A Falcon 9 launched the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane this morning from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the fifth launch of an X-37 vehicle and the first one by SpaceX’s booster. The first stage of the Falcon 9 successfully touched down on a landing pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It was the 16th recovery of a first stage.
PORT VILLA, Vanuatu, 5 September 2017 (Kacific PR) – Kacific Broadband Satellites Group (Kacific) has selected SpaceX as the launch provider for its Kacific-1 satellite, which is being built by The Boeing Company.
Kacific-1 will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9, a two-stage orbit-class rocket designed from the ground-up for maximum reliability and reusability.
“SpaceX has a breadth of vision that appeals to us,” says Christian Patouraux, Kacific CEO. “The company is committed to changing the way people think about space and the possibilities it represents. Signing with SpaceX as our launch service provider is a major step towards delivering our own vision. We look forward to seeing Kacific-1 atop a Falcon 9 Rocket in 2019.”
“SpaceX is proud to partner with Kacific on the milestone launch of the company’s first satellite, Kacific-1.” said Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX. “We appreciate their confidence in our proven capabilities and look forward to delivering their satellite to orbit.”
In February 2017 Kacific placed an order with The Boeing Company for the Kacific-1 satellite. Based on the reliable 702 satellite platform, Kacific-1 is designed to deliver high speed broadband via 56 narrow Ka-band beams, with the most powerful signal level ever achieved in a commercial satellite in the South East Asia and Pacific regions.
House Subcommittee on Space Hearing
Private Sector Lunar Exploration
Thursday, September 7, 2017 – 10:00am
2318 Rayburn House Office Building)
NASA is supporting private sector exploration of the Moon through various programs. The private sector is also investing their own funding in the hopes of serving a future market for transportation, cargo delivery, and surface operations (including in situ resource utilization). Moon Express plans to launch a mission to the Moon later this year or early next year. Astrobotic recently announced a mission in 2019. Blue Origin disclosed its “Blue Moon” concept last spring. The United Launch Alliance and SpaceX have also indicated plans to operate in cislunar space in the near-future. The Hearing will review these efforts, and NASA’s role, in order to better understand the challenges and opportunities that they present.
- Mr. Jason Crusan, director, Advanced Exploration Systems, NASA
- Mr. Bob Richards, founder and CEO, Moon Express, Inc.
- Mr. John Thornton, chief executive officer, Astrobotic Technology, Inc.
- Mr. Bretton Alexander, director of business development and strategy, Blue Origin
- Dr. George Sowers, professor, space resources, Colorado School of Mines
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — Astronauts Bob Behnken and Eric Boe walk down the Crew Access Arm being built by SpaceX for Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The access arm will be installed on the launch pad, providing a bridge between the crew access tower and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon – or Dragon 2 – spacecraft for astronauts flying to the International Space Station on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
The access arm is being readied for installation in early 2018. It will be installed 70 feet higher than the former space shuttle access arm on the launch pad’s Fixed Service Structure. SpaceX continues to modify the historic launch site from its former space shuttle days, removing more than 500,000 pounds of steel from the pad structure, including the Rotating Service Structure that was once used for accessing the payload bay of the shuttle. SpaceX also is using the modernized site to launch commercial payloads, as well as cargo resupply missions to and from the International Space Station for NASA. The first SpaceX launch from the historic Apollo and space shuttle site was this past February.
NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is working with private companies, Boeing and SpaceX, with a goal of once again flying people to and from the International Space Station, launching from the United States. Boeing is building the CST-100 Starliner to launch on an United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41. For information on Boeing and ULA’s work on Space Launch Complex 41, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/crew-access-arm-installed-for-starliner-missions.
From that list, I’ve extracted agreements with individual companies. Below you will find tables listing SAAs that NASA has signed with SpaceX, Boeing, United Launch Alliance and Sierra Nevada Corporation. The four companies have been involved with NASA’s Commercial Crew and Commercial Resupply Services programs.
SAAs come in three varieties: reimburseable, non-reimburseable and funded. Under reimburseable agreements, a company or organization will pay NASA for its services. No money exchanges hands under non-reimburseable agrements. And under funded agreements, NASA pays the company to perform work or provide services. (The space agency made substantial use of SAA’s in the Commercial Crew Program.)
SpaceX has received approval for the addition of a Dragon processing and refurbishment facility and static fire test stand at Cape Canaveral adjacent to Landing Zone 1 where Falcon 1 stages return to Earth.
The approval came from the St. Johns River Water Management District, which reviewed the project’s plan for storm water infrastructure.
“The Processing Facility finished floor, the building apron, and the static fire test pad will be constructed of concrete while the surrounding aprons and associated pathways will be constructed of a crushed gravel mixture,” according to the application. “A storm water management system will be constructed to retain all water on-site for percolation.”
The static fire test stand will be used to test launch abort motors for the Dragon 2 crew vehicle that is set to make its maiden flight early next year. The project area covers 7.6 acres.
The Sunday Times of London has an update on Virgin Galactic that seems to be based around an upcoming Brian Cox documentary on space tourism, which is set to air early next month in Britain.
Branson could be first in the mass tourism market despite a disastrous 2014 test flight in which a pilot died. Unity is to start rocket tests this autumn, and two more craft are under construction.
“We are hoping to be into space by the end of the year,” said Branson, who has spent £450m on the project. “The cost has been a lot more than we thought . . . but we can see the price falling and we could have 20 spaceships operating so that . . . enormous numbers of people could go into space.”
Formosat 5 remote sensing satellite
Date: Thursday, Aug. 24
Time: 2:50-3:34 p.m. EDT; 11:50 a.m.-12:34 p.m. PDT (1850-1934 GMT)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Date: Friday, Aug. 25
Time: 11:14 p.m.-3:15 a.m. EDT (0314-0715 GMT on Aug. 26)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
This marks the first flight of Orbital ATK’s Minotaur IV booster from Cape Canaveral. The payload, also known as SensorSat, is a military satellite that will scan for other spacecraft and orbital debris. ORS 5 was produced by the military’s Operationally Responsive Space program.
IRNSS 1H navigation satellite
Date: Thursday, Aug. 31
Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India
Pics of SpaceX spacesuit developed for NASA commercial crew program coming out next week. Undergoing ocean landing mobility/safety tests.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 20, 2017
Just in time for your late summer beach reading needs, the Government Accountability Office has released a new report, “Surplus Missile Motors: Sale Price Drives Potential Effects on DOD and Commercial Launch Providers.”
The report looks at the costs associated with using surplus rocket motors in Orbital ATK’s Minotaur launchers, which cannot be used for commercial missions.
Yes, it’s about as exciting as it sounds.
Anyway, the report does contain a couple of interesting tables showing what a ride into space costs these days.
Well, this is interesting.
There’s an opinion piece in The Hill concerning the CRS-7 accident:
The op-ed deals with the handling of the investigation in the June 2015 loss of a Dragon spacecraft by NASA and SpaceX. It supports a provision in the Senate appropriations bill that requires the FAA to produce a public summary.
After promising to produce a public summary last year, NASA reversed itself last month. The agency said it was not required to produce one and said the responsibility lies with the FAA. So, Senators are telling the FAA to produce one.
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