Monthly Archive: December 2015

Dec 31 2015

What’s Russian for “Disarray”?

Russia Downscales Lunar Program as Roscosmos Morphs into State Corporation. Going from a government agency to a state corporation — is there a difference in Russia? The biggest immediate impact is that Roscosmos State’s budget is slashed from about $2.8 billion to $2 billion. We’ll see if this improves Russian space performance. I think their …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/31/whats-russian-for-disarray/

Dec 30 2015

It’s actual rocket science

US Air Force Awards More Rocket Research Contracts. The winners were: Orbital ATK, $3.1 million Aeroject Rocketdyne, $6 million Northrop Grumman, $5.4 million Congrats!! Given Congress’ capitulation to the Russians regarding the RD-181, American progress on this front can’t happen fast enough.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/30/its-actual-rocket-science/

Dec 30 2015

Gotcher Pluto…nium fix right here!

U.S. demonstrates production of fuel for missions to the solar system and beyond. 50 grams of plutonium-238 doesn’t sound like much, but it’s the first batch of plutonium we’ve produced in 30 years. They plan to ramp up to 3 pounds of plutonium per year (27 times 50 grams). This is very good news for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/30/gotcher-pluto-nium-fix-right-here/

Dec 30 2015

Landed booster being evaluated for future hot fire

Historic First Falcon-9 to Land from Space Transported to KSC 39A for Testing. I’d love to be a fly on the wall for their post-landing testing…Hey SpaceX, I’ve got plenty of test and evaluation experience!! “The returned first stage will be the test article here (39A), and it will go into the hangar where they …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/30/landed-booster-being-evaluated-for-future-hot-fire/

Dec 28 2015

Probably a good thing wrapped in a bad thing

NASA got a huge bump in the recent Omnibus bill that was passed on the 18th: FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations Bill Clears Congress, Signed by President, which resulted in a gargantuan $1.3 billion increase over its 2015 budget. I was going to blog about days ago, but it was signed on the day after my boss …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/28/probably-a-good-thing-wrapped-in-a-bad-thing/

Dec 25 2015

Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh….oh, and Bill Whittle, too

I wish everyone a Happy and Safe Christmas!! Thank you so much for reading! Since Christmas this year has the a full Moon (for the first time since 1977), and since Bill Whittle is one of the most interesting commentators out there, my present to you is his take on the importance of the Moon …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/25/merry-christmas/

Dec 24 2015

You can’t spell Santa without NASA

An early Christmas present to space and astronomy geeks: NASA offers sneak peak at Christmas Eve asteroid. This is asteroid 2003 SD220: It’s about 3600 feet long and passed about 6.8 million miles (about 28 lunar distances) from Earth today this morning (about 5:08am this morning Pacific time). Plugging in amean diameter of 0.7 km, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/24/you-cant-spell-santa-without-nasa/

Dec 24 2015

Dang — I missed this!!

A Russian Rocket Body Lit Up West Coast Skies. Though I’m not sure I could have seen it, since I’m south of Los Angeles. This was a Russian SL-4 Soyuz from the ISS.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/24/dang-i-missed-this/

Dec 24 2015

My return stage is bigger than yours

Regarding the pissing match between Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (SpaceX), I think they’re both being ridiculous. Both the New Shepherd’s landing and the Falcon 9 first stage landing were impressive, and both advance their respective company’s business case, and neither business case is in direct competition with each other. New Shepherd is …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/24/my-return-stage-is-bigger-than-yours/

Dec 23 2015

A heck of a commute, but look at the view!!

First High-Resolution Images Released of Ceres From Dawn’s New Lowest Orbit. Dawn is now in its final orbit at 240 miles above the surface of Ceres. Resolution is about at 120 feet / pixel.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/23/a-heck-of-a-commute-but-look-at-the-view/

Dec 22 2015

So how close did SpaceX come to hitting the bullseye on the landing pad?

I wondered that at the end of my live-blogging. Looks like the answer is “Pretty darn close.”

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/22/so-how-close-did-spacex-come-to-hitting-the-bullseye-on-the-landing-pad/

Dec 22 2015

3D Printing NSS Enterprise

3D Printing Of The First Space-Bound Airframe Now Underway. The non-profit National Space Society will partner with Made in Space to 3D print an entire satellite air frame which will be used to build the NSS Enterprise satellite, hosting hundreds of student payloads by the time it launches. But After selecting the design concept for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/22/3d-printing-nss-enterprise/

Dec 21 2015

Live-blogging the ORBCOMM-2 SpaceX Launch and Booster Recovery

Alrighty…here we go. Just got home from work. All times Pacific. I’ve got a good feeling about today’s events. Just sayin’… CONGRATS TO SpaceX!! I wonder how close they got to the center of the landing pad? Time Event/Observations 1750 SpaceX Webcast signing off. 1748 Next 2 ORBCOMM satellites deployed — there they go. It’s …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/21/live-blogging-the-orbcomm-2-spacex-launch-and-booster-recovery/

Dec 21 2015

Unscheduled spacewalk is a success

The entire event lasted 3 hours and 16 minutes.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/21/unscheduled-spacewalk-is-a-success/

Dec 21 2015

MARS on track for 31 May 2016 launch

No, not THAT Mars, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS): Orbital ATK Shows Off Repaired Launch Pad and Antares Rocket Hardware for Return to Flight. According to Nash, the launch pad is now flight ready and his team could support a launch with only a few weeks notice. Repairs have been made to the ablative material …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/21/mars-on-track-for-31-may-2016-launch/

Dec 20 2015

Two thumbs way up!!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens far exceeded my expectations. The story is solid, and the movie is great. I’d even go so far as say that it is the 2nd-best movie in the franchise. That’s all I have to say about it right now. Go see it! You will enjoy it. I’m looking forward to …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/20/two-thumbs-way-up/

Dec 20 2015

Stay tuned to this station for further developments…

SpaceX Plans Launch, Landing on Sunday – UPDATED. Contrast to what I reported yesterday, the booster recovery will be attempted at Cape Canaveral. Launch time will be no earlier than 5:39 pm this afternoon, and I’ll be live-blogging the launch from about T-45 minutes through the recovery landing attempt. Launch weather looks to be 90% …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/20/stay-tuned-to-this-station-for-further-developments/

Dec 20 2015

News that shouldn’t be news in the future

Unscheduled spacewalk likely on Monday. I look forward to the day when a maintenance spacewalk to jigger with something that is stuck isn’t news at all, because it’s become so routine on the multiple orbital stations we have up there that it just doesn’t warrant notice. Late Wednesday, the Mobile Transporter rail car on the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/20/news-that-shouldnt-be-news-in-the-future/

Dec 20 2015

Still less than halfway done downloading data

NASA’s New Horizon page. New Findings from NASA’s New Horizons Shape Understanding of Pluto and its Moons. Key to understanding activity on Pluto is the role of the deep layer of solid nitrogen and other volatile ices that fill the left side of Pluto’s ‘heart’—a vast, 620-mile (1,000-kilometer) -wide basin, informally named Sputnik Planum. New …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/20/still-less-than-halfway-done-downloading-data/

Dec 19 2015

Congrats to Boeing

NASA orders second Boeing Crew Mission to ISS. Not unexpected (2 missions per contractor is guaranteed in the CCtCAP), but still a major milestone for both NASA and Boeing. Congrats to both!! This is the third in a series of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. Boeing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/19/congrats-to-boeing/

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