Tag: human spaceflight

Heat Shield Installed on First Orion Spacecraft

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Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians dressed in clean-room suits install a back shell tile panel onto the Orion crew module. (Credit:  NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians dressed in clean-room suits install a back shell tile panel onto the Orion crew module. (Credit:NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The heat shield on NASA’s Orion spacecraft gets all the glory when it comes to protecting the spacecraft from the intense temperature of reentry. Although the blunt, ablative shield will see the highest temperatures – up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit on its first flight this December – the rest of the spacecraft is hardly left in the cold.

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XCOR Extends Lynx Ticket Sales to Singapore

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Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

Lynx cockpit view. (Credit: XCOR)

XCOR has begun selling tickets for its Lynx suborbital vehicle in Singapore:

US-based XCOR Space Expeditions is close to making commercial space travel a reality for private individuals through its space shuttle, the XCOR Lynx Mark II, which is slated to whisk passengers out to space by the fourth quarter of 2015. The spacecraft is to take up to four daily flights, with each round-trip taking under an hour….

Singaporeans who can afford it and can stomach the experience need to contact local company Crystal Time, Singapore’s official distributor of Luminox, the Swiss timepiece picked as the official watch of the XCOR pilots and the partner of the American commercial space travel company.

The week-long Luminox Space Roadshow began on Friday in Orchard Road, where a model of the space shuttle is on display. Pamela Tan, the brand manager of Luminox Singapore, told The Business Times that the company had already received strong interest from three individuals here; worldwide, 300 people have signed up.

Ms Tan said those interested will be asked to go for a medical check-up to determine their medical fitness. Heart conditions, in particular, may disqualify one from making the trip. “If you can’t do a roller-coaster ride, for example, then this is definitely not for you!” she quipped. She said that, as with other adventure activities that have grown in popularity among Singaporeans, the interest in space travel here will peak. “Especially with the growing level of affluence in Singapore, travelling is proliferating, particularly among the younger generation.”

Read the full story.

Smith, Palazzo Decry SLS Schedule Delay

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Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

Washington, D.C. (House Science Commitee PR) – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. about reported delays to NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew vehicle. The news comes despite congressional support above the Administration’s full budget requests and repeated Administration assurances that the exploration priorities are on schedule.

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First SLS Flight Slips to Late 2018

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Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

UPDATE: NASA officials just completed a teleconference in which they said November 2018 is a No Later Than date. They are hoping to do much better; there’s still a chance of launching in December 2017 or sometime soon afterward.

NASA just announced an 11-month delay in the first Space Launch System flight from December 2017 to November 2018 in the fourth paragraph of a press release.

This decision comes after a thorough review known as Key Decision Point C (KDP-C), which provides a development cost baseline for the 70-metric ton version of the SLS of $7.021 billion from February 2014 through the first launch and a launch readiness schedule based on an initial SLS flight no later than November 2018.

The full press release is below.

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Orbital Outfitters Gives Midland Preview of Vacuum Chamber Complex

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orbital_outfittersOn Wednesday, representatives of Orbital Outfitters and Holder Aerospace gave an overview of the vacuum chamber complex they plan to build to the Midland Development Corporation (MDC).

The complex features three chambers — a vacuum system, an observation room and safety support systems — according to a presentation made by co-developers Holder Aerospace and Orbital Outfitters. Two of the chambers will be used to test the space suits that Orbital Outfitters are custom-building for XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx space vehicle.

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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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NASA and Commercial Partners Review Summer of Advancements

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ISS_lifeboat_graphic_no_title
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – NASA’s spaceflight experts in the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) met throughout July with aerospace partners to review increasingly advanced designs, elements and systems of the spacecraft and launch vehicles under development as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) initiatives.

Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX are partners with NASA in these initiatives to develop a new generation of safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit.

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Boeing Completes Final Two Commercial Crew Milestones

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Commercial interior of the Boeing Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) next-generation manned space capsule, (Credit: Boeing)

Commercial interior of the Boeing Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) next-generation manned space capsule, (Credit: Boeing)

HOUSTON, Aug. 21, 2014 (Boeing PR) –  Boeing [NYSE: BA] recently completed the Phase Two Spacecraft Safety Review of its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft and the Critical Design Review (CDR) of its integrated systems, meeting all of the company’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) milestones on time and on budget.

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Results of the NASA is Not Nominal Poll

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NASA_Not_Nominal_Reasons_PollIn a recent poll, Parabolic Arc’s readers had very strong opinions about why the U.S. space program is not nominal.

Congress: ‘enuf said topped the list with 121 votes. Although readers were not give the opportunity to explain why they thought the venerable was doing a bad job, it’s most likely that it has repeated refused to fully fund requests for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Voters were not quite as critical of the Lack of White House leadership in space, which nonetheless came in third with 83 votes.

Just above that was Space Launch System: Deep Space Money Hole, with 89 votes.

Orion: a vehicle to nowhere garnered 56 votes or 31 percent of the total, indicating less criticism of that program than the rocket that will carry it into deep space.

NASA’s Lame ass Asteroid Retrieval Mission and No focus on return to the moon were tied for fifth place with 47 votes each, which represented 26 percent of the total vote.

Too many projects, too little money came in just below those two reasons with 46 votes.

Only eight voters believed that commercial crew is a dead end.

A big thank you to all those who voted. If you haven’t already done so, please vote in our current poll about Elon Musk’s fear of the upcoming Robocalypse.

Remember: Vote early! Vote often! Just vote, dammit! Vote!

Space Florida Sets Boeing Commercial Crew Rent

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High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

Florida Today reports that Space Florida will charge Boeing up to $1 million per year in rent for facilities at the Kennedy Space Center where the company would assemble commercial crew vehicles.

The agreement is contingent upon Boeing winning a contract under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to build the CST-100 spacecraft, which would transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. NASA is expected to announce the next round of program funding soon.

The 10-year lease, which would begin on Jan. 1, 2015, would include a former space shuttle processing facility, an engine shop and offices. Space Florida would spend up to $20 million to renovate the facilities.

Boeing has said the NASA contract would allow it to base more than 500 jobs in Florida. However, the company is not expected to continue with CST-100 development if it does receive additional funds from the space agency.

Boeing is in competition with SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation, which also are developing vehicles under the program. NASA expects to announce the next round of funding shortly. It is likely that at least one of the competitors will be eliminated.