From Airport to Spaceport: £2 Million Available to Develop Horizontal Spaceflight in the UK

  • UK Space Agency opens £2 million [$2.54 million] development fund for horizontal spaceflight
  • Existing airports could develop new infrastructure to allow aircraft or spaceplanes to take off and deploy satellites in space
  • Horizontal spaceport runways also offer an attractive option for space tourism in the future.

LONDON (UKSA PR) — Future spaceports can apply for a share of £2 million [$2.54 million] to support plans for small satellite launch from aircraft and sub-orbital flight from the UK, Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced today.

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Hayabusa2 Program Wins Two Prestigious Awards

The award for Hayabusa2. Project Manager Tsuda (far left) received the award. (Credit: Hayabusa2 Project)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Hayabusa2 Project has received awards from the Aviation Week Network and the Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences.

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NASA and Virgin Orbit 3D Print, Test Rocket Combustion Chamber

Engineers test-fire a 3D-printed rocket engine combustion chamber at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA is partnering with Virgin Orbit of Long Beach, California, to deliver advanced engine hardware that employs cutting-edge NASA and commercial additive manufacturing, or 3D-printing, processes. Researchers will continue to explore advanced 3D-printing solutions, introducing even higher-performing alloys and further refining the printing process. (Credits: NASA/Virgin Orbit)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — At the heart of future rocket engines lifting off to the Moon or Mars could be a 3D printed combustion chamber. Multiple NASA centers partnered with Virgin Orbit to develop and test a uniquely manufactured rocket part.

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Altius Space Machines Selected for Two NASA SBIR Phase II Awards

Altius Space Machines will continue to magnetic interface systems for use in satellite servicing and robotic landers under a pair of grants from NASA.

The space agency selected the Broomfiled, Colo.-based company for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards. Each award is worth up to $750,000 over a two-year period.

“Altius has developed an electropermanent-magnetically coupled electrical and/or fluid connection “MagTag™” interface that is robust and lightweight,” the company said in a proposal summary.

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Lucas Backs Trump Administration Plan to Land Astronauts on Moon in 2024


WASHINGTON (Frank Lucas PR) — House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas commented in support of the Administration’s proposed NASA budget amendment to once again land human on the Moon by 2024.

“America has long been the preeminent power in space but we’re facing more and more competition as other nations propose bold exploration plans,” Lucas said. “The President and Vice President’s challenge to land on the Moon by 2024 reflects the urgent need for American leadership in space – it’s an ambitious challenge but one I fully support and urge the American people to get behind. For too long U.S. space exploration has been plagued by both a lack of a bold vision and a long-term commitment to see ideas through to execution. Returning to the Moon is a national priority not only because it can help us learn more about our own planet, but because it will allow us to explore its resources and conduct groundbreaking research. It will help us develop and test the technology and life-support required for our most ambitious goal to date: sending humans to Mars.”

Lucas continued, “I commend the Administration for putting forward an initial plan that is budget neutral and technically feasible and gives NASA the down payment to send Americans to the Moon by 2024 without jeopardizing other critical missions. As NASA acknowledges, more information and more funding will be needed to make this goal a reality, and we’ll be reviewing those details as they become available. We must stay the course on this mission and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to make both the initial and long-term investments necessary to send American astronauts to the Moon and ultimately Mars.”

Charlie Brown or Snoopy: America’s Future in Space Hangs in the Balance

As the Apollo 10 crew walks along a corridor on the way to Launch Complex 39B, mission commander Thomas P. Stafford pats the nose of Snoopy, the mission’s mascot, held by Jamye Flowers, astronaut Gordon Coopers’ secretary. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

This week, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the flight of Apollo 10, the final mission before the first manned landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969.

During the 8-day voyage, Tom Stafford and Eugene Cernan took the lunar module (LM) to within 47,400 feet (14.4 km) of the lunar surface before rendezvousing with the command service module (CSM) piloted by John Young.

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Ball Aerospace’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission Satellite Arrives in Florida

A Ball Aerospace engineer adjusts the thermal insulation on NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission spacecraft bus following integration of the propulsion system. (Credit: Ball Aerospace)

BOULDER, Colo., May 20, 2019 (Ball Aerospace PR) — The Ball Aerospace-built small spacecraft for NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) arrived in Florida today to prepare for a June launch on board a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. GPIM is NASA’s first opportunity to demonstrate a new “green” propellant and propulsion system in orbit – an alternative to conventional chemical propulsion systems.

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SpaceX Apparently Files Bid Protest About…Something

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft onboard is seen as it is rolled to the launch pad at Launch Complex 39A as preparations continue for the Demo-1 mission, Feb. 28, 2019 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

GeekWire reports that SpaceX has apparently filed a suit against the federal government, but Elon Musk’s space company refuses to say about what.

The California-based company said the details had to be kept out of the public eye because they include “confidential and proprietary information and source selection information not appropriate for release to the public.”

SpaceX’s lawyers told the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that the proceedings surrounding the company’s bid protest should be conducted confidentially, under the terms of a protective order, in order to safeguard the competitive process.

In accordance with court procedures, the specifics of today’s complaint were held back from public access, but SpaceX’s motion to keep those specifics under seal is accessible via the court docket. The case was assigned to Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby; no further action on the motion was noted in court documents filed today. We’ve asked SpaceX about the filings, and will update this item with anything we hear.

Vega to Launch Spain’s SEOSAT–Ingenio Earth Observation Satellite

SEOSAT in the clean room (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space, Spain)

MADRID, 20 May 2019 (ESA PR) — ESA and Arianespace have signed a contract that secure the SEOSAT–Ingenio Earth observation satellite’s ride into orbit next year on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

SEOSAT, short for Spanish Earth observation satellite, will provide high-resolution multispectral images of Earth for applications such as cartography, monitoring land use, urban management, water management, risk management and security.

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NASA Selects Paragon for SBIR Phase II Award

Paragon Space Development Corporation will continue to developed an improved system to remove liquid condensation from the air for use on the International Space Station and future crewed vehicles beyond low Earth orbit under a NASA grant.

NASA has selected the Tuscon, Ariz.-based company for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II award to continue work on the COndensate Separator for Microgravity Conditions (COSMIC) device. The contract is worth up to $750,000 over two years.

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This Week on The Space Show


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

1 Monday, May 20, 2019; 2-3:30 PM PDT (4-5:30 PM CDT, 5-6:30 PM EDT): No show for today. Monday is for special and timely programs only.

2. Tuesday, May 21, 2019: 7-8:30 PM PDT (9-10:30 pm CDT; 10-11:30 PM EDT): We welcome back DR. PHIL METZGER on a variety of exciting space topics.

3. Wednesday, Wednesday, May 22 2019: 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, May 24, 2019; 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT; 12:30-2 PM EDT. We welcome back Dr. Gil Levin and for the first time Dr. PAT STRAAT regarding Pat’s new book, “To Mars With Love.”

5 .The Sunday, May 26, 2019 12-1:30 PM PDT, (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): No show today due to the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend.

Space Studies Institute’s 50th Anniversary Conference Just Around Corner

LOS ANGELES (SSI PR) — Time is running out to buy tickets for the Space Studies Institute’s 50th anniversary conference at the special Early Bird rate. The special rate (available at https://ssi50.eventbrite.com) ends this week.

Planning for the conference, which takes place September 9-10 in Seattle, is coming along nicely. Our venue is the Museum of Flight, a world-class air and space museum. We have engaged McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood and Steaks to cater two gourmet luncheons for us, as well as afternoon snack breaks. Early ticket sales have been brisk, and response from invited speakers has been enthusiastic.

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House Appropriators on Space Force, SDA: Meh!


SpaceNews
reports that House Appropriators have included no money for the Trump Administration’s Space Force in a bill it is scheduled to mark up on Tuesday. Legislators are also seeking more information about the Space Development Agency.

The draft report accompanying the committee’s proposed fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill notes that the decision to not back the $72 million request should not be read as a complete rejection of the idea of establishing a Space Force.

“The Committee recommendation does not fully fund the request to establish the proposed Space Force,” says the draft report obtained by SpaceNews. “The Committee makes this decision without prejudice and includes funds for the Department to examine and refine alternative organizational options that will streamline the management and decision-making process and minimize overhead cost and bureaucracy.”

[….]

Defense officials have said they estimate the Space Force will cost no more than $2 billion over five years but have not provided detailed analysis to back that up, according to congressional officials. The Senate Armed Services Committee has done due diligence and directed the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the future costs of the Space Force, U.S. Space Command and the Space Development Agency. The CBO in a report laid out a number of scenarios. On the Space Force, it projects costs significantly higher than $2 billion over five years. The Pentagon has challenged those estimates.

[….]

On the Space Development Agency, the committee backs defense appropriators’ recommendations to seek more specific details on the SDA’s space projects. “While the Committee is generally supportive of the concept of the Space Development Agency, the Committee is concerned that this effort may create a parallel space program that will overlap and duplicate existing programs and missions in the Air Force.”

ULA Completes Final Design Review for New Vulcan Centaur Rocket

Artist’s conception of Vulcan rocket. (Credit: ULA)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., May 20, 2019 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance leaders and engineers completed an important milestone with the conclusion of the system Critical Design Review (CDR) for the company’s new Vulcan Centaur rocket. The system-level CDR is the final review of the design for the overall rocket.

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