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US Space Program - A Thread

Discussion in 'The Americas' started by SvenSvensonov, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. sanjeevkc

    sanjeevkc IDF NewBie

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    Elon says it took 15 years to reach this point. What an amazing feat!! Hats off SpaceX!
     
  2. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Air Force Space Chief Open to Flying on Recycled SpaceX Rockets
    (Source: Voice of America News; issued April 07, 2017)

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO --- The U.S. Air Force is open to buying rides on previously flown SpaceX rockets to put military satellites into orbit, a move expected to cut launch costs for the Pentagon, the head of the Air Force Space Command said on Thursday.

    The idea of flying on recycled rockets became a reality a week ago when privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, launched a communications satellite on a Falcon 9 booster that previously put a cargo ship into orbit for NASA.

    That Falcon main stage had been recovered from a successful return landing on an ocean platform shortly after its maiden flight last April, then was relaunched and salvaged again last Thursday, marking a spaceflight first.

    "I would be comfortable if we were to fly on a reused booster," General John "Jay" Raymond told reporters at the U.S. Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. "They've proven they can do it. ... It's going to get us to lower cost."

    SpaceX has so far won three launch contracts to fly military and national security satellites - business previously awarded exclusively to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. All those flights will take place on new Falcon 9 rockets.

    SpaceX, owned and operated by technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, has a backlog of more than 70 missions worth more than $10 billion.

    After last week's landmark launch, Musk said the company planned to fly about 20 more rockets this year, including the debut blastoff of its new heavy-lift vehicle. Up to six of those missions, including the Falcon Heavy, will use previously flown boosters, he said.

    Speaking at the symposium on Wednesday, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said the cost of refurbishing and reflying the Falcon 9 first stage was "substantially less than half" the cost of manufacturing a new booster - the most expensive part of the rocket. SpaceX's website lists the cost of a basic Falcon 9 launch at $62 million. SpaceX expects to reduce costs even further.

    The company's next goal is to launch and return a rocket and relaunch it within 24 hours. "That's when we'll really feel like we've got reusability right," Shotwell said.

    Raymond said the Air Force would need to certify that a used booster could safely deliver its satellites into orbit.

    "I'm pretty comfortable we'll get comfortable with doing it," Raymond said. "This is just beginning."

    Source
     
  3. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    [​IMG]<img width="678" height="381" src="https://assets.cdn.spaceflightnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/14210635/jounrnal_homepage-
    Live coverage: Atlas 5 countdown journal and launch webcast
    April 16, 2017


    A logistics-delivery vessel for the International Space Station, launched and operated privately by commercial companies on behalf of NASA, is scheduled for liftoff today at 11:11 a.m. EDT (1511 GMT) from Cape Canaveral. A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will boost the eight-ton Cygnus freighter into space for Orbital ATK.

    upload_2017-4-18_9-31-48.png
     
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  4. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    This is a 360 degree video, you can click the upper left and move the screen.

     
  5. BMD

    BMD Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Dream_Chaser_Spacecraft_Passes_Major_Milestone_999.html

    Dream Chaser Spacecraft Passes Major Milestone

    [​IMG]
    The spacecraft's unique cargo design transports more cargo mass (5,500 kilograms) to the ISS each mission. In addition, a significant amount of cargo, almost 2,000 kilograms is directly returned from the ISS to a gentle runway landing at a pinpoint location.


    Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) successfully passed the third integration milestone for the Dream Chaser program under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS2) program, bringing it a major step closer to providing resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS).

    CRS2 Integration Review #3 (IR3) confirmed SNC's Dream Chaser Cargo System design meets NASA's key requirements and maximizes probability of mission success during future flights. The spacecraft is scheduled for at least six missions between 2019 and 2024.

    The reliability of the Dream Chaser design was also thoroughly reviewed as part of NASA's Phase I Safety Review Process, which successfully demonstrated safety and mission assurance criteria.

    The reviews covered all stages of mission operations including ground, launch, flight and landing.

    "Passing the third CRS2 integration milestone is a really big deal for the program and its future," said Steve Lindsey, vice president of Space Exploration Systems for SNC's Space Systems business area.

    "We are proud of this accomplishment and are well on our way towards completing the next critical milestone and the remaining developmental phases. It's a great feeling to be executing all our milestones on schedule and to be moving forward to our operational flight."

    The spacecraft's unique cargo design transports more cargo mass (5,500 kilograms) to the ISS each mission. In addition, a significant amount of cargo, almost 2,000 kilograms is directly returned from the ISS to a gentle runway landing at a pinpoint location.

    Dream Chaser's all non-toxic systems design allows personnel to simply walk up to the vehicle after landing, providing immediate access to time-critical science as soon as the wheels stop.

    The complex and thorough review process found no significant design, build or system issues and underscored the Dream Chaser's readiness for flight.

    The major elements of Milestone 3 included:

    + Successful completion of the NASA Phase 1 Safety Review

    + 32 Hazard Reports and 16 Safety Data Packages approved by NASA

    + Dream Chaser Architectural Design's met all CRS2 requirements (hardware, software, flight dynamics, thermal control, etc.)

    + More than 100 detailed design documents were delivered to NASA along with 30+ design reviews

    + During the three-day IR3 review, more than 1,000 charts were briefed to the approximate 45 member NASA and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) team, which demonstrated that Dream Chaser is at Preliminary Design Review level of maturity

    + Launch vehicle operations, outside subcontracts and agreements

    + Range safety plan, as well as FAA, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) licensing

    + 5 Safety Review Phase 1 meetings were conducted prior to the IR3 review and involved the delivery of 46 individual Safety Data Packages developed under our S and MA team.

    In addition to completing this milestone, the Dream Chaser atmospheric test vehicle is in preparations for flight testing that will help verify these designs.

    The spacecraft is currently testing at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California, having just successfully completed Phase One ground testing leading up to its second free flight test later this year.
     
  6. BMD

    BMD Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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  7. Averageamerican

    Averageamerican Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    An illustration of the proposed privately-funded Project Blue space telescope, which would look for Earth-like planets orbiting Alpha Centauri.
    Credit: BoldlyGo Institute
    WASHINGTON — NASA has signed a Space Act Agreement with a private organization currently raising funds for studies of a space telescope designed to look for habitable planets around a nearby star.

    New York-based BoldlyGo Institute announced Sept. 13 the unfunded Space Act Agreement with NASA to support development of Project Blue, a small space telescope intended to search for any Earth-like planets that may be orbiting Alpha Centauri, the star system closest to our sun.


    "We're pleased to be working with NASA on this ambitious public-private partnership," Jon Morse, chief executive of BoldlyGo, said in a statement announcement the agreement. "Having access to NASA's scientific and technical expertise throughout the mission lifecycle is invaluable."
    The agreement, which involves no exchange of funds, gives BoldlyGo access to NASA expertise as it develops the Project Blue spacecraft and carries out studies of Alpha Centauri. BoldlyGo will also provide both raw and processed data collected by the mission to publicly available NASA data archives.

    Share Video
    https://www.space.com/38188-project-blue-telescope-space-act-agreement.


    The Project Blue mission, as currently conceived, will fly a spacecraft with a telescope 45 to 50 centimeters in diameter. The telescope will be equipped with a coronagraph designed to block the light from Alpha Centauri's two stars, allowing it to directly image any planets orbiting them. It is based on a concept called Alpha Centauri Exoplanet Satellite, or ACESat, proposed to NASA for a Small Explorer mission competition in 2014 but not selected.

    "Much of the coronagraph imaging technology needed for Project Blue to take direct images of exoplanets from space has been developed through NASA-funded programs," Morse, a former director of NASA's astrophysics division, said in the statement.

    The new Space Act Agreement comes as BoldlyGo makes a second attempt to raise money for initial studies of Project Blue. BoldlyGo started a fundraising campaign on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo Sept. 6, seeking to raise $175,000 to complete engineering studies for the Project Blue spacecraft. As of Sept. 14 the campaign had raised more than $68,000, with a month remaining.

    In November 2016, BoldlyGo attempted a similar crowdfunding effort, but with the more ambitious goal of raising $1 million. That effort ended in December when the campaign received $335,000 in pledges on the Kickstarter website. With Kickstarter's all-or-nothing funding model, BoldlyGo did not receive any money. Indiegogo, by contrast, has a flexible funding model that will allow BoldlyGo to receive all the money pledged even if it does not achieve its goal of $175,000.

    The crowdfunding campaign, though, is only a small fraction of the overall cost of the Project Blue mission. BoldlyGo estimates the total cost of the mission to be approximately $50 million, with a launch as soon as 2021.

    BoldlyGo expects to raise the bulk of the mission's cost not through crowdfunding but instead with more traditional philanthropic contributions. "We've already made initial progress in our fundraising, and in the vigorous efforts that we're embarking on we'll seek out a broad spectrum of supporters including major research foundations, individual and family foundations, corporate sponsorships, and in-kind partner contributions," the organization notes in the description of the project on its Indiegogo campaign page.

    One challenge for that effort is that space science projects like Project Blue are still widely seen as in the domain of government agencies alone. Morse, speaking at the Dawn of Private Space Science conference in New York in June, acknowledged those problems.

    "So far, what we have found is when we approach a lot of people, they say, 'Well, isn't NASA doing this?'" he said. "Yes, NASA is doing that, but there's room to do a lot more." Morse added that BoldlyGo was now working with a consultant to develop a program for approaching foundations for funding.

    The Space Act Agreement with BoldlyGo is not the first time NASA has offered such a partnership with a private organization seeking to develop a space telescope. NASA signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with the B612 Foundation in 2012 to support Sentinel, a space telescope proposed by the organization to look for potentially hazardous near Earth objects.

    NASA, however, terminated the agreement in the fall of 2015, citing a lack of progress by B612 in developing Sentinel. The foundation said in June it was no longer pursuing Sentinel, seeking instead to work on other projects, including potential smallsat missions, to look for near Earth objects.

    This story was provided by SpaceNews, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.
     
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