July 10, 2014

SpaceX Planning Monday Launch (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX continues to target a 9:21 a.m. Monday launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying six commercial satellites from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Due to a range conflict, Wednesday will serve as the back-up launch date, satellite owner Orbcomm Inc. said in an update on its Web site. Weather and technical problems scrubbed two attempts to launch the mission last month and postponed a third try.

The mission aims to launch the first six of 17 satellites in a new constellation that will improve Orbcomm's machine-to-machine communications service. After this mission, United Launch Alliance plans to launch military satellites from the Cape on July 23 and July 31. (7/10)

Curtain Falls on ISEE-3 Reboot Project as Propulsion System Fails (Source: Space News)
NASA’s International Earth/Sun Explorer (ISEE)-3 will not be resuming its original mission after all, now that citizen scientists and engineers striving to rescue it discovered July 9 that the old heliophysics observatory’s propulsion system is not working. “There was no burn and we detected no acceleration and nothing was coming out of the engines,” said Keith Cowing (who spearheaded the ISEE-3 Reboot Project) and Dennis Wingo. (7/10)

Unmanned Space 'Sail' Set to Launch in 2016 (Source: CTV)
A tiny spacecraft designed to sail by the power of the sun is scheduled to launch atop a SpaceX rocket in 2016, a leading US space enthusiast said Wednesday. The Planetary Society's LightSail, an unmanned satellite-like craft known as a solar sail, aims to reach orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in two years, said the group's leader Bill Nye. The 30-centimeter spacecraft with its four, ultra-thin Mylar sails may then undertake a journey around the cosmos, powered only by the constant pressure exerted by sunlight. (7/10)

Four JPL Suborbital Technology Payloads Chosen (Source: JPL)
From hopping/tumbling robots to gecko-inspired adhesives, a variety of technologies have been chosen by NASA for flight on commercial reusable launch vehicles and a commercial parabolic aircraft. The selections were made through NASA's Flight Opportunities Program. The program gives these 13 space technology payloads, including four from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a chance to be tested before they are used in the harsh environment of space. Click here. (7/10)

GenCorp Says AJ-26 Test Failure Cost Company $13.5 Million (Source: Space News)
GenCorp Inc., parent company of rocket-engine builder Aerojet Rocketdyne, said the failure of an AJ-26 engine during a test firing in May cost the company $13.5 million in lost sales and higher costs for the six months ending May 31. The incident forced Orbital Sciences to delay the launch of its Antares rocket, which uses two AJ-26 engines as its first stage, to determine whether the test-stand failure indicated a wider issue with the AJ-26. The company has since cleared the AJ-26 engine now on the Antares rocket and is proceeding with the launch. (7/10)

Bigelow Begins Hiring Round by Adding Former Astronauts Ham, Zamka (Source: Space News)
Bigelow Aerospace has hired former NASA astronauts Kenneth Ham and George Zamka to form the cornerstone of the private astronaut corps the North Las Vegas, Nevada, company will need to maintain and operate the inflatable space habitats it plans to launch some time after 2017. “I would like to see us have half a dozen astronauts onboard by the end of the year,” Bigelow said.

Bigelow said the smallest space station his company plans to fly will require two BA330 modules, each of which has 330 cubic meters of internal space. The company expects to finish building the first two BA330s by 2017. Each Bigelow Aerospace space station would require about a dozen astronauts, including orbital, ground and backup personnel. The 660-cubic-foot stations would host four paying clients, who would be assisted by three company astronauts responsible for day-to-day maintenance. Initially, clients and crews would cycle in and out of the stations in 90-day shifts, Bigelow said. Eventually, the company hopes to shorten that cycle to 60 days. (7/9)

Generation Orbit Awarded Phase I SBIR Grant for Hypersonic Testbed (Source: Generation Orbit)
Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) has been awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory for development of a GOLauncher 1, a single-stage air launched liquid rocket vehicle designed to fly suppressed trajectories for hypersonic flight research applications. Booster systems capable of flying suppressed trajectories increase flexibility for experimental payloads to high Mach number, high dynamic pressure test environments. The nine-month effort worth $150,000 will focus on requirements definition, configuration trade studies, and trajectory design space exploration. (7/9)

Exoplanet Names Will Be Put to Public Vote (Source: New Scientist)
Planet-lovers, cast your votes. For the first time, the international organisation in charge of naming cosmic objects is asking the public to name planets found outside our solar system. This week the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced the NameExoWorlds contest, which will attempt to crowd-source official names for 20 to 30 exoplanets. The winning names will be announced in August 2015. (7/10)

FAA Gives Environmental OK for SpaceX Texas Spaceport (Source: Space Today)
The FAA has approved an environmental assessment that would allow SpaceX to perform launches from a proposed launch site near Brownsville, Texas. The "Record of Decision" from the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation approves SpaceX's plans to perform launches from the site. The decision outlines the mitigation steps that SpaceX would need to follow if it built and operated the facility, including protecting endangered wildlife in the area. SpaceX has not made a decision on building a launch facility there, but officials previously said the Brownsville site was the leading candidate for a new launch facility that would be used for commercial missions. (7/10)

Sales Rise as Losses Mount for Aerojet Rocketdyne (Source: Sacramento Business Journal)
Sales were 40 percent higher for rocket engine maker GenCorp Inc. in the first half of this year, but its losses also were higher, attributed in part to ongoing merger costs and accounting changes. The company lost $50.2 million in its second quarter, compared to a loss of $11.8 million in the same period the previous year.

The company’s sales in the second quarter were $403.1 million, up 40.6 percent from sales of $286.6 million at the same period the previous year. More than 99 percent of the company’s revenue — $401.5 million came from the Aerojet Rocketdyne division, and less than 1 percent — or $1.6 million — came from real estate. (7/10)

Aerojet Rocketdyne Continues Work on NASA Deep Space Project (Source: Sacramento Business Journal)
Aerojet Rocketdyne and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. have completed a study on developing an upper-stage rocket system for NASA deep-space projects. Rather than the bread-and-butter work of putting satellites into orbit, this technology would be used for extended space missions, for example to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as solar probes. (7/10)

NASA Awards CubeSat Hardware and Integration Services Contract (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected five companies to provide commercial CubeSat hardware and integration services with associated special task assignments covering a five-year ordering period between 2014 and 2018. The five companies are 406 Aerospace LLC of Bozeman, Montana; Applied Technology Associations of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Spaceflight Inc. of Tukwila, Washington; TriSept Corp. of Chantilly, Virginia; and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems LLC of Irvine, California. 
Each were awarded a firm fixed-price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract. The total potential value of the combined contracts is $9.5 million dollars, if the maximum amount of work is ordered. All contractors will provide all services, facilities, and resources necessary to support this work effort for the task orders they are awarded. (7/8)

Boeing Wins Giant Satellite Order (Source: Advanced Television)
Intelsat has ordered one of its largest-ever satellites, and has chosen Boeing as its lead contractor. Boeing will build Intelsat 35e, one of Intelsat’s EPIC-branded next-generation craft. This particular EPIC is being built on one of Boeing’s 702MP platforms, and Intelsat has specified that the satellite must be able to be launched on any of the world’s main rocket suppliers, Atlas, Ariane, Sea Launch, SpaceX Falcon and even a Sea Launch, and thereby ensuring that the actual launch will not be held up by lack of a launch vehicle. (7/10)

SpaceX Plans will Require Environmental Mitigation Measures (Source: Brownsville Herald)
Elon Musk’s proposal to bring a space launch facility to CameronCounty cleared another hurdle Wednesday as the Federal Aviation Administration released its record of decision concerning the SpaceX mogul’s plans. The favorable decision means SpaceX is free to apply for the launch licenses and experimental permits to allow the company to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles from a proposed first-of-its-kind commercial launch pad at BocaChicaBeach. SpaceX can apply for those licenses whenever it chooses, with the application setting into motion a 180-day window during which the FAA could decide to approve or deny the proposal. (7/10)

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