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Oops! Soyuz Places 2 Galileo Satellites in Wrong Orbits

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Soyuz launches two Galileo satellites (Credit: ESA)

Soyuz launches two Galileo satellites (Credit: ESA)

After much celebratory rhetoric on Friday over the launch of two Galileo navigation satellites from Kourou, European officials realized the spacecraft were placed in the wrong orbits.

Arianespace, which managed the launch of the Russian Soyuz booster, made a terse announcement:

Complementary observations gathered after separation of the Galileo FOC M1 satellites on Soyuz Flight VS09 have highlighted a discrepancy between targeted and reached orbit.

Investigations are underway. More information will be provided after a first flight data analysis to be completed on August 23, 2014.

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FSDC Opens Nominations for 2014 Bumper Award

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FSDC PR – The Florida Space Development Council, a statewide chapter of the National Space Society, invites nominations for the 2014 Bumper Award, provided annually to individuals or organizations that have had the greatest positive impact on Florida’s space industry, or to Floridians who have had the greatest impact nationally. FSDC members and non-members are encouraged to submit 2014 nominees using a simple online form, available here. Nominations will be accepted through November 1, 2014.

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Video of SpaceX Rocket Explosion in McGregor

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SpaceX Statement on McGregor Rocket Explosion

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An official statement from SpaceX:

Earlier today, in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX conducted a test flight of a three engine version of the F9R test vehicle (successor to Grasshopper). During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission.

Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area. There were no injuries or near injuries. An FAA representative was present at all times.

With research and development projects, detecting vehicle anomalies during the testing is the purpose of the program. Today’s test was particularly complex, pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test. As is our practice, the company will be reviewing the flight record details to learn more about the performance of the vehicle prior to our next test.

SpaceX will provide another update when the flight data has been fully analyzed.

SpaceX Has Bad Day in McGregor; Vehicle Explodes in Air

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Book Review: Safe is Not An Option

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safe_not_optionSafe is Not an Option: Overcoming the Futile Obsession with Getting Everyone Back Alive that is Killing Our Expansion into Space
By Rand Simberg
Interglobal Media LLC
2013

On May 26, 1865, Captain J. C. Mason pushed off from a dock in Vicksburg, Miss., and steered the steam-powered paddle wheeler SS Sultana north along the rain-swollen Mississippi River. The Sultana’s decks groaned from the weight of more than 2,500 passengers and crew members.

At 2 a.m. the following morning, the ship’s boilers exploded north of Memphis. As many as 1,800 people died in the explosion and fire or drowned in the fast flowing river. The majority of the dead were Union soldiers recently released from a pair of hellish Confederate prison camps. Their ticket home had become a death warrant.

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Attenborough Sez: Virgin Galactic Just Like Virgin Trains

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Video Caption: Virgin Trains interviewing Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic, on the Kendal Calling Express on-route to Kendal Calling. Space being the theme for 2014 and Virgin Trains as Travel Partners of the Festival.

SpaceX Set to Launch Again Tuesday, FAA Gives DragonFly Final Approval

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Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

UPDATE: The launch has been shifted to Wednesday morning.

UPDATE: SpaceX successfully conducted a static fire of the Falcon 9 engines on Friday.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is set to soar again from Cape Canaveral early Tuesday morning with the AsiaSat 6 satellite. The launch window is set from 12:50-4:05 a.m. EDT (0450-0805 GMT).

SpaceX is set to conduct a static fire of the Falcon 9′s engine today.

Meanwhile, the FAA has issued its final environmental assessment for flights of SpaceX’s experimental DragonFly vehicle at the company’s McGregor test facility in Texas.

“After reviewing and analyzing currently available data and information on existing conditions and the potential impacts of the Proposed Action as compared with the No Action Alternative, the FAA has determined that the Proposed Action would not significantly impact the quality of the human environment. Therefore, preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not required, and the FAA is issuing this FONSI [Finding of No Significant Impact],” the environmental assessment reads.

SpaceX to Get $13 Million, 10-Year Tax Exemption for Texas Spaceport

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Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

An update on the incentives package being worked out for SpaceX’s spaceport in Texas:

The Cameron County Commissioners’ Court agreed to waive 10 years of county taxes owed by SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corp., if the company brings its launch operations to South Texas.

Commissioners also approved a draft of an economic agreement with SpaceX that states the responsibilities of each entity involved, including the Cameron County Spaceport Development Corp.

The Spaceport Board of Directors met Thursday afternoon to discuss the agreement and authorize Board Chairman Nick Serafy Jr. to sign it on behalf of the board.

The Spaceport Board also agreed to accept $13 million from the state’s Spaceport Development Trust Fund.

Read the full story.

 

ULA Takes New Delivery of RD-180s as USAF Issues RFI for Replacement

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RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)

RD-180 test firing. (Credit: NASA)

ULA took delivery of two Russian-built RD-180 to power its Atlas V booster this week as the U.S. Air Force issued a request for information (RFI) on possible replacements.

As tensions between the United States and Russia have escalated over Ukraine, ULA has been anxious to demonstrate the crisis will not impact deliveries of the engine from Russian supplier NPO Energomash.

Meanwhile, the Air Force — which is the primary customer for the Atlas V — is looking to ween itself off dependence on the Russian engine.

NASA also launches some of its satellites on the Atlas V. Additionally, two of the three competitors in the space agency’s commercial crew program would use the Atlas V booster to launch their spacecraft.

Earlier this year, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin threatened to cut off exports of the engine. He has since backed down from that threat, and ULA officials say it has been business as usual.

Space News reports ULA expects three more engines to be delivered later this year. The company has a contract for the delivery of 27 additional engines through 2017.