Spaceflight’s Cyber Monday Special: Get Nearly One-Third Off on CubeSat Launch

SHERPA QuadPack Plate - 28 3U CubeSats (Credit: Spaceflight)
SHERPA QuadPack Plate – 28 3U CubeSats (Credit: Spaceflight)

A note from Spaceflight:

With our Falcon 9 Dedicated Rideshare Launch Services, we are able to drastically reduce the price point for smallsat launch. This holiday season, we’re taking this one step further to offer a drastically reduced price point for CubeSat launch – $200,000 for a 3U – nearly a 33% discount from our list price.

This launch will nominally go to a 500km Sun Synch Orbit in 2018, and the offer is only valid until Dec 31st or when the SHERPA port becomes full. For more information on the launch and a quick and easy purchase, contact us at 866-204-1707 or

Happy Holidays!

SpaceWorks Launches Blink Astro LLC, New Satellite Subsidiary

spaceworks_logoATLANTA, GA, November 30, 2015 (SpaceWorks PR) — SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. announced today that it has formed a new subsidiary organization to develop and manufacture small satellites and to pursue satellite-based global machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity. Blink Astro, LLC (Blink) was founded earlier this month as a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based SpaceWorks. Blink will become the small satellite unit within the overall SpaceWorks group of companies and follows from an internal SpaceWorks project of the same name.


ALASA Launches on Hold Due to Exploding Fuel

Boeing's ALASA launch system features a F-15E aircraft and an innovative booster. (Credit: Boeing)
Boeing’s ALASA launch system features a F-15E aircraft and an innovative booster. (Credit: Boeing)

DARPA’s ALASA program has hit a small snag. It seems that Boeing’s secret sauce for the smallsat launcher is a bit too explosive:

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has scrapped plans to launch small satellites from a modified F-15 fighter jet after two tests of a new rocket fuel ended in explosions this year.

Instead DARPA will spend the next year studying how to harness the volatile nitrous oxide-acetylene propellant and, in parallel, modifications to existing small rockets that would enable the agency place small satellites on orbit on 24 hours notice at a cost of less than $1 million.

In March 2014, Boeing Defense Space and Security of Huntington Beach, California, won a contract potentially worth $104 million to build and demonstrate the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) system. The program was intended to demonstrate the capability to launch up to 45 kilograms of payload into low Earth orbit on short notice for as little as $1 million.

“The magic” in Boeing’s design, as DARPA officials described it, was the powerful nitrous oxide-acetylene propellant, also known as NA-7. The propellant would be “pre-mixed” to reduce the plumbing needed on the rocket, enabling it to carry more payload.

Boeing led two subsystem tests in Promontory, Utah – one in August and one in April – aimed at learning how the pre-mixed propellant reacted to different temperatures, pressures and atmospheric conditions. In both tests, the propellant exploded.

This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Nov. 30, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST; 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome back Dr. LINDA SPILKER, Cassini Scientist at JPL. We will be discussing the latest news from Saturn and the vicinity.

2. Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): We welcome TIMOTHY SANDEFUR, ATTY regarding his recent article in The Claremont Review, “The Politics of Star Trek.” You can download and read it at

3. Friday, Dec. 4, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PST (12:30-2 PM EST; 11:30-1 PM CST) No show due to physical therapy.

4. Sunday, Dec. 6 2015: 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): The Space Show goes nuclear with the return of guest Dr. James Dewar, proponent of nuclear propulsion along with nuclear liftoff from Earth.

Video: Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides at ISPCS

Video Caption: Virgin Galactic will be Earth’s first spaceline, aiming to open access to space for new human and satellite customers. Virgin Galactic CEO George T. Whitesides will share his views on the economic opportunities for space and the latest progress of SpaceShipTwo, which will take private citizens to space, and the development of launch services through LauncherOne.

NASA Selects Final Frontier to Test IVA Spacesuit in Microgravity

Test Team 1, Trainee Shawna Pandya (L), Test Director Kari Love (Middle), and Trainee Callum Wallach (R), after successful completion of initial round of microgravity test flights in Ottawa, October 2015. (Credit: Ross Lockwood)
Test Team 1, Trainee Shawna Pandya (L), Test Director Kari Love (Middle), and Trainee Callum Wallach (R), after successful completion of initial round of microgravity test flights in Ottawa, October 2015. (Credit: Ross Lockwood)

BROOKLYN, NY (FFD PR) – Last week, Final Frontier Design (FFD)’s proposal,“Testing of a Novel IVA Space Suit” was selected by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program. As one of eight recipients, FFD will receive funds to develop and build a test article space suit and to conduct reduced gravity testing on their suit during parabolic flights.


NSS Praises Signing of Commercial Space Competitiveness Act

nss_logoWASHINGTON, DC (NSS PR) — On November 25, 2015, President Obama signed the landmark Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA). NSS congratulates President Obama and the Senate and House leadership for their hard work in hammering out a compromise between the previously passed House and Senate versions.

“It is hard to over-emphasize the importance of the CSLCA,” said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. “There are a lot of excellent provisions in this legislation, and we want to thank House Majority Leader McCarthy for guiding the final version to the President’s desk.”


Moon Express Praises Signing of Commercial Space Act

WASHINGTON, DC, November 25th, 2015 (Moon Express PR) – Today, history was made when President Obama signed legislation into law recognizing and promoting the rights of Moon Express to explore, harvest and own resources from the Moon. This historic law was passed as Title IV of the “U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act”, making the United States the first nation to explicitly recognize private sector mining rights for water and minerals obtained from the Moon.


Space Frontier Foundation Praises Signing of Commercial Space Act, Promotes 2 New Measures

sff_logoSILICON VALLEY, Calif. – The Space Frontier Foundation applauds the signing of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262) into law, and thanks all those involved in the passage of the landmark bill. With the passage of this legislation, the Space Frontier Foundation now calls on all space supporters to further ensure the successful economic development and settlement of space through the passage of two bills – the Space Exploration, Development and Settlement Act (SEDS) and the Cheap Access to Space Act (CATS). These three bills lay the legal groundwork for space settlement.

“The signing of CSLCA marks a historic, exciting moment in humanity’s enduring quest to explore the unknown,” said Hannah Kerner, executive director of the Space Frontier Foundation. “As Americans, the bill extends our free-market values into space, which is absolutely essential if we are going to succeed at creating an environment where commercial space businesses thrive.”


Technology Tested on Spaceport America Rocket Launch

 SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NASA PR) — An UP Aerospace SpaceLoft sounding rocket soared into the sky Nov. 6 from Spaceport America, New Mexico, carrying four technology experiments for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program that funded the launch of these technologies.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Parabolic Arc is taking the day off for holiday cheer. Happy Thanksgiving!

Federation Praises Blue Origin Flight

CSF_logo2Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) Member Blue Origin celebrated a historic milestone yesterday, announcing that it safely and successfully completed a controlled, vertical return of the New Shepard rocket booster to its West Texas launch pad after reaching a planned test altitude of 329,839 feet (100.5 km). The fully-reusable spacecraft is designed to carry astronauts on a suborbital spaceflight to experience weightlessness and view the Earth through the largest windows to ever fly in space. The New Shepard vehicle also expands access and capabilities for suborbital researchers through NASA STMD’s Flight Opportunities Program.

Through this historic landing, Blue Origin has demonstrated the economic viability of reusability, a revolutionary approach to spaceflight that counts fellow CSF Members Masten Space Systems and SpaceX among its pioneers.  Reusable rocketry holds the promise of driving down launch costs and decreasing turn-around time.

“This is yet another example that confirms the USA’s successful equation for a 21st century space industry: innovative regulatory framework combined with open access to NASA’s institutional knowledge and commercial ingenuity, perseverance, and patience can achieve great things,” said Eric Stallmer, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

“Through the flexible regulatory framework prescribed by the recently-passed CSLCA, spacecraft designers have leeway to design safe and innovative vehicles, like Blue Origin’s New Shepard, that continue to push the bounds of our technological advancement in space,” added CSF Executive Director Tommy Sanford. “Supporting a regulatory environment that catalyzes innovation and ingenuity in design was Congress’s intent with the CSLCA and, as the recent flight of New Shepard demonstrates, it clearly payed off.”

Outgoing USAF Acquisition Chief Worried About Access to Space

Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)
Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)

Outgoing U.S. Air Force Acquisition Chief William LaPlante has expressed concern about maintaining access to space as ULA transitions to a new launch vehicle:

LaPlante leaves his post with at least one nagging concern: ensuring access to space. Congress recently pushed to move away from reliance on Russian-made engines to launch satellites into space, but LaPlante doubts the US can quickly transition entirely to a homegrown engine while simultaneously ensuring competition and maintaining access to space.

“I think the space launch situation is serious for the country.” LaPlante told reporters during a Nov. 24 media roundtable at the Pentagon. “You can get competition, you can get two independent ways to get into space or you can get off the Russian engines — I don’t see how you do all three in the next four years.”

LaPlante’s remarks come on the heels of a controversial showdown between the Pentagon and United Launch Alliance, which until this year was the sole provider of military launch. ULA recently pulled out of the Air Force’s GPS III competition, citing insufficient stores of the Russian RD-180 rocket engine after Congress banned the use of the power plant for military satellite launches after 2019.

Read the full story.