Just got back to Sweden from a two day round trip cruise to Helsinki.
The ride through the Stockholm
archipelago on an evening bathed in the northern summer light
I see that the
X PRIZE press conference
revealed some exciting news about the SpaceShipOne schedule. It
will be tough to decide which of the flights I will try to attend.
Jeff Foust posted several links to several articles about the announcement
in this item: Scaled
announces X Prize flight plans - spacetoday.net - July.27.04
and has many others included in his daily space news list at spacetoday.net.
Also, check out the X
PRIZE Space Race News postings.
Sure hope the
Vinci guys have done lots of major subsystem tests. The first
flight is going to be an "all up" test. Feeney, though,
believes it's worth the risks: Getting
A Run For Your Money In Space - SpaceDaily - July.27.04.
more updates till next Tuesday.
Stockholm is cool and rainy today but yesterday was nice. It's a
beautiful city and its great to see old friends. Here are some quick
snippets of news items....
Armadillo continues with hardware preparations for tests of a large
prototype vehicle. First boosted hop could occur this weekend: More
construction - Armadillo Aerospace - July.25.04 ...
.Burt Rutan and Mike Melvill to give talks at Oshkosh: EAA
AirVenture takes flight for the future - Milwaukee Journal - July.25.04
Alan Boyle reports on progress with HR3752: All
systems go for new spaceflight law Compromise reached on suborbital
regulations - MSNBC - July.23.04...
news conference should be interesting to hear not only about the
SS1 flight dates but also what da Vinci is planning: Secrecy
shrouds space launch Toronto man mum on U.S. competition Expected
to vie for $10 million prize - TheStar.com - July.26.04 (via
Space Race News.com)
Vinci Project plans to give Burt some competition: Space
Race Competition Heats Up - SpaceDaily - July.20.04 * 2
teams may announce X Prize plans - Florida Today - July.22.04
will be a fight to restore funding for the space initiative projects:
NASA vote opens new space debate by Frank Sietzen - UPI - July.21.04
downs and ups...
As Jeff Foust indicates,
the game is just starting on the appropriation process and the current
numbers are just an opening bargaining stance. There are powerful
forces pushing to restore the funding for the new initiatives, e.g.
could doom spending bill www.GovExec.com
PRIZE press conference
next week will announce the start of a 60 day countdown to the start
of flights to win the prize: X
Prize countdown begins - Alan Boyle: Cosmic Log - July.21.04
Prize announcement planned next week - spacetoday.net - July.21.04.
or more competing teams may announce plans to conduct flights
to win the prize. The press conference is scheduled for Tuesday
morning, July 27, in Santa Monica, California, according to a
media advisory issued Wednesday."
Prize Hints At Space Race By Leonard David - Space.com - July.21.04
A transcript of Peter Diamandis's testimony
(doc file) to a Congressional committee hearing on space prizes
is available via the X PRIZE site....
New update to the Interorbital
web site. (link via Jon Goff.)
operations aer fully funded
but anything new and exciting got zeroed out: Highlights
of FY 2005 VA-HUD Appropriations Bill (via spacetoday.net).
Meanwhile, efforts to drag the shuttles back to space continue:
Test The First Engine For NASA's Return To Flight Mission - NASA
- July.19.04 ...
And the costs continue to mount: Shuttle
return-to-flight costs climb - spacetoday.net - July.20.04 ...
ESA works to
get the ATV to the ISS : 'Jules
Verne' arrives at ESTEC - ESA - July.20.04
Kristina Lynch of Dartmouth College writes in the current issue
of Space News about NASA's struggling sounding rocket program. Despite
the recommendation of the National Research Council Solar and Space
Survey to reinvigorate sounding rocket research, the agency
will actually cut funding from its current $30M level rather than
double it to $60M as many researchers hoped.
the sounding rocket program a few years ago. The NSROC
(The NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract) is a consortium
of private companies that works with Wallops Island to provide sounding
rockets for space and earth science researchers.
Prof. Lynch, the number of yearly launches has dropped steadily
from 30 per year in the mid-1990s to 20 since the privatization
and it will probably drop significantly less than this if funding
continues to fall. In fact, they cannot even afford to fly missions
out of White Sands because of the launch fees there.
are often listed as a possible secondary market for reusable suborbital
vehicles. Some science missions need to go significantly higher
than the standard 100km altitude that most suborbital projects aspire
to, but a lot of research could clearly take advantage of the low
launch price and frequent flights offered by suborbital space transports.
However, it doesn't look to be a lucrative market.
Perhaps Prof. Lynch should leave sounding rocket research anyway
since Prof. Jeffery Bell, also known as The God of AeroSpace (GAS),
says rockets don't reach space if they don't reach orbit: StuntShipOne:
The GeeBee Of Outer Space - SpaceDaily - July.20.04. Be
sure to put on your raincoat and galoshes before encountering this
He gives the
usual criticisms of suborbitals that aren't worth revisiting.
However, there is an attitude that I do want to address. Scientists
in basic research, especially in an area like space science, often
spend whole careers and tons of public money in the pursuit of esoteric
matters that never lead even indirectly to a single solitary practical
application in the "real world". Yet they don't seem the
slightest bit embarrassed to receive accolades, tenure, and even
On the other
hand, if an engineer in R&D like Burt Rutan develops a virtually
endless stream of new technologies and techniques but doesn't directly
create a product as popular as pens and pencils, an academic like
GAS feels perfectly justified in trashing him.
engineering" is not given the same respect and prestige as
basic science is not a rational, defensible attitude. It arises
from the fact that science traditionally takes place within the
ivory tower university environment where all pursuits are pure,
just, and noble. Engineering mostly happens out there in the grubby,
ugly world of commercial enterprise where everybody is only after
the ugly buck. However, we should remember that it is that world
of practical engineering that created the wealth that pays for all
that basic research.
many scientists feel successful engineering is just a trivial consequence
of good science. Actually, it's often the other
should send Bell a link to ZERO-G.
He should also be told never to ride on a 777 or the future Boeing
7E7 since they are 12%
and 50% composite, respectively. He should certainly never launch
any science payloads on the Orbital Sciences Pegasus,
which was designed in partnership with Scaled Composites and which
with components from the company.
briefs... Andrew Case comments on Sam Dinkin's scenarios
for commercial operations: SubOrbital
Scenario Planning - Transterrestrial Musings - July.19.04 ...
Even after getting orbit becomes routine, maybe suborbital will
develop into a niche subculture activity that goes on decade after
decade like airplane racing: Wingtip
to Wingtip at 45O mph! 3O Feet Above the Ground! Sideways! - Popular
Science - July.04
Sam Dinkin looks at scenarios for commercial suborbital spaceflight
planning for suborbital - The Space Review - July.19.04
The X PRIZE competitor Space
Transport Corporation is trying to raise $200k...
Foust reviews a recent debate on whether a heavy lift launch vehicle
should be a top priority: The
great launch debate - The Space Review - July.19.04...
Will only a "national propulsion company" be left standing?:
The Space Propulsion Industry Considers More Consolidation - Aviation
Week - July.18.04
PRIZE News new website... The
ANSARI X PRIZE
Space Race News! web site has a great new look and a new URL
- www.xprizenews.org. It includes a well organized page on the teams.
Space update... Via the entry - Kelly
Space WebSite Update - Space Race News! - July.18.04 - comes
the news that Kelly has gotten a $10.7M grant from the Dept. of
Defense for its Jet
and Rocket Engine Test facility. (BTW: Mike Kelly is no longer
with the company.)
Armadillo update reports on various construction
flight costs... I
got an email flyer recently from the RusAdventures
company, which that offers a range of aviation and space related
adventure tourism experiences. I thought the price list was interesting
for rides on Russian figher jets in which you can experience supersonic
flight, high speed aerobatics, weightlessness, and, especially with
the MiG-25, high altitudes:
- Su-30 - US$9,500
- MiG-29 -
- US$9,992 - the Foxbat can reach 82,000 ft / 25 000 m.
- MiG-23 -
- L-39 - US$2,055
don't include the cost of the trip to Russia.
offers similar packages but with enhanced prices. Their MiG-25
packages each go for $19k.
I wonder how
many customers have paid these and other companies for such flights?
Seems like I've seen numbers in the few thousand range.
The price most
often cited for the first suborbital tourist tickets is $100k. Space
Adventures, for example, is taking reservations
at $98k for a ride as soon as a suitable vehicle becomes available.
It's reported that several dozen people have placed $6k deposits
Burt Rutan has
indicated that a vehicle with 5 or 6 passenger capability could
provide rides in the $50k range. He also wants a vehicle that can
go higher than 100km so as to provide a longer weightlessness period.
prizes workshop update... Ken
Davidian of the Centennial
Challenges program says that he has updated the summary
report (pdf) a couple of times since it was first released on
the 13th. He will continue to revise it as additional information
comes in from the session moderators. He has added a Revisions Table
to the beginning of the report to document the changes.
X PRIZE collectables for sale at eBay: X
PRIZE foundation's ebay auction offers unique art and extraordinary
experiences while honoring new space pioneers - ANSARI X PRIZE -
It's going to cost a lot -Cost
of Returning Shuttle To Flight Keeps Going Up - Space.com - July.16.04
- to get the shuttle flying soon enough to have time to finish the
ISS by 2010 and install a crew of six: Plans
for Space Station Call for an Expansion of Research - The New York
Times - July.18.04
Centennial Challenges Workshop summary
report (pdf) is now available (item via Transterrestrial
June/July update on progress at SpaceX is now available.
- First Falcon
I launch still planned for September but " not launch until
all engineers are two thumbs up, so that date may get pushed back."
- There will
be a public viewing for the launch. More info as the launch time
- Launch manifest
shows 3 launches for Falcon I and two for Falcon V. This includes
one "tentative" payload for each, meaning that no contract
has been signed but chances are better than 50% that they will
of the launch pad at Vandenberg is coming along. Note that they
"do not use a permanent tower on the pad, employing instead
our mobile erector/launcher platform." The tower is stored
inside a building, which minimizes corrosion and weather affects
and reduces maintenance costs.
step for their propulsion development: they "fired Merlin
(our main engine) in the fully integrated configuration, with
both the thrust chamber assembly, turbo-pump and gas generator
attached to a set of flight tanks. This is one of the biggest
milestones before launch and the culmination of a tremendous amount
of work by the propulsion team."
- A qualification
program now begins for the engine to determine if it is "rock
- The titanium
engine thrust frame weighs less than their baseline. "[W]e
are spending more than planned on this piece of equipment, we
expect to be able to reuse it essentially forever (i.e. thousands
of flights), so long as the stage itself is recovered."
- Tests were
made of the fairing and stage separation systems. He notes that
they are trying to avoid explosive bolts on the rocket but for
the stage separation - "we can’t yet obtain the non-explosive
separation nuts with sufficient strength to hold the stages together
under maximum load."
- The stage
separation test also tested their avionics, computer, relays,
wiring harness, and inertial measurement unit (IMU). The computer
is "probably the most powerful rocket flight computer in
the world, since it is the most recently designed and the only
one to use current 21st century technology."
- Antenna patter
tests were made. "The rocket is truly a flying radio station,
with two C-band, four S-band, two UHF and two GPS antennas, as
well as a beacon antenna on the first stage for location by the
test flight... The
Romanian X PRIZE team ARCA
announces they will soon carry out a flight test of the Demonstrator
2B, which is a 1:2.5 scale version of their manned Orizont
X PRIZE vehicle:
the ground tests of the Demonstrator 2B engine, fuel tank and
electric/electronics system. Right now we are working to the final
assembly of the launch complex. The discussions with the authorities
for the launch approvals are underway. The first launch is expected
in short time. The exact date and location will be communicated
as soon as the discussions will move forward.
release from June 16th said:
composite materials reusable monopropellant rocket engine will
be tested in flight in July on board of the Demonstrator 2-B rocket.
The first flight will be made below 10 km, mainly because of the
launch site restrictions. This technology will be used on board
of the ORIZONT vehicle, on manned flights, starting with the next
year. Soon after the demonstrator flight, the ORIZONT vehicle
will be presented to the media and public.
briefs ... Check
out the new
video (10.5MB wmv) of flight 15P on the SS1
project gears up for a autumn test flight: X-43A:
Full Speed Ahead to Mach 10 by Leonard David - Space.com - July.15.04...
Elon Musk, George Mueller and others suggest ways NASA can better
promote commercial space transportation: NASA
Should Offer Prizes, Cut Red Tape, Officials Say - Aviation Week
suite with a view... The
project continues to lower the curtain on what they are doing:
Space Outposts: Cash Down on High Hopes by Leonard David - Space.com
items from the article:
years ago, I thought about how much money I personally would be
prepared to spend over what period of time. I expected that I
may have to put up and invest as much as $500 million by the year
2015. I stand by that. I still think that’s very possible,” Bigelow
- The old-guard
aerospace contractor community is “pretty much decades old in
their thinking,” Bigelow said. “They are not going to do things
for a lot less. The motivation really isn’t there.”
- So what’s
wrong with this scenario: Private space modules, launched on private
rockets, and visited by privately-built space ships?
That may not be too far-fetched. Along with Bigelow, there is
a growing guild of millionaires and billionaires now tossing in
their own bucks to back an array of space ventures.
“We’re all aware that we’re somewhat co-dependent on each other,”
Bigelow made clear. “We kind of know each other. We kind of keep
track of who is doing what,” he said.
News briefs... Via
Space Race News
comes an article about the Starchaser
activities in New Mexico: English
rocket company moves to Cruces - El Paso Times - July.14.04
and yet another space pundit revealing that orbital is harder than
Actually, It Really is Rocket Science - Birmingham Post/RedNova
News - July.13.04
bill movement... According
to the latest Space News (print edition) Senator James Inhofe of
Oklahoma plans to release his hold on the Commercial Space Launch
Admendments Act (H.R.3752)
by July 23rd. He put the hold on because of the concerns of Rocketplane
Limited, based in Oklahoma, that the bill would relegate its
vehicle to FAA aviation certification procedures rather than to
the AST launch licensing
regime. The XP
spends most of its time under turbojet power before it fires a rocket
to go to 100km.
lobbyist Kevin Kelly said, "We're getting close to resolving
the whole thing." Unfortunately, time is getting very short
before Congress takes a six week break. The bill's backers hope
a deal can be made by July 20 when the Senate Commerce Committee
will hold a mark up session.
holds the Space
Ship One broadcast from June 21, 2004. This special Space Show
program featured author John Carter McKnight (of "The Spacefaring
Web" commentaries) on location and David Livingston in San
Francisco. The original three hour and forty minute broadcast has
been edited to one hour, 45 minutes. David assures "all the
listeners that this is the full broadcast of the events this historic
the May 20, 2004 meeting are on line at Commercial
Space Transportation - FAA / AST. Here are some of the reports
of relevance here. (These files are all in ppt format. If you don't
have MS PowerPoint, the free Open
Office includes a ppt tool)
begins booking flights... Suborbital space tourism programs
will include a training period of at least a week or two. I would
expect that the training would include a ride on a plane flying
a series of parabolas, each of which will provide 25 seconds or
so of microgravity over each crest of the parabola. The ZERO-G
company, after years of fighting through the regulatory morass,
looks finally to be getting off the ground. Their web page is now
flights for October. (Item via HS
reader Robert Burmeister.)
John Carmack reports on miscellaneous hangups in their test program:
Failures - Armadillo Aerospace- July.11.04. Includes a video
(mpeg) of a hover test.
Space Review this week has a some space transport
to believe" in a Moore's Law for space launch? - The Space
Review - July.12.04 - Rand Simberg has already commented
on this but I have to jump in as well. I can't emphasize it too
much or too often: we don't need no stinkin new technology to get
launch costs way, way down. We just need robust equipment that can
run often and can last for many flights with minimal refurbishment
in between flights.
scale have worked amazingly well for a couple of centuries in lowering
the cost of everything. There
is no law of physics that says this won't apply to spaceflight.
If the number of flights increases to hundreds and then thousands
per year, the costs will come down until, as Rand points out, you
hit bedrock expenses like fuel. Then you can start looking seriously
at space elevators and other exotic techniques to push it further
Getting money for a space venture ain't easy: Aerospace,
The Final Frontier How do you fund a new aerospace venture? - Always
On - July.12.04 (via spacetoday.net.)...
about the Canadian X PRIZE teams: Rutan
Has Competition In Space Race - AVweb - July.12.04 (via
Institute gets new director... Citing the demands of
a growing company, Pat Bahn of TGV
Rockets has given up his position as Washington Director of
Institue. The SOI s a trade association that promotes "the
interests of practical human suborbital rocket powered flight"
and includes many of the leading
companies in the industry.
will be Andew Case. Dr. Case is a plasma physicist at the University
of Maryland who has been actively involved with the SubOrbital Institute
since its inception. He says that he has been a space enthusiast
since childhood and he "believes that the member companies
of the SubOrbital Institute are the best hope for opening the space
frontier for everyone."
Andrew posts a statement at Transterrestrial
Musings on his apppointment.
in the SOI Capitol Hill Suborbital Action Days and maintain the
briefs... Jordin Kare has posted an lengthy report about
laser launch systems based on a study funded by the NASA
Institute for Advanced Concepts: Modular
Laser Launch Architecture: Analysis and Beam Module Design by Jordin
Kare - NIAC - March.04 ...
.New Mexico starts to take the X PRIZE Cup seriously: Inside
the Capitol by Jay Miller - SilverCity Daily Press [New Mexico]
ESA gets money for the Automated
Transfer Vehicle (ATV) among other things:
signs 1 billion Euro contract with EADS Space Transportation to
start operations of European elements of ISS - ESA - July.9.04
Robert G. Oler and Rick Kolker of the Clear Lake Group don't like
the new space initiative: Reinvent
our approach to spaceflight: Use Southwest Ailrines model to deliver
results - HoustonChronicle.com - July.11.04. And Mark Whittington
doesn't agree with their complaints Curmudgeons
Corner - July.11.04 ...
More info on Russian
hypersonics from HS reader
"Needle" (GLL-VK) - Hypersonic Flying Laboratory *
(VLL-EXPERT) * Fire
tests of experimental scramjet in free stream - V.L. Semenov, et
al., CIAM Moscow, Russia *
Research Institute named after M.M.Gromov
Vinci Project still has a shot at the X PRIZE according
to the team leader Brian Feeney: Self-Taught
Pilot Going to Space - Wired News - July.10.04
X PRIZE flight in September according to Mike Melvill,
who was interviewed yesterday on the MSNBC show "Deborah Norville
Tonight" : X
Prize attempt in late September - MSNBC/Cosmic Log (Lori Smith filling
in for Alan Boyle) - July.9.04. See also item
And there are no plans for another test flight before the X PRIZE
Boarding! SpaceShipOne Paves Way for Passengers? By Leonard David
- Space.com - July.9.04
rockets on Independence Day. Here is a press release
Enterprises and the Global
Space League for the Capps
Scientists of All Ages Enjoy First Beyond-Earth Enterprises Launch
in Frederick, Oklahoma; State Senator Capps Honored
OKLA (July 8, 2004). Frederick, Oklahoma rocketed into a new era
on July 4th when Beyond-Earth Enterprises launched an 8-foot-high
test rocket at the newly-christened Capps Space Sciences Center.
This one-third scale vehicle tested some of the design features
of their unmanned craft which will carry payloads up to 100 km
(62 miles). These flights to space are expected to begin in Tillman
County within the next twelve months, contingent on funding and
regulatory issues being worked by Frederick and Beyond-Earth.
Beyond-Earth CEO Joe Latrell explains that Beyond-Earth is poised
to make space history in Oklahoma: "We’re following in the footsteps
of Burt Rutan’s historic flight in Mojave. We’re here to make
‘space available’ to everyone. And Frederick, Oklahoma is a great
place to start."
Last week, discussions began with the FAA about the process that
will be required to license these flights to space in Tillman
County. These flights will take place under the auspices of the
Capps Space Science Center, a consortium of various Frederick
and Tillman County interested parties. Beyond-Earth's early subscale
flights do not require a
spaceport license, and the Capps Center will be working the licensure
issues in parallel with Beyond-Earth's engineering tests and development.
The Center is named after Oklahoma State Senator Gilmer Capps
(D-Snyder) who has been instrumental to the evolution of Oklahoma
as a primary site for entrepreneurial aerospace companies to develop
their businesses. At the July 4 event he was given a commemorative
plaque to mark the Capps Center's beginnings. The plaque was awarded
by Donna Shirley, Director of Seattle's Science Fiction Museum
and Hall of Fame, at a ceremony also attended by Rep. Don Armes
(R-Faxon) who represents Frederick.
Besides test instruments, the rocket carried the first "Bearonaut"
teddy bear astronaut, which was taken by Ms. Shirley after its
flight for donation to a young cancer patient. Beyond-Earth staff
also ran a "Super Top Secret Rocket Scientists Only" area for
kids of all ages to build rockets powered by "Substance AS" (otherwise
known as Alka-Seltzer).
The day was not entirely perfect: the parachute meant to carry
the payload to the ground failed to open, causing the spent rocket
and its cargo to fall to the ground and break up. The team recovered
the payload and will analyze their flight data, determine what
has happened, and return to Frederick for another subscale test
flight. As one young visitor enthused after the launch of Beyond-Earth's
rocket, "Do it again!" The Capps Space Science Center looks forward
to Beyond-Earth's next flight.
ABOUT BEYOND-EARTH ENTERPRISES (www.beyond-earth.com) Originally
an X-Prize competitor, Beyond-Earth is leading the way to commercialization
of space by providing small payload launch capabilities at affordable
rates. Beyond-Earth officers are committed to revitalizing the
American Public's interest in Space and conducts educational demos
and lectures at area schools. The company is headquartered in
Colorado Springs, Colorado with launch facilities at the Capps
Space Science Center in Frederick, Oklahoma.
ABOUT THE CAPPS SPACE SCIENCE CENTER: The Capps Space Science
Center is a consortium of Frederick-area entities, including the
City of Frederick, Frederick Chamber of Commerce, and Global Space
League, which is working the regulatory issues related to launches
of rockets from Tillman County. At the same time the Center is
working with universities and other scientists to create a supportive
and collaborative environment for early-stage air and space companies
to grow their businesses and maintain technological excellence
while encouraging active involvement in flights and related activities
by students at all levels.
John Carmack reports on the Armadillo
forum (July 8th) that they carried out some tethered hops with
the big vehicle last Tuesday. At least one more such day of tests
before they do "boosted hops."...
I've heard that the Senate schedule is such that either HR.3752
gets accepted by July 20th or it's no go for this year.
space suite ...
Another interesting article about Bigelow Aerospace: The
ultimate public-private partnership: Bigelow, NASA now working together
on space hotel - Las Vegas Mercury - July.8.04 (via spacetoday.net.)
Althought the author seems to be unclear on the difference between
suborbital and orbital spaceships, he does a good job of connecting
Bigelow with other private space ventures such as SS1. Rutan has
mentioned recently that he is thinking about designs for orbital
transport. Perhaps it's because Bigelow has convinced him that a
habitat will be there waiting for visitors.
It's also encouraging
to see at least one part of NASA really working well with an alt.space
"We are definitely
moving in the same direction and on a parallel path with Bob,"
says NASA's Miller. "He's come a long way in a short time and
we want to make sure that he succeeds. We're building real hardware
here and it's destined for space."
If the agency
took a similar supporting role to the private space transport companies,
it would accelerate development considerably.
Scaled Composites has determined the causes of the two serious problems
during the June 21 flight. Burt Rutan now says the "flight-control
anomaly" ... was not serious." Wind shear during the ascent caused
the vehicle to go off course. They are now planning for the first
X PRIZE flight: SpaceShipOne
Back on Course - Wired - July.7.04.
The FoxTrot team goes after the X PRIZE: 1,
via Jon Goff) ...
SpaceShipOne - the musical . Sing along to Rutan
Spaceship by Chuck Devine - Samzidata.net and Spaceship
Yourself by Terence
Randa and Roderick Milliron of
Interorbital are profiled in Space
Race II: Trying to go, 'angel' or no - by Irene Mona Klotz - UPI
Note the line with the above article: "A weekly series by United
Press International exploring the people, passions and business
of suborbital manned spaceflight." Nice to see UPI making such
a committment to this area.
Transport, an X
PRIZE competitor, announced that it successfully launched a
sounding rocket in preparation for a test flight of its Rubicon
Transport Corporation Launches Test Rocket
to 56,000 Feet and Recovers Pictures
of July 4th, Space Transport Corporation (STC) launched a two-stage
rocket to 56,000 feet (17.0 kilometers). This flight proved out
the recovery system and resulted in excellent high-altitude digital
STC plans a three-stage rocket launch to 60 kilometers later this
month. This two-stage launch was, in a way, a final tuning flight
prior to a 60 kilometer shot. The two- and three-stage rockets
are four inches in diameter. The 60-kilometer flight test is separate
from the Rubicon launch, which will stay on track for a launch
in the second half of July.
[Pictures from the flight, including on at apogee, are available
in their gallery
and in the PR].
The onboard camera took pictures every 4 seconds throughout the
flight. Apogee was achieved approximately 50 seconds after liftoff.
The peak speed was 2450 mph or Mach 3.4. The expected slight ablation
(when material “melts away” during high-speed flight through the
atmosphere) was seen on the rocket’s nosecone.
continue press release (pdf)
In the latest edition of Space
Review, Jeff Foust reports on the RLV friendly environment in
is OK for suborbital - The Space Review - July.5.04. He
focuses on developments with the companies Rocketplane
Ltd. and TGV
Rockets that are now based in the state.
Jeff gives some
of the details behind the tax credits deal that Rocketplane got
from the state after showing that it had $30M in capitalization.
The company will use the money obtained from selling the credits
to develop its XP
suborbital vehicle. Derived from a Learjet, the four seater
rocket/jet combination vehicle will pursue the tourism market. They
plan first flights for late 2006.
TGV Rocket has
not gotten tax credits from the state but has gotten other benefits
such as a close working relationship with the Aerospace and Mechanical
Engineering Department at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
The company now has a dozen or so engineers working hard to meet
a preliminary design review deadline. Currently the funding comes
mostly from a Defense Department grant. First flight of the vertical-takeoff-and-landing
Jeff also links
to an excellent article on TGV and its chief, Pat Bahn - Liftoff?
TGV has high hopes for commercial rocket venture - The Business
Gazette - June.25.04. (I knew this article was coming out but
didn't know it was on line.)
patently bad strategy... The Space Review also includes
an article from Sam Dinkins who warns RLV startups that it's not
a good bet to expend a lot of energy and money on patenting their
are not pat hands - The Space Review - July.5.04.
- big time commercial alt.space...
The latest issue of Aviation Week reports on the inflatable space
habitat development going on at Bigelow
Aerospace and on the interest the Chinese have shown in collaborating
with the company: Private
Initiative for Inflatable Space Habitat Lures Chinese Interest -
Aviation Week - July.4.04.
(I sure hope
the company has good lawyers to battle with State Department ITAR
enforcers. If Boeing can get hit with a license
suspension and fine for an infraction during the Sea
Launch project, anybody is susceptible.)
of the flight tests are given in the article. The tests are aiming
commercial 'Nautilus' module between 2008 and 2010. The watermelon-shaped
Nautilus would weigh 20-25 tons and, once inflated in orbit, measure
45 X 22 ft. with 330 cu. meters of volume. This is larger than
the 25 X 27-ft. tractor-tire shaped TransHab and substantially
bigger than any individual ISS module."
(Fits well with
Space Development Timeline.) Tests flights will begin
Genesis flights. The 2005 and 2006 Genesis payloads would each
be 3,000-lb. units measuring 15 X 6.2 ft. before inflation. Cameras
and telemetry would observe inflation to double that size. The
Genesis flights would demonstrate inflation technology, pressure
integrity and debris-shield deployment."
and then followed
flights. Also set for launch on the Dneper, these missions--planned
for April and August 2007--would be 45% scale modules carrying
critical life-support system test hardware.
has signed a contract for a SpaceX
Falcon V to launch a Genesis payload in November 2005. For the Nautilus
"a Russian Proton, Chinese heavy Long March or U.S. heavy launcher
would have to be used."
This is tremendously
encouraging news for private space fans. We're seeing major advances
and large investments by alt.space commercial companies in all areas
of space development:
Welcome to the
New Space Age.
ready to fly... John
Carmack reports that they will do some flight tests tomorrow with
the big vehicle: Ready
to fly - Armadillo Aerospace News - July.3.04.
HS reader forwarded a link to the excellent
report by Mark Wade on the SpaceShipOne
project at astronautix.com.
(As the reader noted, check out the explanation of the tail number.)...
More pictures of the Space
Woodstock: Memories of a Party in the Desert - Alan Radecki - July.3.04....
Joy of Tech! offers a "scaled
space meet... Jeff Foust posted an AIAA
Commercial Space Forum update - Space Politics - July.2.04.
The forum will happen on July 13 on Capitol Hill. As Jeff says,
it's an impressive array of speakers. If they seat them alphabetically,
Mr. Muncy will be in an interesting position.
status ... The
Kistler contract cancelation
is discussed in more detail in this article: Rocket
maker loses $227M deal:NASA arrangement nixed in contracting protest
- MSNBC - July.3.04 (via spacetoday.net.)
designs and hypersonic research. HS reader Fjodor Novozhilov submitted
links and info about the Instant
AKS ("AKS" - avia-space system) project at the Mig
Corporation. The two stage winged system would use maglev takeoff
booster. See also MIGAKS
"Holo" - GLL "Cold" , also called "Holo"
(hypersonic flying laboratory) was similar to Hyper-X
43A for scramjet research. FIrst flight in 1991 and seven
by 1999. Contract in 1998 with NASA. Scramjet runtime up to 77sec.
and reached 6.49 Mach. It apparently achieved combustion in supersonic
flow and positive acceleration if I understand t
latest X PRIZE Newsletter has been posted
by Space Race News. It includes updates on several of the teams
which is focusing on developing a business around its Escape Tower
Rocket Motor (ETRoM) for its
HARC says that
the ETRoM will be its "first rocket business profit center."
They report that it produced "over 7000 pounds of thrust in
a motor that is only 10 inches in diameter by 36 inches long. The
beauty of this motor system is that it is extremely low cost, efficient,
and easy to reload for successive flights."
Perhaps we will see other teams shift to similar component business
models if the prize is won this year.
pictures from the SS1 flight plus the XCOR party: The
Story of SpaceShipOne - Samuel Coniglio.
briefs... Alan Boyle provides a thorough overview of
the status of private space transport development: The
next stage for private spaceflight: Infant industry capitalizes
on success of SpaceShipOne - MSNBC - June.30.04...
Mike Melvill gets a profile from his local paper: Tehachapi
pilot rockets into history - Tehachapi News - June.30.04 (via
Continue to June 2004