While the International Space Station was originally set to retire in 2015, a retirement which was then deferred to 2020, NASA has just got permission from the Obama Administration to agree with its other national/pan-national users including Roscosmos, ESA, JAXA and the Canadian Space Agency to extend the use of the International Space Station until 2024. The decision was taken after engineering analysis including testing on […]
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Sierra Nevada has announced that the company has successfully completed all milestones under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev2) phase. Milestones achieved include a systems requirement review, flight simulator development, creation of a vehicle avionics integration laboratory, system definition review, flight control integration laboratory, preliminary design review and the first free-flight test of the Dream Chaser […]
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 […]
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.
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- Hyperbola space news blog moves to www.seradata.com
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