Excalibur Almaz, PlanetSpace Bailing Out Bankrupt Sea Launch

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A bit more information on the Sea Launch bankruptcy reorganization – which includes Excalibur Alaz (which is planning to launch a space station) and U.S.-based PlanetSpace:

Excalibur Almaz and PlanetSpace are working to provide exit financing through Space Launch Services, LLC (“SLS LLC”), as well as equity investment in a reorganized Sea Launch, for the purpose of sustaining reliable commercial access to space. SLS LLC is led by Bohdan (Bo) Bejmuk, an aerospace consultant with in-depth knowledge of space systems and launch vehicles. In parallel with its focus on the reorganization process, Sea Launch successfully completed the launch of the Intelsat 15 satellite on November 30, on a Zenit-3SLB vehicle from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan. This is Sea Launch’s fourth and final launch campaign of 2009.

Excalibur Almaz, based in the Isle of Man, is planning to launch a commercial space station using refurbished Soviet-era hardware. Taking a stake in Sea Launch would give the company access to Zenit rockets that can be launched from land and sea.

PlanetSpace is based in Chicago and includes Lockheed Martin, ATK Space Systems, Boeing, and Astrotech as partners. The company has unsuccessfully bid to provide commercial space transportation services to the International Space Station under NASA’s COTS program using ATK’s Athena boosters.

PlanetSpace also is developing an orbital hypersonic vehicle designed to fly autonomously and with human crews:

The Silver Dart is an autonomous and flexible hypersonic glider designed to operate as an orbital vehicle. It extends the capabilities of the booster to provide access to LEO. It is designed to double as an unmanned or manned spacecraft and can provide for a long duration platform in orbit. Based on the FDL-7 design which is stable in flight from Mach 22 to 0, the Silver Dart has the glide range of 25,000 miles (one earth circumference) with a cross range of over 4,000 miles. Such a glide performance provides for departure from any LEO and landing in the continental US with no wait time on orbit. An all metal thermal protection system allows for all weather flying. Combined, the thermal protection system and glide range result in a reentry vehicle that cannot be trapped in space and is able to return to base from any orbit around the Earth.

Very interesting developments that I’ll keep an eye on.

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