By Madison Tuttle
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida
NASA and commercial industry partners Boeing and SpaceX are making significant advances in preparing to launch astronauts from U.S. soil for the first time since the space shuttle’s retirement in 2011. As part of the Commercial Crew Program’s public-private partnership, both companies are fine-tuning their designs, integrating hardware, and testing their crew spacecraft and rockets to prepare for test flights
Centennial, Colo., Dec. 4, 2017 (ULA PR)– L3 Technologies announced today that it has entered into an agreement with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to become the exclusive provider of avionics and related services for its new Vulcan Centaur rocket system, delivering an estimated $1 billion-plus in mission-critical systems and services, over a 10-year period.
HOUSTON (NanoRacks PR) — This week marks an important milestone for NanoRacks. NanoRacks and NASA have signed the contract for Ixion, a commercial habitat concept study first announced last summer.
The contract will focus on repurposing spent launch vehicle upper stages. NanoRacks is working with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide launch services and Space Systems Loral who will provide robotic outfitting capabilities.
HOUSTON, Texas (NanoRacks PR) – NASA has selected the Ixion Initiative Team, comprised of NanoRacks, LLC (“NanoRacks”), Space Systems/Loral, LLC (“SSL”), and United Launch Alliance (“ULA”) – the nation’s premier launch provider, to participate in the Agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (“NextSTEP-2”) program.
CENTENNIAL, Colo., June 15, 2016 (ULA PR) – ULA successfully delivered the OA-6 Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 22. During the first stage burn, the Atlas V system experienced an anomalous propellant mixture ratio resulting in an early booster shutdown and degradation of first stage performance. The Atlas V’s robust system design, flight software, vehicle margins and propellant reserves enabled the successful outcome for this mission.
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) approved the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) yesterday that limits United Launch Alliance (ULA) to purchasing nine Russian-made RD-180 engines for use in the first stage of the company’s Atlas V booster to launch national security payloads.
The move sets up a showdown with the House Armed Services Committee, which earlier put the number of engines ULA could purchase at 18. ULA and the U.S. Air Force support the higher number, saying the engines are needed to meet military launch needs.
The House Armed Services Committee appears determined to require United Launch Alliance (ULA) to re-engineer its Atlas V booster with a new Aerojet Rocketdyne engine in its first stage even though the launch provider doesn’t really want the motor.
Boeing and SpaceX are using a “high risk strategy” to develop commercial crew vehicles to carry astronauts to the International Space Station that could result in costly delays in the program, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.
CENTENNIAL, Colo., March 24, 2016 (ULA PR) – United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle with dual Blue Origin BE-4 engines. The PDR, a major milestone in development of the Vulcan launch vehicle, confirms that the design meets the requirements for the diverse set of missions it will support. The ULA team will build upon this milestone to refine and test key elements of the design while executing a busy manifest of 14 launches in 2016.
CENTENNIAL, Colo., (ULA PR) – After another year with 100 percent mission success, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) team capped off the year with the launch of the OA-4 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 6 and prepares for its 10th anniversary and highest operations Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) tempo to date in 2016.
By Douglas Messier
To succeed in the launch business, you need to be very, very good and more than a little bit lucky. Eventually, there comes a day when you are neither.
That is what happened to SpaceX on June 28. A string of 18 successful Falcon 9 launches was snapped as the company’s latest rocket broke up in the clear blues skies over the Atlantic Ocean. A Dragon supply ship headed for the International Space Station was lost, SpaceX’s crowded manifest was thrown into confusion, and the company’s reputation for reliability was shattered.
CENTENNIAL, Colo., June 12, 2013 (ULA PR) — United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and initial round of development testing for the Dual Engine Centaur in support of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
Under Independent Research and Development (IRAD) funding, ULA is re-establishing the Dual Engine Centaur (DEC) configuration for performance and human space flight safety. Atlas V is capable of flying both a single and dual engine on the Centaur second stage, but most satellite missions require only a single engine due to the powerful capability of the Atlas V booster to loft the payload into orbit.
By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor
The Centaur upper stage, which has been propelling American satellites through space since 1965, is getting a major upgrade that would allow the venerable one-shot booster to perform in a series of new roles.
In the coming decades, upgraded Centaurs will make launching of spacecraft on Atlas V and Delta IV rockets much less expensive. They could also function as reusable space tugs, orbital fuel depots, and landing vehicles that would transport tons of cargo to and from the Moon, Mars and asteroids.
Founder and CTO, Masten Aerospace
- Xaero capable of reaching 100,000 feet
- Next generation beyond Xoie, which won the Lunar Lander Challenge
- Under flight testing now
- 88 tether flights
- 2 successful free flights
- Installing an aeroshell on Xaero changed flight characteristics
- “By the time we figured out what was going on, we were 88 tether flights in.”
- Building a second Xaero within the next few months to do high altitude flights up to 100,000
- Masten has too many customers for the first Xaero, which will be used for low-altitude flights