I realize it’s a bit late, but here’s a look back at the major developments in space in 2017.
I know that I’m probably forgetting something, or several somethings or someones. Fortunately, I have eagle-eyed readers who really seem to enjoy telling me just how much I’ve screwed up. Some of them a little too much….
So, have at it! Do your worst, eagle-eyed readers!
The numbers are in on XCOR Aerospace’s bankruptcy, and as one would expect, they’re not real pretty.
The company has $1.1 million in assets and $1,424.66 in cash, according to documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California. XCOR owes $27.46 million to creditors, with $23.6 million in unsecured debts and $3.86 million in liabilities secured by assets.
“Right now, we’re looking at XCOR to probably have their first launch here second quarter of ’16,” Lacy said during a MSDC meeting. “Orbital Outfitters’ building is moving along very nicely; they’ve also got the altitude chamber facilities inside that building. The XCOR hangar is almost complete, and we’ve already got half of their staff out here right now.”
Officials from XCOR and Orbital Outfitters journeyed to Midland for a celebration of the FAA granting a spaceport license to Midland International Airport. This Tweet was the only official word out of XCOR about the celebration.
MIDLAND, Texas (Press Release)—In a joint release today, the Midland International Airport, Midland Development Corporation, XCOR Aerospace and Orbital Outfitters announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval of a Commercial Space Launch Site License (Spaceport) for the Midland International Airport (MAF). Midland International Airport is the first primary commercial service airport to be certified by the FAA under the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 420 as a spaceport and will furthermore be referred to as the Midland International Air & Space Port.
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.
Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce the addition of six new member organizations. Bigelow Aerospace and Orbital Outfitters have joined as new Executive Members and Moon Express has moved up from Associate to Executive Membership. ASRC Federal, Spaceport Sweden, and World View Enterprises have joined as Associate Members.
“The CSF membership is representative of all facets of space exploration,” said CSF President Michael Lopez-Alegria. “This diversity is indicative of a growing, thriving sector, with each company contributing to the overarching success of the commercial space exploration industry.”
NYACK, NY (SFF PR) — The Board of Directors of the Space Frontier Foundation announced today that Bob Werb, Co-Founder and long-time Chairman of the Board, has retired from the position, and that they have unanimously elected space entrepreneur Jeff Feige to take over as the Foundation’s new Chairman.
“Bob’s extraordinary vision and leadership permeates every corner of our organization,” said Foundation President James Pura. “As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of our founding, you can look back at 25 years of his passionate contribution of ideas, common sense, and business excellence to nearly everything we’ve done to advocate for an open frontier in space for everyone.”
MIDLAND, Texas (MDC PR) – The Midland Development Corporation approved an agreement with Orbital Outfitters for the location of their Space Pressure Suit Manufacturing and Development business at the Midland International Airport (MAF).
The construction of the new building, on approx. 2 acres of land at MAF, will completed by December 2015. The building will include an altitude chamber complex to support the testing and qualification of space and pressure suits, small space systems and components testing and flight crew training operations and will be made available for use by UTPB.
Orbital Outfitters specializes in the design, development, and manufacturing of space and pressure suits, with a secondary line of business focusing on the production of full-scale space vehicle mockups. The company works closely with XCOR Aerospace, whose new R&D Center will be located on the flight line at MAF in a soon-to-be renovated ~60,000 sq. ft. hangar testing and office facility.
There’s a report out of Midland, Texas about plans for Los Angeles-based spacesuit manufacturer Orbital Outfitters to move there:
This week Midland Development Corp. approved a nearly $7 million agreement which will permit Orbital Outfitters to manage and operate a $3.2 million altitude chamber facility, which MDC will own. According to news reports, the board will also provide the firm with an incentive of $2.2 million to construct its headquarters in the Lone Star State city, along with $1.5 million to assist in its relocation from California.
The agenda for MDC’s meeting on Jan. 24 lists three measures concerning Orbital Outfitters: an economic agreement, the lease of a two-acre tract at the Midland International Airport by the city of Midland, and a sublease of that tract to the company. No details are provided.
Orbital Outfitters will join XCOR Aerospace, which has an agreement with Midland to move its research and development facility to the West Texas city. Lee Valentine, who is one of XCOR’s lead investors, also is a co-founder of Orbital Outfitters.
When NASA released its CCDev 2 agreement with SpaceX, the space agency redacted the names of the company’s partners on human-rating the Dragon spacecraft. A recent PowerPoint presentation given by NASA official Maria Collura reveals them publicly. And the partners are…
Ahhhh, you didn’t think I’d tell you before the break, did you?
C’mon, click to continue reading. You’re dying to know…. 🙂
One of these companies, ILC Dover, has been building spacesuits for NASA for decades, producing the suits worn on the moon by Apollo astronauts and space shuttle astronauts. The David Clark Company has been around since 1941, producing pressure suits for Chuck Yeager, Gemini astronauts, and the space shuttle program. The third company, Orbital Outfitters, is a newcomer that is designing pressure suits for XCOR’s Lynx suborbital vehicle.
The relevant section from the report is reproduced after the break.
A man who helped lead an effort to establish orbital skydiving as a new extreme sport was killed last week in a diving accident in Switzerland.
Eli Thompson headed up the Space Diver Dive team for Orbital Outfitters, a California-based start up company that is designing suits for high-altitude diving and suborbital space flights. Thompson was killed in a skydiving accident in Lautterbrunnen, Switzerland on August 28.