Updated SpaceX Commercial Crew Schedule

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)
Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX plans to conduct an automated flight test of its Dragon 2 crew spacecraft to the International Space Station in February 2018 , followed by a similar test with a crew four months later in June

That is the latest schedule presented to the NASA Advisory Council this week by agency officials. If the schedule holds and the tests go well, the Dragon 2 will be certified to carry astronauts to the station in September of next year.

In addition to the two flight tests, SpaceX will need to validate Dragon 2’s propulsion module, certify the parachute system, and conduct an in-flight abort test before it receives certification for the vehicle.

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Luxembourg Signs MOU With Magna Parva Subsidiary

LUXEMBOURG, July 24, 2017 (Luxembourg Government PR) – The Luxembourg Government and Luxembourg-based Kleos Space S.à r.l. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) providing the framework for their cooperation within the SpaceResources.lu initiative with focus on space technology development. The newly created Kleos Space company is 100% owned by UK-based Magna Parva Limited.

Kleos Space is active in geolocation services and develops a space infrastructure for geo-intelligence and signal intelligence applications with in-space manufacturing. Within the framework of this MoU, the developments and research to take place in Luxembourg are related to the project for in-space manufacturing of composite beams equipped with antennas. Kleos Space will collaborate with EmTroniX, a Luxembourg-based company specialized in electronics development, as well as with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) on this subject. The Government will support the development of the in-space manufacturing technology by providing funding through the Luxembourg space program (LuxIMPULSE).

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Last of XCOR’s Founders Leaves Company

Doug Jones

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries is pleased to announce that Doug Jones, formerly chief test engineer at XCOR, is joining the company’s growing team as director of propulsion systems.

“We see Doug as one of the top rocket engineers in the country, and a great addition to our first-class team of small-spacecraft engineers,” said Bill Miller, the chief executive officer of Deep Space Industries.  “He will be helping us develop the high performance, inexpensive propulsion that is critical to radically lowering the cost of deep space exploration.”

Mr. Jones has designed, built and tested over a dozen different rocket designs for a wide range of customers, including two manned vehicles. Doug has decades of aerospace engineering experience ranging from liquid rocket engine design to vehicle system optimization, and has flown aboard a rocket aircraft multiple times while serving as flight test engineer during the development of the XCOR X-Racer.

“Doug Jones is joining DSI at the perfect moment to lead our in-house development of the high-performance propulsion system for our Prospector series of deep space missions,” said Grant Bonin, DSI’s chief technology officer. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Editor’s Note: And then there were none. Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong and Aleta Jackson preceded Jones out the door. There are no more founders at XCOR.

NASA Promised a Public Report on CRS-7 Failure Multiple Times

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

My recent report on NASA decision not to release a public summary of its investigation into the Falcon 9 failure that destroyed a Dragon cargo ship has attracted some attention on various other websites. I’ve gotten some criticism there and also here for not understanding that the results of NASA’s investigations on commercial crew are confidential.

Fair enough. However, I was never told this by NASA in my multiple communications with the agency when I inquired about the summary last fall. In fact, they represented exactly the opposite.

Just so there is no confusion on this point, I’m reproducing the email responses I received from NASA when I inquired about this issue last fall as well as the one I received earlier in July.

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This Week on The Space Show


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

1. Monday, July 24, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back KEN DAVIDIAN on entrepreneurism, NewSpace, commercial space.

2. Tuesday, July 25 , 2017: 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: We welcome back DR. PAT PATTERSON on SmallSat 2017.

3. Wednesday, July 26, 2016:: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details.

4.SPECIAL TIME: Friday, July 28, 2017; 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: For those of you wanting to be on The Space Show, this is your chance. Give us a call. In addition, if you would like to co-host a program, call us and show us what you would do as a co-host! Special for a special show.

5. Sunday, July 30, 2017: 12-1:30 PM DST (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. MIKE McCULLOCH to discuss Mike’s latest work on EM Drive, advanced propulsion, dark matter and more.

For all the latest space news,
please follow Parabolic Arc on Twitter.

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Musk Hints Details on Scaled Down Interplanetary Transport System

Musk is talking about the scaled down version of the Interplanetary Transport System that he plans to unveil in Adelaide, Australia at the end of September. For comparison purposes, the vehicle he unveiled last year had a 12 meter diameter. Falcon 9 has a diameter of 3.7 meters. The diameter of the Saturn V was 10.1 meters.


UPDATE:
The above graphic shows the engine layout for the ITS. It would seem they would lose 21 outside engines by shrinking the diameter to 9 meters. That would leave the ITS with 21 Raptor engines on the first stage.

For all the latest space news,
please follow Parabolic Arc on Twitter.

NASA’s Hubble Sees Martian Moon Orbiting the Red Planet

The sharp eye of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured the tiny moon Phobos during its orbital trek around Mars. Because the moon is so small, it appears star-like in the Hubble pictures.

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Over the course of 22 minutes, Hubble took 13 separate exposures, allowing astronomers to create a time-lapse video showing the diminutive moon’s orbital path. The Hubble observations were intended to photograph Mars, and the moon’s cameo appearance was a bonus.

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All Hail The Singularity!

The Internet would have blown their minds, man!

Part of an Occasional Series on Silicon Valley Buzzwords & Ideas

Fifty years ago during the Summer of Love of 1967, young Americans turned on, tuned in, dropped out, dropped acid, blew their minds, chanted mantras, played Sgt. Pepper’s and followed gurus like Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey and the Maharishi Yogi in an effort to obtain a higher level of consciousness.

The changes wrought during that crazy year and the rest of the tumultuous decade changed America forever, making the nation at once more open and liberal, but also creating a counter revolutionary backlash that gave us Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

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A Look at the History of Suborbital Spaceflight

Neil Armstrong with the X-15 on the dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

With Richard Branson once again predicting that Virgin Galactic will fly SpaeShipTwo into space before the end of the year, it seems like a good time to take a look at the history of suborbital spaceflight.

The number of manned suborbital flights varies depending upon the definition you use. The internationally recognized boundary is 100 km (62.1 miles), which is also known as the Karman line. The U.S. Air Force awarded astronaut wings to any pilot who exceeded 80.5 km (50 miles).

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Zero Gravity Solutions Names DuPont Veteran to Senior Advisory Board

BOCA RATON, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Zero Gravity Solutions, Inc. (“ZGSI” or the “Company”) (Pink Sheets: ZGSI), an agricultural biotechnology public company commercializing its technology derived from and designed for Space with significant applications for agriculture on Earth, announced the addition of Rik Miller, a 31-year veteran of the DuPont Company (DuPont) to its senior advisory group.

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NanoRacks Airlock Passes Johnson Space Center’s Astronaut Training Exercise

NanoRacks airlock tested in pool. (Credit: NanoRacks)

HOUSTON (NanoRacks PR) – The NanoRacks Airlock Module design continues to mature as NASA’s Johnson Space Center successfully ran testing on a NASA-built full-scale mockup of the Airlock in their Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL).

The tests confirmed that spacewalking astronauts will be able to successfully maneuver around the Airlock structure and mounted external payloads. Astronauts will be able to do this with the assistance of handrails, which have been strategically placed by the NanoRacks design team.

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AIA Urges Trump to Withdraw Ex-Im Bank Nomination

Statement by AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher urging President Trump to withdraw the nomination of Congressman Scott Garrett to chair the Export-Import Bank of the United States and submit nominations for a full Board of Directors that will support the Bank’s key mission.

Arlington, Va. — Since the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) in 2015, AIA has continually stressed the need to establish a quorum on the five member Ex-Im Board of Directors and make the Bank fully functional to ensure America’s aerospace and defense industry — which supports 2.4 million American workers — can compete on a level playing field.  That is why we initially met President Trump’s announcement in April of his support for Ex-Im and its mission with great optimism.

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CASIS, Michael J. Fox Foundation Team for ISS Parkinson’s Research

NEW YORK (MJFF PR) — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) today announce a partnership to send a key Parkinson’s protein to the International Space Station for growth under microgravity conditions. Microgravity may allow bigger, more regular LRRK2 protein crystals to grow, which helps solve the protein’s structure. That information could help scientists design optimized therapies against LRRK2, a key target in the pursuit of a Parkinson’s cure.

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International Lunar Observatory to be Established at Moon’s South Pole in 2019

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Moon Express PR) — International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) and Moon Express have announced a collaboration for the delivery of the first International Lunar Observatory to the South Pole of the Moon in 2019 (ILO-1). Moon Express has been contracted by ILOA to develop advanced landing technologies supporting the mission.

The ILO-1 astrophysical observatory and research station will be the world’s first instrument to image the Milky Way Galaxy and to conduct international astrophysical observations and communications from the lunar surface.

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NGA Awards Contract to Planet for Imagery

SPRINGFIELD, Va.(NGA PR) — The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency announced today a $14 million, one-year subscription to Planet, a commercial imagery provider.

The purchase takes advantage of the new NGA and General Services Administration (GSA) partnership for Earth Observation Solutions that can be acquired via GSA schedules. The subscription, made through Planet’s GSA Information Technology Schedule Contract (GS-35F-309GA), enables the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community to access Planet’s imagery of over 25 select regions of interest, ranging from portions of the Middle-East, Asia, and Africa to Central and South America.

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