Excalibur Almaz, PlanetSpace Bailing Out Bankrupt Sea Launch


A bit more information on the Sea Launch bankruptcy reorganization – which includes Excalibur Alaz (which is planning to launch a space station) and U.S.-based PlanetSpace:

Excalibur Almaz and PlanetSpace are working to provide exit financing through Space Launch Services, LLC (“SLS LLC”), as well as equity investment in a reorganized Sea Launch, for the purpose of sustaining reliable commercial access to space. SLS LLC is led by Bohdan (Bo) Bejmuk, an aerospace consultant with in-depth knowledge of space systems and launch vehicles. In parallel with its focus on the reorganization process, Sea Launch successfully completed the launch of the Intelsat 15 satellite on November 30, on a Zenit-3SLB vehicle from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan. This is Sea Launch’s fourth and final launch campaign of 2009.


PlanetSpace Files Second Protest Over NASA COTS Award


Space News reports:

Chicago-based PlanetSpace has filed a second protest of NASA’s December 2008 decision to award $3.1 billion in contracts to Dulles, Va.-based Orbital Sciences Corp. and Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) for delivering cargo to the international space station.

PlanetSpace filed a protest with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims July 23 asking for NASA to reconsider the awards or reopen the competition. PlanetSpace’s first protest against the NASA award was filed with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Jan. 14. The GAO denied the protest April 22.

PlanetSpace, a start-up company whose subcontractors include Boeing Co. of Chicago, Denver-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Minneapolis-based Alliant Techsystems, earned a higher score and offered a lower price than Orbital Sciences.

Read the full story.

Virginia Gubernatorial Candidates Endorse More Funding for Wallops Island

Artist's conception of OSC's Taurus II rocket at Wallops Island.
Artist's conception of OSC's Taurus II rocket at Wallops Island.

Jack Kennedy has a couple of posts about the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on his Spaceports blog:

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Terry McAuliffe and Creigh Deeds endorsed increased operational funding to enhance the staff size of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport today speaking at the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council Energy Technology Summit as interest in the fledgling commercial space operations increases among the Virginia public.


Government Denies PlanetSpace’s Appeal of NASA COTS Awards


Clark Lindsey over at Hobby Space points out that the federal government has denied PlanetSpace’s appeal of NASA’s decision to award COTS contracts to Orbital Sciences Corporation and SpaceX.  COTS funds commercial payload delivery to the International Space Station.

The notice on the Government Accountability Office’s website gives no reason for the denial. And it is not clear whether PlanetSpace has any recourse at this point. The company has made no statement on its website.


PlanetSpace to Test Subscale Versions of Hypersonic Silver Dart

Clarke Lindsey over at Hobby Space points to progress that PlanetSpace is making on flying sub-scale prototypes of its Silver Dart vehicle. The Silver what vehicle, you ask? A brief description from the website:

The Silver Dart is an autonomous and flexible hypersonic glider designed to operate as an orbital vehicle. It extends the capabilities of the booster to provide access to LEO. It is designed to double as an unmanned or manned spacecraft and can provide for a long duration platform in orbit.