Tag: commercial crew

Space Access Society Update on Station Supply, Commercial Crew & SpaceX Investigation

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Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Progress 60P on approach to ISS. (Ctedit: NASA TV)

Space Access Update #144 7/6/15
copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
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Contents This Issue:

Station Supply Update

Latest From SpaceX

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Station Supply Update

A Russian Progress cargo ship successfully docked with Station in the early hours of Sunday morning. This adds a month to International Space Station’s supply reserves, sufficient now for roughly through November.

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SpaceX’s Philosophy: Reliability Through Continual Upgrades

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falcon9_debris

Remains of a Falcon 9 rocket fall to Earth.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

To succeed in the launch business, you need to be very, very good and more than a little bit lucky. Eventually, there comes a day when you are neither.

That is what happened to SpaceX on June 28. A string of 18 successful Falcon 9 launches was snapped as the company’s latest rocket broke up in the clear blues skies over the Atlantic Ocean. A Dragon supply ship headed for the International Space Station was lost, SpaceX’s crowded manifest was thrown into confusion, and the company’s reputation for reliability was shattered.

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Space Access Update: Falcon 9 Failure

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falcon9_debris
Space Access Update #143 7/2/15

copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
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Sunday’s Commercial Cargo Mission Loss

Background

Sunday’s (6/28/15) SpaceX cargo resupply launch to Station failed, breaking up a little over two minutes into the flight. (More here and here.) This was SpaceX’s eighth such flight; their initial test mission then six commercial-contract cargo flights had essentially gone as planned. This was SpaceX’s nineteenth launch of the Falcon 9 booster; the first eighteen F9 launches all reached orbit successfully.
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SpaceX, NASA Agree to Delay Dragon In-Flight Abort Test

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Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon pad abort test. (Credit: NASA)

By Stephanie Martin,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Following the successful pad abort test in May, SpaceX began developing a plan that would move its in-flight abort test to provide higher fidelity data and reduce risk to future crews launched to the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon spacecraft. NASA and SpaceX agreed to consider this proposed change prior to the mishap of SpaceX’s seventh commercial resupply services mission.

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Falcon 9 Launch Failure Scrambles Schedule

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Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

With the failure of the Falcon 9 on Sunday, SpaceX’s only launch vehicle will be grounded for an unknown number of months while engineers identify the cause of the crash and make necessary changes to ensure that failure won’t happen again.

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Space Access Society Update on Commercial Crew, ITAR Rules

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Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
Space Access Update #142 6/24/15

copyright 2015 by Space Access Society
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Contents This Issue:

Commercial Crew Funding
– Deeper Background?
– Opposition Overreach

Major Problem With Proposed New ITAR Rules

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Commercial Crew Funding

– Deeper Background RSN

Since this latest Commercial Crew funding fight started a few weeks back, we’ve been skimping on context. Those of you less than totally immersed in all this might not have ended up with a completely clear picture of what we think is really going on, or why we think it matters so much. We’ve been rushed. Our apologies.

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Dream Chaser Prepped for Flight Test

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Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser engineering test article is being prepped for its second free-flight test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California later this year. The flight test is a milestone under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with SNC.  The wings, windows and landing gear are installed. The Dream Chaser’s the nose skid will have thermal protection system tiles on the vehicle, manufactured at Kennedy Space Center’s Thermal Protection System Facility, for the flight test. The performance of the tiles will be assessed following the touch down on the runway.

SNC will share their thermal protection system work and a status of the Dream Chaser spacecraft to media and social media attending CRS-7 activities at Kennedy Space Center next week.

Senate: Because Commercial Crew Could Slip, We’re Slashing the Budget Request

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Sen. Richard Shelby

Sen. Richard Shelby

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program must drive Richard Shelby absolutely crazy. It just has to. There’s no other way to explain the utterly nonsensical reasoning being used to justify the Senate Appropriation Committee’s decision to slash NASA’s budget request for the program by more than 27 percent.

The Obama Administration came to Congress requesting $1.244 billion for FY 2016 to keep Boeing and SpaceX on track to begin commercial human spaceflights to the International Space Station by 2017. Anything less, NASA insisted, would result in further delays and more reliance upon Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft.

The House came through with $1 billion in its funding measure. When the proposal came up before Shelby’s Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee in the Senate, appropriators cut the amount even further to $900 million. That amount ended up in the measure approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee.

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Increase in NASA’s Budget

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Capitol Building
The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an $18.289 billion budget for NASA that is $279.3 million above the FY 2015 level but $239.6 million what the $18.529 billion the Obama Administration’s requested and the House approved.

The biggest differences between the Administration and the Senate lie in human spaceflight. Appropriators would spend $3.51 billion on the Space Launch System, the Orion spacecraft and related ground systems. The Administration asked for $2.86 billion for these programs. The House would spend $3.4 billion.

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National Space Society Opposes Senate Gutting of Commercial Crew Program

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commercial_crew_cst100_dragon_iss
WASHINGTON, DC (NSS PR ) — The National Space Society (NSS) strongly opposes the Senate Appropriations Committee’s $344 million (27%) cut of the 2015 Commercial Crew budget requested by the Administration. The Senate cuts were $100 million more than those recently passed by the House.

NSS stands with NASA administrator Charles Bolden when he said “By gutting this program and turning our backs on U.S. industry, NASA will be forced to continue to rely on Russia to get its astronauts into space – and to continue to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the Russian economy rather than our own.” The two winners of the Commercial Crew competition, Boeing and SpaceX, have been making excellent progress, exemplified by the May 6th successful pad abort test of the SpaceX Dragon 2 crew escape system. Both are on track to fly astronauts in 2017 assuming funding is provided.

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