Orbiting the blogosphere V

Following the tragic incident at Mojave air and space port last week Hobbyspace has a link to one man’s thoughts on what killed the three Scaled Composites employees.Before the incident space.com’s Leonard David reported that the Scaled, Northrop Grumman buyout will not be finalised till August. One wonders what the implications of the apparent industrial accident at Scaled means for that.
And in a sort of related way a NASA Langley guy speaks here about the potential risks in privatised spaceflight.
Talking of privatised spaceflight efforts Starchaser has started its own pdf magazine.
While musing about failures, the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne RL-10 engine has been blamed for the Lockheed Martin Atlas V launch failure that saw a US government satellite plunge into the ocean, according to Aviation Week’s space channel.
Meanwhile India is planning to double its number of launches according to spacedaily.com, which is running an RIA Novosti newswire story.
Lockheed Martin might also be interested in some items on NASAWatch.com. First of all the US government’s General Accounting Office, its spending watchdog, is pushing for more joined up thinking between NASA’s Space Shuttle programme and its Constellation programme for cost estimates on the transition. More disturbing is the alleged sabotage of an International Space Station computer by a contractor’s employee.
Finally that same website claims that there has been a decision to separate lunar crew and cargo missions. NASAWatch suggests that this will increase costs for a lunar outpost and it is probably right but there had been no set architecture for outpost support and this has perhaps more to do with Lunar Lander design constraints. Looking at NASA concepts it is clear that there are issues surrounding trying to fit crewed compartments and cargo modules together on a Lander that already has bulky LOX/LH2 tanks; and all of this has to fit inside an Ares V fairing. This is probably why NASA has been investigating larger Ares V fairings. And if you’re interested in how they did it the first time then New Scientist’s website talks to a couple of ex-Lunar Module Grumman engineers.
On another Constellation issue but entirely different subject matter is NASAspaceflight.com’s story about the company that has been selected to provide the lightning protection towers that will be erected at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s launch pad complex 39B for the Ares I crew launch vehicle.
If you’re interested in the latest military space budget goodness then go here for Aviation Week’s report.
And if you’re really interested in what the head of Japan’s business lobbying group thinks of space go here.
Finally right wing blog Transterrestrial Musings suffers some blowback after the Mojave incident.

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