Frustration in Utah as House Delays NASA Funding Vote

No ATK vote upsets Bishop / Lawmaker: Congress needs to get moving to save jobs
Standard Examiner

A frustrated Rep. Rob Bishop left Washington, D.C., for Utah on Friday afternoon, taking time only to call the Standard-Examiner from the airport and lambaste House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not holding a vote on a bill he thinks is the best compromise yet to save jobs at ATK Space Systems.

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Aerojet Continues Work on Orion Jettison Motor

NASA's Orion spacecraft

AEROJET PRESS RELEASE

Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that it successfully conducted a static firing of the third nozzle risk reduction motor in support of the Orion jettison motor, a critical component of the launch abort system (LAS) for NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle. This successful test firing validates several nozzle design changes implemented to enhance the safety and reliability of the jettison motor.

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Gas Generator Tests Completed on NASA J-2X Engine

A white-hot flame surrounded by red hot exhaust shoots from a recent test of the J-2X engine 'workhorse' gas generator at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. The workhorse gas generator simulates the flow path inside the actual J-2X gas generator that powers the engine's turbo machinery. Credit: NASA

PRATT & WHITNEY ROCKETDYNE PRESS RELEASE

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne successfully completed the latest round of tests on the workhorse gas generator for NASA’s J-2X rocket engine. With the first NASA J-2X engine far along in development, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is on track to begin testing in 2011 at Stennis Space Center. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.
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As Fate Hangs in the Balance, Lockheed Martin Continues Work on Orion

A production assembly crew lowers a full-scale Orion mockup onto the crew module holding structure during an assembly pathfinding maneuver at the Operations & Checkout Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image Credit: NASA

LOCKHEED MARTIN PRESS RELEASE

Preparations for Orion’s first mission in 2013 are well under way as a Lockheed Martin-led crew begins lean assembly pathfinding operations for the spacecraft. The crew is conducting simulated manufacturing and assembly operations with a full-scale Orion mockup to verify the tools, processes and spacecraft integration procedures work as expected.

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NASA Continues Orion Capsule Tests Amid Uncertainty

NASA's Orion spacecraft

Constellation Program Proceeds with Orion Capsule EVA Testing
NASASpaceFlight.com

With the fate of the Constellation Program at this juncture of time all but a certainty, Program officials are, nonetheless, pressing ahead with testing of the Orion crew capsule design. Specifically, current testing on Orion’s design is geared toward EVA egress/ingress procedures and mechanics for the four person capsule that was supposed to serve as a replacement, later this decade, for the retiring Shuttle fleet.
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Citizen’s Group Urges Congress to Kill Ares I, Pass Senate Bill

CCAGW PRESS RELEASE

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today called on Congress to resist the temptation to resurrect the failed Ares 1 rocket element of the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s (NASA) unaffordable and unsustainable Constellation program. The House is slated to consider NASA authorization legislation this week.

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Tumlinson: Drug-Crazed Congressional Puppets Feeding Carnivorous Constellation Monster

Ares I-X lifts off from the Cape.

NASA’s Constellation Hallucination and the Congressional Money Drug
by Rick Tumlinson
The Huffington Post

In the coming weeks some in Congress will try to kill America’s future in space as they desperately work to prop up the tax sucking, pork eating dreamslaying monster known as the Constellation rocket program. Right now a bought and paid for cabal of hypocritical puppets in the House and Senate are trying to prop up this corpse of a dead end plan to go to the Moon and Mars that not only failed to deliver on President Bush’s promise of a permanent U.S. presence in space, but continues to eat the budgets of the very exploration it was meant to support.

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Griffin and Pace Criticize Obama’s Plan for NASA, Support House Bill

Space shuttle Atlantis lands on runway 33 at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility concluding the STS-129 mission. Photo credit: NASA Jack Pfaller

The Space Transportation Association conducted a panel discussion yesterday during which some quite divergent views were expressed over the future of NASA and the Obama Administration’s commercial focus.

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Video: ATK Tests Five Segment Ares Motor

ATK PRESS RELEASE

Alliant Techsystems and NASA conducted a successful ground test earlier today of the second Ares five-segment Development Motor (DM-2).  The successful test is an important milestone in the development of America’s next generation of launch vehicles.

Initial test data indicated that the motor, which was chilled to a 400 F core temperature since early July, performed as designed, producing approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or 22 million horsepower, and burned for just over two minutes.  The test collected 764 channels of data to accomplish 53 test objectives.  This is the most data ATK has ever collected in a static fire test.

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Aerojet Tests Orion Main Engine

Testing firing of Orion's main engine. (Credit: Aerojet)

AEROJET PROGRAM UPDATE

Aerojet, a GenCorp company, under contract to Lockheed Martin, has successfully completed more than 20 injector tests for the 7500-pound thrust Orion main engine (OME) for NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle. The tests are a combination of checkout, development, and qualification that will anchor models and satisfy combustion stability qualification requirements. The OME is a pressure-fed, regeneratively cooled, storable bi-propellant engine that is a technically advanced, increased performance version of Aerojet’s flight-proven 6000-pound thrust space shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System Engine (OMS-E).

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ATK and NASA to Test Ares Solid Rocket Motor

ATK PROGRAM UPDATE

Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK – News) and NASA will test the second fully developed Ares five-segment solid rocket motor, known as Development Motor-2 (DM-2). The five-segment rocket motor is an upgraded version of the Shuttle’s 4-segment booster, and has also been identified as a key element of NASA’s future Heavy Lift Launch vehicle.

What: Horizontal ground test firing of Ares DM-2

Date: Tuesday August 31, 2010

Time: 9:05 a.m. MDT

Where: ATK Aerospace Systems facility in Promontory, Utah

Test Objectives/Background:

  • * A total of 53 design objectives will be measured through more than 760 instruments.
  • DM-2 is a “cold motor” test. The motor will be cooled to 40 degrees F to measure solid rocket motor performance at low temperature, as well as to verify design requirements of new materials in the motor joints. These new materials will allow for the elimination of joint heaters that were necessary in the original 4-segment motor design. This will save significant weight, further reduce system complexity and simplify launch operations, while simultaneously delivering increased operating margins at lower ambient temperatures.
  • Other objectives include data gathering on vital motor upgrades such as the new insulation and motor case liner and the redesigned nozzle which increase the robustness of the design.
  • When fired, the motor will produce a maximum thrust 3.6 million pounds, or 22 million horsepower.
  • The cases have all previously flown on the space shuttle, collectively launching on 57 missions.
  • A public viewing area is available along State Road 83 North approximately 20 miles west of Corinne, Utah.

Yeah, What John said…

My old GW professor, space policy analyst John Logsdon, has written a great op-ed piece for Space News that sums up my own view of President Obama’s proposed space policy and the often hysterical opposition to it:

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NASA Future Uncertain After House Vote

Ares I-X lifts off from the Cape.

NASA budget: Lawmakers make no decision on Constellation, space shuttle future
Orlando Sentinel

A key congressional committee sidestepped a potential vote on NASA’s future Tuesday, opting to take no position on White House plans to scrap NASA’s moon-rocket program and replace the space shuttle with commercial rockets.

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Constellation’s Congressional Supporters Not Amused By Obama’s Latest Attempt to Kill the Program

Ares 1-X

As you might have expected, the Obama Administration’s decision to invoke the Anti-Deficiency Act in order to shut down the Constellation program has not gone over real well with Congressional supporters of NASA’s human spaceflight effort. I’ll let the senior Senator from the Lone Star State explain it all:

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today said NASA leadership was skirting the law to shut down the Constellation program after NASA leadership publicly announced a decision to reprioritize work on the program. NASA’s stated justification for these actions is the Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA), which prohibits spending funds beyond levels that are appropriated in a given year, or obligating the government to pay money before funds have been appropriated. There are a number of unanswered questions on whether the ADA would apply in this situation, and if it did, the recently passed Defense Supplemental legislation clarifies that regardless of any provision of law, work must continue on the Constellation program.

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