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Blue Origin, SpaceX Bid on Historic NASA Pad 39A

Blue Origin, SpaceX Bid on Historic NASA Pad 39A | New Space | Scoop.it

According to a corrected story in Space News, both SpaceX and Blue Origin have put in a bid for the Kennedy Space Center’s Launchpad 39A.  While SpaceX’s possible interest in the pad has been widely reported, the apparent last-minute participation by  perpetually mysterious Blue Origin adds a bit of speculative intrigue to what looked like a one horse race.

 

Although with so little known (at least publicly)  about what Blue Origin is doing or how far it had progressed, it is difficult to gauge how the massive Apollo and Shuttle pad may fit into its plans, some basic facts do stand out.   First, while the crawler transporter assembly is parked at the pad, it is not considered a part of the pad infrastructure and is not part of the lease.  Second, the lease price,  $0.00 is a pretty good deal, although power and fuel will be charged separately.   The latter point may be the most relevent considering that unlike SpaceX’s RP-1/LOX  architecture,  Blue Origin  is  developing  a hydrogen / oxygen system, so 39A fits in that regard, even if the scale is much smaller.

 

 


Via Stratocumulus
Allen Taylor's insight:

Secretive Blue Origin shows it is still in the game by bidding for the historic shuttle launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, despite the fact that they were not bid for funding under the current commercial crew Space Act agreement.

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Q&A With Commercial Crew Manager Kathy Lueders

Q&A With Commercial Crew Manager Kathy Lueders | New Space | Scoop.it
Kathryn Lueders
NASA has published the following Q&A with Commercial Crew Manager Kathy Lueders.
Q: What are your goals for the Commercial Crew Program?
A: My first goal is to help our partners safely fly crew.
Allen Taylor's insight:

What is NASA looking for in the commercial crew program? Their manager of the program gives the lowdown.

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SpaceX targets Falcon 9 launch on Monday - Spaceflight Now

SpaceX targets Falcon 9 launch on Monday - Spaceflight Now | New Space | Scoop.it
Spaceflight Now
SpaceX targets Falcon 9 launch on Monday
Spaceflight Now
A source told Spaceflight Now the problem was traced to a valve in a liquid oxygen tank.
Allen Taylor's insight:

SpaceX scheduled to launch six communication satellites in one Falcon 9 launch.

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SpaceX Commercial Crew Status for July 2014

SpaceX Commercial Crew Status for July 2014 | New Space | Scoop.it
Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX) SpaceX CCiCAP Milestone Status Award Period: August 2012 – March 2015 Milestones: 20 Milestones Completed: 14 Milestones Remaining: 6 Total Possible Award: $460 Million Total Award to Date: $357 Million Total...
Allen Taylor's insight:

SpaceX is significantly behind on achieving its milestones in the commercial crew competition. The last one is not scheduled for March 2015.

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New Congressional Act Digs Into Asteroid Mining

New Congressional Act Digs Into Asteroid Mining | New Space | Scoop.it
It is titled the American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014. U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced bipartisan legislation “to expand opportunities and protections for private space companies looking to explore space.” “Asteroids are excellent potential sources of highly valuable resources and minerals,” said…
Allen Taylor's insight:

Two members of the US House of Representatives are cosponsoring a bill that would clarify the rights of entities that work to exploit the resources of asteroids and other celestial bodies.

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ULA awaits NASA decision before outfitting pad for crew - Spaceflight Now

ULA awaits NASA decision before outfitting pad for crew - Spaceflight Now | New Space | Scoop.it
Spaceflight Now
ULA awaits NASA decision before outfitting pad for crew
Spaceflight Now
"Boeing has been the customer that has moved forward, and that's why the design is focused right now on CST-100," Collins said.
Allen Taylor's insight:

ULA has completed the paperwork, but will not start construction of the launch tower for Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft until it finds out whether the CST-100 will be one of the commercial crew competitors to be award a funded contract in the next phase of the development effort. It appears that no more than two competitors will be funded and both Sierra Nevada and SpaceX are strong competitors.

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FAA environmental decision clears the way for SpaceX Texas spaceport

FAA environmental decision clears the way for SpaceX Texas spaceport | New Space | Scoop.it
Illustration of SpaceX’s proposed launch site near Brownsville, Texas. The FAA gave its environmental approval to the site on July 9.
Allen Taylor's insight:

The FAA gives environmental approval to SpaceX's proposed spaceport near Brownsville, Texas.

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Bigelow Aerospace Begins Hiring Round by Adding Former Astronauts Ham, Zamka | SpaceNews.com

Bigelow Aerospace Begins Hiring Round by Adding Former Astronauts Ham, Zamka | SpaceNews.com | New Space | Scoop.it
Bigelow Aerospace Begins Hiring Round by Adding Former Astronauts Ham ... - Space News http://t.co/goqNMfNoW5
Allen Taylor's insight:

Bigelow Aerospace has started hiring astronauts to support its first space station, with a launch planned in 2017.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Dream Chaser Propulsion, Reaction Control Milestone

Sierra Nevada Completes Dream Chaser Propulsion, Reaction Control Milestone | New Space | Scoop.it
Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Sierra Nevada completes a milestone that takes it one step closer to completing their current commercial crew contract with NASA.

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Buzz Aldrin Wants Humans to Travel to Mars. But They Can't Come Back. - National Journal

Buzz Aldrin Wants Humans to Travel to Mars. But They Can't Come Back. - National Journal | New Space | Scoop.it
The Guardian
Buzz Aldrin Wants Humans to Travel to Mars. But They Can't Come Back.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Buzz Aldrin foresees humans on Mars within 20 years. He believes they should go to stay, not just to visit.

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NASA Commercial Crew Partners Move Forward on Milestones

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Move Forward on Milestones | New Space | Scoop.it
CCiCap milestone completion status: Boeing, 18 of 20; SpaceX, 13 of 18; Sierra Nevada Corporation, 10 of 13.
NASA Commercial Crew Return On Investment Report
Issue No.
Allen Taylor's insight:

All commercial crew competitors are progressing through their contracted milestones.

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Saturn Moon Titan's Underground Ocean May Be Super Salty - Yahoo News

Tech Times
Saturn Moon Titan's Underground Ocean May Be Super Salty
Yahoo News
The new model suggests that the thickness of the icy crust varies across the moon's surface.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, and Enceladus are noteworthy for having oceans of liquid water below the surface. Now it appears that Titan does too, although a rather salty one. It's starting to look like there is liquid water everywhere.

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NASA evaluating MMOD strike damage on ISS radiator panel

NASA evaluating MMOD strike damage on ISS radiator panel | New Space | Scoop.it
International Space Station(ISS) managers are currently evaluating what appear to be MicroMeteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) impact to a panel on the Potential P4 Photovoltaic Radiator (PVR).
Allen Taylor's insight:

It's time we got serious about orbital debris. Will it take a loss of crew event in ISS to get the wheels turning on this?

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Despite delays, SpaceX still winning commercial launch business

Despite delays, SpaceX still winning commercial launch business | New Space | Scoop.it
A Falcon 9 v1.1 lifts off from Cape Canaveral on January 6, 2014, carrying the Thaicom 6 satellite.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Recently, SpaceX satellite launches have been delayed for a variety of reason, many of which are due to weather or payload problems. This has not kept commercial customers from lining up to buy launch services from them.

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Japan's 25-year plan to have space solar power

Japan's 25-year plan to have space solar power | New Space | Scoop.it
Problems with turning solar energy in space into useable energy on Earth have kept space solar stuck in the land of science fiction since the 1960s. But JAXA is optimistic. (#solar power intermittency?
Allen Taylor's insight:

Japan sticks to its plan of having commercial quantities of electricitly generated in space and beamed to Earth by 2031.

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International Maritime Safety Organization To Evaluate Iridium Service - Space News

International Maritime Safety Organization To Evaluate Iridium Service - Space News | New Space | Scoop.it
Space News International Maritime Safety Organization To Evaluate Iridium Service Space News Iridium is in the middle of a $3 billion capital investment in a second generation of satellites, called Iridium Next, whose launches are scheduled to...
Allen Taylor's insight:

Iridium, which plands to launch a new generation of telecommunications satellites on SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicles, is seeking qualification as a supplier to the International Maritime Safety Organization.

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SpaceX Moves Closer to Competing for Air Force Launches - NBC News

SpaceX Moves Closer to Competing for Air Force Launches - NBC News | New Space | Scoop.it
SpaceX, the commercial rocket venture headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, is one step closer to being able to compete for Air Force military launch...
Allen Taylor's insight:

The Air Force certification puts SpaceX in a much stronger bargaining position for Department of Defense launches. It makes the Russian RD-180-powered Atlas V look just a little bit less desirable.

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'There are no coal mines on Mars'

'There are no coal mines on Mars' | New Space | Scoop.it
The worst argument against climate science ever? Maybe. A Kentucky state senator believes temperatures on Mars disprove global warming.
Allen Taylor's insight:

How's this for logic:

 

There are no coal mines on Mars.

 

Therefore, climate change must not be happening on Earth.

 

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

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The Planetary Society’s Solar Sail Will Hitch a Ride to Space on a Falcon Heavy

The Planetary Society’s Solar Sail Will Hitch a Ride to Space on a Falcon Heavy | New Space | Scoop.it
The Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 solar sailing spacecraft is scheduled to ride a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to orbit in 2016 with its parent satellite, Prox-1. Credit: Josh Spradling/The Planetary Society.
Allen Taylor's insight:

The Planetary Society's solar sail spacecraft will fly into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle as a secondary payload.

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Firefly Space Systems To Pursue Reusable ... - Citizens In Space

Austin-based Firefly Space Systems apparently intends to follow the SpaceX path of evolving its expendable launcher into a reusable system. According to this promotional video, “In the future, additional cost savings will be ...
Allen Taylor's insight:

Firefly Space Systems is developing a reusable launch vehicle for payloads up to 1,000 kilograms.

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Golden Spike, Honeybee Complete Preliminary Study on Lunar Rover

Golden Spike, Honeybee Complete Preliminary Study on Lunar Rover | New Space | Scoop.it
Honeybee-Golden Spike rover
BOULDER, Colo., Jul.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Golden Spike reveals that its plans for lunar exploration include a robotic precursor to the landing of humans on the moon. The humans would retrieve the rock and regolith samples retrieved beforehand by the robotic rover.

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Kentucky Senator on Global Warming: 'There Are No Coal Mines on Mars' - National Journal

Kentucky Senator on Global Warming: 'There Are No Coal Mines on Mars' - National Journal | New Space | Scoop.it
Kentucky Senator on Global Warming: 'There Are No Coal Mines on Mars'
National Journal
But I will just simply point out that I think that in academia we all agree the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here.
Allen Taylor's insight:

A Kentucky  state senator claims the temperature on Mars is the same as it is on Earth. How can a person so clueless about basic facts get elected and then repeatedly reelected to responsible government positions? It makes one wonder whether democracy is the best form of government after all.

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ULA Completes Critical Design Review on CST-100 Launch Complex

ULA Completes Critical Design Review on CST-100 Launch Complex | New Space | Scoop.it
This is an artist concept of The Boeing Company’s CST-100 spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.
Allen Taylor's insight:

A major milestone for Boeing's CST-100 commercial crew effort is passed, enabling construction of the launch facility to begin.

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Enthusiasm wanes for quick start to new engine program - Spaceflight Now

Enthusiasm wanes for quick start to new engine program - Spaceflight Now | New Space | Scoop.it
Spaceflight Now Enthusiasm wanes for quick start to new engine program Spaceflight Now The Defense Department study committee -- including incumbent and retired officials from NASA, the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office -- wrote in a...
Allen Taylor's insight:

After an initial emotional reaction to an offhand comment by Rogozin and a fluster of activity around starting a new engine development program to replace the Russian RD-180, cooler heads are now seeing that throwing a bunch of government money into an engne that may not be operational until the mid-2020s may not be the best way to address the problem, if indeed there is a problem.   

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Iridium and SpaceX Successfully Complete Dispenser Qualification Tests

Iridium and SpaceX Successfully Complete Dispenser Qualification Tests | New Space | Scoop.it
Falcon 9 in flight with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)
McLEAN, Va., July 3, 2014 (Iridium PR) — Iridium Communications Inc.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Testing successfully completed on mechanism designed to punch out ten Iridium communication satellites, each in its own precisely calibrated orbit.

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ESA Weighs Ariane 6 Options as Major Satellite Operator Seeks Industry Overhaul, Price Cuts

ESA Weighs Ariane 6 Options as Major Satellite Operator Seeks Industry Overhaul, Price Cuts | New Space | Scoop.it
Artist’s conception of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)
Space News reports that ESA is weighing two options for its next-generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle as Arianespace cuts prices in response to competition from SpaceX.
Allen Taylor's insight:

ESA responds to competition from SpaceX by proposing a new launch vehicle, developed with less regulation and red tape. The red tape they want to eliminate is very similar to the red tape Senator Shelby wants to add back in to NASA's commercial crew program.

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