Maryland Governor Tours Wallops Island

Launch complexes on Wallops Island, Virginia

WMDT-47 News has an interesting story the shows the importance of Wallops Island in Virginia to the Maryland economy:

On Monday, Governor Martin O’Malley will tour the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, one of the oldest launch sites in the world. NASA and the other organizations at Wallops, including the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) employ approximately 1,800 civilian positions, including government and contractor jobs, 700 of which are held by Marylanders…

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Orbital to Launch NASA Satellites

ORBITAL SCIENCES PRESS RELEASE

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced it has received two separate orders from NASA to launch scientific satellites on its industry-leading small rockets, Pegasus® XL and Taurus® XL. These contracts bring the total Pegasus and Taurus orders to 55 vehicles since the first Pegasus was purchased in 1988. Taken together, the two rockets have launched or will boost a total of 35 NASA scientific and technology demonstration spacecraft on 30 missions since 1990.

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And Now for a Word About That OTHER COTS Rocket…

Artist's conception of Obital Sciences Corporation's Taurus II rocket set for launch at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

WALLOPS: Huge rocket to make its way on Delmarva highways this week
Delmarvanow

People traveling on Delmarva’s highways Wednesday night and Thursday morning may encounter an unusual sight that is evidence of the area’s growing space investment.

A 95-foot-long tractor-trailer specially constructed by an Ohio company will be transporting a full-size mockup of the first stage of Orbital Sciences’ Taurus II rocket roughly 150 miles across portions of three states — from the Wilmington, Del., port to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island.

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SpaceX, Orbital Sciences in Good Position to Benefit From NASA Commercial Shift

Artist's conception of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus freighter approaching the International Space Station.

Commercial Companies Ready to Blaze New Trails in Space
Space.com

[SpaceX] has already successfully won a NASA contract for $1.6 billion to transport cargo to the space station aboard its Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. Another firm, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences, is building its own Taurus 2 rockets and unmanned Cygnus spaceships in a $1.9 billion contract to haul supplies for NASA as well.

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Aerojet Signs Deal to Expand Production of Rocket Engine Used in Orbital’s Taurus II Booster

Artist's conception of Obital Sciences Corporation's Taurus II rocket set for launch at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

AEROJET PRESS RELEASE

Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, and its Russian partner United Engine Corporation (UEC), announced today the signing of a cooperation agreement regarding their next steps in the companies’ cooperative efforts to provide NK-33 and AJ26 rocket engines to the commercial launch market.

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Orbital Looks at 2-3 Month Delay for First Taurus II Flight

Artist's conception of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus freighter approaching the International Space Station.

Space News reports that there will be a slight delay in the first flight of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s new Taurus II rocket:

Dulles, Va.-based Orbital, in a conference call with investors, said a series of minor delays in development of the company’s new Taurus 2 rocket and its Cygnus space station cargo transporter will push the inaugural Taurus 2/Cygnus launch into May or June 2011 instead of the March date earlier targeted.

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Orbital in Good Position to Profit From NASA Commercial Human Spaceflight Policy

Artist's conception of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Cygnus freighter approaching the International Space Station.

New Private Space Freighter Has Solid Backing
Space.com

Orbital’s cylindrical Cygnus freighter includes a pressurized cargo module that can carry up to 5,952 pounds (2,700 kg) of payload. Its service module contains avionics, power, communications and command and control.

“The service module is being designed to human safety standards, because it operates in close proximity with the space station before the robotic arm grapple,” Beneski noted…

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Aerojet Completes Engine Test Firings for OSC’s Taurus II Rocket

AEROJET PRESS RELEASE

Aerojet, a GenCorp company, and Orbital Sciences Corporation, along with Aerojet’s Russian partner, SNTK, announced today that a series of NK-33 rocket engine tests conducted in Samara, Russia were successfully completed in support of the development of Orbital’s Taurus® II space launch vehicle.

The purpose of the extended-time testing of the NK-33 engine, on which the AJ26 first-stage engine for the Taurus II rocket is based, was to demonstrate a ‘hot-fire’ duration equal to two times a normal Taurus II acceptance testing and launch profile duty cycle. Over the last two weeks, three tests were conducted by SNTK with a cumulative duration of more than 600 seconds. These tests verified the significant technical margins on engine performance and durability required by Orbital’s Taurus II development program.

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Orbital Nets $9.3 Million in Fourth Quarter

ORBITAL PRESS RELEASE

Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB – News) today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2009. Fourth quarter 2009 revenues were $282.3 million, compared to $305.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Fourth quarter 2009 operating income was $14.7 million, compared to $16.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Net income was $9.3 million, or $0.16 diluted earnings per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to net income of $9.0 million, or $0.15 diluted earnings per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008. Orbital generated $8.3 million of free cash flow* in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to free cash flow of $14.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

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Report: Obama Wants to Spend Billions on Commercial Human Spaceflight

Artists conception of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in orbit
Artists conception of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft in orbit

Space News is reporting that the Obama Administration wants to fund a multi-billion dollar effort to help develop commercial human transportation to orbit:

NASA will not be getting the $1 billion budget boost civil space advocates had hoped to see when President Barack Obama sends his 2011 spending proposal to Congress Feb. 1, requiring the U.S. space agency to make even tougher than expected choices about the future of its manned space program, according to sources with close ties to the administration. These sources declined to reveal the fate of NASA’s planned Ares 1 crew launch vehicle, which many observers see as a likely cancellation target, but they did say the budget proposal would fund a multibillion-dollar effort to foster development of commercial systems for ferrying astronauts to the international space station.

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MDA to Provide Capture Interface for Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus Freighter

cygnus_web

MDA PRESS RELEASE

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., a provider of essential information solutions, announced today that it has received a $2.4M (USD) contract from Orbital Sciences Corporation to provide a critical interface that will enable capture and mating of the Cygnus cargo delivery spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). The contract also contains an option to purchase additional units for follow-on operational missions worth at least $4.0M (USD).

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Orbital Sciences Awarded Phase 2 Contract for DARPA Fractional Satellite

The System F6 space architecture replaces the traditional monolithic spacecraft with a wireless “virtual spacecraft” operating as a cluster of modules
The System F6 space architecture replaces the traditional monolithic spacecraft with a wireless “virtual spacecraft” operating as a cluster of modules

Orbital Sciences Corporation, a world leader in smaller-sized civil government and national security satellites, announced today that it has been awarded a Phase 2 contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Arlington, VA, to develop the final design for “System F6” (Future Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft).

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