DOD Awards $69.8 Million More to Aerojet Rocketdyne for AR-1, RL-10CX Development

Staged-combustion testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for the AR1 program is being developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne. (Credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

WASHINGTON, DC (DOD PR) — Aerojet Rocketdyne, Canoga Park, California, has been awarded a $69,804,323 modification (P00014) to a previously awarded other transaction agreement (FA8811-16-9-0003) for the development of the AR1 booster engine and the RL10CX upper stage engine for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

This action implements Section 1604 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015, which requires the development of a next-generation rocket propulsion system that will transition away from the use of non-allied space launch engines to a domestic alternative for National Security Space launches.

Work will be performed in Canoga Park, California; Sacramento, California; Centennial, Colorado; Huntsville, Alabama; Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Los Angeles Air Force Base, California. The work on the AR1 is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2019, and the work on the RL10CX is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.

Fiscal 2017 research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) funds in the amount of $63,014,148; and fiscal 2018 RDT&E funds in the amount of $20,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award. The Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, California, is the contracting activity.

Aldrin Family Statement on Buzz’s Lawsuit

NASA then- Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin at Spaceport America in 2010. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

“We are deeply disappointed and saddened by the unjustified lawsuit that has been brought against us individually and against the Foundation that we have built together as a family to carry on Dad’s legacy for generations to come. When we established the current structure several years ago, it was done so at Buzz’s request and with his full support. If nothing else, our family is resilient and our ability to work together to solve problems and accomplish great things is strong. We love and respect our father very much and remain hopeful that we can rise above this situation and recover the strong relationship that built this foundation in the first place. We will not be commenting further on the lawsuit and ask your understanding and respect for our family privacy at this extremely difficult time.”

— Andrew and Janice Aldrin

Rocket Lab Scrubs Electron Launch, 2-Day Stand Down

The first commercial launch of the Electron booster will carry five small satellites. The next launch window in Monday in New Zealand and Sunday evening in the United States.

Space Florida, Israel Innovation Authority Announce Fifth Round Winners of Innovation Partner Funding

EXPLORATION PARK, FL and AIRPORT CITY, ISRAEL — June 21, 2018 (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida, the aerospace and spaceport development authority for the State of Florida, and the Israel Innovation Authority, created to maintain Israel’s position at the forefront of global innovation, are pleased to announce the fifth-round winners of industrial research and development funding tied to the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program.

In October 2013, Florida and Israel created a $2 million recurring joint fund to support research, development and commercialization of aerospace and technology projects that benefit both Israel and Florida. For this Call for Projects, in total, 14 joint proposals were submitted by teams of for-profit companies in Florida and Israel, and four teams have been selected for the fifth round awards.

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Buzz Aldrin Sues His Children

Buzz Aldrin salutes during the singing of the National Anthem at the Spaceport America runway dedication. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Buzz Aldrin has sued one of his sons, his daughter and the secretary of his foundation alleging misappropriations of funds and slander.

The lawsuit — filed on June 7 in Brevard County, Florida — alleges that Andrew Aldrin improperly transferred $475,000 from Buzz’s account at Morgan Stanley into his own bank account in 2017 and 2018 without the knowledge of the Apollo 11 astronaut.

The suit also alleges that Andrew Aldrin and Christina Korp, who is secretary of the Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation, have each “made monthly business and personal charges of up to $60,000 under the guise of trustee, power of attorney, and/or employee, and without the Plaintiff’s consent and/or knowledge or against Plaintiff’s expressed wishes authorized payment of such bills through Plaintiff’s personal checking account/funds.”

Buzz Aldrin also alleged that Andrew Aldrin and Korp “have effective established a de facto guardianship over Plaintiff” without a legal basis to have rights to his credit cards, bank accounts, trust money and other property.

“In their acting capacities and individually, Defendant Andrew Aldrin and Defendant Christina Korp, have assumed control and access to Plaintiff’s personal credit cards, bank accounts, trust money, space memorabilia, space artifacts, social media accounts and all elements of the Buzz Aldrin brand,” the suit alleged.

The lawsuits said that Buzz Aldrin invoked a revocable trust agreement appointing his son Andrew as trustee. Andrew also has power of attorney and serves as president of Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation, and the Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Institute of Technology.

The lawsuit also alleged Andrew Aldrin and Korp “have been for the past number of years been slandering Plaintiff in public and/or to other individuals or small groups by stating Plaintiff has dementia and Alzheimer’s. Defendants have used this tactic to gain further control over Plaintiff’s personal relationships business contacts, and assets.”

The suit also alleged that Andrew Aldrin, Korp and Buzz’s daughter, Janice Aldrin, have forbidden the retired astronaut from marrying and “deliberately have undermined bullied and defamed all of Plaintiff’s personal romantic relationships.”

The lawsuit says that Buzz revoked all powers of attorney and fired Korp from her position. However, Andrew Aldrin ignored the plaintiff’s request and Korp continues to be employed.

The legal action also names as defendants a number of organizations the astronaut established to represent him, including the Buzz Aldrin Enterprises, Buzz Aldrin Space Foundation, the Aldrin Space Institute and others.

NASA Selects Lessee for Massive Housing Development at Moffett Field

Moffett Field (Credit: NASA)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has selected Mountain View Housing Ventures, LLC, an affiliate of CRC Partners LLC, as the preferred selected lessee to develop housing on NASA property in Moffett Field, California.

NASA and the U.S General Services Administration posted a development opportunity in October 2017, requesting proposals to construct and operate a minimum of 1,930 housing units on 46 acres of federal property.

NASA will begin negotiations with the selected organization in order to establish a long-term lease under its enhanced use lease authority.

With a severe shortage of housing across the Bay Area, NASA Ames is looking to use this development as an opportunity to provide housing for those who work or go to school on the NASA property.

“We are looking forward to doing our part to help mitigate traffic and provide housing for the community,” said Ames Associate Center Director Deborah Feng. “Partnering with industry, academia and other organizations has afforded us with unique opportunities to advance our mission here at NASA Ames.”

To view the request for proposals, visit:

https://go.usa.gov/xRsjZ

For information about federal business opportunities through the GSA, visit:

https://www.fbo.gov/

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

SpaceX to Launch Majority of 4,000 Starlink Satellites From Cape Canaveral

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with a Dragon resupply ship on April 2, 2018. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The draft environmental assessment for SpaceX’s proposed expansion at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) also revealed that Elon Musk’s rocket company plans to most of more than 4,000 satellites of its planned Starlink constellation from Cape Canaveral.

That will guarantee a busy schedule for SpaceX’s Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at KSC and LC-40 at the adjoining Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). LC-39A can accommodate Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters while LC-40 is configured for the Falcon 9.

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Trump Administration Proposes Turning NASA Centers into Federally Funded R&D Facilities

The Trump Administration has proposed establishing “an accelerated process” to determine whether one or more government-owned and operated NASA field centers should be transformed into a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) operated by a private entity.

“The new National Space Strategy and National Space Policy Directive 1 require the full agility of NASA, in concert with its commercial and international partners, in order to realize the President’s goals to return American astronauts to the moon and follow with human missions to Mars,” the administration said. “In order to bolster NASA’s agility, increased use of FFRDCs could provide greater flexibility than civil servant organizations, potentially allowing them to better meet the agency’s evolving needs.”

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SpaceX Wins Contract for U.S. Air Force Launch

Lifting off at 3:45 p.m. from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy begins its demonstration flight. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

LOS ANGELES (SpaceX PR) — Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), Hawthorne, California, has been awarded a $130,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract, for launch services to deliver the Air Force Space Command-52 satellite to its intended orbit.

This launch service contract will include launch vehicle production and mission, as well as integration, launch operations and spaceflight worthiness activities. Work will be performed in Hawthorne, California; Kennedy Space Center, Florida; and McGregor, Texas, and is expected to be completed by September 2020.

This award is the result of a competitive acquisition, and two proposals were received. Fiscal 2018 space procurement funds in the amount of $130,000,000 will be obligated at the time of award. The Contracting Division, Launch Systems Enterprise Directorate, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity (FA8811-18-C-0003). (Awarded June 20, 2018)

New Images of Asteroid Ryugu from Hayabusa-2

Asteroid Ryugu imaged by Hayabusa2 from between 220 ~ 100 km. (Credit: JAXA)

Comment by Project Scientist, Sei-ichiro Watanbe

The direction of the rotation is reversed compared to the Earth, with a rotation period of about 7.5 hours.

The diameter of Ryugu is about 900m, which is consistent with the prediction from ground observations. However, since the distance between the spacecraft and Ryugu is not precisely determined, there is still some uncertainty in the exact diameter at this time.

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Asteroid Institute Praises U.S. Government Plan for Asteroid Defense

Message From Ed Lu, Asteroid Institute Executive Director

In December 2016, the U.S. Government released its strategy document on preparing for and preventing asteroid impacts in which they outlined which government agencies would be involved in the planning for such an event, and the broad goals to be achieved. At the time, we commented that it was good news that the government was taking the issue of asteroid impacts seriously, but what would really matter is the concrete steps they actually take towards meeting their goals.

Yesterday, the U.S. Government released an implementation plan for carrying out the strategy laid out in 2016. The good news is the report recommends beginning preliminary mission designs towards eventually testing asteroid deflection technologies including both gravity tractors and kinetic impactors. Since our inception, we have recommended the testing of such technologies, ahead of when they might actually be used for real, and we wholeheartedly agree with these initial steps.

Also, we concur with the emphasis on finding and tracking asteroids as a necessary step. The Asteroid Institute, through its Asteroid Decision Analysis and Mapping (ADAM) project, is working on computational tools for interpreting and understanding the flood of new asteroids which will be discovered and tracked in the near future when telescopes like the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) come online in the next few years. The Asteroid Institute also agrees with the recommendation that these surveys should be extended down to asteroids as small as approximately 50 meters across. The Asteroid Institute is working on new technologies which could aid in their discovery and tracking.

Thank you for your support.

To our future,

Dr. Ed Lu
Executive Director
Asteroid Institute

Space Florida Approves Funding for Multiple Projects

Conceptual SpaceX hangar for Falcon maintenance and storage

Space Florida has approved an $1.5 million loan to a lunar landing company and $18.9 million in upgrades and infrastructure improvements to support Blue Origin, SpaceX and an unidentified horizontal launch and landing venture, Florida Today reports.

At a board meeting Wednesday in Tampa, the state agency responsible for aerospace economic development approved loaning $1.5 million to a company identified only by the code name Project Forge, described as a contender to win contracts under a NASA program developing lunar landers.

Space Florida also committed to spending up to $1 million to upgrade utilities at Kennedy Space Center’s former space shuttle runway to support test flights — as soon as early 2019 — by another unidentified company, referred to as Project Pine.

“This is the first real space user for horizontal launch and landing,” board chairman Bill Dymond said of the three-mile runway that Space Florida is trying to commercialize after the shuttle’s 2011 retirement. “I think that’s very exciting.”

In other business Wednesday, Space Florida’s board approved committing up to $14.5 million to SpaceX’s planned expansion at KSC, and up to $3.4 million for a new engine-related facility that Blue Origin will add to its New Glenn rocket manufacturing site at KSC’s Exploration Park.

First UAE Astronaut to Fly to ISS Next Year

The Soyuz MS-08 rocket is launched with Expedition 55 Soyuz Commander Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos and flight engineers Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel of NASA, Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Artemyev, Arnold, and Feustel will spend the next five months living and working aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

DUBAI (Dubai Media Office PR) — Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that sending the first Emirati astronaut to space will herald the beginning of a new era for the UAE and represents another step towards achieving the country’s vision and aspirations for the space sector.

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Boeing Starliner Flight Test Slips

Bruno is talking about the U.S. military’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) communications satellite, which is set for launch on Oct. 5. That would mean that Atlas V launch carrying an uncrewed Boeing CST-100 Starliner would be postponed from its current late August date until sometime after the AEHF mission.

The Starliner mission is one of two flight tests needed to qualify the spacecraft to carry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station under the agency’s commercial crew program. The second mission will carry a crew.