COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — The incoming leader of the European Space Agency is keen on establishing an international base on the moon as a next-step outpost beyond the International Space Station (ISS).
Johann-Dietrich Wörner expressed his enthusiasm for a moon colony at the Space Foundation’s National Space Symposium, a gathering of global, commercial, civil, military and "new space" experts that was held here from April 13 to April 16.
"It seems to be appropriate to propose a permanent moon station as the successor of ISS," Wörner said. This station should be international, "meaning that the different actors can contribute with their respective competencies and interests."
WASHINGTON — Legislation that one congressman plans to introduce in the near future would make space settlement a national goal and require NASA to take action to support it.
The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2015, drafted by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), would mark the second time in the last three decades that Congress has directed NASA to support efforts for permanent human settlements beyond Earth orbit.
A version of the bill circulated in the space advocacy community would amend the National Aeronautics and Space Act, the “organic” legislation that created NASA in 1958, to include space settlement among national space policy goals and objectives.
WASHINGTON — The failure of a Russian Progress spacecraft to deliver cargo to the International Space Station is unlikely to have a significant near-term effect on station operations, but will place a greater burden on upcoming resupply missions and could alter the cargo those missions carry.
Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos' space venture, Blue Origin, launched its New Shepard spaceship almost as high as outer space during a test flight on Wednesday — and although the craft's propulsion module was lost, the empty crew capsule made a parachute landing just the way it was supposed to.
"Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return," Bezos wrote in a recap of the test, which took place at Blue Origin's sprawling test facility in West Texas. "In fact, if New Shepard had been a traditional expendable vehicle, this would have been a flawless first test flight."
Blue Origin has conducted a test flight of its New Shepard suborbital system. Aimed at the space tourism market, the BE-3 engine-driven rocket lofted its capsule to Mach 3 and its planned test altitude of 307,000 feet. Attempts to recover the booster – which is designed to be reusable – were unsuccessful, although tweaks to the hydraulic system are already planned for the next test flights.
Today we flew the first developmental test flight of our New Shepard space vehicle. Our 110,000-lbf thrust liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen BE-3 engine worked flawlessly, powering New Shepard through Mach 3 to its planned test altitude of 307,000 feet. Guidance, navigation and control was nominal throughout max Q and all of ascent. The in-space separation of the crew capsule from the propulsion module was perfect. Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return.
WASHINGTON — A House appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill for the Federal Aviation Administration April 29 that does not include an increase for the FAA’s space office, despite repeated concerns by the office’s leadership that it lacks the resources to keep pace with growing commercial launch activity.
The House Appropriations transportation, housing, and urban development subcommittee approved a $55.3 billion spending bill on a voice vote during a brief markup session. The bill goes to the full committee, which has not yet scheduled its own markup session.
A robotic Russian supply capsule that went into an uncontrollable spin was declared a total loss Wednesday, but the astronauts at the International Space Station said they will get by without the delivery of fresh food, water, clothes and equipment.
The head of Russia's space agency, Igor Komarov, said a series of problems caused the Progress M-27M freighter, also known as Progress 59, to tumble shortly after Tuesday's launch from Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"Because of this, the craft's continued flight and its docking with the ISS is not possible," Reuters quoted him as saying during a Moscow news conference.
Russian flight controllers have given up attempting to salvage a Progress cargo ship loaded with 3 tons of supplies and equipment intended for the International Space Station. Astronaut Scott Kelly, on board the lab for a year-long mission, said Wednesday the Progress will not be docking and instead will plunge back into the atmosphere.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Kelly said the crew was told the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos had determined “the Progress will not be docking and will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere here some days in the future, to be determined. But this Progress is not coming to the space station.”
A Russian Progress supply ship loaded with more than 3 tons of supplies and equipment bound for the International Space Station apparently spun out of control shortly after reaching orbit Tuesday, putting the resupply mission in jeopardy while flight controllers scrambled to come up with a fix.
The station’s six-member crew was not in any danger and nothing critical to lab operations was on board the Progress. But the loss of more than 6,000 pounds of supplies, if it comes to that, would cut into the lab’s on-board reserves, already an issue of sorts because of the failure of a U.S. cargo ship last October.
SpaceX to the Rescue? SpaceX Cargo Resupply Services Mission #7 (CRS-7) is tentatively scheduled for launch two months from now in June.
... "Mr. Worden established himself among the visionaries behind the new wave of commercial space activity that leverages Silicon Valley’s technology, investment capital and entrepreneurship. Members of one Ames team that developed small satellites using commercial-off-the-shelf technology under Mr. Worden’s tutelage went on to found the Planet Labs small-satellite imaging venture, a poster child of the so-called newspace movement."
A passion for exploration is the fuel to an innovative economy, says astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
In an interview with CNBC's On the Money, the host of the new National Geographic Channel show StarTalk — based on Tyson's podcast and Sirius XM radio show of the same name — described the dynamic implications of scientific discovery.
"You have to innovate," said Tyson, arguably the most famous astrophysicist in America. When "an engineer comes out with a new patent to take you to a place — intellectually, physically … that has never been reached before, those become the engines of tomorrow's economy."
Tyson is not the first one to propose this. Perhaps he's finally jumping on the NewSpace "Bandwagon."
SpaceX and NASA teams will gain important insight into how the Crew Dragon spacecraft and its abort system perform during a test slated for May 6, engineers said today.
Next week's flight test is to see a Crew Dragon and trunk – together about 20 feet tall - fly on the power of eight SuperDraco engines from a platform at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The test will not have crew members aboard the spacecraft, but will simulate an emergency escape from the launch pad in the unlikely case of booster failing at liftoff or other scenario that would threaten astronauts inside the spacecraft.
The SuperDracos, each producing 15,000 pounds of thrust, are expected to lift the spacecraft about 5,000 feet above the launch pad before it parachutes into the Atlantic Ocean about a mile offshore. The whole test will take about a minute and a half. Recovery teams will retrieve the Crew Dragon from the ocean at the end of the test.
PHOENIX — Nearly one year after changing the fuel used on its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle, a Virgin Galactic executive said April 30 the company was open to switching back depending on its performance.
Will Pomerantz, vice president of special projects for Virgin Galactic, said in a presentation at the Space Access ’15 conference here that the company has an “internal horse race” between a rubber-based fuel, formally known as hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB), originally selected for SpaceShipTwo’s hybrid rocket motor and a nylon-based one the company switched to last year.
“The one we’ll fly is the one that’s best,” he said. “If I had to guess, my personal guess would be HTPB” when SpaceShipTwo test flights resume.
SpaceX now is targeting Wednesday, May 6, for a pad abort test of its Crew Dragon, a spacecraft under final development and certification through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). The test window will open at 7 a.m. EDT.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of the test, which will simulate an emergency abort from a test stand on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida.
The media briefing previewing the test will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, May 1 in the Press Site TV auditorium at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This briefing will air live on NASA TV.
Blue Origin, a rocket engine and spacecraft development company owned by Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos, carried out an unpiloted maiden test flight of the company’s New Shepard sub-orbital launch vehicle Wednesday, the historically secretive company revealed early Thursday.
A dramatic video posted on the company’s website showed the squat vertical-takeoff-and-landing New Shepard rocket being erected on a launch platform at Blue Origin’s west Texas development facility followed by a brief countdown — with Bezos looking on — a smooth liftoff and a vertical climb to an altitude of 58 miles.
WASHINGTON — New Shepard, a reusable suborbital vehicle developed by Blue Origin, made its first test flight April 29, flying to the edge of space but failing to recover one part of the vehicle afterwards.
Blue Origin announced in a statement late April 29 that the vehicle flew its first “developmental” test flight earlier that day from the company’s test site in a remote region of West Texas. The uncrewed vehicle flew to a peak altitude of more than 93,500 meters and achieved a top speed of Mach 3.
The company said that most elements of the vehicle, including its BE-3 main engine developed in-house, performed well. The crew capsule separated from the vehicle’s propulsion module and parachuted back to Earth. “Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return,” the company said.
WASHINGTON — A Russian Progress cargo spacecraft suffered technical problems immediately after its launch early April 28, delaying its docking with the International Space Station and raising new concerns about the station’s resupply capabilities.
WASHINGTON — Russian controllers have called off any attempt to dock an out-of-control Progress cargo spacecraft with the International Space Station, NASA announced April 29.
“Docking has been called off for the Progress 59 spacecraft,” NASA said in a brief statement early April 29, using its designation for the Progress M-27M spacecraft. “Russian flight controllers are continuing to assess the vehicle and what the plan going forward will be.”
The Progress, launched on a Soyuz-2 rocket early April 28, experienced problems almost immediately after reaching orbit. The spacecraft failed to deploy two antennas used by its rendezvous system, forcing controllers to abandon original plans for a docking six hours after launch. The spacecraft soon started spinning, and Russian media reported efforts to contact the spacecraft early April 29 failed.
SpaceX successfully launched Turkmenistan's first communications satellite, however they did not attempt to land the first stage as all the fuel was needed to deliver the payload to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
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