Tag: SpaceX

SpaceX Powers Up Crew Dragon Avionics Test Bed

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (NASA PR) — SpaceX recently powered up its Crew Dragon avionics test bed at its facility in Hawthorne, California, by simulating a crew flight to the International Space Station. During the avionics functionality check, engineers were able to make sure the spacecraft’s hardware and software worked well together in a flight-like environment. The avionics are known as the brains of a spacecraft, controlling all the critical automated operations of a flight.

“It may not sound exciting, but it’s a really, really important tool. We can basically fly the Crew Dragon on the ground — flip the switches, touch the screens, test the algorithms and the batteries – all before testing the avionics system in flight,” said Hans Koenigsmann, vice president of mission assurance for SpaceX. “It’s important to get the avionics right before putting it into the capsule.”

The SpaceX avionics test bed is similar to the Shuttle Avionics Integration Lab, or SAIL, in Houston, which was used throughout NASA’s Space Shuttle Program to test the interaction of hardware and software before modifying code on the vehicles for flight.

Virgin Galactic Hires SpaceX, Qualcomm Vet to Run Launch Program

Barry Matsumori

Barry Matsumori

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 19, 2015 (Virgin Galactic PR) – Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS, is pleased to welcome Barry Matsumori as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Advanced Concepts for the LauncherOne satellite launcher service.

Matsumori joins Virgin Galactic with more than 25 years of experience in technology and development. Prior positions include Senior Vice President Sales & Business Development at Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Qualcomm’s Vice President, Wireless Connectivity. His Qualcomm responsibilities included the development of mobile telecom module products as well as satellite communication infrastructure and terminals.

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NASA Expanded Cygnus Order to 10

Cygnus and ISS robotic arm (Credit: NASA)

Cygnus and ISS robotic arm (Credit: NASA)

Space News is reporting that NASA has expanded its order of Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ships from 8 to ten. The robotic freighters serve the International Space Station.

Last year, the space agency announced its intention to extend its existing cargo delivery contracts with Orbital ATK and SpaceX by up to two years until 2017.

NASA will be purchasing additional cargo flights from SpaceX, according to the Space News article.

The additional ordes come amid delays in the awarding of follow-on Commercial Resupply Services contracts. NASA had been planning to award contracts in the spring, but it recently announced an additional delay until November.

NASA Again Delays CRS2 Contract Awards


NASA LOGONASA now expects to award new International Space Station cargo supply contracts on Nov. 5, about five months behind the original schedule.

On its website, the space agency said it needed “additional time to evaluate Final Proposal Revisions (FPRs)” for the Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) contracts.

NASA released its request for proposals on Sept. 25, 2014, with proposals due last Dec. 2. The award date was originally set for May, but it then slipped to June then September and now November.

Orbital ATK and SpaceX, who now hold CRS contacts. The companies have submitted proposals for the CRS-2 contract along with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

SpaceWorks Review Finds Sharp Increase in Smallsat Launches


Excerpts From
2015 Small Satellite Market Observations
Full Presentation

Developed by:

Ms. Elizabeth Buchen
Director, Engineering Economics Group
SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI)
Atlanta, GA


SpaceWorks’ 2014 Projection estimated between 140 and 143 nano/microsatellites across all sectors would launch globally in 2014; 158 nano/microsatellites were actually launched. This represented an increase of nearly 72% compared to 2013.


In 2014, 107 commercial nano/microsatellites (1-50 kg) launched and thousands of commercial small satellites (101-500 kg) are planned for launch over the next fifteen years. Recent multi-million and multi-billion dollar investments in various ventures confirm the commercial sector’s continued interest in the nano/microsatellite and small satellite industries.
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Hyten Sees Commercial Smallsat Transformation, Calls on Industry to Lead

Gen. John E. Hyten

Gen. John E. Hyten

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

LOGAN, Ut. — U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten said the entrepreneurial space sector is leading the industry into its third great transformation, one that will fundamentally change the way the military acquires and uses its space assets to protect the nation.

Giving the opening keynote address at the 29th Small Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah, the commander of Air Force Space Command said the service will be going into smallsats “in a big way.” He added the Air Force would continue to fly the large satellite that have become its trademark.

Rather than leading the way on small satellites, Hyten said the military is looking to private industry to provide technology and solutions. After several false dawns, the industry is in a “magical time” when it is about to blossom.

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Air Force Completes Review of Launch Certification

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

by Tech. Sgt. Mike Slater
AFSPC Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Air Force Space Command has announced the completion of the Institute for Defense Analyses Broad Area Review of AFSPC launch vehicle certification. The independent review examined the process and provided specific recommendations to apply certification lessons learned. The intent of the review is to assure access to space for National Security Space missions.

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SpaceX Statement on Loss of Falcon 9

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

SpaceX Statement on Loss of Falcon 9

On June 28, 2015, following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight, resulting in loss of mission. This summary represents an initial assessment, but further investigation may reveal more over time.

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Musk: Failed Strut Suspected in Falcon 9 Failure


By Douglas Messier

Managing Editor

In a press conference today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said a preliminary investigation has identified the failure of a strut in the second stage liquid oxygen (LOX) tank as the failure of a Falcon 9 rocket last month.

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Musk to Discuss Falcon 9 Failure Monday