The Year Ahead for Commercial Crew

18 Comments

Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
By Steven Siceloff,

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Throughout 2017, NASA and its commercial crew partners, Boeing and SpaceX, will make major steps touching every area of space system development and operations, from completing flight-worthy spacecraft and rockets to putting the finishing touches on launch pads to performing detailed countdown and flight rehearsals.

Continue reading ‘The Year Ahead for Commercial Crew’

High Altitude Flight Acceptance Test of CE20 Engine Conducted Successfully

Comments
CE20 flight engine for GSLV MKIII (LVM3)-D1 mission. (Credit: ISRO)

CE20 flight engine for GSLV MKIII (LVM3)-D1 mission. (Credit: ISRO)

MAHENDRAGIRI, India (ISRO PR) — GSLV MKIII, the future launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching 4-ton class spacecraft into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) is in the advanced stage of realisation. It consists of two solid strap-on (S200) motors, one earth storable liquid core stage (L110) and the indigenously developed C25 cryogenic stage. The C25 stage is powered by CE20 cryogenic engine.

The first CE20 flight engine acceptance test was successfully conducted for a duration of 25 seconds in high altitude simulation test facility during December 2016. This flight acceptance test is an important milestone for ISRO as it could successfully cross the major engine development endeavors in the maiden attempt. This engine was conceived, configured, designed, fabricated and developed by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC).

Continue reading ‘High Altitude Flight Acceptance Test of CE20 Engine Conducted Successfully’

Successful Deep Space Maneuver for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft

Comments
This is an artist's concept of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft preparing to take a sample from asteroid Bennu. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney

This is an artist’s concept of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft preparing to take a sample from asteroid Bennu. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney)

By Nancy Neal Jones
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

New tracking data confirms that NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft aced its first Deep Space Maneuver (DSM-1) on Dec. 28, 2016. The engine burn sets up the spacecraft for an Earth gravity assist this fall as it continues its two-year journey to the asteroid Bennu.

Continue reading ‘Successful Deep Space Maneuver for NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft’

Drone Flight Tests FAA’s Technologies for Spacecraft Re-entry

11 Comments
Near Space Corporation launched its balloon borne high-altitude drone from Tillamook, Oregon, carrying a special payload with FAA new technologies on board. (Credit: Near Space Corporation)

Near Space Corporation launched its balloon borne high-altitude drone from Tillamook, Oregon, carrying a special payload with FAA new technologies on board. (Credit: Near Space Corporation)

High-Altitude Drone Tests New Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, surveillance technologies potential to support commercial spacecraft

TILLAMOOK, Ore. (NASA PR) — A drone released from a high-altitude balloon carried a payload to evaluate how the equipment could help the FAA detect and track commercial spacecraft entering the National Air Space, NAS, as it descends from space.

Near Space Corporation, NSC, in Tillamook, Oregon, conducted the flight test on Oct. 3 under the first FAA Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) test site for UAS high-altitude Certificate of Authorization, COA. With that flight, NSC became the first commercial suborbital space company to conduct a flight test under the agency’s UAS rules.

Continue reading ‘Drone Flight Tests FAA’s Technologies for Spacecraft Re-entry’

Axiom, Made in Space Announce Agreement for Manufacturing in Orbit

17 Comments

made_in_space_logoHOUSTON, Jan. 18, 2017 9 (Axiom Space PR) — Made In Space and Axiom Space today, announce an agreement to be users and providers of one another’s capabilities to manufacture products in space. Made In Space is the only company to produce 3D printed products in Space and Axiom Space is the leading developer of the world’s first privately-owned commercial space station. This collaboration signifies Made In Space’s exciting transition from research phase, to manufacturing for commercial customers.

Continue reading ‘Axiom, Made in Space Announce Agreement for Manufacturing in Orbit’

Space Weather Blackout Could Cost U.S. $40 Billion Per Day

10 Comments
Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

Artist illustration of events on the sun changing the conditions in Near-Earth space. A new study finds daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC (AGU PR) — The daily U.S. economic cost from solar storm-induced electricity blackouts could be in the tens of billions of dollars, with more than half the loss from indirect costs outside the blackout zone, according to a new study.

Continue reading ‘Space Weather Blackout Could Cost U.S. $40 Billion Per Day’

Starliner STA Arrives in California for Testing

Comments
Boeing's CST-100 Structural Test Article ready for shipment from C3PF to Boeing's facility in Huntington Beach, California. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing’s CST-100 Structural Test Article ready for shipment from C3PF to Boeing’s facility in Huntington Beach, California. (Credit: Boeing)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (NASA PR) — Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will experience a variety of tremendous internal and external forces during missions to and from the International Space Station.  When the Starliner launches in 2018, it won’t be the first time the spacecraft has encountered these forces. That is because Boeing built a Structural Test Article that will experience the rigors of spaceflight in a test facility in an effort to prove the design of the spacecraft. The module was built inside the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida before it was shipped it across the country to Huntington Beach, California, for testing.

Continue reading ‘Starliner STA Arrives in California for Testing’

NASA Moves to Secure Commercial Crew as Obama Administration Exits

11 Comments
SpaceX Crew Dragon Weldment Structure (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX Crew Dragon Weldment Structure (Credit: SpaceX)

NASA had made a couple of major moves relating to human spaceflight this month as the Obama Administration would down toward its exit at noon on Friday.

On Jan. 3, the space agency announced it had awarded four additional flights apiece to Boeing and SpaceX to carry crews to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Each company now has six flights for their Starliner and Crew Dragon vehicles, respectively.

Continue reading ‘NASA Moves to Secure Commercial Crew as Obama Administration Exits’

The Growing Cost of Not Having Direct Access to ISS

10 Comments
At the Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 49 crewmembers Shane Kimbrough of NASA (left) and Sergey Ryzhikov (center) and Andrey Borisenko (right) of Roscosmos pose for pictures Sept. 9 in front of their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft during a pre-launch training fit check. Kimbrough, Ryzhikov and Borisenko will launch Sept. 24, Kazakh time on the Soyuz MS-02 vehicle for a five-month mission on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov)

Expedition 49 crewmembers Shane Kimbrough of NASA (left) and Sergey Ryzhikov (center) and Andrey Borisenko (right) of Roscosmos pose for pictures Sept. 9 in front of their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft during a pre-launch training fit check. (Credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov)

Bloomberg Government reports that delays in fielding replacements for the retired space shuttle has forced NASA to send billions of dollars to Russia over the past six years.

NASA has spent $897 million with state-controlled Roscosmos since fiscal 2015 and $2.1 billion since the U.S. retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011, Bloomberg Government data show….

NASA must rely on Russia to transport astronauts and equipment for at least two more years. Roscosmos will receive another $950 million in 2017 and 2018 for 12 more round trips on Soyuz ISS flights, according a September report by NASA’s Office of Inspector General.

Congressional budget cuts to NASA’s Commercial Crew Program forced the agency to extend its contract with Roscosmos to keep sending American astronauts to the ISS, according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s August 2015 letter to Congress.

Putin consolidated the Russian space industry into Roscosmos in 2015, placing several close advisers in senior positions, according to Senator John McCain. Among them are Chairman Dmitry Rogozin and board member Sergei Chemezov, who are listed as Specially Designated Nationals on the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control SDN Sanctions List. Their names were added to the list following President Obama’s March 2014 emergency Executive Order 13660, issued in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Treasury denies that sanctions on Russia apply to the space industry. So while NASA isn’t in violation, it’s in an awkward position of paying billions of agency dollars directly to Russian government coffers to maintain a presence on the ISS.

The figures do not include the cost of additional Soyuz seats that NASA might end up buying for 2019 if commercial crew efforts by SpaceX and Boeing are delayed beyond 2018. NASA could purchase up to three seats through Boeing, which received them as part of a legal settlement of a lawsuit against Soyuz manufacturer RSC Energia.

Read the full story.

Save

Virgin Galactic Selects OneStrand LLC To Provide S1000D Technical Documentation Software And Services

Comment
SpaceShipTwo glides to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceShipTwo glides to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

PORTLAND, January 18, 2017 (OneStrand PR) — After an extensive technical evaluation, Virgin Galactic has selected OneStrand LLC as their preferred supplier of S1000D technical publishing software, services and support. The R4i S1000D product suite will provide the technology required to create, manage and leverage technical information vital to the operation and maintenance of Virgin Galactic’s human spaceflight systems.

Continue reading ‘Virgin Galactic Selects OneStrand LLC To Provide S1000D Technical Documentation Software And Services’

EUTELSAT 117 West B All-electric Satellite Fully Charged, in Commercial Service

Comments

eutelsat_117_westb
PARIS, 16 January 2017 (Eutelsat PR)
– Eutelsat Communications (NYSE Euronext Paris: ETL) announces that its EUTELSAT 117 West B satellite has entered into full commercial service and is now ready to support customers across Latin America.

Continue reading ‘EUTELSAT 117 West B All-electric Satellite Fully Charged, in Commercial Service’

NASA Looks to Purchase Additional Soyuz Seats — From Boeing!

102 Comments
Credit: NASA

Soyuz and Progress vehicles docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

After months of saying it had no plans to purchase any additional Russian Soyuz seats to take U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA is looking to do exactly that.

Only there’s a twist: NASA won’t be purchasing the seats directly from the Russians. They will be buying them from Boeing, which has obtained already purchased five seats from Soyuz manufacturer RSC Energia.

Continue reading ‘NASA Looks to Purchase Additional Soyuz Seats — From Boeing!’

UrtheCast Enters into $180 Million Agreement to Sell and Operate Two Satellites

Comments

urthecast-logoVANCOUVER, January 17, 2017 (UrtheCast PR) — UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”), the geospatial and geo-analytics company developing two Earth Observation (EO) satellite constellations, known as OptiSARTM and UrtheDailyTM, today announces that it has entered into a binding agreement with a confidential government customer for the sale and shared operation of the first two satellites in the OptiSARTM Constellation, the world’s first commercial EO constellation with integrated optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors, for US$180 million.

The customer has also agreed to pay an additional US$30 million for other products and services related to the sale of the satellites, contingent on the parties reaching mutual agreement on the final scope of these deliverables.
Continue reading ‘UrtheCast Enters into $180 Million Agreement to Sell and Operate Two Satellites’

Rocket Crafters Receives Patent for Printed Hybrid Fuel Grain

Comments

rocket_craftersTITUSVILLE, Fla. (RCI PR) – Rocket Crafters, Inc. (RCI) announced today a U.S. patent was granted to co-founder, President & CTO Ronald Jones for a method for designing and fabricating flawless, high-performance, safer handling fuel grains for hybrid rocket engines using additive manufacturing technology (also known as 3D printing) which will allow the fabrication of an inherently safe and less expensive launch vehicle with only two moving parts. Jones stated that 3D printing of the rocket combustion chamber allows RCI’s expendable motors to deliver small satellites to orbits at as low as half current launch costs.

Continue reading ‘Rocket Crafters Receives Patent for Printed Hybrid Fuel Grain’

Next Cygnus Resupply Mission Set for March

Comments
The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Orbital ATK has completed a significant mission milestone for NASA’s next International Space Station cargo mission.

Continue reading ‘Next Cygnus Resupply Mission Set for March’