ISRO Chief: Next Flight Test of Cryo Engine Will Occur in a Year

ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan says that the next test flight of the agency’s new cryogenic engine should take place in about a year.

“A flight testing of the Indigenous Cryogenic Engine Stage, in April, and as you know we had some snags there. We went through a very detailed analysis as to what happens and why it happens and we have come to a couple of scenarios in which such a snag would have occurred and our immediate task is to confirm that through testing on the ground and then prepare for the next flight testing. This should happen in year from now,” he added.


Layoffs Hit Huntsville Workers

102 Huntsville Constellation workers laid off Tuesday; total nears 300
The Huntsville Times

A key NASA contractor laid off 102 aerospace workers in Huntsville Tuesday, sources said, bringing to nearly 300 the number reportedly sent home in the last week as the Constellation rocket program collapses toward a funding deadline today.


NASA Future Uncertain After House Vote

Ares I-X lifts off from the Cape.

NASA budget: Lawmakers make no decision on Constellation, space shuttle future
Orlando Sentinel

A key congressional committee sidestepped a potential vote on NASA’s future Tuesday, opting to take no position on White House plans to scrap NASA’s moon-rocket program and replace the space shuttle with commercial rockets.


Aerojet, NASA Glenn Complete 30,000 Hours of Testing on Next-Gen Ion Engines

A 40 cm ion thruster in operation at NASA Glenn Research Center. The NEXT program is a joint venture of NASA and Aerojet.


Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced today that its innovative ion propulsion engine – built in partnership between Aerojet and NASA’s Glenn Research Center – has completed a test series encompassing the requirements of a wide range of ambitious space missions, including the recently announced Flagship Technology Demonstrator first mission (FTD-1).

The thruster was developed under NASA’s Evolutionary Xenon Thruster (NEXT) program as the next generation beyond the ion engines now propelling the Dawn spacecraft to a pair of asteroids. The NEXT engine has been in operation for more than 30,000 hours at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.


Statement By President Obama on the National Space Plan


Over the past fifty years, America has led the world in space exploration, broadening humanity’s horizons and our understanding of the universe.  And our achievements have in turn led to incredible technological advances that have improved our lives and transformed our economy.  We can point to satellites orbiting hundreds of miles overhead that can identify our location within inches, or communications systems that allow information to flow around the world as never before.  In part, what has made this progress possible was a commitment by our nation to scientific discovery and technological innovation, and an unyielding faith in the future – even during difficult times.


Fact Sheet on The National Space Plan


Today, President Obama announced the administration’s new National Space Policy.  The National Space Policy expresses the President’s direction for the Nation’s space activities.  The policy articulates the President’s commitment to reinvigorating U.S. leadership in space for the purposes of maintaining space as a stable and productive environment for the peaceful use of all nations.


NASA Set to Release “Moonbase Alpha” Video Game

Having no money to build a real lunar base, NASA has decided to create one virtually.


Moonbase Alpha is a game with single and multiplayer options where players step into the role of an exploration team member in a futuristic 3-D lunar settlement. Their mission is to restore critical systems and oxygen flow after a nearby meteor strike cripples a solar array and life support equipment.


CSF Hails New National Space Policy


The Commercial Spaceflight Federation welcomes President Obama’s new National Space Policy, which underscores the importance of commercial spaceflight for American economic growth and leadership in space.


NASA Seeks Proposals on Heavy-Lift Vehicle

NASA has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) seeking proposals and industry input on heavy-lift system concepts and propulsion technology.

NASA is seeking an innovative path for human space exploration that strengthens its capability to extend human and robotic presence throughout the solar system. The information also may help lay the groundwork for humans to safely reach multiple potential destinations, including asteroids, Lagrange points, the moon and Mars.


U.S. Looks to Closer Space Ties With India

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

US to enhance space cooperation with India
Deccan Herald

Looking to India as a ”great” up and coming space-faring nation, the US said its newly announced space policy attached ”vital” importance to enhance cooperation with that country.


Mixed Reactions to New National Space Policy

Some initial reactions to President Barack Obama’s new National Space Policy from The Space Foundation, Aerospace Industries Association, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, The Planetary Society’s Lou Friedman, Union of Concerned Scientists, and Secure World Foundation.


The Space Foundation today welcomed the release of the new U.S. National Space Policy as “an important milestone in furthering national and international discussions about the future direction of the United States in space.”

“Although there are some inconsistencies and areas of concern, largely the new U.S. National Space Policy provides a positive framework that will serve as an important milestone in furthering national and international discussions about the future direction of the United States in space,” said Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot H. Pulham.


Russia Moves Ahead on Angara, Nuclear Rockets

Angara rocket engine test

Russia is moving ahead on a range of space propulsion projects:

  • Production of the Angara rocket could begin by the end of the year. Khrunichev Space Center’s Gennady Kleimenov told Interfax that engineers expect to complete test firings of Angara’s first and second stages in the third quarter. Financial issues that had delayed construction of an Angara launch pad at Plesetsk have been resolved.
  • Interfax also quotes  TSNIIMASh DG Gennady Raikunov as saying that Russia will develop will start developing super-heavy LV after 2018 and consider designing of reusable space vehicles.
  • Russian President Dmitry Medvedev defined Keldysh R&D Center as a sole designer of the megawatt  nuclear propulsion system. The Center will also coordinate all efforts under the project, effective by Decree â„– 419-рп of June 22, 2010.

National Space Policy: Principles and Goals

International Space Station

An excerpt from the Obama Administration’s National Space Policy document, laying out priorities for the nation’s civilian and military efforts.


In this spirit of cooperation, the United States will adhere to, and proposes that other nations recognize and adhere to, the following principles:


Obama Administration Spells Out Commercial Space Policy

The Obama Administration has published its National Space Policy document, laying out priorities for the nation’s civilian and military efforts. The commercial policy section is reproduced below.

Commercial Space Guidelines

The term “commercial,” for the purposes of this policy, refers to space goods, services, or activities provided by private sector enterprises that bear a reasonable portion of the investment risk and responsibility for the activity, operate in accordance with typical market-based incentives for controlling cost and optimizing return on investment, and have the legal capacity to offer these goods or services to existing or potential nongovernmental customers. To promote a robust domestic commercial space industry, departments and agencies shall: