The plan to start a colony on the planet Mars, funded by reality television, had a filip in December when the Mars One not-for-profit organisation involved announced that it had signed design contracts with two major space companies. A $250,000 mission concept study contract has been awarded to Lockheed Martin for an unmanned lander. The mission would […]
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Mystery of NASA Commercial Crew chief’s departure is solved: he is in trouble with the law (Updated)
The mysterious departure via resignation of NASA’s Head of Commercial Crew Programme, Ed Mango, last month has now been explained. He has been charged with a Federal offence of funding, via loans, the legal costs of a colleague, believed to be Candrea Thomas, a NASA public affairs officer, who is alleged to have been forging public […]
Sierra Nevada confirms Dream Chaser prototype is not significantly damaged but refuses to release crash footage
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kovJUvkO55E[/youtube] In a telephone press conference, Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president for Sierra Nevada’s space systems division confirmed that the Dream Chaser aerodynamic prototype (officially known as the “Engineering Test Article”) was not significantly damaged by an undercarriage failure induced crash after its successful approach and landing on Runway 22L at Edward’s Air Force base. […]
Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser mini-space shuttle has a “flip-over” crash landing during its fledgling glide test
The Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser, one of the commercial spacecraft hoping to be used to provide regular transportation services to NASA astronauts has had its first glide test after being airdropped from a helicopter – and crashed on landing. The pilotless test took place on 28 October. Following its release from an Erickson Air-Crane helicopter […]
Flightglobal Hyperbola column’s analysis of the new privately-led space race to land a man or woman on Mars (between Dennis Tito’s outfit, SpaceX and Mars One) has led us to consider how we would do it. Actually, we would go for the “Tuco” approach. Tuco was the villainous character in the Spaghetti western directed by Sergio Leone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1967), who liked to use different parts of various revolvers: barrel, cylinder etc to build his ideal pistol.
While Reaction Engines’ rocket designer Alan Bond still hopes to see his airbreathing-rocket powered Skylon space plane design fly one day and may even ride in it inside its passenger cabin himself when it does so, he told the audience at the European AstroFest astronomy conference in London in February, that Skylon would not actually have a pilot, using on board systems and command data links to control the craft instead.
At the International Institute of Space Commerce’ sponsored event “Space Tourism: Risks and Solutions” workshop which was held at Lloyds of London under an arrangement with the Broker Aon, the insurance of suborbital space tourism was discussed. Apart form the obvious risks to astronaut human life and third party life and property, other risks were considered including political, reputational and financial risks. However, it was the risk to the passengers and their potential for claims, along with how to insure the spaceplane hulls, that most exercised most of the attendees.
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.
As the British Army (along with the Royal Navy/Royal Marines and the Royal Air Force) finally moves from its old 9mm Browning L9A1 (GP-35/Hi Power) semi-automatic pistol to the even higher magazine capacity (17 shots compared to 13), lighter (due to its partial polymer construction), and quicker-on-the-draw (due to its trigger-within-a-trigger safety catch) 9mm Glock 17 (Gen 4) for its standard service sidearm, it has to be noted that not all moves to new service weapons have been successful. And sometimes space travellers can be affected as well.
The most recent update of NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) programme (and its CCiCap follow-on) had one interesting point: all three of the leading commercial firms involved, Boeing, Sierra Nevada and SpaceX, plan to have their own test-pilot astronauts fly the initial suborbial and later initial orbital manned launches of their spacecraft: the CST-100, the Dreamchaser and Dragon respectively. These should take place in the 2015-16 time frame.
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- International Space Station has fault on one of its pair of coolant loops
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