briefs ... Hover tests by Amadillo: Boosted
Hop - Armadillo Aerospace - May.30.04...
Alan Boyle reports on the difficulties facing passage of the HR-3752
in the Senate: Private
spaceships caught in political fog - Alan Boyle/MSNBC - May.28.04...
PRIZE Space Race News posts the
X PRIZE Newsletter: May 28 2004.
break... I will be traveling over the next
week or so and postings will be even more intermittent than usual
and probably none at all over this weekend.
airship update... A recent posting on Slashdot
about the orbital
airship concept drew several hundred responses. Blimps...
In... Space... - Slashdot - May.25.04. Alfred Differ of JPA
responded to some of the comments and questions: Alfred
Differ - Slashdot User. Note that their first choice of an engine,
which they say they are under contract not to reveal, is not an
Guy update... Brian Walker (aka the Rocket
Guy) spoke at the recent Space
Access ' 04 and said that he had gotten back into action
after various delays and personal setbacks. He just posted a set
updates on the construction of various support facilities such
as a rocket sled and a Multi
Axis Disorientator ( see the
M.A.D. movie). He is essentially developing a small Space Camp
facility. Some of the X PRIZE teams might want to rent his place
for training their rocket guys. (Item via HS
reader M. Stacey.)
may rise higher...
The latest issue of Aviation Week reports that Germany wants the
spaceplane prototype added to ESA's new Future Flight Preparatory
Program (FLTP), which was mentioned by Dave Salt at Space
Access ' 04. After the current low altitude drop tests
in Sweden are finished, they would like to do high altitude drops
from a balloon or a Mig-31 to test transonic speed range.
Show interviews... Check out the
SpaceShow interview with TGV
chief Pat Bahn this Sunday between 12-1:30PM Pacific
Time. Pat will be speaking from the NSS
Space Development Conference, which will take place over the
Memorial Day weekend in Oklahoma City. He will discuss progress
in the development of the MICHELLE
B suborbital vehicle, the growth of the company at its new residence
in Norman, Oklahoma, and about the activities of the Suborbital
Institute, which he also leads.
You can also
find in the archive the recent show
with Rick Citron who discusses the companies Kistler
Aerospace and Spacehab,
both of which he help to create with his brother Bob. In the first
half of the show he gives an interesting overview of the steps potential
space entrepreneurs must take to raise money and get a company off
May 20th meeting presentations
are now available on line. E.g. see
briefs... Suborbital companies looking to base their
vehicles in New Mexico: New
Mexico gets space shot inquiries - New Mexico Business Weekly -
May.26.04 (via X
PRIZE Space Race News)...
Carmack posted a note on the aRocket
forum that he expects that before Scaled tries an official X
PRIZE flight, they will "will fly a single passenger without
ballast for the other two first, which will give them the "first
commercial astronaut" glory, and let them know if they actually
have the performance to add the extra 400 pounds for the X-Prize
flights after that."...
K. Kert points to some interesting articles in the Microcosm
PRIZE models... Yesterday the X
PRIZE announced that the Estes
Rockets company is releasing a set of models based on several
teams' designs. The Estes site doesn't yet show the models as far
as I can tell but Alan Boyle
- Small-size X Prize - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log - May.25.04 -
found images at Ye
Olde Rocket Shoppe on sell sheet
#1 and sell
Note that the
model for the SpaceShipOne
is still under negotiations with Scaled
briefs... Via a HS visitor
I found out that the FAI
Astronautics Records section includes X PRIZE type suborbital accomplishments:
Code Section 8 * 2003
site for the Third
International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion, which will
be held Troy, New York, October 11 - 14, 2004, is now up and ready
pistonless pump update in the experimental
rocketry section. Includes a gif animation.
gets some local press attention: 'Rocket
Man' Preparing Space Blast - nbc5i.com - May.24.04 (via spacetoday.net)
for private launch development by shopping at the X
PRIZE Store | CafePress and other RLV
briefs... Leonard David reports on a new California spacwport:
to Rise in California's Mojave Desert - Space.com - May.24.04....
The economics of personal payload mass: The
price of privation - The Space Review - May.24.04
metal ....Armadillo revamps the entire propulsion system
for their large test vehicle in a remarkably short time. However,
there are a few bugs to work out as John Carmack reports in his
latest update: Bent
jet vanes, Liquid catalyst tests - Armadillo Aerospace - May.22.04...
Jeff Foust gives an update on potential obstacles to passage of
3752 bill that has been passed in the House and referred to
the Senate: More
on HR 3752 concerns - Space Politics - May.22.04
briefs ....Alan Boyle reports on JP
Aerospace and their proposal for an orbital
groomed for flight to edge of space - MSNBC - May.21.04...
Cowing and Spaceref open a special news section on developments
with the Bush space initiative: Space
Exploration Initiative News | SpaceRef
to an end. The final installment
tells how the founder of the Rocket Company seeks to reduce the
cost of transportation to Mars just as he did for access to LEO.
If successful, large numbers of people will be able to travel to
the Red Planet for permanent settlement.
space forecasting....The 2004
Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts is now available.
It gives a broad and informative survey of the launch industry.
The report is create by Futron
under contract with the FAA-AST. Jeff
Foust is deeply involved with this report and also Phil
Smith, who created the gorgeous cover art as well.
jet/rockets left behind? The COMSTAC
meeting this week included a discussion of HR-3752
- Commercial Space Amendements Act - according to Jeff Foust:
Space Politics: HR 3752: a concern over definitions - Space Politics
The bill was
passed by the House and referred to the Senate. It includes a number
of items directly related to the regulation of commercial suborbital
spaceflight and it was a focus of the recent Suborbital
Action Day campaign on Capitol Hill.
Jeff, a concern was expressed that the bill doesn't properly address
the question of what regulatory framework would apply to vehicles
that initially takeoff under jet power and then fire a rocket when
they reach a high altitude. Unfortunately, if the bill is altered
to fix this, then the bill may die because of the short time remaining
in a year with lots of backed up legislation.
brief... Steve Bennett of Starchaser
frets that Scaled will win the X PRIZE before his team gets a chance
at it: Spaceman
set to lose $10m race - Manchester Online - May.21.04 (via X
PRIZE Space Race News)
- step by step... Leonard
David reports that there will be one more SS1 test flight before
the official X PRIZE flights: Data
From Recent Test Flight of Private Spacecraft Released - Space.com
- May.20.04 ...
don't tell me what the question is!
Don Peterson has contracted a serious form of myopia called Zubrinitis.
The sufferers look into space and can't see anything but Mars: Former
Astronaut Don Peterson's Ideas for Future Human Flight Programs
- SpaceRef - May.20.04. Rand Simberg gives a similar diagnosis.
Challenge Workshop Reminder... Ken Davidian, who
now works with the Centennial
Challenge project, asked me to remind people about the upcoming
workshop. Inspired by the X PRIZE, NASA's Centennial Challenge will
offer prizes for a wide range of space related accomplishments.
The goal of
the workshop is to: 1. Gather ideas for Challenges, 2. Develop rules
for specific Challenges and gauge competitor interest in various
potential Challenges, and 3. Promote competitor teaming.
briefs... Some history behind the development of the
systems go in race to reach final frontier - Scotsman.com - May.20.04
making progress with its propulsion systems: Starchaser
starts production of it's 15 tonne rocket engine - starchaser.co.uk
- - May.17.04 * Launch
Escape System (LES) Update - starchaser.co.uk - May 2004 (via
X PRIZE Space
Race News) ...
Looking less and less likely a shuttle will launch in March: Group:
Shuttle plan omits slack time: Launch still set for March 6 - Florida
Today - May.20.04
briefs... Scaled posts some
pictures from the most recent flight...
NASA needs alternative in-flight repair schemes: NASA
May Need to Consider Alternative Plans on Shuttle - NY Times - May.20.04
briefs... Rand Simberg argues that the new space policy
announced in January, which includes retirement of the shuttle in
2010, requires a serious re-thinking of how the shuttle will be
Policy Disconnect - Transterrestrial Musings - May.18.04 * Followup
- Transterrestrial Musings - May.19.04 ...
Australian hypersonics projects continue: Hypersonics
Research Speeds Up - Spacedaily - May.19.04 ...
I forgot to mention that Congressman Dana Rohrbacher,
a sponsor of HR
3752, came to the luncheon during the Suborbital
Action Day campaign last Monday and said a few words. Jeff Foust
reports on his impressions of the luncheon: Suborbital
days - Space Politics - May.18.04
record breaking CSXT launch is discussed in the Advanced
Rocketry News section.
brief... Spacedev takes a bow: SpaceDev
Propels SpaceShipOne Close to Outer Space Third Powered Flight Sets
New Records - Spacedev PR - May.18.04
Action Day went quite well yesterday. The Suborbital
Institute teams briefed staffers for 27 different Senators.
As described by the talking points posted by Andrew Case - SubOrbital
Day - Transterrestrial Musings - May.17.04 - the primary goal
was to encourage passage of the Senate version of the HR-3752.
This bill aims to help set a regulatory and liability regime that
will facilitate the creation of space tourism and other markets
once the suborbitals graduate from the current development phase.
priorities involved ameliorating the ITAR mess and keeping the Office
of Space Commerce alive.
As with the
previous campaigns, I was quite impressed with the enthusiasm that
the the staffers showed in response to our presentations. They seemed
"to get it" once we laid out all the facts. (They especially
liked that we were not asking for money!) They could see that the
suborbital rocket industry will become a viable one under the right
conditions and that the companies can eventually develop low cost
access to orbit. ...
Andrew Case had
some interesting encounters in his briefings: Some
more SubOrbital Day news - Transterrestrial Musings - May.17.04
briefs... Armadillo didn't fly over the weekend but they
did make progress in retrofitting their big vehicle with jet vanes:
vehicle work, Big vehicle work - Armadillo Aerospace - May.17.04
The X PRIZE Foundation confirmed to Alan Boyle that it will provide
a 60 day announcement prior to any official X PRIZE flights. So
that precludes the July 4, 17th dates for the SS1 as some had speculated:
flight to space - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log - May.17.04
[Update: I mistakenly wrote originally that Scaled Composites
gave Alan the 60 day info.] ....
Check out this perspective on the SS1: Spaceship
One - a Historical Perspective - A.E.Brain - May.17.04 (via
has seemed to me that the last thing NASA needs is a big new heavy
lift launcher project. NASA needs to learn to do incremental space
development. Glad to see Jeff Foust providing substantive arguments
myth of heavy lift - The Space Review - May.17.04 ...
Here's a suggestion for the crew module for the CEV: Advanced
Gemini: What NASA Needs by Mike Majeski - Project Constellation
- May.15.04 ...
of these days, I hope to drive my flying car to the spaceport to
take a ride in an XCOR rocketplane to space: Flying
Car more economical than SUV - The Register - May.15.04
Action Day on Capitol Hill so no updates till late this
Check the Armadillo
site for the regular update.
looks back at progress made during the ten years that followed the
introduction of the DH-1: Epilogue
Vinci Project launch
this summer is on track according to these articles (via X
PRIZE Space Race News): He's
got his eyes on the Prize - TheStar.com - May.15.04 * Cape
Kindersley blasts off - TheStar.com - May.15.04.
of the SS1 flight is available without a required registration
at this site: Rocket
Reaches the Edge of Space - Hampton Daily Press/LA Times - May.14.04
The ride may
be suborbital but it sure looks like spaceflight to me! And there's
still another 40 miles ahead. For people who have the money, these
kind of trips are going to be irresistable, even if they do only
last a few minutes.
Space Transport test... Alan Boyle also reports
Transport launched one of their 3-stage sounding rockets and
it exceeded 150k feet. Unfortunately, they lost track of it when
the GPS unit failed.
press article... More about the flight: Valley
spacecraft tops 200,000 feet - Antelope Valley Press - May.14.04
(only available temporaily)
SS1 article includes comments from Jeff Foust of spacetoday.net
Cofounder Paul Allen's Private Rocket Soars - TechNewsWorld - May.14.04
updates...CNN report includes pictures and video: Private
spaceship sets altitude record: Firm is competing for the $10 million
X Prize - CNN - May.13.04:
after his flight, a very excited Melvill told CNN that seeing
the sky go from blue to black was the thrill of his life.
great, it was fabulous. I would pay a million dollars to do that
again,' he said."
Exciting summer ahead: In
Capital Venture, Rocket Reaches the Edge of Space In bid for prize,
craft designed by Burt Rutan goes where no private craft has gone
before. - LA Times - May.14.04 (via spacetoday.net):
just can't imagine what a thrill it was. I had tears in my eyes,'
Rutan said as the winged rocket glided back to Earth and made
a picture-perfect landing at the airport here. 'It creates a path
for the rest of us to go into space.'
he hopes to go after the prize this summer. 'With today's flight,
much of the major technical challenges have been overcome,' he
said. 'It's just a matter of going higher with more people.'"
SS1 flight news...
Sure hope that Scaled eventually posts the videos from the powered
flights in addition to the stills: Ecliptic's
RocketCam(TM) Integral to Private Suborbital Venture - PR Newswire
- May.13.04 (via spacetoday.net)...
Several people pointed out in the Scaled press release (see below)
the statement, "We will be sending you advance notice of a
media event at Scaled very soon." This may refer to the 30
day notification before a 100km official flight that is required
by rule 6 in the X
PRIZE guidelines. Got a feeling there will be quite a crowd
heading to Mojave to watch each of the two flights.
Carmack talks about jet vanes and vehicle development costs in these
postings at sci.space.policy:
Jet Vanes - sci.space.policy - May.13.04 * Costs
- sci.space.policy - May.13.04 ...
Check out the alt.space:
journal of the new space race - companion to the Spacearium
news site, and hosted by the ARES
of alt space, see the list
of alternative space conferences that will be held in
the coming months like the The
Fifth Annual Return to the Moon Conference - July 16 – 18 in
Las Vegas, Nevada. Has an amazing speaker
line up that includes: James
John Young, Andrew
Chaikin, and Dr.
George Mueller (a top manager of the Apollo program and head of
has posted the flight
were 46,000 feet and 120 knots. Motor light off occurred 10 seconds
after release and the vehicle boosted smoothly to 150,000 feet
and Mach 2.5. Subsequent coast to apogee of 211,400 feet. During
a portion of the boost, the flight director display was inoperative,
however the pilot continued the planned trajectory referencing
the external horizon. Reaction control authority was as predicted
and the vehicle recovered in feather experiencing 1.9M and 3.5G’s.Feather
oscillations were actively damped by the pilot and the wing was
de-feathered starting at 55,000 feet. The onboard avionics was
re-booted and a smooth and uneventful landing made to Mojave.
the SpaceShipOne team completed another successful test of key
systems on the SpaceShipOne reusable launch vehicle (RLV) and
its carrier aircraft, White Knight. SpaceShipOne achieved 212,000
feet [64.6km] this morning. This flight marks an additional milestone
for Paul G. Allen, Burt Rutan and the innovative aerospace design
team in their ongoing efforts to complete the first non-government
manned space flight. The test is part of Scaled Composites' Tier
One program, funded by Allen, Microsoft co-founder and CEO of
team will announce the results of this test flight once it has
completed an analysis of the data. Look for this information under
the Test Updates tab. Information on any future flights will also
be provided on the web site, www.scaled.com.
We encourage you to check this page frequently for updates. We
will be sending you advance notice of a media event at Scaled
your interest in our project. The future's looking up...way up!
posts a brief
note on the flight. They will report later after analysis of
Leonard David has got more details:
Rocket SpaceShipOne Makes Third Rocket-Powered Flight - Space.com
Reached >200k feet ( 61km) - more than halfway to the X PRIZE
altitude. [Posted at 1:15pm]
landed safely - couple of sonic booms produced during the flight.
[Posted at 12:45pm] ...
that the White Knight/SS1 combo was spotted on the Mojave runway
a little while ago. [Posted at 11:25am]
PRIZE Cup site ... Florida
hoping New Mexico doesn't come through: Florida
panel not giving up on private space competition - Miami Herald/AP
- May.12.04 (free subscription required) - via K. Schweitzer...
about the NM effort: New
Mexico Banking On Space - SpaceDaily - May.12.04...
commentators confuse the X PRIZE competition with the Cup: The
final frontier for tourism? - Santa Fe New Mexican - May.13.04
Phoenix info... EADS has these press releases in the
See also EADS
Photos (see also the Photos
John Powell's SA'04 slides on the JP
Aeropace orbital airship concept: ATO
- Airship To Orbit by JP Aerospace at SA'04 - Rocketforge - May.12.04
space transportation meeting (COMSTAC)
Agenda for the May, 2004 COMSTAC meeting (pdf)....
old ships, if it's not one thing it's another: Inquiry
starts to find whether critical shuttle landing system problem exists
- FloridatToday - May.13.04....
CEV program making progress: New
Logo for NASA's Exploration Office - Project Constellation - May.12.04
announcement from the Govenor of New Mexico: Governor
Richardson Announces New Mexico Wins Bid to Host X PRIZE CUP - X
PRIZE - May.11.04 (MS Word doc file). (Note that Richardson
might be the next Vice President.)
PRIZE articles by
Mexico chosen for future rocket fest Private spaceships to compete
at annual X Prize Cup - Space.com - May.11.04 and the Canadian
Arrow flight tests: Canadian
Arrow Team Moves Forward in Human-Rating Rocket - Space.com - May.11.04
Mexico gets the X PRIZE Cup according
to this report: New
Mexico Hosting Spaceflight Competition -Space.com/AP - May.11.04
Nothing yet on the X
PRIZE home site.
info here: NM
chosen to host space race - Borderland News - May.11.04 (via
transport on paper...
While no one is selling personal RLVs yet, you can now make one
at home and all you need is some stiff paper, an exacto knife, and
white glue. Ralph Currell is offering free
Card models for the Scaled
Composites SpaceShipOne and the Japanese RVT
Reusable Rocket Vehicle. The models look very nice - SS1
gallery and RVT
gallery. See Card
models - an introduction for the basics of paper modelling.
(See also the Card
Modelling FAQ and the Paper
Models section here.)
briefs... More details on the Phoenix
space shuttle passes early test - New Scientist - May.10.04
John Carmack reports on more progress with hover tests of a small
test vehicle using a single engine with jet vanes for control: Position
hold, big jet vanes - Armadillo Aerospace - May.8.04. Several
videos included. They
already expect to do a hover test of the big vehicle by next weekend.
pilot Pete Knight passes away... Glad
he lived to see the privately developed SS1
heading towards X-15 altitudes: X-15
astronaut Pete Knight dead at 74 - collectSPACE
A whole bunch of photos
of the Phoenix during Saturday's drop test at Esrange have been
posted at the Swedish Space
Corp. site. (The Phoenix sure looks like a prop in a low budget
briefs... This new site for space news
postings looks interesting: The
Spacearium - Space Exploration News, Commentary, and Multimedia
Some of the amateur and small company launcher developers are getting
quite good at attracting sponsors. Canadian
Vinci, and Starchaser
seem particularly successful. Now I see that the US Civilian
Space eXplortion Team is doing pretty well also.
rises and falls successfully... The glide test of the
went well: Phoenix
performs first glide test - spacetoday.net - May.9.04
at ways steadly to increase the size of the payload reaching orbit
in upgraded versions of the DH-1. See Chapter
drop test delayed to finish analysis of an earlier dry
Glide of European Shuttle Phoenix Delayed - Space.com/AP - May.7.04
prototyope drop test... The European Phoenix
will be dropped from a helicopter in northern Sweden for a test
of its glide and landing capabilities: Craft
Set for Friday Test Flight - Space.com/AP - May.6.04 (via spacetoday.net.)
brief... More about XCOR and Mojave Spaceport licensing:
gives XCOR boost - Antelope Valley Press - May.6.04.
Arrow X PRIZE team announces
that test flights will start this summer:
Arrow to Begin Test Flights
Arrow is pleased to announce that it will begin unmanned test
flights of its rocket this summer. The flights, taking place over
a period of four months beginning in August, will test the Arrow’s
launch pad abort system and escape systems. This testing will
be essential before any manned launches are attempted.
is currently completing arrangements for the tests at an Ontario
location, which will be announced at a future date. The tests
- A launch
pad abort test, including testing of the powerful solid rockets
that pull the crew cabin to safety in the event of problems
while the rocket is on the pad.
of the nose cone from the crew cabin.
of parachutes for safe recovery of the nose cone and crew cabin.
of aerodynamics to ensure the rocket is able to reach the correct
altitude and does not display any flight characteristics that
are not normal to flight.
- A mach
1 abort and high altitude abort (application for permission
to fly currently being processed)
of escape system:
- Eight 1,200
lb thrust solid rocket engines that burn for 5 seconds, mounted
in a 22-ft tall nose cone
- Two main
parachutes 64 ft in diameter
computer to record data including acceleration, vibration, pitch,
yaw and roll of the rocket.
video camera aimed out the same window as the astronauts will
use. Video will be available to the media after the flight.
will weigh 2,500lbs at liftoff.
- Crew cabin
(space capsule) designed to carry three astronauts 65 inches
in diameter and 6 ft tall.
Arrow will also fly its first XPOD experiment, produced by students
at the Canadian Arrow Science Club at John Dearness School in
London. The flight will test the durability of the XPOD. Canadian
Arrow is a London-built rocket, competing for the $10 million
(US) X PRIZE, which will go to the first team that can launch
a passenger space vehicle 100 kilometres into space, land safely
and repeat the feat within two weeks.
See the graphics
of the escape system test launch at the Canadian
vehicle hearing... The testimonies at yesterday's Senate
Science, Technology, and Space Hearing: Space Shuttle and the Future
of Space Launch Vehicles - SpaceRef are available at NASA
Watch. The two that I found interesting are:
Hickman (The Aerospace Corp.) - advocates "hybrid"
system with reusable first stage and expendable orbital stage.
Watch says that Senator John Breaux (D-La) didn't want about
Elon Musk to discuss the SpaceX protest of the Kistler contract
in his testimony. (However, it is in the written testimony.) Surprised
that Breaux even knows about it much less cares.
update is now available, so you can read Elon's comments about
This has got
to be the least surprising headline I've ever read:
backs shuttle in space station construction - Florida Today - May.6.04
PRIZE becomes the Ansari X PRIZE... The
X PRIZE gets a multimillion dollar contribution: Celebrating
Anniversary of Historic Space Flight, Ansari Family's Donation Gives
Huge Boost to Future Space Travel and Tourism - X PRIZE - May.5.04.
At his presentation
Peter Diamandis said that there would be a new "title sponsor"
coming soon. This would be in addition to the "presenting sponsor"
Car. That is, the Ansari X PRIZE will be presented to the winner
by Champ Car. Peter said this kind of distinctions among sponsors
was standard practice in the corporate sponsorship world.
update for March/April just came out and Jonathan Goff
provided the following summary (the update will probably be posted
at the SpaceX site in a day or two):
that they have a signed contract with Bigelow
Aerospace for their first Falcon V launch in Nov 2005. This
flight will be a demonstrator of several inflatable habitat
related technologies, and will be flown from Vandenberg. Any
further details will have to wait for a Bigelow press release
(if any is forthcoming).
Due to being
able to use a non-explosive flight termination system, the price
for the Falcon I flight is being lowered from $6M + range fees
to $5.9M + range fees.
that price reductions will be retroactively applied to customers
who've signed contracts but haven't yet launched - thus insuring
them the best price available at time of launch.
cavitation issue was successfully resolved, thus overcoming
the final major issue with their Merlin engine.
cavitation margin issue and the seals/bearings issues were solved,
it turns out that their turbopump overperforms by about 43%,
which bodes well for the thrust upgrades they need for their
Falcon VX (the RL-10 upper stage version of the Falcon V). [Note:
the name Falcon VX is probably just a place holder...]
tests were done while integrated onto the vehicle in the vertical
position, so they've had chances to prove out many of the critical
first-stage systems, not just the pump.
their first users conference back in March that was attended
by several private companies, NASA, and the Air Force.
be purchasing a cleanroom facility at Vandenburg that used to
be owned by Lockheed Martin.
testified at the Aldridge commission meeting a few weeks back,
and will be testifying at the "Senate Subcommittee on Space
regarding the future of pace launch vehicles" tomorrow. I hear
he will be there in-person.
why SpaceX was protesting the Kistler uncompeted contract for
flight demonstrations for delivery of cargo to ISS. He suggested
that instead, since the roughly $250M contract was performance-based
anyway, that they ought to change it to a prize to the first
US company that can meet the performance criteria. [Note: I
think that would be an excellent idea]
have tested their stage separation system, which uses pressure-equalized
pneumatic pistons instead of springs, with dual redundantly-wired
stage nozzle is made of niobium sheet, thus allowing it to take
accidental impacts on stage separation without failure.
- They were
also milling out some excess material to lighten-up their upper
- Lastly, they've
also been doing several tests on their flight computer and on
their IMU that so far have been going well.
All in all,
it looks like they are in good shape for a first launch in late
summer or early fall.
Transport to launch another of its 3-stage sounding rockets:
plan to launch ninth test rocket around mid-month - peninsuladailynews
Prize Space Race News ) ...
will a hearing today on Space
Shuttle and the Future of Space Launch Vehicles - US Senate Committee
on Commerce, Science, & Transportation - Wed. May.5.04 2:30pm.
It will be webcast.
gets delivery of hydrogen
peroxide tank for their Launch escape system(LES) - May 2004.
See also the LES
Len Cormier posts the slides to his presentation at SA'04: Space
Van 2008: Kite-assisted SSTO ...
on the Rocket
contracts a Falcon V...
has arranged for the launch of a spacecraft in late 2005 on a SpaceX
Falcon V according to Leonard David: Space
Inflatable Project Eyed by Bigelow Aerospace - Astronotes @ Space.com
Bigelow is the owner of the Budget Suites hotel chain.
He has promised to spend several hundred million dollars to develop
a space hotel. He created Bigelow Aerospace in Nevada to develop
style inflatable habitats. According to the article the flight test
would involve "one-third scale hardware [..] to produce important
data regarding multiple features of a full-scale spacecraft."
Jeff Foust posted
an item back in January about a possible development with the Bigelow
things to come at Bigelow - spacetoday.net weblog - Jan.1.04
by Jeff Foust:
trials and tribulations of licensing - The Space Review - May.3.04
lotta innovating going
on at Armadillo. In the past year the group developed a mixed propellent
(50% purity H202 + alcohol) propulsion system to replace the H202
single propellent system due to the difficulty in obtaining high
purity H202. Now in his latest update - Jet
Vanes Win - Armadillo Aerospace - May.2.04 - John Carmack reports
on results of a jet vane control system that "went from concept
to highly successful flight test in just over one month".
the vane controls last week on a small test vehicle and achieved
stable hover with only a little practice - see the video (10MB
Up till now
they planned to use differential throttling among 4 engines to control
their large vehicle. However, the
of this [jet vane] system, both in terms of startup complexity,
plumbing / wiring complexity, and flight control responsiveness
are so superior to the differential throttling or attitude engine
systems we have used before that we feel it is a clear winner.
When a jet vane moves, you get torque on the vehicle instantly,
as opposed to throttling or starting an engine, which requires
a fairly long liquid column to be accelerated, then the gas volume
of the engine to change pressure before you get vehicle torque."
So they made
the major decision to give up on the differential throttling and
go with jet vanes to control a single big engine (24” diameter engine,
16K to 20k lbf). See the photo
of the disassembled vehicle.
Differ gives some brief info on the propulsion system for the JP
airship concept in the comments
section of this posting
at Transterrestrial Musings ...
on SpaceShipOne and other suborbital projects: Head
start in space race Mojave company a front-runner in creating private
reusable ship. - L.A. Daily News - May.2.04 (via spacetoday.net)....
Plus an article on Peter Diamandis and the X PRIZE. Benefactor
inspired by Lindbergh's story - L.A. Daily News - May.1.04
Limited (formerly Pioneer Rocketplane) has used the tax credits
it obtained from the state of Oklahoma to raise money to develop
its suborbital vehicle: Rocketplane
sells tax credits - NewsOK.com - May.1.04 - free subscription
required (via spacetoday.net).
The project has "advanced to the full design phases".
XP will use a rocket engine from Orbital
Technologies Corporation plus two jet engines to take a pilot
and three passengers to 106km altitude. The craft will returned
under power to the Oklahoma
Spaceport. I heard the vehicle will be a modified Learjet but
the articles says it will be "adapted from the frame of a fighter
jet." The "first test launch is scheduled for January
latest X PRIZE
newsletter was released yesterday but is not posted on the home
site. However, you can find the items at X-Prize
Space Race News! and the whole thing at X
PRIZE Newsletter - April 2004....
Alan Boyle comments further on the competition:
race readings - Alan Boyle - Apr.30.04
the assembly line production of its two stage RLV and starts to
takes orders from a range of customers. See Chapter
expect a shuttle launch before March 2005: NASA
Releases Shuttle Return to Flight Plan - Space.com - Apr.30.04.
And there's no Hubble flight on the agenda: All
future shuttle missions geared to space station by William Harwood
- Spaceflight Now - Apr.30.04
Continue to April 2004