The Pad Abort Test was the first key flight test of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, a vehicle designed to carry astronauts to and from space.
Dragon traveled from 0-100 mph in 1.2 seconds, reaching a max velocity of 345 mph.
The test simulated how Dragon would carry astronauts to safety if an emergency occurred on the launch pad. Crew Dragon’s abort system is powered by eight SuperDraco engines which together produce 120,000 pounds of axial thrust. The engines are integrated directly into the sides of the vehicle rather than carried on top of the vehicle as with previous launch abort systems. This configuration provides astronauts escape capability from the launch pad all the way to orbit and allows the spacecraft to use the same thrusters to land propulsively on land at the end of a mission. For more information on the test, see: http://www.spacex.com/news/2015/05/06/crew-dragon-completes-pad-abort-test
Just a few months ago, I listened intently as Freeman Dyson, the famous theoretical physicist and mathematician, said that, "If you want to have a programme for moving out into the universe, you have to think in centuries, not decades." A few months later, Team Indus was born and we dreamed of proving Dyson wrong, delivering best-in-class technology to defy odds. As part of the Google Lunar XPrize, we've launched a mission to safely land a spacecraft, able to travel at least 500m, on the surface of the moon, and transmit HD video and images back to earth - all by December 2016!
Orbital ATK President David Thompson said on Thursday that the new version of its Antares rocket is on track for a first launch in March 2016.The new version will use Russian RD-181 engines, two of which are undergoing acceptance testing right now.
An Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket intended to deliver a Cygnus cargo spacecraft full of supplies for the International Space Station (ISS) exploded 15 seconds after liftoff on October 28, 2014.The explosion damaged the launch facilities at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, VA.It was the company’s third operational launch for NASA under the commercial cargo program.
Orbital Sciences Corporation merged with ATK in February 2015 and is now called Orbital ATK.Thompson remains as President and CEO of the merged company and spoke Thursday on a regularly scheduled investors conference call.
MarsPolar, a newly-started international venture, is setting its sights on the Red Planet. The project consists of specialists from Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Poland, the U.S., and Ukraine, and is working to establish a human settlement on Mars’ polar region. This area of the planet has abundant quantities of water ice. With water an essential resource for both crews and rocket fuel, MarsPolar has this section of Mars in its sights.
The targeted area could also be very interesting in terms of the search for alien life. As the MarsPolar team puts it: “… life begins where the water exists.” The current plan is to establish a human colony on Mars by 2029. “We want to send to Mars a crew of 4-6 astronauts, every 2 years,” said Roman Juranek, the project’s Director of Communications for Poland.
NASA has taken another step toward returning America’s ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017.
The Commercial Crew Program ordered its first crew rotation mission from The Boeing Company. SpaceX, which successfully performed a pad abort test of its flight vehicle earlier this month, is expected to receive its first order later this year. Determination of which company will fly its mission to the station first will be made at a later time. The contract calls for the orders to take place prior to certification to support the lead time necessary for the first mission in late 2017, provided the contractors meet certain readiness conditions.
The U.S. Air Force announced Tuesday that SpaceX is now eligible to compete for launches of U.S. national security satellites, closing a tumultuous chapter in the U.S. rocket industry and ending the Pentagon’s sole reliance on United Launch Alliance to haul military payloads into orbit.
The Air Force’s certification of the Falcon 9 rocket gives SpaceX access to approximately one-third of the U.S. national security launch market forecast to be worth $70 billion through 2030, according to an estimate by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
Concepts of interplanetary spacecraft often face challenges with power, propulsion, radiation shielding, and more. Brian McConnell offers a concept for a “spacecoach” spacecraft that overcomes many of those obstacles by making use of water and solar electric propulsion in unique ways.
Both the House and Senate are considering legislation to support the US commercial launch industry, including extending key provisions of current law. Jeff Foust reports on those efforts, including the contrast between the partisan debates in the House and the bipartisan effort in the Senate.
The Air Force certified SpaceX to launch national security satellites today. The long-anticipated certification makes the company eligible to compete against the United Launch Alliance (ULA), which has held a virtual monopoly on launching the nation's most critical military and intelligence satellites since 2006.
SpaceX founder and chief designer Elon Musk thanked the Air Force for its confidence in the company, while Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James called it a "very important milestone for the Air Force and the Department of Defense."
"Today, XPRIZE and Google have officially confirmed a further extension of the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE. We continue to see substantial progress from our teams, and after months of discussion, we have decided to provide additional time for teams to plan and make arrangements for a future launch. Securing an available window with a launch provider is a calculated logistical process that can be many months in the making, in some cases more than a year, so an extended schedule will benefit our teams a great deal as they move towards taking the next step in the competition."
Physical changes to a number of historic pads located on Florida’s Space Coast are progressing apace, with Cape Canaveral’s SLC-41 now enjoying modification work to prepare it for crewed launches of Boeing’s CST-100. The work is being conducted at the same time as two nearby pads – LC39A and 39B – continue their conversations to host SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).
SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship is being built to zoom astronauts out of harm's way in the event of a launch pad emergency — but based on newly released video that was captured during this month's pad abort test, it could be the kind of ride people would pay for, even if they're not going into space.
The May 6 test flight at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida marked the first on-the-pad trial for the Crew Dragon "pusher" system, powered by the next-gen capsule's eight SuperDraco thrusters. The Dragon accelerated from zero to 100 mph (160 kilometers per hour) in just 1.2 seconds and reached a top speed of 345 mph (555 kilometers per hour).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Draper Laboratory is getting a fresh $250,000 from NASA to test gravity-imitating spacesuit technology on a commercial parabolic research flight perhaps as soon as this fall.
The April 22 grant from NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program follows a $500,000 award Draper received from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program in late 2012 for a two-year effort to develop technology that could be integrated into an astronaut’s clothing to better adapt to the disorienting effects of weightlessness.
Seamus Tuohy, director of Draper’s space systems division here, said the lab has matched NASA’s money with about $500,000 of its own to further develop the Variable Vector Countermeasure Suit, which could one day give astronauts a sense of “down” while floating in space.
To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy in his famous moon speech: We do this and the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard. And what makes them hard? When it comes to opening the frontier of space — we do. The biggest challenge is not the vacuum, not the radiation, not the gravity, not the vast distances. It is us. For we can overcome each of those, but can we overcome ourselves? Can we get past our positions so we can work together to throw open the frontier for the people of Earth?
Ground controllers powered up the International Space Station’s robotic arm and repositioned a storage module Wednesday to give visiting cargo delivery vehicles a second parking port at the complex.
The reconfiguration is another step in preparing the space station to receive commercial crew vehicles owned by Boeing and SpaceX.
When the changes are complete later this year, the space station will have two ports for unpiloted resupply vehicles from the United States and Japan, plus a pair of docking locations for Boeing and SpaceX crew capsules.
NASA has placed an order with Boeing for the first operational mission to ferry a crew to the International Space Station in a new era of commercial human spaceflight.
The flight is expected to occur in late 2017 after Boeing’s CST-100 capsule completes unmanned and crewed orbital test flights and wins final certification from NASA for regular crew rotation missions.
“This occasion will go in the books of Boeing’s nearly 100 years of aerospace and more than 50 years of space flight history,” said John Elbon, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s space exploration division. “We look forward to ushering in a new era in human space exploration.”
NASA announced today that it has ordered its first commercial International Space Station (ISS) crew rotation mission from Boeing. Boeing is building the CST-100 capsule under NASA's Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contract with the first operational flight to the ISS expected in 2017.
SpaceX is also building a commercial crew vehicle under CCtCAP -- the Dragon V2. NASA said it plans to order its first SpaceX crew rotation mission later this year. Which company will actually fly the first operational mission to the ISS will be decided sometime in the future.
Chinese venture capital firm Haiyin Capital has announced investments into a number of high-tech U.S. firms, many of whom are currently on a trip to China to make presentations and visit with investors and businesses there. One such firm is XCOR Aerospace, a commercial space company which aims to take tourists and payloads on suborbital trips into space.
A person with knowledge of the deal has told FORBES that Haiyin’s total investment in the company is $5 million at a valuation of $140 million. When contacted, XCOR declined to comment on this figure or investment.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and their supporting ground teams are set to begin the process of reconfiguring the station from its current Space Shuttle-optimised configuration, to a new configuration optimised for future visiting commercial crew and cargo vehicles. The long-planned effort is set to get underway Wednesday, with the relocation of the PMM storage module.
As commercial ventures in outer space grow, so do issues like the protection of trade secrets such companies may obtain from their space activities. Kamil Muzyka explores the issue of trade secrets and offers one approach to protecting them.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Air Force has certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to launch military satellites, completing a nearly two-year process that at times strained the two parties’ relationship and establishing a competitor to United Launch Alliance in the national security marketplace.
The Air Force announced the decision May 27, clearing the way for Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX to bid on military launches beginning this year with one of the service’s next-generation GPS 3 positioning, navigation and timing satellites.
LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif. (AFNS) -- Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, Commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s (SpaceX) Falcon 9 Launch System for national security space missions.
SpaceX is now eligible for award of qualified national security space launch missions as one of two currently certified launch providers. The first upcoming opportunity for SpaceX to compete to provide launch services is projected to be in June when the Air Force releases a Request for Proposal for GPS III launch services.
The International Space Station Program will take the next step in expanding a robust commercial market in low-Earth orbit when work continues Wednesday, May 27, to prepare the orbiting laboratory for the future arrival of U.S. commercial crew and cargo vehicles. NASA Television will provide live coverage of the activity beginning at 8 a.m. EDT.
NASA is in the process of reconfiguring the station to create primary and back up docking ports for U.S. commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by Boeing and SpaceX to once again transport astronauts from U.S. soil to the space station and back beginning in 2017. The primary and backup docking ports also will be reconfigured for U.S. commercial spacecraft delivering research, supplies and cargo for the crew.
Nearly seven months after a fatal breakup destroyed Virgin Galactic's first SpaceShipTwo rocket plane, the second SpaceShipTwo reached a construction milestone on Thursday: "weight on wheels," the point at which the structure is able to stand on its own landing gear rather than resting on supports.
"Although there's still much work to be done, this was a powerful and emotional moment for our team to reflect on how far we have come," the company wrote in a Facebook post.
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