April 8, 2017

Air Force Now Open to Reusable Rockets (Source: Defense News)
A mere week after SpaceX launched a previously-flown Falcon 9, the head of Air Force Space Command said he’s open to conducting national security launches with reused rockets. The comments, made by Gen. Jay Raymond could reflect the service's willingness to use cutting-edge technologies to drive down the cost of launch services — that is, once the technology has been proven.

“This is just beginning. They’ve only flown one,” he said. “I think the industry is going to go this way. I think the reduced cost of this is going to drive industry this way. I don’t think we can say we won’t follow suit. We will make sure we do it in a smart way, and as this materializes we will make sure that we have the processes in place to do it safely and securely.” (4/6)

ULA Wants to Build Railroad to the Moon (Source: The Gazette)
"I'm on a mission to produce a manned presence outside of this planet and I am going to build a railroad between here and the moon," Bruno said. "The key is a flexible space transportation system, a fleet of space trucks that are reusable and stay in space. When we do this there will be a $3 trillion economy in space and 1,000 people will be living and working in space. That will change everything here on Earth. If precious metals were not longer expensive, what will that do for humankind if we can accomplish this in the next 20-30 years."

The company's vision, called "Cislunar 1000," calls for space manufacturing, commercial habitats and prospecting for space metals within five years, space tourism and mining for rocket fuel on the moon within 15 years and asteroid mining, large-scale manufacturing and people living on the moon within 30 years. (4/6)

Mysterious Radio Signals are From Outer Space, Say Scientists (Source: The Telegraph)
Astronomers in Australia have confirmed that a series of mysterious radio bursts – whose precise origin is unknown – started in outer space and were not manmade. The so-called fast radio bursts – intense flashes of radio light that last for just milliseconds - were first detected at Australia’s Parkes telescope in 2007 and prompted speculation that they may have been caused by aliens.

Astronomers have detected about twenty fast radio bursts at several telescopes around the world. The next challenge is to find more bursts and identify precisely where they  originated. (4/6)

No One Wins with War in Space (Source: Breaking Defense)
If war breaks out between the United States and a competitor like China, it will almost certainly be fought in space, just as it would be fought on land, at sea and in the air, the head of Air Force Space Command said in an interview.

“Space is a warfighting domain just like air, land and sea. We have to be prepared to fight a full range of operations,” Gen. Jay Raymond, head of Air Force Space Command, told me in a room overlooking the conference floor, packed with space gear. “Look at what China did in 2007. They shot down a satellite using an ASAT. We have to be able to be prepared to respond to that full range. We don’t want this fight. It’s not a fight we want to get into. It’s not a fight that, in my opinion, anybody wins.” (4/6)

NASA Finally Sets Goals, Missions for SLS – Eyes Multi-Step Plan to Mars (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
After years without concrete missions beyond the current EM-2 test flight, NASA has finally unveiled a plan for multiple missions of its SLS rocket.  The plan would see NASA initiate a multi-step approach to human exploration in cislunar space while simultaneously developing the architecture to enable human missions to Mars – all of which is dependant on funding from the U.S. Congress, which is currently seeking deep cuts to U.S. government spending. Click here. (4/6) https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/04/nasa-goals-missions-sls-eyes-multi-step-mars/

Cocoa Beach's RD Amross Seeks Additional ULA Engine Order (Source: Space News)
The new chief executive of the U.S.-Russian joint venture that provides RD-180 engines to United Launch Alliance said he hopes to win an order for additional engines. During a panel on international cooperation at the 33rd Space Symposium, Michael Baker, CEO of RD Amross, said he expected ULA to make a decision in the near future on buying additional engines as a hedge against any delays in the development of the company’s Vulcan rocket.

“We would like to make more engines and sell them in the U.S.,” said Baker, a former astronaut who became CEO in January after retiring from NASA. Use of the RD-180 became a political hot potato in 2014, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea led to calls by U.S. lawmakers to end reliance on the engine. That debate was resolved last year with the passage of the FY2017 defense authorization act that gives ULA access to as many as 18 engines for national security missions through 2022.

Even with an additional engine order, RD Amross' future is not clear. Russia’s NPO Energomash, which builds the RD-180, and United Technologies are the partners in the joint venture, established in the 1990s to both import the RD-180 for the Atlas 5 and, ultimately, produce it in the United States. However, domestic production of the RD-180 was never funded. Editor's Note: The former RD Amross chief is Bill Parsons, who also is a former director of Kennedy Space Center. With Baker now in charge, the company's continued presence on Florida's Space Coast might also be subject to change. (4/7)

No comments: