11:55 am: News briefs ... Hope
to see many of you at the Return
to the Moon - RTM Conference VI, July 21-23, in Las Vegas. Check
out the latest agenda
and the SpaceShow
interview with conference organizer Jeff Feige. ...
... Michael Mealling of Masten
Space Systems and Rocketforge
is organizing a panel session at the conference that deals with
those planning to become "lunar specific, for profit product
and service providers". If you are involved in developing such
a venture, contact Michael about participating in the session: Calling
all lunar service/product providers! - RocketForge - June.30.05
.... By the way, Michael has
posted at Flickr a set of pictures taken during a visit to Mojave
in June 2004 to see the first SS1 flight to space: SpaceShipOne
Flight [June 20-21, 2004] - a photoset on Flickr - Michael Mealling.
Note that with Flickr,
you can place notes on specific areas of a picture. This can be
useful in a number of ways. For example, in a forum discussion of
a rocket design, you could tell participants to go look at an image
of the vehicle that you posted and on which you highlighted the
features that you are talking (or arguing) about. ...
... Systems that help to automate
post-flight inspections will be useful not only for the Shuttle
but future RLVs: New
Laser Scanners to Detect Shuttle Tile Damage - SPACE.com - June.30.05
... Since the VSE will need
at least 20 years or so to be implemented, it's probably a good
idea for Congressional proponents to follow a bipartisan approach
starting now: Authorization
contretemps - Space Politics - June.30.05.
1:15 am: News briefs ... Unfortunately,
I doubt the HS travel budget will allow
me to cover first hand the initial Falcon launch: First
flight of Falcon 1 rocket moved to 'tropical paradise' - Spaceflight
Now - June.29.05 ...
... A HS
reader noticed in this publication - Chairman
Ken Calvert's Opening Remarks: Subcommittee Mark-up of H.R. 3070
- NASA Authorization Act of 2005 - SpaceRef - June.29.05 - the
"The bill contains authorization for a NASA Prize structure,
modeled after the X-Prize that was won last year by famed aeronautics
and aerospace engineer Burt Rutan and his SpaceShipOne team. We
do not limit the amount of the prize, but do require NASA to report
to the Congress before offering any prize greater than $10 million."
I'm sure Brant and Ken at Centennial
Challenges will be more than happy to deal with these reporting
... P&W will build upon
cryogenic engine, enabling key technologies that will support
a wide range of in-space applications such as the Crew Exploration
Vehicle (CEV), deep throttling landing systems, and in-space transfer
& Whitney Wins Contract for Future Exploration In-Space Cryogenic
Propulsion System - Pratt & Whitney - June.29.05.
2:25 pm: News briefs ... I
happened to see on TV yesterday the testimony
of Mike Griffin before the House
Science Committee. (Available online at cspan.org;
do a search on "NASA" and look for the item titled "House
Science Cmte. Hearing on the Future of NASA". Videos are available
for a month.) He certainly isn't shy about telling Congresspersons
things they don't want to hear. A couple of Congressman, for example,
really wanted him to back down from cuts in the life sciences research
on the ISS but he refused. He said that with the money available,
he had to devote it to his top priorities, which are completing
the shuttle program and getting the CEV off the ground. Opening
Statement by Michael Griffin at a House Science Committee Hearing
on The Future of NASA - SpaceRef - June.28.05 ...
which apparently is the new name for AeraSpace,
has hired a test pilot: AeraSpaceTours
Announces Recruitment of Air Force Reserve Major as Chief Mission
Commander: David Lessick, an Air Force Reserve Major will Pilot
Test Flights, First Flight and Manage Training of Subsequent AeraSpaceTours
Mission Commanders - AeraSpaceTours - June.28.05 (pdf). ...
... Glenn Reynolds on Cosmos
1 and the fear of failure: Nobody's
Perfect by Glenn H. Reynolds - TCS: Tech Central Station - June.29.05.
10:15 am: News briefs ... Alan
Boyle says that SpaceShipOne will be installed into the Smithsonian
Air & Space Museum sometime during the last week of September.
As previously reported, on the way to Washington DC it will stop
at the air
show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July July 25 - 31: SpaceShipOne's
final destination - Cosmic Log / MSNBC - June.28.05 ...
... More about Soyuz/Russia/Iran
policy changes: Changing
INA - Space Politics - June.29.05
5:45 pm: News briefs ... Thiokol
campaigns for SDVs with a snazzy new website: www.safesimplesoon.com.
... The X
PRIZE Foundation has a two new officers: Rod
O’Connor Joins The X Prize Foundation As President - Space Race
News and Diane
Murphy Joins The X Prize Foundation As Executive Vice President
- Space Race News - June.26.05.
2:55 pm: News briefs ... Griffin
likes Shuttle Derived Vehicles (SDV) all around. Besides a heavy
lift SDV, he also wants to launch the CEV on a single SRB (i.e.
the "stick" mode): Griffin
Favors Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster for Launching CEV - Space News/Space.com
- June.28.05 (subscription required). See Ed Kyle's Space
Launch Report for a diagram and description of SDV variations.
... NASA decides it has done
the best it can to fulfill all of the CAIB recommendations and needs
to start flying: Board:
Shuttle safe despite missing 3 recommendations - Spaceflight Now
- June.27.05 * Panel
finds NASA falls short on shuttle fixes - spacetoday.net - June.28.05.
.... Rand Simberg says the
press should realize that "some of the CAIB recommendations
were technically unrealistic, and that Sean O'Keefe was foolish
to pledge to meet them all." : They're
Going To Kill More Astronauts! - Transterrestrial Musings - June.28.05
... The administration is finally
coming to terms with the fact that NASA needs to use Soyuz spacecraft
for the ISS regardless of Russian policies on Iran: NASA
to Get INA Relief - NASA Watch - June.28.05.
6:50 pm: News briefs ... Space
News reports on Griffin's talk about commercial ISS transport: NASA
to Buy ISS Cargo Services- Space News/Space.com - June.27.05
... Sam Dinkin looks at the
issue of suborbital point-to-point transport: Out
of energy order - The Space Review - June.27.05
... Marshall Martin looks
at the issue of space development via small or big lifters: Space
station: big or little bricks? - The Space Review - June.27.05
... An update on the latest
developments at MSS
has been posted today: Masten
Space Systems update - MSS Blog - June.27.05.
... Scaled Composites is Seeking
an experienced rocket propulsion engineer - al.com. (via a HS
reader Fedor Novozhilov pointed me to this Russian
article that describes the development of a new rocket system
called the "Ladoga-1P" (Ladoga is a lake near St. Petersburg). According
to the Altavista
translator, the system is a response to the SpaceX Falcon program.
It will include both a two stage and a three stage model and will
be powered with LOX/Kerosene engines. The two stage version will
put 600-700 kg into LEO. The three stage version will put 150-200
kg into GEO or a Gemini type of capsule into LEO with two tourists
for around 5M USD per tourist.
2:30 am: News briefs ... Aviation
Week has several interesting articles in the latest issue. This
one - Transformational
Space Test Air Launch Technique - AvWeek - June.27.05 (subscription
only) - reports on the
t/Space test and focuses on the argument by the team that air
launch allows for pressure-fed liquid rockets, which "have
a cost and safety advantage over the standard engine that uses complex
and expensive turbopumps to force propellants into the combustion
chamber at high pressure."
The lower pressure at high altitudes avoids the requirement at
ground level to run engines "at high pressure--or use a low-expansion
nozzle that is not efficient at high altitude." Furthermore,
"[t]hese low pressures also make self-pressurizing propellants
more feasible, eliminating the need for a separate tank pressurization
system. This was used on SpaceShipOne, where nitrous oxide oxidizer
self-pressurized to provide 300-700-psi. chamber pressure."
... AvWeek also has an article
on Griffin's talk
last week about ISS transport commercialization and the AvWeek editors
liked it but want him to push NASA to make an ironclad commitment
to such a policy: Hats
Off To NASA's Griffin On Commercial Space, But Push Harder - AvWeek
- June.26.05 ...
... And there was this article
on flaws found and fixes made to SSME controllers: Critical
Call: Rigorous Quality Control at NASA Isolates Space Shuttle Main
Engine Flaws -| SpaceRef/AvWeek - June.26.05 . (See also this
article on a shuttle system that's difficult to monitor: NASA
Abandons New Shuttle Wiring Inspection Techniques - Space.com -
June.26.05 ) ...
... Maybe these problems are
why the top Vulcan at NASA is in such a hurry: Scotty:
I Need That CEV in 2010 Or We're All Going to Die! - NASA Watch
- June.26.05 ...
... A short report on the X-37
Captive-Carry Flight for Darpa/Boeing X-37 - AvWeek - June.26.05
... Alan Boyle reports on Rocketplane's
plans for tourist flights: Rocketplane
shoots for space trips by 2007: Hybrid spaceship and spaceport taking
shape in Oklahoma - MSNBC - June.24.05 ...
Magazine, the main-est of mainstream media, had an article by
David Levy on space
a Ride in Space - PARADE Magazine - June.26.05 (available July 4th).
It's not available yet online but you can see from the weblinks
what companies he focused on. ...
... Louis Friedman emphasizes
the positive: The
Story of Cosmos 1 is Not Over: A Personal Report by Louis Friedman
- Cosmos 1/Planetary Society - June.25.05 ...
... The Rockety
Company is available at a discount at Barnes
12:15 pm: News brief ... NASA
believes that the debris damage risk is within acceptable levels
and so Discovery can launch in July: Shuttle
launch debris risk uncertain but 'acceptable' - Spaceflight Now
- June.24.05 * NASA
ready to fly in July Though danger from debris exists, officials
say: Discovery can go - Florida Today - June.25.05.
4:00 pm: News briefs ... Titan
IV launch date slip pushes the first Falcon I launch to Kwajalein
Atoll in the Marshall Islands in September according to the
note posted at SpaceX :
June 24: We were just informed that the Titan IV flight will
launch no earlier than September and may very well be delayed
until October or November, depending upon what issues arise (due
to overflight concerns, Falcon I is required to launch after Titan
IV). As a result, you can expect that our first launch will now
be from our island launch complex in the Kwajalein Atoll. Nominal
launch date is late September.
(Item via a HS reader.) ...
... Despite all the Russian
press articles implying otherwise, Europe has made no commitment
to support the Kliper
development according to this Space News article (subscription required)
Leaves Russia’s Clipper Program on the Table - Space News - June.24.05.
12:10 pm: News briefs ... Robert
Zimmerman distributed these comments today about Congressional
action on the 2006 NASA budget:
Though two Senate committees have quickly approved NASA's budget,
it is not necessarily as good news as their press releases indicate.
It is important to actually look at the wording of the legislation,
which you can read if you go to here:
and click on the link on the bottom of the page.
As they have in recent years, the actual wording of the legislation
shows that Congress intends to continue its micromanaging of NASA,
often in inappropriate ways. See especially pages 5-6, where NASA
is required to "develop or expend programs to extend science and
space education outreach to rural communities and schools through
video conferencing, interpretive exhibits, teacher education,
classroom presentations, and student field trips."
I am surprised that Congress didn't also specify where those field
trips should go!
If I did a column on this there would be a lot more. This kind
of irrelevant interference from Congress can only make it harder
for Mike Griffin to get a new CEV built on time and on budget.
... Note that Jeff Foust has
been following the NASA budgeting process in Congress at SpacePolitics.com.
See, for example, today's entry: Appropriation
and Authorization Update.
11:15 am: News briefs ... Leonard
David reports on the various efforts involved in the development
of a space tourism industry: Space
Tourism: Keeping The Customer Satisfied - Space.com - June.24.05
... The Romanian ARCA
suborbital project (formerly a X PRIZE competitor) has posted the
The construction of the ORIZONT
vehicle entered in the final phase of the assembly process. One
of our sponsors offered to ARCA an assembly and storage facility
in order to successfully finish the assembly process. The first
presentation of the ORIZONT vehicle will take place in Bucharest
and we will publish in short time more data about this incoming
2:00 am: News briefs ... Keith
Cowing says NASA has chosen a heavy lift design and it will be a
"120 metric tonne payload, in-line, Shuttle-derived Heavy Launch
Finalist - NASA Watch - June.23.05. See Ed Kyle's Space
Launch Report for a diagram and description of the basic in-line
... Here's a report on the
X-37 captive carry flight: X-37
takes to sky with White Knight - Antelope Valley Press - June.22.05.
And more pictures by Alan Redecki: X-37
- A Few More - Alan's Mojave Airport Weblog - June.23.05
Ltd. tells the Oklahoma
Space Industry Development Authority that it will start flying
passengers in 2007 for $200k per seat: Space
tourism poised for blast off at spaceport - USATODAY.com - June.23.05
2:40 pm: Low cost science ... It
appears that Cosmos
1 never reached orbit and the signals picked up by ground stations
were just "phantoms": Planetary
Society: Cosmos 1 failure "virtually certain" - spacetoday.net
- June.23.05. This is a disaster for those directly involved
and a big disappointment for everyone else who wanted to see progress
with solar sails, which have long been talked about but have yet
to fly as actual spacecraft.
Louis Friedman points out in Understanding
the Present, Contemplating the Future - Solar Sail Update - June.23.05,
that this is the second launch vehicle failure in the Cosmos 1 program.
test in 2001 failed when the spacecraft could not separate from
I'm sure that going into the project, the primary concern of the
participants dealt with the complexities of deploying the sail properly,
not with failure modes of the low priced but generally reliable
Russian launch vehicles. I In the coming days we will surely see
comments in the science press about the mirage of trying to do space
on the cheap.
The key fundamental difference in outlook between the space science
community and the space advocacy/alt.space community is the firm
belief of the latter that spaceflight costs can, in fact, be substantially
reduced. Despite the success of innovate projects like Clementine
and Lunar Prospector,
which cost several times less than missions of similar scope, most
space scientists believe spaceflight costs are what they are and
can only be reduced at the margins.
Alt.spacers like to cite other cases like the DC-X
project, which was carried out in a non-conventional organizational
and procurement manner that resulted in costs at least a factor
of 10 less than if standard NASA/aerospace industry procedures had
been followed. Most space scientists have never heard of the vehicle
and those that have will typically divert to an argument about its
limited performance capabilities. Same for the SS1.
So proposals for human spaceflight programs always result in varying
degrees of hysteria within the science camp since they see such
programs as unavoidably and wildly expensive and reducing the money
available for unmanned projects. Most alt.spacers would agree that
human spaceflight is not justifiable at Shuttle cost levels but
believe that costs can be drastically reduced by changing to new
launch systems and altering the way space programs are carried out.
I had hoped that a successful Cosmos 1 mission might have contributed
in a positive way to this argument but now it may do the opposite.
Thankfully, though, it's hardly the end of the debate. For example,
a successful Falcon I flight this summer will be a great boost,
so to speak, for those on the low cost side. Its price/payload rate
is comparable to the smaller Russian launchers and, I hope, eventually
prove to be more reliable. It could help a lot of small spacecraft
projects get to orbit. Perhaps it will even carry a Cosmos 2 to
2:40 pm: News briefs ... George
Abbey, former director of JSC, had a huge influence on NASA
for decades and did a lot to protect and maintain the Shuttle program,
despite its staggering costs. He was finally eased out of power
a few years ago but now has resurfaced as one of the authors of
a report on US space policy: Report
Warns of Challenges to U.S. Leadership in Space: Long-term Commercial
and Scientific Edge at Risk - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
- June.23.05 * Report
Says Space Program Is Lacking Money and Focus - NY Times - June.23.05.
He's not someone I would recommend to get space advice from but
I certainly hope the report's warnings on the dire consequences
of ITAR are heeded. [3:50 pm: Report review by Rand
... Of course, the Shuttle
has also been protected by many others who benefit from the program.
For example, some Senators from Florida and Texas would keep the
shuttles in service even after 2010: NASA
Bill Hangs Condition on Shuttle Retirement - Space.com - June.23.05.
... Alan Boyle comments on
some recent space news topics: Commercial
space visions - Cosmic Log / MSNBC.com - June.22.05
11:55 am: News briefs ... I've
been jogging again and catching up on my SpaceShow
programs. I found the interview
with George Tyson of OCP
- The Orbital Commerce Project to be quite interesting. OCP
will offer training in suborbital spaceflight for pilots and "Payload
Specialists". They are working with AST/FAA and various suborbital
vehicle companies to define the training requirements for such positions.
The idea is to develop a set of general training requirements at
first and then type training for particular vehicles as they come
on line. They want to eventually have their own set of vehicles
to use as trainers. ...
is developing a similar Rocket
Academy concept. Students would range from serious test pilots
to "non-professionals seeking an exciting aerospace adventure
... The interview
with David Ashford of Bristol
Spaceplanes in the UK is now available.
8:55 pm: News briefs ... More
good work from Keith Cowing who has now posted a transcript of the
Q&A session with Griffin at the STA breakfast: Mike
Griffin Reveals His Commercialization Vision for NASA: Part 2 -
SpaceRef - June.22.05 ...
... A Wired article talks about
Origin, and TGV
Rockets, which have chosen Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL)
designs for their suborbital rocket vehicles: No
Wings? No Chutes? No Problem - Wired - June.22.05.
The Rocket Company
By Patrick J.G. Stiennon and David M. Hoerr
Illustrations by Doug Birkholz
Forward by Peter Diamandis
6:00 pm: The
Rocket Company is now
available from Amazon for delivery in July. AIAA offers a discount
for members. A forward is written by Peter Diamandis and the backcover
blurbs include the following:
“Contains a wealth of information about various aspects of RLV
design and development, as well as economic and regulatory concerns.”
- Jeff Foust, Editor and Publisher of The
“There is no better way to understand the aerospace engineering
process than to read a design case study.... Since we don't have
any factual case studies of reusable launch vehicle developments
to learn from, the next best thing is The Rocket Company.” - Gary
Hudson, HMX, Inc.[and
“An interesting work. It is sort of fiction...with no contrived
drama or gratuitous romantic angle plastered on top of it. It
is more like a lecture or business plan presented in an entertaining
way...there are elements and details present that even well-intentioned
writers of hard science fiction would never have captured.” -
John Carmack, Armadillo
"This is an interesting approach to the greatest problem in
space exploration: the cost of getting there." - Elon Musk, CEO
and CTO, SpaceX
"If you are contemplating how best to find the private enterprise
way into space, then I strongly advise you to listen to what they
have to say." - Eric Laursen, Vice President and Chief Engineer,
Here was a recent press release: New
Book Inspired by the X-Prize Competition - AIAA Press Release -
Congratulations again to Patrick, David and Doug on a great job
with the book.
6:00 pm: News briefs ... Virgin
Galactic has sent out a newsletter to those signed up via the
website. You can see a reprint at First
update from Virgin Galactic - Space Race News! - June.22.05
... A HS
reader noticed that Blue
Origin has requested
a "permit to allow more than 20,000 pounds of hazardous substances
to be stored on site. The potential use of the building is for the
research, design, manufacturing and testing of aerospace vehicles
and engines" for property in an industrial section of Kent, Washington.
12:40 pm: News briefs ... Still
no firm answer on the status of Cosmos 1. There are reports that
Russian authorities believe the rocket's first stage failed, which
would mean the spacecraft could never have made it to orbit: Russian
Space Agency: Solar Sail Launch Failed - Space.com - June.22.05.
However, there are still those spacecraft signals that appeared
to have been detected by several stations. I hate the cliché
headline "Lost in Space", which the press uses for every
space snafu, but in this case it is literally true. Cosmos
1 - Latest update * Solar
Sail Blog - Page 5 ...
... Regardless of whether the
spacecraft got to orbit or not, the situation is a sad reminder
of just how primitive are the launch systems that we still use five
decades after Sputnik: A
Heart Breaker - Transterrestrial Musings - June.21.05 ...
... It's also yet another reminder
of why we should move to highly reliable, fully reusable vehicles
and reject the idea that riding on expendables, "man-rated"
or not, is a practical means to orbit. (The whole concept of man-rating
is a loser as Rand Simberg has long argued, e.g. see this posting.)
A project like Cosmos 1 represents many man-years, if not whole
man-lifes, worth of toil. All of that is wasted in a launch failure
and all of the knowledge that would have been gained from the mission
is lost as well. A replacement will be years in the making and so
all of the opportunities that this mission would have opened up
are postponed as well.
Perhaps launching low cost bulk cargo like water and fuel to orbit
can be done economically with really cheap throwaways, but we will
never achieve practical spacefaring without vehicles that reliably
deliver both spacecraft and people safely to LEO.
2:00 am: NASA to explore the new world
of fixed-price contracts ... Reading through Griffin's
he first makes it clear that he wants to get the CEV built in the
most straightforward way as possible and won't risk it on an unknown
startup. However, he sees ISS cargo and crew delivery as the area
where NASA could encourage and benefit from commercial services:
So, there will - and there must - be a government-derived capability
to service the space station even after the shuttle is retired.
But because there must be such a capability does not imply to
us that that is the way we would most prefer - to have cargo and
crew logistics requirements for the station satisfied. What I
would like to do is be able to buy those services from industry
- and in fact I'd like to be able to buy those services from the
industry represented in this group: the Space Transportation Association.
He wants to do this with an approach that encourages real competition,
which is, after all, what differentiates commercial and government
worlds. That means, he isn't going to simply award a contract on
great sounding proposal, i.e. he won't "dump $400-500 million
on their enterprise".
Instead, he wants arrangements where the commercial provider has
risked a significant amount of "skin" (i.e. capital) of
its own and will suffer if it fails to deliver as promised. This
excludes the usual aerospace style cost-plus contracts:
[You should] look for us to conduct our contracting on a fixed
price basis. This is the way people buy things out in the world.
I don't go out and buy a car or an airplane or (pretty much) anything
else on the basis of "why don't you build me this car - and tell
me how much it costs when you are done." That's not the way we
are going to do things.
NASA will also allow for more than one provider and require that
milestones be met:
[You should] look for us to conduct such a competitive procurement
- and [you should] look for us to pick a "leader" with whom we
will get started - and also to fund a couple of "followers" at
the study level in case the leader falls off the track. Because,
the leader is only going to continue to get his money if progress
continues to be met. We will set up verifiable milestones, agreed
upon in the deal, the way that any commercial deal would be done.
When the terms and conditions are met, the money will be provided.
NASA will start to implement this approach in the coming year using
money it has allocated for ISS Crew and Cargo. NASA will also try
some new contracting schemes:
There is a line in our budget called "ISS Crew and Cargo". It
is not overly well-funded right now - a couple of hundred million
dollars - or something (I don't keep that number in my head).
We plan to use that to get us started on that process. I would
expect to see - right from the outset - a departure from the more
traditional RFP leading to a prime contract that we've all come
to expect from NASA. You might expect to see a BAA [?]
for example. You might expect to see other transactional agreements
- which NASA can do - as opposed to a classic prime contractor.
There was a Rand Corporation study a couple of years ago citing
the efficacy of other transactional agreements within the government
as a mechanism for accomplishing stewardship of public funds (Its
a very interesting report - one that I recommend to you).
This all sounds great to me and is, in fact, quite similar to what
various alt.space proponents have been talking about for a long
time and what t/Space
is actually offering to do. As they stated in this presentation,
they would develop their CXV on a fixed price contract with a specific
set of milestones, which they would have to meet to receive incremental
Whether Griffin can actually push the mighty NASA tanker in this
new direction remains to be seen but I definitely agree with Keith
Cowing's description of the talk, "From the viewpoint of a
'NASA Watcher" it is a breath of fresh air."
(BTW: Kudos to Keith for the effort that went into making the transcript.)
[Update 1:40 pm: I'm told BAA refers to Broad Area Announcement.]
[Update 8:55 pm: Mike
Griffin Reveals His Commercialization Vision for NASA: Part 2 -
SpaceRef - June.22.05]
1:00 am: News briefs ... Gee,
1 is going to shine after all. The latest
update (12:44 am EST, June 22) says
Close reviews of telemetry data received at several ground stations
appear to reveal weak signals from the Cosmos 1 during the first
hours after the launch. This may indicate that Cosmos 1 did make
it into orbit around the Earth, though quite possibly not the
orbit it was intended for.
Emily Lakdawalla reports on the Cosmos
1 Blog about efforts now to find the spacecraft
... Keith Cowing posts a long
report [+ transcript] on Griffin's remarks at the STA breakfast
concerning NASA's commercialization policy: Mike
Griffin Reveals His Commercialization Vision for NASA: Part 1 -
SpaceRef - June.21.05.
9:20 pm: News briefs ... No
sign yet of Cosmos 1. No radio signal from the vehicle has been
detected and the US Strategic Command has not been able to to track
it. It apparently either never made it to orbit or it went into
the wrong orbit. Spaceflight Now says there are reports
that the first stage failed after 83 seconds. This seems inconsistent
with the initial transmissions that seem to show at least the start
of an insertion burn but those signals were short and noisy. So
lots of confusion at the moment. Solar
sail launched, status unknown - spacetoday.net - June.21.05
... Looks to have been a bad
day in general for Russian rocketry: Russian
military launch fails - spacetoday.net - June.21.05 ...
... The White Knight took the
X-37 into the sky today for a captive carry test. See the beautiful
pictures by Alan Radecki: X-37
First Flight...on SS1's Anniversary - Alan's Mojave Airport Weblog
- June.21.05. Leonard David gives a brief report: Rutan's
White Knight Carries X-37 Space Plane Aloft - Space.com - June.21.05
... Rick Tumlinson's editorial
this week in Space News about Griffin's initial policy steps is
now available on Michael Mealling's Rocketforge site: A
Giant Leap Forward - or a Giant Step Backward? - RocketForge - June.20.05
... Gee, Blue
Origin sure is shy. They have removed the short Summary
Of Proposed Facility page that was posted earlier this month
and the media
page has removed the link and not added any info in its place.
6:10 pm: News briefs ... Cosmos
1 became quiet after initially indicating a good engine burn for
orbit insertion. However, so far there have only been three short
windows for contact, each with a poor line of sight. So it was known
that communications would be difficult in this early phase. The
"first high-quality ground station contacts" won't happen
until after midnight EST. (See the timeline.)
Check the Solar
Sail Blog for the latest info...
... Other than this posting
at NASA Watch, I've not see any other reports on Griffin's remarks
at the STA
breakfast this morning about employing commercial launch services.
So I don't know if he is going beyond what he already indicated
previously as in, for example, his talk
at the Crossroads meeting back in May.
12:35 pm: News brief ... A
on the Space
Arena Board says in a presentation today at a conference in
DC, Griffin said that he
"was going to do a "non-traditional" procurement, possibly
using "Other Transactions Authority" (like DARPA uses) to buy
both commercial crew and cargo services to ISS from commercial
U.S. firms. That he was going to model this after how the commercial
comsat industry does business (progress payments based on specific
hardware milestones, buy commercial insurance, require that companies
put skin in the game)."
In a follow-up post, Keith Cowing says he will soon report on the
talk at NASA Watch.
11:30 am: News brief ... Robert
Goehlich's courses in space tourism at Keio University continue.
Here is a recent announcement about upcoming presentations:
It is my pleasure to announce three exciting guest lectures (live-broadcasted,
login at www.robert-goehlich.de):
Economics of Space (Cost Engineering II) Lecture:
* June 22: “Economy: Asia in Transition” presented by Dr. Kanzler,
McKinsey Japan, followed by a discussion “Effects on Aerospace
Space Tourism II Lecture:
* June 22: Guest speaker is Mr. Yokoyama, who is General Manager
of newly opened Space Adventures Tokyo office in Response to “Overwhelming
Interest in Commercial Space Travel”
* June 29: „The Universe and Space Tourism“ presented by Dr. Jahnke,
Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (via Video-conference)
9:50 am: News briefs ... Here's
an overview of private suborbital vehicle projects plus some orbital
Dreams: One Year After SpaceShipOne's Historic Flight - Space.com
- June.21.05 ...
... The Cosmos
1 is still on schedule for launch this afternoon: Hours
to Launch - Solar Sail Update - June.20.05 * Pioneering
solar sail experiment launches today - Spaceflight Now - June.21.05
Huset has posted a ton
of pictures from the ISDC'05
... The July 13-31 time period
looks good for the Discovery launch: NASA
Shuttle Team Confident in Discovery's July Launch Target - Florida
Today - June.20.05 ...
... Something for your next
bar bet: Guinness
recognizes NASA's X-43A scramjet speed record - Spaceflight Now
5:25 pm: News briefs ... Use
the links above for access to Cosmos 1 info and updates on the launch
tomorrow. Leonard David reviews the project's status here: Solar
Sail Ready For Sub-Launched Liftoff - Space.com - June.20.05
... Speaking of Leonard, his
recent SpaceShow interview
is now available online. Note that the regular Tuesday
show tomorrow will be with David Ashford of Bristol
Spaceplanes in the UK ...
... Rand Simberg examines Derbyshire's
assault last week on the Shuttle program and, as collateral damage,
all of human spaceflight: My
Take On Derb's Rant - Transterrestrial Musings - June.20.05.
See also the comments section for a response by Paul
Spudis on the essay.
2:30 am: News brief ... The
this week includes The
challenge of cheap orbital access in which Sam Dinkin responds
to an article
by Joe Latrell on launch costs.
3:30 pm: News brief ... The
latest issue of Aviation Week says the Titan IVB launch at Vandenberg
has been scheduled for July 10th. SpaceX
has been waiting for it to fly so that it can set a firm launch
window for the Falcon I.
3:00 pm: News briefs ... Jon
Goff offers some thoughts on why the shuttles are so expensive to
and Cargo - Selenian Boondocks - June.18.05 ...
... Tom Morgan describes each
shuttle in All About
The Space Shuttles and remembers the two lost ones in The
Space Shuttle Memorial ...
... Florida Today likes the
accelerated CEV schedule: Wasting
no time: Picking contractors to compete for shuttle replacement
is the right move - Florida Today - June.19.05 ...
... Seems that those worthless
humans are pretty good at docking: Station
commander remotely docks supply ship - Spaceflight Now - June.18.05.
The Proteus flight plan. (Images from C&Space)
3:30 pm: The C&Space Proteus Suborbital
Vehicle ... David Riseborough of the C&Space
company in South Korean kindly agreed to answer a few questions
about their project:
HS: As I understood from the ISDC
talk, most of the work so far has focused on the propulsion
system, especially the turbopump. For the actual vehicle development
you were looking for a partner company to bring in expertise in
that area. Did I understand the situation correctly? Have you found
a collaborator yet? Are you now actively designing the vehicle?
C&Space: In addition to engine development we have
also done some work on the vehicle design. We are developing and
assessing several candidate vehicle configurations and, starting
in July, we plan to refine them with the help of specialized groups
in Korea that have practical experience in aircraft development.
We have however, had some difficulties with this approach. Therefore
we will also be looking for a potential partner in an overseas
(non-Korean) organization who can collaborate with us to develop
Below is one of the candidate vehicle configurations.
[Click for large
HS: Do you now have sufficient funding
to get you through vehicle development and flight tests?
C&Space: We currently don't anticipate any difficulties
financing the project.
HS: Is there a regulatory regime being
developed in South Korea under which you can be licensed for passenger
flights like the FAA is doing in the US as provided for in legislation
passed last year?
It is commonly accepted at present in Korea that space-related
law should be rapidly established to cope with private developers'
demands. Korea is deemed to be making strides in joining the space
era since, a few weeks ago, the Space Development Technology Promotion
bill was passed in the National Assembly. In addition, a space
tourism related law is being established to cope with the space
industry demands and changes in the international situation. Taking
an active interest in the law, we've already invited an influential
space law specialist to be a consultant for our company.
HS: Where will you launch from? Will
you have a mobile launch pad?
C&Space: Any place that Korean law allows will do
as the launching site. We're arranging the sites in accordance
with the relevant law in Korea.
However, we are also planning to build special launching facilities
that enable lift-off from mobile structures consisting of 3 unique
vehicles and an additional ship-borne launch facility as well.
Below is one possible flight trajectory under consideration.
1:30 am: News briefs ... The
White Knight started to take off with the X-37 on Thursday but a
problem caused them to scrub the flight. Pictures by Alan Radecki:
Try - Alan's Mojave Airport Weblog - June.16.05 ...
... The Starchaser
- videos section includes a new video
about their peroxide thruster. It shows the assembly of the thruster
and a test firing. ...
.... This guy tried an air
launch of a different sort: My
Backpack Has Jets - Big-Boys.com (via aRocket).
12:20 pm: News briefs ... Here's
a well written overview of entrepreneurial space efforts: Private
sector enticing public into final frontier - USATODAY.com - June.16.05
... Wired reports on the t/Space
Shuttle Aces Early Test - Wired - June.17.05
... Shuttle waiver list reduced
"from nearly 6,000 to about 500": NASA
Cuts Down on Space Shuttle Safety Waivers - Space.com - June.17.05.
11:15 am: News briefs... South
has updated their website with new introduction
pages in English plus a modified video about their Proteus vehicle.
I'm also told they are hiring more staff. I will try to get some
additional info about their project and report back later. See my
item about the C&Space presentation at ISDC'05.
... Dan Shrimpsher comments
on the science vs. human spaceflight issue: Endurance
Destiny - SpacePragmatism - June.17.05.
11:15 am: Air launching ... t/Space
has posted a paper describing their air launch system and the recent
drop tests: Flight
Testing of a New Air Launch Method for Safely Launching Personnel
and Cargo into Low Earth Orbit - t/Space - June.16.05 (pdf).
... Here is an earlier paper
Study of Air Launch Methods for RLVs (PDF 542kb) - by Marti
Sarigul-Klijn and Nesrin Sarigul-Klijn of the University of California,
Davis and who also work with t/Space. They present the case for
air launch. ...
... I've gotten comments from
a few people expressing some concern that I'm overly exuberant about
air launch and have implied that it's superior to other approaches.
Didn't mean to do that if I did. I try to stay neutral in these
matters and not pretend to know whether one launch system approach
will prove to be better than any other, whether it's for orbital
I'm certainly looking forward to seeing a variety of systems in
action. For example, I expect that the SpaceX
Falcon ground-based rocket systems will be quite competitive for
manned orbital. Many other systems, such as VTOL, HTHL, etc., will
eventually enter in the fray. The survival of the fittest process,
as determined by the lowest cost, will select the winner(s).
3:15 am: News briefs ... Jonathan
engineer and occasional contributor to HS,
now has his own blog: Selenian
Boondocks. One of his first entries provides some advice for
Mike Griffin: Your
Focus Determines Your Path - SB - June.16.05 ...
Shuttle, as well as anything related to it such as human spaceflight,
is lambasted in The
Folly of Our Age: The Space Shuttle - John Derbyshire - National
Review - June.16.05. I'm obviously no fan of the Shuttle but
this is so over the top it's in orbit. (Mark Whittington provides
some counterpoint at Curmudgeons
Professor Derbyshire, for example, claims machines can do anything
"twenty times better and at one thousandth the cost" of
humans in space. That beats the cost estimates of a scientist in
this article - Should
Britain fund astronauts? - BBC - June.16.05 - by a factor of
I don't have time to discuss the relative effectiveness of robot
spacecraft and humans (see this discussion),
but I'll point out that NASA
allocates roughly equal funding for science and human spaceflight.
Furthermore, pure space science gets about $4B, which is comparable
to the entire NSF budget, despite having produced no more direct
practical benefits to humankind than human spaceflight has.
... I'd like to take a break
here for a moment from space talk and warn everyone about a serious
threat to rational discourse. The bombast exemplified by this
essay has become so common in what we read everyday in discussions
on virtually any topic anywhere that I believe the CDC
should declare that the world is experiencing a rampant epidemic
of Rhetorical Diarrhea Syndrome, also known as Runny Mouth Disease.
It is characterized by the complete loss of control over perspective,
proportion, reason, and honesty in one's words and expressions.
It may produce loud, impressive noises and lots of gushing prose
but very little of substance is released.
The only known cure is a strict diet of one syllable adjectives,
sentences of seven words or less, and hard facts. (In political
discussions, comparisons of any kind to Hitler or any other mass
murderer are absolutely forbidden.)
Supposedly, there once existed an Age of Reason. I think the
current period will become known as the Age of Ranting. ...
... Meanwhile, even Mike Griffin
agrees that the shuttles should be used as little as possible: NASA
Chief Says Schedule for Shuttles Is Unrealistic - New York Times
- June.17.05 ...
... Until there is low cost
access to a space station for those worthless humans, the Foton
M2 Mission seems to illustrate an effective way to get lots
of experiments into orbit and back down again: Russian
space lab ferries experiments back to Earth - Spaceflight Now -
8:45 pm: News briefs ... A
first hand report on the Blue
Origin presentation to the public in Van Horn, Texas: Blue
Origin explains launch details - Van Horn Advocate - June.16.05
... Another report on the t/Space
rockets may take astronauts into orbit - New Scientist - June.16.05.
(I just noticed that NS has a separate site devoted to space: www.newscientistspace.com
and it has a section devoted to Human
... Lockheed Martin posts its
own announcement about its recent hybrid motor test: Lockheed
Martin Successfully Test Fires Second Falcon Small Launch Vehicle
Hybrid Motor - LM - June.16.05 (via spacetoday.net)
... An interesting discussion
at NASA Watch on the first solar sail vs. first solar sail spacecraft:
"First" Solar Sail ? - NASA Watch - June.16.05.
6:05 pm: EZ Rocket redux ... Just
heard that XCOR will
bring the EZ Rocket
out of retirement and fly it at the Mojave
Air Show 05 on Sept. 21, 2005. Dick Rutan will again be at the
There will also be some practice flights during the summer but
these will not be publicized.
11:00 am: Armadillo update ... John
Carmack reports on the assembly of a new vehicle and on three subsystem
development projects: Vehicle,
throttled biprop, pump, servo regulator - Armadillo Aerospace -
2:25 am: Cosmos 1 news ...
1 solar sail is set to launch next Tuesday, June 21st. Louis
Friedman reports that the sail has been installed in the launcher
and is "ready for its ride into space": Cosmos1
"Mated" to Volna Rocket in Preparation for Tuesday Launch - Planetary
Society - June 15.05.
You can read daily updates at the The
Planetary Society's Cosmos 1 Solar Sail Weblog and also get
updates sent to you.
2:25 am: News briefs ... Some
more details on the Blue Origin project were divulged at meetings
this week in Van Horn, Texas: Public
Meeting Details Blue Origin Rocket Plans - Space.com - June.15.05
... Despite all the earlier
reports, Europe shows some interest in the Kliper
but hasn't made any commitments yet: Russia's
Kliper Spacecraft Showcased in Paris - Space.com - June.15.05
... The XP
Cup invites the aerospace world to come to New Mexico this fall
for "a week-long series of activities to advance personal spaceflight":
Mexico Showcases State and Announces X Prize Cup Events at Paris
Air Show - X Prize/Space Race News! - June.16.05
2:40 pm: News briefs ... Lockmart
successfully tests a hybrid motor for DARPA's Falcon/SLV
rocket test at Edwards AFB is successful - Spaceflight Now - June.14.05
... Leonard David reviews the
t/Space announcement: t/Space
Tests Air-Launch Passenger-Carrying Rocket Concept - Space.com -
... Studies of positron drives
and other exotic propulsion techniques receive NIAC grants: NASA
Investigates Revolutionary Space Exploration Concepts - NASA - June.15.05
... Launch market blues: Futron:
U.S. Unlikely To Regain Prominence In Commercial Launch Market -
AvWeek - June.15.05 ...
... Discovery back on the pad:
Discovery moves back to launch pad - Spaceflight Now - June.15.05
11:45 am: News briefs ...
Some more info about the CEV contract: New
spacecraft on tap: Firms competing for development rights with NASA
- L.A. Daily News - June.15.05 ...
... Here are some pictures
of the Lockmart CEV system. Don't know if this image
of the Northrop design is still relevant to the current Boeing/Northrop
... Florida wants to catch
up with other states in spaceport development: Experts:
State must lure space business beyond launches: Many agree industry
on cusp of dramatic changes - Florida Today - June.15.05 * The
new paradigm: State will be big loser unless it changes its approach
to space - Florida Today - June.15.05:
Former astronaut Winston Scott echoed Posey's frustration. Scott,
now executive director of the Florida Space Authority, said that
government officials must recognize that the space ventures with
the highest economic potential are likely to be those spurred
by entrepreneurs like California's Burt Rutan. Rutan's SpaceShipOne
became the first nongovernment spaceship to leave Earth's atmosphere
last year. Now, Rutan is designing SpaceShipTwo to fly tourists,
and several other companies are following his lead.
"We have to change our way of thinking," Scott said. ". . .
We'll always have NASA. We are going to build the CEV. It's going
to launch from here. How many CEVs are we going to build? Five?
How many launches are we going to have? Six? Burt Rutan's going
to launch 60. So tell me where the future of space lies when it
comes to jobs and economic development."
... Don't forget that Mike
Melvill will hold a webchat on the EAA
Young Eagles website this evening between 7 and 8 p.m. central
Civilian Astronaut to Answer Your Questions.
CXV drop test
9:15 pm: t/Space/Scaled booster drop tests
and Scaled Composites
have successfully tested a new air launch technique that would be
used by their CXV
launch system: Transformational
Space Corp. (t/Space) and Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites successfully
drop-tested dummy boosters over the Mojave desert. - Transformational
Space - June.14.05.
Note that the t/Space collaboration is doing this and several other
hardware tests (see list at bottom of this
page) from a mere $3M study contract. Think what they could
do if they managed to raise a few hundred million! LockBoeThrop
may get the contract,
but I think the contest for getting a new US manned vehicle to orbit
is far from over.
9:15 pm: News briefs ...
At least NASA is doing business with one alternative space firm:
Buying Microgravity Flights from Zero-G - NASA - June.14.05
gets $100K from the Air Force for nanosat propulsion development:
Awarded Nanosat Hybrid Propulsion Contract - SpaceDev/Yahoo - June.14.05
... More Kliper
news (via spacetoday.net):
... Griffin's personnel changes
get serious: NASA
changes to run deep: The resignation of a key leader may offer a
glimpse of the new administrator's plan for shakeup. - Christian
Science Monitor - June.14.05. ...
... Maybe alt.spacers are finally
starting to replace the usual talking spaceheads like John Pike
Roland. Rick Tumlinson was quoted in this CSM article and in
the NY Times Thrillionaires
article, as was long time space advocate Charles Lurio.
... Most of the above links
came via spacetoday.net.
2:15 am: News brief ... The
New York Times reports on the large number of very rich space
enthusiasts supporting private space projects: Thrillionaires:
The New Space Capitalists - New York Times - June.14.05
2:15 am: Launching
space project longevity ... I previously mentioned the
Space Review article Excessive
pessimism: a side effect of Potomac Fever? by Taylor Dinerman
who disputes the common belief that the Vision
for Space Exploration (VSE) will not survive the Bush
administration. He points out that the missile defense program has
lasted over two decades despite an intervening Democratic administration
that had no enthusiasm for the concept at all.
Rand Simberg, however, finds this to be an Unfortunate
Analogy since a missile defense system has yet to be successfully
implemented. I think, though, that Taylor is basically correct.
Once a large government program becomes established, whether at
NASA or elsewhere, it is extremely hard to kill regardless of whether
it accomplishes its goals or not.
The Apollo program, for example, lasted through four administrations
(counting Apollo-Soyuz). The Shuttle program will go through at
least eight administrations (Nixon to whomever is in charge in 2010).
The ISS has lasted through four presidencies so far and I bet it
will last through at least four more.
I think Griffin wants to move as quickly as possible to embed VSE
projects as deep into government bedrock as possible.
I originally thought that his predilection to develop a heavy-lift
vehicle would be a disaster for the VSE since Congress would never
agree to fund yet another launcher program after the Shuttle and
EELV disappointments. However, it looks like Griffin can overcome
this by combining the political support for these two programs with
Development of a launcher
derived from the Shuttle will be strongly supported by Congressional
delegations from states with Shuttle infrastructure such as ET and
SRB construction. They are now convinced that the Shuttle program
really will end in 2010 and so are thrilled at the prospect of a
new program that will maintain jobs in their districts.
Similarly, I believe Griffin will agree to allow CEV modules to
be compatible with the Delta
IV and Atlas
V to obtain support from Congresspersons from districts with
substantial employment related to those vehicles. As mentioned in
the Pentagon wants NASA to use the EELVs so as to stabilize those
programs, which are currently very wobbly due to lower than expected
I'm definitely no fan of creating a new heavy-lift launcher or
any new government designed launcher. I prefer an incremental approach
that would rely on a relatively small commercial space transport
that could carry either a cargo/service module or a crew module
to orbit. In-space assembly would create large systems for missions
to the Moon and Mars. The launch service would be hired on a lowest
bidder basis. High launch rates would produce low costs and high
Developing a heavy lifter, even if based on the Shuttle, will be
expensive and time-consuming, and spreading launches over a bunch
of vehicles will produce neither low costs or high reliability.
However, politics suggests that if NASA is to maintain sufficient
support for the VSE program over the long term and to maintain a
$16B+ budget, this approach unfortunately looks to be the one to
7:00 pm: News briefs ... Mike
Melvill will hold a webchat on the EAA
Young Eagles website on Wednesday, June 15 between 7 and 8 p.m.
central time.: First
Civilian Astronaut to Answer Your Questions ...
... NASA makes it official
that there it will select either the Lockheed-Martin team or the
Boeing-Northrop team to build the CEV system: NASA
Selects Contractors for Crew Exploration Vehicle Work - NASA - June.13.05.
from Rand Simberg...
... Kliper demo comes to the
Paris Airshow: Kliper
on Display: Russia’s Crew Exploration Vehicle - Astronotes/Space.com
9:40 am: Blue Origin news ...
Alan Boyle reports that Blue
Origin is starting to open up its RLV development plans to the
secrets go public - Cosmic Log / MSNBC.com - June.13.05 (via
To obtain permission to develop a launch facility on the West Texas
site owned by Jeff Bezos, the company must provide details on the
project. Representatives of the company will attend public meetings
this week to answer questions.
Of Proposed Facility briefly describes a suborbital VTOL (Vertical
Takeoff and Landing) vehicle powered by hydrogen peroxide and kerosene.
It is comprised of a "propulsion module and a crew capsule"
(but doesn't say if they separate under normal flight circumstances
or just for emergencies). Unmanned test flights will begin "in
the third quarter of 2006." It will eventually carry three
or more paying passengers to at least 100Km and could fly up to
52 times per year.
[Update - 7:00 pm: The front page of the today's Van Horn Advocate
has more details on the upcoming public meetings: Blue
Origin will hold public meetings here next Tuesday - Van Horn Advocate
9:40 am: News briefs ... The
Griffin push towards a new generation of Shuttle derived launchers
may be resisted by the Pentagon, which would like NASA to bolster
the EELV program. Rumsfield and Griffin are supposed to meet this
month to discuss this and other space issues. Boeing
and Lockheed Martin Push Separate Designs for Possible Moon Missions
- Space News/Space.com - June.13.05. ...
... Discovery to roll back
to pad with new external tank: With
new tank in tow, Discovery ready to roll - Florida Today - June.13.05.
At the end of June NASA will choose a launch date in the July 13-31
1:55 am: News
briefs ... This week's issue of the Space
Review includes the following entries that are space transport
related (well, at least partly):
... ESA continues to talk about
supporting the Russian Kliper
reusable crew module: ESA
to back Russian 'Kliper' - The Australian - June.12.05
... The Space Transportation
is sponsoring a breakfast at the Capitol
Hill Club on June 21st at 7:30 am in which Mike Griffin will
discuss the "Vision for Space Exploration: the Road Ahead".
Coleman to register ($40) to attend the gathering
... SpaceShipOne (small versions)
fly again in Mojave: Junior
Rocket Scientists Take Over Mojave - Alan's Mojave Airport Weblog
9:25 pm: The best alt.space collectible
ever ... Is this a great country or what? A bobblehead
version of the aerospace legend Burt Rutan will be given away on
June 17th at a game of the Lancaster JetHawks, a minor league baseball
team in California. JetHawks
Look To Repeat as First-Half Champion - OurSports Central - June.10.05
To kick off the weekend, the JetHawks will be celebrating the
accomplishments of aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan, the creator of
SpaceShipOne. In June of 2004, SpaceShipOne became the first privately
financed, manned spacecraft to fly to the edge of space and back.
Rutan’s vehicle repeated the feat this past Fall, twice within
a 14-day span to win the coveted Ansari X-prize. The JetHawks
will be honoring Rutan for his accomplishments and contributions
to the community with a bobblehead doll in his likeness on Friday.
The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive the doll sponsored
by American Medical Response. The entire night is sponsored by
AMR, The AV Press, and 103.3 FM KTPI Country
(See a bigger image on the Lancaster
Jethawks homepage.) I hope they get one for the dashboard of
(Item via Jeff Foust.)
3:00 pm: News briefs ... The
Launch Report offers a concise review of Shuttle derived launchers
that NASA might develop: NASA's
New Launch Fleet - Space Launch Report (Ed Kyle) - June.4.05,
... And Dr. Griffin is busy
reorganizing NASA to try to insure that such projects can actually
Chief to Oust 20: Shake-Up Linked to Mars Initiative - Washington
Post - June.11.05 ...
... Here's an interesting overview
of Sea Launch:
for profit - OCRegister.com - June.9.05, (via spacetoday.net).
7:35 am: News briefs ... This
report from the Congressional Research Service reviews space programs
and government policies ranging from military space to space tourism
to RLV development: CRS
Report: U.S. Space Programs: Civilian, Military, and Commercial
(May.24.2005) - SpaceRef - June.9.05
... The Swedish Space Corporation
moves into electric micro-thrusters: SSC
acquires 75% of the shares of NanoSpace AB: The goal is to make
commercial microsystems for space applications - SSC - June.9.05...
... And Aerojet pushes its
RCS thrusters that use non-toxic propellants: Aerojet
Delivers “Green” Engines to NASA: New Design Has Potential Application
for Next-Generation Manned Space Flight - Aerojet - June.9.05.
... Guess we will finally find
out if a management housecleaning will really change NASA: NASA
boss purges senior managers - Michael Griffin's reorganization is
arriving bang on schedule - news @ nature.com - June.9.05 ...
... Recent SpaceShow
programs now available online include an interview
with Louis Fredman who talked about the Planetary Society's
1 solar sail project, a Brad
Edwards interview that dealt with space elevators, and a Robert
Zimmerman discussion of the ISDC 2005.
12:15 am: News briefs ... Tom
Delay gets it: New
space pals and both 'get it' - The Citizen Bay Area - June.8.05
... While Craig Steidle gets
... Leonard David reviews the
Rocket Readied For Maiden Flight - Space.com - June.8.05
... The Shuttle is more vulnerable
to space junk than thought: NASA
study raises odds of fatal space debris hit - Florida Today - June.8.05
... But there are "no
show-stoppers that should interfere with return to flight.":
Oversight Group to Say All But 3 Return to Flight Requirements Met
- Space.com - June.8.05.
12:45 am: News briefs ... The
update is now available and is packed with lots of good stuff
about the recent pad firing, status and growth of the launch manifest,
growth of the company, the NASA manned spaceflight agreement, and
the development of the Falcon V ...
Schweitzer points to this article on insurance for space tourists:
Express gets spaced out on travel insurance - Fair Investment -
... Space startups get some
attention in Huntsville: Floating
new concepts for space profitability - Huntsville Times - June.7.05....
Aerospace took some Star Wars toys on its recent Away
26 balloon flight to Near Space and is selling them on ebay.
Alan Boyle reports on other developments with high altitude platforms:
space gets nearer - Cosmic Log/MSNBC.com - June.6.05
12:55 am: News briefs ... Joe
Latrell of Beyond
Earth Enterprises (a HS advertiser)
warns that achieving significantly lower launch costs will be a
tough struggle: Physics,
economics, and reality, part deux - The Space Review - June.6.05
... Leonard David reports on
the discussions at the ISDC'05
on space tourism marketing : Space
Tourism: Marketing to the Masses - ad Astra/Space.com - June.6.05.
... Discovery continues its
long trek back to orbit: Discovery
set to get new fuel tank today: Orbiter will be attached to tank,
twin booster rockets - Florida Today - June.6.05
12:05 am: News briefs ... Mike
Griffin wants "to retire the shuttle in an orderly way, finish
building the space station, help bring CEV - the shuttle replacement
- online, and get us started back to the moon": Shuttle
replacement many be fast-tracked - L.A. Daily News - June.4.05
... Brad Edwards pushes the
space elevator on the SpaceShow
and on National Public radio: The
Path to an Elevator into Space - NPR - June.3.05
5:15 pm: News briefs ... Mike
Griffin has long advocated a Shuttle derived heavy-lift launcher
and it looks like he will get what he wants: NASA
Wants a Shuttle-derived Launch Vehicle - NASA Watch - June.3.05
... Some skepticism about the
marketing power of suborbital spaceflight contests: Cola
Star Wars: Episode I - Motley Fool Take - June 3, 2005 (via
10:10 am: News briefs ... KSC
expects NASA will go for shuttle derived vehicles: Kennedy:
CEV may evolve from shuttle - Florida Today - June.3.05 ...
... Burt Rutan talks about
man - SiliconRepublic (Ireland) - June.2.05 (via spacetoday.net).
11:35 pm: News briefs ... And
now for something completely different. SpaceX
signs an agreement with NASA to pursue "cost effective human
spaceflight systems": SpaceX
And NASA Sign Cooperative Agreement On Human Spaceflight Development
- SpaceX - June.2.05 * NASA,
SpaceX To Collaborate on Strategies for Spaceflight Systems - SpaceRef
- June.2.05. (Item via Dan
... It will be a sight to see.
1 solar sail is scheduled to launch on June 21:
3:20 pm: News brief ... Robert
Zimmerman says "The next five years will determine, for
good or ill, the future of U.S. manned space exploration for decades
to come. More significant, a confluence of forces will accelerate
that process." Space
Watch: History's moment of truth - UPI - June.2.05. ...
... Note that Bob will be on
this evening 7-8:30 PM (Pacific Time).
3:05 pm: News briefs ... CSI
likes the GAO report on alternative logistical support for the ISS:
Applauds NASA’s Agreement with GAO Report Reiterates readiness to
deliver cargo to ISS in 2 years or less - CSI - June.2.05 (pdf).
(Via a HS reader).
“As we have reported to NASA, CSI stands ready to deliver our
initial cargo service to ISS, under commercial terms & conditions,
within 25 months or less of signing a contract,” continued Miller.
“We were ready to deliver cargo to ISS 2 years ago, when former
NASA executives decided to cancel the AAS program, and Mike Griffin
testified to Congress that Alternate Access to Station was important
and should be saved.
... Alan Boyle reports on the
Arrow launch site: Rocketeers
pick Canadian launch site:: lanetSpace plans tests at Ontario lakeshore
- MSNBC.com - June.2.05. ...
... According to a HS
reader in Russia, this article
says that "the president of Russia Putin and the president
of Kazakhstan Nazarbaev have given a start to construction of the
kazakh-russian space complex 'Baiterek' at Baikonur."
11:55 am: News briefs ... More
details about the PlanetSpace/Canadian
Arrow selection of a launch site: Private
Spaceflight Group Chooses Canadian Launch Site - Space.com - June.2.05
... Keep your eye on the XP
Cup countdown clock at Space
Pragmatism. It will sure be interesting to see how many people
show up in Las
Cruces, NM for the event. Here is a Las
Cruces lodging page if you want to make arrangements early.
2:40 am: News briefs ... PlanetSpace
gets a site to test its rockets. The first test will involve their
launch pad abort system: PLANETSPACE
announces that Canadian Arrow has received permission to launch
from Cape Rich on Georgian Bay - PlanetSpace/Canadian Arrow - June.2.05....
... New Mexico prepares for
the first XP
Cup event, which will be held this October: T-Minus
127 days - Countdown to the X Prize Cup - Alamogordo News - June.1.05.
... Former X PRIZE competitor
continues with low altitude rocket flights: Micro-Space:
Three more flights - Space Race News! - June.2.05.
9:50 am: News briefs ... The
Elon Musk interview on the SpaceShow
is now available for download.
He talks extensively about the Falcon
program and development plans. (I've not received the update yet
but he said that the pad test went very well.) He states that the
total investment in Falcon I and V so far is around $80M....
... More about the GAO report
on alternatives for ISS cargo supply: Report
finds fault with NASA over shuttle alternatives - Florida Today
- June.1.05 ...
... The Florida
Space 2005 conference will focus on space tourism and other
new space businesses: New
event veers to space business: Shift reflects opportunities on the
horizon - Florida Today - June.1.05.
2:30 am: News briefs ... According
to this report,
the GAO cannot judge whether commercial companies can provide logistical
support to the ISS because there is not enough solid, documented
evidence one way or the other. And this is because in NASA's previous
assessment, the space agency's senior managers only talked with
each other and determined from their shared wisdom that the shuttle
alone could do the job.: NASA
- More Knowledge Needed to Determine Best Alternatives to Provide
Space Station Logistics Support - SpaceRef - May.31.05.
"NASA relied primarily on headquarters expertise to conduct
the informal assessment, and while we recognize that the extensive
experience of its senior managers is an important element in evaluating
alternatives, NASA officials did not document the proceedings
and decisions reached in its assessment. As a result, the existence
of this assessment of alternatives cannot be verified, nor can
the conclusions be validated."
... Not long after O'Keefe
first arrived as NASA administrator, he announced that several study
groups had determined that fully reusable launch vehicles were not
currently feasible. I got a feeling that those "studies"
were based on similar undocumented discussions at NASA headquarters,
perhaps carried out in depth during afternoon coffee breaks. ...
... Buy your own Crew
Exploration Vehicle at Part
Time Models. ...
Arrow has hired a new Director
of Spacecraft Development (pdf).
to May 2005