Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA's aerospace industry partners for the agency's Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their Space Act Agreements with the agency.
NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move ahead with plans to develop the first American spacecraft designed to carry people into space since the space shuttle.
Video of the Falcon 9 first stage reentry and landing following successful delivery of six ORBCOMM satellites to orbit. This test confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able consistently to reenter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity.
After landing, the vehicle tipped sideways as planned to its final water safing state in a nearly horizontal position. The water impact caused loss of hull integrity, but we received all the necessary data to achieve a successful landing on a future flight. Going forward, we are taking steps to minimize the build up of ice and spots on the camera housing in order to gather improved video on future launches.
Two of the key issues surrounding access to space in the US this year have been reliance on the Russian-built RD-180 engine and a dispute between the Air Force and SpaceX. Jeff Foust reports that, despite a number of hearings and other events, there’s no clear resolution to either issue on the horizon.
Forty-five years after Apollo 11, people still contemplate why that historic mission didn’t open a new era of space exploration. Jeff Foust reviews a book that argues that Apollo, and human space exploration, were victims of a change in cultures in America at the time of the Moon landing.
Msnbc’s Craig Melvin dives into today’s space competition organized by the X Prize foundation and sponsored by Google. Joined by Astrobotic CEO John Thornton, the pair discusses a $30 million dollar prize awarded to the team that lands a robot safely on the moon, moves 500 meters on, above, or below the Moon’s surface and sends back HDTV Mooncasts for everyone to enjoy.
WASHINGTON — Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has invested at least half a billion dollars of his own money into Blue Origin, his spaceflight venture, a company official said July 17.
“We’re very fortunate to have a founder who has a vision and the funding and resources to match it,” Brett Alexander, director of business development and strategy at Blue Origin, said during a panel session of the Future Space 2014 conference in Washington. Bezos, best known as the founder and chief executive of Amazon.com, established Blue Origin in 2000.
45 years ago, America landed a man on the moon, and years from now, NASA and Tesla founder Elon Musk hope to have already landed a man on Mars, using Musk's SpaceX rocket in a public-private partnership that turns the Apollo program model on its head.
As NASA prepares to launch the first 3-D printer for the International Space Station (ISS), a report released today says that while the technology may have considerable long-term benefits, its short-term potential has been exaggerated.
The National Research Council report, “3D Printing in Space,” examined the current state of 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, and its potential applications in space. The report, sponsored by NASA and the US Air Force, concluded that the technology has benefits, but not necessarily in the immediate future.
Though more prominently known for its suborbital spaceflight business, Virgin Galactic has also been working on a dedicated small satellite launch system known as LauncherOne. Speaking to Via Satellite, George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said the company hopes to have liftoff using its air-launch system within the next two years.
Three members of Congress from Alabama and Colorado have asked NASA to provide information on what they receive to be an “epidemic of anomalies” on missions performed by SpaceX.
“Recent news reports have shown that an epidemic of anomalies have occurred during SpaceX launches or launch attempts,” write Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in a July 15 letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden. Those anomalies cited in the letter include issues with both SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft, ranging from “multiple” helium leaks to seawater intrusions into the Dragon spacecraft after splashdown.
To put it swiftly and bluntly, ULA, and all their "paid representatives," strike again.
VANCOUVER, JULY 16, 2014 | UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or “the Company”) is very pleased to announce that pursuant to its agreement with NanoRacks, LLC it plans to dramatically expand its Earth Observation data stream by operating state-of-the-art sensors on the NASA segment of the International Space Station (ISS).
The installation of the sensors further enhances UrtheCast’s market leadership for Space Station-based Earth Observation (EO). The Company intends to develop and supply the EO sensors, electronics and all related hardware. NanoRacks, working with the U.S. National Lab manager CASIS, will facilitate the launch, installation and onboard integration of the cameras and hardware in accordance with its Space Act Agreement with NASA.
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) are one step closer from allowing a human crew to fly inside the Dream Chaser spacecraft, as the vehicle passed yet another Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) milestone. While Milestone 9 has the rather mundane title of Risk Reduction and Technology Readiness Level (TRL), it provided the baby orbiter with a major review of her key systems.
WASHINGTON — Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s bid for access to the U.S. Defense Department launch market has many champions on Capitol Hill, but the chairman of the House Armed Services strategic force subcommittee, which oversees military space activities, remains firmly in the skeptics’ camp.
Rep. Mike D. Rogers (R-Ala.), whose home state hosts a major production facility of SpaceX archrival United Launch Alliance, said Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX “has a ways to go” before it can be entrusted with billion-dollar national security satellites.
"In her May 20 letter to Rogers, James says one of the most significant anomalies on a SpaceX certification flight occurred on the maiden launch of the Falcon 9 v1.1 variant Sept. 29. The mission successfully placed a Canadian satellite into low Earth orbit, but a postdeployment reignition of the rocket’s upper stage — intended as a demonstration of the Falcon 9’s ability to deploy geostationary-orbiting spacecraft — did not take place as planned."
If that's the best that Rogers has then he has absolutely nothing. A slight upgrade in insulation on the Falcon 9v1.1's upper stage engine fixed this problem entirely. It performed flawlessly on its first mission to place the SES-8 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit on December 3, 2013, and then flawlessly again one month later when it placed the Thaicom 6 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit on January 6th of this year. It has performed flawlessly ever since. As usual, Congress wasting taxpayers' money with partisan, parochial, dishonest dog and pony shows.
Our main topic today is Apollo 45 years later and why we don't want a repeat of the past. Our next humans on the Moon or Mars should be there to stay, not just flags and footprints!
In Space News we have:
Orbital Sciences Antares Cygnes Launch, SpaceX Falcon 9 Orbcomm launch, Russia launches a Foton satellite via Soyuz, ESA Rosetta Update, UAE going to Mars in 2021, ISRO going to Mars again, UKs first Space Port and a Bonsai tree in space?
While space advocates are never short of bold visions for future space development projects, funding them has long been a major challenge. Richard Godwin offers one approach to bootstrap long-term use of space resources though smaller initial steps and a key financial measure.
Forty-five years ago tonight, people across the world held their breaths as a hair-raising, heart-pounded descent occurred a quarter of a million miles away from Earth. At the Sea of Tranquility, on 20 July 1969, two humans succeeded in what many had considered impossible: landing and walking on the surface of another world.
“I just have to say pretty bluntly here, we’ve been there before,” the President said, raising his right hand for emphasis. “Buzz has been there before.”
With this single line from his 2010 speech Obama reinforced the modern zeitgeist of the moon as a dead end on humanity’s path to the stars.
Yet much of the spaceflight community, many planetary scientists and all other space-faring nations do not share that view. The President, they say, had it all wrong. The moon, rather, offers an essential base camp for human exploration deeper into the solar system. From an outpost there explorers could fuel rockets, take on supplies and venture deeper into the solar system.
This week’s announcement of eight shortlisted sites for a potential UK spaceport caused much excitement. And it’s easy to see why.
The image of Britain as a hub for reusable spaceplanes embarking on science, travel and tourism missions is certainly an exciting one from an economic, scientific and plain patriotic point of view.
But there was also some confusion over whether it was actually feasible to launch vehicles into space from the UK. And while the government was enthusiastically championing the idea, the companies actually developing spaceplanes didn’t appear to show the same level of support. So is a UK spaceport likely or even possible?
Forty-five years ago this coming Sunday, in a stunning, unimaginable historical achievement, men from earth first walked on its moon. But for over four decades now, no one has gone further than a couple hundred miles or so, a thousand times less distant, from our home planet.
Why did we spend so much to go to another world, and then almost completely abandon the effort?
On Sunday, an Antares rocket launched a Cygnus spacecraft on a mission to deliver cargo, from food to smallsats, to the ISS. Jeff Foust reports on the launch and the challenges NASA and its industry partners are overcoming to establish a regular supply chain to the station.
FARNBOROUGH, England -- The British government has announced plans to develop a spaceport, revealing candidate sites across the United Kingdom and fostering closer ties with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to revamp regulations and lure space tourism, and potentially small satellite launches, to Britain.
The announcement Tuesday is the latest move by the government to expand Britain's space industry, which grew by 7.2 percent over the last two years, according to David Parker, head of the UK Space Agency.
Forty-five years ago this July 20th, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on the moon. Their mission represented an emphatic American victory in the first space race, which began in earnest in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched a notably unattractive satellite, Sputnik, into orbit.
Since then, however, America’s national space program has essentially foundered. It improved space travel by building and then scrapping the Space Shuttle, without ever accomplishing – or attempting – a mission as bold or impactful as the one in 1969. It’s time for a new one. To win the next space race, the US should announce its support for private property rights in space, and NASA should take a back seat.
DARPA said it awarded contracts to three teams: Boeing, working with Blue Origin; Masten Space Systems, working with XCOR Aerospace; and Northrop Grumman, working with Virgin Galactic. The contracts, for phase one of the Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) program, cover initial design work on concepts for the vehicle, designed to serve as a reusable lower stage of a low-cost launch system for medium-sized satellites.