Thursday, August 31, 2006
No damage to facilities or flight hardware is reported at the Kennedy Space Center following the exit of Ernesto from Florida.
Commander Brent Jett and his five crewmates will travel to the International Space Station to install a new 17-ton segment of the station's truss backbone, adding a new set of giant solar panels and batteries to the complex. Three spacewalks are planned.
The new Orion contract between Lockheed and NASA will run between Sept. 8, 2006, and Sept. 7, 2013. The contract has options that may run through 2019 and have an overall value of $8.15 billion if fully exercised.
Orion will replace the space shuttle fleet set to be retired by the fall of 2010. Onion's first flight is slated for 2012 to low Earth orbit with plans for lunar flights some time about the 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the moon July 20, 1969.
The next-generation cone-shapped capsule will carry as many as six astronauts to low-Earth-orbit and four to the moon as a part of the $122-billion program to return humans to the moon in the next decade. Orion will measure 16.5 feet in diameter and will have more than twice the interior volume of the three-seat Apollo capsules. The 25-ton Orion will be carried out of Earth's orbit atop the Ares I rocket.
The Russian Space Agency agreed yesterday to yield a new launch attempt to the Space Shuttle Atlantis seeking to recover from a lighteing strike at the pad followed by a tropical storm hitting the cape area. The Russians agreed that a launch as late as next Friday, September 8th, wouldn't interfere with plans for a Soyuz flight to the space station.
Meanwhile, Iranian-born American Anousheh Ansari, a spaceflight participant on the next Soyuz launch indicated she would be carry out in space a number of the European Space Agency's studies in medicine, microbiology and other areas.
Anousheh will also take with her 'teaching materials' for instruction from space. The main goal of Ansari's mission is popularization of space research. She said she wanted to be an example for many women and girls in order they believed that the impossible is possible. The Ansari X-Prize sponsor said she hopes to continue draw interest of many people in space. The Soyuz launch is now set for Monday, September 18.
The fledgling commercial space tourist firm is planning on utilization of Spaceport America in southern New Mexico in 2009. It is also considering spaceports in nothern Scotland, Sweden, Australia and in the United Arab Emirates. Test flights are expected to start of the new Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo at the Mojave Spaceport in southern California late next year.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Futron just completed a revised market survey but the data is aged on which its was based from random interviews.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
NASA officials opted earlier in the day to protect the multi-billion dollar space shuttle from the weather rather than trying to risk the vehicle on the pad. As the sun was setting NASA went into reverse opting to retrun Atlantis to the pad after about a half-way rollback to the VAB.
The next potentionl blast-off for Atlantis STS-115 if NASA misses the September 6-7 window will be in late October with a mere two-day window unless launch rules are liberalized to allow evening launches. NASA hopes to get off the ground two space station construction missions prior to the end of 2006.
The delay of Atlantis at the Florida launch pad is resulting in a potential traffic jam to get to the space station. Atlantis is packed with a solar array tress to double the ISS power supply and retstart the four-year delayed construction of the orbital outpost. If Atlantis misses the Sept. 7 launch window, the shuttle will be grounded until October. The delay slows NASA's attempt to finish the station by 2010.
The Atlantis mission is slated to go for 11-days which would conflict with the 10-day Soyuz stay. The Russian partners are concerned with a delay only because it causes the subsequent landing of the Souyz to be forced into a Kazakhstan dark of night desert parachute re-entry resulting in concern for recovery crews. NASA hopes for a Sept. 7 launch to negate much of a Soyuz delay.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Growing concern with the probability of Hurricane Ernesto making landfall on the West Coast of Florida is the primary factor for a 'go-no go.' The shuttle will take shelter from the hurricane if the Tuesday launch date is scrubbed. The chances of making the September 7th launch window will implode rapidly if a Tuesday attempt is missed because of the hurricane.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The Anousheh Ansari space flight patch motto is: "Imagine, Inspire, Be the Change." The patch also features the United States and Iran flags as symbols of her Iranian-American heritage.
As a child, Anousheh Ansari begged her mother to let her sleep on the balcony of their home near Tehran, Iran. She would gaze into the velvety darkness, drift off to sleep and visit the stars. Most childhood dreams disappear when the sun rises on adulthood and people are blinded by responsibilities, time and money.
But it didn't happen that way for Mrs. Ansari, a Texas businesswoman, who could not speak English when she immigrated to nothern Virginia as a teenager. In 2000, she sold her family's telecommunications business for $750 million and she is now launching a new telecom business along with partnerships to build a suborbital space fleet complete with two commercial tourist spaceports. On the web: http://www.anoushehansari.com/
Friday, August 25, 2006
Anousheh Ansari is an Iranian-born nationalized American educated in computer and electronic engineering at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and later at George Washington University in Washington.
The late 30-something woman subsequently burst upon the telecommunications scene with multimillion dollar business success. But her passion for space has made her the heroine of the NewSpace industry
first by backing the X-Prize, then contracting for the development of a new Russian-made fleet of tourist suborbital spacecraft, investing in two new commercial spaceports in Singapore and Dubai, and now as a would-be orbital space diplomat.
Ansari will liftoff to space on September 14th for a 10-day stay in low earth orbit as the 1st female space tourist, the 1st Iranian-born national to space, and the 1st Alt.Space or New Space business advocate to orbit. Anousheh Ansari merits complete support.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
With the first commercial suborbital flights not expected until late 2008, demand projections were revised to slightly downward through 2021 to 13,000 from 15,000 with the associated commercial revenue revised to $676-million, down from $785-million.
The new study also reviewed the changes in health conditions as a factor in space flight market demand noting that the orginal standard may have been too high. With lowered fitness requirements, the demand curve raises to 25,000 people by 2021 and associated revenues soar to $1.26 billion. Futron noted that several factors are now in play shaping demand for the future. The factors include the number of commercial firms coming into the market, ticket prices, number of passengers per flight, and the health and fitness requirements of each company or those imposed subsequently by regulation.
Commercial spaceport investment continues to expand with ten primary firms associated with suborbital launch preperations in the next three years. Among those advancing are Virgin Galactic (New Mexico); Space Adventures (Virginia), PlanetSpace (Canada); XCOR (California); Rocketplane-Kisler (Oklahoma); Armadillio Aerospace (Texas); SpaceX (California); and, Blue Origin (Texas).
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Lockheed Martin and a team made up of Northrop Grumman and Boeing are in competition for the multi-billion dollar government prime contract to build the so-called "Orion" spaceship to be lofted atop the Ares boosters. The contract announcement will be the largest single space vehicle construction contract award in over a quarter-a-century.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Ansari will fly onboard Russia's Soyuz TMA-9 human spaceship together with the ISS 14th crew Mikhail Tyurin (Russia) and Michael Lopez-Alegria (USA) for the 10-day flight scheduled to end September 24. She will return to Earth together with the ISS 13th crew Pavel Vinogradov (Russia) and Jeffrey Williams (USA), who have spent six months in orbit.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The Internet is awash with claims to have cracked the problem using magnets, coils and even crystals. Steorn discovered the technology while using magnets to try to devise more efficient wind generators and had spent the past three years developing it.
Skeptics abound but the firm has challenged scientists to validate their invention that could change 2,000 years of physics theory. The firm has produced a 5-minute video to support the free, constant energy invention claim.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
The names of new subplanets Ceres, Charon, and Xena - called plutons -may be added to the lexicon of astronomy and science creating a new solar system. Stay tuned, the solar system is contracting or expanding depending on how one views the system. Size may mean everything!
Friday, August 18, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
"The facility will see orbital flights, similar to the Kennedy Space Center," says Chicago's Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria, chairman of the PlanetSpace. The firm believes its Silver Dart hypersonic glider, powered by engines it has already developed, will be on the launch pad before the end of the decade.
PlanetSpace is a partnership between Ontario's Geoff Sheerin (who has been developing the Canadian Arrow rocket for space tourism), and American space and technology entrepreneur Kathuria.
Monday, August 14, 2006
The services could pave the way for contracts to launch and deliver crew and cargo to the International Space Station. The final contenders were Andrews Space, Rocketplane Kistler, SpaceDev, SpaceHab, SpaceX, and/or t/Space. The NASA press office noted organizations denoting, perhaps, that the $500-million allocation may be split among two or more of the six Alt.Space firms.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Genesis-1 was launched from Russia in July aboard a coverted SS18 ICBM. The small space station habitat has been orbiting at about 300-miles altitude with all systems operating normally with the exception of a slight spin causing some interference with video communications.
Bigelow plans a series of private space stations with the largest named Nautilus to be launched for human passenger stays in the next decade. Virgin Galactic hopes to develop SpaceShipThree (SS3) to carrying commercial passengers to the orbiting private space station late in the next decade.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Concern has been expressed about recent funding cuts to the NASA COTS program. Nonetheless, Andrews Space, Rocketplane Kistler, SpaceDev, SpaceHab, SpaceX, and/or t/Space should be announced as a winner by NASA any day.
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin has suggested that COTS space transportation services procurement may be expanded to orbital fuel depots and lunar surface deliveries should the first phase prove viable.
Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn will scope a potential launch site for the six-passenger SS2 in nothern Scotland from RAF Lossiemouth as early as 2010. Sites in Sewden and Dubai are also said to be under consideration by Virgin Galactic.
Test flights of SS2 are expected to begin next year from the Mojave Spaceport and be completed in 2008. Commercial operations could begin in 2009 from New Mexico's Spaceport America where Virgin Galatic will be based.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Griffin told the group that human exploration of Mars by his "best guess would be the late 2020s." That's based on a return to the Moon by 2020, he said, and the existence of a heavy-lifter (the Ares 5) that could be used for Mars missions. "I think we would be poised by that point, the late teens or 2020, for a rational national decision to aim resources at going to Mars." [Mars Audio/Video]
Friday, August 04, 2006
Over the next two years a flotilla of spacecraft are expected to coverage on the Moon to commence an international remote sensing effort to add to the new European data. India will launch the Chandrayaan-1; Japan will launch Selene-1; China will launch Chang'e-1; all in 2007; and, the United States will follow-on with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2008. The spacecraft are among the fleet that will visit the Moon in the next few years as the international effort is made to put humans back on the surface of the Moon for the first time in 50-years.
The "Lunar Beijing Declaration" was made recently by the 8th ILEWG International Conference on Exploration and Utilization of the Moon attended by more than 240 experts and 300 students from 18 countries met in Beijing from 23 to 27 July 2006.
TacSat-2 is a small satellite for developing low-cost, customized and rapidly deployable space capabilities for theater warfighters. The Wallops Island, Virginia launch will be the first proof of concept for Joint Warfighting Space (JWS) concept. Plans are to provide the Joint Force Commander with an operational capability by 2010.
The mission launch will be conducted from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) launch pad on the south end of Wallops Island.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
The last launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in 2006 is slated for December 14 but doubts are beginning to surface if that date may be a HOLD because of holidays. The launch may slip into 2007 and with it - delays in station construction.
The post-Columbia tragedy requirement of day time launch handicaps the flight schedule to narrow windows of opportunity to achieve the correct orbit to dock with ISS. Night launch provide more windows of opportunity than now exist in the calendar. NASA needs that flexability to launch sixteen times to complete the station and repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Without the night launch felxability, making the manifest schedule become problematic at best.
The 2007 schedule: Feb. 22nd: Atlantis STS-117, Truss segment, solar arrays; June 11th: Endeavour STS-118, truss segment, cargo module; Aug. 9th: Atlantis STS-120, Node 2 attachment point for two more science labs; Sept. 27th: Discovery STS-122. European Columbus science laboratory; and, Nov. 29th: Endeavour STS-123, first of three parts of Japanese science lab and Canadian robotic hand.
The 2008 schedule: Feb. 7th Atlantis STS-124, Japanese Kibo Experiment Module and robot arm; June 19th: Endeavour STS-119, Truss segment, solar arrays; Aug. 21st: Atlantis STS-126, Cargo module; and, Oct. 30th: Discovery STS-127, exposed modules for Japanese lab.
The 2009 schedule: Jan. 22nd: Endeavour, STS-129, cargo module and crew quarters for three more permanent ISS crew; April 30th: Discovery STS-129, station equipment and spare parts; and, Oct. 22nd: Discovery STS-131, cargo holding racks.
Jan. 21, 2010: Endeavour STS-132. Node 3 and cupola and the last space shuttle flight ending the Shuttle Era.