Tag Archives: spaceflight

The space police of Baikonur

The space police of Baikonur.

I find this quote interesting:

When the status of the city was designated [after the fall of the Soviet Union], the leased Baikonur was monitored by two Interior Ministries, two prosecutors’ offices and two state security organs. But social problems have not disappeared. Engineers and astronauts are not the only ones who live in the city. Baikonur hosts a great deal of people who have local residence papers, including the indigenous Kazakhs. They cannot work on Baikonur objects because mostly Russians are hired to work there. If the Kazakhs are lucky enough to be hired, they are paid far less than the Russians.

In June of this year mass uprisings occurred in Baikonur. A crowd of youths pelted a police patrol car with stones and bottles.

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If all goes well, 2012 will be a busy year at ISS for both Dragon and Cygnus

If all goes well, 2012 will be a busy year at ISS for both Dragon and Cygnus.

The article outlines the preliminary cargo schedule for both ferries next year, assuming their initial test flights succeed (a big assumption).

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Russia drops plans to build a replacement for Soyuz rocket

Russia has dropped its plans to build a replacement for its Soyuz rocket.

This is not the first time that the Russians have abandoned plans to come up with a new rocket, which suggests once again that — as successful as their space effort has been — they lack the ability to come up with new product. This in turn makes vulnerable the Russians’ market share in commercial space.

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A new Arianespace rocket

A new Arianespace rocket starts its journey to French Guiana.

This first launch, the Vega qualification flight, is planned for January 2012 and will pave the way for five missions that aim to demonstrate the system’s flexibility. . . . Vega is compatible with payload masses ranging from 300 kg to 2500 kg, depending on the type and altitude of the orbit required by the customers. The benchmark is for 1500 kg into a 700 km-altitude polar orbit.

This rocket is comparable to SpaceX’s now discontinued Falcon 1, though it can put more payload into orbit.

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An update on the ongoing X-37B mission

An update on the ongoing X-37B mission.

I like this quote from the article:

Meanwhile, Boeing has begun to look at derivatives of their X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle — including flying cargo and crew to the International Space Station. Speaking this week at the Space 2011 conference —organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and held in Long Beach, Calif. — Arthur Grantz of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems sketched out a host of future uses for the space plane design. For one, the X-37B, as is, can be flown to the space station and dock to the facility’s common berthing mechanism. No new technology is required for X-37B to supply cargo services to the ISS, Grantz said. Also, an X-37C winged vehicle has been scoped out, a craft that would ride atop an Atlas 5 in un-shrouded mode.

The Boeing roadmap, Grantz added, also envisions a larger derivative of the X-37B space plane, one that can carry up to seven astronauts, as well as tote into Earth orbit a mix of pressurized and unpressurized cargo.

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Test flights of SpaceShipTwo resume

After a summer break, the flight tests of SpaceShipTwo have resumed. Thursday’s test appeared to a bit more exciting that previous flights:

Test card called for releasing the Spaceship from WhiteKnightTwo and immediately entering a rapid descent. Upon release, the Spaceship experienced a downward pitch rate that caused a stall of the tails. The crew followed procedure, selecting the feather mode to revert to a benign condition. The crew then defeathered and had a nominal return to base. Great flying by the team and good demo of feather system.

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Five myths about China’s space effort

Five myths about China’s space effort. Key recommendation:

Recognize the significance of space as a field of competition. Beijing is not engaged in a space race with Washington. But China is engaged in a great power competition with the U.S. in which space is one arena. American decision makers should come to terms with this duality. In this regard, the Chinese are unlikely to be manipulated by American proposals on “codes of conduct” or meetings with the head of NASA. As long as Beijing and Washington are in competition, space will be one of the major venues.

And competition is not a bad thing. It is going to be the fuel that gets the human race into space.

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Orbital Sciences restarts engine testing for its Taurus 2 rocket

Orbital Sciences has resumed engine testing for its Taurus 2 rocket.

While many have doubts about SpaceX, SpaceX has at least flown two successful flights of its Falcon 9 rocket. Orbital needs the Taurus 2 to supply ISS, and this rocket remains untested and as yet incomplete, with the schedule bearing down on them.

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Reality always wins

Elon Musk’s talk yesterday at the National Press Club revealed several interesting things, about SpaceX’s rocket effort, about the state of the American commercial space industry, and about Elon Musk himself.

First, the company’s rocket design effort. Musk centered his talk on SpaceX’s new effort to make its Falcon 9 rocket completely reusable. Though he produced little specific details, and the moderator at the event asked no questions about it, it seems the engineering centers around these three concepts:
» Read more

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NASA has identified ninety percent of the largest near-Earth asteroids

Data from the infrared telescope WISE has now identified ninety percent of the largest near-Earth asteroids.

NASA researchers also downgraded their estimate of the number of medium-sized asteroids, saying there are 44 percent fewer than previously believed. The downside is that scientists have yet to find many of these mid-sized asteroids, which could destroy a metropolitan city.

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