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Blue Origin Debuts the American-made BE-3 Liquid Hydrogen Rocket Engine | SpaceRef Business

Blue Origin Debuts the American-made BE-3 Liquid Hydrogen Rocket Engine | SpaceRef Business | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Blue Origin reached a key milestone in the development of the liquid-fueled BE-3 engine successfully demonstrating deep throttle, full power, long-duration and reliable restart all in a single-test sequence.

 

The BE-3 is the first completely new liquid hydrogen-fueled engine to be developed for production in the U.S. since the RS-68 more than a decade ago.

 

The test demonstrated a full mission duty cycle, mimicking flight of the New Shepard vehicle by thrusting at 110,000 pounds in a 145-second boost phase, shutting down for approximately four and a half minutes to simulate coast through apogee, then restarting and throttling down to 25,000 pounds thrust to simulate controlled vertical landing. To date, the BE-3 has demonstrated more than 160 starts and 9,100 seconds of operation at Blue Origin's test facility near Van Horn, Texas.

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NewSpace: A New Era In Space Exploration. As one era ends a new one begins: a new golden era in spaceflight. Join us for all the latest headlines in this bold new adventure.
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NewSpace 2014 - Remarks from the Chairman of the Board | YouTube

Playlist for the entire NewSpace2014 Conference, July 24th to July 26th, San Jose, California.

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Thermal Images of SpaceX Booster Flyback Elude NASA | SpaceNews.com

Thermal Images of SpaceX Booster Flyback Elude NASA | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — When the Falcon 9 first stage used to loft six Orbcomm satellites made a soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean after launch July 14, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. was not the only one watching. 


NASA too had eyes on the falling booster, hoping to snap some infrared images of its engines relighting as the rocket stage screamed back to Earth at supersonic speeds.


SpaceX got the footage it was looking for. The company released an 80-second video July 22, taken from one of Falcon 9’s onboard cameras. 


NASA, which was watching Falcon 9’s landing spot in the Atlantic from a Martin WB-57 twin-jet airplane, was not as lucky.

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Four Decades After Apollo 11, Moon Trips Are Making a Comeback | NBC News

Four Decades After Apollo 11, Moon Trips Are Making a Comeback | NBC News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It's been more than four decades since the first humans arrived on the moon, and since the last ones left, but traffic to the lunar surface could soon be on the upswing again — thanks to a new space race that involves commercial ventures as well as government-funded efforts.

And if Astrobotic CEO John Thornton has anything to say about it, the moon race will feature an honest-to-goodness rover race by the end of next year. The concept is a central part of Astrobotic's plan to snag a share of the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize.

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Masten shows off its XS-1 design (with wings) | NewSpace Journal

Masten shows off its XS-1 design (with wings) | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Masten Space Systems, one of three companies to receive awards from DARPA for the Experimental Spaceplane 1 (XS-1) program, has revealed the design it proposes to develop for the program. And that design has something unusual for a company best known for its vertical-takeoff-and-landing designs: wings.


The “Xephyr” vehicle does take off vertically, as shown in the illustration provided by the company. However, the design also has small wings, presumably to allow it to glide, either for landing or other phases of flight. Overall, the design bears similarities to the X-34, an experimental spaceplane developed by Orbital Sciences for NASA but cancelled before its first flight.

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3D Printing in Space: Too Out of This World? | Inside3DP.com

3D Printing in Space: Too Out of This World? | Inside3DP.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

We mere earthlings may not get to see it live in action, but regardless the impact could be huge. This August, a team of astronauts with the help of research organization Made In Space will launch a 3D printer to the International Space Station and test out printing conditions under zero gravity. Since its announcement earlier this year, the news prompted zero-gravity 3D printing speak everywhere, with media outlets avidly discussing the possibilities. We joined them ourselves, reporting on possible developments such as 3D printed space food and on-demand printing of spare parts on the moon. The possibilities seemed endless, but unfortunately our hopes may have been too far out of this world.


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Smallsat companies dominate “Lightning Pitch” NewSpace competition | NewSpace Journal

The annual NewSpace Conference by the Space Frontier Foundation got underway earlier today in San Jose, California. A highlight of today’s events was the “Lightning Pitch Competition” for NewSpace startups. This takes the place of full-fledged business plan competition that has taken place at some previous conferences. Instead of submitting a detailed business plan and having that plan, and presentation of it, reviewed by judges, each company was tasked with delivering a four-minute pitch about their company to judges during a conference session late Thursday morning. At stake are $30,000 in prizes, including a $20,000 grand prize.


Last month, the competition organizers announced the eight companies that will be participating in this year’s event. More than half are making use of CubeSats or other smallsats, or supporting such spacecraft, in one manner or another. A quick review of the eight contestants follows:

Stratocumulus's insight:


And the Winners are:


First Prize, $20,000: CubeCab


Second Prize: $7,500: RockZip


Third Prize: $2,500: Elysium Space


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GAO report warns of cost and schedule risks to SLS | Space Politics

In contrast to NASA and industry claims that work on the Space Launch System (SLS) is on track, a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Wednesday warned that tight schedules and budgets could delay the first launch of that heavy-lift rocket.


The report, requested by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), warned that the flat budget profile for development of SLS may be insufficient to keep the program on track for a first launch in December 2017. “The SLS program office calculated the risk associated with insufficient funding through 2017 as having a 90 percent likelihood of occurrence,” the report stated. “[F]urthermore, it indicated the insufficient budget could push the planned December 2017 launch date out 6 months and add some $400 million to the overall cost of SLS development.”

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Sierra Nevada Enlists Japan for Dream Chaser Study | SpaceNews.com

Sierra Nevada Enlists Japan for Dream Chaser Study | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) Space Systems added the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to the expanding stable of international space agencies exploring mission concepts for the Louisville, Colorado-based company’s Dream Chaser lifting-body spacecraft, SNC announced July 23. 


SNC is developing Dream Chaser, which the company describes as “the only multi-mission space utility vehicle in the world,” under a funded cooperative agreement with NASA as a possible means of transporting astronauts to and from the international space station. The vehicle is designed to launch atop an expendable rocket and, after re-entry, glide back to Earth for a runway landing.

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Masten Space Systems selected by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for XS-1 Program

Masten Space Systems selected by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for XS-1 Program | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Mojave, CA (July 23, 2014) — Masten Space Systems, Inc. (Masten) announced today that the company has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of Phase 1 of the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program to develop a reusable launch vehicle.


Over the last decade, Masten has built three highly operable, vertical takeoff/vertical landing, reusable rockets which are flown by small teams of five to seven people. Masten’s experience with vertical takeoff/vertical landing rockets has shown that the company’s flight vehicles can offer greater flexibility than reusable launch vehicles that require runways to land. Masten has logged well over 300 flights to date with its Xoie, Xombie and Xaero reusable rockets.


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Orbcomm pleased with SpaceX rocket performance | Spaceflight Now

Orbcomm pleased with SpaceX rocket performance | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The six Orbcomm communications satellites launched last week are in good shape after an ultra-precise orbital delivery by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, according to Orbcomm's chief executive.


Marc Eisenberg, head of New Jersey-based Orbcomm Inc., said the Falcon 9 rocket placed its six payloads in an orbit just a half-kilometer off prelaunch predictions, ending up in an orbit with a high point of 740.5 kilometers (460 miles), a low point of 619.5 kilometers (385 miles) and an inclination five one-thousandths of a degree off the rocket's target of 47 degrees.


The satellites will not need to use extra propellant loaded into their fuel tanks to correct a potential orbit injection error, Eisenberg said.

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Opinion: Only Collective Action Can Save Near-Earth Space | Aviation Week

For the first several decades of human space activity, the economically and militarily valuable region of near-Earth orbit seemed like an infinite resource. But in the 21st century, the rapid increase in countries, companies and even private individuals active in space has made us realize how finite this region actually is, raising risks of collisions and conflict. In short, the space community today faces a “collective action” problem—too many people using a shared resource without adequate and enforceable rules. Will safe access to near-Earth space be put into jeopardy?


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NASA Partners Punctuate Summer with Spacecraft Development Advances

NASA Partners Punctuate Summer with Spacecraft Development Advances | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

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.


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Falcon 9 First Stage Return - ORBCOMM Mission | YouTube

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.


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The Colbert Report - Elon Musk Interview - July 24, 2014 | YouTube

The Colbert Report - Elon Musk Interview - July 24, 2014

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Judge Orders Mediation for SpaceX, U.S. Air Force | SpaceNews.com

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has asked the U.S. Air Force and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to try mediation to resolve a lawsuit over the service’s $11 billion order of rockets from SpaceX-rival United Launch Alliance.


SpaceX filed the lawsuit April 28, asking the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to void a large portion of the deal, under which the Air Force ordered 36 rocket cores from ULA on a sole-source basis. The U.S. Department of Justice, representing the Air Force, has asked the court to dismiss the case.


But Judge Susan Braden on July 24 directed the two sides to explore a third alternative: mediation. As part of that process, she directed the Air Force to provide SpaceX with information by Aug. 18 on the missions in question to allow the company to determine which ones it could launch. She also ordered the service to explain to SpaceX how it plans to execute the block-buy contract with ULA during the next six months.

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The Rise of Boutique Rocket Firms Inspired By SpaceX

The Rise of Boutique Rocket Firms Inspired By SpaceX | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX has dominated the private space industry since it was founded 12 years ago. The company’s thriftiness, its reusable space launch concept, and Elon Musk’s unabashed hopes to land humans on Mars have all contributed to its swift ascent to the top of the corporate spaceflight ladder.

One of the most interesting byproducts of SpaceX’s success, however, is the wealth of opportunities left in its wake. New spaceflight niches are beginning to be filled by a wave of specialized rocket startups, looking to provide solutions for modest satellite manufacturers with limited launch options.

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Nanosat launch company wins “Lightning Pitch” business plan competition | NewSpace Journal

Nanosat launch company wins “Lightning Pitch” business plan competition | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

For the second year in a row, a company that seeks to develop an air-launch system for small satellites has won a business plan competition organized by the Space Frontier Foundation.


CubeCab beat out six other companies in the competition held Thursday during the NewSpace 2014 conference in San Jose, California. The “Lightning Pitch” competition was a slimmed-down version of previous business plan competitions held by the organization, with companies required to give a four-minute pitch to judges, followed by a three-minute question-and-answer session.

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Le Gall: To Beat SpaceX, Europe Needs To Shed Launch Sector’s Excess of Linoleum | SpaceNews.com

Le Gall: To Beat SpaceX, Europe Needs To Shed Launch Sector’s Excess of Linoleum | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PARIS — Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the French space agency, CNES, used a SpaceX comparison to describe the defects of Europe’s current launch-vehicle sector. Europe’s problem, he said, is an excess of linoleum.


“At the ground level you have a linoleum-covered floor where they do rocket production and integration,” Le Gall said of the SpaceX building. “On the next level, with the carpeting, you have the design offices. And on an upper floor you have the sales and marketing team, with the parquet floor. In Europe, we have far too much linoleum.”

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News – VIRGIN GALACTIC ANNOUNCES TODD ERICSON AS SPACE PILOT | Virgin Galactic

News – VIRGIN GALACTIC ANNOUNCES TODD ERICSON AS SPACE PILOT | Virgin Galactic | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

MOJAVE, Calif. – July 24th, 2014 – Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, announced today that Todd ‘Leif’ Ericson, former Operations and Maintenance Group Commander for the United States Air Force (USAF) has joined the company’s cadre of space pilots.


In his new role, Todd will be working with Galactic’s chief pilot Dave Mackay and pilots Frederick ‘CJ’ Sturckow and Michael ‘Sooch’ Masucci as they prepare to fly Virgin Galactic’s first customers to space. Ericson will report to Mackay and Vice President of Operations Mike Moses at Virgin Galactic’s Mojave, California location, before relocating to Spaceport America in New Mexico for commercial operations.

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The Future of Moon Exploration, Lunar Colonies and Humanity

The Future of Moon Exploration, Lunar Colonies and Humanity | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A rocket carrying more than a dozen privately built probes touches down on the moon. The robots burst from the vehicle in a race to beam back high-definition video and other data while roving the surface of Earth's nearest natural satellite. The people of Earth watch a broadcast of the race as the rovers roam (or stall) in the lunar dust.


The motives that drove teams to send these robotic emissaries to the moon might be different — ranging from inspiring a country to starting a sustainable, commercial endeavor — but they have all flown the more than 200,000 miles (321,000 kilometers) to the moon, riding on a wave of commercial hopes that rest on the lunar surface.


Could this be what the start of a lunar revolution looks like 45 years after the Apollo 11 moon landing? For some of the people involved with a private race to the moon, that hypothetical scenario could become reality in a little more than a year.


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Sierra Nevada Corporation Announces Cooperative Understanding with Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency for th Dream Chaser® Space System

Sparks, Nev., July 23, 2014Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today the expansion of its Dream Chaser® Space System’s global partnership to include Asia and the Pacific Rim through a recently signed memorandum of cooperative understanding with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). SNC will work with JAXA on potential applications of Japanese technologies and the development of mission concepts for the Dream Chaser spacecraft. Additionally, SNC and JAXA will explore the possibility of launching and landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft in Japan. This international collaboration will widen the breadth of the global capabilities offered by SNC’s Dream Chaser reusable, lifting-body spacecraft.

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GAO Warns NASA $400 Million Short to Finish SLS by 2017

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) praised NASA's technical progress in building the Space Launch System (SLS) in a report released today, but warned that the agency does not have enough funding to complete the rocket in time for its promised first flight in 2017.


GAO pointed out that most NASA programs are required to have a funding and schedule profile that affords at least a 70 percent chance of success -- a "joint confidence level" or JCL -- and SLS does not have that.  The program may be $400 million short of what it needs in order to be ready for the first test launch in 2017 at a 70 percent confidence level, GAO concluded using analysis by the SLS program itself.


Stratocumulus's insight:


On schedule maybe, but definitely over budget.

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Video shows Falcon 9's rocket-assisted splashdown | Spaceflight Now

Video shows Falcon 9's rocket-assisted splashdown | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX released a video clip Tuesday showing the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket descending back to Earth for a controlled, low-speed splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral following launch last week.


The company says the rocket-assisted touchdown is the second consecutive time it has achieved a soft landing of the 12-foot-diameter first stage after a launch, putting SpaceX closer to returning a first stage to a landing pad near Cape Canaveral.

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Dream Chaser flies through major CCiCAP challenge | NASASpaceFlight.com

Dream Chaser flies through major CCiCAP challenge | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

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.


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SpaceX Critics in the House Keep the Pressure on | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Critics in the House Keep the Pressure on | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

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.

Stratocumulus's insight:


"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.

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Ron Morris's comment, July 24, 3:42 AM
Mike D. Rogers has stupid fake hair
Stratocumulus's comment, July 25, 12:01 AM
lol. I'm wondering what he feeds that thing!