This April marks the 3 year anniversary of The NewSpace Daily. I started this website back in April 2011 to chronicle the daily headlines of one of the most exciting adventures of the 21st Century: a new era of space exploration that will one day be open to all of us thanks to the enterprising efforts of visionary entrepreneurs, innovative new technologies and bold new ways of doing business. It has been a labor of love...
SpaceX made a late postponement to the CRS-3/SpX-3 mission to the International Space Station on Thursday, citing “open items” that require additional time to remedy. The launch – which was originally set for March 16 – will have to wait until the end of the month at the earliest, as Dragon sets her sights on a new opportunity afforded to her in the busy launch and Visiting Vehicle schedules, both on the Eastern Range and at the orbital outpost.
“Congress faces a choice between making an essential and overdue investment in regaining U.S. access to space, or keeping Putin in the pilot’s seat — and paying through the nose cone for it,” argued the Orlando Sentinel in an editorial Wednesday. The paper claimed that Congress had not made restoring US human space launch capabilities a priority, based on cuts it made to previous years’ budget requests for the commercial crew program, and warned that additional cuts would jeopardize the current 2017 launch date. “This shouldn’t be a tough call, especially now,” the editorial concluded. “It’s time for lawmakers to open the throttle on the U.S. commercial space program.”
... Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., a company that’s trying to break into the military launch market, said at a congressional hearing on March 5 that launches may be at risk because of Boeing’s and Lockheed’s dependence on the Russian engine.
Musk, who also is chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), said the Atlas V rockets should be phased out for the “long-term security interest of the country.”
"My dream of spaceflight began at a young age. With my father being a NASA astronaut, and most all my near neighbors being either astronauts or rocket scientists, that's not too hard to fathom. But the gap between thinking you would like to go to space and arranging for such a trip is vast!"
Last November, a rocket built from a decommissioned U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia, carrying not nuclear warheads headed for the Soviet Union, but rather 29 small satellites bound for orbit. Among them was the TJ3Sat, built by students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in nearby Fairfax County.
The satellite is relatively rudimentary, as such things go. It is not much bigger than a can of soup and weighs only a couple of pounds. Its main purpose is to convert students' text messages into speech and broadcast them over amateur-radio bands -- a demonstration project, much like the Soviet Sputnik, the world's first orbital satellite, which broadcast beeps.
Launches of NASA cargo to the International Space Station, including one planned early Sunday, don’t guarantee SpaceX is ready to launch military satellites, the head of Air Force Space Command said Tuesday in Cape Canaveral.
If a rocket failed, the loss of a national security satellite potentially worth more than $1.5 billion would be a bigger setback than losing food, clothing and other station supplies, Gen. William Shelton told the National Space Club Florida Committee.
The goal of CCP is to aid in the development and then use of privately operated space transportation systems that can safely, reliably and cost-effectively carry NASA astronauts and others to low-Earth orbit.The Commercial Crew Program closely follows the model of NASA’s successful Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program, or COTS, which oversaw development and operations of two privately operated, American-owned spacecraft and launcher systems to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.
In a press conference today, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced an expanded collaboration to advance the planning and development of potential science research during future Dream Chaser spacecraft missions.
Under a new annex to a current Space Act Agreement, Marshall's Mission Operations Laboratory will provide technical expertise to SNC for planning the integration of scientific payloads on its Dream Chaser spacecraft under their Advanced Development program.
SNC's Dream Chaser is a multi-mission-capable spacecraft designed for low-Earth orbit.
March 10, 2014 — Preparations are now underway for the launch of Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) third cargo flight to the International Space Station — including the release of the mission's official patch.
During SpaceX's Commercial Resupply Services 3 (CRS-3 or SpX-3) mission, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company's Dragon capsule will carry almost 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of supplies to the space station and return home to Earth with more than 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg) of science results and spent equipment.
The third of 12 cargo missions contracted by NASA, the CRS-3 Dragon is scheduled to lift off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40 in Florida on Sunday (March 16) at 4:41 a.m. EDT (0841 GMT). The flight will mark the fourth trip by an uncrewed Dragon capsule to the orbital outpost, including SpaceX's first demo flight in 2012.
SpaceX is scheduled to launch another resupply mission to the International Space Station on March 16th, but this particular flight could be of truly historic significance. SpaceX will make an attempt to fly the rocket’s first stage back under its own power to a soft landing at sea. If such tests are successful, they want to move on to safe powered touchdowns on land.
In a move that would have a major impact on how Virgin Galactic and other space companies operate, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has introduced legislation that would simplify the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) permitting and licensing procedures for new commercial spacecraft.
The Suborbital and Orbital Advancement and Regulatory Streamlining Act (SOARS) also would broaden the definitions of launch vehicles and launch services to include the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and spaceflight participant training conducted aboard it.
Reports have surfaced that Virgin Galactic is looking to operate out of a decommissioned U.S. Navy facility named Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico. The base could host both suborbital space tourism flight, but it would also be ideal for launching small satellites.
Caribbean Business reports that Sir Richard Branson’s company has purchased 11 hangars at the former base, which is run today as the José Aponte de la Torre Airport. The general aviation airport has an 11,000-foot long runway.
However, another report by Agencia EFE says that no deal has been reached.
Launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying an unmanned cargo ship bound for the International Space Station has been delayed from Sunday to no earlier than March 30, because of what sources described as apparent contamination that could pose problems for research hardware carried by the Dragon cargo craft.
SpaceX engineers were preparing the rocket for launch at 4:41 a.m. EDT (GMT-4) Sunday to boost the Dragon capsule, loaded with about 4,600 pounds of equipment and supplies, on an automated flight to the International Space Station.
But the launch was put on hold, sources said, when engineers noticed contamination of some sort on the Dragon's lower unpressurized trunk section.
SpaceX has decided to postpone its planned Sunday launch of a cargo mission to the International Space Station until at least March 30, with April 2 as a backup date.
This is SpaceX's third operational ISS cargo mission, SpaceX CRS-3, and was scheduled for launch at 4:41 am EDT on Sunday morning. In addition to delivering cargo to the space station, it will test the "landing legs" on the SpaceX first stage.
"To ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance and allow additional time to resolve remaining open items, SpaceX is now targeting March 30th for the CRS-3 launch, with April 2nd as a back-up. These represent the earliest available launch opportunities given existing schedules, and are currently pending approval with the Range.
"Both Falcon 9 and Dragon are in good health; given the critical payloads on board and significant upgrades to Dragon, the additional time will ensure SpaceX does everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch."
The debate on competition for Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) class US government launches has focused on SpaceX’s challenge to incumbent United Launch Alliance (ULA). However, this week an executive with a European company expressed his desire to compete for such launches as well.
Speaking at the Satellite 2014 conference in Washington on Tuesday, Arianespace chairman and CEO Stéphane Israël said he believed his company’s Ariane 5 rocket could be competitive for US government launches. “At Arianespace, we are fully ready to compete on the institutional market in the US,” he said. “We are quite sure we would be in a position to offer the best solution for the customer,” adding they would be willing to look at how they could “Americanize” the rocket to be able to compete for government payloads.
Competition can only eventually lead to lower prices. But, as noted in the comments section, if Arianespace is allowed to compete in the U.S. government market, then U.S. launch providers should be allowed to participate in different European markets as well.
"Space tourism will succeed because of two simple reasons:
"1. Floating in space is fun; it’s freedom. It’s easy and it makes you feel powerful. That pesky force of gravity is gone, leaving you with plenty of energy to direct elsewhere. There are few limits on the human body when it is in space. I was able to do most Olympic gymnastics moves with a few bars attached to the walls of the international space station..."
“At about $1.5 billion — and sometimes higher — national security payloads have to get there. We have to make sure we’ve done due diligence on the part of the government to make sure that that rocket is going to deliver safely and reliably,” Shelton said.
SpaceX, along with Orbital Sciences Corp. and ATK, are going through a rigorous certification process that will enable them to compete with United Launch Alliance to fly major military payloads.
SpaceX is furthest along, with one of its three required upgraded Falcon 9 rocket flights presently certified.
SPARKS, Nev., March 11, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces the expansion of its Dream Chaser® program team and scope of work in Huntsville, Ala., with the signing of a Space Act Agreement (SAA) Annex with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and a Teaming Agreement with Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE).
During today’s press conference at MSFC, Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems, presented details of the two new agreements that advance the Dream Chaser spacecraft to enable science payload operations and technology development in support of continued growth and utilization of space and the International Space Station (ISS).
As the artillery rolls into Ukraine, and the notion that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is an ally has been revealed to one and all to be a fantasy, it’s time to finally end our policy insanity of relying on Russian spaceships for American access to space.
Since the last space shuttle flight two-and-a-half years ago, our only means of getting NASA astronauts (or anyone) to the ISS has been on the Soyuz launch system, at an ever-rising cost, now over $70M a seat as of last August. Alternate competing U.S. means to replace it are under development in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, but Congress has been continually underfunding the effort in order to instead funnel money to the Space Launch System, a giant rocket with no funded payloads and no apparent mission other than providing job security in the states and districts of those on the congressional space committees.
The crisis in Ukraine, including what many consider to be a Russian occupation of Crimea, has raised concerns about the stability of Russian-American partnerships in space, as the US and other nations weigh a range of sanctions to impose on Russia. Could US crew access to the station, currently provided solely by Soyuz spacecraft, be in jeopardy?
Last month, Uwingu rolled out a new program to allow people to name craters on a Mars map for a fee. Alan Stern and Mark Sykes discuss the benefits this initiative promises for funding space science efforts, and how some have misunderstood it.
In this episode we talk about cosmic property rights. Who owns the moon? What about Mars? Can a company legally mine an asteroid?
In space news: ULA and SpaceX go head to head at a Senate hearing committee, how tensions with Russia can negatively impact the US space programs, COSMOS, a new space plane is being developed and the original space shuttle wooden mockup is moving.