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Проект лунной базы от Пола Спадиса
Пробежал по диагонали - выглядит очень интересно. Времени вникать пока нету. Кому интересно, вникайте
Armadillo Aerospace
Думаю, пора им уже отдельную тему.

Недавно летал очередной вариант. Теперь с телескопическими опорами.

Напомню, что по условию конкурса Лунар Лендер, девайс должен уметь висеть над землей не менее 2мин, то есть ХС и уровень дросселирования вполне достаточны для посадки на Луну

USAF Plans For Reusable Booster Development

Plans to begin technology development for a reusable booster system to replace its existing expendable launch vehicles beyond 2025 are being finalized by the U.S. Air Force.

With the Air Force facing escalating costs on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, the new system offers the promise of cutting launch costs more than 50% by combining a reusable first stage with expendable upper stages. The booster would[color=orange] take off vertically[/color] and return to a[color=orange] runway landing[/color] at the launch site.
The plan calls for replacing the Atlas V and Delta IV with two versions of the RBS: a [color=orange]single reusable first stage and expendable cryogenic upper stage[/color] for medium-lift missions; and[color=orange] two reusable boosters, cryogenic core stage and upper stage for heavy-lift[/color] and growth missions. Initial operational capability is set for 2025
Discovery STS-131
The seven-member STS-131 crew will deliver the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo, filled with resupply stowage platforms and racks, to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery. Work to attach a spare ammonia tank assembly to the station's exterior and return a European experiment from outside the station's Columbus module will be conducted during three spacewalks. STS-131, targeted for launch on April 5, will be the 33rd shuttle mission to the station and the 131st shuttle mission overall.

CCDev - NASA Commercial Crew Development
Не нашел подходящей темы.
Первый пошел

[quote:25922a9212] Boeing Submits Proposal for NASA Commercial Crew Transport System

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 23, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] submitted a proposal to NASA on Sept. 22 to accelerate the development of commercial human space transportation as defined by NASA in its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) announcement. Boeing's submission, which draws on the company's experience with proven human-rated spacecraft, proposes development of technologies that will mature its Commercial Crew Transportation System concept.

NASA's CCDev initiative is intended to stimulate private-sector development of a commercially managed system that could be used to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station, Bigelow Aerospace's Orbital Space Complex, and other potential destinations in low Earth orbit.

"Boeing's knowledge of the space station and our long history of supporting NASA with proven human-rated systems should allow us to work closely with NASA to develop a commercially viable, yet safe, crew transportation system," said Keith Reiley, Boeing program manager for the CCDev proposal. "Boeing has a lot to offer NASA in this new field of commercial crew transportation services. To show our commitment, we are willing to make a substantial investment in research and development."

Boeing has strong project management skills, commercial manufacturing experience using Lean management practices, one of the strongest supplier networks in the United States, and a team of talented engineers with practical human spaceflight experience. Most recently, Boeing has applied this experience on its Ares I and Constellation work in support of NASA's exploration mission. Boeing can apply these skills and capabilities to meeting specific milestones to show progress in developing a reliable and safe commercial crew transportation system.

Joining Boeing on the CCDev team will be Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace, LLC. Bigelow Aerospace will provide additional investment, requirements for crew transportation to its Orbital Space Complex, and its expertise from testing and validating the technologies necessary to construct and deploy a full-scale, crewed, commercial orbital space complex.

To support the commercial space industry with space-platform and human-rated systems experience, Boeing also has joined three other teams competing for CCDev agreements. These teams are submitting their own separate proposals.

NASA has announced it will sign funded agreements with one or more teams in November, using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The value of the Space Act Agreements can vary, but NASA has said approximately $50 million is available to distribute and that the funded, fixed-price agreements will run through September 2010.[/quote:25922a9212]
Коммерческие исследования в космосе
Техасская фирма получила реальный результат по сальмонелле и начала новые исследования на Шаттле и МКС


[quote:dda44f7587]A vaccine to protect people against Salmonella, a deadly bacteria that often contaminates food processing operations, is headed for human testing[color=orange] following commercial development in zero gravity[/color] on the space shuttle and International Space Station.

Astrogenetix, the Austin, Texas based research company which funded the work, is in the process of applying to the Food and Drug Administration for human trials then, marketing of the space developed Salmonella drug.


With the Salmonella results in hand, [color=orange]Astrogenetix is funding research specifically on STS-128 and future station missions to develop a vaccine for Mersa, a serious skin disease[/color]. The initial Mersa results are to be returned to Earth this week on board Discovery. [/quote:dda44f7587]

[quote:dda44f7587]With the station nearing completion and designated as a National Laboratory, the agency may have finally mastered a winning strategy. [color=orange]That plan now includes multiple companies lining up to fly drug and other materials research efforts on the major new research hardware just carried to the ISS by Discovery[/color].[/quote:dda44f7587]

Если повезет с результатами таких исследований, то шансы на продление МКС значительно вырастут.
В связи с закрытием топика о Констелейшн появился удобный предлог разделить  тему на части.


Launch Vehicle: Ares I-X
Launch Date: October 31
Launch Pad: 39B at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Ares I-X Flight Hardware
Last week's milestones include:

- New launch date
The Constellation Program has recommended setting [color=orange]Oct. 31, 2009, as
the new target launch date for the Ares I-X test flight[/color]. This change
is the result of a detailed schedule assessment performed as
follow-on to the Ares I-X Mate Review, which was conducted June 30 -
July 1. The purpose of the mate review was to evaluate readiness to
begin stacking major vehicle components on the mobile launch
platform. The complexity of all known work and challenges ahead to
achieve a successful test flight were identified, as well as
logistics and personnel constraints. This data was then used to
determine an aggressive yet achievable new launch date. The date
change is currently being reviewed by NASA Headquarters, with formal
determination expected by the end of July.

- Electrical instrumentation testing

Recent milestones completed include:
- Forward center motor segment stacking

- Final of four motor segments stacking

- Stack 1 modal test
A series of sensors strategically located throughout the stack
measured the amount and direction of movement, as the
electro-mechanical shakers imposed random loads to determine the
rocket segment's first several bending modes.

Next processing milestones:
- 7/29: Super Stack 1 lift and mate to the RSRM on MLP 1 in Vehicle
Assembly Building High Bay 3

- Flight instrumentation testing ongoing

Ares I-X Ground Support Equipment
- At Launch Pad 39B, modifications are ongoing.

Discovery STS-124
Умер Артур Кларк

(CNN) -- Science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, who co-wrote the epic film "2001: A Space Odyssey" and raised the idea of communications satellites in the 1940s, has died at age 90, an associate said.

Visionary author Arthur C. Clarke had fans around the world.

Clarke had been wheelchair-bound for several years with complications stemming from a youthful bout with polio and had suffered from back trouble recently, said Scott Chase, the secretary of the nonprofit Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.

He died early Wednesday at a hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had lived since the 1950s, Chase said.

"He had been taken to hospital in what we had hoped was one of the slings and arrows of being 90, but in this case it was his final visit," he said.

Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick shared an Academy Award nomination for best adapted screenplay for "2001." The film grew out of Clarke's 1951 short story, "The Sentinel," about an alien transmitter left on the moon that ceases broadcasting when humans arrive.

As a Royal Air Force officer during World War II, Clarke took part in the early development of radar. In a paper written for the radio journal "Wireless World" in 1945, he suggested that artificial satellites hovering above fixed spot above Earth could be used to relay telecommunications signals across the globe.

He is widely credited with introducing the idea of the communications satellite, the first of which were launched in the early 1960s. But he never patented the idea, prompting a 1965 essay that he subtitled, "How I Lost a Billion Dollars in My Spare Time."

Clarke wrote dozens of novels and collections of short stories and more than 30 non-fiction works during a career as a writer that began in the 1950s. He served as a television commentator during several of the Apollo moon missions and co-wrote a 1970 account of the first lunar landing with the Apollo 11 crew.

He was knighted in 1998.
Бюджет NASA
На примере 2008-2010 очень подробно обьясняется вся бюджетная кухня
NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale's Blog: More on The Budget

I know that many are interested in reading more details about the budget and how it all works. We are working on three budget years right now, all in different stages. Since we now have an appropriation from Congress, signed by the President, for fiscal year (FY) 2008, we are now moving to the next step to compile a plan for how the funding will be allocated at the program level. For FY 2009, we are working toward release of the President's budget in February. Finally, we are compiling the Strategic Planning Guidance for FY 2010 to start that budget process.

FY 2008

The FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-161) bill was signed into law by the President on December 26, 2007. The "omnibus" wrapped appropriations (funding) for many departments and agencies into one bill as opposed to individual bills. NASA is funded under the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which is reflected as Division B in the FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act. In this Omnibus Appropriations Act, NASA is funded at $17.31B, equivalent to the President's request level. NASA is also required to rescind a total of $193M in prior year appropriations. A "rescission" is the cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress. NASA will accomplish the rescission primarily by reducing FY 2007 activities and some construction activities that involve funds that are not limited to two-year availability.

The FY 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Act fully funds the Crew Exploration Vehicle, the Crew Launch Vehicle, Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. The measure increases Science by $61M, increases Aeronautics by $71M, increases Education by $26M, and provides $83M for Congressionally-directed items. To fund overall Congressional increases for NASA, the bill makes reductions totaling $428M, made up of reductions in program and corporate funds. Some of these reductions are general or unspecified. This means that, while Congress funded NASA at our request level of $17.3B, there are some differences in how Congress wants us to spend the money. Thus, there are puts and takes with direction on particular areas that should be increased and then specific and unspecified reductions (unspecified cuts mean that NASA will determine how to take the cuts and report this to Congressional Committees via the "operating plan" that is mentioned in the next paragraph).

The Explanatory Statement accompanying the Omnibus Appropriations Act calls upon departments and agencies in the bill to submit plans for rescissions within 30 days of enactment (by January 26, 2008) and to submit Operating Plans for FY 2008 within 60 days of enactment (by February 26, 2008). The report on rescissions will identify specific amounts, by program, to reach the $193M total. The initial Operating Plan will identify the manner in which NASA is implementing Congressional direction, including specified programmatic augmentations and reductions, and the manner in which NASA is allocating, by program, unspecified and general reductions. NASA also will identify any discretionary changes that the Agency proposes, with specific augmentations and reductions, by program, to accomplish those changes. Under law, the Committees on Appropriations have 15 days to consider the proposed rescissions as well as changes, or "reprogrammings," reflected in the Operating Plan before they are implemented by NASA.

NASA is in the process of compiling the plan to accommodate rescissions in prior-year unobligated appropriations along with the FY 2008 Operating Plan. NASA consults with the Executive Office of the President (EOP; the EOP is a broader term for the White House that includes other offices such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy) to compile these plans. NASA will endeavor to submit both the plan for rescissions and the FY 2008 Operating Plan within 30 days of enactment.

FY 2009

NASA has settled with OMB on the FY 2009 budget. This is the end result of numerous discussions between NASA and OMB. This iterative budget discussion with back-and-forth between federal agencies and OMB, with input from other EOP offices such as the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Security Council, is a key part of the process. The FY 2009 President's budget is now being prepared and will be delivered to the Congress on February 4, 2008.

FY 2010

The FY 2010 Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG) provides high-level, strategic budget development guidance. This FY 2010 Strategic Planning Guidance (SPG) is the official, Strategic Management Council (SMC)-controlled guidance for use in developing the Agency's FY 2010 President's budget and represents the Agency's continued efforts in implementing the Agency's Mission and Vision as described in the 2006 NASA Strategic Plan.

The Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation (PA&E), Strategic Investments Division, develops and publishes the SPG. The SPG includes both programmatic and institutional guidance, and publication of the SPG officially kicks off the FY 2010 Programming Phase of NASA's Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) process. Control Account Managers (or CAMs, the single points of contact who are responsible for specific agency accounts -- there is one CAM per agency account) will publish detailed guidance, including relative priorities for resolving issues within their accounts, in a Program and Resources Guidance (PRG) document. The official release of these PRGs will be posted to the Knowledge Information Center (KIC).

The proposed SPG was discussed at the SMC on January 9 to request approval to proceed. The guidance will be posted to the NASA KIC by January 11 but will not contain the Budget controls until after the President's FY 2009 budget has been released on February 4.

Thanks to PA&E and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)

The Strategic Investments Division of PA&E and members of the OCFO (particularly the Comptroller's Office within the OCFO shop) worked long, hard hours over the holidays in December. Juggling external actions for three fiscal years at the same time is hard and painstaking and the crew did fantastic work. They are a dedicated group and they're looking a little tired these days -- so thank them when you see one of them.
Atlantis STS-122
Как раз в том момент, когда штопали СБ на МКС, Атлантис повезли на сборку

Повезет на станцию Колумбус с внутренними научными стойками Biolab, Fluid Science Laboratory (FSL), European Drawer Rack (EDR), European Physiology Modules (EPM) и двумя внешними Solar Monitoring Observatory (SOLAR) и European Technology Exposure Facility (EuTEF)
Также заберет со станции гироскоп на починку

From the left (front row) are astronauts Stephen N. Frick, commander; European Space Agency's (ESA) Leopold Eyharts; and Alan G. Poindexter, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Leland D. Melvin, Rex J. Walheim, Stanley G. Love and European Space Agency's (ESA) Hans Schlegel, all mission specialists. Eyharts will join Expedition 16 in progress to serve as a flight engineer aboard the International Space Station.
NASA To Accelerate Space Nuclear Power
Статья в АW
Вобщемто обычное блаблабла, но один момент интересный. Локхид делает Стирлинг и финансирует это МинЭнерго

[quote:97b626d071]The Stirling closed-loop nuclear system currently is being developed by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at Valley Forge, Penn., under contract to the Department of Energy in Germantown, Md. In support of this project, NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio established a near-term technology effort to provide some of the critical data to ensure a successful transition to flight for what will be the first dynamic power system to be used in space.[/quote:97b626d071]
Предыдущая тема ушла в никуда и была закрыта.
По сабжу новая информация.

     В начале сентября из Бразилии вернулась делегация, возглавляемая генеральным директором Национального космического агентства Украины (НКАУ) Юрием Алексеевым. Представителями нашей страны и их бразильскими коллегами были приняты решения, которые наконец-то после довольно длительных ожиданий, согласований и оформлений зажгли зеленый свет началу практической деятельности совместного предприятия, созданного двумя государствами.

     Оно предназначено для реализации проекта, предусматривающего строительство и последующую эксплуатацию на космодроме Алкантара в Бразилии комплекса для запусков перспективных украинских ракет-носителей «Циклон-4» с целью выведения на околоземные орбиты спутников различного назначения как в интересах национальных космических программ обоих государств, так и для оказания на коммерческих основах пусковых услуг для заказчиков из других стран. После возращения делегации в Украину корреспондент «2000» взял эксклюзивное интервью у начальника управления международного сотрудничества НКАУ Александра Сердюка, который утвержден генеральным директором упомянутого СП с украинской стороны (а генеральным директором СП с бразильской стороны стал экс-министр науки и технологий Роберто Амарал).

     Создание СП: от де-юре к де-факто
     — Прежде всего, — говорит Александр Иосифович, — напомню, что украинско-бразильский договор «О долгосрочном сотрудничестве в рамках использования ракеты-носителя «Циклон-4» на пусковом центре Алкантара, заключенный на межгосударственном уровне, подписан полномочными представителями обеих стран в 2003 г., ратифицирован Верховной Радой Украины в 2004-м и введен в действие декретом президента Бразилии в 2005-м. Было оговорено, что управление этим проектом возьмет на себя СП, формируемое на основе равных (50:50) вкладов каждой из двух сторон и официально названное так: бинациональное предприятие «Алкантара-Циклон Спейс» (Alcantara Cyclone Space).
     Первое и второе из этих слов в особых пояснениях не нуждаются, поскольку это наименования бразильского космодрома и создаваемой в Украине ракеты, а space в переводе с английского означает «космос». Прилагательное же «бинациональное» объясняется тем, что это украинско-бразильское предприятие создано не какими-либо компаниями обеих стран (как это обычно бывает в случаях с СП), а именно двумя государствами. Учредителями СП «Алкантара-Циклон Спейс» с нашей стороны стали Фонд государственного имущества и Национальное космическое агентство, а с бразильской — министерство науки и технологий и космическое агентство.
     События 2003, 2004 и 2005 годов знаменовали собой оформление украинско-бразильского сотрудничества в этой сфере де-юре. Затем в течение последующих двух лет состоялось несколько раундов двусторонних переговоров, проходивших то в Украине, то в Бразилии, в ходе которых «утрясались» многочисленные организационные и прочие нюансы нормативно-правовой базы, необходимой для формирования бинационального СП.
     Столь долгий путь от юридического оформления соглашения до реального создания совместного предприятия объясняется как внутренней спецификой принятия подобных решений в Бразилии, на территории которой будет функционировать СП «Алкантара-Циклон Спейс», так и некоторыми внешними факторами (ведь международный рынок оказания космических пусковых услуг — непростая сфера, в которой нередки и видимые, и невидимые, но играющие свою роль проявления конкуренции).
     И вот в последние дни августа 2007-го состоялось рождение СП уже де-факто: в Бразилии одно за другим прошли заседания совета директоров СП «Алкантара-Циклон Спейс», а затем — общее собрание учредителей этого бинационального предприятия, которое утвердило предложения, выработанные советом директором СП.
     В частности, утверждены все члены совета директоров с обеих сторон и фискального совета (который будет контролировать финансовые аспекты деятельности СП, для чего предусмотрены как внутренний, так и независимый аудит). Также приняты основные направления деятельности и развития СП, практическая работа которого начнется уже во второй половине сентября нынешнего года с проведения ряда подготовительных мероприятий для предстоящего создания наземного комплекса для «Циклона-4».
     Дирекции СП поручено совместно разработать документы, предусмотренные уставом бинационального предприятия: его внутренний регламент, организационную структуру, бизнес-план, функциональные обязанности сотрудников и т. д. Все это будет представлено на утверждение во время следующего заседания совета директоров СП, которое должно состояться в декабре 2007-го (пока точно еще не определено, где оно состоится, — в Бразилии или в Украине).

     Первый запуск — через два года
     Бразильский космодром Алкантара находится примерно в двух градусах географической широты южнее экватора (приэкваториальное расположение дает существенные преимущества в проведении космических пусков) невдалеке от Сент-Луиса, столицы штата Мараньян, и занимает площадь около 620 кв. км. Космодром имеет аэродром со взлетно-посадочной полосой протяженностью 2,6 км, а на побережье есть морской порт.
     В состав наземного комплекса для запуска «Циклонов-4» будут входить технические комплексы для подготовки ракет-носителей, их головных блоков и космических аппаратов (с соответствующими монтажно-испытательными корпусами) и стартовый комплекс, откуда ракеты с полезной нагрузкой будут выводиться на орбиты.
     — Украинская сторона, — говорит Александр Иосифович, — привлекает для создания наземного комплекса под «Циклоны-4» на Алкантаре российских специалистов из московского Конструкторского бюро транспортного машиностроения (КБТМ имеет большой опыт проектирования и строительства таких комплексов на космодромах Байконур и Плесецк).
     Разработку трехступенчатой ракеты «Циклон-4» (существенно усовершенствованной по сравнению с ее предшественниками, за многие годы зарекомендовавшими себя как весьма надежные носители) осуществляет в Днепропетровске государственное конструкторское бюро «Южное» имени М. К. Янгеля. А серийным изготовлением новых перспективных ракет космического назначения определено производственное объединение «Южный машиностроительный завод» имени А. М. Макарова.
     Сейчас в ГКБ «Южное» разрабатывается техническая документация на различные системы и узлы «Циклона-4». А на «Южмаше» осуществляется подготовка к производству этих носителей.
     Место расположения офиса штаб-квартиры бинационального предприятия «Алкантара-Циклон Спейс» определена бразильская столица — город Бразилиа.
     Когда же можно ожидать первый запуск ракеты-носителя «Циклон-4» с космодрома Алкантара? Отвечая на этот вопрос, Александр Сердюк назвал в качестве предполагаемых, по его мнению, сроков, конец 2009-го — середину 2010 года. «Все будет зависеть, — продолжил он, — от того, насколько смогут мобилизировать свои усилия украинские и бразильские участники совместного проекта. Также предстоит выполнить согласно весьма строгому природоохранному законодательству Бразилии комплекс мероприятий по охране окружающей среды от загрязнения в процессе строительства комплекса для «Циклонов-4» на Алкантаре и его эксплуатации и получить в соответствующем бразильском ведомстве необходимые лицензии. Надеемся, что и эти проблемы будут успешно решены».
Что за запрет на РД-180?
Из ленты
До конца этой недели Минобороны рассмотрит документы и, как надеется глава Роскосмоса Анатолий Перминов, снимет запрет на поставку российских двигателей РД-180 в США для установки на ракетах-носителях Atlas.[/quote:f885b02b29]

Когда такой ввели? И в связи с чем? Чет я пропустил
Endeavour: STS-118
Привезли в VAB


Выкатить на старт планируют 10 числа. Окна:

Atlantis: STS-117
Миссия в марте. Будут везти новый сегмент СБ

Launch: March 15, 2007
Time: 6:42 a.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: March 26 @ 1:54 a.m. EDT

Вот патч

В прошлую среду привезли в VAB

Delta 4-Heavy DSP
Discovery: STS-116
Пора уже тему заводить.
Выкатили сегодня.

Окно открывается 7 декабря 9:39 p.m. EST

Довольно подробный обзор предстоящей миссии http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts116/061030preview/
Lockheed and Bigelow Human-Rated EELV deal

Lockheed Martin and Bigelow Aerospace have entered into a deal to move towards the use of the Atlas V for private manned space flight, NASASpaceFlight.com has exclusively learned.

A formal agreement between the two companies to study Atlas V feasibility for space tourism - including up to 16 launches a year - will be announced shortly. The initiative could radically transform both the "New Space" and traditional launch marketplace.

The two companies have agreed to begin a phase of technical and business model studies, after which the companies will decide whether to proceed with a man-rated Atlas V program.

Initially, and due to the huge amount of money involved, the companies will announce they are to focus on exploring the technical requirements for the human-rated launch services needed to transport commercial crew and cargo to expandable orbital space complexes. Bigelow and Lockheed Martin will examine the production and supply of Atlas rockets and comprehensive data describing flight safety and performance. Potential business models and business plans will also be discussed.

The companies expect an Atlas V 401 single-core configuration to be the most likely launch vehicle. Lockheed Martin literature and graphics, obtained by NASASpaceFlight.com, portray a wide, 8-person capsule atop a combined abort and orbital maneuvering system in an Atlas V 401 stack. The passenger vehicle itself could change to a different design.

Up to 16 manned Atlas V 401s per year are anticipated. Current Atlas V family launch rates are closer to two to four launches per year. If realized, this increased launch volume could drastically decrease the Atlas V per-launch costs, and significantly change the US launch market.

New Space Meets Old Space?

The move signals that Lockheed is seriously considering entering the fray to get a chunk of the emerging space tourism market. With the exception of Soyuz, the potentially large orbital tourism market has primarily been the domain of small 'New Space' company business plans.

Companies such as Rocketplane Kistler, SpaceX, and tSpace are attempting to achieve flight costs an order-of-magnitude cheaper than existing vehicles, but only a high-volume space tourism market could supply the quantity of launches required.

A man-rated Atlas V could mean that, if one of these small companies get to orbit, they still face future competition from the more established Lockheed - with its existing infrastructure, proven reliability, and an existing customer base.

'As the builder and launcher of one of the most reliable launch vehicles in the world, we believe the Atlas V is a good choice to help usher in the new era of orbital commercial human spaceflight.' said Lockheed's George Sowers, Atlas Business Development and Advanced Programs Director.

'We are excited to be looking at a potential new role for Atlas in the developing market of space tourism and research.'

Bigelow Changes Course

Bigelow Aerospace plans to build an orbiting hotel from inflatable modules for space tourists. The company is interested in Lockheed Martin's Atlas V to provide human and cargo transportation to their planned space station. A prototype inflatable module, the Genesis I, was successfully orbited from a Russian Dnepr rocket in July, as the company looks to revolutionize the space tourism market.

'We need to encourage creativity, imagination, and innovation, in order to bring the benefits of space development to fruition, not just for the privileged few, but for all of humanity,' said company founder and president Robert T. Bigelow, in relation to this agreement.

Bigelow has relied on other companies to independently develop the human launch capabilities it needs to provide tourists a ride to its planned space station. Bigelow has an established relationship with SpaceX, for example, including a planned unmanned Falcon 9 launch scheduled for late 2008.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk recently stated that the two companies are in an 'ongoing dialog' to ensure Falcon 9 meets Bigelow's human transportation needs.

Until now Bigelow has remained non-committal, seemingly content to allow the market, or perhaps NASA COTS, to evolve the manned capability. The company established America's Space Prize in 2004 - a $50 million reward for a company to orbit a five person manned spacecraft capable to spur the market along.

However, in August, Bigelow made an ambiguous announcement proclaiming that they had 'made several bold decisions' and were accelerating their plans due to several factors. The company promised a big announcement for early 2007 - after the launch of their second prototype module. This bold partnership with Lockheed seems likely to play a role in Bigelow's sudden change of course, but the exact relationship is unclear.

Man Rating the Atlas V

NASA considered and rejected the use of Atlas V as a Space Shuttle replacement for human space flight during their Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS) last year. The ESAS stated that it deemed both Boeing Delta IV and Atlas V development options as 'high risk' for an on-time 2011 operational capability to meet CEV mass requirements.

NASA instead chose to transition it's existing Shuttle workforce to create the new Ares I for crew launch using Shuttle derived hardware. While NASA has received criticism in the EELV community for this decision, it is important to note that the Lockheed/Bigelow capsule appears to have significantly less mass than the lunar bound CEV.

However, other human-rating factors cited by the ESAS in the rejection of Atlas V hardware do not seem to be a concern to the new partnership. Lockheed seems publicly confident that the vehicle can be man-rated, stating: 'Human passenger requirements [are] readily addressable with minor modifications for additional system redundancy, vehicle health monitoring, facilities, and crew safety,' and citing a compliance to a 1.4 factor of safety for all primary structures.

The reason for the NASA ESAS man-rating concerns was due to the 25mT CEV mass requirement, which ESAS maintained could not safely even be met by the massive Atlas V Heavy variant. According to a Lockheed Martin paper unveiled this week at the Space 2006 conference, the basic Atlas V 401 can meet FAA and NASA man-rating requirements with little modification with a much smaller capsule mass of 20,000 lbs.

At 20,000 lbs, there is enough margin in the Atlas V 401's flight envelope to allow the crew to safely abort at any time during launch, closing all unsafe 'black-zones'. Also, at 20,000 lbs structural loads on the vehicle are decreased enough so that a detailed Lockheed analysis indicates that all primary structures meet NASA 1.4 Factor of Safety margins.

Analysis also shows the Russian-built RD-180 engine in this regime revealed only one component that fell a hair below the 1.4 margin, at a 1.38 Factor of Safety.

The paper, entitled 'Atlas V for Commercial Passenger Transportation', is being presented this week at the Space 2006 conference (the draft paper was obtained by this site on L2 several weeks ago.

The paper emphasises 'maximizing the synergy' between capsule and launch vehicle requirements, and clearly begs the question as to why NASA stuck with such strict CEV and Lunar mission requirements before launch vehicle selection, resulting in the multi-billion dollar Ares I development effort.

Several other Lockheed papers being unveiled this week at Space 2006 further detail the company's plans, including one entitled 'A Space Access Architecture Supporting Large Scale Space Tourism', and 'Commercial Launch Services: an Enabler for Launch Vehicle Evolution and Cost Reduction'.

Lockheed further pushes its vision of Lunar exploration with more flexible launch requirements with 'An Alternate Approach to Lunar Missions - Human Sorties at Half the Price', and cements its vision of more flexible vehicle requirements for moon exploration through on-orbit refueling with a paper on cryogenic propellant transfer.

With the deal announced today, these papers become tangible future possibilities rather than hypothetical analyses, and portrays Lockheed Martin's full-on approach to moving the Atlas V into the manned space flight program, returning to their deep involvement pre-Apollo.

Drastic NASA COTS Implication

Meanwhile, the NASA COTS program is attempting to foster drastically lower cost ISS resupply and crew rotation missions with the granting of $500 million to the two 'New Space' companies SpaceX and Rocketplane-Kistler. These companies are being asked to find significant private funding to supplement the NASA COTS award, with the vague assurance that if they succeed in flying safe manned vehicles that they would then be eligible to bid on competitive ISS resupply contracts.

Again, the Lockheed Martin/Bigelow agreement could drastically change the ISS resupply equation. A man-capable Atlas V with capsule and docking hardware could threaten direct competition with any successful COTS winner on competitive ISS crew rotation contracts.
Sea Launch JCSAT-9
На сегодня назначен пуск

The Sea Launch team is preparing for the launch of the JCSAT-9 communications satellite, on April 12, at 4:30pm PDT (23:30 GMT). The 4401 kg

Вебкаст будет тут за 10 мин до открытия окна


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