Year 5 Number 149

Monday / 1 August 2005

Griffin says EMMB / VSE more attractive than LEO; next Shuttle may still fly this year; "tiger team" to solve problem; WBT   E11 / STS-114 Discovery crews total 9 humans at ISS; EVA 2 today to replace CMG-1; begins 03:14; ends 09:44 CDT
ISS-Moon connection vague; favorable orbit inclination change likely priority reconsideration during Shuttle grounding   Soyuz flight to ISS on 1 Oct supposed to include tourist Greg Olsen; Cowing asks if will happen now that Shuttles grounded
Shuttles likely to risk flying again, says John Pike; NASA itself is not threatened, says Mike Duke; nytimes, rockymtnews   Shenzhou 6 to be 2nd China human space flight; early Oct launch will carry 2 taikonauts into space for 5-6 days
'Countdown to X Prize Cup' 6-9 Oct near Las Cruces in NM; 2,000-kid Space Education Day in Alamogordo on 7 Oct India President Kalam’s space vision includes human missions to Moon, Mars and importance of youth involvement
'Space Frontier Conf 14' on 21-23 Oct in Los Angeles CA; will examine 'Next Space Age;' registration US$140 until 15 Aug 'Intl Lunar Conference 2005' in Toronto 18-23 Sep; Richards & Sallaberger present ILEWG Declaration on 23 Sep
'Stanford on the Moon Conference 2005' on 21 Oct at 15:00-17:00 PDT on University's campus during class reunion events IAF ‘56th Intl Astronautical Congress' in Fukuoka, Japan on 17-21 Oct; covers lunar exploration; early reg ends 1 Aug

AirLaunch Completes Tests Of Liquid Oxygen & Propane-Powered Rocket Engine At Mojave Airport In CA; Only Proven New Launch Technology In Past 30 Years; (Credit: AirLaunch)


AirLaunch Tests Engine for FALCON SLV Program. AirLaunch LLC has completed three months of calibration, ignition and initial short-duration tests of a liquid oxygen and propane-powered upper-stage rocket engine. The testing was conducted from April to June of this year at the Civilian Flight Test Center at Mojave Airport in California. The testing shows that the engine is stable and can be ignited quickly after shutdown, and that it is ready to move into the next phase of development, according to the AirLaunch press release. The engine is being developed under a 17 September 2004 contract awarded by DARPA and the USAF in support of the Force Application and Launch from the Continental US (FALCON) Small Launch Vehicle (SLV) program. The program's goal is to create a responsive launch vehicle that can put at least 450 kg (1,000 lbs) into low Earth orbit for under US$5M per launch. Lockheed Martin, Microcosm and SpaceX also received similar Phase 2-A contracts. Sometime this year, DARPA and the USAF will select one or more of these teams to conduct detailed design and fabrication of their launch vehicle, with Phase 2-B culminating in a 2007 flight test to launch a satellite to validate the vehicle's performance. SpaceShipOne and its White Knight carrier have brought air-drop launches into the spotlight recently. NASA has also shown interest in the FALCON Program, possibly in relation to the EMMB / VSE.

Sea Launch's 'Land Launch' Gains 1st Customer -- PanAmSat. Originally intended as the workhorse of the Soviet human space program, and capable of being reconfigured for human missions to LEO, the Moon and Beyond, the mighty Zenit rocket has a new niche -- Land Launch. Announced by Sea Launch Company almost two years ago, Land Launch utilizes the Zenit to launch payloads from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Unlike its big brother, the successful Sea Launch ocean-based platform launch operation that uses the Zenit 3SL, the medium-lift Land Launch markets to lighter spacecraft. “The Land Launch system is well positioned to reliably and efficiently serve the emerging market requirement for medium weight commercial satellites,” says Sea Launch President and General Manager Jim Maser in a recent Boeing press release. “We are proud to have PanAmSat as an established, highly valued customer on our first Land Launch mission." The PanAmSat contract is for a Zenit 3SLB vehicle to lift its PAS-11 satellite to GTO in 2Q 2007. Land Launch can send payloads to a variety of orbits using its 3SLB or Zenit 2SLB rockets. The three-stage 3SLB is limited to a payload of 5,000 kg. The two-stage 2SLB can carry over 12,000 kg to the ISS. Though not intended for humans or the Moon at this time, it is easy to see how the Zenit, Land Launch and Sea Launch could become major enablers of the EMMB / VSE.

Russia, Europe New Space Vehicles Advancing. Russia rocket and space company Energia is developing a hybrid shuttle as an alternative to the proposed Kliper, which is being designed to replace the Soyuz. The Kliper would be a reusable space plane with small wings that glides into the atmosphere at an angle that produces much less acceleration on the human occupants than the Soyuz. The craft would be able to carry up to six people and can be used for ferry services between Earth and the ISS, and eventually take humans on trips to the Moon and Mars. According to Energia's Director General Vladimir Syromyatnikov, the new hybrid spacecraft would combine concepts of a capsule (Soyuz) with a winged vehicle (Buran). Most of its flight would be as a capsule, with the reentry wings folded and protected by heat insulation. During reentry, the heat protector is jettisoned, and the wings are deployed for landing like a plane. Also, ESA's Vinci M1 cryogenic upper-stage test engine completed a 60-second firing at the German Space Agency last Wednesday. Developed under the Ariane 5 Plus launcher program, the re-ignitable cryogenic engine will provide 18 tonnes of thrust in vacuum with a specific impulse of 465 seconds. Vinci M2 will be tested in September.


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