FAA Releases Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation

faa_compendium_2016The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2016

Executive Summary

The size of the global space industry, which combines satellite services and ground equipment, government space budgets, and global navigation satellite services (GNSS) equipment, is estimated to be about $324 billion. At $95 billion in revenues, or about 29 percent, satellite television represents the largest segment of activity. Following this is government space budgets at $76 billion, or 24 percent, and services enabled by GNSS represent, about $76 billion in revenues. Commercial satellite remote sensing companies generated on $1.6 billion in revenues, but the value added services enabled by these companies is believed to be magnitudes larger. Because remote sensing value added services includes imagery and data analytics from other sources beyond space-based platforms, only the satellite remote sensing component is included in the global space industry total.


NASA IG: Agency Accepted Too Much Financial Risk in Orbital’s CRS Contract

NASA’s Office of Inspector General has issued a report saying the space agency has taken on too much financial risk in Orbital Sciences Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract by funding future missions before the company has demonstrated the capacity to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

Although we do not second guess NASA’s decision to concurrently fund up to three rocket systems given the critical need for additional ISS resupply capabilities, in the case of Orbital, NASA will fully or partially fund six rocket systems under the CRS contract before Orbital has fully demonstrated its spaceflight system.


SpaceX Hails Air Force Release of Criteria for New Launch Vehicle Competitors

Falcon Heavy. (Credit: SpaceX)

SPACEX PR — Hawthorne, CA — Today Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) welcomed the release of the detailed criteria the U.S. Air Force will use to certify new companies to provide launches for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

“We very much appreciate the steps the Air Force is taking to ensure fair and open competition,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “This is a complex process and the Air Force is doing the right thing for both the American taxpayer and those whose lives are at risk in the field.”

DARPA IDs Flaw in Falcon HTV-2, Will Test Again Next Year

DARPA Falcon hypersonic technology vehicle (HTV)


Following an extensive six-month review, the independent Engineering Review Board (ERB) chartered to examine data collected during the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle’s (HTV-2) first flight has completed its review. The ERB concluded that the anomaly resulted from flight control authority limitations to operate at the angle of attack the vehicle was programmed to fly for the speed and altitude of the flight.


SpaceX Bid to Launch Azerbaijani Satellite Faces Issues Over Insurance Costs

SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)
SpaceX's Falcon 9 on the pad at Cape Canaveral. (Credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX)

Experimental Falcon proposed to Azerbaijan for launch of first national satellite
Azerbaijan Business Center

A government source says that within the relevant tender U.S. company SpaceX has suggested Falcon missile carrier for launch of the first satellite of Azerbaijan.

“This carrier rocket has not carried out any commercial launch of satellites, and in case of its victory in the tender the cost of a contract with insurance company can be incredible,” the source said….


SpaceX Completes Falcon First-Stage Tests



McGregor, Texas (October 21, 2009) – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully conducted two static firings of the first stage, nine engine cluster for its Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The firings took place at SpaceX’s Texas Test Site, a 300-acre structural and propulsion testing facility just outside of Waco, Texas. With completion of these tests, the first stage has now passed both structural and propulsion acceptance testing and will ship to Cape Canaveral in preparation for the first flight of Falcon 9.


SpaceX: We’re No Threat to Constellation

An artist's conception of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Florida.
An artist's conception of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Florida.

SpaceX hopes to launch first manned commercial rocket
Orlando Sentinel

Astronauts, NASA officials and some members of Congress question how a small company can manage to get crew safely to orbit when NASA is having so many technical and financial challenges with its own rockets. They also point out that SpaceX has yet to prove it can deliver on its NASA contract to take cargo to the station.

But by far their biggest concern is that SpaceX ships are rivals to Ares and Orion, a view SpaceX dismisses.

“People are very worried [our] efforts are a threat to Constellation rather than an enabler,” says Bowersox. “We don’t want to compete like that. We want to enable. We want to provide a cheap way to get to station so you can spend money to do the exciting exploration things. But they feel that threat.”

Read the full story.

Pratt & Whitney Working with Lockheed on Falcon Mach 6 Ramjet

Falcon hypersonic technology vehicle (HTV)
Falcon hypersonic technology vehicle (HTV)


Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne has been awarded a 10-month contract by Lockheed Martin for preliminary design of the high speed accelerator for a turbine-based combined-cycle (TBCC) propulsion system, which could support flight up to Mach 6. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).


SpaceX Hits Its Stride

SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket
SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket

Lift off for SpaceX: Commercial deals show it can compete internationally
Florida Today

It’s too early to say if this success means the California company better known as SpaceX is NASA’s best hope for the commercial development of space, which appears to be the approach set for the future direction of the U.S. space effort.

However, the contract awards for the 7-year-old SpaceX show that a U.S. launch enterprise can compete in the international launch market.


SpaceX to Launch Earth Observation Satellite for Astrium

SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket
SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket


Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Astrium announce a contract for a SpaceX Falcon 1e to launch an Earth observation satellite designed by Astrium or its recently acquired subsidiary Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL).


A Behind-the-Scenes Look at SpaceX


Behind the Scenes With the World’s Most Ambitious Rocket Makers
Popular Mechanics

An improbable partnership between an Internet mogul and an engineer could revolutionize the way NASA conducts missions—and, if these iconoclasts are successful, send paying customers into space.

Mueller’s ambitious moonlighting caught the attention of Internet multimillionaire Elon Musk, who met the engineer at the warehouse in January 2002 as Mueller was trying to attach his homemade engine to an airframe. Fresh from the $1.5 billion sale of PayPal to eBay, Musk was seeking staff for a new space company, soon to be called Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX. He eyed the rocket engine and asked a simple question: “Can you build something bigger?”


SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Push Commercial Alternatives to Orbit


The Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger has an interesting Q&A with Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Larry Williams, vice president of strategic relations for SpaceX.

Berger: From the commercial perspective, how soon, and for how much money, could we have a low-Earth-orbit crew transport vehicle?

Sirangelo: Both of our companies are fairly well along in our programs to deliver crews to space. Our program uses a NASA-derived vehicle that has been in development by NASA for 10 years. We took it over four years ago, and are proposing to launch it on an existing launch system that has flown many hundreds of times. Our program is called Dream Chaser. We’re not looking to propose something that’s only on paper and hasn’t been discussed, it’s really about marrying two systems that have had significant amount of research into them. We think it can happen within a few years, not within a decade.

Read the full interview.

SpaceX Upgrades Falcon 1, Raises Launch Fee


SpaceX’s Falcon 1e Rocket Replaces Cheaper Falcon 1
Space News

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., will replace its Falcon 1 rocket by the end of 2010 with the more capable and more expensive Falcon 1e rocket, the company said Aug. 6.

The upgraded version of the rocket uses a more powerful engine than the one originally designed for Falcon 1 and will be able to put larger, heavier payloads into orbit. A Falcon 1e launch will cost “under $11 million,” Rob Peckham, SpaceX vice president of business development, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Originally marketed as a $6-million rocket, SpaceX more recently pegged a Falcon 1 launch at $8 million.

Read the full story.

SpaceX Adds United Launch Alliance Veteran as Vice President

SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket
SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket


Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces the addition of Marv Vander Weg in the role of Vice President of the EELV Customer Office, where he will be responsible for acquiring and managing EELV missions for SpaceX’s US Government customers. He will be located at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California.


SpaceX: A Small Step or a Giant Leap for Space Access


Not a giant leap
But private firm’s rocket launch a baby step in space commercialization.

The Global Post

“These guys are entrepreneurs,” said David Livingston, host of the Internet radio site, The Space Show. “They want to lower the cost of putting payloads into orbit so that other entrepreneurs can figure out how to do new things in space.”…