Monthly Archive for October, 2009

Unreasonable Rocket’s Lander Flies, Runs Out of Fuel

Comments

Unreasonable Rocket flew its Blue Ball lunar lander on Saturday, but the little vehicle ran out of fuel before it could complete two flights in its effort to capture part of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge.

Continue reading ‘Unreasonable Rocket’s Lander Flies, Runs Out of Fuel’

More Criminal Charges Involving NASA Funded Work

Comments

UF professor, wife accused of defrauding NASA
Orlando Sentinel

A nuclear scientist and his wife were arrested Friday on charges of defrauding the government in connection with a $3.7 million contract they had with NASA, the Air Force and the Navy.

Continue reading ‘More Criminal Charges Involving NASA Funded Work’

UK Looks to Become Hub of Space Tourism

Comments

wkss2inbanksm1

UK to lead commercial space travel
The Engineer

The UK could be a world leader in space technology and commercial suborbital flights in 20 years, according to the British space industry’s secretary-general.

Paul Flanagan of UKspace told The Engineer Online that the UK is already a base for many leading satellite manufacturers, such as EADS Astrium and Surrey Satellites, and it could, one day, be a hub for commercial space travel.

Continue reading ‘UK Looks to Become Hub of Space Tourism’

Galactic Suite: We’re On Schedule for Orbital Hotel in 2012

Comments

A Spanish company says they will send the first tourists to their planned orbital hotel in about 3 years:

The Barcelona-based architects of Galactic Suite say the space hotel will be the most expensive in the galaxy, costing €3 million, or $4.5 million, for a three-night stay. During that time guests would see the sun rise 15 times a day and travel around the world every 90 minutes.

Continue reading ‘Galactic Suite: We’re On Schedule for Orbital Hotel in 2012′

Video: Masten’s Second Prize Winning Flight

Comments

Masten Looks Toward Commercial Operations

Comments

Masten Space Systems successfully qualified for first place in Level Two of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge Wednesday. Flying a brand new vehicle named XA-0.1E (nicknamed Xoie), Masten demonstrated their ability to build, debug and fly a vehicle on a very short timeline.

“To come from not flying at all last year to qualifying for level one AND level two of the LLC this year shows how far our technology has progressed,” Masten Space Systems CEO David Masten said. “After a short vacation we will start modifying Xoie for commercial payloads and begin work on Xoie’s successor.”

Continue reading ‘Masten Looks Toward Commercial Operations’

First Unreasonable Rocket Flies Briefly, Tips Over on Side

Comment

Unreasonable Rocket’s first and second attempts to launch its Blue Ball lunar lander fizzled today. In both attempts, the vehicle rose briefly off the pad, hovered unevenly, settled back down to the surface, and tipped over on its side.

Company CEO Paul Breed and his son, Paul, have called it a day in order to make repairs to the lander. The company has additional launch windows on Saturday at its site in Cantil, Calif. The first window opens at 10 a.m. PDT.

Continue reading ‘First Unreasonable Rocket Flies Briefly, Tips Over on Side’

John Carmack’s Statement on NGLLC Judging Controversy

Comments

LLC Judging Protest

Statement by John Carmack
Founder, Armadillo Aerospace
Competitor, Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge

For the past couple weeks, as it became clear that Masten had a real shot at completing the level 2 Lunar Lander Challenge and bettering our landing accuracy, I have been kicking myself for not taking the competition more seriously and working on a better landing accuracy. If they pulled it off, I was prepared to congratulate them and give a bit of a sheepish mea culpa. Nobody to be upset at except myself. We could have probably made a second flight in the drizzle on our scheduled days, and once we had the roll thruster issue sorted out, our landing accuracy would have been in the 20cm range. I never thought it was worth investing in differential RTK GPS systems, because it has no bearing on our commercial operations.

The current situation, where Masten was allowed a third active day of competition, after trying and failing on both scheduled days, is different. I don’t hold anything against Masten for using an additional time window that has been offered, since we wouldn’t have passed it up if we were in their situation, but I do think this was a mistake on the judges part.

Continue reading ‘John Carmack’s Statement on NGLLC Judging Controversy’

Armadillo’s Carmack: I Was Robbed by NGLLC Judges

Comments

carmack

John Carmack, founder of Armadillo Aerospace, is crying foul over the decision to give Masten Space Systems an extra day to complete its Level 2 flight for the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. He sent a email to Alan Boyle over at MSNBC:

The current situation, where Masten was allowed a third active day of competition, after trying and failing on both scheduled days, is different. I don’t hold anything against Masten for using an additional time window that has been offered, since we wouldn’t have passed it up if we were in their situation, but I do think this was a mistake on the judges part…..

Continue reading ‘Armadillo’s Carmack: I Was Robbed by NGLLC Judges’

Masten Qualifies for Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Prize

Comments

UPDATE: Masten completed safing and storing its Xoie lander in the time allotted. So, the team has now qualified to win the $1 million prize for Level 2. We are awaiting word on landing accuracy to see if Masten has leaped ahead of Armadillo Aerospace for first prize. Unreasonable Rocket is set to make its attempts today and tomorrow.

______________________

Masten Space Systems has completed a return leg of its attempt to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. Judges are now measuring the landing accuracy on the return flight. As soon as they finish, Masten will have six minutes to safe the Xoie vehicle and load it onto a truck. This is the last step in the process, which requires teams to make two flights within 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Gets Seat at NASA Table

Comments

csf_logo_newest

Brett Alexander, executive director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, will chair up a new committee of the NASA Advisory Council, Space News reports. Alexander’s appointment is part of the creation of four new committees, including ones headed up by space investor Esther Dyson and former CNN anchor Miles O’Brien.

Continue reading ‘Commercial Spaceflight Federation Gets Seat at NASA Table’

Masten Completes First Leg of Lunar Lander Challenge

Comments

Masten Space Systems has just completed the first leg of its Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge flight in Mojave, Calif. The flight time was 3:02 – two seconds over the required time. Masten engineers are now preparing the Xoie vehicle for the required return flight. The unofficial landing accuracy is 28 centimeters.

Indian “Missile Man” Pushes for Cooperation in Huntsville

Comments
Former Indian President P J Abdul Kalam

Former Indian President P J Abdul Kalam

India’s ‘Missile Man’ touts space cooperation here
The Huntsville Times

Former Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had an answer here Wednesday to the question of how to afford space exploration.

“We should cooperate, work together,” said the scientist and political leader known in his country as “The Missile Man” for his role in ballistic missile and space rocket technology.

Continue reading ‘Indian “Missile Man” Pushes for Cooperation in Huntsville’

Ares I-X Booster Damaged During Landing

Comment

ares_Ix_launch

NASA: Booster rocket damaged in test flight
Associated Press

The booster rocket used in a test flight was badly dented when it fell into the Atlantic because of a deflated parachute, NASA said Thursday.

The new Ares I-X — the precursor to NASA’s planned moon rockets — completed a two-minute flight Wednesday. The launch itself went well, officials said, but one of the three parachutes on the booster failed to work properly.

All three parachutes opened, but one ended up deflating for unknown reasons, said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel. That caused the booster to hit the ocean with extra force.

Read the full story.

Nozette Asked for $2 Million, Saw Spy Job as a “Career Choice”

Comments
Accused spy Stewart David Nozette in India.

Accused spy Stewart David Nozette in India.

The Washington Post has more about accused spy Stewart David Nozette:

Nozette, who has worked as a contractor for NASA and the Defense Department, was ordered held without bond until his trial after a judge determined that he was a flight risk. Prosecutors said he was motivated by greed and had asked for $2 million for his secrets, according to court documents.

Continue reading ‘Nozette Asked for $2 Million, Saw Spy Job as a “Career Choice”’