May 5, 2014

SpaceX Says Air Force Targeting Legal Loophole in RD-180 Injunction (Source: Aviation Week)
Although the injunction excludes purchase orders or payments made to RD-180 prime contractor NPO Energomash prior to April 30, the U.S. government sought to clarify whether the ruling applies to Air Force purchases or payments made to ULA or its subsidiary, United Launch Services (ULS). In a May 2 filing with the court, the government argued a broader interpretation prohibiting purchases from or payments to ULA and ULS “would risk substantially affecting current contractual obligations between the Air Force” and its primary launch services provider.

A more reasonable interpretation, the government argued, would be limiting the ruling to purchases from or payments to NPO Energomash, the Russian state-owned company that builds the RD-180, or any entity subject to Rogozin's control. Later that day, the court issued a response confirming the April 30 injunction does not apply to government purchases from, or payments to, ULA or its subsidiary. “The United States may continue to make payments to ULS and/or ULA,” Braden said in a proposed order issued May 2. (5/5)

Musk Open To Settlement With USAF Over Launch Dispute (Source: Aviation Week)
Elon Musk says there is room for an out-of-court settlement with what he hopes will become a solid customer for his company, SpaceX. “If there is some settlement to be attained, I am all for it,” Musk said. “Our goal is not to be obstructionist.” SpaceX is in the midst of being certified by the Air Force to launch national security and intelligence payloads based on three launches – one each in September, December and January. (5/5)

SpaceX Says ULA Cannot Prove RD-180 Money Doesn’t Go to Rogozin (Source: Space News)
A key issue in the lawsuit filed by rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp. challenging a U.S. Air Force contract with rival United Launch Alliance appears to be whether money associated with the contract winds up in the hands of a high-ranking Russian government official who has been hit with U.S. sanctions.

The lawsuit took an unexpected turn April 30 when the judge handling the case issued an injunction temporarily barring ULA and the Air Force from buying the Russian-built engines that power the company’s Atlas 5 rocket. The plaintiff did not request the injunction, but Judge Susan Braden cited sanctions against Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees that country’s space industry, in issuing the ban. (5/5)

ULA, SpaceX Rumble Shaping Up To Rival Tanker Wars (Source: Breaking Defense)
It is shaping up as one of the great corporate brawls in the aerospace world: snappy and feisty and hungry newcomer, SpaceX, versus the titan of heavy launch, the near-perfect expression of big corporatism, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin United Launch Alliance. The focus of their competition is obscure to most Americans: the purchase by the Air Force of 36 core boosters for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program to launch large satellite payloads into geosynchronous orbit.

You can hear the growl in the voices of ULA leaders as they grapple with this launch upstart. Musk doesn’t play the usual quiet Washington game. He shouts from the top of the National Press Club, works the Hill himself, goes to court against what could be his biggest customer (the Air Force), and grabs every lever he can find, and all the while he builds Tesla electric cars, solar panels and more rockets. This will be a compelling battle, one with very real strategic consequences for the U.S.

On top of the Washington side of all this, there’s the thrill of watching each SpaceX launch to see if they maintain their reliability, which had been suspect but now seems under control. Will all this rival the drama of the airborne tanker wars when what was EADS (now Airbus) and Northrop Grumman were arrayed against the mighty (and ultimately victorious) Boeing? Rockets are a lot more exciting than airborne tankers. Elon Musk is a lot more compelling and ready to embrace risk than were the lobbyists and spokesmen who did most of the talking during the tanker wars. (5/5)

Roscosmos Plans Over 10 Launches Next Three Months (Source: Itar-Tass)
Roscosmos is planning more than ten launches from Baikonur, Plesetsk, French Guiana and the floating platform in the Pacific in the next three months. (5/5)

Nanosatellite and Microsatellite Market Trends & Forecast 2019 (Source: H2020)
The market for nanosatellite and microsatellite is expected to grow from $702.4 million in 2014 to $1887.1 million in 2019, at a compound annual growth rate of 21.8% during the forecast period. The notable players in this domain are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Gruman, Raytheon, Surrey Satellite Technologies, Sierra Nevada Corp, Clyde Space, and Planet Labs. These players along with the others present in the market are expected to make a big impact in this rapidly growing market place in the next 5 years. Click here. (5/5)

KSC Visitor Complex Offers Best Public Viewing of SpaceX Launch on May 10 (Source: KSCVC)
Space fans looking for the perfect way to spend the day of the SpaceX launch on May 10 will find Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex the ideal destination for space exploration. Visitors may enjoy a front row seat to view the launch from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the closest possible public viewing area, and from viewing areas at the Visitor Complex. The launch is scheduled for 9:39 a.m. from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. (5/5)

Editorial: Don’t Punish the Space Industry (Source: Space News)
Recent U.S. sanctions barring defense-related trade with Russia already have halted processing of export licenses to launch satellites made in the U.S. or containing U.S. components — in the commercial sector, that means nearly all satellites — aboard Russian rockets, including Proton and Soyuz. This has left some satellites awaiting shipment to Russian launch sites in a state of limbo that, depending on how long it lasts, could cost their owners dearly in the form of deferred revenue.

The sanctions have the potential to shut down for an indefinite period of time a key avenue to orbit for the space industry. Commercial satellite operators have long complained about the lack of options for getting their payloads to orbit in a timely fashion, and freezing out one of the major players in the geostationary launch market will make the situation worse.

Europe’s Arianespace consortium and SpaceX have full manifests for the next couple of years, and the other two main providers of geostationary launch services for commercial satellites are Russian owned. It’s not just commercial satellite operators that could be affected. Many if not most European government satellites contain U.S. components, and many of these are launched aboard Russian-built Soyuz rockets from Europe’s Kourou, French Guiana, spaceport. (5/5)

While NASA Idles, Commercial Space Revs Up (Source: American Scientific)
NASA may have lost the urgency of its 1960s moon race years, but today’s commercial space sector looks to be recapturing some of that fervor. The various players in America’s private space race were out in force at an event on Friday, May 2 at New York City’s historic Explorer’s Club, each one promising major breakthroughs that will arrive within the next year or two.

Virgin Galactic claimed the first passengers will take to the skies on its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spacecraft in October or November. Company sources have been have been making similar promises for a few years, but recent successful test flights lend credence to this time frame.

Competing suborbital carrier XCOR plans the first flight tests of its Lynx vehicle this year. “It’s coming together,” Khaki Rodway of XCOR told roughly 200 space enthusiasts at the event, called “Blast Off! The Future of Spaceflight.” Both Lynx and SpaceShipTwo will take passengers on an arc to the edge of space without making a full orbit around Earth, providing a brief experience of weightlessness and a view of the planet below. (5/5)

Wolf: Squandering America’s Leadership in Exploration (Source: Space News)
Today, I am deeply concerned about the state of NASA’s human spaceflight program and, ultimately, American leadership in space for the 21st century. This concern is not because I believe NASA isn’t capable of great things, or because the American people don’t support space exploration. They do. In fact, they hunger to do great things in space again.

My concern is rooted in the Obama administration’s mismanagement of NASA and our relationships with our international partners. Simply put: Our exploration program is floundering. Since the cancellation of the Constellation program by this administration in 2010, we have seen an agency adrift, grasping for purpose and direction while receiving little support or leadership from the White House.

Perhaps the best example of the administration’s mismanagement of our space program is its current plan to “lasso an asteroid” into lunar orbit. The proposal, unveiled in last year’s budget proposal, was hardly vetted before its release and has since been found to be poorly thought-out and lacking in support from both the American people and our international partners. No matter how much NASA tries to dress up or rationalize this proposal to the Congress and to the public, it continues to ring hollow. (5/5)

Griffin, Albaugh: Mars Mission Could Serve to Refocus Purpose of NASA (Source: Houston Chronicle)
For the past several years, there has been a widespread feeling in the space community, difficult to articulate but nonetheless quite real, that America's space program is adrift. Following the cancellation of U.S. plans to return to the moon and the retirement of the space shuttle, and with no obviously meaningful goal ahead, there is a clear sense that our space program lacks purpose and direction.

Lately, however, there has been a renewed "buzz" in the space community around the question of whether the United States should carry out the first human flyby mission to Mars in 2021. A particularly favorable planetary alignment makes such a mission possible at that time, and then not again until the 2030s. This early opportunity to gain experience toward the goal of human exploration of Mars and the value of such a mission as an inspirational kick-start to what is widely seen as a rather moribund national civil space policy have been attractive to many. (5/5)

The Tipping Point for Solar and Space Scientists (Source: Space News)
Our society is witnessing an expansive era of discovery in our exploration of the cosmos. Robotic explorers have given us a detailed knowledge of Earth’s space environment and its interaction with the sun, including the threat of space weather to the satellite technologies on which we are becoming increasingly dependent. For example, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, STEREO and IRIS missions have given researchers views of the sun’s surface and atmosphere with unprecedented resolution, giving new insights into the causes and effects of solar eruptions.

The recent THEMIS and Van Allen Probes missions have helped answer fundamental questions about radiation belts and geomagnetic storms, which can damage GPS satellites and electrical grids. Robotic probes have mapped the heliosphere — the part of the galaxy dominated by the sun’s influence — and we are now reaching beyond our solar system as the Voyager spacecraft moves into the uncharted realm of galactic space.

New missions hold promise to sustain this remarkable pace of discovery. A solar probe will fly within 10 solar radii of the sun, which will be humankind’s first visit to a star. A constellation of four spacecraft in Earth orbit will investigate magnetic reconnection, a process involving the often explosive release of energy stored in cosmic magnetic fields that is important for understanding space weather and the sources of harmful radiation. (5/5)

Kazakhstan Urges Talks With Russia, Ukraine for Launch Pad Project (Source: RIA Novosti)
The head of the Kazakh space agency has called for trilateral talks between Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to discuss a new launch facility at the country’s Baikonur space center. “At the moment, the project to build the Baiterek launch facility is designed for Zenit carrier rockets, which uses non-toxic components of rocket fuel.

However, trilateral cooperation between Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia is needed to carry out the project. In this respect, we are organizing a meeting of the three states’ space chiefs,” the head of the Kazakh space program, former cosmonaut Talgat Musabayev said. Zenit rockets are manufactured by the State Design Bureau Yuzhnoye in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk, but more than two-thirds of the rockets’ components are sourced in Russia. (5/5)

Ireland Puts €80m in Space as NASA Students Blast Off (Source: Herald)
Chris Hadfield's tweeting is not the only connection we have to space as Irish technology is now a major player in the space race, supplying €80m worth of work and sending astronauts and satellites into orbit. And news of the spend comes as four secondary school students – who won a national competition with a space experiment they devised – have jetted off to a NASA base. The budding scientists from Limerick will see their experiment to test the impact outer-space has on concrete, being conducted on board the International Space Station. (5/5)

NPP Designated Primary U.S. Polar Weather Satellite (Source: Space News)
Suomi NPP, the NASA testbed satellite pressed into duty as the first operational component of the next-generation Joint Polar Satellite System following its 2011, launch is now the United States’ primary polar-orbiting weather satellite, NOAA announced. The designation gives Suomi-NPP operational priority over other satellites in the U.S. weather-forecasting constellation managed by NOAA, the agency said in an online post. Suomi-NPP replaces the still-in-service NOAA-19 as the primary U.S. polar-orbiter, NOAA said. (5/5)

Asteroid Mining 'Not Just Fantasy' (Source: Independent)
Is asteroid mining a job for the future? Apparently so, according to a space scientist. Space computer game EVE: Online uses the concept within its fantasy universe. And at a festival celebrating the game in Reykjavik, a NASA scientist spoke on the future of space technology and how things that were once thought impossible, may not be as far fetched as we think.

According to Les Johnson, solar sails are the next big thing in space flight. They're essentially like sails on a ship but made of metal and designed to harness the power of the sun. So, we are not going to see people visiting asteroids to mine for resources any time soon - but Les is confident that with a lot of hard work, it may one day become a reality. Les Johnson is also a popular author and his latest book called Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth is out now. (5/5)

Star Wars: The Battle to Build the Next Shuttle (Source: Bloomberg)
The International Space Station is a near zero-gravity laboratory dedicated to scientific research. The end of NASA's shuttle program in 2011 left the world with only one way to get there, buy a seat from the Russians. NASA is holding a competition challenging private enterprise to build America's next spacecraft. Boeing, SpaceX, and Sierra Nevada are all multi-billion dollar aerospace companies competing to win the NASA contract that could cement dominance in the emerging space industry. Click here. (5/5)

705 Potential Mars Settlers Remain in Mars One’s Selection Process (Source: Mars One)
Mars One announced that 353 hopefuls from around the world have been eliminated from the selection program to become the first human Mars colonists. The number of people remaining in this once in many lifetimes opportunity is now just 705. The remaining candidates will be interviewed by the Mars One selection committee.

Mars One Chief Medical Officer Norbert Kraft, MD says, “we’re incredibly excited to start the next phase of Round 2, where we begin to better understand our candidates who aspire to take such a daring trip. They will have to show their knowledge, intelligence, adaptability and personality.” Once the television deal is finalized and the interviews begin, the stories of the 705 aspiring Martians will be shared with the world. (5/5)

With Lawsuits and Mergers, US Space Market Primed for Changes (Source: Defense News)
A series of aggressive moves from two major space companies in the past two weeks is a sign that the military space launch sector is ripe for change, according to analysts and former DOD officials. SpaceX, Orbital Sciences and ATK have been eyeing the military launch market for years, with a plan for certification in the US Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, the service’s effort to make military satellite launches affordable.

That market has been dominated by the United Launch Alliance (ULA). Proponents have praised its run of success and the venture’s stability, while critics say it represents a monopoly that takes advantage of taxpayers. Unchallenged for years, ULA now finds itself having to fend off a legal attack from SpaceX, industrial base challenges from Russia and the merger of two competitors in Orbital and ATK. One of the Air Force’s top space officials agrees there would be major benefits to opening up the market.

“We really do believe competition in the launch market is good for the industry,” said David Madden, executive director for the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. “It really is a good thing, and we believe that and we’re pushing really hard to move forward to get new entries certified so we can have a competitive launch market.” (5/3)

How to Energize the Space Economy (Source: Space Review)
While the commercial space industry shows great potential, it still relies heavily on the government. Kenneth Silber argues that the government can do more to help commercial space grow through several focused, interrelated initiatives, from space energy to property rights. Visit to view the article. (5/5)

Mars Missions on the Cheap (Source: Space Review)
While robotic missions to Mars typically cost hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, some organizations are looking at creative ways to develop low-cost missions to the Red Planet. Jeff Foust reports on two such efforts discussed at a recent conference, one using CubeSats and the other penetrator probes. Visit to view the article. (5/5)

Following Up: Reusability, B612, Satellite Servicing (Source: Space Review)
Several topics previously covered in The Space Review have had some new developments recently, although often not getting the same attention as other headlines. Jeff Foust takes a look at recent progress in launch vehicle reusability, searches for near Earth asteroids, and servicing satellites in orbit. Visit to view the article. (5/5)

Teaching Space in US Schools (Source: Space Review)
A new set of national science education standards puts a greater emphasis on teaching space science in grades K-12, but are teachers prepared to deal with those topics? Gary H. Kitmacher discusses the results of a survey of Texas teachers on their background and capability to teach about space. Visit to view the article. (5/5)

NASA Applies for Shuttle Strip Permit (Source: Florida Today)
NASA has applied for a federal permit to dredge and fill 40 acres of wetlands that link to the Indian River Lagoon to pave the way for commercial spacecraft that could launch and land where the space shuttle once touched down. The application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is an early step toward readying the old shuttle strip for commercial launches, as NASA enters negotiations to have Space Florida take over the shuttle runway.

Space Florida wants to build new infrastructure at the former shuttle landing strip to support future commercial spaceflight endeavors such as XCOR Aerospace and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's planned Stratolaunch Systems. Those efforts require taking off and landing with planes, rather than via vertical launch pads.

"Space Florida can help finance the infrastructure to run power and utilities and stormwater a long distance out there to accommodate future growth," said Dale Ketcham. Last year, NASA announced its intent to transfer control of the Shuttle Landing Facility to Space Florida, saving the space agency $2 million yearly in operations and maintenance. "We're going to be negotiating with NASA for quite some time," Ketcham said. (5/5)

To Defend Ukraine, World Should Hit Russia Where It Hurts: Space (Source: Motley Fool)
The crisis unfolding in Ukraine has been anything but fun for Western powers. While sanctions have been expanded by both the U.S. and European Union, questions remain about their effectiveness. Russia faces severe near-term economic consequences as global powers divest and divert capital from the nation, but the world may be able to effectively target long-term growth as punishment for its aggressive behavior, too.

How so? By joining forces to abandon Russia where it could hurt the most: in space. Space technologies represent an important growth opportunity for developing and post-industrial economies alike, and Russia has no intention of falling behind its Western peers. The continued leadership position demonstrated by the United States and its game-changing push to encourage private investment in space technologies. Click here. (5/5)

The Evolution of Orbital Sciences (Source: Washington Post)
Orbital Sciences has launched more than 800 satellites, logged 1,000 years worth of operations and its craft have traversed two billion miles in the past three decades. From a scrappy space start-up founded in 1982 by three Harvard Business School friends, the Virginia-based company has come a long way, literally and figuratively. Click here. (5/5)

No comments: