am: New weblog ... Go
to the new RLV
and Space Transport Weblog...
pm: HS Outage ... I
plan to move HobbySpace.com to a new
hosting service this weekend. So you may find it unavailable during
the transition, which I'm told can take up to 24 hours. I hope things
will be back to normal by Tuesday morning.
am: News briefs ...
Seems like methane thrusters are becoming popular. Earlier in the
announced that it had developed a 50lbf LOX/methane engine and
now Orion Propulsion announces that it has developed a "100lbf
Oxygen/ Methane RCS thruster". The engine will also work
with other "easily stored propellants, including: propane/
nitrous oxide, ethane/ nitrous oxide, and hydrogen/ oxygen."
said that "Orion and HMX
plan to jointly develop a product line based on this flexible engine
(Item via R.
now order tickets online for the XP Cup Expo: X
PRIZE CUP E-Tickets *
XP Invitation (Flash).
(Item via Space
A MIT study claims that a direct-to-the-Moon system design for NASA's
exploration program is the lowest priced option: Design
choices may hurry humans to Mars - New Scientist - Sept.1.05.
Maximizing the use of common elements between the Moon and Mars
efforts would allow for a human Mar mission by 2020. The comparison
of different system design tries to minimize the number of in-space
operations required. (On the other hand, see this posting
by Jon Goff for some arguments in support of on-orbit operations..)
efforts to remove restrictions on the use of Russian Soyuz transports
seem to be moving along: INA
Action on the Hill - NASA Watch - Sept.1.05 * Progress
on INA - Space Politics - Sept.1.05 ...
may lead to additional delay in the next shuttle mission: Hurricane
could delay next shuttle mission - spacetoday.net - Sept.1.05
pm: News briefs ...
Jonathan Goff provides a tutorial on refueling in orbit: On-Orbit
Refueling Primer - Selenian Boondocks - Aug.31.05 ...
Florida leaders told to think of space as a place rather than an
pitch space ideas: Business execs challenge state to think outside
NASA box - Florida Today - Sept.1.05 ...
pm: Realistic alt.space ... The
final installment of the essay by Monte Davis on realism in space
advocacy is available at Thinking
Clearly About Space Part IV: The Virtuous Cycle - ad Astra / SPACE.com
I had an interesting
discussion via email with Monte about this series of articles. I
think he overstates a bit the danger of excessive optimism on private
space development. After all, a huge amount of progress has in fact
been made in the past couple of years. SpaceShipOne made it to space,
Virgin is investing over $100M in space tourism, several other organizations
began building real hardware for both suborbital and orbital space
transport, Bigelow is building space habitats, major legislation
was passed dealing with regulation of commercial human spaceflight,
a feasible commercial lunar fly-by mission is being marketed, etc,
would not have been made if those involved had not been energized
by an optimistic view of the possibility of success. Making space
happen is really, really hard and there have been and there will
be far more failed projects than successes. In such a situation,
I find the greater threat to be of skepticism devolving into paralyzing
pessimism and cynicism.
On the other
hand, I certainly agree with his general thesis that good things
will most likely happen more slowly than we (i.e. alt.spacers) hope
and that NASA will be a key player in making them happen. While
I believe we have reached the point where it is theoretically feasible
to develop space exclusively with private efforts, it will be a
whole lot easier and quicker if some of those billions of dollars
at NASA are added to the effort in a productive way.
should pursue a pragmatic approach that combines support for both
private space efforts and for NASA while relentlessly pressuring
the agency to create and implement programs that are effective in
advancing space development and settlement.
am: NASA plans ... Griffin
spoke on Wednesday at the AIAA meeting in Long Beach and laid out
NASA's long term plan for implementation of the VSE. As long known,
the CEV will ride a shuttle derived vehicle and they will develop
be a heavy lifter. The EELVs will be used where best suitable.
Advance Look at NASA Administrator Mike Griffin's AIAA Speech -
NASA / SpaceRef - Aug.30.05.
He did reiterate
his intention to take advantage of private launch services for ISS
cargo and crew delivery:
But the Station
is expensive to sustain, if we continue to rely upon a government-only
approach to that effort. As I stated earlier this year, one strategy
NASA will employ to meet our future needs is to utilize, to the
fullest extent possible, commercially-developed cargo resupply
and, ultimately, crew rotation capabilities for the International
Space Station. Indeed, we will issue this fall a request for proposal
for such capabilities, with the development to be done on a commercial
basis, much like that in the commercial communications satellite
market. This is a priority for NASA. Utilizing the market offered
by the International Space station's requirements for cargo and
crew will spur true competition in the private sector, will result
in savings that can be applied elsewhere in the program, and will
promote further commercial opportunities in the aerospace sector.
am: News briefs ...
The budget for the Russian space program will finally get a boost,
which could help with projects like the Kliper: The
new frontier: The Russian space industry is finally having its budget
boosted. Its heritage, increasing opportunism and low costs could
usher in a new period of growth - Flight International - Sept.05
that the Kliper
section at Astronautix.com
has been updated. ...
has "opened negotiations with European and US companies to
outfit the Kliperís flightdeck and interior": USA
and Europe offered Kliper outfitting contracts: Negotiations opened
for work on reusable spacecraft's flightdeck and interior - Flight
International. - Aug.30.05 ...
has begun shipping its equipment to New Mexico for display at the
XP Cup: XP
Cup Preparation - Starchaser - Aug.05 * Starchaser
Prepares for X-Prize Cup - Space Race News! - Aug.31.05 ...
has some ideas on how robotic systems can transport themselves on
the lunar surface: Robotic
space penguin to hop across the Moon - New Scientist - Aug.31.05
to August 2005