Tag: SpaceX

NASA Ames to Launch Four Experiments to ISS Aboard Dragon

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will launch four life science experiments to the International Space Station aboard NASA’s next commercial cargo resupply flight of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The research missions include validation of a new capability for model organism study in space, an infection process investigation in the unique conditions of space, the first step in a multi-part study to track microbes on the space station, and an examination of immune system changes that curiously happen in both elderly people and people exposed to spaceflight.

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Boeing Bids for Commercial Cargo II Contract

Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

Boeing CST-100 docking at ISS. (Credit: Boeing)

SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation have competition for the next phase of NASA’s commercial cargo program:

Company officials said in a Dec. 9 interview here that they submitted a proposal earlier this month for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) 2 competition, a follow-on to the existing CRS contracts held by Orbital Sciences Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to ferry cargo to and from the station.

The cargo version of Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft will be based on the crewed version the company is developing for NASA, said John Mulholland, Boeing commercial crew program manager. Boeing will remove spacecraft components not needed for crew missions, like its launch abort system and environmental controls, to free up room in the spacecraft for cargo.

The cargo version of CST-100 would, like the crewed version, launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. The cargo version will also be able to return cargo to Earth, landing in the western United States like the crewed version.

That similarity between the two CST-100 versions is intended to improve the spacecraft’s overall economics. “It gives us a chance to use the launch vehicle and capsule that are being integrated for crew and get more missions out of it to help with affordability,” said John Elbon, vice president and general manager for space exploration at Boeing.

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Waco City Council Approves SpaceX Incentives

Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)

Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX will receive million in incentives to help defray the cost of the expansion of its engine test site in McGregor, Texas:

Waco City Council pledged its share of $3.3 million of city-county incentives Tuesday that will allow SpaceX to expand its rocket testing facility and bring two new businesses to the city.

SpaceX is in line for $3 million in incentives from the Waco- McLennan County Economic Development Corp. in exchange for adding 300 jobs and making $46.3 million in capital improvements to the McGregor facility. McLennan County would provide half the funding, and commissioners are set to vote on the package next week.

Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. said the expansion will create high-paying jobs that will benefit Waco residents, and he sees a bright future for the fast-growing rocket company here.

The expansion would more than double the full-time employment at the McGregor site, which is now 261.

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SpaceX to Attempt to Land Falcon 9 First Stage on Barge

SpaceX first stage recovery drone ship. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX first stage recovery drone ship. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — During our next flight, SpaceX will attempt the precision landing of a Falcon 9 first stage for the first time, on a custom-built ocean platform known as the autonomous spaceport drone ship. While SpaceX has already demonstrated two successful soft water landings, executing a precision landing on an unanchored ocean platform is significantly more challenging.

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Falcon 9, Angara 5 & GSLV Mk. 3 Flights Highlight Crowded Launch Schedule


First stage recovery barge (Credit: SpaceX)

With only two weeks left in the year, the global launch schedule is crammed with 9 launches, including the flights of new launch vehicles by Russia and India and an unprecedented effort by SpaceX to recover a first-stage for reuse.

Below are the highlights.

Dec. 18. GSLV Mk.3: India will conduct the first test flight of its new medium-lift GSLV Mk. 3 launch vehicle. This will be a suborbital launch that will carry a prototype of a human spacecraft. Satish Dhawan Space Centre

Dec. 19. SpaceX CRS-5:  SpaceX will send a Dragon freighter on the company’s fifth commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. The company will attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 booster for reuse by landing it on a barge. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Dec. 25. Angara 5: Russia will conduct its first test of its new Angara 5 heavy-lift booster, which will send a dummy payload into orbit. The launch follows the suborbital flight of the smaller Angara 1.2, which tested the core stage for this new family of boosters. Plesetsk Cosmodrome

The table below shows flights scheduled for the rest of the year.  Schedule subject to change without notice.

Dec. 18 GSLV Mk.3 CARE Satish Dhawan India
Dec. 18 Strela Kondor E1 Baikonur Russia
Dec. 18 Soyuz O3b F3 Kourou Russia
Dec. 19 Falcon 9 CRS 5 CCAFS USA
Dec. 24 Soyuz Lotus S Plesetsk Russia
Dec. 25 Angara 5 Dummy payload Plesetsk Russia
Dec. 26 Soyuz Resurs P2 Baikonur Russia
Dec. 28 Proton ASTRA 2G Baikonur Russia
December Long March 3A Fengyun 2G Xichang China

Source: Spaceflight Now

NASA Awards Launch Contract to SpaceX

Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launches AsiaSat8 into orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2014 (NASA PR) — NASA has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. TESS will launch aboard a Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle, with liftoff targeted for August 2017 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Airbus Plan to Launch on SpaceX Falcon 9 Criticized

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Airbus Defence and Space’s negotiations with SpaceX to launch a European communications satellite on a Falcon 9 has not gone over well in France:

The senator, Alain Gournac, who is a veteran member of the French Parliamentary Space Group, said he had written French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron to protest Airbus’ negotiations with Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for a late 2016 launch instead of contracting for a launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket.

“The negotiations are all the more unacceptable given that, at the insistence of France, Europe has decided to adopt a policy of ‘European preference’ for its government launches,” Gournac said. “This is called playing against your team, and it smacks of a provocation. It’s an incredible situation that might lead customers to think we no longer have faith in Ariane 5 — and tomorrow, Ariane 6.”

The satellite in question is part of the European Data Relay Service, EDRS, which is developing two nodes in geostationary orbit, both on satellites with conventional telecommunications payloads as well, to use lasers to communicate with low-orbiting observation satellites to speed data return.

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SpaceX Looks to Expand McGregor Test Site

Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)

Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)

The Waco Tribune reports on SpaceX’s plan to expand its test facility in McGregor, Texas:

The SpaceX rocket-making plant in McGregor is poised to spend $46 million on an expansion that would create 300 new full-time jobs.

Waco City Council on Tuesday will vote on giving Space Exploration Technologies Corp. up to $1.5 million in economic development money.

McLennan County commissioners will vote later this month on allocating $1.5 million to SpaceX for the project, giving the Hawthorne, California-based company a total of $3 million in funds from the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp. war chest used to attract and keep industry.

[SpaceX] began in 2003 using land in McGregor’s industrial park for research and rocket testing, and recently expanded its lease from 922 acres to 4,280 acres.

In a report prepared by the city of Waco’s economic development staff, SpaceX is proposing to invest $46.3 million in the site during the next five years. That will consist of about $32.4 million in real property improvements and $13.9 million in personal property improvements.


Falcon 9 Launch Slips to NET Dec. 19, Briefing Date and Times Changed

A Falcon 9 carries a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

A Falcon 9 carries a Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA TV)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL (NASA PR) — The fifth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract now is scheduled to launch no earlier than 1:20 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 19, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 12:15 p.m.

The change of launch date allows SpaceX to take extra time to ensure they do everything possible on the ground to prepare for a successful launch. Both the Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon spacecraft are in good health.

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Kentucky Space Announces Exo-Medicine Mission to ISS


Kentucky_SpaceLEXINGTON, KY (Kentucky Space PR) — Kentucky Space LLC, in partnership with the Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology at Tufts University, announced today an upcoming mission, via a SpaceX launch vehicle to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 16, 2014, involving an important exomedicine experiment.

Exomedicine involves the research, development and commercialization of biomedical solutions in the microgravity environment of space for applications on Earth.

This mission, to be launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, will analyze the
regeneration mechanisms of planarian flatworms in the microgravity environment (and absence of a geomagnetic field) of space. This experiment is a critical step in a specific regenerative medicine research and commercial pathway being pursued by the parties.

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