New ISS Crew Set for Launch Friday

Expedition 52 flight engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA, left, Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos, and Randy Bresnik of NASA pose for a photograph outside the Soyuz simulator. (Credits: NASA/ Bill Ingalls)

BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Three new crew members for the International Space Station are scheduled to launch on Friday, July 28. Live launch coverage will begin at 10:45 a.m. EDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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Astrobotic, ULA Plan 2019 Moon Landing


Pittsburgh (Astobotic PR) — Astrobotic and United Launch Alliance (ULA) proudly announce today that Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lunar Lander will be onboard a ULA launch vehicle in 2019, during the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

“Astrobotic is thrilled to select a ULA launch vehicle as the means to get Peregrine to the Moon,” said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. “By launching with ULA, Astrobotic can rest assured our payload customers will ride on a proven launch vehicle with a solid track record of success. Together, our two organizations will honor the past and trail blaze the lunar future.”

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Updated Boeing Commercial Crew Schedule

Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)
Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing would conduct the first orbital test of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft in June 2018 in the latest Commercial Crew Program schedule unveiled by NASA this week.

The automated flight test to the International Space Station (ISS) would be followed by a crewed flight test to ISS in August 2018. If all goes well, CST-100 Starliner would be certified by NASA to carry crews to the orbiting outpost in October 2018.

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NEPTUNE 1 Guidance Test Vehicle Nearing Completion

NEPTUNE 1 GTV  (Credit: Interorbital Systems)

MOJAVE, Calif., July 25, 2017 (Interorbital PR)—The Interorbital team is nearing the completion of its N1 GTV launch vehicle which incorporates IOS’ new high-efficiency CPM 2.0 filament-wound tank assembly, its new rocket engine gimballing system, its new CPM controller, and its new in-house developed guidance system. This finless, single CPM launch vehicle will be used in an upcoming low-altitude test flight. Eleven commercial and educational CubeSat and TubeSat payloads are manifested on this flight.

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DiCaprio Plans TV Reboot of The Right Stuff

Mercury astronauts

Leonardo DiCaprio is teaming with National Geographic for a reboot of Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff.

The cabler is teaming with the actor’s Appian Way Productions banner and Warner Horizon Scripted Television to develop a scripted adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s best-seller The Right Stuff, with the goal of having a multiple-season drama series.

Will Staples will pen the script and executive produce the project that is set in 1958 and explores astronauts and their families as they move from the Mojave Desert to the edges of space, tracking their instant celebrity and, at some point in subsequent seasons, the moon landing.

DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson of Appian Way will exec produce alongside Staples and Michael Hampton, who shepherded the drama. The potential series will use Wolfe’s book as a starting point.

Read the full story.

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Senate Subcommittee Approves Cut in NASA’s Budget


The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies today approved a $53.4 billion spending bill that includes a decrease in NASA’s budget.

The $19.5 billion budget for the space agency is $124 million below the FY2017 enacted level and $437 million above the amount requested by the Trump Administration. Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee approved $19.88 billion for NASA.

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Updated SpaceX Commercial Crew Schedule

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX plans to conduct an automated flight test of its Dragon 2 crew spacecraft to the International Space Station in February 2018 , followed by a similar test with a crew four months later in June

That is the latest schedule presented to the NASA Advisory Council this week by agency officials. If the schedule holds and the tests go well, the Dragon 2 will be certified to carry astronauts to the station in September of next year.

In addition to the two flight tests, SpaceX will need to validate Dragon 2’s propulsion module, certify the parachute system, and conduct an in-flight abort test before it receives certification for the vehicle.

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Luxembourg Signs MOU With Magna Parva Subsidiary

LUXEMBOURG, July 24, 2017 (Luxembourg Government PR) – The Luxembourg Government and Luxembourg-based Kleos Space S.à r.l. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) providing the framework for their cooperation within the SpaceResources.lu initiative with focus on space technology development. The newly created Kleos Space company is 100% owned by UK-based Magna Parva Limited.

Kleos Space is active in geolocation services and develops a space infrastructure for geo-intelligence and signal intelligence applications with in-space manufacturing. Within the framework of this MoU, the developments and research to take place in Luxembourg are related to the project for in-space manufacturing of composite beams equipped with antennas. Kleos Space will collaborate with EmTroniX, a Luxembourg-based company specialized in electronics development, as well as with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) on this subject. The Government will support the development of the in-space manufacturing technology by providing funding through the Luxembourg space program (LuxIMPULSE).

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Last of XCOR’s Founders Leaves Company

Doug Jones

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries is pleased to announce that Doug Jones, formerly chief test engineer at XCOR, is joining the company’s growing team as director of propulsion systems.

“We see Doug as one of the top rocket engineers in the country, and a great addition to our first-class team of small-spacecraft engineers,” said Bill Miller, the chief executive officer of Deep Space Industries.  “He will be helping us develop the high performance, inexpensive propulsion that is critical to radically lowering the cost of deep space exploration.”

Mr. Jones has designed, built and tested over a dozen different rocket designs for a wide range of customers, including two manned vehicles. Doug has decades of aerospace engineering experience ranging from liquid rocket engine design to vehicle system optimization, and has flown aboard a rocket aircraft multiple times while serving as flight test engineer during the development of the XCOR X-Racer.

“Doug Jones is joining DSI at the perfect moment to lead our in-house development of the high-performance propulsion system for our Prospector series of deep space missions,” said Grant Bonin, DSI’s chief technology officer. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Editor’s Note: And then there were none. Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong and Aleta Jackson preceded Jones out the door. There are no more founders at XCOR.

NASA Promised a Public Report on CRS-7 Failure Multiple Times

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

My recent report on NASA decision not to release a public summary of its investigation into the Falcon 9 failure that destroyed a Dragon cargo ship has attracted some attention on various other websites. I’ve gotten some criticism there and also here for not understanding that the results of NASA’s investigations on commercial crew are confidential.

Fair enough. However, I was never told this by NASA in my multiple communications with the agency when I inquired about the summary last fall. In fact, they represented exactly the opposite.

Just so there is no confusion on this point, I’m reproducing the email responses I received from NASA when I inquired about this issue last fall as well as the one I received earlier in July.

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This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, July 24, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back KEN DAVIDIAN on entrepreneurism, NewSpace, commercial space.

2. Tuesday, July 25 , 2017: 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: We welcome back DR. PAT PATTERSON on SmallSat 2017.

3. Wednesday, July 26, 2016:: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details.

4.SPECIAL TIME: Friday, July 28, 2017; 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: For those of you wanting to be on The Space Show, this is your chance. Give us a call. In addition, if you would like to co-host a program, call us and show us what you would do as a co-host! Special for a special show.

5. Sunday, July 30, 2017: 12-1:30 PM DST (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. MIKE McCULLOCH to discuss Mike’s latest work on EM Drive, advanced propulsion, dark matter and more.

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Musk Hints Details on Scaled Down Interplanetary Transport System

Musk is talking about the scaled down version of the Interplanetary Transport System that he plans to unveil in Adelaide, Australia at the end of September. For comparison purposes, the vehicle he unveiled last year had a 12 meter diameter. Falcon 9 has a diameter of 3.7 meters. The diameter of the Saturn V was 10.1 meters.


UPDATE:
The above graphic shows the engine layout for the ITS. It would seem they would lose 21 outside engines by shrinking the diameter to 9 meters. That would leave the ITS with 21 Raptor engines on the first stage.

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NASA’s Hubble Sees Martian Moon Orbiting the Red Planet

The sharp eye of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured the tiny moon Phobos during its orbital trek around Mars. Because the moon is so small, it appears star-like in the Hubble pictures.

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Over the course of 22 minutes, Hubble took 13 separate exposures, allowing astronomers to create a time-lapse video showing the diminutive moon’s orbital path. The Hubble observations were intended to photograph Mars, and the moon’s cameo appearance was a bonus.

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All Hail The Singularity!

The Internet would have blown their minds, man!

Part of an Occasional Series on Silicon Valley Buzzwords & Ideas

Fifty years ago during the Summer of Love of 1967, young Americans turned on, tuned in, dropped out, dropped acid, blew their minds, chanted mantras, played Sgt. Pepper’s and followed gurus like Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey and the Maharishi Yogi in an effort to obtain a higher level of consciousness.

The changes wrought during that crazy year and the rest of the tumultuous decade changed America forever, making the nation at once more open and liberal, but also creating a counter revolutionary backlash that gave us Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

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A Look at the History of Suborbital Spaceflight

Neil Armstrong with the X-15 on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

With Richard Branson once again predicting that Virgin Galactic will fly SpaeShipTwo into space before the end of the year, it seems like a good time to take a look at the history of suborbital spaceflight.

The number of manned suborbital flights varies depending upon the definition you use. The internationally recognized boundary is 100 km (62.1 miles), which is also known as the Karman line. The U.S. Air Force awarded astronaut wings to any pilot who exceeded 80.5 km (50 miles).

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