NASA’s Ares I rocket was always an odd looking bird. While many rockets are large at the bottom and get progressively thinner as they near the top, this booster bucked that trend: a thin first stage with an enormous upper one. In that, I guess, it appeared somewhat more human — but not in a good way. More like Frankenstein human. Or Arestein, if you will.
The rocket’s development was a horror story, with massive cost overruns and years-long delays as engineers struggled to adapt legacy space shuttle hardware to a brand new mission. After billions were consumed, the Obama Administration canceled the program last year.
But, if you thought Ares I was gone for good, think again. It’s back for the sequel — and it’s badder than ever….
A new commercial rocket proposal based on the Ares 1 first stage and the Ariane 5 core. It’s like Frankenstein meets….rocket Frankenstein! Looks like it will definitely fly. But, is it affordable?
ATK/ASTRIUM PRESS RELEASE
ATK and Astrium (an EADS Company) are working together in response to NASA’s Commercial Crew Development-2 (CCDev-2) procurement. Â The team is offering NASA launch services with the Libertyâ„¢ rocket. Â This new launch vehicle combines two of the world’s most reliable propulsion systems, with a collective heritage of nearly 150 successful flights.
EADS Astrium has disclosed that Singapore will be a partner in its suborbital spaceplane program.
At the Global Space & Technology Convention in Singapore, EADS Astrium executives announced that Singapore will be building a small-scale demonstrator of the spaceplane and may be involved in developing parts for the commercial product. EADS Astrium is also hoping Singapore will ultimately have a fleet of its commercial spaceplanes stationed at Singaporeâ€™s Changi Airport. (more…)
Some news on Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit to India, which included a stop at ISRO and the announcement a pair of commercial agreements:
Much like British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy chose to start his visit to India from Bangalore.
After landing at the HAL Airport, Sarkozy along with his wife Carla Bruni, ministers and business delegates, headed to the ISRO Satellite Centre where he was briefed on the Megha- Tropiques satellite, which is being co-developed by India and France.
Even as parent company EADS lost $1 billion in 2009, its fully-owned subsidiary Astrium reported strong growth, Space News reports:
Europeâ€™s Astrium space hardware and services provider reported a 12 percent increase in revenue and a 33 percent increase in backlog in 2009 compared to 2008, with its services business growing by nearly 18 percent, Astrium parent EADS reported March 9.
* New orders totalling more than â‚¬8 billion * 11% increase in sales to over â‚¬4.8 billion * Astrium is developing new space based technologies for the environment
Paris, 19 January 2010 â€“ Astrium CEO FranÃ§ois Auque presented the companyâ€™s results for 2009 and its prospects for the coming year at the annual New Yearâ€™s press conference. In 2009 Astrium successfully delivered seven Ariane 5 launchers, which placed a total of 14 satellites in orbit and signed a contract worth more than â‚¬4 billion for a further 35 Ariane 5 launch vehicles. Launch highlights included the Herschel Space Observatory, the largest ever space telescope, the Hot Bird 10 broadcast satellite and the Amazonas 2 telecommunications satellite.
EADS Astrium develops space power concept BBC News
Europe’s biggest space company is seeking partners to fly a demonstration solar power mission in orbit. EADS Astrium says the satellite system would collect the Sun’s energy and transmit it to Earth via an infrared laser, to provide electricity.
Space solar power has been talked about for more than 30 years. However, there have always been question marks over its cost, efficiency and safety. But Astrium believes the technology is close to proving its maturity.
“Today we are not at an operational stage; it’s just a test,” said chief executive officer Francois Auque. “In order to implement a solution, of course, we would need to find partnerships and to invest, to develop operational systems,” he told BBC News.
Astrium, industrial prime contractor for the European launcher, is to develop a new, more powerful version of Ariane 5
Ariane 5 ME will have a re-ignitable upper stage and be capable of launching payloads of up to 12 tonnes into orbit
Contract worth â‚¬150 million over two years
The European Space Agency (ESA) has signed a contract with Astrium for the initial development phase of its programme to enhance the performance of the Ariane launch vehicle and make it even more competitive.
â€œJohannes Keplerâ€, the second unmanned European cargo spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS), is currently undergoing its first flightworthiness and functionality tests as a fully integrated unit at the Astrium facility in Bremen. Preparations for the final system tests are running at full capacity.
ESA is spending about $30.4 million on a study of re-entry technology that could be used to return cargo from the International Space Station, according to an Astrium press release. The project is an evolution of the space agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle, a robotic freighter that is currently burned up in the atmosphere after its ISS flight.
EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services, has named Sean Oâ€™Keefe as Chief Executive Officer to lead the operations of EADS North America. His appointment is effective November 1, 2009 and he will become a member of the EADS NV Executive Committee beginning January 1, 2010.
Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EADS North America, will retain his position as chairman of the EADS North America board and oversee EADSâ€™ role in the Northrop Grumman KC-45 Tanker offer to the U.S. Air Force. Crosby also will remain on the EADS NV Executive Committee during the leadership transition.
The partnership between Astrium and JSC NC Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary (KGS), the national company charged with the development of Kazakhstanâ€™s space programme, has reached another major milestone with the signature of a contract for two Earth observation satellites, and the foundation documents to create a Joint Venture for the construction of an Assembly, Integration and Test Facility in Astana. (more…)
EADS, the European aerospace and defence company, has established a new subsidiary in Japan to help coordinate and support the Groupâ€™s marketing campaigns and industrial partnerships there. From its office in Tokyo, EADS Japan K.K. will aim to strengthen EADSâ€™ presence in the country and forge further long-term business relationships with Japanese industry and aerospace institutions.
An interesting item from Bulletins-electroniques.com via the CNES website:
A new type of plasma thruster (helicon double layer) invented by a physicist from the Australian National University (ANU) some years ago will be tested in a prototype satellite to be launched into space over the next four years . This is the first propellant propellant of this type and it will be the first time a spacecraft will use this type of propellant.
The project funded by the European company EADS Astrium will be collaboration between the ANU, the University of Surrey and EADS-Astrium. The propellant will be based on the double layer thruster helicon (HDLT for Helicon Double Layer Thruster) developed at the ANU. The principle of propulsion based on the electrostatic acceleration of a plasma by an electrical double layer.
Astrium and JSC National Company â€œKazakhstan Gharysh Saparyâ€ today announced the signing of a first contract to build a major satellite integration centre that will be part of the future Kazakhstan national space centre in Astana.