EZ Pulse Detonation ... The
2003 issue of Air & Space Magazine had a brief item about
progress with Pulse
Detonation Engines. The Pulse
Detonation Research Facility at the Air Force Research Laboratory
has several projects including the installation of a PDE on
a Long-EZ (PDE
FAQ). See images
of the PDE on Long-EZ and an entry in this newsletter PDE
on Long-EZ update - AFRL Reports - June 2003 (pdf, 1.9MB) about
the project. Scaled Composites is consulting on the installation.
Apparently XCOR's EZ-Rocket
has inspired others to use the Long-EZ as a testbed for new propulsion
News brief... Leonard David
reports on the SS1 test flight on Nov.19th: SpaceShipOne
Racks Up Sixth Test Flight - Space.com - Nov.29.03
News briefs... Hope everyone
had a nice Turkey Day. Here are a couple of items I'll sneak in
while my wife is busy helping my Mom put up Christmas decorations
(she thinks I should take a few days break from the web for some
reader Rick Boozer compliments DARPA for pursuing an incremental
approach to launch vehicle development as described in this article
on DARPA's Falcon program - "AT LAST a government organization
that gets it!" ...
... Speaking of Falcons, the
other project with that name is on its way to the capitol: SpaceX
Falcon Begins Flight to Washington DC - SpaceRef - Nov.28.03.
I'm looking forward to seeing the rocket in person when it's unveiled
on Thursday evening.
News briefs... The team of
and the Cal
State Long Beach Aerospace Engineering Department plan on December
6th to launch
another rocket with an aerospike nozzle. They believe they have
corrected the problems that occurred during the first flight back
... The OSP proposal requests
Orbital Space Plane Project Delayed - Space.com - Nov.26.03
... Review of some long term
launch technologies: Looking
to Lasers, Microwaves and Anti-Matter for Space Travel - Space.com
eAc update... Environmental
Aeroscience isn't letting their disappointment over the SS1
propulsion contract slow them down. According to the latest news
update, they have several new and continuing projects:
- DARPA Falcon
contract, with Cesaroni
and Exquadrum, to develop
a low cost vehicle to launch 450kg payload to LEO for $5M. (9
other contractors also chosen
for Phase 1). The Kestrel is the name of their vehicle design.
(Micro Launch Vehicle) - small multi-stage vehicle that can place
350-1200lb into LEO. In development under an Air Force grant.
nozzles for solids and hybrids. See the impressive video
of a aerospike nozzle test firing.
sounding rockets with hybrid propulsion. The goal is to put
100lb to 100miles. The vehicles include a "6 [inch] Hyperion
HY-1 (flown at Wallops four times) and the 12[inch] Hyperion HY-2
(propulsion development completed) with a launch scheduled for
mid next year." (according to Korey Kline.)
Only Scaled Composites knows for sure...
release makes it clear that anyone outside the company claiming
to know the flight schedule for the SS1/White Knight tests is talking
out their rear exhaust port.
More about the Liberator rollout...
Jeff Foust attended the unveiling of the HARC
Liberator X PRIZE project and reports on the event:
News briefs ... SpaceX announces
the details of the unveiling of the Falcon at the Smithsonian: SpaceX
Falcon Rocket to Be Unveiled In Washington, DC December 4 - SpaceRef
- Nov.24.03 ...
... A plea for NASA to support
space travel for everyone: Public
space travel and a national space vision: An open letter to NASA
Administrator Sean O'Keefe by Derek Webber - The Space Review -
... Alan Boyle compares the
Enterprise move to the museum and the development of private launchers:
history and hopes - Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log - Nov.24.03
... NASA makes progress on
reusable engines including the Integrated
Powerhead Demonstrator (IPD) project: NASA,
Air Force achieve key milestones on next-generation engine - Marshall
Center Space News Release - Nov.20.03
... Hypersonic businesses change
To Acquire Hypersonic Flight Businesses from Allied Aerospace -
ATK - Nov.24.03
Andrews RLV project... I shouldn't
ignore orbital RLV projects. Andrews
Space, for example, continues development under a NASA contract
of its two stage system. In their concept, a first stage winged
booster loiters at low altitude while accumulating oxygen and liquifying
it to fill its tank and a tank in the second stage. This paper -
Technology For Next Generation Space Transportation (pdf) reports
on progress in the project. These images
show the Gryphon system in action.
SpaceShipOne and motor tests...
test data page reports on the November 19th SS1 glide test (mentioned
and on a recent motor test. The flight was
Mike Melvill's first flight with the enlarged tails. Emergency
aft CG handling qualities eval and simulated landing exercise
with the new tail configuration. Airspeed and G envelop expansion
and dynamic feather evaluation.
The results were satisfactory according to the flight results summary.
on November 18th is summarized as follows:
Flight motor qualification run. A ground test to validate the
first two planned powered flights of SpaceShipOne. All performance
requirements and safety limits were met.
Liberator rollout ... Tim Picken,
Team leader/Program manager of the HARC
Liberator rocket, reports that the official rollout on Saturday
went very well. (See X
PRIZE press release). He says:
We had a great turn out with the X-Prize folks here as well as
Space Adventure folks. We were also fortunate to have Konrad Dannenberg
engineer] attend. All the local media attended. We had NASA
and business folks here as well. Huntsville folks really are excited
about our entry into this very historic race.
See also the Huntsville Times report on the project : Firm
aims for stars, and $10M High Altitude Research Corp. sets sights
on X Prize - Huntsville Times - Nove.24.03 (via spacetoday.net).
ELV vs. RLV... Rocket Man Blog
(Mark Oakley) writes about the economics of expendables and reusables
Man Blog: Reusable Vs. Expendable Launch Vehicles - Rocket Man Blog
This was partly in response to my comments
on his recent posting about designing
flight hardware. I noted that a RLV would not require the same
degree of testing as an ELV before every flight and so costs should
be lower. However, he points out that there are tradeoffs such as
the need for a recovery system and higher development costs that
mean the price advantage for an RLV isn't so clear.
Also, until an RLV is proven more reliable than ELVs and can provide
a lower launch price, then the comsat industry, currently the only
highly profitable space industry, will not switch its expensive
payloads to an RLV. (And such large payloads would require a large
RLV, as well, which would require big money for development.) He
For an RLV to prove itself as reliable as an ELV without having
paying payloads to fly is almost a cach-22, but not quite. The
way around the problem is to build an RLV that first serves a
function that an ELV cannot, like opening up a market for space
tourism or launching small satellites. Once a design has proven
itself to be reliable, it can be scaled up to the point where
it can compete with ELVs and still be profitable.
I also believe an incremental approach to RLV development and
pursuing new markets will bring about cheap access to space. Commercial
RLV companies need high flight rates to recoup development costs
and to obtain the economies of scale that bring down launch costs.
Only space tourism offers a potential market big enough to demand
high flight rates. Yet it is only a potential at the moment. Mark
is referring to orbital launchers but I think that suborbital RLVs
will begin the bootstrapping process that develops both a commercial
RLV infrastructure and a space tourism market in parallel. From
such an industry, orbital RLVs will eventually emerge.
Furthermore, as Rand
Simberg and others have long argued, since it is a high flight
rate that is the key to bringing down launch costs, we don't need
exotic new technology as NASA and others so often claim. Instead,
the current technology needs substantial improvement in reliability
and robustness. I think that suborbital RLVs will help bring this
about but that is a controversial topic. I'm working on an article
that looks at whether or not suborbital spaceflight will contribute
to lower cost orbital transportation. I surveyed Mark and a sampling
of other aerospace gurus to get their opinions. The article should
be out within a week or so.
News brief... Armadillo's latest
update is posted: Vehicle
modifications and tests, New engine test - Nov.22.03
X PRIZE action... HobbySpace
reader Kaido Kert sent me news of several X PRIZE happenings:
Rocketing by the sea... I guess
most people won't be impressed, but I love this video
(mpg) of the RVT-9
doing its liftoff, hover, and landing trick. (Turn up the volume
to get the full effect.) I really look forward to seeing the Armadillo
vehicles back in action. I don't know what RLV design is most cost
effective, but there's just something really, really cool about
The video comes from this article
in Japanese. I ran a machine
translator on the pages but the resulting English output was
so distorted, it literally gave me a headache trying to make sense
plus Delta Clipper is a space transportation system
under study by the Space
Island Group. For many years the group has been pushing the
idea of using Shuttle External Tanks for building large space stations
and hotels in orbit. (They even hired Spacehab
to do a study
of an ET interior "outfitted as a pharmaceutical production
One of their vehicle concepts is to replace the shuttle with a
modified ET that carries cargo and/or people in what they call a
configuration (with shuttle main engines attached to the tanks).
Now they want to put a DC-X type stage on top of the second ET module.
Since it would now ride a first stage, it would carry a greater
payload than as a SSTO and still provide vertical landing on return.
I'm sure SIG's cost estimates for their various schemes are not
universally agreed upon but it's still fun to see these ideas investigated.
(My thanks to HobbySpace reader Nathan
for this link.)
SpaceShipOne and the White Knight
chase the Moon. SS1/WK
New photos posted
from the November 19th flight of the SpaceShipOne.
Attention to private space...
Brad Stone reports on Spacedev and the private space development
That Frontier" A growing movement of tech titans believe that
private companies—not stodgy government bureaucracies—will lead
a new drive into space - Newsweek - Nov.21.03 (via spacetoday.net)
SS1 flew again on November
19th according to this message
on the Mojave
Airport Weblog - Alan Radecki. The White Knight and the SS1
created these contrails.
He also took these nice
photos of the November 14th flight.
The V2 roars again ... The
Arrow X PRIZE team has "completed
the first series of tests on our 57,000 lb thrust engine."
The engine, which runs on alcohol and liquid oxygen, is similar
to the engine in the original V2
News brief ... Boeing joins
Joins X-43C Hypersonic Research Vehicle Team - Boeing - Nov.20.03
... More on DARPA's Falcon
Kills, Military Wants More - Wired - Nov.20.03.
Rocket testing... Mark Oakley,
who works on the Atlas V project, has written an excellent article
on the rigorous and extensive testing that rocket vehicle components
and systems must undergo: Designing
Flight Hardware - Rocket Man Blog - Nov.19.03
As he indicates, this testing is one of the reasons space hardware
is so expensive. It illustrates to me the advantages of RLVs since
a vehicle only has to undergo the major structural tests during
constuction rather than before every flight. Also, RLVs provide
for incremental flight testing before they become operational.
Space tourism analysis... Robert
A. Goehlich, whose graduate work in Germany led to a book
on space tourism, is now doing his post-doc at Keio University,
in Yokohama, Japan. (Long time space tourism proponent Patrick
Collins also works in Japan but I don't know if they are collaborating.)
He has posted several papers on various aspects of space tourism,
especially with regard to suborbital projects. Some of the papers
(all in pdf format) include:
He is also posting the lecture notes from a series
of lectures he's giving on space tourism.
News briefs... Development
of the RS-84
kerosene/LOX engine, intended for reusable vehicles, continues to
Stennis Testing Future Flight-Engine Components - SpaceRef -Nov.19.03
... Sign up for the next FAA
Space Transportation Conference: 2004
Forecast conference, Feb.10-11, 2004, Wash. DC - FAA / AST.
... Your input wanted on space
legislative priorities: CSA:
2004 Legislative/Policy Survey
test flight took place on November 14th. According to
the entry on the tests
results page, it was the first SS1 flight for pilot Peter Siebold.
Goals for the test included examination of the "stall performance
at aft limit CG", which I take to mean that the CG was similar
to that during the September 23rd flight when the vehicle pitched
up and the pilot had some difficulty regaining control.
The flight summary:
"Launch conditions were 47,300 feet and 115 knots. Satisfactory
stability and control at aft limit CG. A notable improvement in
control power, particularly in roll. Handling qualities into and
out of feather remained excellent with good nose pointing ability.
Adjusted landing pattern altitudes resulted in a touchdown at
the targeted runway aim-point"
SS1 modifications were discussed
in an article in the latest Aviation Week issue. However, it seems
mostly to contain the same basic info as in the description of the
Oct.17th flight on the test
results page at Scaled. There is more discussion, however, of
the aerodynamic effects of the modifications.
Some items of interest include:
- The pickup truck rigged with a SS1 wing and tailbook ran tests
at 50-55mph to simulate the conditions of the SS1 at 70-80 KEAS
at 40K-50K ft.
- The Oct.17th test did not repeat the same aft CG conditions
as the Sept.23rd flight with the pitch up problem.
- The pilot "conducted full-rudder sideslips without incident"
and moved the tails "in and out of the wingtip vortices"
- The pilot also put the craft in "deep-stall feather configuration
and turned more aggresively than before while in a near-vertical
descent". He could point the nose as desired.
- The "rocket control system - the arm, fire, and safing
switches, and the oxidizer dump valve" checked out OK.
- They are "experimenting with different target touchdown
points after hitting both short and long of the point"
News brief... A rocket debut
at the Mall: Falcon
Rocket Unveiling at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum
at 7:00pm, December 4, 2003 - CSA - Nov.18.03
Funding space... Jeff Foust
analyzes the options for raising money for commercial space projects:
ways to fund space ventures - The Space Review - Nov.17.03
Responsive launchers for the Military
... DARPA has announced the list of contractors who will
receive funds for the first phase of its FALCON
And Air Force Select Falcon Phase I Contractors - Spacedaily/DARPA
PR - Nov.18.03. The FALCON architecture consists of two primary
parts, a first stage booster (initially a rocket and later a hypersonic
cruise vehicle) and the Common Aero Vehicle (CAV), an "unpowered,
maneuverable, hypersonic glide vehicle", that carries the bomb
to the target.
The long term goal of the program (2025 time frame) is to field
the hypersonic cruise vehicle, which can deliver the CAV within
2 hours to any spot with 9000 miles of the launch point. The short
term goal (2010 timeframe) is to develop a low-cost, responsive
launch vehicle called the Small Launch Vehicle (SLV)." The
SLV will "serve a two-fold function in that it will also provide
a low-cost, responsive launch capability for placing small satellites
into low Earth orbit." The baseline SLV goal is the placing
of a 450kg (1000lb) into 100 mile LEO orbit for $5M. "Flexibility
to place payloads weighing as little as 200 pounds or as much as
2,000 pounds into this same reference orbit is also desired."
More info in the FALCON
fact sheet (1.4MB pdf).
The future of the status quo... Florida
Today has posted a big set of articles and graphics on The
Future of Human Spaceflight. They include sections on the OSP
spaceships" that consist of the usual NASA viewgraph fluff.
Considering all the failures at NASA and the positive developments
by private space projects, this is very disappointing, especially
since Florida Today generally does a good job covering space news.
I know a Florida newspaper would favor the local company, but the
whole thing looks like it was produced by the NASA PR department.
Not a word about any space developments outside of the agency. See
for example the interviews.
They don't include even Robert Zubrin of the Mars Society or Brian
Chase of the NSS and certainly not the more aggressive NASA critics
like Rick Tumlinson.
With space tourists having gone to the ISS, Elon Musk building
a launcher that has government payloads signed up, Burt Rutan test
flying a suborbital spaceship, solid progess by other X PRIZE teams,
and dozens of other alt.space developments in the works, they really
had to try hard to ignore the space world outside of NASA' s sphere
of influence. It's like a special edition in 1980 on the future
of computing that totally focused on IBM's grand plans and left
out any mention of Apple and other home computer companies.
Armadillo progress... Armadillo
now has a reliable source of 50% hydrogen peroxide that it can use
for flights (in mixed propellant mode with methanol) according to
the latest update: Solvay
peroxide, Misc, Welded engines - Armadillo Aerospace - Nov.16.03
"It looks like our supply problems are finally over. We
have a solid engine combination, and a willing propellant supplier.
Hurray! It sucked that the lack of 90% peroxide prevented us from
flying any vehicles for the last eight months, but all the work
that went into the mixed-monoprop propulsion system has probably
been for the best anyway. The propellant is several times cheaper,
gives 20% better Isp, and is generally better to work with (less
caustic, and less material sensitive). The development work has
also given us catalysts that we will be able to use with 98% peroxide
when we are ready to work on high energy upper stage biprop engines."
Student rocket VTOL vehicles...
Sounding similar to the Armadillo approach, the Cornell
ASTRO project, which currently involves about 35 students along
with faculty support, plans
"to build a reusable, autonomous, rocket powered vehicle
that can lift off under its own power, hover at a low altitude
to display its stability, and land safely without damage. After
the completed testing of the first generation ALV [Autonomous
Launch Vehicle], a new ALV will be designed and fabricated each
year, building upon prior versions and improving ALV performance.
ASTRO will build and launch its first functional ALV by the Spring
They recently carried out some engine
News briefs... Rand Simberg
read this article
and was not pleased: Still
on the Wrong Track - Transterrestrial Musings - Nov.16.03....
... Dave Berry analyzes the space elevator: Elevator
to Heaven: In space, no one could hear the screams of those idiots
who hold the doors open - Washington Post - Nov.16.03
SpaceX update for October
just arrived in my email box [Nov.16.03 - update
now on line]. Here are some highlights:
- The first Falcon will be unveiled outside the Smithsonian Air
& Space museum on Dec. 4th.
- SpaceX has won a phase one contract from the DARPA/Air Force
Falcon program (same name as the SpaceX vehicle by coincidence)
that is supporting the development of low cost launchers.
- Most of the manufacturing of the Falcon components will be done
in house using sophisticated computer controlled machining technology.
- For the first time They lost an engine during tests: "A
fuel valve actuator failed to open properly, allowing liquid oxygen
to flow back up the fuel injector and ignite inside the engine
plumbing." They feel confident, however, that they understand
the problem and that it cannot occur during launch conditions.
New firing tests were underway within a week.
- The first stage and the inter-stage are going through final
assembly. "[B]y the end of the month, the first Falcon rocket
will roll off the assembly line, be mounted on the mobile launcher
and sent to Washington DC."
- They "finished coding of the Falcon vehicle flight simulator."
Waverider test... According
to the latest Aviation Week, the Sub-orbital Aerodynamic Reentry
Experiments (SOAREX-3) program tested a subscale hypersonic
structure on a sounding rocket flight on Oct.24th at Wallops Island.
The goal of the Ames Research Center project was to study whether
the wedge shaped structure could acheive lift by riding on a hypersonic
shockwave like a surfer rides an ocean wave.
The test achieved a "lift over drag ratio of 3.5 at Mach 5
with a 35-kg (77-lb.) wedge" when it entered the atmosphere
at a 10deg angle of attack. They plan another flight next year to
"reach 'significant' lift and demonstrate subsonic flight control".
I've not found much other info on the test but the flight is briefly
mentioned in this Wallops Island newsletter
from Oct.27. Also, a SOAREX-2
flight took place on Dec.18th, 2002 according to this press
... BTW: This Wallops
Island newsletter (pdf) from Nov. 3rd also reports on the launch
of a Terrier MK 70 Orion 5A that provided a successful test flight
for a "scramjet surrogate payload" on October 18. The
payload was part of a DARPA project.
News brief... Latest California Space Authority newsletter:
SpotBeam California - November 13, 2003
Government vs private small sat launcher... According
to a recent Space News (Nov.3 issue), the Europea/Italian Vega
small satellite launcher will cost about 350M Euros (~$400M) total
and will fly for the first time in mid-2006. They hope to market
launches of 1500kg payloads to 700km polar orbit for about 18M Euros
(~$21M) per flight.
In a different article in the same issue they report that SpaceX
hopes to have a more powerful version of the Falcon ready by 2005
that can launch 2200kgs to LEO. No data on what payload it can put
into a 700km polar orbit but probably not so far from the Vega.
Also no word on what price they will charge (the first generation
Falcon will put 450kg into LEO for $6M). It will be interesting
to see how a privately financed vehicle will compare in price/performance
to this government funded vehicle.
The Falcon Falcon heavy will attach two strap-on liquid boosters
to the two stage Falcon, which also uses liquid fueled engines.
consists of four stages, the first 3 use solid rocket moters
and the 4th uses a liquid fueled engine.
News briefs... This JAXA
page is in Japanese but it has more pictures and diagrams (some
in English) about the RVT
and the recent flights....
... Reusable Zarya
capsule design recommended as the basis for a Russian RLV: Does
Russia Need a Space Shuttle? - RIA Novosti - Nov.12.03 (via
... Proceedings now available for the Second
International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion held inSendai,
Japan on Oct.20-23,2003
Development of Gun launchers to shoot payloads to high altitude and eventually to orbit is the
goal of the Canadian company Columbiad.
The group has several Launch
Systems in development. For example, their mobile Industrial
Sound System (ISS) will launch the Arrow vehicle to 100km with a
1.5kg payload. (See the history of Gun-launched
projects at Astronautix.)
The company is currently marketing its Starburst
Memorials Services to place "cremains (up to 3kg) into
space where they will scatter and drift back down to Earth"
for $12,500: . A lower altitude Wayfarer Memorial will send ashes
to 100km for $500. Releasing ashes at high altitudes could be another
market for suborbital RLV companies, as well.
News brief... Buying hardware and flights for space
research missions is starting to become more common. Maybe this
will also lead to the buying of launch services for all types of
space missions, manned & unmanned: Spacecraft
Dealers - Space Log - Nov.12.03. [Update Nov.13.03 :
I should have mentioned that SpaceX,
a privately funded project, is already getting some government payloads
for its unmanned Falcon.]
First RLV commercial launch license... XCOR
Aerospace has received an official letter from AST
stating that their application for a commercial space launch license
has been deemed 'sufficiently complete'” and AST must either award
them the license within 180 days or explain to Congress why not:
passes major milestone on DARPA contract - XCOR - Nov.10.03
item about this.)
More XCOR... The Space
Show this Sunday, November 16, 2003 at 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific
Time will feature Rich Pournelle, Director of Investor Relations
for XCOR Aerospace.
Official Liberator press release: HARC
Enters Manned Commercial Space Race: Company Continues Huntsville’s
Space Tradition by Entering International X Prize Competition –
Nov.8.03 - HARC (747KB, pdf) (via RocketMan
Blog) See previous
Burt Rutan wins another award: Burt
Rutan Named "Business Leader in Aerospace" on the "Scientific
American 50" - Scaled Composites - Nov.10.03
News brief... Came across some interesting publications
posted at Andrews
Space including a couple on horizontal takeoff and landing RLVs.
RVT tests summary has been posted on the JAXA site: Reusable
Vehicle Flight Experiment at Noshiro Testing Center - JAXA - Nov.7.03.
It includes several photos of the three short flights and says the
tests have helped with development of composite fuel tanks and systems
for fast turnaround.
It also says that they have proposed to build an "exo-atmospheric
ballistic flight vehicle based on the present concept". (That
is, a high alititude suborbital version.) See this report - Flight
Demonstration and a Concept for Readiness of Fully Reusable Rocket
Vehicles by Yoshifumi Inatani - Space Future - for an overview
of the project and where they would like to go if they get the money.
News briefs... The latest update
from Armadillo Aerospace reports on tests of a 1000 lbf Mixed Monoprop
... The White
Knight/SpaceShipOne project wins the Grand
Award for Popular Science's 2003 Best of What's New...
... John Carmack gives his
views on the chances for some of the other competitors to win the
X PRIZE by the end of 2004: Comments
on an X-Prize Question - John Carmack - Frontier Files Online -
... The JP
Aerospace Ascender high altitude platform project makes progress:
1.0 update by Alfred Differ (JP Aerospace) - Frontier Files Online
The Liberator X PRIZE vehicle is described in the
newly updated HARC
web site. (Heard about it from Jeff
Foust.) The shiny
vehicle will blast off from a ship at sea on a booster powered
by two "LOX-Kerosene regeneratively cooled engines that are
pressure-fed". After the booster shuts down, the capsule separates
and coasts to 100km altitude. Both parts splashdown via parachutes.
The capsule includes a hybrid escape motor in case of problems during
Jeff Foust wrote an article
back in October on the Liberator after he heard it described during
the recent Space Frontier Foundation conference. The project is
led by Gregory Allison, the president of HARC, and Tim Picken, of
Much of the hardware for the Liberator derives from an earlier
commerical orbital launch project called Space America. The site
includes photos and videos showing engine tests that indicate that
they are well along in development.
The project is not yet included on the X
PRIZE team list but I expect it will be soon.
November 6, 2003
A Mojave portal to space gets assessed environmentally.
I scanned through the 5MB draft study - Draft Environmental
Assessment / Initial Study for the East Kern Airport District Launch
Site Operator License for the Mojave Airport.- FAA / AST - Nov.5.03
- and found most of it a perfect antidote for insomnia. But there
are some interesting sections such as the one on estimates of the
number of suborbital space flights per year from the port.
Summaries of the space tourism hearing yesterday:
November 5, 2003
Space tourism and other aspects of the Commercial
Space Act of 2003 are the focus of today's hearing at the House Committee on Science.
Web cast begins at 10:30am EST: House Subcommittee
on Space and Aeronautics Hearing: What is the Best Way to Regulate
the Space Tourism Industry? - SpaceRef - Nov.5.03
Update: Spaceref has posted the Hearing
Charter and the written testimonies in html;
(Lot of talk about space these days. Tomorrow there will be a web
cast of a Senate hearing on Lunar Exploration,: Thursday, November 6 2003 - 2:30 PM - SR- 253
- US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation)
News brief... More progress on paraffin based hybrid engines: Candle wax is rocket science: Paraffin fuels test launch - Stanford
Report - Nov.5.03 via spacetoday.net
November 4, 2003
X consolation PRIZE... Alan Boyle reports that the
X PRIZE organization is trying
to raise money for a second place prize or a first place prize if
no one wins the competition by January 1, 2005 and an insurance
company takes the premium: A prize for runner-up rocketeers - Cosmic Log - Nov.4.03
Status report on suborbital rules is given by Jeff
Foust: Easing regulatory uncertainty - The Space Review - Nov.3.03
The Pad Abort Demonstration, or PAD, is one of the
lesser known SLI/OSP projects.
is another.) It is a Lockheed project to develop technologies to
provide for crew rescue from booster failures while on the launch
pad or soon after launch. See the PAD
Fact Sheet (1.5MB pdf) .
The small vehicle (~11m high, ~5m diameter) will fly to an altitude
of approximately 2 km with four liquid oxygen and ethanol fueled
engines. A drogue chute will stabilize and slow it down and then
it will land via a parafoil. (See the flight sequence diagram.) The
vehicle will include "fully instrumented space-age crash test dummies
in its crew cabin to measure acceleration and motion" that might
detrimentally affect human crews. First flight is planned for 2005.
This week Lockheed said that wind tunnel tests indicate that the
vehicle design is "stable under the maneuvering required to escape
from a catastrophic launch vehicle event": Lockheed Martin Achieves Key Milestone in Crew Escape Demonstration:
Pad Abort Demonstration Program Demonstrates Stability in Wind Tunnel
Testing - Lockheed Martin - Nov.3.03
TGV MICHELLE-B review by Rocketman Blog (Mark Oakley)
is now on line: The MICHELLE-B - Rocket Man Blog - Nov.3.03. This is the fourth
in his series of X PRIZE competitor reviews: The Ascender, The Black Armadillo, The SabreRocket.
Upcoming Space Show
The Tuesday, November 4, 2003, 7-8:15 PM Pacific Time.
Space Show features John Powell, President of JP Aerospace. For the past
24 years as President of JP Aerospace, John Powell and the JPA
team has been giving NASA competition. His work has included a
wide variety of development projects and flight systems including
Orbital transfer vehicles, micro-satellites, rockets, balloon
based rocket launch systems and high altitude airships. JP has
over eighty flight missions under his belt. The JPA team has made
the edge of space their playground. Mr. Powell is both a pilot
and submarine builder and lives in Placerville, California.
The Sunday, November 9, 2003: 12:00-1:30 PM Pacific Time:
Space Show will feature Tony Webb, founder of eSpaceLotto
for international space tourism. Mr. Webb became the
youngest agency owner in the nation for Exxon Office
Systems Company, a subsidiary of Exxon Enterprises.
He competed against IBM, Wang, DEC, & Lanier for
dedicated word processing and FAX industry. His experience
also includes expertise in database informational
services and software development used by the U.S.
Senate. Mr. Webb is known for the innovative usage
of technology for small business development and has
presented his work at the Association of Small Business
Development Centers National Conference. In 2002,
Mr. Webb spoke at the International Space Development
Conference and presented his concept for the international
space tourism lottery. His space tourism lottery is
well along in the development phase and will most
likely take place first in Europe. This is an exciting
space tourism program with incredible potential to
be a significant contributor to building a space tourism
[Note that a lottery is often suggested as a way
to support private space development. A percentage
of eSpaceLotto proceeds will in fact go to several
[Update Nov.26.08: Tony informs me that the eSpaceLotto
program was ended after the Columbia accident. The
program is now the focus of his space tourism efforts.]
Listeners can talk to either the guest or the host, or send e-mail
or chat during the program by calling toll free 1 (866) 687-7223,
using email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or chatting
on AOL IM using the screen name spaceshowchat. Streamed shows
can be heard via www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston
News briefs... Boeing brings synergy to launch technology:
Boeing Establishes Orbital Space Program Office - Boeing - Nov.3.03
(via spacetoday.net) ...
... Astronautix (Mark Wade) posts an overview of Von Braun's rocket & space development plans....
... but some are not impressed: The Von Braun Master Plan: National Dream or National Nightmare? by
Jeffrey F. Bell - Spacedaily - Nov.3.03 ...
... A Russian group dreams of a big space plane: Russian Unique Space-Plane Project Presented at Aviation and Astronautics
2003 Show - RIA Novosti - Nov.3.03 (via spacetoday.net)
November 3, 2003
SS1 test flight update ... Leonard David provides
more details about the recent drop test
of the SpaceShipOne
and the modifications and tests prior to the flight: Private Spaceship Control Problems Prompt Fixes - Space.com - Nov.3.03
News briefs... Robert Zubrin apparently made quite
an impression with his performance
last week at the Senate Science committee hearing on the Future of NASA.
Afterwards he was invited to speak with an administration official
working on space policy: Zubrin's
Take on the Congressional Hearing - Louisiana Mars Society Weblog
(T.L. James] - Nov.2.03
... Armadillo Aerospace latest update reports on a fuel tank pressure test and on continuing
...The National Space Society is maintaining this
page on Space Tourism and Suborbital Launches - NSS....
... Texas wants spaceports: Officials consider
spaceport location - thefacts.com [Brazoria County, Texas] - Nov.2.03
November 2, 2003
A new Canadian spaceport will be in Kindersley, Saskatchewan according
to an announcement on the da Vinci news page. Possibly the first manned
launch from Canadian territory will begin at the Kinderseley Municipal
Airport. Kindersley is a bit east of Calgary and west of Saskatoon.
For us geographically-challenged Americans, it can be located via
this map - click on province for the big picture.
News brief...You can see the recent Senate Science
committee hearing on Future of NASA
via a link on this C-SPAN video page. (Note that the entry will shift over time
to one of the "next pages" until if finally disappears. C-SPAN seems
to keep videos of hearings for a few months at most.)
November 1, 2003
German X PRIZE project... Reader Clayton Wilson in
the Netherlands told me about the plans of a German company called
to enter the X PRIZE competition. The EuroMold X-Prize page
invites other German and European participants to join their team.The
company runs a yearly conference on "Moldmaking and Tooling, Design
and Application Development" and perhaps they see the competition
as a way to exercise these technologies. I don't see any info on
the site about a particular vehicle design and the project is not
yet officially on the X
PRIZE team list.
Third flight of the Japanese RVT-9 within a week took place yesterday according to
a brief report (in Japanese; includes a photo) on the JAXA news page. A crude translation indicates
that the flight lasted 17secs again and went to 42 m. It also seems
to indicate that this is the final flight in this experiment series.
Continue to October 2003