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NASA Administrator Flies Dream Chaser Simulator

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden had the opportunity to fly a simulated landing of the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser while touring the agency's Dryden Flight Research Center in California on May 22.

SNC's Dream Chaser flight test vehicle arrived at Dryden on May 15 in preparation for tow, captive-carry and free-flight tests later this year. The testing is part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) initiatives to develop safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from low-Earth orbit destinations, including the International Space Station.

 

 

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The NewSpace Daily
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SpaceX Launches CRS-6 with a Bang | Space Pod 04/16/15 - YouTube


SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket with a Dragon capsule bound for the International Space Station. They attempted to safely land and recover the 1st stage, but the rocket tipped over and exploded.

TMRO is a crowd funded show. If you like this episode consider contributing to help us to continue to improve. Head over to http://www.patreon.com/tmro for information, goals and reward levels.

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Investigations into October Launch Accidents Entering Final Phases

Investigations into October Launch Accidents Entering Final Phases | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — Separate investigations into two high-profile commercial launch accidents six months ago are entering their final phases and will be completed in the next few months or, in some cases, weeks.

George Nield, head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, said April 21 that he expected to soon receive a report on the Oct. 28 failure of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket launched from Wallops Island, Virginia.

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SpaceX ready for another launch and key Commercial Crew test | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX ready for another launch and key Commercial Crew test | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX has conducted a Static Fire test on the next Falcon 9 rocket set to launch out of Florida, tasked with the lofting of the TurkmenistanSat spacecraft on April 27. SpaceX also passed a Test Readiness Review (TRR) for its Dragon 2 Pad Abort test, which is currently scheduled to take place on May 5. Both events will be conducted from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral.

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A Connection for the Future | Commercial Crew Program

A Connection for the Future | Commercial Crew Program | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


In the next year, the International Space Station will gain two new docking ports for spacecraft visiting the orbiting laboratory, including the Boeing CST-100 and SpaceX Crew Dragon under development in collaboration with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Earlier this year, NASA astronauts conducted three spacewalks to rig the power, data, and communications cables for the docking ports.

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Op-ed | A Not-so-final Hubble Servicing Mission

Op-ed | A Not-so-final Hubble Servicing Mission | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


With two commercial crew vehicles being prepared for flight, in addition to NASA’s Orion spacecraft, we are entering a period when human spaceflight will be relatively routine and low-cost.

There is no longer any excuse to wastefully abandon major assets — built and placed in orbit at great expense — and let them fall into the ocean. After refurbishing Hubble, NASA should also consider using Orion to maintain the JWST, utilizing a docking ring that was added to the telescope for just such a contingency.

As we approach Hubble’s 25th anniversary on April 25, it is time to start planning for the observatory’s next 25 years.

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SpaceX Pad Abort Test Set for NET May 5


SpaceX is planning to conduct a much-anticipated pad abort test on May 5, 2015 as part of its development of a crew version of its Dragon capsule. There is a four-hour launch window that day and a backup opportunity on May 6,

Apparently to moderate expectations, the NASA press release announcing the date cautions that as a "development test, the likelihood of encountering an issue is higher than with operational missions." As typical, May 5 is designated as a "no earlier than" (NET) date, meaning that is the first opportunity for the test, but it could be later.

The window opens at 9:30 am ET and live coverage will be provided on NASA TV.

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NASA Delays Award of Commercial Cargo Follow-On Contracts | SpaceNews.com

NASA Delays Award of Commercial Cargo Follow-On Contracts | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — NASA has pushed back by three months a decision on a new series of contracts to transport cargo to and from the International Space Station, claiming it needs more time to review the proposals it received.

NASA posted a message April 16 on the procurement website for the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 contract stating that the estimated award date was now Sept. 16. The site had previously listed an award date of June. That message stated that the agency revised the date “due to additional time required to evaluate proposals.”

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What does employee wellbeing at the world's first commercial spaceline look like? | Virgin.com

What does employee wellbeing at the world's first commercial spaceline look like? | Virgin.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Jim Vanderploeg is the chief medical officer at the world’s first commercial spaceline and is charged with looking after not just future astronauts but the staff at Virgin Galactic.

With years of experience at orgainsations such as NASA, what does Jim view as the key to ensuring that a team which is preparing for space is happy and healthy?

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Space Solar Power Initiative Established by Northrop Grumman and Caltech

Space Solar Power Initiative Established by Northrop Grumman and Caltech | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PASADENA, Calif., April 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC) has signed a sponsored research agreement with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the development of the Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI). Under the terms of the agreement, Northrop Grumman will provide up to $17.5 million to the initiative over three years.

Working together, the team will develop the scientific and technological innovations necessary to enable a space-based solar power system capable of generating electric power at cost parity with grid-connected fossil fuel power plants. SSPI responds to the engineering challenge of providing a cost-competitive source of sustainable energy. SSPI will develop technologies in three areas: high-efficiency ultralight photovoltaics; ultralight deployable space structures; and phased array and power transmission.

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The International Lunar Decade: Scenarios for long term collaboration in space development | The Space Review

The International Lunar Decade: Scenarios for long term collaboration in space development | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Can an international cooperation in lunar exploration open up commercial opportunities and expand the space economy? Vidvuds Beldavs describes how an “International Lunar Decade” could do just that.

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Fine-tuning Falcon 9 landing focuses on throttle valve response | NASASpaceFlight.com

Fine-tuning Falcon 9 landing focuses on throttle valve response | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX is getting ever closer to successfully returning the first stage of its Falcon 9 v1.1, with the latest attempt showing the effort is now focused on fine-tuning. The return of the first stage used during the CRS-6 Dragon launch was the best landing attempt to date, with a slower than expected throttle valve response parameter cited as the main reason the stage failed to nail its touchdown.

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Astronauts share views of Dragon cargo capsule | Spaceflight Now

Astronauts share views of Dragon cargo capsule | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The International Space Station got a new shipment of supplies Friday, and astronauts living on the outpost shared their photos of the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft during the rendezvous.

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DLR Renews Cooperation with SNC on Dream Chaser

DLR Renews Cooperation with SNC on Dream Chaser | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS — The German Space Center, DLR, and Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) have renewed for another two years their cooperation on SNC’s Dream Chaser lifting-body spacecraft to focus on both crewed and uncrewed mission applications.

The agreement, which stretches through 2017, follows a 2013 no-exchange-of-funds arrangement in which DLR, which is Germany’s space agency, and Sparks, Nevada-based SNC investigated possible European contributions to the Dream Chaser. OHB SE of Bremen, Germany, was part of the original study called Dream Chaser for European Utilization.

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Tory Bruno Spells Out Logic Behind Vulcan Design Choices

Tory Bruno Spells Out Logic Behind Vulcan Design Choices | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — By the time United Launch Alliance’s corporate parents, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, tapped Tory Bruno to take over the government launch services provider last July, the handwriting was on the wall: ULA was going to need a new rocket if it hoped to remain in business for the long haul.

Congress by that time had drafted legislation banning future use of the Russian-built RD-180 main engine that powers ULA’s main workhorse, the Atlas 5. The measure, prompted by Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, would become law by the end of the year.

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Decision on new space station cargo contracts deferred | Spaceflight Now

Decision on new space station cargo contracts deferred | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA expects to select commercial contractors to resupply the International Space Station in September, three months later than the agency’s previous timetable under a competition for cargo deliveries beginning in 2018.

NASA was scheduled to pick new cargo providers in June, and the three-month delay is needed to “allow additional time to evaluate proposals,” according to Stephanie Schierholz, a NASA spokesperson.

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ULA needs commercial business to close Vulcan rocket business case | Spaceflight Now

ULA needs commercial business to close Vulcan rocket business case | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


United Launch Alliance will need to lure commercial customers to ensure the economic viability of its new Vulcan rocket, which is set to debut in 2019 just as the rate of U.S. military satellite launches is due to take a dip.

The Vulcan rocket must fly at least 10 times per year to keep factory and launch crews operating at the efficiencies needed to reach ULA’s price goal of $100 million per mission, according to Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and chief executive.

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SpaceX targets May 5 for Dragon pad abort test

SpaceX targets May 5 for Dragon pad abort test | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX as soon as May 5 will shoot a Dragon capsule from a Cape Canaveral in a test of a key safety system needed for astronaut launches in the next two or three years.

The so-called "pad abort" test will launch a prototype crew spacecraft from a stand at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40, simulating a launch pad emergency.

The Dragon will fire SuperDraco thrusters designed to enable the capsule and its crew to escape from a rocket failing on the pad or during flight.

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Dragon pad abort test set for early May | Spaceflight Now

Dragon pad abort test set for early May | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


A major test of the system that would shoot SpaceX astronaut crews away from a failing rocket is scheduled for no earlier than May 5 from a specially-built mount at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad, NASA announced Tuesday.

The four-hour window for the test opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT). A backup opportunity is available May 6, NASA officials said.

The Dragon capsule test unit will fire SuperDraco thrusters to blast off from a truss mimicking a Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad, then deploy three main parachutes and splash down in the Atlantic Ocean approximately one mile offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Blue Origin To Begin Test Flights Within Weeks | SpaceNews.com

Blue Origin To Begin Test Flights Within Weeks | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — Blue Origin, the commercial spaceflight company backed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, will soon start flight tests of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle, a Federal Aviation Administration official said April 21.


George Nield, FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation, said at a meeting of the National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board here April 21 that he expected Blue Origin to begin test flights in a “couple of weeks.”

“They’ll be flying their reusable launch vehicle in the next couple of weeks. Watch the news for that,” Nield said. He did not provide additional details about those test plans, but praised the company’s “really professional, first-class organization.”

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Man Behind Moore’s Law Bankrolling Cubesat Mission

Man Behind Moore’s Law Bankrolling Cubesat Mission | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS — Clyde Space of Scotland will build two 4-kilogram cubesats to be launched in 2017 to study ocean color worldwide in a mission financed by a private U.S. foundation, Glasgow-based Clyde announced April 20.


Financing is from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, created by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and his wife. Moore’s Law about computer power doubling every 18 months or so is one of the reasons why cubesats today are able to perform functions that would require much larger satellites even a few years ago.

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Throttle valve blamed for Falcon 9’s unsuccessful landing | Spaceflight Now


SpaceX engineers have narrowed the cause of last week’s unsuccessful landing of a Falcon 9 rocket booster on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean on a commanding issue with an engine throttle valve, according to Elon Musk, the company’s founder and chief executive.

Musk posted the update on Twitter late Saturday, and he confirmed the next try to recover the Falcon 9’s first stage booster will come in two months.

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Blue Origin’s suborbital plans are finally ready for flight | The Space Review

Blue Origin’s suborbital plans are finally ready for flight | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Last week, Blue Origin announced a milestone in the development of an engine intended for its suborbital vehicle. Jeff Foust reports on the company’s plans for testing that suborbital vehicle, as well as its orbital vehicle and engine plans.

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The “Flexible Path” made straight | The Space Review

The “Flexible Path” made straight | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA adopted the “flexible path” approach to spaceflight as a more economical way to carry out human space exploration than a human return to the Moon. Roger Handberg described how this flexible path may be bending right back to the Moon.

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Musk: Falcon 9 Landing Failure Due to Throttle Valve Response

SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk tweeted this evening that the failure of the Falcon 9 first stage to land successfully on a drone ship was due to a "slower than expected throttle valve response."  Another attempt will be made in two months, he added.

SpaceX made its second attempt to land a Falcon 9 first stage on its autonomous drone ship named Just Read the Instructions on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.  The first stage had just successfully propelled the rocket's second stage and the Dragon spacecraft full of supplies for the International Space Station into space.  Musk wants to develop a reusable first stage that eventually will land back at its launch site.  For now, he is testing landing on the drone ship.  The first test earlier this year also was unsuccessful.

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Photos: SpaceX’s debris-strewn landing barge back in port | Spaceflight Now

Photos: SpaceX’s debris-strewn landing barge back in port | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Returning to port late Thursday under the cover of darkness, SpaceX’s rocket recovery platform has moored at a dock in Jacksonville, Florida, for unloading of charred debris from Tuesday’s crash landing of a Falcon 9 booster.

The 14-story booster was programmed to descend back to Earth, light its engines to slow down, then touch down vertically on the ship on four landing legs. SpaceX billed the maneuver as a purely experimental, and the rocket accomplished its primary job of sending a cargo capsule toward the International Space Station.

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