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ISS Astronauts Looking Forward to Fresh Vegetables

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NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Expedition 40 commander, harvests a crop of red romaine lettuce plants in the International Space Station’s Harmony node that were grown from seed inside the Veggie facility, a low-cost plant growth chamber that uses a flat-panel light bank for plant growth and crew observation. (Credit: NASA/Alex Gerst)

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, Expedition 40 commander, harvests a crop of red romaine lettuce plants in the International Space Station’s Harmony node that were grown from seed inside the Veggie facility, a low-cost plant growth chamber that uses a flat-panel light bank for plant growth and crew observation. (Credit: NASA/Alex Gerst)

by Linda Herridge
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Red romaine lettuce and other fresh vegetables could be on the menu for astronauts in the future. NASA astronaut and Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson harvested the first fresh vegetable crop, Veg-01, on June 10 from the Veggie plant growth system on the International Space Station (ISS).

“I was all smiles watching Swanson harvest his space lettuce, and I noted a great deal of excitement among the other crew members,” said Trent Smith, a project manager in the ISS Ground Processing and Research Project Office at Kennedy Space Center.

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SpaceX Commercial Crew Status for July 2014

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Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CCiCAP Milestone Status
Award Period: August 2012 – March 2015
Milestones: 20
Milestones Completed: 14
Milestones Remaining: 6
Total Possible Award: $460 Million
Total Award to Date: $357 Million
Total Award Remaining: $103 Million

Several notable changes have occurred in SpaceX’s milestones and timelines. First, the time period has been extended from August 2014 to March 2015. This change will allow the company to complete an in-flight abort test with its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon crew capsule.

However, the Critical Design Review (Milestone 13) also has fallen behind schedule.  The milestone has been split into f0ur separate milestones, with final completion now schedules for November.

No.
Description Original Date Status Amount
1 CCiCap Kickoff Meeting. SpaceX will hold a kickoff meeting at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to review the current state of existing hardware, processes and designs, describe plans for CCiCap program execution during both the base period and the optional period and lay the groundwork for a successful partnership between NASA and SpaceX. August 2012 Complete $40
Million
2 Financial and Business Review. SpaceX will hold a financial and business review to accomplish verification of financial ability to meet NASA’s stated goals for the CCiCap program by providing NASA insight into SpaceX finances. August 2012
Complete $20 Million
3 Integrated System Requirements Review (ISRR). SpaceX will hold an integrated System Requirements Review (ISRR) to examine the functional and performance requirements defined for the entire CTS for the Commercial Crew Program design reference mission per section 3.1 of CCT-DRM-1110, as well as to evaluate the interpretation and applicability of each requirement. October 2012 Complete $50 Million
4 Ground Systems and Ascent Preliminary Design Review (PDR). SpaceX will hold a Ground Systems and Ascent Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to demonstrate that the overall CTS preliminary design for ground systems and ascent meets all requirements with acceptable risk and within schedule constraints and that it establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. December 2012 Complete $35 Million
5 Pad Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold a Pad Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the pad abort test article design and test concept of operations. March 2013 Complete $20 Million
6 Human Certification Plan Review. SpaceX will hold a Human Certification Plan Review to present the Human Certification Plan. This Human Certification Plan Review will cover plans for certification of the design of the spacecraft, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations systems. May 2013 Complete $50 Million
7 On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR). SpaceX will hold an On-Orbit and Entry Preliminary Design Review (PDR) to demonstrate that the overall CTS preliminary design for orbit, rendezvous and docking with the ISS, and entry flight regimes meets all requirements with acceptable risk and within schedule constraints and that it establishes the basis for proceeding with detailed design. July 2013 Complete $34 Million
7A Delta Ground Systems Preliminary Design Review (PDR). A PDR of the delta ground systems.
July 2013 Complete $1 Million
8 In-Flight Abort Test Review. SpaceX will hold an In-Flight Abort Test Review to demonstrate the maturity of the in-flight abort test article design and test concept of operations. September 2013 Complete $10 Million
9 Safety Review. SpaceX will hold a Safety Review at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, or a nearby facility to demonstrate that the CTS design is progressing toward meeting the Commercial Crew Program’s safety goals. October 2013 Complete $50 Million
10 Flight Review of Upgraded Falcon 9. SpaceX will conduct a review of a launch of the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle demonstrating the operation of enhanced first-stage M1D engines, stage separation systems, enhanced second-stage MVacD engine and mission-critical vehicle telemetry during flight. Demonstration of the upgraded launch vehicle will serve as a risk reduction for the planned inflight abort test. November 2013 Compete $0
13A Integrated Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review (CDR). Milestone 13, Integrated Critical Design Review, has been split into four separate milestones. The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test.
March 2014 Complete $27 Million
15A Dragon Parachute Tests Phases I & II. SpaceX will conduct parachute drop tests in order to validate the new parachute design as capable of supporting a pad abort event. Milestone 15A included a crane drop test. November 2013 Complete $15 Million
15B Dragon Parachute Tests Phases I & II. SpaceX will conduct parachute drop tests in order to validate the new parachute design as capable of supporting a pad abort event. Milestone 15B featured a helicopter drop test. November 2013 Complete $5 Million
TOTAL TO DATE
(OUT OF $460 MILLION):
$357 Million
11 Pad Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct a pad abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The scenario where an abort is initiated while the CTS is still on the pad is a design driver for the launch abort system as it dictates the total impulse and also requires parachute deployment in close proximity to the ground. December 2013 3Q 2014 $30 Million
12 Dragon Primary Structure Qualification. SpaceX will conduct static structural testing of all Dragon primary structure components to ultimate load factors, as applicable. This series of tests will validate the Dragon structure’s ability to maintain integrity during all driving load cases as well as verify the accuracy of math models used to analyze the Dragon structure. Individual tests will be designed to exercise all credible failure modes and minimum margin areas. January 2014 2nd Half 2014 $30 Million
13B Ground Systems and Mission Operations Critical Design Review (CDR). Part 2 of the CDR focused on ground systems and mission operations. The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. March 2014 August 2014 $3 Million
13C Crew Vehicle Technical Interchange Meetings. Part 3 of the CDR. The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test. March 2014 September 2014 $5 Million
13D Delta Crew Vehicle Critical Design Review (CDR). The final milestone in the CDR.The goal of the CDR is to demonstrate that the maturity of the CTS design is appropriate to support proceeding with full-scale fabrication, assembly, integration and test.
March 2014 November 2014 $5 Million
14 In-Flight Abort Test. SpaceX will conduct an in-flight abort test of the Dragon spacecraft. The in-flight abort test will supplement the pad abort test and complete the corners-of-the-box stress cases. The in-flight abort scenario represents a Dragon abort while under propulsive flight of the launch vehicle during the worst-case dynamic loads on the CTS. April 2014 March 2015 $30 Million
TOTAL: $460 Million

USAF Certifies Three Falcon 9 Flights

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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)

An announcement from SpaceX:

The Air Force has certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch system as having conducted three successful flights, a prerequisite for companies seeking to win business from the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program.

Under Air Force standards, SpaceX is already qualified to compete for EELV missions, but SpaceX must also be certified by the Air Force before any contract can be awarded to the company. Meeting the criteria for successful flights is a key milestone in the certification process.

SpaceX expects to satisfy the remaining certification requirements later this year.

Planetary Society’s LightSail Spacecraft to Launch Aboard Falcon Heavy in 2016

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The Planetary Society's LightSail-1 solar sailing spacecraft is scheduled to ride a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to orbit in 2016 with its parent satellite, Prox-1. (Credit: Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society)

The Planetary Society’s LightSail-1 solar sailing spacecraft is scheduled to ride a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to orbit in 2016 with its parent satellite, Prox-1. (Credit: Josh Spradling / The Planetary Society)

PASADENA, Calif. (Planetary Society PR) – The Planetary Society, the world’s largest and most influential space interest group, announces that its LightSail solar sail spacecraft will reach space on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch in 2016. The announcement was made during a live webcast on July 9th.

“It’s fantastic that at last we have a launch date for this pioneering mission,” said Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye The Science Guy. “When I was in engineering school, I read the book about solar sailing by my predecessor, Society co-founder Louis Friedman. But the dream of sailing on light alone goes back much further.”

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FAA Approves SpaceX Launch Complex in Texas

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Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved SpaceX’s plan to build a spaceport south of Brownsville, Texas, to launch Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and suborbital rockets.

In its record of decision, the FAA said that while the environmentally preferable alternative would be to reject the application and having nothing constructed in the beachfront area, the option is not in keeping with the agency’s purpose.

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DiBello to Cape: Adapt — or Die!

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Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Space Florida President Frank DiBello

In an address to the National Space Club Florida Committee yesterday, Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello issued a start warning that Florida’s Space Coast risks irrelevancy if it doesn’t adapt to a rapidly commercializing industry.

DiBello said he expects Texas to announce within a week or two that SpaceX will build a privately operated pad near Brownsville for launches of commercial satellites.

DiBello said he was not angry at SpaceX, which will continue to launch government payloads from here and whose CEO, Elon Musk, was making a business decision about where he could best serve commercial customers.

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NASA Commercial Crew Partners Move Forward on Milestones

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CCiCap milestone completion status: Boeing, 18 of 20; SpaceX, 13 of 18; Sierra Nevada Corporation, 10 of 13.

CCiCap milestone completion status: Boeing, 18 of 20; SpaceX, 13 of 18; Sierra Nevada Corporation, 10 of 13.

NASA Commercial Crew Return On Investment Report
Issue No. 16 — July 2014

NASA’s industry partners continue to move forward with their Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) efforts, successfully completing milestones and working toward the culmination of their CCiCap Space Act Agreements. The Boeing Company is scheduled to complete its milestones later this summer. NASA has agreed to extend the terms of the Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) agreements to March 2015 allowing for completion of work associated with remaining flight testing—SpaceX an in-flight abort test and SNC a free flight test of a Dream Chaser test vehicle.

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Iridium and SpaceX Successfully Complete Dispenser Qualification Tests

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Falcon 9 in flight with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 in flight with the SES-8 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

McLEAN, Va., July 3, 2014 (Iridium PR) — Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) and SpaceX today announced the successful completion of dispenser qualification testing for the Iridium NEXT constellation. The dispenser is the mission-unique assembly that holds the satellites during launch and manages the perfectly timed separation of each satellite from the rocket, placing each of the satellites into its proper orbit. The testing program, a key milestone in the Iridium NEXT constellation build, included four types of testing on the satellite dispenser: fit check, separation and shock testing, a modal survey, and static loads testing. Overall the tests ensure launch shock environment, mechanical form, fit and function, separation dynamics, fundamental frequency and structural integrity.

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ESA Weighs Ariane 6 Options as Major Satellite Operator Seeks Industry Overhaul, Price Cuts

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Artist's conception of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Artist’s conception of Ariane 6. (Credit: ESA)

Space News reports that ESA is weighing two options for its next-generation Ariane 6 launch vehicle as Arianespace cuts prices in response to competition from SpaceX. Meanwhile, satellite fleet operator SES is putting pressure on Europe’s launch vehicle industry to quickly reform itself.

A European Space Agency bid-evaluation team is expected to deliver its judgment by July 5 on two different designs for a next-generation Ariane 6 rocket — one it has been examining for about a year, and another it only discovered June 18.

The ESA Tender Evaluation Board’s recommendation will weigh heavily in a debate among a half-dozen European governments most concerned with launch vehicle production. Ministers from France, Germany and Italy are scheduled to meet July 8 in Geneva, at the invitation of the Swiss government, to solidify their own views of which way to go on Ariane 6.

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Inmarsat Books SpaceX Launches

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Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

LONDON, July 2, 2014 (Inmarsat PR) – Inmarsat plc (LSE: ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite services, today announced that it has selected SpaceX to provide launch services for its S-band satellite and up to two further Inmarsat missions. Under the terms of its agreement with SpaceX, Inmarsat expects to use the Falcon Heavy launch vehicle, but will retain the possibility of using a Falcon 9 as an alternative, providing further launch flexibility.

Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat’s Chief Executive Officer said, “We believe that SpaceX has demonstrated tremendous successful progress in its launch capabilities and is now a fully-credible provider of vehicles to support geostationary missions.  We are delighted to be working with SpaceX for the launch of our S-band satellite and other potential future missions for Inmarsat.  In view of capacity constraints in the satellite launch market, Inmarsat believes that securing optionality today is an important business safeguard to mitigate future launch schedule risk.”

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