October 11, 2012

Rocket Crafters Eyes Point-to-Point Flights Connecting Florida and Colorado (Source: Spaceport Colorado)
Rocket Crafters, a startup point-to-point spaceflight firm that recently announced plans to locate thier headquarters on Florida's Space Coast, has signed a letter of intent to locate additional operations and training activities at "Spaceport Colorado", situated at the Front Range Airport east of Denver. In addition to the Colorado-based activities (which could support up to 80 jobs), the company plans to conduct test flights between Spaceport Colorado and their Space Coast headquarters...at the "Neil Armstrong International Air & Space Center" situated on the Space Coast Executive Airport, in Titusville near the entrance to Kennedy Space Center. Click here. (10/11)

Officials Eye Changes In Satellite Export Policy (Source: Aviation Week)
Satellite industry officials are optimistic about the prospects for reversing a ban put in place in the late 1990s on the export of commercial satellites and dual-use technologies to prevent the transfer of technology to China. "There is great hope,” says Michael Gold of Bigelow Aerospace, who leads an export control working group advising the FAA on commercial space matters. “We have never been closer to getting this done.”

Since commercial satellites were placed under International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, the U.S. industry has watched its market erode. It has been fighting for years to reverse the ban on satellite exports. The House version of the defense authorization bill contains a bipartisan provision that would allow the president to remove commercial satellites from the heavily regulated U.S. Munitions List to the Commerce Control List, allowing those to be more freely traded.

The version of the bill passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee does not contain the language. Sen. Mike Bennet (D-CO) is proposing a similar amendment to the Senate bill. But it all comes down to whether the Senate approves the defense authorization bill, as it has annually for more than 50 years. Despite the bill’s history of legislative success there is a question about whether Congress can move the defense policy bill, given the other items that need to be addressed in a short post-election, lame-duck session. (10/11)

ORBCOMM Satellite Reenters, After Stranded by Falcon 9 Anomaly (Source: Space Policy Online)
ORBCOMM confirmed this afternoon that its prototype OG2 satellite that was stranded in the wrong orbit after the Falcon 9 anomaly has reentered. The company said earlier that it was investigating whether onboard propulsion could be used to boost it into a higher orbit, but that apparently was not possible. ORBCOMM said that during the short time OG2 was in orbit they were able to obtain engineering data and "made significant strides in testing various hardware components." The solar array and communications payload antenna were successfully deployed and basic functions of the satellite bus were successfully tested. (10/11)

Aerojet Details New SLS Rocket Booster Bid (Source: Flight Global)
Aerojet informally unveiled a "brand new" rocket engine program at the International Astronautical Congress in early October. The new AJ-1-E6 dual-combustion chamber engine has been designed to have total trust of 1 million pounds (4448kN). It is one of the engines bidding to power the two external boosters of later versions of the US Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket, with which NASA plans to launch astronauts on missions to the Moon, asteroids and eventually Mars.

"We are negotiating for a contract involving technology risk reduction for an engine of 1 mllion pounds thrust," says Julie Van Kleek. Van Kleek was careful to describe the AJ-1-E6 as "brand new engine." Often, 'new' rocket engines are derivative of existing designs. Aerojet will be demonstrating the engine design's resistance to combustion instability, a pressure oscillation phenomenon that has dogged several liquid fuel engine designs.

Some US politicians have urged that USA should reduced its over-reliance on Russian designed LOx/kerosene rocket technology. For example, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V, one of the US standard launch vehicles, uses a licence-produced RD-180 Russian engine. (10/11)

Florida-Based IHMC Uses NASA Tech for Robotic Exoskeleton (Source: SpaceRef)
A new robotic space technology spinoff derived from NASA's Robonaut 2 project someday may help astronauts stay healthier in space and aid paraplegics in walking here on Earth. Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space, currently is working with astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

NASA and The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) of Pensacola, Florida, with the help of engineers from Oceaneering Space Systems, have jointly developed a robotic exoskeleton called X1. The 57-pound device is a robot that a human could wear over his or her body either to assist or inhibit movement in leg joints. In the inhibit mode, it would be used as an in-space exercise machine to supply resistance against leg movement. It could be used in reverse on the ground, potentially helping some individuals walk for the first time. (10/11)

Should We Terraform Venus First? (Source: io9)
As a future terraforming species, we take it for granted that Mars will be our first megaproject. But while transforming the Red Planet into something more hospitable for life seems the most logical — if not easiest — first step towards colonizing the solar system, it may actually make more sense to tackle our sister planet first. Because some scientists warn of a runaway greenhouse effect here on Earth, it may be prudent for us to terraform Venus first — a planet that has already undergone a carbon dioxide-induced apocalypse. And by doing so, we may learn how to prevent or reverse a similar catastrophe here on Earth. Click here. (10/11)

Private Asteroid-Hunting Space Telescope to Launch in 2017 (Source: Space.com)
A private space telescope mission that aims to discover 500,000 near-Earth asteroids is technically sound and on track for a 2017 launch, a review panel says. The mission design and implementation plans for the Sentinel Space Telescope — which is being put together by the nonprofit B612 Foundation and its partner Ball Aerospace — are solid, according to the panel, which is called the Sentinel Special Review Team. 

"This is a major milestone in the development of Sentinel, and has validated the enormous amount of design and planning work that has already been carried out by Ball Aerospace," SSRT chair Tom Gavin, former director for solar system exploration at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. Click here. (10/11)

Kickstarter Funding Sought for Asteroid Mining Game (Source: Kickstarter)
Blackspace is a defensive action / strategy game that takes place in the not too distant future, when asteroid mining has become common. Piloting a mining craft around a unique series of asteroids, you will be establishing mining operations while defending yourself from incoming enemies who loot and destroy. The key features in this game are a destructible spherical play surface, direct control of the environment and extensive use of physics to make the experience more organic and non-formulaic. Upgrade and modify your ship and your operations to suit your play style. Click here. (10/11)

Space Funding Startup Uwingu to Unveil 1st Product (Source: Space.com)
A new startup company Uwingu, which aims to offer an alternative funding source for space projects, is gearing up to launch its first product soon. Uwingu, which means "sky" in Swahili, will aim to provide money for space exploration, research and education at a time when government funding is tight. To do this, the company plans to sell a series of products and use the revenue for science. Company officials have been tight-lipped about what kind of products it will sell, saying only that they plan to unveil the first by the end of this month or early November, and begin to sell it in early 2013. (10/11)

Astronauts Have Ice Cream Party (Source: NBC)
The three astronauts on the International Space Station are having ice cream for dessert tonight — and we're not talking about that spongy "astronaut ice cream" stuff. This is the vanilla chocolate-swirl ice cream that was deliv
ered in a research freezer aboard the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship that arrived on Wednesday. 

"We don't usually have this type of stuff up here. It's usually thermostabilized or dehydrated [food] that we're dehydrating. So homemade ice cream is something special, and we're going to have a little party." Editor's Note: OK SpaceX, time to get busy with Ben & Jerry's to design a specialty flavor for delivery on the next Dragon mission. (10/11)

NASA Knows How to Attract Social Media Crowd (Source: Network World)
A T-shirt, free software, maybe even an iPad if you're really lucky: These are the types of enticements most social media teams are able to offer in order to pump up their followings on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Not NASA. No sir, there will be none of that pedestrian swag for our nation's space agency. NASA is offering its social media followers a "hard hat tour." Anybody can buy an iPad. NASA has more info about how you might score an invitation here. (10/11)

Lagrangian Point Gaining Appeal As Next Stop For Humans (Source: Aviation Week)
International space partners are starting to feel their way beyond their orbiting station for mankind's next step into the Solar System. Some of them at the 63rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Naples are finding a lot more to like about the Earth-Moon Lagrangian points, and particularly the L-2 site beyond the far side of the Moon.

While cash-strapped governments scramble to squeeze as much value as they can out of the International Space Station (ISS), scientists and market-hungry space companies around the world are leading the way toward the curious regions in space where gravity is largely nulled by pairs of celestial bodies. As a result, spacecraft can essentially hover there without using much energy. The infrared James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is being developed for the supercold temperatures at the Sun-Earth L-2 point.

Space-exploration architects have long eyed the Earth-Moon L-2 as a way point where spacecraft carrying humans bound deeper into the Solar System can be assembled. More recently, it has drawn attention as a possible hand-off point where astronauts could rendezvous with vehicles transporting samples collected robotically on Mars (AW&ST Oct. 1, p. 36). Spacecraft circling in “halo orbits” around the far-side L-2 point can move on with relatively little change in velocity, compared to taking off or landing in the “gravity wells” of the Earth, Moon or Mars. (10/8)

New Rules for Meteorite Hunters Unveiled (Source: Space.com)
It’s official! A fishing license for the sky. The Bureau of Land Management, under the U.S. Department of the Interior, has issued Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-182. It establishes policy governing the collection of meteorites found on public lands. The policy, issued Sep. 10, provides guidance to the BLM’s field office managers for administering the collection of meteorites on public lands in three "use categories," said Derrick Henry, a public affairs specialist for BLM in Washington, D.C. (10/11)

Next Generation of Spaceflight Taking Shape in Mojave (Source: LA Times)
For half a century, venturing into space has been the primary domain of governments that can afford to spend billions of dollars developing and sending massive rockets into the final frontier. Today, private companies are eagerly competing to capitalize on and profit from the governmental feats. The 3,300-acre site with a 2-mile-long runway has been transformed into an energetic commercial space hub, drawing projects bankrolled by British billionaire Richard Branson, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen and other aerospace visionaries.

With technological advances that they say will make rocketry more affordable, these new companies are focusing on an array of ventures such as lifting space tourists briefly into sub-orbit and launching satellites and cargo far into space. Companies at Mojave are trying to make space travel for tourists as common as cross-country commercial airline flights. In addition, they're trying to win NASA contracts. The space agency has begun hiring privately funded start-up companies for spacecraft development and outsourcing missions. Click here. (10/11)

Testing Mars and Moon Soil for Sheltering Astronauts From Radiation (Source: Space Daily)
Space is awash with charged particles, meaning that astronauts are officially classed as radiation workers. The International Space Station orbits within Earth's magnetic field, safeguarding its occupants from the bulk of space radiation. To venture further out, dedicated shielding will be required. Humans venturing beyond Earth orbit deeper into space face increased exposure to cosmic radiation, so ESA has teamed with Germany's GSI particle accelerator to test potential shielding for astronauts, including Moon and Mars soil.

ESA's two-year project is assessing the most promising materials for shielding future astronauts going to the Moon, the asteroids or Mars. Radiation shielding can be counter-intuitive because denser and thicker does not always mean better. As shield thickness increases, overall the energy loss of ionising radiation rises to a peak then declines rapidly. "In general, the lighter a material's atomic nuclei the better the protection."

Water and polyethylene performed better than aluminium for instance, and new hydrogen-rich materials developed by UK company Cella Energy tested better still. Cella Energy originally developed its patent-pending materials for storing hydrogen fuel but is currently investigating their radiation resistance. Editor's Note: Cella Energy has partnered with Space Florida and is working at the state's Space Life Sciences Lab at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. (10/11)

Emergence of Cyber Security Products for Space Systems (Source: Space Safety)
With recent events, such as the published cyber breach of Landsat-7 and Terra AM-1 and cyber intrusions into space agencies like NASA and JAXA, public awareness of the cyber defense needs of space assets is rising . Questions such as ‘what is being done to protect satellites and ground stations?’ are being asked by governments, service providers, and possibly even users. Who is offering cyber defense services for satellites? Is there any benefit to a cyber security solution designed specifically for the satellite environment?

In our quest for answers we came across US-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and its RT Logic subsidiary. RT Logic provides cyber protection for ground stations, satellite test equipment, and satellite operations. According to the company, RT Logic’s innovative products have been used and proven in 85% of space missions. And now, with the evolution of satellite networks there’s a new class of threats with which to contend.  “The migration of satellite ground networks to IP-based technologies is delivering tremendous benefits in cost, performance, and interoperability, but it also brings along increased cyber security risks,” according to RT Logic. Click here. (10/5)

It’s Not the Plane, It’s Human Physiology: New Shift in the F-22 Investigation (Source: Space Safety)
It seems that basic human needs weren’t among the primary drivers for the designers of the near-invisible American fighter jet F-22. Following the investigation into a series of incidents related to pilot hypoxia and breathing difficulties, General Mike Hostage, the head of Air Combat Command (ACC), said last week that “human frailty” is the major problem and that the American aviators need to be trained that the main issue when flying the stealthy jet is the work of breathing.

A small US Air Force working group was aware of the potential issues years before the actual accidents took place. The working group formed in 2005 even proposed a series of fixes to prevent the hypoxia and breathing difficulties. Some experts even named the decreasing budget of the US Air Force as the main culprit. It was supposedly the lack of funding that led to underestimation of the importance of expertise in flight physiology and Human System Integration. The recent remark of General Hostage somehow seems to confirm this presumption. “There wasn’t any flaw in the airplane,” Hostage said. (10/4)

The Gargantuan Telescope Designed to Find Life on Other Planets (Source: The Atlantic)
Twenty years ago, in the year Bill Clinton was elected president, scientists first confirmed the existence of a planet outside our solar system. Now, we know there are thousands of other planets just in our galaxy, even if we've only detected them indirectly. We also finally know what it's going to take to glimpse an exoplanet, to actually see the places that might harbor life like ourselves (or otherwise).

The telescope that will eventually do so is on the drawing board. It has a profound name: ATLAST. Astronomers sense that they are on the brink of an epochal discovery, and they are keen to build the telescopes that will enable it. Well, at first glance, a 16-meter telescope sounds absolutely impossible. But let's think through this. Click here. (10/11)

Business Expo on Oct. 16 for Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: NASA)
The NASA/KSC HUBZone Industry Day and Expo (EXPO) will feature approximately 175 business and government exhibits. Exhibitors include vendors from a variety of products and services. Representatives of NASA, the 45th Space Wing, prime contractors, and other Government agencies will be available to answer specific questions about doing business with their respective organizations. Counseling / matchmaking sessions will be available for those interested. Additional information will be provided during the Opening Ceremony. Click here. (10/11)

Huygens Landing on Titan Recreated (Source: SpaceRef)
ESA's Huygens probe bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest in the 10 seconds after touching down on Saturn's moon, Titan, in January 2005, a new analysis reveals. The findings provide novel insight into the nature of the moon's surface. Scientists reconstructed the chain of events by analyzing data from a variety of instruments that were active during the impact, in particular changes in the acceleration experienced by the probe. The instrument data were compared with results from computer simulations and a drop test using a model of Huygens designed to replicate the landing. Click here. (10/11)

Avanti’s Shares Fall after Posting $25M Operating Loss (Source: Space News)
Startup satellite broadband operator Avanti Communications on Oct. 10 reported sharply higher revenue, but also a higher operating loss, for the year ending June 30, the first full year of operations of the company’s Hylas 1 Ka-band satellite. London-based Avanti said the results are in line with what it expected, and that the backlog of orders for both Hylas 1 and the just-launched Hylas 2 satellites suggests that both will be filled by 2016. (10/11)

Defense Firms Appear Reluctant to Pre-Sequestration Issue Pink Slips (Source: Roll Call)
Despite urging from Republican lawmakers, defense industry analysts and some companies themselves say it may not be necessary to issue layoff notices ahead of the November election to prepare for possible sequestration cuts to defense. While some GOP leaders have been calling for defense contractors to issue the warnings to comply with federal law, assurances by the Obama administration that companies won't face legal costs if they don't issue layoff notices appears to be having some effect, this feature says. (10/10)

Time is Running Out for Sequester Solution (Source: Aviation Week)
While some are hoping for action on sequestration cuts during the lame duck session of Congress, there may be little incentive for such action, some experts say. A change in leadership on Capitol Hill or the White House may mean lawmakers wait longer to take action. In either case, the longer companies take to determine how they'll be affected by cuts, the worse the effect may be, an analyst warns. (10/8)

NASA Gung-Ho About Small Business (Source: USA Today)
You don't have to be a giant like Lockheed Martin or Boeing anymore to make out-of-this-world stuff for space missions. That's because small businesses are no longer being treated like so much space dust by the federal government. There's a new recognition that small businesses are innovation hubs and can turn around space jobs more quickly for less cash. Perhaps that's why NASA has surpassed its annual small-business contracting goal by over 28%, spending $2.6 billion on small-business contracts.

Now more than ever, small businesses have a crack at working with NASA. Sept. 17, NASA raised the stakes on its Small Business Innovation Research program, or SBIR, adding higher rewards for small businesses developing concepts or prototypes in areas of space technology. NASA has surpassed its annual small-business contracting goal by over 28 percent. (10/9)

Space Community Is Getting Younger (Source: Aviation Week)
There were a lot of fresh faces at the International Astronautical Congress this year—more than 500, to be a little more precise—all students enrolled in courses of study that potentially could help them find their way into the space industry. Meeting in Naples, Italy, the 63rd IAC attracted a younger crowd than in past years, with fully one-third of the almost 4,000 participants under the age of 35.

“The development of this field will pave the way for job opportunities,” De Magistris told the opening session of the Congress, which included a large cadre of young temporary workers hired to help with the nuts and bolts of the international gathering. Many of them have university degrees and excellent skills in multiple languages, but they can't find jobs and often live with their parents while sending resumes all over the European Union to no avail.

There are some 10,000 aerospace jobs in the region around Naples, a quarter of the national total. The region's five universities have 23 courses of study to serve the industry. That, and the effort that went into luring the IAC to Naples and organizing it once the Paris-based International Astronautical Federation (IAF) chose the city, show the importance Italy places on the space industry for its rising generation. (10/8)

Grants Help Scientists Explore Boundary Between Science and Science Fiction (Source: Space Daily)
Two University of California, Berkeley, scientists have received research grants to explore areas of science that bleed into science fiction. Astronomer Geoff Marcy, who kicked off the search for extrasolar planets 20 years ago, plans to rummage through data from the Kepler space telescope in search of evidence for civilizations advanced enough to have built massive orbiting "solar" power stations.

Theoretical physicist Raphael Bousso will look for ways of detecting universes other than our own, and try to understand what these alternate universes, or multiverses, will look like. Marcy and Bousso are among 20 innovative researchers who will share more than $4 million in New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology International Grants that were announced Thursday, Oct. 4, by the University of Chicago. Click here. (10/11)

BAE Systems-EADS Merger is Abandoned (Source: Bloomberg)
The proposed merger between British defense contractor BAE Systems and European Aeronautic Defence and Space, parent company of aircraft manufacturer Airbus, was abandoned today. "Discussions with the relevant governments had not reached a point where both companies could fully disclose the benefits and detailed business case for this merger," BAE said in a statement. (10/10)

Report: Air Force Would be Hit Hard in First Year of Defense Cuts (Source: Defense News)
The House Appropriations Committee released a report Tuesday detailing anticipated cuts to military spending if sequestration is enacted. The Air Force is expected to absorb a major portion of the cuts in the first year, slashing funding for its programs to develop the KC-46 aerial tanker, design a new bomber aircraft and improve the F-35 fighter program. Other major cuts in defense spending would affect the Army, the Navy, the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Safety Administration. (10/10)

Commercial Crew Chief Bullish on Brevard County (Source: Florida Today)
"Well, I would tell you for the Space Coast, all three [Commercial Crew providers] are going to fly right from here. So that is outstanding. Obviously, SpaceX is going be doing work here also. Space X also has a number of missions for the (cargo resupply) contract. Boeing, if they were to continue on through these competition phases and get in the next couple rounds, they’re going to be building their vehicle right here in Florida. And Sierra also will be launching from here and doing landings from here."

How big a deal is it for Brevard to actually make the transition from being more than just the launch operation, but being able to manufacture spacecraft in that period before you go into a launch?  "I think a number of these companies have all figured out that we have great skills and great talent here in Brevard County. Most of them would like to have started a couple years ago to get the shuttle folks as they were coming off the shuttle work, but... that skill base is still here and I think all those companies would like to be building on that skill base."

"And once you start building manufacturing capability, like here in Brevard County, as they begin to build those vehicles here, that will become the mainstay, probably for a whole generation of building spacecraft here. So all this kind of work being done here says that the nation, and these companies, are looking to the skilled workforce right here on the Space Coast." Click here. (10/10)

NASA Gets VAB Ready for Next Generation Rockets (Source: Florida Today)
Jim Bolton spent almost eight years as NASA’s vehicle manager for the orbiter Atlantis. Now Bolton, 54, is playing a key role in an extreme makeover: modifying the landmark Vehicle Assembly Building for supersized rockets being designed to send American astronauts to deep space destinations. NASA modified the building for the shuttle program in the late 1970s, and now, with the orbiter fleet retired, engineers are preparing the VAB for its next role: rockets that will rival the Saturn V.

So Bolton and other engineers with NASA’s Ground Systems Development and Operation Program are in the midst of the most extensive renovation ever of the VAB. Much of the building’s infrastructure is original. So NASA’s aim in part is to bring the facility up to modern building and safety codes. A corroded fire suppression system will be replaced along with aging boilers and chillers that feed hot and cold water to the facility. More than 50 miles of Apollo-era copper cabling is being pulled out, and a modern fiber-optic network will be put in. The building’s electrical system will be upgraded.

Also to be refurbished: Four 456-foot doors to the four high bays — the world’s largest — and five primary overhead cranes that hoist rocket stages and other hardware. Bolton is now focusing on the removal of work platforms in High Bay 3. During the next few years, NASA will install 20 new platforms to provide access to towering Space Launch System rockets. Click here. (10/10)

Toyota Hypes Truck Used to Tow Endeavour in Los Angeles (Source: USA Today)
Toyota has cranked up the publicity machine when it comes to its planned towing of the space shuttle Endeavour across a Los Angeles freeway overpass with one of its Tundra pickup trucks. The automaker has created a pretty cool website devoted to its bit part in the move starting Friday. The decommissioned shuttle is on its way from Los Angeles International Airport, where it was dropped off by its Boeing 747 hauler, to its retirement home at the California Science Center near the city's downtown.

While the shuttle is going to be along 12 miles of city streets, the Tundra will only get a chance to show its stuff over a few hundred feet -- on Manchester Avenue across the San Diego (405) Freeway. That be enough for its publicity coup and to capture enough footage for a TV ad. Commercial vehicles will handle the rest of the shuttle's journey. Toyota no longer plans to use the pickup for the last quarter mile to the doorsteps of the museum. (10/10)

Elon Musk's Mom Excited for SpaceX (Source: Forbes)
Big Day For SpaceX As Elon Musk Tells His Mom 'I Haven't Started Yet' When Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon capsule berthed with the International Space Station earlier today it was the first successful cargo mission there made by a private company. Maye Musk, up at 6am in New York, saw every second. Not that it was a relaxing experience.

“The weeks coming up to the launch you feel sick in the gut,” she told me, just back from a fashion shoot in Holland. The excitement in her South African lilt spoke volumes. “It’s your child! And it’s not just your child–it’s America! This is for America, for the planet. It’s for other planets. It’s kind of huge.”

Indeed. Maye has closely followed the SpaceX launches for months, arranging viewing parties at her Manhattan apartment and live Tweeting about them as they happen. (An example: “@MayeMusk ‘@SpaceX At 1:40PM ET, astronauts opened #Dragon’s hatch, one day ahead of schedule. Success!’ Ice cream is the motivator.”) (10/11)

Space Florida Wins Another Economic Development Award (Source: Space Florida)
Space Florida received a Silver Excellence in Economic Development Award for the Igniting Innovation (I2) Capital Acceleration Showcase in the category of “Special Event for Communities with Populations of 500,000+” from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). (10/11)

Satellite Imagery Firms Told To Expect Slower Growth in U.S. Government Sales (Source: Space News)
The U.S. government expects to increase its use of commercial satellite imagery for civil and military purposes in the coming years, but the increase will “descend, slightly” from its previously expected level, U.S. National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper said.

“There is no bigger fan of commercial imagery than I,” Clapper said in an Oct. 9 address to the GeoInt 2012 conference in Orlando, Fla. “It has tremendous advantages [and] can be shared with foreign allies and partners.” Nonetheless, Clapper said that “in a constrained funding environment” tough choices need to be made and one of those choices was to slow the previously planned rate of increase in government purchases of commercial satellite imagery. (10/11)

The Importance of Dragon's Cargo Return Capability (Source: Parabolic Arc)
While the first NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) flight to the International Space Station is historic, the delivery and more importantly the return of science samples is pivotal. Since the retirement of the shuttles, the only return capability available from the space station was via the Russian Soyuz vehicle, with cold stowage even more limited — but not anymore. SpaceX is now able to provide this service as well. Dragon provides a new U.S. capability to deliver and return cargo — including science investigations, particularly those that require cold stowage. A successful demonstration flight to the station completed in May.

Dragon carries approximately 882 pounds of cargo, including equipment and supplies for the 166 planned investigations for the Expedition 33 timeframe; 63 of these are new investigations. Dragon will return to Earth with close to 866 pounds of scientific supplies — including samples from research involving human health, biotechnology, and materials research, along with educational investigations and approximately 518 pounds of station hardware. Though resupply is important, significant science sample return capability is exciting for the research community. (10/11)

Eutelsat Order Bolsters Lean Year for Thales Alenia Space (Source: Space News)
Thales Alenia Space will build the Eutelsat 8 West B telecommunications satellite to be operational in 2015 to bolster the 7/8 degrees west television lineup offered by Eutelsat and Egypt’s Nilesat. The contract will bolster an otherwise lean year in telecommunications satellite orders for the Franco-Italian satellite builder, which like its European, U.S. and Japanese competitors is awaiting a raft of new orders in the next three months. (10/11)

SES Orders Satellite from Boeing (Source: SpaceToday.net)
European satellite operator SES has ordered a new communications satellite from Boeing. The SES-9 satellite will be a large Boeing 702HP class spacecraft, carrying a payload of Ku-band transponders, and will operate from 108.2 degrees east in GEO. SES plans to use the satellite to provide direct-to-home broadcasting services in parts of Asia as well as maritime communications services in the Indian Ocean region. Launch of the spacecraft is planned for 2015. (10/11)

Rocket Crafters Plans Colorado Launches (Source: Denver Business Journal)
Front Range Airport — site of a proposed Colorado spaceport — announced Wednesday that it has signed a letter of intent with Rocket Crafters Inc. for horizontal launch, dual-propulsion, suborbital flight operations. The letter of intent outlines a mutual intent to promote and develop Spaceport Colorado at Front Range Airport in Adams County as “the preferred commercial spaceport location in America’s heartland,” according to a press release.

If Front Range Airport secures a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration, Titusville, Fla.-based Rocket Crafters said it will locate certain pilot astronaut and mission specialist training activities at the spaceport. Rocket Crafters further plans to conduct test flights of its planned Sidereus and Cosmos Mariner suborbital flight vehicles between Spaceport Colorado and the proposed Neil Armstrong International Air & Space Center in Titusville. (10/11)

No comments: