From Spaceflight Insider: NASA teaming up with commercial companies for return to the Moon, sciencesprings


Richard Mitnick

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Origin Story

The Origin Story for the Blog

I am telling the reader this story in the hope of impelling him or her to find their own story and start a wordpress blog. We all have a story. Find yours.

The oldest post I can find for this blog is “From FermiLab Today: Tevatron is Done” at the End of 2011 (but I am not sure if that is the first post, just the oldest I could find.

But the origin goes back to 1985, Timothy Ferris Creation of the Universe PBS, November 20, 1985, available in different videos on YouTube; The Atom Smashers, PBS Frontline November 25, 2008, centered at Fermilab, not available on Youtube; and The Big Bang Machine, with Sir Brian Cox of U Manchester and the ATLAS project at the LHC at CERN.

In 1993, our idiot Congress pulled the plug on The Superconducting Super Collider, a particle accelerator complex under construction in the vicinity of Waxahachie, Texas. Its planned ring circumference was 87.1 kilometers (54.1 mi) with an energy of 20 Tev per proton and was set to be the world’s largest and most energetic. It would have greatly surpassed the current record held by the Large Hadron Collider, which has ring circumference 27 km (17 mi) and energy of 13 TeV per proton.

If this project had been built, most probably the Higgs Boson would have been found there, not in Europe, to which the USA had ceded High Energy Physics.

The project’s director was Roy Schwitters, a physicist at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Louis Ianniello served as its first Project Director for 15 months. The project was cancelled in 1993 due to budget problems, cited as having no immediate economic value.

Some where I learned that fully 30% of the scientists working at CERN were U.S. citizens. The ATLAS project had 600 people at Brookhaven Lab. The CMS project had 1,000 people at Fermilab. There were many scientists which had “gigs” at both sites.

I started digging around in CERN web sites and found Quantum Diaries, a “blog” from before there were blogs, where different scientists could post articles. I commented on a few and my dismay about the lack of U.S recognition in the press.

Those guys at Quantum Diaries, gave me access to the Greybook, the list of every institution in the world in several tiers processing data for CERN. I collected all of their social media and was off to the races for CERN and other great basic and applied science.

Since then I have expanded the list of sites that I cover from all over the world. I build html templates for each institution I cover and plop their articles, complete with all attributions and graphics into the template and post it to the blog. I am not a scientist and I am not qualified to write anything or answer scientific questions. The only thing I might add is graphics where the origin graphics are weak. I have a monster graphics library. Any science questions are referred back to the writer who is told to seek his answer from the real scientists in the project.

The blog has to date 900 followers on the blog, its Facebook Fan page and Twitter.I get my material from email lists and RSS feeds. I do not use Facebook or Twitter, which are both loaded with garbage in the physical sciences.

That is my Origin Story

richardmitnick 11:33 am on August 7, 2019 Permalink Reply
Tags: “NASA teaming up with commercial companies for return to the Moon”, Spaceflight Insider ( 25 )

From Spaceflight Insider: “NASA teaming up with commercial companies for return to the Moon”

August 5th, 2019
Laurel Kornfeld

NASA has issued a request for proposals for the space agency’s new Artemis Program. Image Credit: NASA

To achieve the goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2024, NASA announced it is teaming up with commercial companies to develop new technologies for landing on and taking off from the lunar surface.

On July 30, the space agency issued a public call for commercial companies to build both small and medium-sized lunar landers and rovers capable of bringing science experiments and power sources to the Moon as part of its new Artemis program. The project seeks to land astronauts, including one or more women, on various regions of the lunar surface, including its South Pole. Nine companies have already signed on to a program known as the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.

“Our commercial partners are helping us to advance lunar science in an unprecedented way. As we enable broader opportunities for for commercial providers through CLPS, we’re enlarging our capabilities to do novel measurements and technology development scientists have long wanted to do at the Moon,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

In October 2018, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate issued an Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO) seeking private companies to contract with on the many components of future space missions. These include advanced communication, navigation, and avionics; advanced materials for rockets and spacecraft; entry, descent, and landing technologies; in-space manufacturing and assembly of equipment; power systems, including solar cells; propulsion, and other exploration technologies.

Through a public-private collaboration program known as Swamp Works, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is partnering with both SpaceX and Lockheed Martin to make Artemis a reality. With SpaceX, KSC hopes to develop the technology needed to vertically land rockets on the Moon. This could be difficult because of potential interaction between plumes generated by rocket engines and lunar soil, known as regolith.

“Missions to the lunar surface present challenges from rocket engine plume effects as they interact with the regolith surface to eject high-velocity dust particles and rocks,” explained Rob Mueller, senior technologist for advanced projects development at KSC‘s Exploration Research and Technology Programs. “To mitigate the damage to equipment during landings and takeoff, we’ll work on technologies such as launch and landing pads, and blast protection berms or walls to make operations on the Moon sustainable and safe for NASA and all of our partners. These types of risk mitigations become exponentially more important as landers increase in size, and Kennedy‘s Swamp Works is at the forefront of developing new technological solutions for this based on related computer modeling tools and testing.”

NASA hopes that in working together, KSC‘s Swamp Works program and SpaceX can develop technologies capable of landing astronauts on both the Moon and Mars, Mueller emphasized.

KSC‘s partnership with Lockheed Martin seeks to grow plants in space autonomously with the help of robotics. If successful, this could function as a food source for astronauts on future deep space missions. Bryan Onate, chief of KSC‘s Life Sciences and Utilization Office, said the public-private partnership already has a team of engineers, scientists, interns, and other contractors working on the project.

“Exploring beyond low-Earth orbit will require long-duration stays on the Moon and eventually Mars, meaning we are focused on providing plant growth systems that will supplement and sustain the crews’ nutrition and implement autonomous operations as required. So we are excited to be taking part in this collaborative opportunity, which will develop new technology to enable future missions.”

NASA hopes to reduce both the cost and the amount of time needed to develop new technologies for Artemis and for subsequent long-term crewed space missions by working together with commercial spaceflight companies.

“The Artemis program integrates our science and exploration goals, and we are using our commercial partners to help meet those goals with an innovative and cost-effective approach. The ability to land heavier payloads on the lunar surface is a service that NASA has a key interest in. We’re looking forward to innovative proposals and possibly more partners to advance what we’ve already started with CLPS,” emphasized Steve Clarke, NASA deputy associate administrator for exploration in science.

Thirteen commercial companies have been contracted with through the ACO for a total of 19 public-private partnerships.

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Astronaut Will Test Drive Rover From Space, PISCES Hawaii

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Multiple partner nations involved on the International Space Station are developing robots in space.

Photo Credit: Jacques van Oene / SpaceFlight Insider

On Monday, Sept. 7, Danish European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, for the first time, performed a groundbreaking space experiment called Interact. Interact was developed by ESA/ESTEC Telerobotics & Haptics Lab in close collaboration with the Technical University of Delft’s Robotics Institute.

ESA’s Telerobotics & Haptics Lab consists of a small, but highly dynamic, team of engineers and engineering academics. Led by Dr. André Schiele, Associate Professor at the Delft University of Technology.

Andreas Mogensen was launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-18M last Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. He and fellow Expedition 45 crewmates Aidyn Aimbetov and Sergei Volkov (of Roscosmos) docked Friday morning with the Space Station.

During his short-duration mission, Mogensen will take the controls of the Interact rover from his position on the ISS in real time with force feedback.

If everything goes as planned, the Interact rover will drive around the grounds of ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

Mogensen will test the Interact rover three times from his position on the orbiting laboratory next Monday. The first test is set to begin at 14:00 CET (13:00 GMT) and will be a science run on stiffness discrimination. It should last for approximately 30 minutes.

Then, at around 16:00 CET, Andreas will control the rover and perform a sub-millimeter precision task; this test is scheduled to last for about one hour. The final task planned for Monday will start around 18:50 CET and Mogensen will then try to do a peg-in-hole task; this test is also scheduled for about one hour.

On board the ISS, Andreas Mogensen will re-use equipment from the previous Telerobotics & Haptics Lab experiments called Haptics-1 and Haptics-2. For these experiments, a tablet PC and a small force-reflective joystick were flown to the ISS with the goal of evaluating human haptic perception in space.

Meanwhile, on the ground, the Interact rover has two KUKA lightweight robotic arms on the front allowing the operator (in this case an astronaut) to perform very precise manipulation tasks. The arms can be soft-controlled to interact safely with humans or delicate structures. The arms are equipped with highly sensitive force sensors and can flex and adapt in a similar manner to human arms during remote control. This allows tight-coupling of those arms to an operator located far away by means of force-transmitting interfaces.

This interaction could make remote operations possible to take place across very long distances with the finest amount of force feedback to the operator despite the communication time delay.

The Interact rover also has four real-time streaming cameras that Mogensen can use from the ISS. A head pan-tilt camera should provide him with a general contextual overview of the situation during driving and exploration of the environment. A tool camera mounted on the robotic right arm for vision during precise tool manipulation. And two hazard cameras (front and back) to view the proximity area of the rover during driving.

A complicating factor is the signals between the astronaut and the Interact rover; they must travel via a dedicated and highly complex network of satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The signals will travel from the ISS via NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) to ground facilities in the U.S. From there, they cross the Atlantic Ocean to the ESTEC facilities in Noordwijk, in the Netherlands.

Forces between the robot and its environment, as well as video and status data, travel back to the graphical user interface and the haptic joystick Mogensen is using aboard the station. In this round-trip, all signals cover a distance of nearly 55,923 miles (90,000 km). The resulting round trip time delay is just one second in length.

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2019 October 22: New page (INSIDER CONTENT No. 88): I-Hab module in 2019

2019 October 19: Update: Angara pad in Vostochny

2019 October 3: Updates: Soyuz MS-12, Soyuz landing (info, imagery)

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2019 June 18: New page: (INSIDER CONTENT No. 71): Revival of Spektr-RG

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2019 April 16: Updates: LK lander; LVPK

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2019 Jan. 24: New page: Angara pad in Vostochny in 2019

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2019 Jan. 20: New page: 7K-L1 No. 13L

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2018 Dec. 14: New page: (INSIDER CONTENT No. 46) KSLV-2

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2018 Dec. 2: New page: Soyuz MS-11

2018 Nov. 20: New page: Launch of Zarya FGB module; Update (info, imagery): Zarya FGB module

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2018 Oct. 5: New page: Elektro-L3 satellite; Updates, content split: Elektro-L series, Elektro L1

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2018 Sept. 12: New page: A hole aboard Soyuz MS-09

2018 Sept. 7: Update: ESPRIT module for the cis-lunar station (info, imagery)

2018 Aug. 17: New pages: GIRD-09 rocket, GIRD-09 engine

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2018 July 14: New page: 7K-L1 No. 8L

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2018 June 5: New page: Soyuz MS-09

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2018 May 15: Updates: Launch of Sputnik-3; History of the Object-D project; Previews of Object D virtual model, info

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2018 April 27: New page: Airlock status in 2018 (INSIDER CONTENT No. 10)

2018 April 25: New page: Rockot launch with Sentinel-3B

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2018 April 18: New pages: Blagovest-12L, Blagovest series (page split, updates): Blagovest-11L

2018 April 16: Update: Power and Propulsion Element, PPE, for near-lunar station: info, imagery on industrial studies

2018 April 4: New page: NEM-2 tourist module (INSIDER CONTENT No. 7)

2018 March 29: New page: EMKA (Kosmos-2525)

2018 March 21: New page: Soyuz MS-08

2018 March 12: Update: Investigation into the Soyuz-1 landing accident: historic map of the landing area

2018 March 5: New page: Zond-4 (7K-L1 No. 6L)

2018 March 2: New page: Sarmat ICBM

2018 Feb. 21: Update: Sea Launch in 2018

2018 Feb. 14: New page: RD-171MV (INSIDER CONTENT No. 1)

2018 Feb. 8: Update: Columbus module: Early concept visuals, Bartolomeo project info

2018 Feb. 5: New page: MLM Nauka module in 2018

2018 Feb. 2: Update: Soyuz MS-06: Russian EVA-44 info imagery

2018 Jan. 31: New page: Kanopus-V-3, Kanopus-V-4

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2018 Jan. 29: New page: Proton operations in 2018

2018 Jan. 28: Update: Progress GVK: info, imagery

2018 Jan. 23: New page: Block E for the N1/L3 complex

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2018 Jan. 10: New page: RD-810 engine

2018 Jan. 3: Update: ExoMars-2020 project in 2017 (July-December activties)

2018 Jan. 2: New page: Sea Launch in 2018

2017 Dec. 25: Update: Angosat-1 satellite – info, imagery

2017 Dec. 24: New page: Zenit launch with Angosat-1

2017 Dec. 19: Update: Spektr-RG mission in 2017 – info, imagery

2017 Dec. 16: New page: Soyuz MS-07

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2017 Oct. 27: New page: RD-861K engine

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2017 Oct. 12: New page: Sentinel-5P

2017 Oct. 4: Update: Sputnik section; R-5, R-7, RT-2 – info, imagery

2017 Oct. 2: New page: NEM-1 module status in 2017

2017 Sept. 23: Update: MLM module status in 2017 – developments in September

2017 Sept. 21: New page: GLONASS-M-52

2017 Sept. 11: New page: Proton mission with Amazonas-5

2017 Sept. 10: New page: Soyuz MS-06 mission

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2017 Aug. 16: New page: Blagovest No. 11L

2017 Aug. 7: New page: Soyuz-5/PTK launch vehicle

2017 Aug. 2: Update: MLM tanks; Washing machine ready for operation

2017 Aug. 1: New page: Angara-5M

2017 July 28: New page: Soyuz-FG launch vehicle

2017 July 27: New page: Soyuz MS-05

2017 July 24: Update: Energia-5V: RD-0150, RD-171MV, RD-191V engine designs, info

2017 July 13: New page: Kanopus-V-IK

2017 July 6: Update: Habitation module of the cis-lunar station: the project status

2017 July 5: Update: Obzor-R satellite: first photos, 2017 project status

2017 June 29: Update: Power and Propulsion Bus for the cis-lunar station: latest design graphic, info

2017 June 23: New page: Napryazhenie military satellite

2017 June 21: New page: Tank system of the MLM module

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2017 June 13: New page: Progress MS-06

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2017 May 17: New page: SES-15

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2017 May 4: New page: 5M project

2017 May 3: Update: NEM module: info, imagery

2017 April 24: Update: Soyuz-1 mission

2017 April 20: New page: Soyuz rocket missions in 2017

2017 April 18: New page: MLM/Nauka module in 2013

2017 April 13: New page: Canso launch site

2017 April 11: Update: Cis-lunar station: Latest design info-graphic

2017 April 8: New page: 7K-L1 No. 3P

2017 April 5: New page: RD-870

2017 March 17: New page: Soyuz MS-04

2017 March 16: New page: Tsyklon-4M (Cyclone-4M)

2017 March 14: Updates: Proton-Medium; 2017 design revision info, imagery; Kosmos-146: A US intelligence estimate info

2017 March 1: New page: Spektr-R mission in 2017; Update (info, imagery): Launch of Spektr-R

2017 Feb. 28: Update: Origin of Spektr series

2017 Feb. 21: New page: Progress MS-05

2017 Feb. 13: New page: Origin of the cis-lunar project

2017 Feb. 7: New page: Soyuz 7K-OK No. 4 (Kosmos-140)

2017 Jan. 26: New page: Energia-5V/VR concepts

2017 Jan. 25: New page: Proton operations in 2017

2017 Jan. 2: Update: Spektr-RG: ART-XC telescope delivery, info, imagery

2016 Dec. 30: New page: PTK development in 2016

2016 Dec. 22: Update: Soyuz 7K-OK No. 1 launch accident: Rare historical images

2016 Dec. 21: New page: Luna-13

2016 Dec. 11: Update: Progress MS-04: Failure investigation details

2016 Dec. 5: Update: Spektr-RG: Developments in 2016

2016 Nov. 30: New page: Progress MS-04

2016 Nov. 16: New page: Soyuz MS-03

2016 Oct. 24: New page: Angosat mission

2016 Oct. 23: New page: Cygnus OA-5 mission

2016 Oct. 14: New page: ExoMars-2016 arrival at Mars

2016 Oct. 6: New page: Proton-M-Plus

2016 Sept. 27-30: Updates: Sea Launch; MLM module

2016 Sept. 22: New page: Soyuz MS-02

2016 Sept. 21: New page: Proton-Medium

2016 Sept. 13: Update: Proton-Light, Medium variants introduced: info, imagery

2016 Sept. 12: New page: Sunkar rocket proposal

2016 Aug. 10: New pages and updates: Inflatable systems in space:

2016 Aug. 9: Update: info, imagery: Luna-24

2016 Aug. 6: Update: info, imagery: Vostok-2 mission

2016 July 13: New page: Production of the Angara rocket

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2016 June 8: New pages: Proton-M, Intelsat-31

2016 June 3: New page: Geo-IK-2 No. 12

2016 May 10: New page: Drop zones for Vostochny

2016 April 27: New page: Vostochny home page

2016 April 27: New page: First launch from Vostochny

2016 April 22: New page: Sentinel-1B

2016 April 14: New page: Vostochny development in 2016

2016 April 12: Update: Gagarin’s flight aboard Vostok

2016 April 4: New page: Luna-10

2016 March 29: New page: Progress MS-02

2016 March 24: Update: Bars-M: info, imagery; New page: Soyuz rocket missions in 2016

2016 March 18: New page: Soyuz TMA-20M

2016 March 14: New pages: ExoMars home page, ExoMars mission

2016 March 11: New page: Briz-M upper stage

2016 March 3: New page: Proton launch with ExoMars-2016

2016 Feb. 26: New page: Schiaparelli (EDM) Mars lander

2016 Feb. 16: New page: Sentinel-3A

2016 Feb. 6: New page: GLONASS-51

2016 Feb. 4: New page: Luna-9

2016 Feb. 2: Update: Spektr-RG; 2015, 2016 mission status, imagery

2016 Jan. 25: Update: Spektr-UF; 2015 mission status

2016 Jan. 21: Update: Angara-5P; info, imagery

2016 Jan. 15: Update: PTK project in 2015; info, imagery

2016 Jan. 11: Update: Soyuz-5 (Feniks) project; info, imagery

2016 Jan. 8: New page: Proton operations in 2016

2015 Dec. 29: Update: 2015 in space: Highlights of the year

2015 Dec. 28: Update: Vostochny development in 2015: End-of-year activities

2015 Dec. 21: New page: Ekspress-AMU1

2015 Dec. 21: New page: Progress-MS

2015 Dec. 14: New page: Soyuz TMA-19M mission

2015 Dec. 12-13: Update: Garpun military communications satellite: info, imagery on Garpun 12L launch

2015 Dec. 11: New page: Elektro-L2 weather satellite

2015 Dec. 4: New page: Kanopus-ST satellite

2015 Nov. 19: New page: Nord project

2015 Nov. 16: New section: EKS satellite system

2015 Nov. 8: New page: MOB1-KVTK space tug

2015 Oct. 9: New page: Luna-Glob project in 2015

2015 Oct. 5: New page: PTK project in 2015

2015 Sept. 29: New page: Progress M-29M

2015 Sept. 24: Update: Rodnik satellites: Ninth mission info, hardware visualizations, launch profile graphic

2015 Sept. 23: New page: Block DM-03 space tug

2015 Sept. 7: New page: Soyuz-2 rockets for Vostochny

2015 Aug. 31: New page: Mission of Soyuz TMA-18M

2015 Aug. 24: New page: Soyuz launch control room

2015 July 21: New page: R-6 missile

2015 July 20: New page: Soyuz TMA-17M

2015 July 8: Update: Kosmos-2504: project info

2015 July 2: New page: Progress M-28M

2015 June 29: New page: Proton’s RD-0210 engine

2015 June 23-24: Update: Persona, Kobalt-M: ground track maps, launch videos, photos, hardware visualizations, info

2015 June 22: New page: Ground control in Vostochny

2015 June 18: Update: N1 Moon Rocket: imagery

2015 June 14: New page: Angara-5/KVTK launch vehicle

2015 June 6: Update: Lotos-S/Liana/Pion-NKS: info

2015 June 5: Update: Kobalt-M, Kosmos-2505 launch info, imagery

2015 June 4: New page: RD-0212; update: Proton home page: info, imagery

2015 May 15: New page: RD-181

2015 May 15: New page: Proton launch with MexSat-1

2015 May 10: New page: URM-2V booster for the Angara-5V rocket

2015 April 27: New page: Progress M-27M

2015 April 18: New page: Kosmos-2504

2015 April 13: Update: Angara-5V info, imagery

2015 April 4: Update: KompSat-3A info, imagery, launch video

2015 March 25: New page: Dnepr launch with KompSat-3A

2015 March 22: New page: Angara-5V

2015 March 18: New page: Ekspress-AM7

2015 March 3: New page: Roskosmos

2015 Feb. 29: New pages: Yantar-1KFT Kometa, Bars, Bars-M military cartography satellites

2015 Feb. 18: New page: Vostochny airport

2015 Feb. 17: New page: Soyuz rocket missions in 2015

2015 Feb. 16: New page: Progress M-26M

2015 Feb. 5: New page: Vostochny development in 2015

2015 Jan. 20: New page: RD-191 engine

2015 Jan. 12: Update: NEM module info, imagery, visualizations

2015 Jan. 5: Update: High-Latitude Orbital Station, VShOS (station assembly renderings; Soyuz landing info)

2015 Jan. 4: Update: Vostochny development in 2014 (year-end status update)

2014 Dec. 28: New page: Resurs-P2

2014 Dec. 27: New page: Astra-2G

2014 Dec. 15: New page: Super-heavy launcher

2014 Dec. 12: New page: Yamal-401

2014 Dec. 10: New page: Energia-5KV

2014 Dec. 4: New page: Proton missions in 2015

2014 Nov. 30: New page: GLONASS-K No. 12 launch; Update: info, imagery: GLONASS-K series

2014 Nov. 21: New page: Mission of Soyuz TMA-15M

2014 Nov. 3: Update: OKA-T free-flying orbital laboratory: info on Kremlin reaction; tech specs for OKA-T-MKS; early info on OKA-T-2, budget and more; imagery: evolution of OKA-T design

2014 Oct. 30: New page: Kosmos-2499

2014 Oct. 29: New page: Meridian-7

2014 Oct. 28: New page: Progress M-25M

2014 Oct. 26: New page: Kondor-E radar satellite; Update, info, imagery: Strela launcher

2014 Oct. 12: New section: Voskhod mission

2014 Sept. 26: New page: Olymp satellite

2014 Sept. 25: New page: How Soyuz is published

2014 Sept. 23: New page: Soyuz TMA-14M mission

2014 Sept. 8: New page: Residential area in Vostochny

2014 Sept. 4: New page: Energia-M launch vehicle

2014 Aug. 29: New page: Space exploration in 2025

2014 July 31: Update: Vostochny development in 2014: Soyuz pad construction status, info, images

2014 July 29: New page: ExoMars mission status in 2014

2014 July 28: New page: RD-0120 engine

2014 July 24: Update: First flight of the Angara-5 rocket (A computer-generated cross section of the Angara-5/Briz-M configuration)

2014 July 18: New page: Foton-M4 mission

2014 July 17: Update: Inflatable module (info, images)

2014 July 15: New page: Angara-5

2014 July 7: New page: Meteor-M No. 2

2014 July 3: New page: The second launch of the N1 rocket

2014 June 30: New page: LK/LK-1 project

2014 June 26: Update: Angara home page

2014 June 17: New pages: URM-1 and URM-2 rocket modules of the Angara family

2014 May 28: New page: Soyuz TMA-13M (Expedition 40/41)

2014 May 19: New page: VR-3 rocket

2014 April 20: Update: Spektr-RG — project status report for 2013, 2014, history, technical details, info

2014 April 18: Update: NIP-16 in Yevpatoria — a photo-essay from the location

2014 April 15: New page: Egyptsat-2

2014 April 8: New page: Second stage of the Soyuz rocket

2014 April 7: New page: First stage of the Soyuz rocket

2014 April 6: New page, Angara-1: Angara-1 to inaugurate new rocket family

2014 April 2: New page, Sentinel-1A: Soyuz launches European radarsat

2014 April 2: New section: 3MV project:

2014 March 25: New page: Soyuz TMA-12M (Expedition 39/40)

2014 March 24: New page, NIP-16 ground station: Crimean space connection

2014 March 4: New page: ExoMars to pave the way for soil sample return (Expedition-M project)

2014 Feb. 21: New page: First launch of the N1 rocket

2014 Feb. 20: New page: Proton missions in 2014

2014 Feb. 16: New page: Hot breath of Kholod

2014 Feb. 5: New page: Proton launch with Turksat-4A satellite

2014 Feb. 5: New pages: Mission of Progress M-22M; Soyuz rocket missions in 2014

2014 Feb. 3: New page, NEM-1: Russia works on a new-generation space module

2014 Jan. 29: New page, Vehicle 212: Cruise missile is born in the midst of “Great terror”

2014 Jan. 27: New page, Vostochny: Construction in Vostochny to enter critical phase in 2014

2014 Jan. 20: New page, Vostochny: Vostochny turns from clay to stone in 2013

2014 Jan. 14: Update: info, imagery: Persona reconnaissance satellite

2014 Jan. 8: Update, Soyuz-2-3 launch vehicle: Triumph of Soyuz-2-1v opens door to future launchers

2014 Jan. 2: New page, Luna 1: USSR launches the first artificial planet

2013 Dec. 31: Update (Laplas-P mission): Russia funds a proposal to land on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede

2013 Dec. 26: New page: Proton launches Ekspress-AM5 communications satellite

2013 Dec. 21: New page: Soyuz-2-1v to fly its maiden mission

2013 Dec. 19: New page: Russia plans star-mapping satellite

2013 Dec. 18: New section: Visual history of astronomical tools

2013 Dec. 8: New page: Proton launches Inmarsat-5 F1 satellite

2013 Nov. 22: New page: Rockot successfully launches Swarm satellites

2013 Nov. 17: New page: Strizh rescue suit for Buran pilots

2013 Nov. 3: New page: Anapa asteroid-orbiting mission

2013 Oct. 29: New page: Arktika satellite network

2013 Oct. 19: New page: Proton mission to launch Sirius FM-6 satellite

2013 Oct. 17: New page: Space developments in 2023

2013 Oct. 14: New page: Kaskad launcher family proposal

2013 Oct. 9: New page: Mayak launcher

2013 Oct. 3: New page: Angara-5P;

2013 Oct. 1: New page: Russian manned space program strategy in 2010s;

2013 Sept. 29: Updated and expanded: A virtual guide to the Proton rocket (Home page);

2013 Sept. 27: New page: A Proton mission to launch Astra-2E satellite;

2013 Sept. 23: New page: Soyuz TMA-10M mission;

2013 Sept. 19: New page: MAKS 2013 air and space show photo archive;

2013 Sept. 9: New page: Orlan MKS spacesuit;

2013 Sept. 4: New page: Cheget cosmonaut chair;

2013 Aug. 31: New page: Zenit launch with AMOS-4 satellite: info, imagery;

2013 Aug. 30: Update: PTK NP’s landing gear: Info, imagery;

2013 Aug. 29: Update: Descent module of PTK NP spacecraft: Info, imagery on the toilet system;

2013 Aug. 28: Update: PTK NP development in 2013: Info, imagery from MAKS-2013 air and space show;

2013 Aug. 21: Update: ExoMars 2018: info, imagery;

2013 Aug. 15: New page: Inflatable space structures;

2013 July 30: New page: Super-heavy launchers proposed by TsSKB Progress;

2013 July 27: New page: Progress M-20M mission;

2013 July 11: New page: Mars-69 missions;

2013 July 8: New pages, content split: Proton launch facilities in Baikonur:

2013 July 1: Content split, new page: GLONASS network section home; GLONASS satellite missions;

2013 June 25: Update: Obzor-R: info, imagery;

2013 June 24: Update: PTK NP development in 2013, Descent Module of PTK NP: info, imagery from Le Bourget;

2013 June 23: Update: Soyuz-5 rocket: info, imagery;

2013 June 21: New page: A Soyuz mission to launch O3b satellites;

2013 June 16: New page: Soyuz-5 rocket;

2013 June 12: New section: Missions of Vostok-5 and Vostok-6;

2013 June 2: New page: A Proton mission delivering SES-6 satellite;

2013 May 30: New page: Treadmill system on the Service Module of the ISS;

2013 May 28: New page: Soyuz TMA-09M;

2013 May 18: New page: Landing of Bion M No. 1 spacecraft;

2013 May 15: Update: PTK NP landing gear: imagery; Update: PTK NP development in 2013: info, imagery;

2013 May 15: New page: Sputnik-3 launch;

2013 May 13: New page: Plans for military uses of the N1 Moon rocket;

2013 May 5: New page: PTK NP spacecraft development in 2013;

2013 April 25: New page: Landing gear of PTK-NP spacecraft;

2013 April 23: New page: Bion-M No. 1 mission;

2013 April 22: New page: Vozvrat-MKA;

2013 April 18: New page: Bion project home page;

2013 April 15: New page: Proton mission to launch Anik G1 satellite;

2013 April 11: New page: Mars-3’s likely landing site;

2013 April 10: New page: Angara launch facility in Vostochny;

2013 April 7: New page: Luna-Glob mission status in 2013;

2013 March 28: New page: Soyuz TMA-08M;

2013 March 26: New page: Proton mission to launch SatMex-8 satellite;

2013 March 20: New page: Book review: Russia’s Future in Space, The Untold Story;

2013 March 10: New page: Mars sample return;

2013 March 6: Update: Crew module of the PTK NP spacecraft; (A series of renderings showing evolution of the crew module design from 2010 till today);

2013 Feb. 20: Update: PTK NP spacecraft development in 2012 (Info on the PTK NP emergency escape trajectory, flight test program, etc); Descent module, VA of the PTK NP spacecraft (Info);

2013 Feb. 18: New page: Crew module of the PTK NP spacecraft;

2013 Feb. 11: New page: Soyuz rocket launches in 2013;

2013 Feb. 4: New page: RD-170/171 engine;

2013 Jan. 31: New pages, virtual model, imagery, content split: Zenit launch vehicle;

2013 Jan. 30: Update: South-Korean Launch Vehicle, KSLV-1: A virtual model of the rocket, photos, info;

2013 Jan. 29: New page: Laser tracking facilities;

2013 Jan. 27: New page: Laplas mission to Jupiter and its moons;

2013 Jan. 23: New page: Bion biological research satellite;

2013 Jan. 20: New page: DALS instrument package from the L3 project;

2013 Jan. 18: New page: Hypersonic vehicles;

2013 Jan. 16: New page: Proton missions in 2013;

2013 Jan. 15: New page: Rodnik military communications satellite;

2013 Jan. 13: New page: Processing area in Vostochny;

2013 Jan. 9: New page: Yenisei-5 launch vehicle;

2013 Jan. 7: New page: Spektr-M orbital observatory; Update: PTK NP spacecraft development in 2012: info, imagery;

2013 Jan. 2: Content split, new pages and updates: Soyuz-2-1v home page;

2012 Dec. 26: New page: Spektr-UF;

2012 Dec. 18: New pages: Obzor-O; Obzor-R, Soyuz TMA-07M;

2012 Dec. 17: Updates: Araks and Persona projects (info, imagery);

2012 Dec. 14: New page: Proton launch with Yamal-402 satellite;

2012 Dec. 4: Update: PTK NP spacecraft development in 2012 (interactive graphic; artist renderings, info);

2012 Nov. 30: Update: Sodruzhestvo launch vehicle (interactive graphic of manned lunar version; artist renderings);

2012 Nov. 29: New page: Intergelio-Zond mission;

2012 Nov. 26: New pages: Persona; Resurs-P;

2012 Nov. 13: New pages: Plesetsk launch sites for Soyuz rockets;

2012 Nov. 10: New pages: Luna-Resurs lander;

2012 Nov. 7: Update: Karat (MKA-FKI) platform and new pages on its derivatives:

2012 Nov. 3: Update: Laika’s launch on Sputnik-2: Info, imagery;

2012 Oct. 29: New page: Soyuz launch complex in Vostochny;

2012 Oct. 22: New pages: Cuban missile crisis; Soyuz TMA-06M;

2012 Oct. 15: New page: Space flight to Langrangian points;

2012 Oct. 3: Update: Origin of the Sputnik project, Object-D (Sputnik-3) project; Design of a simplest satellite (Sputnik-1); Preparing for launch; Launch of Sputnik-1; Aftermath of Sputnik: Info, imagery;

2012 Sept. 30: Update: Status of the PTK NP project during 2012: Artist rendering of the PTK spacecraft and the Earth departure stage in lunar orbit;

2012 Sept. 24: New page: Status of the PTK NP project during 2012; Update: MLM (FGB-2) module: info, rendering, photography;

2012 Sept. 17: New page: MetOp weather-forecasting satellites;

2012 Aug. 15: New page: SKA radar satellite ;

2012 Aug. 11: New page: Vostok-3 and Vostok-4 dual mission ;

2012 Aug. 10: New page: Ekspress-1000N;

2012 Aug. 7: New page: Ekspress-MD2;

2012 Aug. 5: New page: ExoMars 2018;

2012 July 20: New page: Kanopus-V; Karat; Update: BelKA;

2012 July 14: New page: Soyuz TMA-05M; Update: Phobos-Grunt-2; Lunar plans in 2012;

2012 July 8: New page: Briz upper stage;

2012 May 14: New page: Docking systems;

2012 April 23: New page: Mission to Apophis;

2012 April 9: New page: Mercury-P;

2012 April 6: New page: Mars-NET;

2012 April 5: New page: Phobos-Grunt-2;

2012 April 4: New page: Plans for unmanned missions to the Moon as of 2012;

2012 Feb. 14: New page: Proton missions in 2012;

2012 Feb. 12: New page: Vega launch vehicle;

2012 Jan. 15: New page: Mars-96;

2011 Dec. 28: New page: Globalstar-2 missions;

2011 Dec. 24: New page: Meridian No. 5 launch failure;

2011 Dec. 23: New page: RD-0124 engine;

2011 Dec. 21: New page: Kosmos-482 (Venera-72 No. 671);

2011 Dec. 20: New page: Soyuz TMA-03M;

2011 Dec. 14: New page: Boris Chertok;

2011 Dec. 11: New page: Luch relay satellites;

2011 Dec. 10: New page: Phobos-Grunt reentry; Luch-5A relay satellite;

2011 Nov. 27: New page: Russian space industry in 2010s;

2011 Nov. 22: New page: ExoMars 2016, Zenit’s second stage;

2011 Nov. 8: New page: Launch of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft;

2011 Nov. 7: New page: Phobos (Fobos) mission;

2011 Nov. 7: New page: Origin of the Phobos-Grunt mission;

2011 Oct. 30: Update: Naryad killer satellite system: info, imagery;

2011 Oct. 20: New page: Galileo satellite;

2011 Sept. 21: New page: Garpun military data relay satellite;

2011 Sept. 20: New page: Ekspress-AM4 communications satellite;

2011 Aug. 28: New page: RD-0110 engine; Stage III of the Soyuz rocket;

2011 Aug. 25: New page: Progress M-12M launch failure;

2011 Aug. 22: New page: MAKS-2011 photo report;

2011 Aug. 12: New page: Sich-2 satellite;

2011 Aug. 6: New page: Gherman Titov’s mission onboard Vostok-2;

2011 July 22: New page: Spektr-R orbital mission;

2011 July 7: New page: Rheinbote missile;

2011 June 30: New page: PTK NP project development during 2011;

2011 June 21: New page: Paris Air and Space Show in Le Bourget;

2011 June 13: New page: Phobos-Grunt development during 2011;

2011 June 13: Update: Luna-Resurs; Luna-Resurs landing; Luna-Glob: info, imagery on the latest architecture and flight scenarios;

2011 June 8: New page: Spektr-R home page;

2011 June 7: New page: Soyuz TMA-02M;

2011 May 20: New page: Proton operations in 2011;

2011 May 7: New page: Design of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft;

2011 May 6: Update: RT-1 ballistic missile: info, imagery;

2011 April 26-27: New page: Excalibur-Almaz;

2011 April 18: New page: Russian space industry in 2000s;

2011 April 13: Update: Block D space tug: info, photography, artist rendering; Origin of the Vostok spacecraft: info, imagery;

2011 April 11: New page: The Vostok launch vehicle;

2011 April 10: Update and restructuring: Gagarin’s flight onboard Vostok;

2011 April 4: New page: Soyuz TMA-21;

2011 March 11: Update: Soyuz habitation module, RT-1 ballistic missile: info, imagery;

2011 March 10: Update: LK lunar lander: info, imagery;

2011 Feb. 25: New page: GLONASS-K;

2011 Feb. 1: New page: Geo-IK-2, Musson (Geo-IK) and Sfera geodetic satellites;

2011 Jan. 19: New page: Elektro-L weather satellite; Navigator spacecraft bus; Update: Fregat upper stage;

2010 Dec. 21: Update: Luna-Glob mission scenario: details, imagery;

2010 Dec. 15: New page: Venera-7;

2010 Dec. 13: New page: Soyuz TMA-20;

2010 Nov. 19: New page: Luna-Resurs landing;

2010 Nov. 17: New page: Phobos-Grunt mission scenario;

2010 Nov. 12: Update: Habitation module of the Soyuz spacecraft: info, imagery;

2010 Nov. 7: Update: PTK NP development in 2010: imagery – rendering of the expendable cargo-delivery vehicle;

2010 Nov. 2: New page: PTK-Z spacecraft;

2010 Oct. 25: Updated: Rus-M technical project, Vostochny facilities; info, imagery;

2010 Oct. 17: Updated: Landing system of the PTK NP spacecraft, OPSEK, PTK NP mods: info, visualization imagery;

2010 Oct. 11: Updated: Luna-Glob/Luna-Resurs: Mission status/science payload info; an image of the latest design for orbiters;

2010 Oct. 6: New page: Soyuz TMA-M series; Soyuz TMA-01M mission;

2010 Oct. 1: New page: Molniya rocket;

2010 Sept. 8: New page: Gonets/Strela;

2010 Sept. 6: Updated: Unmanned missions to the Moon: info;

2010 Aug. 12: New page: Luna-Glob;

2010 July 21-22: Update: PTK NP development in 2010: info, imagery;

2010 July 21: New page: Space at Farnborough 2010;

2010 July 7: Update: Soyuz-1 launcher: info, imagery;

2010 June 22: New page: Luna-24;

2010 June 21: New page: Spektr-RG;

2010 June 18: New page: NK-33 engine;

2010 June 15: New page: Soyuz TMA-19;

2010 May 26: Update: Phobos-Grunt preparation: soil sampler info, hardware images;

2010 May 14: New page: MIM1 Rassvet module of the ISS;

2010 May 2: New page: Space exploration in 2016;

2010 April 27: New page: Parus;

2010 April 16: New page: Kobalt-M;

2010 April 2: New page: Soyuz TMA-18;

2010 March 10: Update: Phobos-Grunt preparation: soil sampler replacement, test prototype images;

2010 Feb. 28: Update: IS, Naryad anti-satellite systems: info, imagery;

2010 Jan. 26: New page: PTK NP project during 2010;

2010 Jan. 20: New page: Node Module for the ISS;

2010 Jan. 12: New page: Progress-Centaur combination for cargo supply to the lunar orbit;

2010 Jan. 4-5: Update: Space exploration in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013: info, imagery;

2010 Jan. 1: New page: Space exploration in 2015;

2009 Dec. 25: Update: Space exploration in 2009;

2009 Dec. 20: New page: Soyuz TMA-17; update: Enterprise/MIM-1: US post-arrival images;

2009 Dec. 18: New page: NITs RKP space center, a.k.a. Zagorsk, Sergiev Posad, Peresvet;

2009 Dec. 15-17: Update: GLONASS network: info, imagery;

2009 Nov. 9: Update: ISS docking compartment/Mini-research module: interactive graphic, info, photos;

2009 Oct. 30: Update: Site 254 in Baikonur: info, photos;

2009 Oct. 24: Update: Phobos-Grunt preparation: mission status, test prototype image;

2009 Oct. 7: New page: Venera-D;

2009 Sept. 28: Update: Site-250/Baiterek complex: info, imagery;

2009 Sept. 10: New page: Soyuz-1 rocket;

2009 Sept. 6: Update: Rus-M rocket: an artist rendering of the Rus-M launch with the PTK NP spacecraft;

2009 Sept. 2: Update: PPTS spacecraft: artwork reflecting data from MAKS-2009 – thermal protection tiles, laser-guided rendezvous system, aerodynamic flaps, rotating solar arrays, reconfigured sensors, antennas, propulsion and attitude control systems, an external umbilical from crew module to service module, reshaped forward thruster gondola on the crew module;

2009 Aug. 26: Update: Rus-M rocket: artist rendering of the Rus-M family based on official info from MAKS-2009; Phobos-Grunt: info, MAKS-2009 scale models imagery of the spacecraft, Chinese microsatellite;

2009 Aug. 25: Update: Angara rocket: Korean launch vehicle, KSLV, info;

2009 Aug. 24: Update: Rus-M rocket: info, photos from MAKS-2009;

2009 Aug. 21: Update: PPTS spacecraft: info, photos from MAKS-2009;

2009 Aug. 20: New page: MAKS-2009 highlights;

2009 July 20: Update: LK lunar lander: virtual model of the spacecraft;

2009 July 3: New page: OPSEK: Russian-European plans to succeed the ISS: info, imagery, animation;

2009 June 26: Update: ARD: info, imagery on Phase A work;

2009 June 24: Update: Angara rocket: info, imagery;

2009 June 23: Update: Fregat upper stage: S5.92 engine info, imagery; Rus-M: development info;

2009 June 22: Update: Phobos-Grunt: propulsion system, scale model info, imagery; PPTS: RKK Energia chief comments on the development budget; RD-0146: 1 to 5 model photo;

Angara-7: info, imagery from Le Bourget 2009;

2009 June 18: Update: Le Bourget 2009: Mars rover demo video; photos from the show;

2009 June 15: New page: Le Bourget 2009: Show highlights;

2009 June 4: Update: Launch vehicle for PPTS project: info based on the official tender documentation;

2009 May 25: Update: Phobos-Grunt mission details on pre-launch processing, based on Georgy Poleshyuk interview to the Russian media;

2009 May 13: New page: RD-0146: History of the project, technical estimates, imagery;

2009 May 5: New page: Development of the landing system for the PPTS spacecraft: info, animation and imagery of the possible PPTS emergency landing profile;

2009 April 28: Update: Russia’s next-generation spacecraft within PPTS project: Animation of the spacecraft touchdown;

2009 April 11: Update: Launch vehicle for PPTS project: info, photo, artist rendering;

2009 March 20: Update: Launch vehicle for PPTS project: Artist rendering of the launch vehicle proposed by RKK Energia, Angara-5P photo, info;

2009 March 19: Update: Launch vehicle for PPTS project: Artist rendering of the launch vehicle family based on RD-180 engine;

2009 March 17: New page: Launch vehicle for PPTS project;

2009 Feb. 22: Update: Soyuz, Vega launch pads in French Guiana. Construction, upgrades status;

2009 Feb. 12: Update: Military spacecraft: Artist rendering of the Strela-2M communications satellite;

2009 Feb. 8: Update: Phobos-Grunt mission composite of TV frames showing hardware assembly; official statement maintaining 2009 launch date;

2009 Feb. 1: Update: Russian plans for new space station; Star City transfer from Air Force to Roskosmos;

2009 Jan. 28: New page: Koronas-Foton project;

2009 Jan. 26: Update: Launch schedule for 2009;

2009 Jan. 9: Update: Russian space program in 2000-2010: Tender for the next-generation rocket for manned space flight;

2008 Dec. 30: Update: 2008 — Top 10 space achievements of the year;

2008 Nov. 24: Update: ARD: Artist rendering of the Advanced Reentry Vehicle;

2008 Nov. 15: New page: Spiral development: info, artwork, photography;

2008 Oct. 14: New page: Soyuz TMA-13 mission (The 18th long-duration expedition to the ISS);

2008 Oct. 9: Update: History of ACTS project: Artist renderings of launch-vehicles proposed for the next-generation spacecraft;

2008 Oct. 7: New page: Kummersdorf: info, on-location photos, historic imagery, cartography, artwork;

2008 Oct. 4: Update: The Hs-293 cruise missile, Blizna test site: photos, info;

2008 Sept. 8: New page: N1_ru – the first Russian language test page;

2008 Aug. 25: Update: History of ACTS project: Flight profile animation, still imagery: Launch; Technical information on the spacecraft; characteristics and project requirements;

2008 Aug. 20: Update: History of ACTS project: Flight profile animation: Deorbiting maneuver;

2008 Aug. 20: New page: Future missions: 2012, 2013, 2014;

2008 Aug. 14: Update: History of ACTS project: Flight profile animation: Orbit insertion;

2008 Aug. 11: Update: History of ACTS project: Artist renderings of the July 2008 configuration of the ACTS spacecraft and its flight phases;

2008 July 29: Update: ACTS project: New abstract page, artist rendering of the ACTS spacecraft interior;

2008 July 18: Update: ACTS project: Artist rendering of the ACTS spacecraft based on the configuration revealed at the Farnborough Air Show;

2008 July 15: Update: Early rocketry: info, imagery;

2008 July 10: Update: Soyuz TMA-12 mission: EVA info, info-graphic;

2008 June 23: New page: Preparing Phobos-Grunt for launch; Update: Phobos-Grunt project: Mass breakdown of the Phobos-Grunt mission;

2008 June 18: New page: Phobos-Grunt project: info, imagery on the final architecture of the mission;

2008 June 15: Update: Russian space program in the first decade of the 21st century: info, imagery on Russia’s science and planetary missions;

2008 June 8: New page: ILA-2008: Photo-reportage from the Berlin air and space show;

2008 June 4: Update: ACTS project: information, artist renderings on the latest version of the ACTS spacecraft;

2008 May 29: Update: European manned spacecraft: information, photography from the ILA-2008 show in Berlin;

2008 April 28: Update: Soyuz TMA-11 mission: account of landing incident, artist renderings;

2008 April 7: New page: Soyuz TMA-12 mission;

2008 March 17: Updated: ATV: History of the program;

2008 March 16: New page: Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator, ARD; Update: ATV: Video, photos of the launch;

2008 March 6-9: Update: Kourou launch site; ATV spacecraft: initial imagery from the trip to French Guiana;

2008 March 4: New page: ATV: History of the program;

2008 Feb. 19: New page: Lunar Orbital Station, LOS: Visualization of a conceptual design;

2008 Feb. 7: New page: Columbus laboratory module: European segment of the ISS;

2008 Feb. 2: Update: Soyuz/ACTS project: news; artist rendering of the ACTS crew module and the Soyuz spacecraft to scale;

2008 Jan. 24: Update: Soyuz/ACTS project: news/historical information; Svobodny/Vostochny: news/historical information;

2008 Jan. 5: Update: Soyuz/ACTS project: artist renderings of a prospective design of the Russian lunar lander;

2008 Jan. 3: New page: Russian space program: A decade review (2000-2010): History, imagery;

2007 Nov. 27: Update: Svobodny/Vostochny: Map of launch trajectories and first stage drop zones

2007 Nov. 26: New page: Soyuz ACRV: History, imagery

2007 Nov. 20: Update: Origin of the Soyuz/ACTS project: info-graphic of Soyuz, ATV and Soyuz/ACRV vehicles to scale

2007 Nov. 17: New page: Sea Launch: a sea-based launch site

2007 Nov. 2: New page: Sputnik-2: The 50th anniversary of Laika’s launch: history, photos, illustrations, animation of the mission

2007 Oct. 7: Update: Site 112 in Baikonur: imagery

2007 Sept. 29: Update: Sputnik design: imagery, technical information

2007 Sept. 24: New page: Biography of Mikhail Tikhonravov, a pioneer of the Soviet rocketry and space program

Update: Ground control (Sputnik tracking info):

2007 Sept. 6: Update: The Hs-293 cruise missile: Hardware photos; historic imagery

2007 Aug. 2: Update: Svobodny: info on the closure of the facility; plans for the new launch site in the Far East

2007 June 21: Update: Soyuz/ACTS project: animation, still imagery of the docking between Soyuz ACTS spacecraft and the KVRB space tug

2007 May 28: Update: Soyuz ACTS: artist renderings of the Soyuz/Fregat combination, description of additional lunar mission scenarios

2007 May 14: Update: The R-7 rocket: artist renderings, historic imagery, information

2007 April 24: Update: video of the 8th Dnepr launch

2007 March 2: New page: ACTS development history

2007 Feb. 7: Update: Artist rendering of the Progress M2 spacecraft

2007 Feb. 1: New page: The Zenit-3SL rocket failure on the Sea Launch platform

2007 Jan. 17: New page: 2007 in space: Trends and developments, 2008, 2009, 2010

2007 Jan. 12: Update: Korolev: biography, historic and contemporary imagery

2006 Nov. 4: Update: Soyuz/ACTS project: mission scenario info, artist renderings, animation of circumlunar flight

2006 Sept. 26: Update: Soyuz/ACTS project: artist rendering of the early European-Russian cooperation concept

2006 July 27: New page: BelKA remote-sensing satellite

2006 July 11: Update: Dombarovskiy ICBM and space launch site: cartography, imagery, historic data

2006 June 15: New page: Resurs-DK remote-sensing satellite

2006 June 12: Update: Follow-on to the TKS spacecraft: proposals to the government tender on the Kliper project

2006 May 27: New page: Compass science satellite

2006 May 25: New page: Soyuz-2-3 launch vehicle

2006 March 30: New page: ISS mission chronology (a complete list of past and future ISS missions

2006 March 29: New page: The Soyuz TMA-8 mission

2006 March 26: Update: Kliper in 2006: animation and still imagery of the Kliper docking with the Parom orbital tug

2006 Feb. 19: New page: Mir chronology (year by year)

2006 Feb. 18: Updated and expanded: Kliper, (abstract page)

2006 Jan. 2: Update: Parom orbital tug – information and imagery on the cargo carrier

2005 Oct. 10: Update: Soyuz-3 launch vehicle – Artist rendering of the Soyuz-3 launch, carrying the Kliper spacecraft

2005 Oct. 1: New page: Soyuz TMA-7 mission

2005 Sept. 18: Update: Kliper spacecraft – 3D imagery of separation of the launch vehicle adapter and propulsion module

2005 Sept. 2: Update: Kliper spacecraft – 3D animation of the spacecraft orbital insertion

2005 Sept. 1: Update: Kliper spacecraft – 3D animation of the spacecraft segmentation

2005 Aug. 30: Update: Kliper spacecraft – infographic of the spacecraft segmentation

2005 July 24: New page: Kourou launch site

2005 June 23: Update: Kliper spacecraft – Photos of the latest version mockup in Le Bourget

2005 June 9: Update: Kliper spacecraft – 3D animation and rendering of orbital insertion

Partners announced in latest NASA commercial collaboration – SpaceFlight Insider

Spaceflight Insider

In late December of 2014, NASA announced the participation of four companies collaborating in the space agency’s unfunded milestone program to develop greater private space capacity. The selection comes after a year of intense private-public partnerships intended by the space agency to encourage innovation across America’s aerospace industry.

The Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC) program is part of the family of Space Act Agreements (SAAs). These agreements require no federal funding for the private partners, but allow NASA to contribute technical training, technology exchanges, and research data. In so doing, the agency acts as a clearinghouse for information, facilitating not only the faster development of private capabilities, but also helping to promote inter-industry platforms capable of interoperating. This ensures greater cost saving for NASA and a variety of private contractors.

“As with NASA’s previous unfunded commercial partnerships, U.S. companies significantly benefit from the agency’s extensive infrastructure, experience and knowledge in spaceflight development and operations,” According to NASA’s director of commercial spaceflight development Phil McAlister,

According to the NASA press release, the four companies selected to participate in CCSC include:

ATK Space Systems, in Beltsville, Maryland, is developing space logistics, hosted payload and other space transportation capabilities.

Final Frontier Design, in Brooklyn, New York, is developing intra-vehicular activity space suits.

Space Exploration Technologies, in Hawthorne, California, is developing space transportation capabilities that could be used to support missions into deep space.

United Launch Alliance, in Centennial, Colorado, is developing new launch vehicle capabilities to reduce cost and enhance performance.

NASA Solicits New Collaborative Partnerships with Commercial Space Industry. Image Credit: NASA

“Companies in all shapes and sizes are investing their own capital toward innovative commercial space capabilities. These awards demonstrate the diversity and maturity of the commercial space industry. We look forward to working with these partners to advance space capabilities and make them available to NASA and other customers in the coming years,” McAlister said.

“The growing U.S. commercial spaceflight industry is opening low-Earth orbit in ways that will improve lives on Earth, drive economic growth and power 21st century innovations. As NASA again pioneers a path into deep space, we look forward to sharing our 50 years of spaceflight experience and fostering partnerships in ways that benefit our nation’s ambitious spaceflight goals,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations.

This concept images shows ARM robotic capture Option B, in which the robotic vehicle ascends from the surface of a large asteroid, on its way to a lunar distant retrograde orbit with a smaller asteroid mass in its clutches. Image and Caption Credit: NASA

The selection of these companies comes only around nine months after NASA posted the announcement for CCSC. A request for information (RFI ) was issued eight months earlier, in July 2013, as NASA explored the potential outcomes of such an initiative. A milestones calendar on NASA’s procurement website indicates that, thus far, the project is well on schedule.

Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities is the last of a long line of private/public partnerships launched by NASA in the past few years. Others include the Commercial Crew Program, an innovation to develop private industry spacecraft to take NASA astronauts to low-Earth orbit (LEO), and Commercial Resupply Missions, an ongoing effort to have private companies provide supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Both of those initiatives fall under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) umbrella. Still other partnerships include the Lunar CATALYST program, for a robotic lander on the moon, and the Asteroid Redirect Mission Broad Agency, convened to explore options for NASA’s endeavor to capture and visit an asteroid.

NASA’s hope is that such initiatives provide cost-effective services for the agency, rewarding partners for their participation with access to advanced R&D and the potential for lucrative contracts in the future.

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НК – Vector Wolverine от Vector Space

Spaceflightinsider partners

Mass To Orbit
45 kg to 28 degree orbit
35 kg to 98 degree orbit

Oxidizer: Liquid Oxygen
Fuel: Advanced Propylene

1st Stage: 3x 5000lb
2nd stage: 1x 800 lb
Pressure fed / no pumps

Launch Sites
Kodiak AK: 90-100 degree orbits
Cap Canaveral FL: 28-58 degree orbits

Launch Rates
IOC: 12 per year
FOC: 100/year

Carbon Fiber
7X Reduction In Parts Count
Reusable First Stage

Payload Accommodation
1U, 3U, 12U without dispensers
Micro/Small satellites

12m tall x 1.1m diameter
685 kg Dry Mass / 5100 kg GLOW

Demonstrated reusable 1st stage
Parachute / UAV Recovery
Post flight refurbishment

Prototype suborbital flight

Vector lift mass from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA).

Vector lift mass from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA) with the optional electric third stage which launches to a 200-250 km circular orbit and raises the inserted satellite mass to desired orbit altitude with minimal mass required.

Fairing volume. Dimensions are in inches.

Tiny rocket company aims for 100 launches a year—and it just might succeed
Vector Space Systems completes a successful test flight and has its first customer.

Eric Berger – 8/2/2016, 6:05 PM

Alone in the Mojave desert, the tiny rocket stood barely as tall as a basketball goal backboard. Launch control was a laptop inside a nearby bunker, and the small gathering of aerospace engineers and investors seemed almost like a rocket hobby club as it watched the vehicle soar to about 5,000 feet before parachuting back to Earth. But this scene may have represented something much more than that. With its small-scale test Saturday, the company Vector Space Systems took another step toward upending the rapidly expanding small satellite launch market.
Not since the Germans and their V-2 rockets during World War II has anyone launched more than a few dozen of the same rockets per year. Now, within about five years Vector intends to launch as many as 100 of its 13-meter-tall Wolverine vehicles annually, with a capability to put a 50kg satellite into low-Earth orbit. The company aims to fill a niche below the current generation of launchers being developed by companies such as RocketLab and Virgin Galactic, with rockets capable of delivering 200 to 250kg satellites to low-Earth orbit.
So far, it seems like a good bet. On Tuesday morning, Vector announced that it has acquired its first customer, Finnish-based Iceye, to conduct 21 launches of the company’s commercial synthetic aperture radar satellite constellation. “Getting your satellite into orbit is one of the biggest challenges for new-space companies, but there just isn’t the launch capacity right now,” Iceye Chief Executive Rafal Modrzewski said in a news release.

Small satellites, big market
The two companies are already working together. According to Jim Cantrell, chief executive of Vector Space Systems, Saturday’s test flight in Mojave, California, carried a prototype of an Iceye microsatellite core computing and communications systems to see if it would survive launch conditions (it did). Vector’s sub-scale launcher, named the P-20, also tested some prototype upper stage engines.
The test will help Vector finalize design of its Wolverine rocket, which is based upon technology fr om Garvey Spacecraft Corporation. The two-stage rocket will be powered by liquid fuels, and it’s made of all composites. Gross liftoff weight is 5 tons. Vector intends to offer small satellite companies the capability to launch within three months of demand into any desired orbit from Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska or Cape Canaveral in Florida. Launch costs will range from $2 million to $3 million (£1.5 to £2.2 million).
Vector is betting on demand to grow for constellations of satellites that are 50kg or smaller, which may include a configuration of several cubesats. Right now these customers have to share rides on larger launch vehicles, and in an interview with Ars, Cantrell said the primary payload determines when and wh ere the satellites get released in space. “It’s almost like they are children sitting at the table, to be spoken to and not heard, and to wait until the parents are gone before they can be dropped off,” Cantrell said.
Vector expects companies to be enticed by the opportunity to determine when they launch and what orbit they’re delivered to in space. The company can also offer a consistent launch interface on the same rocket every time. With that approach, Vector may be proven right. In addition to Iceye, Cantrell is in discussions with four other satellite constellation companies. “I’ll be honest, it’s going better than I ever thought,” he said. “It’s been surprising. The customer response to this vehicle has been tremendous. It’s conceivable we could have a full manifest in short order.”

More than a paper rocket
In reality, Vector is aiming to become the first mass-produced rocket company. SpaceX, on a good year, now launches a dozen times per year. It is seeking to double that total in 2017 or 2018 with its much larger Falcon 9 rocket. But with this much smaller, 13-meter-long rocket that can fit inside a semi-trailer, Vector believes it can increase the sale of launch much further. Instead of clearing millions of dollars per launch from a few launches a year, the company intends to make money by flying a lot. “The economics are different with the micromarket,” Cantrell said. “We’re looking at creating a fundamentally different business proposition than anyone else is looking at.”
Vector remains on track for its first orbital launch in 2018, Cantrell said, and the company aims to increase the launch cadence to about 100 vehicles per year by 2020 or 2021. Perhaps the biggest issue is range constraints—making sure the company has clearance from launch site officials. While Vector may do some launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, it will primarily operate from Alaska, which has a much less crowded range. That works out well, Cantrell said, because many of the polar orbits desired by customers are easier to reach from northern latitude launch sites.
For now, those remain big dreams. A contract from Iceye may validate Vector’s business plan and technical ideas for the Wolverine rocket, but Vector must still grow its small test rocket into the full-size model, and it must fly from 5,000 feet all the way into space. “The first thing we have to do is show the world we’re not a paper rocket,” Cantrell acknowledged.

Brian Berger ‏@ Berger_SN 6 ч.6 часов назад
Garvey: Vector can stay alive on 12 launches a year. Schneider: Rocket Lab “will survive on well less than 12 a year.” # WSBR

Brian Berger ‏@ Berger_SN 6 ч.6 часов назад
Garvey: Vector still debating whether minimum launch rate is 12x or 24x a year. # WSBR

Brian Berger ‏@ Berger_SN 6 ч.6 часов назад
Vector & Virgin Galactic counting on customers to pay more per kilogram for schedule certainty and a better ride. # WSBR

Vector Space Systems Announces $60M Agreement with York Space Systems
Partnership extends micro satellite launch capabilities and reduces cost to manufacture spacecraft, eliminating barriers for entrepreneurs
News provided by
Vector Space Systems
Oct 17, 2016, 10:00 ET

TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Vector Space Systems , a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch, today finalized an agreement with York Space Systems , an aerospace company specializing in small and medium class spacecraft, to conduct six satellite launches from 2019 through 2022 with the option for 14 additional launches. The first launch through the agreement will also be the inaugural launch of the Vector-H vehicle, which is capable of launching 100 kg into orbit, and will provide an integrated spacecraft to customers through a standardized platform.
York Space Systems will use the launches with Vector Space Systems to place their standardized S-Class satellite platform into orbit for commercial and government customers. York Space Systems’ satellites will also employ the unique Electric Upper Stage which uses Vector Space Systems’ propriety electric propulsion technology as the final insertion stage of the Vector-H to place the satellites into orbital altitudes up to 1000 km with zero loss of launch throw mass capability.
“Since our launch earlier this year, Vector has made it a priority to engage with partners who share our mission of making space more accessible to a new generation of innovators, and York Space Systems is a shining example of this type of partner,” said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector Space Systems. “By leveraging Vector’s low cost launch vehicle family, York Space Systems will now be able to offer more frequent low cost space access opportunities for new missions and data gathering missions, furthering our mission to eliminate the barriers for startups and entrepreneurs.”
York Space Systems currently focuses on small and medium spacecraft supporting a wide range of missions, including visible Earth Observation (EO), Infrared EO, Multispectral EO, Synthetic Aperture Radar EO, asset tracking, weather, communications, signals intelligence, and robotic servicing. The S-Class platform leverages a proprietary design to reduce the cost of manufacture by an order of magnitude, and will see first flight qualification Q3 2017. The platform design can utilize existing ride-share opportunities, and is simultaneously being designed for compatibility with dedicated small launch vehicles, such as the Vector-H. With an inventoried approach, York offers next day delivery supporting the rapid mission program timelines enabled by Vector.
“In this day and age, complementary capabilities and expertise for fielding space-based products and solutions for customers is hard to find,” said Dirk Wallinger, CEO of York Space Systems. “Vector is rapidly pioneering low cost rapid launch capabilities, and together we can bring the reality of space exploration to a broader array of commercial and government customers through the engineered compatibility of the S-class satellite platform and the Vector-H. We want to provide the next great ideas, with a turn-key space solution. Our work with Vector will help us do just that.” He continued, “Ultimately dedicated responsive launch is a game-changer, it allows us to completely rethink our architectural approaches to space, and opens the skies to the Space data frontier. We are excited to be a part of that, and happy to be partnered with Vector towards that goal.”

News – Resources, Sierra Nevada Corporation, SNC

Sierra Nevada Corporation | SNC Sierra Nevada Corporation | SNC

News &

Media Contact

SNC’s DVE Technology Mitigates Risk of Operating Helicopters in Bad Weather Conditions such as Fog

SNC said DVE technology already selected for U.S. military helicopters, can also reduce the risk of civil and commercial flight crashes, in cases where visibility is impeded due to weather and other conditions such as fog.

In the News: When Seconds Count

Sierra Nevada Corporation is bringing its military tested eHealth and remote monitoring solution to civilian air medical operations to help save time and lives.

In the News: NASA-Backed ‘Dream Chaser’ Spaceplane is Unlike Any Other Spacecraft

Video summary: This spacecraft is the stuff of space dreams! The state-of-the-art Dream Chaser is the only spacecraft NASA currently funds that can move within the atmosphere, and that’s just the beginning.

In the News: Five Features That Make Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Spaceplane Unique

Dream Chaser is something different. It is a lifting body with winglets that can land on any runway in the world measuring at least 10,000 feet in length. In fact, with retirement of the Space Shuttle nearly a decade ago, Dream Chaser is the only spacecraft NASA currently funds that is capable of maneuvering within the atmosphere.

In the News: Dream Chaser on Track for 2021 Cargo Mission, Crew Within 5 Years

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is on track for the first cargo flight of its Dream Chaser spacecraft next year.

In the News: Astronaut Kavandi’s new mission

Janet Kavandi arrived at the Space Systems headquarters of Sierra Nevada Corp. in September to lead its space work as senior vice president of programs. Space Systems is in the midst of a growth plan as it prepares to launch cargo to the space station and is vying for roles in human spaceflight.

In the News: Soldiers Train in Mass Casualty Scenarios to Test New Medical Communication Device

The Army’s newest medical communication device is just one study away from being procured and fielded – the Medical Hands-free Unified Broadcast, or MEDHUB.

In the News: Colorado-built Dream Chaser, successor to the space shuttle, turning into reality

Production of a successor to NASA’s space shuttle will get underway in Colorado and will be overseen by a former U.S. Air Force pilot and astronaut who piloted two shuttle flights and commanded another three.

In the News: USS Kearsarge Transits The Suez Canal With Anti-Drone Buggies Keeping Watch On Deck

If the target is deemed unfriendly, a Modi jammer can be turned on to target and break the data-link between the drone and its controller on the ground.

Sierra Nevada Corporation Signs Two NextSTEP-2 Contracts with NASA

SNC has formalized its agreement with NASA under Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2), signing a contract to design and develop a prototype for a deep space habitat.

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s STPSat-5 Satellite Completes Ground Compatibility Testing

SNC’s Space Test Program Mission 5 (STPSat-5) satellite moved another step closer to launch, successfully completing its Factory Compatibility Test with NASA’s Near-Earth Network and the NASA Ames Multi-Mission Operations Center.

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser ® Spacecraft Passes Major NASA Milestone after Free-Flight Test

SNC’s Dream Chaser program passed a major NASA milestone for its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) contract with the completion of a successful Free-Flight test, which produced subsonic flight and landing performance data

EOSTEO – Calm Technologies

Calm Technologies

Enhanced OSTeoporosis Experments on Orbit (eOSTEO)

The effect of gravity on bone loss is a key area of interest for the space community, particularly since up to 10 per cent of an astronaut’s bone mass can be lost in a three-month mission. With space exploration targeting longer duration missions at farther destinations, understanding the biological mechanisms and finding countermeasures to astronaut bone loss has been identified as a priority not only within Canada’s Scientific Community, but also for that of its international partners. The United States has specifically identified astronaut bone loss as a key area for research in its forward plan, and continued collaborations with Canada have demonstrated this as a priority for the European Space Agency as well.

OSTEO set the benchmark for Canadian bone research on orbit, flying two missions on the Shuttle. Following its success with the first mission on STS-95 with John Glenn, the OSTEO payload was flown a second time on the tragic Columbia STS-107 mission. Complementing the OSTEO payload containing Canadian science on STS-107 was a second OSTEO payload containing the European ERISTO experiments.

eOSTEO raised the benchmark through full automation, higher media capacity, waste media sampling, and better preservation of the biological samples prior to return to earth. Two eOSTEO payloads flew on the Russian FOTON-M3 mission, launched on a Soyuz rocket in 2007. Six experiments in 24 bioreactor modules were flown during this mission, containing research from Canada, France and Italy. eOSTEO is now poised for upgrade, to allow it to take up residence on ISS for future bone loss experiments. Watch for exciting new opportunities in this field of research through eOSTEO’s ongoing legacy, and with the next generation of cell culture payloads, CCAP.

Recent News

Effective immediately, all sales, service and support for the SEAM line of electrode testers and associated equipment is now being handled by QC Integrated Services.

Kickstarter launched
Swidget, the Smart Home targeted wall outlet represents the final product adoption of the patented COMPORT system. Please check us out on Kickstarter and pledge you support

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:42 p.m. EDT Thursday with almost 3,100 pounds of NASA cargo from the International Space Station, including research on how spaceflight and microgravity affect the aging process and bone health (Osteo-4)

An article, by Spaceflight Insider, talking about the importance of the Osteo-4 payload to osteoporosis research:

Lowell Misener, President of CALM Technologies, had a talk about Osteo-4 with Wei Chen of CBC Radio One’s Ontario Morning. Below is the link to the Ontario Morning Podcast. Lowell’s interview begins at 06:18 and concludes at 11:33. Enjoy!

On January 26, 2015 Calm was awarded a contract to build and support hardware for the European Space Agency project InVitro Bone (#4000112839/14/NL/FC). This involves the manufacture of the flight proven Osteo-4 design and support for flight qualification. The future InVitro Bone mission is targeting 2017.

To see the Kingston Whig Standard article on CALM Technologies and Osteo-4 click the link below:

From the NASA website highlighting Space Station Research, an article titled: Scientists Make No Bones about First Study of Osteocytes on Space Station. Great photo of the Osteo-4 Team!

Watch the launch video of the SpaceX CRS-6 mission carrying the Osteo-4 Payload aboard the Dragon capsle on the Falcon9 rocket.

CRS-6 Prelaunch Science Panel – With Paola D. Pajevic, principal investigator, Osteocytes and Mechanomechano-transduction (Osteo-4), Massachusetts General Hospital.

NASA Selects Commercial Space Partners for Collaborative Partnerships – SpaceFlight Insider, Science News

Science News. Com

Home »Unlabelled » NASA Selects Commercial Space Partners for Collaborative Partnerships – SpaceFlight Insider

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

NASA Selects Commercial Space Partners for Collaborative Partnerships – SpaceFlight Insider

On Tuesday, Dec. 23 NASA announced that the space agency had tapped four aerospace firms to further its efforts to develop new space capabilities. What NASA has called the Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC ) initiative, in an unfunded agreement with these companies to further the agency’s various commercial efforts and is meant to utilize the experience and the private sector’s infrastructure to attempt to create new technologies.

The CCSC is designed to help the private space sector in the development of integrated space capabilities by allowing these companies to have access to technologies and resources that NASA has created and honed during the first half-century since its formation in October of 1958. The four company’s that NASA has selected

* ATK Space Systems, in Beltsville, Maryland, is developing space logistics, hosted payload and other space transportation capabilities.
* Final Frontier Design, in Brooklyn, New York, is developing intra-vehicular activity space suits.
* SpaceX, in Hawthorne, California, is developing space transportation capabilities that could be used to support missions into deep space.
* United Launch Alliance, in Centennial, Colorado, is developing new launch vehicle capabilities to reduce cost and enhance performance.

“Companies in all shapes and sizes are investing their own capital toward innovative commercial space capabilities,” said Phil McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These awards demonstrate the diversity and maturity of the commercial space industry. We look forward to working with these partners to advance space capabilities and make them available to NASA and other customers in the coming years.”

NASA has encountered success with some of its commercial ventures. Image Credit: NASA /SpaceX

NASA has stated that the agency hopes that these companies will develop products and services which will be available within the next five years or so.

To help accomplish this under the restrictive budget that the space agency currently operates under, NASA and the four companies noted above will work under unfunded Space Act Agreements (in short, no money will exchange hands, but these companies will instead have access to NASA resources and experience). While it might not seem like much to the outsider, for the newer companies involved with this effort, this is a windfall in terms of access and information.

NASA brings more than five decades worth of spaceflight experience to the table and each of these companies will gain access to technical expertise, assessments, technologies, data as well as lessons learned through trial and error – that they simply cannot find anywhere else. For NASA, these types of agreements are also beneficial as they incur no cost and provide the agency with synergistic experiences that keep the agency flush with new concepts and methodologies.

Public-private agreements such as CCSC are all the rage with NASA, with the agency sponsoring the following in just the past few years alone:

Commercial Orbital Transportation Services – Kick started NASA’s efforts to have private companies deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

Commercial Resupply Services – Operational initiative to ferry cargo, experiments and supplies to the ISS. To date, six missions have traveled to the orbiting laboratory and carried some 19,052 lbs (8,642 kg) worth of cargo and supplies to the only current destination in low-Earth orbit.

Commercial Crew Program – NASA’s effort to cede transportation of astronauts to the ISS.

Lunar CATALYST – Initiative to develop a commercial robotic lunar lander.

Under its current directive, NASA has not only been tasked with enabling commercial companies to handle some of the responsibilities that the agency has handled for its first fifty years. After a hiatus of more than four decades, NASA will now attempt to return to the business of sending astronauts to destinations in deep space. The space agency is hoping to send a crew to an asteroid by 2024 and missions to Mars sometime in to 2030s.

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Boeing – s first crewed flight to extend to ISS – NASA

Boeing’s first crewed flight to extend to ISS – NASA

Boeing’s first crewed flight to the ISS may last longer than expected and this mission also may have an extra crew member along. Boeing’s Starliner vehicle is planned to take NASA astronauts to the ISS for the first time on a two-week trip, but NASA wants to extend this voyage to six months. Along with the only two person crew on the spacecraft, a third astronaut could be added.

CST-100-Boeing-Spacecraft [source SpaceFlight Insider ] Meant only for a test flight, the Starliner trip is going to be the main one. Both Boen and SpaceX have been developing private vehicles to transport astronauts to and from the ISS as a part of contract with NASA. Before doing the full mission NASA wants each spacecraft to do two test flights to the ISS first, one without people on board and then one with crew. The two person flight is simply a demonstration, the full operation missions will last for months at a time and have up to four crew members on board.

But the Boeing’s test flight may be going to be a full crewed mission. This may be because NASA is running short of ways to get its astronauts to the ISS. Currently they use Russian Soyuz rockets to fly to the station. The last Soyuz that will cary NASA astronauts will take off in fall 2019. After that NASA will rely on its Commercial crew partners to take astronauts to and from the ISS.

SpaceX and Boeing [source Space News ] SpaceX and Boeing may not be ready to support full months long mission as of now. The two companies were supposed to have their vehicles certified for crew by this year. But the commercial crew program has suffered numerous setbacks, and now, both companies are scheduled to do their first crewed flight tests later this year. After these tests are over, it could take upto six months before the companies are ready to begin full missions.

NASA hopes to preempt any potential gaps in access to the ISS by turning the Boeing’s flight into a full mission. “Turning a test flight into more of an operation mission needs careful review by the technical community,” William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations.”For example, the spacecraft capability to support the additional time still needs to be reviewed.”

Boeing says it’s ready to make the change.”It was clear to us that we needed to provide NASA with additional flexibility to ensure the station remains fully staffed and fully operational until the Commercial Crew Program providers can pick up a more regular cadence of flying long-duration crew rotation missions,” Boeing .

OPINION: Is there inconsistency in how NASA treats its private partners? SpaceFlight Insider

Spaceflight Insider

As noted in a recent blog post appearing on Parabolic Arc, NASA’s treatment of SpaceX’s CRS-7 and Orbital Science’s Orb-3 accidents has been different and the reasons provided as to why this is the case – have not been entirely convincing. Image Credit: NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A recent post appearing on the blog Parabolic Arc noted NASA will not be releasing a public report on the findings of the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-7 explosion that resulted in the loss of the launch vehicle, the Dragon spacecraft, and the roughly $118 million in supplies and hardware the spacecraft was carrying. The post also notes that the Orb-3 accident was handled differently by NASA, but were the two accidents so distinct as to warrant two totally dissimilar approaches?

The premise of the Parabolic Arc report was somewhat inaccurate. NASA didn’t refuse to issue a public report; the truth is, no public report was ever produced. NASA officials noted on Wednesday, July 19, that, as the agency was not required to create such a report, one was not generated.

When asked about the discrepancy between the two incidents, NASA officials noted that the Orb-3 failure had occurred on a NASA launch pad (at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A – which is managed by Virginia Space, not NASA). Whereas the Falcon 9 CRS-7 mission had launched from SpaceX’s own pad (SLC-40, which is not their pad it was leased to them by the U.S. Air Force) on a commercial flight licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Therefore, NASA was not required to produce a report on the CRS-7 accident. However, Orb-3 was also licensed by the FAA, making this distinction tenuous.

SpaceX has enjoyed a positive working relationship with NASA, but is this partnership preferential? Photo Credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA

The problem submitted by SpaceX as the root cause of the CRS-7 accident was a failed strut in the rocket’s second stage. SpaceX stated that it had fixed the problem and, for all intents and purposes, the matter was dropped.

Fast forward 14 months and another Falcon 9, with the $185 million Amos-6 spacecraft, exploded while just sitting on the pad, taking the rocket, its payload, and some of the ground support facilities at Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 with it. Since the Amos-6 accident, SpaceX has moved its operations to Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, under the 20-year lease with NASA that SpaceX entered into in April of 2014.

With limited information made available to the public, conspiracy theories, including those involving it being struck by a drone and snipers hired by SpaceX’s competition, sprung up in articles and on comment boards on sites such as and elsewhere regarding the cause of the Amos-6 explosion. This demonstrated the need for a transparent accounting of accidents involving public-private efforts such as NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.

“There’s a lot that goes into the decision,” NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications, Bob Jacobs told SpaceFlight Insider. “Such as: what’s in the pipeline on the next vehicle, will that vehicle ever be used again and how can the data be applied to system improvements, and do we have a requirement to produce a report?”

The handling of past in-flight anomalies casts another wrinkle into the question of disparate treatment. When the Orbiting Carbon Observatory spacecraft was lost on Feb. 24, 2009, an executive summary of the accident was issued. When NASA’s GLORY mission met a similar fate on March 4, 2011, an executive summary was issued. Both of these launches did not take place on NASA pads, apparently contradicting one of the agency’s rationales behind the lack of an executive summary as being due to the location/operator of the launch site.

Finally, Orb-3 also had an executive summary produced and issued by NASA. In fact, a review of in-flight anomalies taking place in the past decade shows that every major mission that encountered an in-flight anomaly had a public report issued by NASA – except CRS-7 (two minor payloads, NanoSail-D and PRESat, that were launched in this time frame were both lost on a SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket, with no executive summaries released).

A review of mission elements that may set CRS-7 apart might help highlight why this accident holds such a unique position.

If the cost of the payload is the issue, this presents a problem. The payload for Orb-3 has been estimated at costing $51 million. CRS-7’s payload, by comparison, cost approximately $118 million more than twice as much as that lost on Orb-3. Moreover, CRS-7’s payload contained some critical flight hardware, including the first International Docking Adapter (IDA-1), components for extra-vehicular activity (EVA) spacesuits, and cargo for NASA’s Russian, European, Canadian, and Japanese partners on the ISS. Orb-3’s payload consisted predominantly of experiments, nanosatellites, and technology demonstrators. In short, the losses encountered due to the CRS-7 mishap were more expensive and the payload more critical to ISS operations than that lost on Orb-3.

However, if it’s the amount of cargo in question, then this also presents issues in terms of the lack of apparent differences:

When pressed, another reason given as to the lack of a public report was that the version of the Falcon 9 lost is no longer used for CRS flights. NASA’s assertion there was no point in conducting a review of CRS-7 because the Falcon 9 was poised for an upgrade, also falls flat as it was announced less than a month after the Orb-3 mishap that Antares would also be upgraded from the Antares 100 to the Antares 200. The component that was deemed the cause of the Orb-3 accident – Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AJ26-62 rocket engine (a former Soviet rocket engine, the NK-33) would be phased out due to concerns with aging and corrosion in the 40-year-old engines. Orbital Sciences opted to go with the new RD-181, as was reported by TASS in December of 2014.

The CRS-7 payload was more expensive and carried components far more critical to station operations than was lost on Orb-3. Photo Credit: NASA

As noted above, NASA issued a full report on the Orb-3 accident as well as photos on the one-year anniversary of the accident; therefore, by not doing the same for CRS-7, as Parabolic Arc’s Doug Messier contends, it at least lends the appearance of a double standard – two accidents, but only one having a report issued.

When the one-year anniversary of the CRS-7 mishap took place, the agency did not issue an executive summary nor did they issue any images of the CRS-7 accident as they did with Orb-3. NASA officials stated the Falcon 9 was too high in altitude for similar imagery to be taken. However, many photos of the CRS-7 accident were taken by amateur photographers with far less powerful camera equipment than what is available to the U.S. space agency.

As was reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the inspector general did mark the one-year anniversary of the CRS-7 mishap; the article notes: “In the report, the inspector general admonished NASA for not being more specific about risks associated with resupply launches, meaning NASA management cannot properly evaluate the risks.”

While the risks of an uncrewed cargo flight might seem minimal, in terms of the future of the Falcon 9, this is not the case as will be highlighted later in this editorial. Marco Santana, the author of the Orlando Sentinel article, noted how the IG had stated that the methodology used had “…deviated from existing procedures for evaluating launch risks.”

Despite these findings, NASA’s assertions that it is not required to produce a report on the accident is 100 percent accurate. Per the OIG Report on the CRS-7 Failure:

5.2 Mishap Investigation and Corrective Action for Mishaps Occurring Post Launch and Prior to Integrated Operations

a) An Initial Investigation by the Contractor is required for all mishaps which have been reported to NASA. NASA reserves discretionary authority to investigate mishaps which involve NASA personnel or resources regardless of location. The Contractor has the discretion to perform any collateral investigations. However, investigations implemented by NASA will take priority with regard to access to evidence, data and witnesses. The proceedings of NASA investigations will remain confidential. The Contractor will have an opportunity to comment on the investigation report in accordance with NASA protocols.

In order to keep things as impartial as possible, a report should have been issued for CRS-7 as well; this would appear to be another deviation “from existing procedures”.

However, one element not noted in the Parabolic Arc post or in the OIG’s Report that perhaps should be, could be the most important thing to compare the two accidents by. There are no plans to crew-rate the Antares rocket. The same cannot be said for the Falcon 9. If NASA astronauts are to fly to the International Space Station atop a Falcon 9, one would think the space agency would want to conduct their own comprehensive review of the root cause of any and all anomalies the rocket encounters – and to present their findings to the public.

Given the cost and critical nature of the CRS-7 payload and the fact the Falcon 9 will eventually be used to fly astronauts – means this accident warranted a complete, thorough, and transparent investigation even more so than did Orb-3.

Perhaps the most important point to consider is that Antares will never carry astronauts and the Falcon 9 could do so as soon as next year (2018). Photo Credit: Carleton Bailie / SpaceFlight Insider

“NASA has every intention of putting together a final report, although one is not required. As stated many times when asked, the agency did a rigorous review of the data. Both contract service providers have different launch vehicles now and everyone is focused on the safe execution of future missions. We will continue to provide assistance and analysis where appropriate, and will share such information accordingly,” Jacobs told SpaceFlight Insider on Thursday, July 20.

A full report on the CRS-7 accident could help to deflate the argument of real or perceived preferential treatment. Unfortunately, the report on the Orb-3 accident was issued about a year after the accident, in October 2015. It has been more than two years since the loss of CRS-7 and no public report by NASA has been issued and the agency has stated that it both does and does not intend to issue a final report.

SpaceX’s CEO and Founder, Elon Musk, has railed against his company being excluded from lucrative Department of Defense contracts and, indeed, one of the NewSpace movement’s chief complaints, as a whole, is that they have not been treated the same as established competitors have been. However, this situation does not appear to be a problem with SpaceX, nor is it an issue with the NewSpace community – it is a failing of NASA’s culture.

A review of the facts involved with this situation suggests a lack of consistent, uniform practices. The fact every major mission to encounter an in-flight anomaly in the past decade had a public report compiled and issued by NASA, with only CRS-7 standing apart, and that NASA had placed the onus of the CRS-7 accident investigation on the FAA, but did not do the same for Orb-3, while within NASA’s rights, does not paint the agency in a favorable light.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Director, former shuttle astronaut Robert Cabana, who, according to Florida Today, has had his own issues with impartiality, has described KSC as a “multi-user spaceport” – a mantra repeatedly used by the agency.

Companies seeking to sign up under this concept should expect a uniform method of practices in terms of accident investigations. Inconsistent behavior carried out by NASA only serves to undermine this laudable goal and validate many of the arguments raised in the Parabolic Arc post.

NASA noted its CRS missions are different than the agency’s prior efforts as they are carried out under the “commercial” banner, providing more flexibility to how the agency can deal with these service providers. NASA stated that, while they paid for these services, they did not manage the flights. However, this too isn’t entirely accurate. NASA did not pay for these flights, the U.S. taxpayers did. As such, a full accounting of the CRS-7 accident should have been generated by NASA and its findings publicly released by the agency who purchased it on their behalf – as all other major NASA missions that encountered in-flight anomalies since the start of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services contract in 2006.

In closing, NASA might be well within its rights to do a thing – but that doesn’t make that thing right.

The views expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author and do not, necessarily, reflect those of SpaceFlight Insider