August 8, 2017

Lockheed Stresses Flexibility with New Colorado Satellite Plant (Source: Space News)
Lockheed Martin's new satellite integration facility will make its Waterton Canyon campus one of the largest space technology centers in the country, with 3.5 million square feet of research, engineering, test and office space. With a space portfolio that runs a gamut for different requirement needs, Lockheed Martin has started construction on a new $350 million facility the company says will provide the kind of assembly, testing and validation Lockheed needs across the line of satellite programs it has and expects to secure. (8/7)

CloudIX Joins Race to Develop Small Rocket, With Balloon Assist Launches (Source: Space News)
CloudIX, a startup based in Hayward, California, plans to conduct its first test flight in December of a prototype balloon-launched rocket designed to send cubesats into low Earth orbit. With the initial test, CloudIX (pronounced Cloud Nine) intends to demonstrate its launch capability and show that subsystems including communications, navigation and telemetry work as intended, Brandon Mairs, CloudIX co-founder and chief executive, told SpaceNews.

CloudIX is developing its own thrust vectoring system and purchasing solid rocketmotors to send 16 cubesats or one 22-kilogram satellite into low Earth orbit. The firm plans to purchase high-altitude balloons from existing manufacturers, who Mairs declined to name.

CloudIX has applied to the FAA for a license to operate its trailer-based mobile deployment and launch operations center on the U.S. East Coast to send high-altitude balloons with attached rocket-launching platforms over the Atlantic Ocean. Once the balloons reach an altitude of 41 kilometers, the rockets will fire to send satellites to orbits of around 350 kilometers. In the future, CloudIX intends to seek permission to perform similar operations from Mexico and South America to give customers access to a wide variety of orbital planes. (8/7)

More Launches Could Mean more Business for Contractors (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space Coast contractors who experienced the post-shuttle era downturn are cautiously optimistic that more business soon will be headed their way. But the uptick hasn’t happened yet, said Carol Craig, CEO of Craig Technologies. “You just try to tread water and not make too many big, risky moves until you see where it’s going to go,” said Craig.

Areas growing because of an expanding privatization of the space industry include manufacturing components that must adhere to tight specifications, known as “precision machining,” along with launchpad maintenance and construction and diagnostics work, said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast. “We are excited about the diversification of the industry, from being a very launch-heavy area to having a robust manufacturing component,” Weatherman said.

Craig said a shop such as hers, with about half of its 400-plus employees based in Florida, has to be strategic in its proposals as the industry emerges. Craig said she has reached out to OneWeb, which has jobs in Florida posted online, in a bid to become part of the supply chain it likely will need. Blue Origin could debut its rocket-production site before the end of the year. “They are still putting their infrastructure in place, so we haven’t seen the business just yet,” she said. (8/8)

Aerojet's AR1 Rocket R&D Costs Reach $228 Million (Source: Space News)
R&D costs for the AR1 rocket from the program’s inception through June 30 have reached about $228 million, according to (SEC) filings by Aerojet Rocketdyne. The Air Force in February 2016 selected Aerojet Rocketdyne and ULA to share in a public-private partnership to jointly develop the liquid oxygen-kerosene AR1 as a next-generation engine alternative to the Russian RD-180. The total agreement is valued at $804 million with the Air Force investing two-thirds of the funding.

The total potential U.S. government investment, including all options, is $536.0 million, the company reports. The total potential investment by Aerojet Rocketdyne and its partners, including all options, is $268.0 million. Under the terms of the AR1 agreement, the Air Force contributions are recognized proportionately as an offset to R&D expenses. The Air Force thus far has funded about $135.3 million of the R&D costs and ULA has funded about $9.2 million, with net Aerojet Rocketdyne applied contract costs reaching about $51.8 million. (8/8)

Cubesats: Are They Reliable Enough for Important Missions? (Source: Space News)
As cubesats and other small satellites take on more advanced missions, reliability is a growing concern. In a talk at the Conference on Small Satellites, a NASA official said that cubesats aren't suited to some advanced science missions the agency is contemplating because of concerns that such spacecraft have high failure rates. A "fly/re-try" approach to cubesats works for some applications, but not others, so NASA is taking a greater interest in improving reliability. NASA's Small Satellite Virtual Institute has started a reliability initiative to work wth industry on improving the "mission confidence" of cubesat components. (8/8)

Shuttle Infrastructure at LC-39A Slowly Being Dismantled Around SpaceX Operations (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
A shuttle-era structure at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A is slowly disappearing. Crews have been dismantling the Rotating Service Structure at the pad, which is no longer needed by the pad's tenant, SpaceX. Crews took advantage of down time at the pad in the last month to take apart large sections of the structure. NASA owns the structure and will sell the scrap metal from it. The structure should be completely removed by the end of the year. (8/8)

B2Space Plans Balloon-Assisted Launches From Wales (Source: BBC)
A British company believes it can create nearly 100 jobs by launching satellites from a proposed spaceport in Wales. B2Space proposes to use the Llanbedr airfield for a small launch vehicle, carried aloft by a balloon, with as many as 20 missions a year by 2020 proposed from the site should the company develop its vehicle on schedule. That would would create 93 jobs at Llanbedr, which has previously been shortlisted as a site for a commercial spaceport in the U.K. (8/8)

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