Monthly Archive for August, 2013

Happy Labor Day!

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doug_emerald_bay_lake_tahoe
It is the Labor Day weekend here in the United States, which is an occasion for all of us laborers to not do any work and enjoy one last gasp of summer.

I have escaped the Mojave Desert for a few days up in the higher and cooler environs of Lake Arrowhead. (No, that’s not Arrowhead in the picture, it’s Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe in winter — hence the snow. I just think it’s a neat picture, and I don’t have any good ones from Arrowhead yet.)

In any event, barring some really spectacular bit of space news, I will only be doing some light blogging until Tuesday. So, happy Labor Day to all those celebrating it across America!

A Video Report on Test of ESA’s IXV System

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Description: Europe’s newest spacecraft, the IXV, or Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle, has moved a step closer to its planned launch in 2014.

The craft completed a pre-launch test off the coast of Sardinia, which involved it being dropped into the Mediterranean from a height of 3,000 metres.

Continue reading ‘A Video Report on Test of ESA’s IXV System’

Rogozin: Russia to Consolidate Space Sector into Open Joint Stock Company

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Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

The Russian government plans to consolidate its space sector in an open joint stock company called the United Rocket and Space Corporation in a way that would preserve and enhance the Roscosmos space agency, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

In a recent Q&A with Kommersant, Russia’s space czar said President Vladimir Putin had approved the plan, which had been put forward by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, at a meeting on June 11.  Rogozin said the failure prone space sector is so troubled that it needs state supervision to overcome its problems.

Russia uses the open joint stock company structure in a number of key sectors, including airlines (Aeroflot), railroads (Russian Railways), and energy (Gazprom).  These companies are somewhat similar to limited liability partnerships and corporations in the United States.

Rogozin said he is awaiting a detailed proposal from Roscosmos on how to accomplish the transition. He added that the company would obtain a controlling interest in the Energia company. Currently, the government owns 38 percent of the rocket company.

Russia employs about 250,000 people in its space sector, while the United States has about 70,000 people working in the field, Rogozin said. Russian productivity is eight times lower than in America, with companies duplicating each others’ work and operating at about 40 percent efficiency.

Rogozin seemed to throw cold water on earlier reports that quoted him as saying the government planned to consolidate both space and aviation under one structure. The Google Translate version is a little unclear, but it appears that government wants to two sectors to work more closely together on joint projects where each side has expertise. He mentioned an air-launched rocket project and hypersonic missiles and aircraft as examples.

Editor’s Note:  A big shout out to Nickolai Belakovski for his help in clearing up uncertainties in the Google Translate text. Appreciate it.

Virgin Galactic to Hold Career Fair in Mojave on Sept. 7

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Credit: Ken Brown

Credit: Ken Brown

Virgin Galactic Career Fair

Career Fair will showcase open positions with in-person and virtual participation opportunities.

WHAT:

Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline and flagship of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, along with its sister space vehicle manufacturing organization, The Spaceship Company, are hosting a career fair in Mojave, Calif., and online to expand their best-in-class teams. More than 100 positions are available for innovative engineers, procurement gurus, superstar composite technicians and more, offering a truly out-of-this-world career with history-making opportunities.

Open positions can be viewed online at http://www.virgingalactic.com/careers/ and http://www.thespaceshipcompany.com/careers.

WHEN:

Saturday, Sept. 7, from 8 to 11 a.m. PST

WHERE:

In-person Career Fair
Mojave Air and Spaceport
16555 Spaceship Landing Way
Mojave, CA

Virtual Career Fair

Interested applicants who are unable to come to Mojave, can join our virtual career fair where technicians, engineers, executives and possibly a pilot or two will answer participants’ questions:

Google+ Hangout virtual career fair: google.com/+VirginGalactic

Saturday, Sept. 7, from 9 to 10 a.m. PST

ISRO Delays GSLV Launch Until December After Fuel Leak

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GSLV1ISRO Mission Update

The launch of GSLV-D5 (with Indian Cryogenic Stage), scheduled for 16:50 hrs on August 19, 2013, had to be called off due to a leak observed in the UH25 Fuel system of the Liquid Second Stage, during the last lap of the countdown.

At the time of calling off the Countdown, the GSLV Vehicle was loaded with 210 tons of liquid and cryogenic propellants. About 750 kg of UH25 Fuel had leaked out, leading to contamination of the area around the launch pad.

Continue reading ‘ISRO Delays GSLV Launch Until December After Fuel Leak’

Commercial Spaceflight Federation Taking All-Astronaut Panel to Twitter

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csf_logo_newestWashington D.C. (CSF PR) — Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Michael Lopez-Alegria will be moderating an all-astronaut panel on Wednesday, September 4th at 5PM CDT as part of a three-day long meeting of commercial space industry leaders in the Houston area. The Director of Aviation for the City of Houston, Mario Diaz, will be opening the panel with remarks on the progress of establishing Ellington Airport as a spaceport. The panel will take place at Space Center Houston and will be webcast live from http://www.commercialspaceflight.org. The event is open to public in Houston and tweeted questions will be taken from space enthusiasts around the world.

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Virginia, Alaska Sign MOU to Form Space Launch Partnership

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The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Virginia.  NASA's commercial space partner, Orbital Sciences Corporation, is scheduled to launch Antares on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.  Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, Tuesday, April 16, 2013 in Virginia. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

RICHMOND, VA (Office of Bob McDonnell PR) — Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Alaska Governor Sean Parnell jointly announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a formal operating relationship between the Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority (VCSFA) and the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC).

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Special Aerospace Services Teams With UC Boulder

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special_aerospace_servicesBOULDER, Colo. (SAS PR) — Special Aerospace Services (SAS), a leader in aerospace systems engineering solutions, announced on August 28, 2013 that it has signed a teaming agreement with the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. The agreement will leverage talent and technical expertise between the two organizations.

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Tethers Unlimited Awarded NIAC Phase II Contract

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The NIAC SpiderFab project is developing technologies to enable robotic spacecraft to fabricate giant antennas, solar arrays, and telescopes in space. (Credit: TUI)

The NIAC SpiderFab project is developing technologies to enable robotic spacecraft to fabricate giant
antennas, solar arrays, and telescopes in space. (Credit: TUI)

Bothell, WA, 29 August 2013 (TUI PR) – NASA announced today that the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program has selected Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) for award of a $500,000 Phase II contract to continue
development of its “SpiderFab™” technologies for in space fabrication of spacecraft components.

Continue reading ‘Tethers Unlimited Awarded NIAC Phase II Contract’

NASA Selects 2013 NIAC Concepts for Continued Study

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NIAC_logoWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected six technology proposals for continued study under the agency’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program.

The proposals selected for Phase 2 of the 2013 NIAC Program address a range of visionary concepts including photonic laser thrusters, extreme sample return, and innovative spherical robots designed for planetary exploration. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate based the selections on their potential to transform future aerospace missions, introduce new capabilities, or significantly improve current approaches to building and operating aerospace systems.

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Sirangelo Appointed as Colorado’s New Chief Innovation Officer

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Mark Sirangelo (Credit: SNC)

Mark Sirangelo (Credit: SNC)

Via Office of John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced on Aug. 29, 2013 the appointment of Mark Sirangelo, head of Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, as the Chairman of the Colorado Innovation Network (COIN) and as the state’s new Chief Innovation Officer. He will begin work Aug. 30.

“Mark’s experience in aerospace, a heavily innovative and important industry in Colorado, will serve him well as he leads the state’s efforts to increase our innovative competitiveness,” Hickenlooper said. “He is a well respected business executive and understands the necessity of collaboration in building this type of ecosystem. We are proud he is joining our team.”

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GLXP Video: Red Whittaker Talks About Astrobotics Plans for the Moon

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Video Caption: Leading roboticist, Red Whittaker, takes you through his journey of leading teams to create the world’s most innovative robots, including a robot that will compete for the Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge to launch to the moon. Learn more at http://bit.ly/cjRvqB

ULA Launches Massive Delta IV From Vandenberg

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Launch of Delta IV NROL-65, August 28, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

Launch of Delta IV NROL-65, August 28, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Credit: ULA)

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Aug. 28, 2013 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 here at 11:03 a.m. PDT today. Designated NROL-65, the mission is in support of national defense. This is ULA’s eighth launch in 2013, the 24th Delta IV mission and the second Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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Russia Mulls Ban of RD-180 Engine Exports

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Atlas V launches OTV3 into orbit from Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance.)

Atlas V launches OTV3 into orbit from Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance.)

The Kremlin funded RT news channel reports that the Russian Security Council is considering a ban on the export of RD-180 rocket engines that power the first stage of ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicle.

A specially created joint venture, RD-AMROSS, between NPO Energomash and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, has already delivered 63 engines to the US worth $11-15 million apiece, reportedly 40 of them have already been used. In December 2012, a new contract was signed to deliver another 31 engines. But this contract is now being reconsidered by Russia’s Security Council, according to Izvestia.

Continue reading ‘Russia Mulls Ban of RD-180 Engine Exports’

NASA Engine Test With 3-D Printed Part Successful

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A 3-D printed rocket part blazes to life during a hot-fire test. (Credit: NASA/MSFC/David Olive)

A 3-D printed rocket part blazes to life during a hot-fire test. (Credit: NASA/MSFC/David Olive)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA ever has tested blazed to life Thursday, Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.

This test is a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware. Innovations like additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, foster new and more cost-effective capabilities in the U.S. space industry.

Continue reading ‘NASA Engine Test With 3-D Printed Part Successful’