briefs... John Carmack tells Alan Boyle that Armadillo
is still in the running: Armadillo
in the X Prize hunt - Alan Boyle - Apr.29.04...
Via X Prize Space
Race News comes this item in which Brian Binnie describes the
December flight fot he SS1: StarShipOne
pilot keynotes awards lunch - DCMilitary.com - Apr.29.04. And
this item about a discussion in New Mexico on the X PRIZE cup: Space
Commission meets on Friday - Alamogordo News - Apr.29.04.
PRIZE countdown... Peter Diamandis expects a winner in
a few months: X
Prize Will Be Won by 'Summer's End', Event Organizer Says - Space.com
Alan Boyle is
that July 4th / July 17th would make good launch dates for the SpaceShipOne.
Note that the
require that "[e]ntrants must specify and provide the X PRIZE
Rules Committee with their take-off and landing location, and the
date of their launch, not less than 30 days prior to any flight
In other X PRIZE news, the Canadian
Arrow project is losing its home: Outta
space: An astronaut centre is looking for a new home after its London
facility is sold to a boat maker. - London Free Press - Apr.29.04
(via X Prize
Space Race News).
Canadian Arrow team successfully tested its 25,900-kilogram thrust
engine for its rocket last month. It's expected to launch an unmanned
flight off a barge in Lake Huron in the next few months, followed
by a manned flight later in the year."
lift isn't needed for the Moon/Mars program according
to Dennis Wingo: Rebuttal
to Comments by the Houston Chronicle and Robert Zubrin Regarding
NASA's Hubble Repair Options - SpaceRef - Apr.29.04. Solar electric
propulsion on the Orbital
Recovery tug will allow it to bring the Hubble to the ISS for
service and long term maintenance. (Will we ever stop hearing from
some space "experts" that this is impossible?) Such a
mission will prove the capabilities of in-space service and assembly
and obviate the need for an expensive heavy lifter development project.
The Delta 4
- Heavy lifting
for the new millennium - The Space Review - Apr.26.04 - and
Atlas 5 should
provide sufficient lift capability until launch rates increase to
the point a large RLV becomes affordable.
sees it differently: Panel:
NASA Needs New Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicles - Space.com - Apr.29.04
airships... As a follow-up to John Powell's presentation
at SA' 04, I've posted JP
Aerospace: Airships to Spaceships. Until the JP
Aerospace site is updated, I hope this will help to illustrate
the basic concept.
legislation... Rand Simberg gives his impression of
SA' 04 and then focuses on the Commercial Space Launch Amendments
that was passed in the House and sent to the Senate: A
Legislative Breakthrough - TransTerrestrial Musings - Apr.28.04
briefs... . Alan Boyle reports on the Space
Transport team and other X PRIZE related topics: Space
race follow-up - Alan Boyle - Apr.27.04 ...
team participated in the recent X PRIZE teams gathering in LA and
they posted some pictures
from the meeting. ...
PRIZE announces that Kevin N. Kalkhoven, co-owner of Champ
Car World Series and former head of JDS
Uniphase, has joined the board of Trustees. Also, Eugene W.
Roddenberry, Jr., son of the late Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry,
has joined the advisory committee.
of Space Access ' 04
is now posted.
Company launches its
first orbital flight in Chapter
briefs... Scaled Composites has posted two additional
taken during the 13P flight of the SS1. One picture from near apogee
nicely shows the earth's curvature ...
Jeff Foust reviews the book "Single
Stage to Orbit: Politics, Space Technology, and the Quest for Reusable
Rocketry" by Andrew Butrica: Review:
the quest for SSTO - by Jeff Foust - The Space Review - Apr.26.04
Transport posts a picture of their mobile
launcher and reports
on participation in the recent X PRIZE meeting.
up to speed soon... Got back this evening after visiting
friends in Prescott, AZ following the Space Access ' 04 last week.
I hope to post a review of the meeting by Tuesday afternoon.
Pause: I will attend the Space
Access ' 04 Conference this week in Phoenix, Arizona. So site
updates will be infrequent at best until next Tuesday, April 27th.
I will provide a review of the meeting on my return.
PRIZE meeting was held in Los Angeles according to an
entry on the
X PRIZE home page: "X PRIZE Teams Hold 2-Day Summit in
Los Angeles: X PRIZE leaders from 12 teams gathered at a 2-day meeting
in Los Angeles to trade experiences, discuss the future of sub-orbital
tourism, and discuss the X PRIZE Cup". The date is given as
March 8th. [Update Apr.27.04: The meeting took place over the weekend
of April 17th.]
Falcon I delay ... The latest issue of Space News reports
that the first launch of the Falcon
I has been delayed until the end of September. The main engine
and its turbopump need further testing and a range safety issue
The Falcon I
will use a type of receiver for detecting abort signals that is
currently installed in missile defense target and interceptor vehicles.
The Air Force wants to use for the Falcon I range safety approval
the flight qualification report produced by Boeing for those vehicles.
However, Boeing is objecting. If this isn't overruled, it will take
2 to 3 months to re-qualify the recievers. (Perhaps Boeing is striking
back after a recent Aviation
Week article suggested that the Falcon V will steal payloads
from the Delta IV.)
Elon Musk says
the program is costing more than he expected. "Building Rockets
- it ain't cheap." However, he still expects development costs
for the Falcon I will total less than $100M and that the price per
flight will remain at $6M. Musk says two customers have signed up
for launches and several more are about to close contracts.
sail test flight will move from an Ariane 5 launch as a secondary
payload to the Falcon I if the company can get permission from NASA.
The sail will carry a navigation
device funded by NASA. (The Team Encounter website already says
they will use
the Falcon I.) The first flight of the Falcon I will also carry
a small cansiter containing ashes of human remains for the Celestis
space burial company.
Access '04 Conference Schedule & Info update has
been released. The meeting starts this Thursday and lasts through
Saturday night. See you there!
news ... Beyond
Earth Enterprises launched its first large sounding rocket on
April 17th and a NASA funded team launched a solid-fueled rocket
with an aerospike nozzle. Details in Advanced
brief... Leonard David gives an update on the
X PRIZE: X Prize Entrants Race Against Time and Each Other - Space.com
private space ... This article -
Private Citizens Aim to Make Space Public Domain - FOXNews.com -
Apr.18.04 - reviews a range of private space projects in a generally
favorable light. However, as noticed by one blogger - Print
Media Reaction to SpaceShipOne and ISS Tourism - Jay Manifold -
Apr.11.04 (via Transterrestrial
Musings) there really wasn't much publicity about the most recent
dramatic advance in private space development - the second
SS1 powered flight.
On the other
hand, that flight was overlapped by a lot of publicity on the licensing
of the SS1. Also, the worsening Iraq situation dominated the news.
I expect that as the coming flights get higher and closer to the
X PRIZE flights, the press and public awareness will rise considerably.
update... John Carmack reports on futher hover tests
of their big vehicle (on a tether) plus continued development of
a jet vane system as an alternative to differential throttling:
liftoff, Jet vane vehicle - Armadillo Aerospace - Apr.18.04.
Includes a hover
Company update... Last week in Chapter
23: Part 1 of the Rocket
Company, the two stage rocket project encountered serious
design problems with the thermal protection system and the landing
gear for the orbital stage. In this week's Chapter
23: Part 2, solutions are found that add some weight
but don't seriously delay the project. Also, the company starts
to make vehicle sales projections and initiates public relations
efforts like an international competition for a symphony to commemorate
the launch of the vehicle.
Frontier applauds the SS1 licensing: The
Stage is Set for the Commercial Space Age! Foundation Hails FAA
for Issuing License for World's First Sub-Orbital Rocket Launch
- Space Frontier Foundation - Apr.16.04 ...
will have one of their big open house events this weekend (April
- Commercial Space Access (via X
PRIZE News) ...
of Starchaser, Taylor Dinerman in a review
of UK military space program suggests that if the British government
ever wanted to get back into the rocket business, they could give
give some funding to "modify the X-Prize class Starchaser rocket
into a small launch vehicle."...
Return to flight looks like a long slog: NASA
Completes First Steps in Shuttle Plan - Space.com/AP - Apr.17.04
leery of spring launch: Shuttle revamp about 20 percent done - Florida
Today - Apr.17.04
brief... Jeffrey Bell looks at the drawbacks to Shuttle
Vehicle: Shuttle-Derived Disaster - SpaceDaily - Apr.16.04 (link
via J. Goff)....
David examines the possibility the Shuttles are effectively grounded
Fear of Flying: What if the Shuttle Never Flew Again? - Space.com
Access Update... Henry Vanderbilt of the Space
Access Society gives a RLV News Roundup and reviews the NASA
Moon, Mars & Beyond Program in Space
Access Update #103 4/15/04
brief... Alan Boyle gives a Space
Race Update - Cosmic Log - Apr.15.04
Boosters, Buzz Aldin's company, has added some items to their
home page that include an animation (mov,
7.5MB) of their orbital system design, Buzz's presentation
to the Aldridge commission, and his presentation
on the Aquila I Launch System at the Next Century of Flight symposium
NASA scramjet folks scramble to keep their program alive: Hyper-X
Team Proposing Follow-On Hypersonics Program - Aviation Week - Apr.15.04
on its second rocket powered flight April
Taken from chase aircraft video. See two
other flight photos.
briefs... Leonard David on the latest SS1 flight: Data
Released On Second SpaceshipOne Rocket Test Flight - Space.com -
Some very interesting materials science techniques could soon lead
to better rocket engines: Resilient
Rockets: Spacecraft and automobiles could benefit from a new NASA
technology that protects the insides of scorching-hot engines. -
Science@NASA - Apr.13.04
rides for memorabilia and student projects has been suggested
as a possible
market for rocket startups. Beyond-Earth
Enterprises [former HS advertiser]
has just announced
(pdf) that it will pursue such a business with its high altitude
rockets. See their store
for a selection of Flight Kits for sending personal items and small
educational experiments into space.
briefs... Instapundit notes the progress in private space
Space: Blazing a Trail? By Glenn Harlan Reynolds - Tech Central
Station - Apr.14.04 ...
SpaceDev reports on the performance of its hybrid rocket in the
Powers SpaceShipOne to New Heights - SpaceDev/Yahoo PR - Apr.14.04
flight test report has now been posted on the Scaled
test data page. Except for a brief delay in firing the rocket
"to evaluate a shock induced stall buffet" everything
went as planned and the vehicle performed very well.
space design concepts... The company Aerospace
Systems is offering a number of ambitious space transport and
space development concepts. See, for example, their high capacity
vehicles such as the suborbital Sea
Launch Cruiser that would launch a bus load of space tourists
from the Sea Launch
platform at $10k per seat.
the theme of an article in the April issue on the world of alt.space,
the May issue follow-on article My Rocket is Going to Get You
to LEO!...and other rallying cries from the fringes of the final
frontier includes a profile of Jeff Greason and the XCOR
team. His O'Neillian spirit (inspired by Gerard
O'Neill) is contrasted with a science oriented Saganite and
a Big Space Program oriented von Braunian.
new heavy throwaway seems to be NASA's preferred system
for lifting the lunar mission but the program may have to settle
for the EELVs: NASA's
Search for Moon-to-Mars Rockets Has Begun - Space.com - Apr.12.04.
They've decided to go with expendables since "reusability only pays
off when you have a high flight rate".
As reader Kaido
Kert, who sent me the link, notes: "This already makes the
assumption that the 'reusable launcher' would be so big, that this
100 tons per mission wouldn't generate a high enough launch rate.
But what if the RLV's LEO payload would be a single ton at low enough
don't know all the issues involved in orbital assembly and just
accept the frequently heard argument that it's generally better
to reduce in-space construction as much as possible. On the other
hand, there has got to be a price point for launch costs where below
it orbital assembly becomes the cheaper way to go. I think NASA
managers just take for granted that there is no way to reach that
price point soon and are proceeding accordingly.
This might change
if SpaceX succeeds with the Falcon vehicles. These are only partially
reusable but should be a lot cheaper than the EELVs. A brand new
heavy lift expendable designed by NASA is bound to be enormously
gospel NASA managers are pushing today, they have no doubt about
it. Yet it always differs from last year and next year.
briefs... The latest issue of Space News reports that
SpaceX has made
a formal protest to NASA over it's decision
to offer Kistler
Aerospace up to $227M for a set of demonstration flights (on
the condition the company comes out of bankruptcy.) SpaceX wants
the flights put out for bid....
will present a special
program this Wednesday, April 14, 2004 at 12-1:30pm PDT. David
Livingston will interview the usually media shy Walt
Anderson who has funded several space projects and companies
Goehlich is starting another lecture
series at Keio University. This time he will focus on Cost
Engineering for Space Transportation Systems (course
Kudos from We
launch our cheers for private spaceflight - Albuquerque Tribune
- Apr.12.04 (via spacetoday.net)
Access ' 04 Update released
over the weekend includes the latest on the list of speakers and
on hotel room availability.
the engines... In this week's update, John Carmack reports
on test firings of the engines on the large vehicle while it hung
from a crane: Up
in the air (sort of), Jet vanes, Big Engine V2.0 - Armadillo Aerospace
- Apr.11.04. Includes a video
(13.8MB) showing the firings.
test inspection showed that all the vehicle insulation held up
well, with no signs of any heat damage. All the electronics stayed
[operational] through everything, and all of our ground systems
behaved as expected. We should have a nicer test next week."
government funding for SpaceX....
A clarification is given in the latest issue of Aviation Week with
regard to its recent
article on the company that implied the Falcon I project was
partially funded by the military.
$3 million being provided by U.S. Defense Dept. to SpaceX for
the first launch of the Falcon I booster is a discounted price
for procurement of the flight, as opposed to funding directly
related to development of the launcher."
tank fix... This issue of Aviation Week also has an article
about the success Northrop Grumman has had in preventing the type
of delamination problem that occurred in the composite liquid hydrogen
tank for the X-33.
The failure of the tank, along with a cascade of other problems
and overruns, led to the cancellation of the project. Northrop used
several techniques to prevent the "cryo-pumping" action
that draws liquefied nitrogen into microcracks. The nitrogen changes
there to gas when the tank warms up after draining. The gas expands
and opens up the layering in the composite. The company used thinner
plies, a thin foil and a venting technique to get rid of any nitrogen
that does manage to get into the structure.
was paid for by NASA Next Generation Launch Technology program.
Since NASA seems to be cutting back on RLV development it isn't
clear if anything will will be done with these findings on the short
related to composite
Rocket Company has to deal with a crisis in the design
of the orbital stage in Chapter
23: Stop the Production Line! Part 1.
brief... NASA looks at more longer term propulsion concepts:
Antimatter/High Performance Antiproton Trap and Utilization Research
- SpaceRef - Apr.9.04
article gives an excellent first hand report on the flight:
group rockets toward X-Prize: SpaceShipOne's flawless test has team
closer to $10 million Antelope Valley Press - Apr.9.04 (Note:
Avpress links are short lived unfortunately) - Link via a HS
reader in Mojave.
includes several interesting comments, including:
nearly an hour of climbing to the launch altitude in the military
restricted airspace adjacent the Mojave Airport, SpaceShipOne
dropped from its carrier and shortly after lighted the rocket
motor. From the ground, it could be seen only as a vapor trail,
yet its speed and trajectory made it distinct from the other contrails."
the rocket burned out and the aircraft reached the top of its
flight arc, Siebold could be heard over the radio to say 'The
sky is dark.' He also commented that the rocket flight was 'remarkably
quiet in the boost.'"
Lindbergh , grandson of the pioneering aviator and vice president
of the X-Prize Foundation, called the flight 'epic.'"
first rocket flight was more nerve-wracking, Heath said, but the
40-second duration of this flight made it something different.
'Forty seconds is a long time,' [Kevin Heath of Scaled] said.
'We're just chomping at the bit to go 90 seconds,' the duration
of rocket burn for the 100 km flight."
- The X PRIZE
(100km) flight will be announced beforehand and web cast. "With
that kind of publicity blitz planned, the Mojave Airport is making
its own preparations for the large crowds anticipated to watch
brief... Alan Boyle reports on the SS1 flight:
Private space race goes supersonic SpaceShipOne flies again; X Prize
plans announcement - MSNBC - Apr.9.04
pictures at Alan Radecki's Mojave
Airport Weblog. Takeoff through landing. BTW: Don't you think
a lot of millionaires would pay $100k to ride on something like
does it again... The SS1
fired its rocket today:
SS1 during flight as captured by an onlooker.
Successful Rocket-Powered Flight for
American SpaceShipOne Team
X-PRIZE - April
Hot on the
heels of receiving it's FAA licence, the American SpaceShipOne
team had a perfect rocket-powered flight today, April 8, reaching
an altitude of 105,000 ft. Behind the controls of SpaceShipOne's
second successful powered flight was pilot and future astronaut,
Peter Siebold. The engine burned for 40 seconds and reached a
speed of approximately Mach 2, making it the first privately built
space vehicle to accomplish this feat. "105,000 feet down, 223,000
feet to go!" exclaimed an excited onlooker, as he watched the
ship fly overhead.
again from the Suborbital Institute: SOI
congratulates Scaled Composites (Mach 2 and 100K): Suborbital Institute
Says All Systems Go for Commercial Space - Suborbital Institute
briefs ... Leonard David on the flight: Private
Spaceship Completes Second Test Flight - Space.com - Apr.8.04...
More on the licensing: Commercial
space flight takes big step up - New Scientist - Apr.8.04 *
receives first FAA suborbital rocket license - AV Press - Apr.8.04
brief... The latest on the daVinci
rocket man ready for lift off in Do-It-Yourself space race - Yahoo!
News - Apr.8.04
news & comment on the awarding of the first FAA license
for a commercial manned rocketship:
to Scaled & FAA-AST from the Suborbital Institute:
Institute Congratulates Scaled Composites,
Applauds FAA Action
April 7, 2004
-- The Suborbital
Institute today congratulated Scaled
Composites of Mojave, CA for being the first firm to receive
a Federal launch license for a piloted suborbital rocket. The
Institute applauded the Federal
Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation
for its action in issuing the historic launch license, which was
announced on April 7th.
Scaled Composites, run by aviation legend Burt Rutan, is already
in the process of test flying Spaceship
One, a winged suborbital rocket designed to win the $10 million
"We believe this action is another step in opening the road to
space, creating a new industry and new opportunities for all Americans,"
said Institute Chairman Patrick Bahn. "Regulatory barriers have
been a concern to suborbital entrepreneurs and investors, but
this action shows that things are heading in the right direction."
The Institute praised the FAA for streamlining past regulations
that were considered overly burdensome, while at the same time
protecting public safety. The Institute plans to work with the
FAA and legislators to further streamline regulations in the future.
The Institute was instrumental in supporting the Commercial
Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, which recently passed
the House of Representatives by a wide margin. One provision of
the HR 3752 would create a class of experimental launch permits,
making it easier for companies like Scaled to test experimental
Members and supporters of the Suborbital Institute will go to
Capitol Hill on Monday and Tuesday, May 17-18, to lobby for passage
of the HR 3752, which is now in the hands of the Senate. Pat Bahn
extended an open invitation for supporters of commercial human
spaceflight to join Institute members in the lobbying event. Interested
parties may email firstname.lastname@example.org
to sign up.
The Suborbital Institute is an industry association whose members
include many firms involved in the development of suborbital commercial
human spaceflight, including TGV
Technology Development, XCOR
X-Rocket, LLC. Membership is also open to members of the public
who support the development of the suborbital commercial human
of the entrepreneurs presentations - Peter Diamandis,
Jeff Greason, and Elon Musk - to the Moon-Mars Commission on March
24th in Atlanta are now available
on line. (Item via Project
brief... NASA says scramjet test was a success: NASA
Proves Scramjets Work - NASA - Apr.7.04
license for Scaled
Composites The FAA released today the following announcement:
Issues License for Historic Sub-Orbital Manned Rocket Launch:
DC - The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced it
has issued the world’s first license for a sub-orbital manned
The license was issued April 1 by the Federal Aviation Administration’s
Office of Commercial Space Transportation to Scaled Composites
of Mojave, Calif., headed by aviation record-holder Burt Rutan,
for a sequence of sub-orbital flights spanning a one-year period.
The FAA sub-orbital space flight license is required for U.S.
contenders in the X-Prize competition, a high-stakes international
race ultimately to launch a manned, reusable private vehicle into
space and return it safely to Earth. The X- Prize foundation will
award $10 million to the first company or organization to launch
a vehicle capable of carrying three people to a height of 100
kilometers (62.5 miles), return them safely to Earth, and repeat
the flight with the same vehicle within two weeks.
Twenty-seven contestants representing seven countries have already
registered for the X-Prize contest, modeled on the $25,000 Orteig
Prize for which Charles Lindbergh flew solo from New York to Paris
In its 20 years of existence, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space
Transportation has licensed more than 150 commercial launches
of unmanned expendable launch vehicles. This license is the first
to authorize manned flight on a sub-orbital trajectory.
While the highest criteria to issue a license is public safety,
applicants must undergo an extensive pre- application process,
demonstrate adequate financial responsibility to cover any potential
losses, and meet strict environmental requirements.
See also Feds
Give Private Spaceship Go-Ahead to Expand Flight Testing - Space.com
briefs ... NASA will sponsor a workshop on the Centennial
Challenges prize program during June 16-17 at the Washington
Hilton according to Jeff Foust: A
few notes from the STA breakfast - Space Politics - Apr.6.04
seems to be ordering a Shuttle TPS repair kit: NASA
Award Notice: Design, Fabrication and Test of Carbon-Silicon Carbide
Wrap for On-orbit Repair of Shuttle Wing Leading Edge - SpaceRef
News brief... The latest issue of Aviation Week includes
a full page editorial by Jeff Greason of XCOR
based on his testimony
to the Aldrige Committee. He advocates that "NASA Should Use
Commercial Space Transportation Exclusively."
static engine test
engine test... The Romanian X
PRIZE team ARCA reports on recent progress:
On April 1-3
the hydrogen peroxide monopropellant system completed four ground
tests. On the last test we obtained 35% of the nominal thrust
on 6 sec running. During this first test session we obtained all
calculated parameters. At the end of April the system will be
tested at full-specified thrust and time.
ARCA is proud
to announce that from the data we have until now, the system tested
on April 1-3 is the world first reusable monopropellant propulsion
system integrally constructed from composite materials. Also,
this is the most powerful Romanian liquid fuel engine ever constructed.
Photos and video
are available on their web site.
briefs... X PRIZE contestants should beware "The
Rutan" according to this report from Canada about the launch
site for the daVinci
era of flight starts in ... Kindersley?: Saskatchewan-based team
has high hopes of winning $10-million US prize - Edmonton Journal
- Apr.5.04.(via spacetoday.net)...
Foust reports on a recent Congressional hearing:
NASA, the Air Force, and space transportation: room for cooperation?
- The Space Review - Apr.5.04
engine test... John Carmack reports in the latest weekly
status report that some parts did not arrive in time so they did
not do a hover test of the large vehicle as planned. Instead they
carried out a static test of their 12" engine: 3700
lbf, Ceramic monolith, Jet vanes - Armadillo Aerospace - Apri.4.04
kick... The X-43 scramjet did produce a positive thrust
during its recent test: X-43
Flight Test Indicates Thrust is Greater Than Drag - Aviation Week
- Apr.4.05. However, the article gives a bunch of caveats about
the promise, or lack thereof, for scramjet boosters. For example,
officials said it could evolve into part of a launch system but
acknowledged this would be 20-50 years off, if it happens at all."
idea is the scramjet can lose this weight [of the oxidizer in
a rocket] by obtaining oxygen from the atmosphere instead. The
difficulty is in efficiently capturing this air without creating
so much drag and heat that any benefits are wiped out."
X-43A engine is a passive copper heat sink with total-loss water
cooling of the inlet lip. That may be okay for 10 sec. but cooling
becomes a big issue for longer runs."
See also Rand
Israeli X PRIZE Team may not have time to win the rocket
race but it has a good chance to win a business plan competition:
Business Plan Reaches semi-finals in Wharton Business Plan Competition
(WBPC) - Ilat - Apr.2.04. (In the long run, that may be more
To try to make
a X PRIZE launch before the end of this year, the IL
Aerospace team modified its original system with a new balloon
design and the use of a commercial solid
rocket booster: See the discussion of the
modifications to the system.
brief... Return to flight costs going up: Shuttle
Return-To-Flight Cost Projected To Be $600-700 Million - Aviation
Week - Apr.2.04 (via spacetoday.net)
considers fly-off competitions for the CEV: NASA
spacecraft fly-off under study by Frank Sietzen - UPI - Apr.1.04.
This is the kind of approach to hardware development that the alt.space
community has been advocating for years. Assuming they open up the
competition to more than the usual suspects, this could bring NASA
significant cost savings.
Knight flights took place on March 30 and 31st according
to the Tier
1 test page. These were for " Avionics software evaluation,
launch release rehearsal and landing pattern practice."and
"SpaceShipOne Flight 13P launch rehearsal, avionics checkout
and landing practice."
update ... I believe I missed this article from January
on TGV Rockets
and the company's new base in Norman Oklahoma: Rocket
science? 'Two guys and a van' handle it - The Norman Transcript
by the article, the company has a growing group of professional
engineers. Mark Oakley, aka Rocket Man, recently joined the effort:
Rockets - Rocket Man Blog - Mar.11.04.
I saw Pat Bahn,
chief of the company, this week in Bethesda. He is traveling frequently
between the DC area and Norman. He said the company is making progress
and after a major design scrub with several outside reviewers they
froze the basic design of the MICHELLE
B (don't know if this page gives the latest numbers; the review
led to a larger vehicle.) Now they will focus on working out the
brief ... While Northop
may issue press
releases with grand claims about its reusable engines,
an XCORian pointed
out to me that they have been making reusable engines
with non-toxic fuels for over three years.
Continue to March 2004