The first successful launch of Germany’s A-4 ballistic missile and the orbiting of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik-1, took place 15 years and one day apart. The two achievements are related in more ways than their proximity on the calendar.
On Oct. 3, 1942, an A-4 developed by Wernher von Braun and his German Army team reached an altitude of 85 to 90 km (52.8 to 55.9 miles) after launch from Peenemunde on the Baltic Coast.
NASA has selected 10 projects designed to improve life support systems and human health in space for funding under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
Nine of the proposals deal with life support and habitation systems with a tenth involves human research and health maintenance. The two-year SBIR Phase II projects are eligible for up to $750,000 in funding.
Improving life support systems are an important area of research as NASA aims at sending astronauts beyond low Earth orbit to the moon and various deep-space destinations.
Below is a list of selected projects followed by their abstracts.
NASA has selected two proposals from Made in Space focused on producing advanced crystals and high-strength components for funding under the space agency’s Small Business Innovation Research program. Each two-year Phase II is worth up to $750,000.
The Industrial Crystallization Facility (ICF) would produce “nonlinear optical single crystals and other relatively large material formulations, such as bulk single-crystal thin films and high temperature optical fiber,” according to the proposal.
Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly with Margaret Lazarus Dean Alfred A. Knoff 2017 369 pages
Scott Kelly was failing out of college when he spotted a book at the campus store that would utterly change his life: The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe’s classic tale of Cold War-era test pilots and the Mercury astronauts.
As he read Wolfe’s prose, Kelly realized that flying jets had the same type of adrenaline rush he felt working as an EMT, which had been the only thing he had excelled at thus far. He decided he would pursue a career as an U.S. Navy aviator.
Decades later, he would call Wolfe in the midst of a year-long stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to thank him and ask for advice about how to write a book of his own.
Endurance is the result. The memoir doesn’t live up to Wolfe’s stylistic brilliance, but what the book lacks in style it more than makes up for in inspiration. (more…)
WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — Former NASA astronaut Richard Gordon, command module pilot on Apollo 12, the second lunar landing mission, passed away on Nov. 6, 2017.
Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement on Gordon’s passing: “NASA and the nation have lost one of our early space pioneers. We send our condolences to the family and loved ones of Gemini and Apollo astronaut Richard Gordon, a hero from NASA’s third class of astronauts.” (more…)
Six months into a new century in an age already known for astounding technological progress, a strange cigar-shaped vehicle slowly rose from a shed on Lake Constance in southern Germany and began to move forward.
Stretching 128 meters (420 feet) from bow to stern, the LZ-1 (Luftschiff Zeppelin, or “Airship Zeppelin”) consisted of a cylindrical aluminum frame covered in fabric with two gondolas suspended below it. Lift was provided by 17 gas bags made of rubberized cotton that contained 11,298 cubic meters (399,000 cubic feet) of flammable hydrogen. The LZ-1 was propelled forward by a pair of 11 kW (14 hp) Daimler engines.
CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEPORT (August 17, 2017) – On August 25, Orbital ATK is scheduled to launch its Minotaur 4 rocket from Space Florida’s Space Launch Complex (SLC) 46 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The launch of the ORS 5 mission for the US Air Force (USAF), will be the first launch from the pad since 1999, as well as the first since Space Florida renovated the complex.
PARIS, WASHINGTON D.C., MONTREAL, YOKOHAMA, March 2, 2017 (Euroconsult PR) – According to Euroconsult’s soon-to-be-released report, SatCom for Defense & Security: Strategic Issues & Forecasts, global military demand for commercial satellite capacity has fallen by an estimated 20% from a peak of 12.5 GHz in 2011 following tremendous growth over the previous decade, due in large part to lower usage of the U.S. DoD.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., (June 24, 2016) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket successfully launched the MUOS-5 satellite for the U.S. Navy. The rocket lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 June 24 at 10:30 a.m. EDT.
MUOS-5 is the final satellite in the five-satellite constellation, which provides warfighters with significantly improved and assured communications worldwide.
I was conducting some research into Defense Department Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards to see what space and rocket projects it has been funding. I found a group of SBIR Phase I contracts awarded by DARPA in 2015, most of them related to the XS-1 launcher program. I don’t think I’ve written about them previously.
CENTENNIAL, Colo., (ULA PR) – After another year with 100 percent mission success, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) team capped off the year with the launch of the OA-4 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 6 and prepares for its 10th anniversary and highest operations Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) tempo to date in 2016.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., (Sept. 2, 2015) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the fourth Mobile User Objective System satellite for the U. S. Navy launched from Space Launch Complex-41 at 6:18 a.m. EDT today.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Orion spacecraft continues on the agency’s journey to Mars as engineers analyze data from the spacecraft’s December flight test and make progress developing and building the spacecraft for its first mission atop NASA Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket. On future missions, Orion will send astronauts to an asteroid and onward toward the Red Planet.
WASHINGTON (DOD PR) — United Launch Services LLC, Littleton, Colorado has been awarded a $382,926,946 firm-fixed-price modification (P00061) to FA8811-13-C-0003 to order Launch Vehicle Production Services (LVPS) under the requirements contract terms of the basic contract.
This modification executes a requirement for fiscal 2015 LVPS in support of the launch vehicle configuration of one Air Force Delta IV (5,4), one Navy Atlas V 551, and one National Reconnaissance Office Atlas V 401.