SpaceX Co-Founder and Vice President of Propulsion Development Tom Mueller has revealed the company is deep into the development of the first “full flow methane-liquid oxygen” rocket engine. Known as the Raptor, nine of these immensely powerful engines – one or three cores – will be utilized to send SpaceX’s Super Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (SHLV) uphill on missions to Mars.
Washington, DC, March 7, 2014) The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) has been a consistent supporter of NASA's Commercial Crew program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS). In the NSS position paper on the NASA Commercial Crew Program released today, the Society strongly endorses $848 million in the 2015 NASA budget for Commercial Crew, along with the $250 million supplemental Commercial Crew request. Furthermore, the $171 million "hold" placed on the program last year should be removed.
At a time when the availability of the Russian supplied Soyuz, our current sole method of getting American astronauts to the ISS (at $70 million per seat), is being increasingly questioned and political relations with Russia are deteriorating, we need to move Commercial Crew to the top of NASA's priority list.
The Arizona House approved this week legislation to provide liability indemnification for commercial spaceflight operators in the state. The bill, HB2163, passed unanimously Wednesday after goes on to the state Senate. The bill is similar to laws in several other states that requires spaceflight participants to sign a liability release agreement, and protects companies in the state, including both operators and suppliers, from lawsuits in the event of an accident, with the usual exclusions in the event of gross negligence of intentional actions.
The Winklevii are going to space, and they're using Bitcoins to do it.
Internet entrepreneurs and Olympic athletes Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, square-jawed twins whose dispute with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was chronicled in the Oscar-winning 2010 film "The Social Network," have bought seats aboard Virgin Galactic's suborbital SpaceShipTwo, NBC News reported Wednesday (March 5).
The twins paid their deposit using Bitcoins, the virtual currency in which they have made significant investments. Their purchase pushes the passenger list for SpaceShipTwo over 700, according to NBC News.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk testified before the U.S. Senate with harsh words about the artificially inflated cost of launching spacecraft.
At the heart of Musk’s criticisms is the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a private company that provides the U.S. government with launch services. Musk claims that in comparison to the ULA, SpaceX launches cost $280 million less per launch.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has a plan to launch military satellites that he claims could save the government hundreds of millions, but to make it work, he says he needs Congress's help to break up a military-industrial monopoly.
"Competition and the free market is a good thing," Musk told Congress on Wednesday, estimating that his SpaceX rockets would cost nearly $300 million less per launch if given the opportunity to compete with United Launch Alliance—a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin that the military currently relies on to ferry its satellites.
The private spaceflight company SpaceX wants to launch missions for the United States military, and soon it will be ready to do so, the firm's billionaire founder Elon Musk told a Senate subcomittee Wednesday (March 5).
SpaceX will be ready to compete for Air Force contracts using its new Falcon rocket soon, Elon Musk told a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing. SpaceX currently flies missions for NASA and private contractors.
"Frankly, if our rockets are good enough for NASA, why are they not good enough for the Air Force? It doesn't make sense," Musk said.
The next SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Sunday, March 16, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The company's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying its Dragon cargo capsule, will lift off at 4:41 a.m. EDT. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3:45 a.m. If for any reason the launch is postponed, the next launch opportunity is Monday, March 17 at 4:19 a.m., with NASA TV coverage beginning at 3:15 a.m.
In what was one of the most fascinating hearings in years, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and United Launch Alliance (ULA) boss Michael Gass faced off against each other over the lucrative Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)-class contracts. Both gentlemen didn’t pull their punches, with Mr. Gass cited ULA’s superior reliability, while Mr. Musk denounced ULA’s costs, even claiming they should cancel their Atlas V rocket.
Russia’s actions in Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula may have chilled geopolitical relationships, but so far there is no apparent impact on space activities.
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden was asked about any impacts on ISS operations yesterday in connection with the release of the FY2015 budget request. He stressed that everything is “normal” with regard to ISS operations. The ISS crew currently consists of three Russians, two Americans and one Japanese. Two of the Russians and one American are due to return to Earth in a few days (March 10 EDT) and a new crew – also two Russians and an American – will launch at the end of the month.
For now, the U.S.-Russian space partnership is insulated from the political whirlwind generated by Russia's decision to move troops into the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea last week, fueling fears of a full-fledged invasion.
"We are continuing to monitor the situation," NASA administrator Charles Bolden told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday.
"Everything for us continues to be nominal," he said.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) will host a news conference on Tuesday, March 11, to announce a newly expanded Space Act Agreement. Under this new agreement, Marshall will provide technical expertise to SNC as it plans for integration of on-orbit science payloads on its Dream Chaser spacecraft. Teledyne Brown Engineering, which will provide support to SNC under a Teaming Agreement, will also participate.
Scientists have blueprinted a low-cost Mars sample-return mission that would use a souped-up Dragon capsule from the private spacefligth company SpaceX and the firm's planned Falcon Heavy rocket to get to the Red Planet by the early 2020s.
The new study demonstrates the viability of the entry, descent and landing of the unmanned Dragon space capsule at Mars. Moreover, the spacecraft's descent technique would help set the stage for future human missions to the Red Planet, researchers said.
GREENBELT, Md. — Virgin Galactic is in the “final phases” of its efforts to receive an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial launch license for SpaceShipTwo, and plans to resume powered test flights of that suborbital vehicle in the near future, the company’s chief executive said March 6.
“I think we’re in the final phases of our commercial launch application with the FAA, and that’s going well,” George Whitesides said in a luncheon speech at the Goddard Memorial Symposium here. Virgin Galactic had submitted that application to the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation last August, where it has been under review. “We hope to progress that to conclusion soon.”
Washington, D.C. - Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Michael Lopez-Alegria will deliver a keynote address at the SATELLITE 2014 Satellite Finance Forum on Monday, March 10th at 11:30 AM in Washington, D.C. The address is entitled "Birth of an Industry: Taking Commercial Spaceflight from Science Fiction to Business Viability." SATELLITE 2014 is the premier professional gathering of the telecommunications satellite industry. The event will feature panels, round tables, and user discussions led by top industry thought-leaders, pioneers and innovators in a global marketplace that serves military, government, commercial, broadcast, maritime, mobility, and telecommunications industries.
A scale model of Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft arrived at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., for wind tunnel tests.The test series will evaluate the design developed by Boeing in partnership with NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP).
March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg News’ Yang Yang reports on Wednesday's testimony on Capitol Hill by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and United Launch Alliance CEO Michael Gass on competition in U.S. space launch programs on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.”
Elon Musk said on Wednesday that given Russia's invasion of Crimea, the U.S. should pay his company, SpaceX, for launch services into space, because his competitor uses a Russian engine in its rockets.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Musk pointed out that United Launch Alliance (ULA), a 50-50 joint venture owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, uses an Atlas V expendable rocket, powered in part by a Russian-built RD-180 engine.
So, he argued, paying ULA instead of SpaceX to provide launches into outer space for the U.S. government is bad for America's self-interest:
A miniature space race is underway in Washington, D.C., between execs with United Launch Alliance and SpaceX that may impact Central Florida’s space industry.
The two companies, which operate several launches from Cape Canaveral and employ many Central Floridians, made a pitch to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense why their respective companies should be considered to handle more than 14 Air Force space payload launches through 2015.
The latest objection over the way the Pentagon awards such contracts came from Elon Musk, famed CEO of Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Tesla Motors Inc. As reported by Bloomberg, Musk argued before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that the U.S. military is leaving money on the table by awarding contracts exclusively to United Launch Alliance LLC — a joint venture between Lockheed Martin Corp. and The Boeing Co. — rather than opening them up to more competition.
Musk isn't the only one to question the rationale of ULA having the only rockets that meet the needs of the national security community. Orbital Sciences Corp. sued ULA and its engine supplier almost a year ago, claiming that they violated fair competition laws by using an exclusivity agreement to bar Orbital from access to a rocket engine.
In the latest skirmish in an escalating debate over sky rocketing military launch costs, SpaceX founder and rocket builder Elon Musk told lawmakers Wednesday that allowing his company to launch high-priority military payloads would save taxpayers billions of dollars by opening the national security launch market to competition and innovation.
"The Air Force and other agencies are simply paying too high a price for launch," Musk told a Senate appropriations subcommittee. "The impacts of relying on a monopoly provider since 2006 are predictable and they are borne out. Space launch innovation has stagnated, competition has been stifled and prices have risen to (unsustainable) levels."
"Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this important hearing. I also want to thank this Committee for its continued support for competition in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. This Committee's commitment to reliability, transparency, and cost-effectiveness coupled with clear and sustained support for New Entrant competition will ensure mission success, reduce launch costs, spur innovation in the national security launch enterprise, and provide true assured access to space for our warfighters as they defend our Nation. To be clear at the onset, I believe that competition in the EELV program will save the taxpayers in excess of $1 billion per year."
Despite a looming collapse of U.S.-Russian bilateral relations, the standoff over Ukraine has not had any impact on commercial space ventures and intergovernmental space projects, such as the International Space Station, or ISS.
"We do not expect the current Russia-Ukraine situation to have any impact on our civil space cooperation with Russia, including our partnership on the International Space Station program," said Sean Fuller, NASA's director in Russia for human spaceflight.