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RLV News
Space Transport Developments & Commentary

June 2005
Index Feedback

SS1
Scaled Composites photos
SpaceShipOne on first rocket powered flight Dec.17th, 2003.


Space Access'05 Conference

RLV (Reusable Launch Vehicles) News offers brief articles and comments concerning developments in the area of space transport, which includes vehicles for earth launch to orbit, suborbital spaceflight, and in-space vehicles. It also provides lots of links to news articles, announcements by commercial rocket developers, NASA events, etc.

The RLV Countdown: Part 1 and Part 2 sections provide information and
links for various reusable space transportation systems around the world.

RLV Table compares a selection of space transport vehicles.

RLV History looks at earlier vehicles and designs.

See the Advanced Rocketry Section for entries on
advanced amateur & student rocketry, experimental rocketry,
& innovations by small rocket companies.

The Space Log contains news about
amateur space activities, space businesses, etc.

RLV News Archive Directory

June 30, 2005

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 following item:

"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 requirements. ...

... P&W will build upon the "RL10 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 systems.”: Pratt & Whitney Wins Contract for Future Exploration In-Space Cryogenic Propulsion System - Pratt & Whitney - June.29.05.

June 29, 2005

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 ...

... AeroSpaceTours, 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

June 28, 2005

5:45 pm: News briefs ... Thiokol campaigns for SDVs with a snazzy new website: www.safesimplesoon.com. (Via Transterrestrial) ...

... 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.

June 27, 2005

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.) ...

... 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 flight: First 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 ...

... Parade Magazine, the main-est of mainstream media, had an article by David Levy on space tourism: Take 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 & Noble.com.

June 25, 2005

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.

June 24, 2005

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 following 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) : Europe 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:

http://commerce.senate.gov/newsroom/printable.cfm?id=239450

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 following item:

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 event.

Heads up!

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 System": SDLV Finalist - NASA Watch - June.23.05. See Ed Kyle's Space Launch Report for a diagram and description of the basic in-line approach. ...

... 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 ...

... Rocketplane 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 (via spacetoday.net.)

June 23, 2005

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. A suborbital test in 2001 failed when the spacecraft could not separate from the rocket.

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 orbit someday.

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 Simberg] ...

... 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. ...

... X-Rocket is developing a similar Rocket Academy concept. Students would range from serious test pilots to "non-professionals seeking an exciting aerospace adventure experience." ...

... The interview with David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes in the UK is now available.

June 22, 2005

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 Armadillo Aerospace, Blue 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
The Rocket Company

By Patrick J.G. Stiennon and David M. Hoerr
Illustrations by Doug Birkholz
Forward by Peter Diamandis

Amazon: US
UK

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 Space Review.

“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 Air Launch LLC.]

“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 Aerospace.

"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, International Launch Services

Here was a recent press release: New Book Inspired by the X-Prize Competition - AIAA Press Release - Apr.14.05

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 talk, 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 payments.

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, maybe Cosmos 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.

June 21, 2005

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 posting 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 Industry”

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 ones: Suborbital 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 ...

... Ben Huset has posted a ton of pictures from the ISDC'05 meeting. ...

... 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 - June.20.05.

June 20, 2005

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 Space Review this week includes The challenge of cheap orbital access in which Sam Dinkin responds to an article by Joe Latrell on launch costs.

June 19, 2005

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 operate: Crew 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.

June 18, 2005

Proteus Flight Trajectory
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 the Proteus.

Below is one of the candidate vehicle configurations.

_d
[Click for large image]

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.

Possible launch path

 

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: X-37...First 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).

June 17, 2005

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 tests: Alternate 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 Korean C&Space has updated their website with new introduction and staff 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 brief 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 - A 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 or suborbital.

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 Goff, rocket 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 ...

... The 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 Corner.)

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 100.

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 - June.16.05

June 16, 2005

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 test: Dropped 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 Spaceflight) ...

... 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: Earth's "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 controls.

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 - June.15.05.

2:25 am: Cosmos 1 news ... The Cosmos 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 email 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": New Mexico Showcases State and Announces X Prize Cup Events at Paris Air Show - X Prize/Space Race News! - June.16.05

June 15, 2005

2:40 pm: News briefs ... Lockmart successfully tests a hybrid motor for DARPA's Falcon/SLV program: Hybrid 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 - June.15.05 ...

... 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: Shuttle 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 proposal ...

... 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 time: First Civilian Astronaut to Answer Your Questions.

June 14, 2005

CXV drop test
t/Space CXV drop test

9:15 pm: t/Space/Scaled booster drop tests ... t/Space 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: NASA Buying Microgravity Flights from Zero-G - NASA - June.14.05 ...

... SpaceDev gets $100K from the Air Force for nanosat propulsion development: SpaceDev 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 and Alex 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 a mixed fleet approach.

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 this article, the Pentagon wants NASA to use the EELVs so as to stabilize those programs, which are currently very wobbly due to lower than expected launch rates.

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 reliability.

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 follow.

June 13, 2005

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. Comments from Rand Simberg...

... Kliper demo comes to the Paris Airshow: Kliper on Display: Russia’s Crew Exploration Vehicle - Astronotes/Space.com - June.13.05

9:40 am: Blue Origin news ... Alan Boyle reports that Blue Origin is starting to open up its RLV development plans to the public: Space secrets go public - Cosmic Log / MSNBC.com - June.13.05 (via Transterrestrial). 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.

The Summary 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 - June.13.05.]

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 window.

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 Association (spacetransportation.us) 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". Contact Richard 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 -June.12.05.

June 11, 2005

Bobble Rutan

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 the SpaceShipTwo.

(Item via Jeff Foust.)

3:00 pm: News briefs ... The Space 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, (via Transterrestrial.) ...

... And Dr. Griffin is busy reorganizing NASA to try to insure that such projects can actually happen: NASA Chief to Oust 20: Shake-Up Linked to Mars Initiative - Washington Post - June.11.05 ...

... Here's an interesting overview of Sea Launch: Aiming for profit - OCRegister.com - June.9.05, (via spacetoday.net).

June 10, 2005

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. (via spacetoday.net) ...

... 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 Cosmos 1 solar sail project, a Brad Edwards interview that dealt with space elevators, and a Robert Zimmerman discussion of the ISDC 2005.

June 9, 2005

12:15 am: News briefs ... Tom Delay gets it: New space pals and both 'get it' - The Citizen Bay Area - June.8.05 (via spacetoday.net) ... While Craig Steidle gets the boot ...

... Leonard David reviews the SpaceX update: SpaceX 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.": Shuttle Oversight Group to Say All But 3 Return to Flight Requirements Met - Space.com - June.8.05.

June 8, 2005

12:45 am: News briefs ... The latest SpaceX 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 ...

... Ken Schweitzer points to this article on insurance for space tourists: American Express gets spaced out on travel insurance - Fair Investment - June.7.05 ...

... Space startups get some attention in Huntsville: Floating new concepts for space profitability - Huntsville Times - June.7.05....

... JP 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: Near space gets nearer - Cosmic Log/MSNBC.com - June.6.05

June 7, 2005

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

June 6, 2005

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 (via spacetoday.net). ...

... 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

June 4, 2005

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 spacetoday.net).

June 3, 2005

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 innovation: Rocket man - SiliconRepublic (Ireland) - June.2.05 (via spacetoday.net).

June 2, 2005

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 Shrimpsher.) ...

... It will be a sight to see. The Cosmos 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 the SpaceShow 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: CSI 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 new PlanetSpace/Canadian 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. (via spacetoday.net.)....

... Former X PRIZE competitor Micro-Space continues with low altitude rocket flights: Micro-Space: Three more flights - Space Race News! - June.2.05.

June 1, 2005

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. ...

... PlanetSpace/Canadian Arrow has hired a new Director of Spacecraft Development (pdf).


Continue to May 2005

Archives Index for 1999 - present

 

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