The news that Lockheed Martin has finally got back into commercial manned spaceflight transportation by joining the Sierra Nevada led team building the second Dreamchaser spaceplane will probably be a relief to its board. For while Lockheed Martin beat its main rival Boeing to the glory of building the Orion space capule for NASA’s long range manned exploration extravaganzas (to borrow from Neil Armstrong’s quip: Orion was the one part of Project Constellation that could not be “executed”) in truth, this victory was a slightly hollow one.
Archive | January, 2013
While NASA is already helping Boeing with its inquiry into how and why Boeing 787 aircraft batteries have been over heating recently, the rocket-to-electric car entrepreneur who leads both SpaceX and Tesla Motors, Elon Musk has given his opinion to Flightglobal about why, in his view, the lithium-ion batteries used on the Boeing 787 are fundementally unsafe. Musk notes that the cells are too large and not protected enough to not get into runaway overheating state.
South Korea conducted its first successful launch of the KSLV-1 vehicle at 0700 GMT on 30 January. The rocket was carrying the STSAT-2C scientific satellite and early reports indicate that the satellite was deployed successfully. The KSLV-1 rocket is a collaboration between South Korea and Russia. Russia supplied the first stage of the rocket with South […]
Perhaps the ultimate in “risk takers” in the insurance profession are space underwriters. As they try to match premium income against the risk of losses, their annual results and even their job prospects can sometimes hinge on a single spacecraft or on a single rocket launch. Following the recent trend, 2012 was again a profitable year with a net underwriting result (i.e. before costs and expenses are deducted) of circa $400 million. But practitioners in this most glamorous and devil-may-care class are worried that the good times may not continue for long.
The was a boost for proponents of using “in flight refueling” for spacecraft in space. On the International Space Station, the Dextre robot has just completed experiments under the Robotic Refuelling Mission to test the concept of such satellite servicing. During the six-day experiment, the robot opened a fuel valve on a mock satellite and transfered liquid ethanol into a fuel tank.
Iran’s Press TV English language television service Press TV has released footage of the successful launch of a small monkey aboard a Kavoshgar launch vehicle. The Pishgam (Pioneer) capsule was recovered intact with the monkey still alive after its suborbital flight into space. Such flights will allow Iran to perfect life support systems for manned systems. Iran has a declared aim of launching a human into space by 2019. That statement of intent did not specifyl whether this would be a fully orbital flght or a suborbital one. Iran has already launched small satellites into orbit and is believed to be working on much larger launch vehicles to launch larger spacecraft. One of these might one day be manned.
Iran has claimed — and it is likely, though not verified at this stage — to have launched and recovered a live monkey, using a Kavoshgar launch vehicle and a Pishgam capsule.The country attempted a virtually identical launch in October, 2011, which failed. Little has come out about that launch either, including the root cause […]
After an open competition, the UK-based small satellite manufacturing arm of EADS, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has been awarded a contract to build 12 satellites for the Formosat-7/Cosmic 2 global wealther forcasting programme. The contract was awarded by Taiwan’s National Space Organisation (NSPO) on behalf of themselves and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who jointly run the programme.
A Japanese H2A202 rocket successfullly launched two satellites for the Japanese Defence Agency from the Tanegashima launch site at 0440 on 27 January. The main payload on the launch was the IGS-4D radar carrying spacecraft which was built for Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) programme by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. The IGS-4D spacecraft’s Synthetic Aperture Radar allows it to image the ground both at night and through clouds. The launch of IGS-4D is thought to be especially relevant to monitoring developments in North Korea’s nuclear and launch vehicle programmes. The second spacecraft on board was the IGS Optical Demonstration spacecraft, which is testing technology to be used by future IGS spacecraft.
After Flightglobal’s Hyperbola revelation that the Breeze M (Briz M) upper stage had not peformed a planned post-satellite delivery final orbit-lowering/propellant depletion manoeuvre during the latest Rockot launch, Eurorockot, the firm that markets Russian-built Rockot launch vehicles, has confirmed that an investigation is underway and that subsequent Rockot launches including the planned early year launch of the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission will now be delayed.
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