Tag Archives: commercial

Intelsat signs MDA to perform in-space refueling of its communications satellites

Intelsat signs MDA to perform in-space refueling of its communications satellites.

The concept of refueling geosynchronous satellites has been lurking about the aerospace industry for years. According to this deal, we should see an actual mission in about five years.

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Some interesting comments about NASA’s future from Clark Lindsey

Clark Lindsey of www.rlvnews.com/ has posted some interesting thoughts in reaction to the successful launch of the Air Force’s second reusable X-37b yesterday and how this relates to NASA’s budget battles in Congress. Key quote for me:

Charles Bolden doesn’t seem prepared to make a forceful case against the clear and obvious dumbness of the HLV/Orion program. Perhaps he in fact wants a make-work project for NASA to sustain the employee base.

As I’ve said before, the program-formerly-called-Constellation is nothing more than pork, and will never get built. Why waste any money on it now?

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The Beer has Landed: Astronauts4Hire Completes Space Beer Microgravity Test

The beer has landed: The first test of space beer in weightlessness has been completed. Key quote:

Astronauts4Hire Flight Member Todd Romberger was selected to perform the flight research. Todd sampled the beer during 12 microgravity parabolas, each reproducing the weightless conditions of space for 30 seconds at a time, and recorded qualitative data on beverage taste and drinkability as well as biometric data to gain a first look at alcohol effects the body.

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A victory for aerospace pork

Update: See my partial retraction here.

The NASA budget announced today by the White House proves how right I was when I stated back on July 8, 2010 that I had no faith in Obama’s new-found commitment to private commercial space. The new budget reduces the funds for private commercial space while putting the bulk of its support behind the unbuildable program-formerly-called Constellation. First read what I wrote in July:

The problem is that I simply do not believe the Obama administration. Everything I have learned about the current President, including the specifics (or lack thereof) of his proposal, tells me that none of his promises are going to be fulfilled. » Read more

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More details on Ares/Ariane hybrid rocket

More details on Liberty, the Ares/Ariane hybrid rocket proposed by ATK and Alliant to provide crew/cargo capabilities to ISS. Key quote:

[Liberty] would be able to lift 44,500 lb. of payload to the International Space Station, enough for any of the commercial crew capsules under development as potential space shuttle replacements.

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Companies team up on new rocket

The competition to build rockets continues to heat up: A U.S. and European partnership is proposing its own new cargo rocket for NASA, using the Ares I first stage and the Ariane 5 second stage. Key quote:

Dubbed Liberty, the launcher looks similar to the Ares I rocket that was being developed for NASA’s Project Constellation, which was cancelled by the Obama Administration. For its first stage it employs the same advanced, five-segment version of the shuttle’s solid rocket booster. But in a move that significantly lowers development costs, the second stage of the rocket is based on the flight-proven core stage of Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket.

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Falcon 9 signed to launch Google Lunar X prize competitor

One of the competitor’s for the Google Lunar X prize has signed a contract with SpaceX to use the Falcon 9 to get its spacecraft to the Moon. Key quote:

The Falcon 9 upper stage will sling Astrobotic on a four-day cruise to the Moon. Astrobotic will then orbit the moon to align for landing. The spacecraft will land softly, precisely and safely using technologies pioneered by Carnegie Mellon University for guiding autonomous cars. The rover will explore for three months, operate continuously during the lunar days, and hibernate through the lunar nights. The lander will sustain payload operations with generous power and communications.

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