Monthly Archive for June, 2011Page 3 of 16

Russia to Launch New Soyuz Rocket Variant Next Year

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Russian Soyuz-1 booster. Credit: Pavel Kolotilov

Russia plans to launch the inaugural flight of the new Soyuz-1 booster from Plesetsk next April, ITAR-TASS reports. The vehicle will launch a pair of university satellites into low Earth orbit.

The Soyuz-1 is a stripped down version of the Soyuz-2.1b rocket with its booster rockets removed and its first stage refitted with NK-33 engines originally built for the Soviet lunar program. The second stage remains the same as the Soyuz-2.1b.

The new medium-class rocket will be capable of lifting payloads of 2,800 kilograms (6,160 lbs) to low Earth orbit from Plesetsk and 2,850 kilograms (6,270 lbs) to LEO from Baikonur. Russia will also launch the rocket from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome once it becomes operational later in this decade.

The Soyuz-1 is similar in capacity to Orbital Sciences Corporation’s new Taurus II booster, which is set to make its inaugural flight later this year. The Taurus II uses the AJ-26 engine, which is an overhauled version of the NK-33 engine that Soyuz-1 will use in its first stage.

Video: XCOR CEO Jeff Greason Interview

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Michael Clark conducted a very interesting interview with XCOR CEO Jeff Greason recently.

Mars Week on The Space Show

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This week on The Space Show….

Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 7-8:30 PM PDT: We welcome back Dr. Robert Zubrin to discuss his Mars manned mission plans.

Thursday, June 30, 2011, 9:30-11AM PDT: We welcome Jim Maser of Pratt Whitney to discuss aerospace workforce issues for the United States. Mr. Maser has received significant press regarding his thoughts and comments on this topic over the past few months.

Friday, July 1, 2011, 9:30-11AM PDT: We welcome back Lucinda Land, Executive Director of The Mars Society to discuss Mars, the upcoming Mars Society Conference and more.

Sunday, July 3, 2011, 12-1:30 PM PDT: We welcome Grant Bonin to discuss his recent article in The Space Review about the efficiency of smaller rockets as compared to heavy lift rockets. You can read his article at www.thespacereview.com/article/1861/1.

GLXP Video: Astrobotic Lander Gets Shipped Out

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Video Caption: Time lapse showing the week of work following the initial lander assembly, featuring preparation for shipping, mounting to the shipping fixture, and loading into the truck.

SpaceShipTwo Glide Tests Progressing Smoothly

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SpaceShipTwo glides downward on its first test flight. (Photo: Mark Greenberg)

Leonard David has a report on SpaceShipTwo testing in Mojave, which is going swimmingly:

“Another good flight test for the program, on a beautiful Mojave morning,” said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic’s CEO.

“This is what Scaled is so good at: flying, testing, and learning in a rapid cycle of innovation. The high flight rate is a positive indication of the vehicles’ ability to fly frequently and safely,” he told SPACE.com.

SpaceShipTwo testing is headed for a quiet period starting in July, as the Scaled team analyzes the data from the test flight program to date.

Continue reading ‘SpaceShipTwo Glide Tests Progressing Smoothly’

GLXP News: Omega Envoy Adds Two New Sponsors

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ESI PR — Omega Envoy, a non-profit research laboratory that is competing in the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP), is proud to announce sponsorships by National Instruments and Solar Made.

National Instruments will provide Omega Envoy with data-acquisition technology that will be used to monitor the Florida-based team’s lander and rover.

Solar Made has provided Omega Envoy with solar cells that will go onto the Florida-based team’s lander and rover. In short, Solar Made is ensuring that Omega Envoy will have all the power it needs for the mission. Earthrise Space Inc. (Omega Envoy’s parent organization) will space qualify some of these systems and test them at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) located in Devon Island in Canada.

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AIA Protests Cuts in National Security Space Programs

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AIA — The Aerospace Industries Association is concerned about substantial cuts to national security space programs in the fiscal year 2012 House Defense Appropriations bill.

“We understand the need for belt-tightening in today’s economic climate,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “However, we are deeply concerned that the cuts to national security space go too far.”

National security space systems provide essential capabilities such as global satellite communications; access to space; positioning, navigation and timing; environmental monitoring; Operationally Responsive Space support to the warfighter; situational awareness and missile warning.

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What Did CSA Accomplish in Promoting California’s Space Industry?

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The Pacific Coast Business Times has a post mortem on the California Space Authority, the recently dissolved non-profit group whose role was to promote the Golden State’s space industry. Among the findings:

  • Although the group collected hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from private companies, its main source of income was from federal and state governments
  • CSA collapsed after it lost a $5 million federal grant and could not secure a $1.6 million earmark to stay in operation
  • CSA oversaw a $15 million Labor Department grant for an “innovation corridor” that “produced only reams of reports and plans that largely have not been put to use”
  • The group’s oversight of the Labor Department’s Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) program was either (depending upon whom one asks) an “overreach” that was focused to broadly to produce results, an “incredible effort to identify innovation,” or a well-intentioned program that fell afoul of changing political priorities in Sacramento and Washington
  • CSA abandoned its efforts to build a $200 million California Space Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base after the authority belated realized it would need to comply with Santa Barbara County’s strict environmental reviews.

Read the full story.

Senate Threatens Subpeonas Against NASA Over HLV Documents

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Subpoena Threatened Over Heavy-Lift Rocket
Aviation Week

Sen. John D. Rockefeller, 4th, plans to subpoena documents related to NASA’s plans for a heavy-lift space launch system (SLS) and other activities if the agency does not produce them by the close of business on June 27.

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Will Nimoy Go Boldly Where Shatner Refuses to Tread?

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William Shatner (Credit: Jerry Avenaim)

The Canadian Press reports:

“William Shatner has said that he’s scared to go into space and it’s quite ironic really when you think of his career,” company founder Sir Richard Branson told The Canadian Press.

“And, like most celebrities, he would like a freebie.”

“I’m in the airline business and a lot of people ask for upgrades and we’re not going to get the same thing happening with our space program.”

Branson says since Shatner isn’t interested, perhaps other crew members of the fictional USS Enterprise, like “Spock” (aka Leonard Nimoy), would jump at the chance.

“We’ll have to go out and ask them,” he added. “We haven’t actually yet, but I promise you we will.”