The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) is held every year in a different world city. As China has become the “third force” in manned spaceflight, it was logical and correct that Beijing, China’s capital city, should be selected as the venue for IAC 2013. The 64th IAC was held at the China National Convention Centre from 22-27 September. Attendance was high […]
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While NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) heavy lift rocket is being designed to help its astronauts to one day reach the planets and passing asteroids, it remains under fire. Critics in the US House of Representatives and elsewhere note that it is sucking NASA funds from other equally important programmes (most notably from scientific observation of the Earth and from the commercial crew launch programmes) while at the same time being […]
While Orbital Sciencs Corporation remains officially upbeat about its supply Russian NK-33 moon rocket engines avaialble to be refurbished to AJ-26 standard, it is known to be seeking a larger engine for later versions of its Antares launch vehicle. In doing so, it found itself stymied by United Launch Alliance’s contractural exclusivity clause from getting its hands on the 933,000lb thrust RD Amross RD-180 engines which are more than twice as powerful as the 400,000lb thust AJ-26. Space News reports that Orbital Sciences is now suing ULA over the issue, seeking damages of $515 million for an apparent restraint of trade under Sherman anti-trust laws.
As NASA’s SLS Heavy Lift launch Vehicle (HLV) heads for its Preliminary Design Review (PDR), NASA engineers are reported to be considering changing the engines used for the upper stage of the vehicle.
The Mobile Launcher (ML) which had been built provide services to the planned Ares V launch vehicle of Project Constellation will not go to waste despite the cancellation of that programme. It will now be used to carry the heavy lift SLS (Space Launch System) to its launch pad (39B) at the Kennedy Sapce Center.
ANALYSIS: NASA Manned lunar return is probably a better choice than asteroid capture say space experts – and they are probably right
The U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee received expert evidence as they discussed which destination man should make its first port of call on its way to the planets. Currently NASA and the Obama Administration is promoting a plan to capture a small asteriod which would be brought back to the Earth/Moon system using an unmanned spacecraft. Once there a manned mission would be sent to it to take samples. NASA has allocated $105 million to examine the technologies needed. But detractors of this idea say that the Moon would be a much better interim choice for manned exploration.
NASA has selected the rocket engine manufacturer Aerojet to take part in the risk reduction effort to provide advanced booster concepts for later versions of the Space Launch System (SLS). The $23.3 million contract has been awarded to allow Aerojet to reduce the technical risk in providing a liquid oxygen and kerosene oxidizer-rich staged-combustion engine. The company will fabricate a representative full-scale 550,000lb thrust class main injector and thrust chamber, and prepare to conduct a number of tests measuring performance and demonstrating combustion stability previously reported to be as part of its efforts to produce a dual combustion chamber engine of 1 million lb thrust called AJ-1-E6.
Space Year Review 2012: Launch vehicles – Falcon 9, Delta IV and Soyuz show robustness in mishaps but not so for Safir or Proton
According to the Flightglobal SpaceTrak database, at 78 orbital launch attempts in 2012, there were six less launches than in the previous year. With 139 spacecraft on these flights (Shenzhou 9′s orbital module is counted as an autonomous spacecraft) there were two more launched in the year compared to 2011.This increase is mainly as a result of an increase in the number of small satellites of under 100kg (38 in 2012 compared to 23 in 2011) which were often launched as multiple payloads.
The 63rd International Astronautical Congress (IAC) took place in Naples, at its Congress centre and exhibition venue at Mostra d’Oltremare during the first week of October. The IAC Congress broke records with its attendance with 4,000 excecutives, scientists, engineers, students and space aficionados attending. IAC is organised by the International Astronautical Federation and is held every year, usually alternating between a European and a non-European city. Like the Olympics, cities vie with each other to have the honour of holding the Congress.
In its quest to pursue manned space exploration to the Moon, asteroids and onwards to Mars, NASA began its Space Launch System programme. While the initial Block 1 SLS will be able to carry 70 tonnes to orbit, it was realised that at least 130 tonnes may be needed for actual manned exploration mission architectures. As such NASA intends to field later versions of the SLS using a pair of advanced boosters, more powerful than the initial SLS Block 1 version’s five segment solid rocket boosters currently made by ATK which were derived from Space Shuttle technology.
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