SSI Space Manufacturing 14: Space Transportation Session

ULA fuel depot

Space Transportation Session

Chairman: Gary C. Hudson, HMX Inc.
“Earth to LEO Roadmap: Technologies and Possibilities”

Dallas Bienhoff, The Boeing Company, and Jeff Goff, Altius Space Machines, Inc.
“Top Ten Technologies for Reusable Cislunar Transportation”

Joe Carroll, Tether Applications
“Tether Sling Concepts for LEO and Beyond”


DARPA, NASA Working on $1.1 Million Starship Project

An interesting — if sketchy — report from the website of futurist Ray Kurweil about a joint DARPA-NASA project on interstellar travel:

NASA Ames Director Simon “Pete” Worden revealed Saturday that NASA Ames has “just started a project with DARPA called the Hundred Year Starship,” with $1 million funding from DARPA and $100K from NASA.


ISRO Successfully Tests GSLV Second Stage Core

GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)
An earlier GSLV Mark III engine test (Photo: ISRO)


Indian Space Research Organisation successfully conducted the second static testing of its liquid core stage (L110) of Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk -III) for 200 seconds at its Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) test facility at Mahendragiri on September 8, 2010 at 15:50 hrs.

L110 is one of the heaviest earth storable liquid stages ever developed by ISRO. L110 stage had two high pressure Vikas engines in a clustered configuration. Nearly 500 health parameters were monitored during the test and the initial data acquired indicates its normal performance. Today`s successful test of L110 for its full flight duration of 200 seconds, is a major mile stone in the earth storable liquid rocket programme of ISRO and a significant step forward in the development of GSLV-Mk III launch vehicle.

It may be recalled that GSLV-Mk III, which is currently under advanced stage of development uses two solid strap on boosters (S200), L-110 liquid stage and a cryogenic upper stage C-25.

XCOR, ULA Team Up to Develop New Engine Technology

XCOR's Mark Street makes an adjustment to a fitting on the pump apparatus prior to an LH2 test.


XCOR Aerospace, the developer of the Lynx, a manned suborbital spacecraft and related technologies, and United Launch Alliance (ULA), the primary launch services provider to the US Government, announced the first successful demonstration of XCOR’s long life, high performance piston pump technology with liquid hydrogen.


Russia Begins Nuclear Rocket Engine Program

Russia earmarks $17 mln to research nuclear-propelled spacecraft
RIA Novosti

The Russian government will allocate 500 million rubles ($16.7 million) in 2010 on a project to build a spaceship with a nuclear engine.

In line with an order issued by the Cabinet on December 29, a total of 430 million rubles ($14.4 mln) will be given to the Rosatom state nuclear corporation, and the rest to the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.


Giant Air Gun Could Bring Down Launch Costs

Blasted into space from a giant air gun

When Jules Verne wrote about a gigantic gun that could be used to launch people into space in the 19th century, no one expected it to become a reality. Now physicist John Hunter has outlined the design of such a gun that he says could slash the cost of putting cargo into orbit.


ISRO to Test Indigenous Cryogenic Engine


Indigenous cryogenic engine ready for take-off
The Tribune

T K Alex, director of the ISRO Satellite Centre at Bangalore, told the TNS today that an indigenous cryogenic engine had been successfully developed. “The cryogenic engine is ready. It has already reached the space port at Sriharikota (from Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu)”, he said.


Air Force Developing Cleaner, Safer Rocket Fuel

A Safer, Simpler Rocket Fuel
Defense News

The U.S. Air Force is funding the development of a new rocket fuel that promises to be as powerful as current propellants, but safer and simpler to handle, possibly cheaper and environmentally benign. It’s made from a frozen mixture of finely powdered aluminum and water.


NASA Creates Electromagnetic Ramjet Launcher Prototype

Riding a Slingshot into Space: A project under development at NASA may someday give astronauts that option
Technology Review

Engineers at NASA have created a prototype of an electromagnetic propulsion system that would use a linear motor and ramjet engine–instead of a rocket propulsion system–to fling a vehicle into space. It is the first system that would operate beyond the sound barrier using an air-breathing ramjet engine. The work was presented this week at the Space 2009 Conference in Pasadena, CA.


Could Laser Propulsion Make Space Flight Routine?

Laser Propulsion: Wild Idea May Finally Shine

New laser propulsion experiments are throwing light on how to build future hypersonic aircraft and beam spacecraft into Earth orbit.

Indeed, a “Lightcraft revolution” could replace today’s commercial jet travel. Passengers would be whisked from one side of the planet to the other in less than an hour – just enough time to get those impenetrable bags of peanuts open. Furthermore, beamed energy propulsion can make flight to orbit easy, instead of tenuous and dangerous.


Russians Marketing Soviet-Era Lunar Rocket Engine to Americans

Russia Today has an interesting story about a possible joint U.S.-Russian venture to produce new versions of the NK-33 engine, which was originally developed in the 1960’s for the Soviet human lunar effort.

“This engine is one of the best ever made in Russia. There are also price and production period benefits to consider. There are already a hundred of these engines in the world, and they need to be used. And the price benefit is in that they only require to be revived and adjusted to the spacecraft they are made for,” explains Valery Danilchenko, Motorostroitel plant chief constructor.

Today, the plant’s chief constructor says, full-scale negotiations are underway between Russia and the US to strengthen space co-operation.

“As the United States needs dozens of engines, and we don’t have that many ready-made engines, we offered to start a joint venture in Russia. In the next few days we are going to hand over their part of the business plan and consider it at the top level of our companies, and maybe even at governmental level,” Valery Danilchenko adds.

Read the full story.

Air Force Funding Research on Starship Engines

Near-lightspeed nano spacecraft might be close: Researchers creating the tiny engines that could drive mini-starships

The solution to interstellar space exploration may lie in the use of micro or nano-sized spacecraft that can be accelerated to incredible speeds. Protons in a particle accelerator can reach near-lightspeed because they are so small and light. Similarly, very small unmanned space probes could be light enough to reach the speeds necessary for interstellar space exploration.


Friedman Works to Resurrect Solar Sail Project

Across the Universe
The Atlantic

The Volna rocket had risen out of the water, flown through the sky, and pierced the low-lying clouds. The Volna, a Soviet-era ICBM, had been refitted for peaceful duty, and on this first day of summer, it was lifting Cosmos 1 up from a Russian submarine and toward Earth orbit. If the spacecraft got there, it would deploy eight tissue-thin “blades,” 600 square meters of Mylar that would catch the sun and begin propelling the craft, on nothing but light, through humankind’s first solar-sailing voyage. The ship, beautiful as a flower or firework, would be controlled from the ground by two teams, each so small that Mission Operations Moscow was called MOM and Project Operations Pasadena was POP….