Monthly Archive for February, 2010

Australians to Lead International Consortium on Mach 8 Scramjet

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UQ PRESS RELEASE
Feb. 27, 2010

The University of Queensland will lead a $14 million international consortium to help develop scramjet-based access-to-space systems, flying an autonomous scramjet vehicle at eight times the speed of sound – Mach 8, or 8600 km/h.

In parallel, scramjet concepts will be tested at even greater speeds, up to Mach 14, in UQ’s world class hypersonic ground-test facilities.

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Critics Turn Lori Gaver into NASA’s Alexander Hamilton

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Alexander Hamilton, First Treasury Secretary of the United States

I’ve been rereading Joseph J. Ellis’ book, “Founding Brothers”. The Pulitzer Prize winning tome looks back at the early days of the American Republic in the 1790s. I was struck by some of the parallels between that crucial period and the current struggle over the future of NASA.

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KSC Employees, Supporters Rally Against Shuttle Shutdown

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KSC employees and their supporters rallied against cuts at NASA during a rally in Titusville on Saturday.

Bankrupt Sea Launch Gets More Financing – Heinlein Prize Trust Involved

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Mystery Group Invests More in Bankrupt Sea Launch
Space News

Commercial launch-services provider Sea Launch Co., which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings since June, on Feb. 25 received $3 million in cash from the same group of investors that provided an initial tranche of financing to keep the company in operation, according to documents filed with the Delaware Bankruptcy Court.

Further payments totaling $9 million will be distributed in three monthly increments starting in March on condition that Long Beach, Calif.-based Sea Launch begins to secure commercial launch contracts, according to court documents…

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SpaceX Reports Successful Simulated Countdown on Falcon 9

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)

SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)

Falcon countdown dress rehearsal a ‘great success’
Spaceflight Now

Taking advantage of a picturesque day in the Sunshine State, the privately-developed Falcon 9 rocket came to life Friday afternoon as engineers loaded 75,000 gallons of propellant aboard the vehicle during a simulated countdown.

Friday’s countdown wet dress rehearsal was “the smoothest test we have conducted to date,” said Tim Buzza, the Falcon 9 launch director.

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ISRO Sees Large Budget Increase as Agency Ramps Up for Human Spaceflight

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Mockup of India's human spacecraft (Credit: ISRO)

ISRO budget at Rs 5000 cr; manned mission gets Rs 150 cr
Press Trust of India

India’s human space flight programme got a major boost as the General Budget on Friday proposed a significant allocation to it and also sought increase in funds for setting up an indigenous global positioning system.

The Budget, presented by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha, has allocated Rs 150 crore for the human spaceflight programme under which the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to develop a space vehicle to put a two-member crew in space and get them back safely.

The government has already approved pre-project research and development activities in this regard.

The plan allocation for ISRO has been pegged at Rs 5,000 crore [~$1 billion] as against the revised budgetary estimates of Rs 3,172 crore last year.

Read the full story.

Atlanta Philanthropist/Dare Devil Sets Sight on Virgin Galactic Space Tourism Flight

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Atlanta Philanthropist Reaches For Stars As Citizen-Astronaut
WXIA-TV

Since his sold “Barton Protective Services” six years ago, Charles Barton Rice has spent his time and fortune on philanthropy. “My mother…my father…they were always giving” he said. “And that’s where I get it.”

His big project is to transform his hometown, Blakely, Georgia into a twenty first century tech center. That’s for the long term. For the short term he has set his sights a bit higher.

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Shutting Down Constellation Program to be a Long, Costly Affair

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Ares I-X rolls out to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

NASA’s tough mission: Dismantling Constellation
Orlando Sentinel

Obama’s 2011 budget proposal provides $2.5 billion to pay contractors whatever NASA owes them so the agency can stop work on Constellation’s Ares rockets, Orion capsule and Altair lunar lander. But administration officials acknowledge that this number is, at best, an educated guess…

Many inside and outside of the space agency, however, think the number is too low.

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Sprague Astronautics Space Tourism Company Not Showing Much Evidence of Life

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Fate of a Temecula spaceflight venture is unknown
Riverside Press-Enterprise

By 2006, a Temecula company had vowed to launch test flights of a vehicle that would one day allow civilians to fly into space.

Four years later, Sprague Astronautics’ Web site is the only thing to get off the ground — and it hasn’t been updated in years.

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Air Force to Fly Hypersonic X-51 Waverider Vehicle in March

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X-51 Waverider

U.S. Air Force Set To Begin X-51 Hypersonic Flight Tests
Space News

The maiden flight of the X-51 Waverider aircraft — the first U.S. hypersonic vehicle to fly in six years — is scheduled to take place later in March. Boeing Defense, Space & Security Systems of St. Louis has been developing the aircraft since 2003 on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

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