Tag: NASA

NASA to Launch First Science CubeSat Mission

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Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

Two three-unit (3U) CubeSats. At about a foot in length and four inches wide, these are similar in design to IceCube and the five selected heliophysics CubeSats. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has chosen a team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, to build its first Earth science-related CubeSat mission.

The tiny payload, known as IceCube or Earth-1, will demonstrate and validate a new 874-gigahertz submillimeter-wave receiver that could help advance scientists’ understanding of ice clouds and their role in climate change.

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Space Access Society Update

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Space Access Update #136 7/27/14
Copyright 2014 by Space Access Society

In this Issue:

- Bill Gaubatz
- Experienced Engineering Teams And US Space Launch Development Policy
- SLS Sole-Sourcing
- 2014 Space Politics: Halftime Report

  • Senate Appropriations Impasse, Other Legislation
  • Commercial Crew & Cargo at Crossroads
  • Defense Launch & Propulsion Politics

- Supporting Space Access

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GAO: NASA Needs Executable Business Case for SLS

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Artist rendering of the RS-25 engines powering the liftoff of the 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity configuration SLS from the pad. (Credit: NASA)

Artist rendering of the RS-25 engines powering the liftoff of the 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity configuration SLS from the pad. (Credit: NASA)

Space Launch System: Resources Need to be Matched to Requirements to Decrease Risk and Support Long Term Affordability
Government Accountability Office
Published: Jul 23, 2014

What GAO Found

The Space Launch System (SLS) program is making solid progress on the SLS design. However, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has not developed an executable business case based on matching the program’s cost and schedule resources with the requirement to develop the vehicle and conduct the first flight test in December 2017 at the required confidence level of 70 percent. NASA uses a calculation referred to as the “joint cost and schedule confidence level” to estimate the probable success of a program meeting its cost and schedule targets. NASA policy usually requires a 70 percent confidence level for a program to proceed with final design and fabrication.

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Sierra Nevada Announces Agreement With JAXA on Dream Chaser

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev., July 23, 2014 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today the expansion of its Dream Chaser® Space System’s global partnership to include Asia and the Pacific Rim through a recently signed memorandum of cooperative understanding with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). SNC will work with JAXA on potential applications of Japanese technologies and the development of mission concepts for the Dream Chaser spacecraft.  Additionally, SNC and JAXA will explore the possibility of launching and landing the Dream Chaser spacecraft in Japan. This international collaboration will widen the breadth of the global capabilities offered by SNC’s Dream Chaser reusable, lifting-body spacecraft.

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Commercial Crew Partners Continue Milestone Work

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WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their  Space Act Agreements with the agency.

NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move ahead with plans to develop the first American spacecraft designed to carry people into space since the space shuttle.

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Sierra Nevada Completes Dream Chaser Technology Readiness Level Milestone

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Former astronaut Lee Archambault Dream Chaser crew test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Former astronaut Lee Archambault Dream Chaser crew test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

SPARKS, Nev., July 22, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announces it has successfully passed Milestone 9, the Risk Reduction and Technology Readiness Level (TRL) Advancement Testing milestone, for several critical Dream Chaser® systems under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement. Milestone 9 culminated in a major comprehensive review of various hardware systems. To date, SNC has received 92 percent of the total award value of the CCiCap agreement.

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The Risks of Airplane and Spacecraft Travel — By the Numbers

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In the “UK Government Review of Commercial Spaceplane Certification and Operations Technical Report,” there is a fascinating section outlining the risks of aviation and spaceflight. It is worth quoting at length because it shows the risks people take in different types of flights, and the nearly complete lack of safety data involving the emerging field of space tourism.

The key excerpts are below. I’ve added emphasis to spotlight the key statistics.

Over the past hundred years, commercial aviation has evolved to the extent that, for public transport, operations involving ICAO-certified aircraft achieve a catastrophic failure rate better than 1×10-7. This means that catastrophic failure takes place less than once in every 10 million hours of flight.

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Lunar Pits Could Shelter Future Explorers, Settlers

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This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO's NAC is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

This is a spectacular high-Sun view of the Mare Tranquillitatis pit crater revealing boulders on an otherwise smooth floor. This image from LRO’s NAC is 400 meters (1,312 feet) wide, north is up. (Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University)

GREENBELT, Mary. (NASA PR) — While the moon’s surface is battered by millions of craters, it also has over 200 holes – steep-walled pits that in some cases might lead to caves that future astronauts could explore and use for shelter, according to new observations from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

The pits range in size from about 5 meters (~5 yards) across to more than 900 meters (~984 yards) in diameter, and three of them were first identified using images from the Japanese Kaguya spacecraft. Hundreds more were found using a new computer algorithm that automatically scanned thousands of high-resolution images of the lunar surface from LRO’s Narrow Angle Camera (NAC).

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This Week on The Space Show

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This week on The Space Show with David Livingston:

1. Monday, July 21, 2014: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. ERICK SEEDHOUSE on his new Space Tourism book.

2. Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 7 PM PDT (10 PM EDT, 9 PM CDT): We welcome DR. MARK SHELHAMER of NASA regarding his FISO talk from earlier this year regarding critical issues for Human Space Flight. His FISO talk was April 1, 2014.

3. Friday, June 27, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12;30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): No show as am at NewSpace Conference.

4. Sunday, July 27, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST). OPEN LINES. First time callers welcome. All space and STEM topics welcome.

A Closer Look at Altius Space Machines Projects — Part II

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Altius_logo_newBy Jonathan Goff
CEO and President
Altius Space Machines

Part 2 of 2

In the last post, I introduced the two SBIR Select Phase 1 contracts that Altius has commenced work on. This blog post will focus on the other two Asteroid Redirect Mission contracts which mentioned there. These have been selected for contract negotiation, but aren’t active contracts yet, so I will try to be a little more high-level in this blog post.

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