Found this on the Scaled Composites website. It seems the company is hitting the big 3-0 this year. Congratulations are in order! You don’t look a day over 29!
Monthly Archive for April, 2012Page 3 of 14
Sparks, NV – (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems has signed several Space Act Agreements (SAA) with NASA’s Johnson Space Center dating back to May 2011 to assist in both the technical development of, and operations support for, the Dream Chaser®Space System. SNC has received funding awards from NASA in both rounds of the Commercial Crew Development Program and has chosen to re-invest capital back into the space agency through SAAs with individual Centers, including Houston’s Johnson Space Center, to leverage NASA’s experience and expertise in human spaceflight.
KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) – Blue Origin successfully tested the design of its next-generation Space Vehicle, completing a series of wind tunnel tests to refine the aerodynamic characteristics of the spacecraft’s unique biconic shape. The tests were carried out as part of Blue Origin’s partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under the agency’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program. Blue Origin is designing the Space Vehicle to provide safe, affordable transport of up to seven astronauts to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.
The Wall Street Journal has an update on RocketMotorTwo:
–Expects to finish developing spacecraft engine in weeks
–Sees first commercial fee-paying customers reaching space by the end of 2013
–Abu Dhabi selected by Virgin to become the second location for its SpacePort
Richard Branson’s space travel company, Virgin Galactic, which is 32% owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments, expects to finish developing its rocket engine in the next two months, the group’s chief executive said, marking a significant step in its ambition to become the first commercial space flight operator.
The rest of this is behind a firewall.
CSA PR – “Here, there be dragons”…the phrase used to designate the boundaries of the known world on historical maps seems fitting as the US space program embarks upon a new frontier in space exploration with the launch of the first commercial demonstration flight to the International Space Station. However, rarely were the monsters of yore as eagerly anticipated as SpaceX’s Dragon, the first privately built cargo ship destined for the orbiting outpost.
The FY13 Commerce, Justice, and Science Draft Committee Report [PDF] says that NASA should immediately down select to a single competitor in the commercial crew program to save money and time in fielding a shuttle replacement:
“The Committee believes that many of these concerns would be addressed by an immediate downselect to a single competitor or, at most, the execution of a leader-follower paradigm in which NASA makes one large award to a main commercial partner and a second small award to a back-up partner.”
In short, the committee believes the commercial crew program is too expensive and will take too long. Legislators also do not believe there is a market for more than one crew provider and that the program risks becoming another Solyndra. So, they want commercial crew to look as much like a traditional NASA procurement, with one provider and procurement under traditional Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).
A section of the report outlining the committee’s thinking in detailed is reproduced after the break. Thanks to Clark Lindsey for finding it.
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation today hit back at a House plan to strictly limit the way that NASA can conduct its commercial crew program. CSF released the following statement from President Michael Lopez-Alegria:
“The funding level provided in the draft Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill produced by the House Appropriations Committee represents a commitment to the Commercial Crew Program that is greatly appreciated by the industry,” said Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Michael Lopez-Alegria. “As important, however, is preserving competition in the program, as the vehicles are not sufficiently mature to enable NASA to confidently select a single vehicle at this time. The next phase of the program should also maintain the use of Space Act Agreements, which require meaningful investment by the competing companies to augment NASA funding. NASA does plan to move to FAR-based contracts at the appropriate time prior to certifying any provider to carry crew. We believe NASA has carefully designed a program that maintains competition, and preserves safety, through the development and certification process, and that uses the appropriate contracting mechanism at each stage. It is best to leave decisions on program management to the NASA human spaceflight professionals who have access to all the information and have worked closely with all the competing companies. If the language in the report were applied to the current round of competition, it would result in a significant delay in restoring U.S. human access to orbit.”
The statement is a response to the House’s demands that NASA quicken the pace of the program, limit competition, and use traditional contracting methods. The House approach was summarized in a written statement by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), chairman of the House’s Science subcommittee, that read:
“Commercial Crew development is funded at $500 million, consistent with the current authorization and the report accompanying the House Budget Resolution. In light of limited budgets and the need to find the fastest, safest and most cost effective means of achieving a U.S. capability for access to the International Space Station, the bill directs NASA to winnow the commercial partners and advance the schedule for moving to traditional government procurement methods.”
The Obama Administration has requested $830 million for the program in the FY 2013 budget. The House cuts that amount to $500 million while the Senate wants to provide $525 million. Previous cuts in the budget have already caused schedule delays that will lengthen American dependence upon the Russians for access to the International Space Station.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 24, 2012 (ME PR) – Moon Express, a Google Lunar X PRIZE contender, announced today that some of the world’s leading planetary scientists have joined its Science Advisory Board (SAB) to assist the company in its plans to explore and ultimately mine the Moon for precious planetary resources.
Moon Express Chief Scientist and former NASA Associate Administrator in charge of all the Agency’s science, Dr. Alan Stern, selected the advisory board of internationally recognized leaders within the lunar science community. The Moon Express SAB includes:
- Dr. Jack Burns/University of Colorado: NASA Lunar Science Institute (NSLI) Node PI, Astronomer & former Chair of the NASA Advisory Council’s Science Committee
- Dr. Randy Korotev/Washington University: Lunar Geochemist
- Dr. Steve Mackwell/LPI: Head, Lunar and PIanetary Institute (LPI)
- Dr. Wendell Mendell/LPI: Lunar Generalist, Exploration Expert & former Chief, NASA Office for Lunar & Planetary Exploration for Constellation
- Dr. Clive Neal/U. of Notre Dame: Chair, NASA Lunar Exploration Advisory Group