Blue Origin’s New Shepard Makes Successful Flight

Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle reached its highest altitude yet on Wednesday with a successful flight that saw the capsule reach 74 miles above the West Texas desert.

The new altitude record of 389,846 feet (73.8 miles/118.8 km) came courtesy of a high-altitude test of the capsule’s abort system, which activated after the booster stage had stopped firing. The capsule on the previous flight reached 351,000 feet (66.5 miles/107 km).

The rocket booster, making its third flight to space, touched down safely on a landing pad located two miles from where it launched. The capsule later made a soft landing nearby after a flight that lasted 11 minutes 17 seconds.

An instrumented flight dummy dubbed Mannequin Skywalker experienced 10 Gs during the abort test, according to commentary on Blue Origin’s webcast. The capsule also contained a number of experiments.

It was the ninth flight of the New Shepard system. Blue Origin plans to begin flying test passengers later this year and selling tickets to the public in 2019.

ESA Issues Call for Ideas on Future Space Transportation


PARIS, 16 July 2018 (ESA PR) —
ESA is calling for ideas that will shape the future of space transportation services – to space, in space and returning from space.

“The changing world we live in requires a space agency to anticipate. Now is the time for ESA to reach out to our citizens in the Member States and listen to their ideas and take them on board Europe’s greatest adventure,” commented Jan Wörner, ESA Director General.

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Dusk for Dawn: Mission of Many Firsts to Gather More Data in Home Stretch

This mosaic of Cerealia Facula in Occator Crater is based on images obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft in its second extended mission, from an altitude as low as about 21 miles (34 kilometers). (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

 

 

Pasadena Conference to Include New Insight into Dwarf Planet Ceres

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft prepares to wrap up its groundbreaking 11-year mission, which has included two successful extended missions at Ceres, it will continue to explore — collecting images and other data.

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Manifest for Blue Origin’s New Shepard Flight on Wednesday

Credit: Blue Origin

VAN HORN, Texas (Blue Origin PR) — An awesome feature of New Shepard is its modular interior design. While in the future it will feature six seats to fly people, we’re already flying science and education experiments for microgravity research.

On Mission 9, we welcome our third round of payload customers from commercial companies, universities and space agencies. They will share the cabin with Blue Origin’s Mannequin Skywalker for their flight to space.

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BlackSky Selects ATLAS to Provide Ground Station Support for Earth Imaging Constellation

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – July 17, 2018 (Atlas Space Operations PR) — ATLAS Space Operations, Inc., a company that provides satellite communications as a service through an innovative software-driven, high data flow global antenna network, announced today that BlackSky has selected ATLAS to provide telemetry, commanding, and data support for its high-revisit, Earth imaging constellation of satellites. ATLAS will be offering this support via new ground station sites in Guam and Japan to further maximize the performance of the BlackSky constellation.

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Astrobotic Selects Dynetics as Propulsion Provider for the Peregrine Lunar Lander

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Astrobotic PR)– Astrobotic proudly announces today during the 49th anniversary week of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing that the company has selected Dynetics of Huntsville, Alabama as the propulsion provider for its Peregrine Lunar Lander.

Peregrine will return America to the Moon for the first time since Apollo and begin delivering customer payloads once a year starting in 2020. Dynetics will integrate Peregrine’s main engines and attitude control thrusters, controller electronics, tanks, and feed system into a single system that performs all propulsive maneuvers from cruise to soft landing on the Moon.

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Skyrora Chooses Cornwall for First Rocket Engine Test

Booster (Credit: Skyrora)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP PR) – Launch operator Skyrora has announced that it will begin its engine testing programme at Cornwall Airport Newquay’s rocket test facility in Q4 this year. The site will be an operational Spaceport by 2021.

The event is expected to be the first liquid engine test by a British small-satellite launcher to take place in the UK since Black Arrow around 50 years ago.

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Maxar’s MDA Acquires Neptec Design Group, a Leading Space Sensors Company

BRAMPTON, ON, July 16, 2018 (MDA PR) — MDA, a Maxar Technologies company (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.), (NYSE: MAXR; TSX: MAXR), announced today it has acquired Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Neptec), the leading electro-optical and electro-mechanical systems and high-performance intelligent Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) company for CA$42 million, comprised of approximately CA$8 million in cash and the balance in Maxar common shares.

With Neptec, MDA will deliver end-to-end robotic systems and an expanded set of solutions, positioning the company to capture growth in U.S., Canadian and global space exploration markets and accelerate advancement into new and expanding space segments. The transaction is accretive to Maxar’s operating earnings per share beginning in 2019, solidifies MDA’s leadership in space robotics innovation, and reinforces Maxar’s industry-leading space capabilities.

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Blue Origin New Shepard Flight Set for Wednesday

Update: Launch tomorrow slated for 9:00 am CT / 14:00 UTC. Live webcast begins at T-20 minutes on http://BlueOrigin.com.

NanoRacks Completes Fifth External Cygnus Deployment, Six More CubeSats in Orbit

DULLES, Virginia (NanoRacks PR) — Yesterday evening, NanoRacks successfully deployed six CubeSats from the Company’s CubeSat deployer mounted on the outside of the Cygnus spacecraft. This brings the overall count to 223 small satellites deployed into low-Earth orbit.

The ninth contracted resupply mission from Orbital ATK (now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems) launched on May 21, 2018, carrying NanoRacks’ fifth mission providing opportunities for CubeSat deployment from Cygnus after the vehicle departs from the International Space Station. Prior to launch, the NanoRacks External Cygnus Deployer is installed on the exterior of the Cygnus service module with the capability to deploy satellites after the spacecraft completes its primary space station commercial resupply mission.

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Video of First Hot Fire of P120C Motor for Vega-C and Ariane 6

Video Caption: The hot firing of the development model of the P120C solid fuel rocket motor at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana on 16 July 2018, proves the design for use on Vega-C next year and on Ariane 6 from 2020.

The P120C is 13.5 m long and 3.4 m in diameter, and uses solid fuel in a case made of carbon composite material built in a single segment.

It will replace the current P80 as the first stage motor of Vega-C. Two or four P120Cs will be strapped onto Ariane 6 as boosters for liftoff.

This test was a collaboration between ESA, France’s CNES space agency, and Europropulsion under contract to Avio and ArianeGroup.

Learn more: http://bit.ly/HotFiringProvesSolidRoc…

Successful Qualification of India’s High Thrust Vikas Engine

High thrust Vikas engine test (Credit: ISRO)

MAHENDRAGIRI, India (ISRO PR) — Today (July 15, 2018), a high thrust version of the Vikas Engine was successfully qualified through a ground test for a duration of 195 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri, Tamilnadu. Vikas Engine is the workhorse liquid rocket engine powering the second stage of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), second stage and the four strap on stages of Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and the twin engine core liquid stage (L110) of GSLV Mk-III.

All the propulsion parameters during the tests were found satisfactory and closely matched the predictions. This ground test has validated the performance adequacy of the Vikas Engine for its use in the upcoming second developmental flight of GSLV Mk-III. This engine will improve the payload capability of PSLV, GSLV and GSLV Mk-III launch vehicles.

Successful First Test Firing of P120C SRB for Ariane 6 and Vega-C

P120C awaits first hot firing. (Credit: ESA)
  • A successful test firing of 135 seconds conducted on the BEAP test bench in Kourou, French Guiana
  • P120C – the largest monolithic carbon-fiber solid rocket motor (SRM) in the world – is loaded with 142 tons of propellant
  • P120C will equip the boosters of both Ariane 62 and Ariane 64 and the Vega-C first stage ; 35 motors to be produced annually

KOUROU, French Guiana (Avio PR) — The P120C was successfully tested on 13 July in Kourou, French Guiana, on the BEAP test bench for solid rocket motors, operated by the French space agency CNES. This successful test of the first P120C ever produced is a major step in the development of the future European launchers, Ariane 6 and Vega-C.

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This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, July 16, 2018; 2-3:30 PM PDT (4-5:30 PM CDT, 5-6:30 PM EDT): We welcome back DR. JASON KALIRAI re WFIRST, HUBBLE & JWST

2. Tuesday, July 17, 2018: 7-8:30 PM PDT; 9-10:30 PM CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT: We welcome back BOB ZIMMERMAN for news and updates..

3. Wednesday, July 18, 2018: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, July 20, 2018; 9:30 AM-11 AM PDT, (12:30 -2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT): We welcome back BRUCE PITTMAN with DR. BRUCE CAHAN on Space Commodities Futures Trading Exhange.

5. Sunday, July 22, 2018: 12-1:30 PM PDT; 2-3:30 PM CDT; 3-4:30 PM EDT. We welcome back RAND SIMBERG AND BILL SIMON for EVOLOTERRA 2018!

Lockheed Martin and Orbex to Launch UK into New Space Age

Notional image of the UK’s first commercial spaceport at the Sutherland Site in Melness, Scotland, which will conduct the UK’s first vertical, orbital rocket launch in the early 2020s. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

FARNBOROUGH, UK (UKSA PR) — Lockheed Martin and Orbex are investing in space launch operations and bringing innovative new technology to Britain, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced today (Monday 16 July) during the Farnborough International Airshow.

  • Lockheed Martin to establish vertical launch operations in Sutherland, Scotland and develop innovative technologies in Reading, Berkshire with support from two UK Space Agency grants totalling £23.5 million
  • A further £5.5 million will go to British company Orbex to build an innovative new rocket for launch from Sutherland, as part of Government’s modern Industrial Strategy
  • This builds on awards of £2.5m to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop a vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland and a £2m development fund for horizontal spaceports such as those planned in Cornwall, Glasgow Prestwick and Snowdonia
  • Government support for launch is the first step towards a potential Space Sector Deal and the development of a national space programme

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