Orbital Sciences COTS Entry to Use Soviet-Era Engine

OSC's Taurus II rocket at Wallops Island.
OSC's Taurus II rocket at Wallops Island.

Aerojet Looking to Restart Production of NK-33 Engine
Space News

Aerojet is in talks with Russian propulsion firms to restart production of the Soviet-era NK-33 rocket engine that the Sacramento, Calif.-based propulsion company is modernizing for use on Orbital Sciences’ Taurus 2 medium-lift rocket.

Aerojet’s vice president of space systems, Julie Van Kleeck, said Aug. 27 that the two companies are weighing the benefits of restarting production of the 1960s engine in Russia, initiating a new line in the United States, or possibly doing both.

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AIAA to Honor Chandrayaan-1 Team With Award

chandrayaan-1

AIAA PRESS RELEASE

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will present the following awards, recognizing key contributions to space science and technology, at a noon awards luncheon on September 16 as part of the AIAA SPACE 2009 Conference & Exposition, September 14, at the Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, Calif.

  • The Chandrayaan-1 Mission, India Space Research Organization (ISRO), Bangalore, India, will receive the AIAA 2009 Space Systems Award.
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LA Fire Rages Out of Control as Firefighters Struggle to Save Historic Observatory

Latest on the Station fire from the Los Angeles Times as of 3:43 p.m. PDT on Monday:

A voracious five-day-old wildfire that has churned through more than 105,000 acres of mountainous brush across northern Los Angeles County showed little sign of slowing down this afternoon as it threatened 12,000 homes in suburban tracts and desert communities, along with a historic observatory and major array of television and radio transmission towers.

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Nair Becomes First Non-American to Head Up IAA

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The Press Trust of India reports:

ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair is all set to become the first non-American to head the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).

The formal announcement was made today by IAA secretary general J M Contant during an international conference on low cost planetary mission here.

“Its a great honour. All these years Americans chaired the post, first time a non-American, that too an Indian, is elected is a matter of great honour,” Nair told PTI after the announcement.

Read the full story.

India Will Aim for Mars in 2013 or 2015

mars_panorama

The Times of India has an update on that nation’s planetary exploration plans:

India’s mission to Mars will take place between 2013-2015, Indian Space Research Organisation chief G Madhavan Nair said on Monday.

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NASA Selects 16 Small Business Innovation and Transfer Projects

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NASA has selected 16 small business projects to address important research and technology needs. The awards are part of NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The SBIR program selected 12 proposals for negotiation of phase II contracts, with a total value of approximately $7.2 million. The awards went to 12 small, high technology firms in nine states.

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GLXP Competitor White Label Space Adds AOES to Team

white_label_space1

WHITE LABEL SPACE PRESS RELEASE

White Label Space has announced its newest Partner, AOES Group BV (AOES). AOES is a well-established supplier of specialist engineering services to the European Space Agency (ESA) with a long track record dating back to 1980. AOES will contribute to White Label Space’s no-name space mission to land on the Moon, which will provide massive media exposure and sponsorship opportunities for the world’s biggest brands.

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Bristol Spaceplanes Carries Out Successful Rocket Test

Bristol Spaceplane's HPD engine test in the Mojave.
Bristol Spaceplane's HPD engine test in the Mojave.

BRISTOL AEROSPACE PRESS UPDATE

Bristol Spaceplanes has carried out a strapdown test firing of the HPD (Hydrogen Peroxide Demonstrator) sounding rocket that will be used to test in flight a development version of the Ascender rocket engine.

The test was entirely successful. The engine is based on UK heritage technology and the production version uses hydrogen peroxide and kerosene as the propellants. The test engine is a development version that uses hydrogen peroxide only. The exhaust products are steam and oxygen, which is why there is no flame. A nose cone and fin will be added before the HPD rocket will be launched.

China Eyes Space Station in 2020

China to begin construction of orbital space station in 2020
RIA Novosti

China will begin the construction of its own orbital space station in 2020, the Sina news service said on Monday, citing a top official with the country’s manned spaceflight program.

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British Team Designs Device to Stop Killer Asteroids

Asteroid Ida
Asteroid Ida

British plan to tackle asteroids
BBC News

A team of British scientists are developing plans for a spacecraft that could stop large asteroids from destroying the Earth.

The 10 tonne “gravity tractor” would deflect any orbiting rocks years before any potential collision could happen.

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Russian Angara Rocket Progressing Toward Launch

Angara rocket engine test
Angara rocket engine test

Russia to invest $143 mln in engines for new Angara rocket
RIA Novosti

Russia will invest about 4.5 billion rubles ($143 mln) by 2015 in the production of engines for a family of Angara carrier rockets, the Perm Territory’s government said on Monday.

The environmentally-friendly Angara rocket, currently under development by the Khrunichev center, is designed to put heavy payloads into orbit. It is intended mainly for launch from the Plesetsk space center to reduce Moscow’s dependence on Kazakhstan’s Baikonur, the main launch facility for the current generation of Russian rockets.

The new line of rockets will complement, and eventually replace, the existing line of Rockot and Proton launch vehicles. It will be available in a range of configurations capable of lifting between two and 24.5 metric tons into low-earth orbit.

Read the full story.

Indian Lunar Mission Troubled From the Start

chandrayaan-1

India Moon mission is ‘mixed success’
BBC News

Despite being dubbed by Isro as an “engineering success”, the mission had a rough ride around the Moon.

A fuel leak from the rocket almost aborted its lift-off. Within days of reaching the Moon a power system failed, and a back-up system had to be activated.

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