next step.  Thanks to the hard work of the composites crew, we’re proceeding at a very rapid pace toward first flight.”

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SpaceX expected to set new Falcon 9 launch date | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX expected to set new Falcon 9 launch date | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Officials will likely set a new launch date Thursday for a SpaceX-owned commercial cargo craft that was expected to take off Friday heading for the International Space Station, according to sources familiar with launch preparations.

Managers were scheduled to meet to decide on a plan for the launch after SpaceX was unable to complete a preflight engine hotfire test Tuesday. The static fire test is a procedure SpaceX uses to verify the readiness of its Falcon 9 rocket and ground facilities for liftoff.

The nature of the problem during Tuesday’s static fire was not clear, and a SpaceX spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

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NASA Taps SpaceX To Launch TESS Satellite | SpaceNews.com

NASA Taps SpaceX To Launch TESS Satellite | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — NASA has selected SpaceX to launch the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) aboard a Falcon 9 rocket in mid-2017, the U.S. space agency announced Dec. 17.

NASA will pay $87 million for the launch, which is slated to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, in August 2017. NASA says the contract covers the launch service, spacecraft processing, payload integration, tracking data and telemetry, and other launch support requirements.

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Lunar Mission One Hits First Kickstarter Goal for Moon Shot

Lunar Mission One's crowdfunding campaign has met its initial £600,000 ($945,000) target for a privately funded robotic mission to the moon, which means it has 0.1 percent of the money it says it will eventually need. The British-led effort plans to use the funds to deliver on its commitments to Kickstarter backers, including mission patches and T-shirts — and begin the process of planning the mission, which aims to deliver digital "memory boxes" to the moon and sample ice deposits beneath the lunar surface.

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Lunar Mission Kickstarter Campaign Meets Its Funding Target

Lunar Mission Kickstarter Campaign Meets Its Funding Target | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Lunar Mission One, the team of U.K.-based scientists and engineers hoping to send a robotic probe to drill into the moon, just reached a major milestone in funding. On Tuesday, the project’s Kickstarter campaign reached its target goal of £600,000 (close to $1 million USD), with more than 30 hours to spare.

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XPRIZE Moon Robot Contest Deadline Pushed Back A Year To 2016

XPRIZE Moon Robot Contest Deadline Pushed Back A Year To 2016 | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


For the 18 teams racing to put a robot on the Moon, some good news — they have an extra year to get the job done. Citing the groups’ difficulty in technology and raising money, the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition said the teams will now have until Dec. 31, 2016 to accomplish their missions.

The challenge was first announced in 2007 and the number of teams has stayed fairly steady since at least 2010, when 21 teams were reported in a Universe Today story. Some of the groups are competing for milestone prizes, the latest of which will be announced Jan. 15.

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Deadline For $30 Million Google Lunar XPRIZE Extended To End Of 2016


“We continue to see significant progress from our Google Lunar XPRIZE teams, most recently demonstrated in the pursuit of the Milestone Prizes, in which teams exhibited substantial technological achievements that will ultimately support their missions,” said Robert K. Weiss, vice chairman and president, XPRIZE. “We know the mission we are asking teams to accomplish is extremely difficult and unprecedented, not only from a technological standpoint, but also in terms of the financial considerations. It is for this reason that we have decided to extend the competition timeline. We firmly believe that a whole new economy around low-cost access to the Moon will be the result of the Google Lunar XPRIZE.”

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Crew Preps For Dragon Capture and Next Year’s U.S. Spacewalks

Crew Preps For Dragon Capture and Next Year’s U.S. Spacewalks | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Three U.S. spacewalks are planned for early next year and station crew members Commander Barry Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts are preparing spacesuits and spacewalk tools.

After the spacesuit work, Wilmore joined Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti inside the cupola for robotics training. Wilmore will operate the Canadarm2 to capture the SpaceX Dragon when it arrives Sunday morning. Samantha will assist the commander during the commercial craft’s approach and rendezvous.

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Photos: SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship | Spaceflight Now

Photos: SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


An ocean-going cargo barge modified to serve as a landing pad for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster is set to depart the Port of Jacksonville for a journey into the Atlantic Ocean ahead of Friday’s launch of a space station cargo mission from Cape Canaveral.

The barge will be stationed about 200 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral — or about 165 miles southeast of Charleston, S.C. — for Friday’s Falcon 9 launch, which is set for 1:22 p.m. EST (1822 GMT). SpaceX hopes to refire engines on the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage after the booster finishes its nearly three-minute burn to propel a Dragon supply ship into orbit on the way to the International Space Station.

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Falcon 9 completes full-duration static fire | Spaceflight Now

Falcon 9 completes full-duration static fire | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX fueled up a Falcon 9 rocket, ran through a mock countdown and fired the booster’s nine Merlin main engines Friday in a successful preflight static fire test officials hope will clear the way for liftoff Jan. 6 on a space station resupply mission.

The exercise occurred at approximately 2:55 p.m. EST (1955 GMT) Friday while the Falcon 9 rocket and a Dragon supply ship were kept grounded at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad.

“Today, SpaceX completed a successful static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket in advance of the CRS-5 mission for NASA,” the company said in an update. “The test was conducted at SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and ran for the full planned duration.”

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NASA approves SpaceX path towards crewed Dragon debut | NASASpaceFlight.com

NASA approves SpaceX path towards crewed Dragon debut | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA has approved SpaceX’s first Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) milestone. Known as the Certification Baseline Review, the milestone covers SpaceX’s plans for the design, manufacture, integration, launch and recovery of the crewed Dragon – through to her test flight – with the goal of achieving certification to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

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San Jose State Students Developing CubeSat Launch Vehicle | Parabolic Arc

San Jose State Students Developing CubeSat Launch Vehicle | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


A group of San Jose State University students are developing an air-launched booster capable of placing CubeSats into orbit.

Project Spartan Spear‘s goal is to build a rocket that would be launched by modified F-104 fighter jets operated by Starfighters, Inc., a company based in Clearwater, Fla. The launch vehicle would be capable of placing three 1U Cubesats or 1 3U Cubsat into orbit.

“Our goal is to create a fast and reliable launch vehicle that is cheaper than today’s options for delivering CubeSats into space,” the group says on its website. “Current forms of transportation for CubeSats can take several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to take these miniature satellites into orbit. Our launch vehicle will be able to take CubeSats into orbit within a matter of months.”

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The First Uplink Tool Made In Space Is…

The First Uplink Tool Made In Space Is… | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The first uplink tool made in space is … a ratchet!

What exactly is an uplink tool?

The ‘uplink’ is the way we communicate with the ISS crew using a transmitting frequency from Earth to the International Space Station. Therefore an uplink tool refers to a tool design that was transmitted to the space station via the uplink and manufactured on-demand in space.

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SpaceX Delays Launch Of Next Space Station Cargo Mission to January | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Delays Launch Of Next Space Station Cargo Mission to January | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — SpaceX has postponed the scheduled Dec. 19 launch of an international space station cargo mission until early January, as a technical issue with the Falcon 9 rocket creates a domino effect of other delays.

In a statement issued Dec. 18, SpaceX said that a recent static fire test of the Falcon 9, where the vehicle’s nine first stage engines are briefly fired on the launch pad, encountered problems that led the company to repeat that test and thus delay the launch.

“While the recent static fire test accomplished nearly all of our goals, the test did not run the full duration,” the company said in its statement. “The data suggests we could push forward without a second attempt, but out of an abundance of caution, we are opting to execute a second static fire test prior to launch.”

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SpaceX Does a Reality Check on Its Falcon 9 Rocket Landing Plan

SpaceX Does a Reality Check on Its Falcon 9 Rocket Landing Plan | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The SpaceX launch company is scaling back expectations for an unprecedented rocket landing on a floating ocean platform, comparing the feat to "trying to balance a rubber broomstick on your hand in the middle of a windstorm."

The experiment is scheduled to take place on Friday, when SpaceX sends a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket and its uncrewed Dragon cargo capsule toward the International Space Station on a resupply run. After stage separation at an altitude of roughly 60 miles (100 kilometers), the Falcon's first stage is slated to relight its rocket engines and go through a complex series of maneuvers to put itself down on a 300-foot-long (90-meter-long) "autonomous spaceport drone ship" in the Atlantic Ocean.

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NASA Awards Launch Contract to SpaceX | Parabolic Arc

NASA Awards Launch Contract to SpaceX | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2014 (NASA PR) — NASA has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. TESS will launch aboard a Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle, with liftoff targeted for August 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The total cost for NASA to launch TESS is approximately $87 million, which includes the launch service, spacecraft processing, payload integration, tracking, data and telemetry, and other launch support requirements.

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Robotic Moon Lander Concept Raises $942K, Meeting Goal With A Day To Go

Robotic Moon Lander Concept Raises $942K, Meeting Goal With A Day To Go | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

With just over a day to go in their crowdfunding campaign, a British group hoping to put a robotic lander on the moon in 2024 reached their fundraising goal of $932,000 (£600,000) overnight.

The money is supposed to move the project into more concrete phases after the founders spent seven years quietly developing their concept, but many of the details about the design and funding have yet to be unveiled.

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Moon Express Testing Compact Lunar Lander at Kennedy Space Center

Moon Express Testing Compact Lunar Lander at Kennedy Space Center | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA is working with U.S. industry to develop the capabilities and cutting-edge technologies that will help send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. To achieve this goal, space travelers will need the resources to survive during long-duration missions to an asteroid, Mars and other outer planets.

Moon Express Inc., of Moffett Field, California, is one of three companies selected for the agency's new Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative to advance lander capabilities that will enable delivery of payloads to the surface of the moon.

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Google Lunar X Prize Extends Deadline as Astrobotic’s Entry Wins First Milestone Awards | Parabolic Arc

Google Lunar X Prize Extends Deadline as Astrobotic’s Entry Wins First Milestone Awards | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The deadline for winning the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize has been moved back again. The XPrize Foundation has announced a one-year delay in the prize to Dec. 31, 2016, contingent upon at least one team providing “documentation of a scheduled launch by December 31, 2015, for all teams to move forward in the competition.”

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More Science and 3D Printing Work amid Dragon Training

More Science and 3D Printing Work amid Dragon Training | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and cosmonaut Elena Serova started Wednesday conducting a test run of basketball-sized satellites, known as SPHERES, which float inside the International Space Station. After checking the nitrogen pressure of science freezers in the afternoon, Cristoforetti joined Commander Barry Wilmore for a robotics training session ahead of the fifth SpaceX Dragon mission scheduled for launch Friday at 1:22 p.m. EST.

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X MARKS THE SPOT: FALCON 9 ATTEMPTS OCEAN PLATFORM LANDING

X MARKS THE SPOT: FALCON 9 ATTEMPTS OCEAN PLATFORM LANDING | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


During our next flight, SpaceX will attempt the precision landing of a Falcon 9 first stage for the first time, on a custom-built ocean platform known as the autonomous spaceport drone ship. While SpaceX has already demonstrated two successful soft water landings, executing a precision landing on an unanchored ocean platform is significantly more challenging.

The odds of success are not great—perhaps 50% at best. However this test represents the first in a series of similar tests that will ultimately deliver a fully reusable Falcon 9 first stage.

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Boeing Offers CST-100 For ISS Cargo Contract | SpaceNews.com

Boeing Offers CST-100 For ISS Cargo Contract | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — As Boeing begins work on its NASA commercial crew contract, the company is proposing to use a version of the same spacecraft to transport cargo to the international space station.

Company officials said in a Dec. 9 interview here that they submitted a proposal earlier this month for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 competition, a follow-on to the existing CRS contracts held by Orbital Sciences Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to ferry cargo to and from the station.

The cargo version of Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft will be based on the crewed version the company is developing for NASA, said John Mulholland, Boeing commercial crew program manager. Boeing will remove spacecraft components not needed for crew missions, like its launch abort system and environmental controls, to free up room in the spacecraft for cargo.

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