Private space in New Mexico ...
The recent Space Entrepreneurs and Enterprise Developers Symposium
sponsored by the New
Mexico Office for Space Commercialization brought together a
number of RLV firms who spoke of possible operations in the state.
Spaceport Proposal Returns By Rene Albuquerque - Journal Southern
Bureau - May.2.03 and Space
travel - Las Cruces Sun News - May.4.03 for reports on the meeting.
Suborbital soundings ... I've
heard that TGV
Rockets has starting hiring engineers for its Norman, Oklahoma
... People working at the
Mojave airport occasionally hear the rumblings from static tests
of the SS1 engines.
Great radio rocket show ... I
thought the Science Friday show on private space development went
very well. All the guests were quite articulate and made many good
points. The audio is [now
-June 4] in their archive.
In past years, radio and TV shows on private space development
typically spent a lot of time just trying to convince the audience
that the concept was not a fantasy. Now, because of the hardware
at SS1, Armadillo, etc. the proof is right there up front and the
discussion can go right to substantive matters about regulations,
when launches will start, follow-on projects, etc. Seems like real
progress to me.
TransHab Architecture... Not
relevant to RLVs (except with regards to the places that RLVs will
eventually go to) but check out my interview
with Constance Adams who worked as an architect on the
TransHab inflatable ISS module project.
Talking about rockets ... The
X PRIZE site announces
that "X PRIZE Chairman Peter Diamandis will be featured and
participate in the live, call-in, National Public Radio (NPR) radio
of the Nation: Science Friday" as the nation discusses private
spacecraft development. The program will air live on Friday, May
30 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM Eastern, although times vary per NPR
In addition to Peter, the show will include Neil Milburn of Armadillo
Aerospace and Edward Hudgins of the Cato Institute and editor of
Space: the Free-Market Frontier.
See also May
30, 2003: Hour One: Development of Private Space Vehicles on
(Thanks to Gretchen & Ken Davidian of X PRIZE for this item.)
IT Rocketeers ... The Economist
magazine this week has a brief article on information-technology
industry leaders going into space development with a focus on Elon
Musk - The
sky's the limit: A new way to escape the gloom of the IT industry.
Go into space - Economist - May.29.03
Arrow selects its crew ... The
selection of an "international team of Astronauts" will
on June 26th. The event will also "include never before seen
photos of the rocket in assembly and the future plans to capture
the X Prize."
News brief ... Interorbital
reveals a new
design for its Solaris-X entry in the X PRIZE competition. [May.30.03
- I should have noted that I got this news via a posting on sci.space.policy
by Jonathan Goff]
SS1 flight update ... The latest
issue of Aviation Week has a one page story about the recent
captive carry flight of the SpaceShipOne
with the White Knight. Highlights include:
Tether booster boosted... Tethers
Unlimited (TUI) and three other companies received $4 million
NASA grant to develop technology needed for a rotating tether in
orbit that would grab satellites from 100km and sling them to higher
aims high with orbital transport system: Hi-tech ropes may replace
rocket boosters. - Nature - May.29.03 (via spacetoday.net)
(MXER) Tether System, "will enable satellites to be launched
on smaller, less expensive rockets and drop the propulsion costs
for space missions by a factor of ten or more." according to
the TUI press release : Tethers
Unlimited Wins NASA Contract to Develop "Revolutionary "
Space Tether Transportation System - TUI - May.16.03 .
The money will go for further development of their simulator
and of the Hoytether™
that could provide "a failsafe, multiline tether structure
able to survive for many years in the orbital space debris environment."
Rocket Guy Update... Brian
Walker, who made a great impression at the recent Space
Access' 03 meeting, has posted several updates on his
web site including items on his rocket
peroxide distillation, the launch
trailer, and the test
Kistler - real
or pretend? I noted earlier
Aerospace had recently made a big overall of their website.
I've been poking around the site and mostly it's the same as before
but with new page layouts.
However, the organization is now very much like that of a company
expecting to be attracting and serving customers. See, for example,
the pages K-1
List Prices, Flight
Opportunities, and Payload
Questionaire. Most of this info was available on the old site
but not in such an explicitly payload customer interactive format.(Note
that the Flight Experiments Design and Requirements Document
on May 16th is available for download - pdf
- 2.5MB.) Web site makeovers usually doesn't mean much but it
seems odd to make all this effort if they are just pretending they
are going to be launching payloads.
After the collapse in their funding in the wake of the Iridium/Globalstar
failures, there have been occasional hints that new funding would
soon get the project back on track but nothing substantial ever
happened. So skepticism is certainly warranted.
Nowadays Kistler remains oddly quiet. John Bonne of MSNBC told
me back in February that Kistler had turned down his
request for an interview. With high profile people like George
Mueller and other ex-top
NASA leaders involved in the company, I'm surprised they are
not speaking out more.
Aviation Week's yearly launch vehicle review said the company's
investors continue to support it. Perhaps they are hoping that O'Keefe
will eventually see the K-1 as an opportunity to obtain low cost
Students reuse Starboosters...
Poly Space Systems (CPSS) rocket club from Cal Poly San Luis
Obispo succesfully launched, recovered, and re-launched a three-rocket
cluster with two glideback boosters and a centerstage on May 17-18,
2003 at "Dairy Aire" near Fresno, California." CPSS
Turns 2 StarBoosters Around in 24 Hours - Cal. Space Authority -
May.20.03 (via ERPS).
The 1.5m rocket cluster models the Starbooster
design originated by Buzz Aldrin. A 3m single Starbooster also was
launched successfully and it executed a horizontal landing safely
as well. See the Cal
Poly Space Systems home site for more about the project along
with images and videos of previous launches.
Shop at your favorite rocket store...
I've noticed that some of the suborbital rocket groups and companies
have set up on line stores to sell posters, T shirts, memorabilia,
and other items related to their projects. Check out the rocket
shop list if you would like get some cool rocket stuff
and to give the rocketeers your support.
X PRIZE brief ... The X
PRIZE home page gives the following report
Pablo de Leon
& Associates completed successful testing of the life support
system of the Gauchito, its X PRIZE vehicle. The tests, conducted
in Argentina, included high altitude flights (30,000 feet) in
gliders with the crew using the team's space suit system. The
de León team also successfully completed several thermal tests
of the space suit. The space suit successfully sustained temperature
for more than two hours, twice the maximum duration of the team's
planned land operations, flight, and recovery phase for its X
PRIZE flights. de
León team page on the X PRIZE site.
News briefs ... The Planerary
Society and American Astronautical Society make recommendations
on development of vehicles for human space exploration beyond Earth
orbit : Stepping
into the Future: The Planetary Society and American Astronautical
Society Call for New Vehicle to Propel Humans into Space - The Planetary
Society - May.27.03 ...
Wins NASA Orbital Space Plane Contract - SAIC PR/Spaceref - May.27.03
Suborbital Institute goes to Congress
... As posted here earlier,
on May 19th the SubOrbital
Institute organized a lobbying event on Capitol Hill.This followed
a similar campaign last February (see my posting
and an article
by Jeff Foust). In these events members and volunteers meet with
Congressional staff to present issues of interest to the development
of a suborbital reusable launch vehicle industry.
I could not attend due to a previously scheduled trip but Andrew
Case sent me a report:
The SubOrbital Institute is an industry association for the emerging
suborbital launch services industry, with a membership that includes
most of the small innovative spaceflight startups. The focus of
the event on the 19th was to lobby members of the Senate Commerce
Committee to reduce the regulatory barriers facing the suborbital
startups. The two main items being promoted were full staffing
for the Department of Commerce Office
of Space Commercialization (OSC) and the formation of a Senate
The OSC currently has funding for 5 positions, but there is
only one person in the office, and no director. As SubOrbital
startups begin to grow it is important that they have an advocate
within the Department of Commerce.
The SubOrbital Caucus is simply a group of Senators who have
an interest in SubOrbital issues. The advantage of having a caucus
is that it serves as a political focus for suborbital issues.
In addition to the two primary issues at this event there were
subsidiary issues regarding the formation of new spaceports and
improvement in the environment for insurance of SubOrbital vehicles.
Note that the OSC published last fall the very timely Suborbital
Reusable Launch Vehicles and Applicable Markets report, which
in the briefings I participated in was very useful in convincing
Congressional staff that suborbital RLVs offer a viable path to
space development. Be sure to check out this report (1.8MB
pdf) if you haven't already.
X PRIZE in PopSci ... As mentioned
the May issue of Popular Science had a very nice article about the
X PRIZE with a focus on Armadillo Aerospace. The article is now
online at A
Few Dreamers Building Rockets in Workshops - Popular Science - May.2003
X PRIZE Vehicle Options ...
The paper by Marti and Nesrin Sarigul-Klijn described here back
was briefly mentioned in an entry in "In Orbit" section
of the May 19th issue of Aviation Week. The entry notes the paper's
analysis of the various design approaches to an X PRIZE vehicle
and it's conclusion that "vertical takeoff and some air-launch
[are] methods reasonable ways to ascend, and wings and decelerators
[are] the way to come back."
"This has stirred controversy" according to the entry,
which says that Burt Rutan "criticised the assessment for making
too much of historical comparisons and not enough of first-principles
analysis." See the recent discussions at ERPS
The paper can be downloaded from AIAA
paper 2003-0909 (pdf, 910kb).
News briefs ... XCOR
welcomes a spaceman aboard - Former
NASA Astronaut Richard Searfoss Joins XCOR Board of Directors -
XCOR PR - May.22.03 ...
get more PR in England - British
Rocketmen Approach Space Mission Countdown - Reuters - May.21.03
Successful SpaceShipOne captive flight
... As indicated here earlier, Scaled
Composites flew the White Knight with the SpaceShipOne
on its first captive flight this week. See the the announcement
on the X PRIZE
site and also SpaceShipOne
makes first captive carry flight - Spacetoday.net - May.21.03,
which says that Peter Diamandis mentioned the flight during a presentation
at the COMSTAC meeting today.
News briefs ... Leonard David
looks at the OSP design question: The
Next Shuttle: Capsule or Spaceplane? - Space.com - May.21.03
... Space Review reprints
the recent speech by Representative Dave Weldon (R-Fla) on the OSP,
capsule approach, and other space policy questions : Dave
Weldon speaks about space policy - The Space Review - May.21.03
(His demand for faster development of the OSP is laudable but his
view that fully reusable launch vehicles are beyond our current
capability is misinformed.) ...
... X PRIZE contestant Starchaser
will host another open house on June 14th and 15th.
Kistler updates web site ...
unveils a major redesign of their web site. Also, they've added
a poster in a pdf file illustrating the K-1
Status ("First Vehicle 75% Finished") and a flash
animation of a K-1 flight.
Don't know if this signals any major development in their project
but they did release a brief PR last week Release
of the Flight Experiments Design and Requirements Document (FEDR)...
- Kistler - May.16.03 about the completion of a study with NASA
on using the K-1 to carry experiments.
News brief ... Leonard David
reviews the status of XCOR's
Xerus project: XCOR
Zeroes in on Xerus - Space.com - May.20.03. Note that the development
cost mentioned at SA'03
was around $10 million.
First SS1 Captive Carry Flight...
I've heard that Scaled
Composite plans soon to fly the White Knight with SpaceShipOne
for the first time, perhaps as early as Tuesday.
News brief... RLV related projects
included in recent space grants in Florida to education and research
groups : Grants
Awarded for Florida Space Research/Education Projects - Florida
Space Grant Consortium/Spaceref - May.19.03. See project
listing at the Florida
Space Research Institute.
Cheap long shots ... Greg Easterbrook
returns again with a space transportation article created with his
usual weird mix of keen insights and half-truths, right-on comments
and silly one-liners, extensive research and huge holes in that
Shot - Atlantic Monthly - May.03. (See also an earlier
article after the Columbia disaster.)
Firstly, Easterbrook should have actually talked with the "first
space tourists" before panning space travel. Both Tito and
Shuttleworth are effusive in their praise for their space journeys.
Their trips were not ordeals marred by "agonizing G-forces"
and motion sickness. I attended a lecture given by Tito and the
whole hour was given to his attempts to describe what a pure state
of joy he experienced during his week in space.
Furthermore, [Rosaviakosmos] had about a dozen serious candidates
for future rides to the ISS when the Columbia disaster caused it
to suspend the tourist program temporarily. A yearly income of $40
million for the two free seats a year may be a "limited market"
but it is a market nonetheless and a strong indicator of a much
bigger market for lower priced rides.
Nevertheless, Easterbrook is on the mark in highlighting Sea
Launch as a very important milestone in the development of commercial
space businesses. He reveals to a broad audience the fascinating
story of how this wholly private enterprise not only overcame dramatic
technological challenges but also difficult sociological and political
obstacles to create a whole new space launch system. The financial
success or failure of Sea Launch will certainly have a big effect
on future efforts to bring about large private space ventures.
However, he does not need to make the story of Sea Launch seem
more special and unique by trashing all other private rocket ventures.
You certainly would not know from his report, for example, that
got far past the design stage and not only built K-1 hardware but
finished 75% [May.20.03 - corrected from previous 80%] of the first
model. NASA would have a fully reusable launch vehicle taking supplies
to the ISS right now if in 2001 it had funded the completion of
the K-1 or offered Kistler a larger carrot
so that someone else would fund the vehicle.
Easterbrook notes the hardware developed by Beal but he just sums
up that endeavor with the cute remark: "The rocket motor worked
fine, but Beal Aerospace did not". However, Beal claimed that
he closed the company because of the unfair financial support given
by NASA and the Pentagon to his competitors via the EELV and SLI
programs. I would have thought this quite relevant to Easterbrook's
thesis that Sea Launch faces similar competition. However, Easterbrook
had assigned Beal to the crackpot launch schemes section and did
not want any contrary facts to mess up the flow of his story.
Similarly, cheap shots at prototypes like the Rotary Rocket ATV,
which are only intended to test particular components of a system,
are obviously pointless and gratuitous. I assume that's why he ignored
suborbital projects since any steppingstone vehicle that doesn't
immediately reach orbit is apparently beneath his consideration.
It's just as well that Rutan's SS1
rollout occurred after he submitted this article since
I'm sure he would have slammed it as more space buff whimsy. However,
the nice thing about the privately funded suborbital projects is
that they can develop at their own pace and not worry constantly
about public relations. They just need to make steady progress one
step at a time till they get halfway to anywhere.
News briefs ... Rand Simberg
says that Max Faget's recent
comments against flying the shuttles again should be seen in
the context of the alternative design (Shuttle
NAR A ) that he promoted : Historical
Ignorance - Transterrestrial Musings - May.17.03
... Popular Science has posted
the recent article in the print edition about Next
Generation Space Shuttles. - Popular Science - May.03 ...
... Hypersonic efforts continue
and NASA team up to design hypersonic plane - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- May.19.03 (found via spacetoday.net)
News briefs ... The da
Vinci Project X PRIZE entry will launch from Saskatchewan :
first independent manned space launch from Saskatchewan - da Vinci
Project - May.13.03. The precise launch date will be announced
later this year. ...
... The latest on the StarBooster
design, originated by Buzz Aldrin, in the latest issue of Space
Equity : The
Crisis in Spacelift by Thomas L. Matula & Ted Talay - Space Equity
- May.15.03 ...
... Plus this brief interview:
Questions for Peter Diamandis - Space Equity - May.15.03
Shuttle program under pressure...
The shuttles will either need significant modifications - Orbiters
need changes before fleet flies again - OrlandoSentinel - May.16.03
- or, as urged by Max Faget, will stop flying altogether - Shuttle
Pioneer Calls for End to Manned Flights - LA Times - May.16.03
News brief ... The da
Vinci project seems to be making progress towards a test flight
launch pad picked for manned space flight - The Globe and Mail -
News briefs ... Jeff Foust
gives his impression of SA ' 03 and the state of the RLV industry
fifth stage of the RLV grieving process - The Space Review - May.14.03
... John McKnight says suborbital
RLVs provide the mature path to space: Smells
Like Teen Spirit - John Carter McKnight - May.14.03 ...
However, Michael Mealling notes that JCMc mistakenly attributes
release to the Moon
Society/ Artemis Society -
Like Body Odor - Rocket Forge - Michael Mealling ...
... Kenneth Schweitzer urges
NASA to provide funding for the smaller launch companies like Kistler
to bridge what they can raise privately to what they need to get
vehicles like the K-1
flying - NASA
as an Equity Partner by Kenneth Schweitzer - SpaceDaily - May.13.03
[Ken is an advertiser
at HobbySpace but I like this essay
... Along similar lines, Rick
Tumlinson presents a strong case for continuing the Alternate Access
to Space program in an editorial in this weeks Space News - NASA
and Capitalism - A Tool Discarded (not available on line unfortunately)
... Buzz talks about Starcraft
Boosters, crew escapce systems, and the exploration of space
Aldrin Explains What's Next For America's Space Program - Popular
Mechanics - May.03 ...
Aerospace web site says the company, which has been working
for many years on converting ICBMs to orbital launchers, will soon
announce its own Orbital
Space Plane design that would ride on one of its Eagle
ELV and launch by 2008. (Thanks to Ken Schweitzer for this link.)
DARPA decides to hypersoar ...
Carter, DARPA project manager of RASCAL
and other launch programs, has apparently convinced his bosses that
concept is worth pursuing. The Mach 10 vehicle, which would fly
along the top of the atmosphere, cycling between 32 to 64km, was
developed by Carter while he worked at Livermore National Lab.
According to the latest Space News (May 12,03) DAPRA will start
a HyperSoar program this year. Such a vehicle could serve as a satellite
launching platform (up to "1000kg to orbit") or to deliver
weapons. It could reach any spot in the world within 2 hours.
There's no announcement at the DARPA web site but there is this
from last fall.
News briefs ... More about
the Science Subcommittee hearing - Orbital
Space Plane's Congressional Critics:'Unconvinced' of NASA's Need
- Space.com - May.12.03. ...
... Study of debris danger
to those on the ground from shuttle breakup also relevant to commercial
RLVs and their liability/insurance requirements : Study
will gauge re-entry risk: Panel hopes to determine danger level
to civilians below - Florida Today - May.13.03
University students in architecture and design look at options
for an X-38 style Crew
Return Vehicle .
Space Show rocket launcher guests ...
The Space Show
for Wednesday, May 14, 2003, will feature Elon Musk as the guest.
Mr. Musk is the founder and CEO of SpaceX.
(The latest SpaceX status update is now posted
On Sunday, May 18, 2003 the show will feature The
Suborbital Institute and its director, Pat Bahn. Mr. Bahn is
the CEO of TGV
rockets and the Washington director of the Suborbital Institute,
a trade association aimed at promoting the nascent suborbital launch
industry. The Institute will send volunteers to Capitol Hill on
May 19th. See announcement.
Roton ATV resists leaving Mojave ...
Massee of XCOR has posted a series of photos he took of an attempt
to move the Roton ATV to the Classic
Rotors Museum in San Diego via a Chinook helicopter. The ATV
became unstable on its tether and the helicopter returned back to
the Mojave Airport where the landing nearly turned into a disaster
when the top of the ATV smacked into the bottom of the Chinook.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.
Flight of 6-story Roton Forced to Abort - Antelope Valley Press
- May.12.03 (Copy at The
Space Policy Digest BBS - May.12.03)
5 years max ... Excerpt from
Griffin's testimony last week to the House Space Subcommittee:
"Regarding the program schedule, it seems inconceivable
to me that a nation which required only eight years to reach the
moon, from virtually a standing start, can require a similar or
greater length of time to design and deploy a simple crew transport
vehicle. If the OSP program requires more than five years -
at the outside - from authorization to proceed until first flight,
it is being done wrong. My primary recommendation, the only
one I think can affect the outcome in a significant manner, is
this: Define carefully the goals the OSP is to meet. Pick a strong,
effective, proven, and trusted program manager, and accord to
him or her the total authority and responsibility for success.
Set aside the necessary funds, with adequate margin. And then
see to it that everyone else stays out of the way. " - my
SFF calls for new transport policy...
Fronter Foundation issues a call for NASA to buy space transportation
rather than develop systems itself - Foundation
Calls on NASA to Transform Itself "As Only NASA Can",
Wants Agency to "Buy Rather Than Build" New Space Vehicles
- Space Frontier Foundation - May.6.05.
See also the proposed Space
Transportation Policy by Alfred Differ - Frontier Files Online -
Check out the transcripts from the House Space Committee hearing
last week on the Shuttle and OSP programs: Chairman
Rohrabacher | Frederick
Gregory | Dale
Myers | Jerry
Grey | Michael
XCOR writeup... Space
Tourists : XCOR’s sub-orbital rocket could be the ultimate thrill
in adventure travel - Cornell Engineering Magazine - May.9.03
OSP gets roughed up in the House...
There's still hope that Congress won't passively accept continued
operation of the shuttle and the decade long, $12 billion OSP development
scheme . NASA officials got a tough reception yesterday at the House
Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics hearing
on NASA's Integrated Space Transportation Plan (ISTP) and Orbital
Space Plane Program.
[May.11.03: See transcript links above.]
Some of the comments include:
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas: "I am not going to vote for any funding
for the existing orbiter to go back to space..."
Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX) : "NASA's proposed Orbital Space Plane
program won't deliver a Space Station crew return vehicle until
four years after we need it, and it will cost billions of dollars
more than the X-38/CRV program that was cancelled by the Administration.
I think that 's both shortsighted and wasteful. We can do better."
Witness Dr. Jerry Grey, from the American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics (AIAA), recommended modifying the shuttle to
fly unmanned for delivering heavy payloads to the ISS. He also
said "One troubling fact is the current OSP development cost
estimate, which, although admittedly premature, ranges from $9
billion to $13 billion. Whatever happened to the $1.2 billion
Crew Return Vehicle...?"
Michael D. Griffin, of In-Q-Tel
and formerly at Orbital Sciences, testified about the OSP: "It
scarcely needs to be said that it will be extremely hard to justify
the development of such a vehicle, at a cost of several billions
of dollars, for such a limited purpose as OSP will have, given
the requirements envisioned for it today."
SpaceX update... The latest
SpaceX status report
was emailed out yesterday (not yet posted on their site; sign up
on their email distribution to recieve the reports.) Some highlights
of the long message included
- "several successful firings of the Falcon main engine (named
Merlin), the first stage is almost complete, the second stage
is in fabrication, our prototype fairing structure is done and
a lot of the small, but important pieces arrived."
- A three day Falcon design review with reps from NASA, Air Force,
FAA and others went well.
- They have a verbal agreement for a payload from DOD and a written
agreement with an international government for a second payload.
- Latest calculations of payload capacity look better than previously
stated: "1,250lbs (570kg) to 200km LEO from Cape Canaveral.
This is 25% above our initial target of a 1,000lb payload capability.
Pricing for the Falcon remains constant at $6 million per launch.
- "starting in Q4 2004, SpaceX will offer Falcon with two
liquid strap-on boosters in a configuration similar to Boeing’s
Delta IV Heavy. Falcon’s capability to LEO would increase substantially
to above 4000lbs (1820kg) and enable GTO payloads of approximately
- Human spaceflight is a long term goal "part of the reason
why we have spent substantial capital on reliability -- some would
argue more than is necessary for satellites -- is that we would
like Falcon to be safe enough for human transportation. However,
we believe it makes sense to prove reliability with satellites
before putting people on the rocket. 99% reliability is considered
exceptionally good in the satellite delivery world, but is not
very satisfactory for people."
- Several photos: engine firing (combustion efficiency nearing
target of 96%), the turbo pump (which will begin tests in May),
1st stage primary structure, avionics ring, satellite adapter
cone and separation system, payload faring, and the test stand
RVT test flights to start in June ...
The Japanese RVT
reusable vertical takeoff/vertical landing vehicle will begin test
flights in late June according to the update posted at - Reusable
Rocket Vehicle Test: The 5th Static Firing Test - ISAS - Apr.25.03.
(Thanks to Kaido Kert for this link.)
A series of successful static test firings of the engine on the
RVT-7 and tests of the new composite fuel tanks give them confidence
they can now begin flights. See the previous item on March
27, 2003 about the program.
SpaceShipOne briefs... London
takes notice - Three-seater
powers up for cheap space trip - Times Online - May.8.03 (link
found at spacetoday.net)...
... The Scaled Composites entry
page at the X PRIZE has, not surprisingly, been updated and
includes a new team
briefing (pdf, 284kb). No new info from what's on the Scaled
website but does provide the essential info in a nicely compact
X Prize briefs ... The Romanian
X PRIZE team ARCA
is posting regular updates
on progress including recent development of a propulsion test stand
and engine firings. (Thanks to Kaido Kert for this update.)...
... The Starchaser
project will have an open house this Saturday (May 10th) at
their factory in Hyde, England. Admission is free. See their website
for a map and other info....
... A positive article on The
X-Prize at the Christian Science Monitor - May.8.03 (link found
OSP briefs ...
This charter for hearings today by the House Subcommittee on Space
and Aeronautics lays out pretty well the sad history of RLV development
at NASA - Hearing
Charter: NASA's Integrated Space Transportation Plan and Orbital
Space Plane Program - Spaceref - May.8.03 ...
... Tough day on Capitol Hill
for NASA and the OSP : Congressmen,
NASA managers clash over escape craft plan - Florida Today - May.8.03.
"Gordon said he obtained a NASA document that indicated
the true cost of the X-38 spacecraft would have likely been $1.2
billion. In a pointed exchange, Gordon asked Fred Gregory, NASA
deputy administrator, why O'Keefe has misled Congress. Gregory responded
he did not believe Congress had been misled." ...
... Rand Simberg argues that
an Apollo capsule won't save the OSP from failure - Back
to the Future - Transterrestrial Musings - May.8.03.
Suborbital Action Day - May 19, 2003...
The Suborbital Institute
will sponsor another Capitol Hill campaign on Monday May 19th in
support of issues important to the development of a vibrant suborbital
RLV industry. A training session will take place on the evening
of the 18th.
Participate if you can. As noted in discussions at the recent Space
Access ' 03 meeting, the regulatory framework for suborbital
RLVs has reached a crucial stage of development. Reasonable compromises
that insure safe operation without onerous and debilitating rules
are within reach. Input now can have a big impact on the future
of the industry.
Discussions with Congressional staffs and regulators have a much
bigger impact when unpaid volunteers are involved. They are impressed
that people would take the time off to come and push these issues.
Updates will be posted here as they arrive. In the meantime, contact
Pat Bahn (TGV
Rockets) for more details. A training session will take place
on the evening of the 18th.
Articles on the previous campaign in February:
SA ' 03 review ... Leonard
David has posted his impressions of the Space Access ' 03 meeting
Setting Their Sights on Suborbital Flights - Space.com - May.7.03
News brief ... NASA
asks for input on its approach to acquiring an OSP - Request
for Information on the Acquisition Strategy for the Orbital Space
Plane - MSFC/Spaceref - May.6.03.
News briefs ... More
about the Apollo OSP - Orbital
Space Plane: Back to Apollo? by Jeff Foust - The Space Review -
... But capsules do
have their little quirks - Computer
Glitch Eyed in Soyuz's Wild Ride Home - Space.com - May.6.03
... Another article
about the SS1 - Not
Just for Millionaires and Pop Stars: A private company reveals its
craft for sending tourists to space - Astronomy - May.6.03
GE studies flyback boosters... SLI
funds GE to look at a turbojet powered flyback first stage boosters
for a 2nd gen RLV - GE
Aircraft Engines to develop 'flyback' rocket boosters - e4engineering
- May.6.03 (link found at spacetoday.net)
Northrop SLI engine development...
Northrop gets SLI contract for further development
of the "TR107, a one-million-pound thrust class liquid oxygen/kerosene
reusable engine that operates on an oxidizer-rich staged combustion
cycle" - Northrop
Grumman Awarded NASA Contract for Next Generation Launch Technology
- Northrop PR - May.6.03 .
Technologies under development "include a duct-cooled main
chamber, a pre-burner pintle injector and materials that do not
require coatings for the oxidizer-rich environment. The TR107 provides
high performance with a simple robust design that minimizes the
parts count for greater reliability and operability and also minimizes
the power head operating pressures to increase engine life."
News briefs... During
the Q&A after his lecture
last year at the National Air & Space Museum, Dennis Tito dismissed
suborbital rocket trips as nothing but joyrides.
Now, though, he seems to have warmed up to the idea now - Tito
urges more to travel in space - Florida Today - May.1.03. Perhaps
he will also change his mind about not investing in suborbital vehicle
... ABC News discovers
the X PRIZE - Race
Is on for Commerial Space Flight: Several Teams Making Steps Toward
Commercial Space Flights - ABCNEWS - May.5.03 ...
... Bruce Moonmaw finds
shuttle deceptions and conspiracies : Thirty
Years Of Fudge Could Bring Down The Shuttle Yet - SpaceDaily - May.2.03
(link from Rick
... More about the Japan/France
spaceplane prototype test : France
boosts Japan's space shuttle - MSNBC - May.2.03
Launch companies meeting...
Space Transportation Advisory Committee) will be holding a meeting
on Wednesday May 21st at the FAA Headquarters in Washington D.C.
: COMSTAC meeting
- Commercial Space Transportation - FAA / AST. Various launch
issues under discussion related to both ELV and RLV developments.
SpaceX images ... Photos
of the Merlin liquid oxygen and kerosene engine, a test firing,
and the test stand have been posted on the SpaceX
website (click on Updates and then Image Gallery.
News briefs ...Brad
Stone of Newsweek chats on line about the startup launch companies
Space Exploration [chat transcript] Newsweek - May.2.03 (link
... France to assist
Japan on the HSFD-2
(High Speed Flight Demonstrator) air drop test this month in northern
Sweden - Japan
Plans Joint Space Test with France - Reuters - May.2.03 (link
... More about the
Apollo-CRV study : Updated
Apollo capsule could replace lifeboat: Experts: Craft would be part
of crew-return system for station - Florida Today - May.1.03
may go back to future: Apollo-type craft could be space 'lifeboat'
- L.A. Daily News - May.2.03
Test firing of SpaceDev's hybrid engine.
SpaceDev SS1 engine photos...
I had missed this earlier press
release (April 18th) at SpaceDev.
It includes photos and videos of their hybrid engine that is competing
with eAc to win
the Scaled SS1 propulsion contract (see the eAc press release below.)
Will they also go back to crewcuts,
narrow ties, and slide rules? NASA ponders an Apollo
capsule approach for the Space Station crew rescue vehicle - Report
on Top-Level Assessment of Use of Apollo Systems for ISS CRV 17
March 2003 - SpaceRef - Apr.30.03
to April 2003