Monthly Archive for October, 2012

Mojave Spaceport CEO Witt Corrects Bill Richardson Story


Mojave Air and Space Port CEO/General Manager Stu Witt has set the record straight about the hiring of former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

It had been widely reported that the East Kern Airport District (EKAD) Board of Directors would be meeting on Wednesday to consider an agreement to hire Richardson to help strengthen California’s informed consent law, which covers commercial spaceflights.

Witt told the EKAD board that these reports are incorrect. The Mojave spaceport did hire Richardson earlier this year as a consultant to help get the original legislation approved. That work is now over, and there are no current plans to hire Richardson, who was paid $10,000 for his services.

The EKAD board did meet in special session on Wednesday to approve an expenditure for improvement work on two of the airport’s main roads. Witt said there’s a need to get the work done now because Mojave is currently experiencing a spell of warm weather that will make the repairs more effective.

The EKAD board will meet for a regularly scheduled session next Tuesday.

Latest Lurio Report Published

The Lurio Report
Dragon Reaches ISS Despite Falcon Engine Shutdown, Altius, ‘Blue’ and XCOR News, Farewells
Quick Updates
Altius Gains Contracts and SAA
Stig B Flies, Is Recovered Properly…But
Progress at Blue Origin, XCOR Aerospace and The Suborbital Advantage
Blue Origin – Successful Thrust Chamber Firing, Pad Escape Tests and More
XCOR Aerospace – Engine Fired From Within Lynx, Vehicle-Mounted Solar Observatory
Baumgartner’s Jump
To Two Pioneers, “Ave atque vale”
Neil Armstrong
Ray Bradbury
Personal Update
Dear Acquaintances,
- CRS Mission Succeeds But Engine Shut-Down Has Consequences -
Delivering to ISS Despite A Major Launch Incident
“Engine Out” Uncertainty, Investigation and The Updated Falcon
Orbcomm Satellite Achieves Main Goals Despite Curtailed Life
Conclusions – An ‘Accidental’ Positive?

SpaceX Mission Assurance Official Leaves for Raytheon


Scott Henderson

Florida Today reports that Scott Henderson, SpaceX’s director of Mission Assurance and Integration, has left the company to take on a vice president role at Raytheon’s Integrated Information Systems Division.

“It is my understanding that he got an offer he couldn’t refuse,” said SpaceX spokeswoman Katherine Nelson. “While we certainly will miss his contributions to SpaceX, we absolutely wish him all the best.”

In addition to his mission assurance role, Henderson headed SpaceX’s external relations in Florida. In that role he was the company’s primary liaison between NASA, the Air Force and elected officials from the state.

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Awesome SXC Video of Jet Training for Spaceflight


This Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) video shows Harry van Hulten flying a L-39 Albatros aircraft in a simulation of spaceflight. SXC handles training and ticket sales for XCOR’s Lynx suborbital space plane.

New Mexico Governor to Renew Push for Expanded Informed Consent Law


WhiteKnightTwo beside the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space in New Mexico. (Credit: David Wilson, Spaceport America)

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez will make a renewed push to have an informed consent law extended to spacecraft manufacturers and supplier in order to make Spaceport America more competitive. An effort earlier this year failed due to the oppositi0n of trail lawyers.

The renewed push, set for next year’s legislative session, comes as news broke that the Mojave Air and Space Port in California is hiring former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is being hired as a consultant to get similar legislation pushed in the Golden State. The Albuquerque Journal reports:

Scott Darnell, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, said, “Richardson is certainly free to consult or help with the spaceport activities of another state, but in New Mexico, this just highlights how important it is for us to ensure that we continue to lead in this industry by passing legislation in the upcoming session that prevents lawsuit abuse.”

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SpaceX to Stay in Hawthorne for 10 More Years


The city of Hawthorne, Calif., has ponied up to convince SpaceX to keep its headquarters there for another decade:

SpaceX agreed to stay in its 1-million-square-foot headquarters building through 2022 as long as the city reduces certain taxes on the business as promised.

The deal includes a $260,000 cap on annual business license fees, which are calculated based on gross receipts – meaning that the more revenue SpaceX makes, the more fees it would have to pay. This agreement will allow SpaceX to maintain a flat tax rate as it gets larger.

Additionally, if SpaceX chooses to expand its facilities in the city, fees for planning and building will be dramatically reduced by 75 percent of what is normally charged. City officials, aware that officials in Florida and Texas were trying to woo the emerging rocket company, enthusiastically backed the deal in a unanimous City Council vote last week….

The company has about 2,000 employees and is in the process of hiring hundreds more. Hawthorne officials expect to receive a total of about $600,000 annually in fees from the business once its current expansion is complete. The city currently receives about $475,000 a year from gross receipts, property taxes, commercial utility taxes and employee sales taxes.

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B612, Ball Aerospace Sign Agreement for Sentinel Imaging Sensors


BOULDER, Colo. (Ball PR) — Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. and the non-profit B612 Foundation have signed a contract for Ball to create prototype infrared imaging sensors for the Sentinel Mission, a deep space mission to protect Earth by providing early warning of threatening asteroids. Ball’s detector design characterization initiates the first phase of developing Sentinel’s 20-inch diameter, space-based infrared telescope.

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Interorbital Test Fires Rocket in Mojave


Interorbital Systems engine firing in Mojave. (Credit: IOS)

MOJAVE, Oct. 28, 2012 (IOS PR) —On a calm clear high-desert October evening, Interorbital Systems’ NEPTUNE rocket series’ main engine roared to life in its first hot-firing test.

The engine, the IOS GPRE 7.5KNTA (General Purpose Rocket Engine; 7,500lb-thrust; Nitric Acid; Turpentine; Ablative cooling), blasted a 22-foot (6.71-meter) plume of fire across Interorbital’s Mojave Spaceport test area, scorching the sand an additional 50 feet (15.24 meters) beyond the plume end.

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Europe Hears SpaceX’s Footsteps as it Debates Ariane 5’s Future


Ariane 5 lifts off from Kourou.Space officials in Europe are deeply divided over the future of the Ariane 5 rocket as they face competition from other national programs and companies such as SpaceX. Speaking at a recent roundtable, Arianespace Chief Executive Jean-Yves Le Gall identified  the two main threats to Europe’s launch vehicle business:

The first, he said, is the nonmarket economies of Russia, China and India, all of which either have or are developing rockets to compete with Arianespace’s fleet of vehicles.

The second threat, he said, comes from “a couple of guys in a garage in Silicon Valley who start with a blank sheet of paper and come up with a brilliant idea.”

Unfortunately for Le Gall, there is no consensus among European space officials about how to meet these threats as an ESA ministerial meeting looms at the end of November.

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Molecular Geneticist Join SARG


Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation welcomes Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul from the University of Florida to the Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG). Dr. Paul has an extensive background in molecular genetics with a specific interest in the applications of space-based research to study adaptive responses in an environment that is outside of the subject’s terrestrial norm. She is currently a Research Associate Professor in the University of Florida’s Genetics Institute.

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