ATK Gets $178 Million Contract to Support ULA’s Launch Vehicles

Delta IV lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (Credit: Ben Cooper, United Launch Alliance)

Delta IV lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (Credit: Ben Cooper, United Launch Alliance)

ARLINGTON, Va., April 16, 2014 (ATL PR) — ATK has reached agreement on a $178 million contract award as part of the Air Force’s Phase 1 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) buy from United Launch Alliance (ULA). The order value includes hardware for both of the current United States Air Force EELV launch vehicles, the Atlas V and Delta IV. The initial contracting period includes large composite structures with deliveries commencing in AFY14 and continuing into early AFY18. The option period includes hardware deliveries in AFY17 through AFY19.

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Study Outlines Importance of California Aerospace Market


 California_Great_SealEl Segundo, Ca, March 31, 2014 (A.T. Kearney PR) — Global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney today released an original study on the essential role the aerospace industry plays in sustaining the California economy. The study finds that in 2012 aerospace companies manufacturing or providing aerospace-related services in California accounted for $62 billion in revenues, representing 21 percent of the U.S. aerospace market and 9 percent of the global market.

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Spaceport Body of Knowledge Library Goes Live


faa_logoAs part of the FAA Center of Excellence in Commercial Space Transportation Task 220 with New Mexico State University (NMSU), a collection of spaceport-related documents, a.k.a., the “Body of Knowledge for Commercial Spaceport Operations” has gone live on the web at the following URL:

The Framework for Spaceport Operations is an evolving collection of documents and information that represents available documentation of industry best practices. The collection was created and made accessible by a multi-agency, multi-partner research team led by NMSU and funded by the FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation.

Please visit the NMSU Body of Knowledge collection on the web. To learn more about the FAA COE CST please visit

Sierra Nevada Plans Additional Dream Chaser Flight Tests in Fall


Dream Chaser on approach after a successful free flight. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Sierra Nevada Corporation will conduct additional drop tests of its Dream Chaser space shuttle at Edwards Air Force Base in the fall, Co-program Director John Curry said during the recent Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

The approach and landing tests will be conducted using an upgraded engineering test vehicle that glided to a landing at Edwards last October.  The upgrades will include the avionics, software, and guidance, navigation and control systems designed for use on the orbital Dream Chaser spacecraft, Curry said.

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Dick Rutan Resigns From Mojave Spaceport Board

Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Long-time Mojave Air and Space Port board member Dick Rutan has resigned from that body, citing a business opportunity he had become involved in that could present a conflict of interest with his governing duties.

“It has been challenging and rewarding to be part of this team as we have transitioned from an airport to a Space Port, and it is with a heavy heart that I separate myself from this incredible assemblage of visionaries, fellow flyers and friends,” Rutan wrote in his resignation letter.

The board has appointed David Evans to replace Rutan. Evans is a certified public accountant and principal in Evans & Company, Inc., of California City. He is also vice present and chief financial officer of Boardwalk Motor Car Group of Redwood City, Calif. Mr. Evans is a commercial pilot and licensed flight instructor. He served as mayor of California City, where he resides, from 2006 to 2008.

Rutan is the second board member to resign in the past month. Marie Walker left the board in March, citing pressing business issues. She was replaced by Bill Deaver.

Correction: We originally misreported the name of the person appointed to replace Dick Rutan on the board. We regret the error.

Falcon 9 Launch Reset for Friday


SpaceX CRS 3 Mission Update

NASA and SpaceX have confirmed Friday, April 18 for the next launch attempt for the Falcon 9 rocket to send the Dragon spacecraft on the company’s third commercial resupply mission and fourth visit to the space station. Launch is targeted for 3:25 p.m. ET. The launch will be webcast live at beginning at 2:45 p.m. ET.

A launch on Friday results in a rendezvous with the space station on Sunday, April 20 and a grapple at 7:14 a.m ET.

During Monday’s launch attempt, pre-flight checks detected that a helium valve in the stage separation pneumatic system was not holding the right pressure. This meant that the stage separation pistons would be reliant on a backup check valve.

No issue was detected with the backup valve and a flight would likely have been successful, but SpaceX policy is not to launch with any known anomalies. We have brought the vehicle back to horizontal and are replacing the faulty valve, as well as inspecting the whole system for anything that may have contributed to the valve not working as designed.

Land Rover SpaceShipTwo Promotional Video


Although Virgin Galactic has yet to fly anywhere close to space, it has managed to inspire any number of promotional videos about just how awesome the space tourism trips will be someday. Here’s the latest one from Land Rover, which was announced as a global sponsor earlier this week.

Sierra Nevada Ranked as One of “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space”

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev., April 15, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) President, Eren Ozmen, proudly announced that Fast Company magazine ranked SNC as one of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space.”

Fast Company recognized SNC for “resurrecting the spaceplane” calling SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft the, “…biggest contribution to the nascent commercial spaceflight industry” and the “…smaller, and arguably smarter take on the defunct Space Shuttle.”

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An Overview of Blue Origin’s Commercial Crew Milestones

Blue Origin’s pusher escape system rockets the New Shepard crew capsule away from the launch pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin’s pusher escape system rockets the New Shepard crew capsule away from the launch pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

As one of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners, Blue Origin doesn’t get as much attention as Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX. That’s partly by design; the secretive company tries to fly under the radar as much as possible.

The other reason is that while Blue Origin received $25.38 million in funding for its orbital vehicle during the first two phases of Commercial Crew, it was not selected for the third round. The company has been working with NASA on an unfunded Space Act Agreement under which the space agency is providing support but not any funding.

To date, Blue Origin has completed 19 of 20 milestones under the three agreements with NASA. There has been significant progress on the pressure vessel, engine and escape system. The table below shows the company’s milestones under the agreements.

Blue Origin Space Act Agreements Milestones
Award Period: 2010 – 2014
Milestones: 20
Milestones Completed: 19
Milestones Remaining: 1
Total Award: $25.38 million

A1 Project Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape system maturation plan. March 2010 Complete $835,000
A2 1-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 1-degree of freedom trust measurement stand. July 2010 Complete $835,000
A3 6-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 6-degree of freedom trust measurement stand. October 2010 Complete $835,000
A4 Rocket Sled Test. Conduct non-separating test of full CC OML and mass simulator on rocket sled track. March 2011 Complete $0
B1 Composite Pressure Vessel Maturation Kickoff Meeting.
A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the implementation plan.
March 2010 Complete $290,000
B2 Test Article Composite Parts Received. Receive all parts necessary to complete assembly of one composite pressure vessel, closing supplier risk. May 2010 Complete $290,000
B3 Test Article Assembly Complete. Completion of the test article. August 2010 Complete $290,000
1.1 Space Vehicle Kickoff Meeting. A meeting at Blue Origin headquarters in Kent, WA to brief NASA personnel on the project implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $905,000
1.2 Space Vehicle Mission Concept Review. A review of the Space Vehicle Mission Concept.  September 2011 Complete $900,000
1.3 Space Vehicle Systems Requirements Review. A review of systems requirements for the Space Vehicle.  May 2012 Complete $900,000
2.1 Pusher Escape Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $2,000,000
2.2 Pusher Escape Vehicle #1 Shipment. Assembly of the first Pusher Escape Flight Test Vehicle is complete, except for installation of the pusher escape subsystem and separation mechanisms. Shipment to test range. December 2011 Complete $2,000,000
2.3 Pusher Escape Ground Firing.  Conduct an intial ground test of the pusher escape rocket motor and thrust vector control system to be used during the flight test campaign.  January 2012 Complete $3,000,000
2.6 Escape Pad Escape Test. Conduct a test of one of the fight test vehicles simulating an escape from a booster on the launch pad. April 2012 Complete $1,900,000
3.1 Engine Kickoff Meeting. Meeting to brief NASA personnel on engine risk reduction implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $3,400,000
3.2 Engine TCA and Test Plan Review. Meeting to review test article interface data, Interface Control Diagram (ICD) and test plan. September 2011 Complete $4,000,000
3.4 Engine TCA Test. Conduct pressure-fed test of the full-scale thrust chamber assembly (TCA). May 2012 Complete $3,000,000
3.6 BE-3 Engine Test. Conduct a test firing of the pump-fed engine simulating a sub-scale booster suborbital mission duty cycle (MDC). September 2013 Complete $0
3.7 Subscale Prop Tank Assembly Review. Conduct a review of the design, manufacture and assembly of a subscale booster propellant tank.  December 2013 Complete $0
1.4 Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. Review space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C. March 2014 Pending May 2014 $0
 TOTAL:  $25,380,000

Discount Tickets Offered for NSS ISDC Conference


isdc2014-logoLOS ANGELES (Rush49 PR) — Online adventure deals site, Rush49, in association with the National Space Society will offer a series of exclusive admission tickets to attend the 33rd annual ISDC conference, one of which includes entrance to an awards presentation dinner, with recipient Elon Musk, CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors on Friday, May 16th, 2014., a southern California-based online adventure and adrenaline deals site, in exclusive partnership with the National Space Society, is now expanding its repertoire of high-octane racing/driving experiences and themed outdoor events and excursions to include a foray into the final frontier—space.

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