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Boeing Completes CDR on CST-100 Spacecraft

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Artist concept of CST-100 and Atlas V on launch pad. (Credit: Boeing)

Artist concept of CST-100 and Atlas V on launch pad. (Credit: Boeing)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket.

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This Week on The Space Show

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spaceshowlogo
This week on The Space Show with David Livingston:

Monday, Oct. 20, , 2014: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. PAUL SPUDIS to discuss his recent postings on www.spudislunarresources.com/blog and http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon.

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): WAYNE WHIITE, space attorney, returns to discuss space property rights and his new proposal for creating them.

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT):TBD. We welcome BRIAN ALTMEYER regarding his recent Space Review article, “The Strange Contagion Of a Dream.”

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT) We. welcome space attorney MICHAEL LISTNER to the program to discuss the proposed NASA Air Traffic Control System for drones & much more.

Ball Aerospace Green Propellant Infusion Mission to Host 3 DOD Experiments

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Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

BOULDER, Colo (Ball Aerospace PR) – The NASA and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will fly three Defense Department experimental hosted payloads when it launches in 2016. GPIM’s mission will validate a non-toxic fuel for future satellite missions, which could replace hydrazine and provide additional performance benefits.

The Department of Defense (DOD) Space Experiments Review Board (SERB) selected the three payloads to fly on GPIM. The SERB chooses experiments based on a high potential to provide new or enhanced warfighting capabilities for the DOD.

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NASA Engineers Work to Perfect Aeroshell Technology

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NASA researchers have tested an almost 20-foot inflatable spacecraft heat shield in wind tunnels and laboratories. (Credit:  NASA/Kathy Barnstorff)

NASA researchers have tested an almost 20-foot inflatable spacecraft heat shield in wind tunnels and laboratories. (Credit: NASA/Kathy Barnstorff)

HAMPTON, Virg. (NASA PR) — For most of us it’s hard to imagine that something that is inflated can survive the high heat and friction of space travel, especially atmospheric entry.

But a group of NASA engineers, primarily based at NASA’s Langley Research Center, have been working to develop inflatable spacecraft aeroshell technology for more than a decade.

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Video Tour Inside of Virgin Galactic’s FAITH Hangar

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Video Caption: On October 4th 2014 Virgin Galactic celebrated the anniversary of the Ansari X-Prize victory by inviting special guests for a ‘Behind the Hangar Doors’ tour.

Court Holds Initial Hearing on Sierra Nevada’s Effort to Reimpose Commercial Crew Stop Work Order

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Marian Blank Horn heard initial arguments on Friday on a motion by Sierra Nevada Corporation to stop Boeing and SpaceX from continuing work on recently awarded NASA commercial crew contracts pending an appeal of the awards.

The judge did not rule on the motion, but set an additional hearing on Tuesday to hear further arguments, according to press reports.

Sierra Nevada has appealed the awards NASA has made to Boeing and SpaceX citing alleged irregularities in the process. NASA’s decisions left Sierra Nevada without additional government funding to complete its Dream Chaser shuttle.

NASA initially ordered Boeing and SpaceX to stop work under the contracts, but the space agency later reversed its decision. Sierra Nevada is seeking to reinstate the stop work order.

The Government Accountability Office has until early January to rule on Sierra Nevada’s protest of NASA’s commercial crew awards.

NASA Cancels Troubled Sunjammer Solar Sail Project

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Sunjammer solar sail

Sunjammer solar sail

Space News reports that NASA has canceled the Sunjammer solar sail mission:

Citing a lack of confidence in its contractor’s ability to deliver, NASA has abandoned plans to fly a solar-sail mission in 2015 after investing four years and more than $21 million on the project.

The Sunjammer mission, including the spacecraft and a deployable 1,200-square-meter solar sail, was being developed by L’Garde Inc. of Tustin, California, under a contract awarded in September 2011. The contract is slated to expire this coming December, and NASA has no plans to continue the work, according to an internal memo circulated at NASA headquarters here the week of Oct. 7.

“NASA is working with L’Garde to de-scope the existing contract to close out the documentation and deliver completed work to the Agency by the end of 2014,” the memo reads….

Nathan Barnes, president of L’Garde, said in an Oct. 17 phone interview that the company’s final delivery to NASA will be a design for a spacecraft module and solar sail that in theory could propel a small spacecraft by harnessing the energy of photon strikes. L’Garde will turn over its design in a Critical Design Audit scheduled for Nov. 7, he said.

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Intuitive Machines Funded for ISS Sample Return Vehicle

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Terrestrial Return Vehicle (Credit: Intuitive Machines)

Terrestrial Return Vehicle (Credit: Intuitive Machines)

HOUSTON (Intuitive Machines PR) – Intuitive Machines in cooperation with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been selected by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to develop a Terrestrial Return Vehicle (TRV) that will enable on demand, rapid return of experiments from the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory.

Through this commercial service, Intuitive Machines will enable researchers to regularly and quickly return small samples and components from the ISS to Earth. The timely delivery of critical or perishable samples is essential in enabling new and exciting research aboard the ISS National Laboratory.

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X-37B Lands Safely at Vandenberg, Mission Remains a Mystery

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X-37B after landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 16, 2012. (Credit: Boeing/USAF)

X-37B after landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 16, 2012. (Credit: Boeing/USAF)

The U.S. Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane landed safely at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday morning, completing a record 674 days in orbit.

The unmanned winged vehicle touched down at 9:24 a.m. PDT after conducting experiments and testing out technologies for 22 months.

“The 30th Space Wing and our mission partners, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Boeing, and our base support contractors, have put countless hours of hard work into preparing for this landing and today we were able to see the culmination of that dedication,” said base commander Colonel Keith Balts, in a prepared statement. “I’m extremely proud of our team for coming together to execute this third safe and successful landing. Everyone from our on console space operators to our airfield managers and civil engineers take pride in this unique mission and exemplify excellence during its execution.”

The Air Force is planning a fourth X-37B flight in 2015. Officials recently announced they would consolidate program operations at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the X-37 vehicles are launched.

NASA Captures Falcon 9 Descent Data to Help With Planetary Exploration

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – NASA successfully captured thermal images of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched in September from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The data from these thermal images may provide critical engineering information for future missions to the surface of Mars.

“Because the technologies required to land large payloads on Mars are significantly different than those used here on Earth, investment in these technologies is critical,” said Robert Braun, principal investigator for NASA’s Propulsive Descent Technologies (PDT) project and professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. “This is the first high-fidelity data set of a rocket system firing into its direction of travel while traveling at supersonic speeds in Mars-relevant conditions. Analysis of this unique data set will enable system engineers to extract important lessons for the application and infusion of supersonic retro-propulsion into future NASA missions.”

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