General Space Discussion (Thread 1)


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Unobscured Vision

What a LOVELY cloud of ochre-colored death. That area will be nice and toxic for a couple of months until rain washes it down to safe (-ish) levels. Water won't be potable for a few years. WTG, China. This is why the U.S. won't launch over land and why Russia doesn't launch over populated areas. F'n morons.

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DocM
On 5/28/2018 at 2:55 AM, DocM said:

US Commercial Space is now open for business.

 

The US Depertment of Commerce has created a one-stop-shop for space mission planning. This includes a reduction in regulatory burdens,  coordination of regulations and treaty compliance.

 

http://spacenews.com/commerce-department-to-create-space-administration/

 

Follow-up

 

http://spacenews.com/house-science-committee-approves-space-traffic-management-bill/

 

Quote

House Science Committee approves space traffic management bill

 

RENTON, Wash. — The House Science Committee approved a bill June 27 that would give the Commerce Department new responsibilities for space traffic management despite opposition by some Democrats that the bill “rubber stamps” the administration’s space policy.

The committee favorably reported on a voice vote H.R. 6226, the American Space Situational Awareness and Framework for Entity (SAFE) Management Act. The legislation, announced by the committee June 22, would authorize the Commerce Department to provide space traffic management services, such as collision warnings, to civil and commercial satellite operators within one year of the bill’s enactment.

The bill authorizes NASA to develop a space traffic management science and technology plan, outlining research to be done to improve work in the area. It also calls on the Commerce Department to develop a pilot program for space traffic coordination.

The bill largely follows Space Policy Directive 3 signed by President Trump June 18, which assigns authority for civil space traffic management work to the Commerce Department. The Defense Department, who currently carries out that work, would continue to collect space situational awareness data for its own needs. It would provide a version of its catalog to Commerce, who could then augment with data from commercial or international sources.
>

 

 

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DocM

WOW!!!!

 

NDAA = the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual US military budget.

 

EELV = the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program, which is how the USAF procures launches.

 

NSSLP = National Security Space Launch Program

 

Editorial, but big info,

 

The Hill...

 

Quote

Congress takes smart steps to make space launch reusability the norm

 

The president's announcement that he was directing the Pentagon to begin work to establish a sixth military branch, or "Space Force", certainly caught a lot of attention in the press and media. While interesting and certainly worthy of comment, Congress quietly continued work on the FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), provisions in which could greatly affect the trajectory of the national security space architecture. One component of this is in the world of launch.

The NDAA takes aggressive steps forward on embracing reusability - this is to be welcomed. Under Section 1605 of the current draft, the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program is renamed the "National Security Space Launch Program". This is a step forward in recognizing that reusability can and should be part of our nation's launch portfolio, but the key developments follow next.

That same section also outlines a requirement that the Secretary of Defense pursue a strategy that includes reusability - partial or fully reusable rockets - in national security launches; mandates the continuation of certification processes to validate the use of these components; and requires justification for why a national security launch contract awards excludes reusable rockets.


Reusability was once a pipe dream, the stuff of science fiction. Indeed, if you watch old science fiction movies, the rockets landed on the surface of an alien planet and departed once the mission was complete. Many said that reusability was impossible from an engineering standpoint, until it wasn’t anymore.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is making reusability the norm for launch. Indeed, it is almost more of a story when a Falcon 9 first stage isn't recovered. On Friday, SpaceX launched Commercial Resupply Mission 15 (CRS-15) for NASA. Both the Falcon 9 and the Dragon capsule were flight proven - meaning flown and recovered successfully.
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Section 1605 covers changes to launch procurement

 

Quote

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6 SEC. 1605. REUSABLE LAUNCH VEHICLES. 
7 (a) REUSABILITY.—The Evolved Expendable Launch 
8 Vehicle Program shall be designated as the ‘‘National Secu-
9 rity Space Launch Program’’. 
10 (b) REFERENCE TO EVOLVED EXPENDABLE LAUNCH
11 VEHICLE PROGRAM.—Any reference in any law, regulation, 
12 guidance, instruction, map, document, record, or other 
13 paper of the United States to the Evolved Expendable 
14 Launch Vehicle Program shall be deemed to be a reference 
15 to the National Security Space Launch Program. 
16 (c) POLICY.—In carrying out the policy set forth in 
17 section 2273 of title 10, United States Code, the Secretary 
18 of Defense shall pursue a strategy that includes fully or par-
19 tially reusable launch systems. 
20 (d) CERTIFICATION STRATEGY.—The Secretary shall 
21 continue to develop a process to evaluate and certify launch 
22 vehicles using previously flown components or systems for 
23 national security space launch. 
24 (e) REPORTING REQUIREMENT.—Not less than 60 days 
25 before the date on which a solicitation for procurement of

707 

1 space launch services is issued, the Secretary shall submit 
2 to the congressional defense committees a report that sets 
3 forth— 
4 (1) a determination with respect to whether 
5 launch vehicles using previously flown components, or 
6 systems or with components or systems that are in-
7 tended to be reused, that could otherwise meet mission 
8 requirements are eligible for award; and 
9 (2) in the case of a determination that such 
10 launch vehicles shall not be eligible for award, a jus-
11 tification with respect to the reason for ineligibility.
>

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Unobscured Vision

Awwwwww yeah! :punk:

 

SpaceX has changed EVERYTHING. And it's a safe bet that OldSpace interests, and even OldSpace themselves are doing the Planet m'fer shuffle on this one ...

 

I mean, how dare the Government change the formula?! "They don't know what they want, WE are the ones that tell them what they want" ... isn't that the mantra they've used since World War 2?

 

Now OldSpace HAS to evolve. It was only in their best interests to do it before -- now they MUST. They do it or they're getting SHUT OUT. No more bottomless pits of money. No more contracts that they can simply produce very little on with huge payoffs over long periods of time. No more "playing it safe" with old technologies that they can just build over and over and over again without ever advancing.

 

Nope .... this is a game-changer. A welcome one.

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Beittil

awesome-quotes-www-awesomequotes4u-com-f

I'd say SpaceX had definitely entered the 'then you win' phase!

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Unobscured Vision

Yep. No longer needed. RIP '17. Did your job well.

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Jim K

 

 

49 years ago...we were heading to the Moon...

 

 

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DocM

Hopefully soon....

 

 

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Unobscured Vision

With a vengeance ... :yes:

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Skiver

I've not seen anyone talk about Virgin Orbit in here, anyone here rate it as an actual option for launching smaller satellites?

 

I saw an article this morning that talked about potential "launch sites" in the UK. I guess the term launch site is a bit ambiguous as it's not exactly a static spot. I would have thought that even at higher altitudes, launching from that far north would be pretty inefficient?

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Jim K
1 hour ago, Skiver said:

I've not seen anyone talk about Virgin Orbit in here, anyone here rate it as an actual option for launching smaller satellites?

 

I saw an article this morning that talked about potential "launch sites" in the UK. I guess the term launch site is a bit ambiguous as it's not exactly a static spot. I would have thought that even at higher altitudes, launching from that far north would be pretty inefficient?

There is a thread about Virgin's LauncherOne (which will launch small sats) here.

 

With respect to your question, yea ... I believe they are going to launch sometime soon (test flight) and if it goes well the next one will launch with a payload (from Mojave).  The UK port would be good for payload that require polar or sun-synchronous orbits (and other highly inclined orbits).  I think I read somewhere that Sutherland will become operational in 2021?

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DocM
2 hours ago, Skiver said:

I've not seen anyone talk about Virgin Orbit in here, anyone here rate it as an actual option for launching smaller satellites?

 

It's looking to be a good option for smallsat, and they're signing up customers. Basically, they'll air-launch for $10m when Northrop-Grumman's Pegasus air-launcher costs $40m.

Quote

 

I saw an article this morning that talked about potential "launch sites" in the UK. I guess the term launch site is a bit ambiguous as it's not exactly a static spot. I would have thought that even at higher altitudes, launching from that far north would be pretty inefficient?

 

The propose spaceport is in Scotland.

 

The advantage of air-launch aircraft such as Virgin's Cosmic Girl or the gigantic StratoLaunch Roc, is that you can fly the carrier aircraft to wherever and launch to any orbital inclination - just point the carrier plane  to the correct heading and fire.

 

Scotland is perfect for polar or sun-synchronous launches, which is what many of the small Earth observation and LEO communications satellites need. Some of these new satellites only mass 5-500 kg, so multi-launching is very possible.

 

Ex: 5kg Planet Lab Dove Earth observation satellite

b1d78c80514d443a.jpeg

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DocM

Future Exploration Campaign rolling out in September.

 

Hmmmmmm...

 

 

Related to

 

https://spacenews.com/bridenstine-discusses-iss-future-exploration-cooperation-in-europe/

 

Bridenstine discusses ISS future, exploration cooperation in Europe



>
In a July 15 video, Bridenstine suggested more details about NASA’s exploration plans, including roles for international and commercial partners, could be released in the near future. "NASA has a lot of business upcoming with our future exploration campaign that we're going to be rolling out details in the very near future," he said.

Asked after the panel when those details could be released, Bridenstine responded, "Maybe in September."
>
"In order to accomplish these goals, we need to have a transition in low Earth orbit," he said. "Whether it is transitioning the International Space Station to our commercial partners or an international consortium of commercial partners, or taking advantage of brand-new platforms, all of that needs to be in the mix."
>

 

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DocM

Eric Berger of ARS Technica published a comprehensive article covering the mess European launch is in. Longish, but worth the read,

 

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/07/as-the-spacex-steamroller-surges-european-rocket-industry-vows-to-resist/

 

Quote

VIVE LA RÉSISTANCE —

 

As the SpaceX steamroller surges, European rocket industry vows to resist

After 50 years of success, Europe's main spaceport reaches a crossroads.

KOUROU, French Guiana—White light flooded in through large windows behind Alain Charmeau as he mused about the new age of rocketry. The brilliant sunrise promised another idyllic day in this beach town, but outside the sands remained untroubled by the feet of tourists.
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But times change. Like the rest of the aerospace world - including the Russians and traditional US companies like Boeing, Aerojet, and Lockheed Martin - Europe must now confront titanic changes in the global launch industry. By aggressively pushing low-cost, reusable launch technologies, SpaceX has bashed down the traditional order. Blue Origin, too, promises more of the same within a few years for larger satellites. Beyond these prominent new space companies serving larger satellites, dozens of more modest ventures are pursuing innovative strategies like 3-D printing to slash costs and snag a share of the small satellite market from traditional providers.

Inside the breakfast hall of the Hotel des Roches, which overlooks the lonely beach, Charmeau acknowledged this new reality. "We have strengths, and we have some advantages," he said of his company, the Paris-based ArianeGroup. "But these are extremely challenging times."
>
Will he succeed? Outside the hotel, the dark, muddy waters of the Atlantic Ocean here in French Guiana seem a particularly apt mirror. Europe faces much uncertainty in its effort to retain its place among the stars.
>
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DocM

Sounds like LockMart and their partner (likely Rocket Lab) would be doing UK rapid response launches of military cubesats for the Five Eyes nations,

 

Five Eyes is an intelligence sharing organization consisting of the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

 

https://spacenews.com/lockheed-martin-yet-to-select-vehicle-to-launch-from-british-spaceport/

 


>
"Electron is well-positioned to be the first orbital rocket launched from U.K. soil," said Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, in the statement. "We're excited to review the opportunity to develop a launch service to support the U.K.s space industrys growth."

Lockheed Martin executives said at the briefing that, whatever vehicle they select to launch from the Scottish spaceport, they expect a steady cadence of missions once operations are up and running. "We envisage, from kind of a steady state, about 10 launches a year," Wood said. "Obviously we have the ability to go to a higher cadence, and we've sized the organization for slightly less than that as well."

One potential use of the spaceport is for responsive launches of military satellites. "A military capability perspective that I am interested in is the ability to do responsive space launch," said Air Vice-Marshal Simon "Rocky" Rochelle, chief of staff capability and development at the Royal Air Force. The details of such a capability are still being worked out, he said, but could include launches of off-the-shelf satellites on 72 hours' notice.

That capability, he added, could be shared among allies, such as the "Five Eyes" partnership of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. "We do all sorts of things together," he said, adding that such cooperation could help allies "control that space domain rather than being threatened."
>

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Beittil
4 hours ago, DocM said:

Eric Berger of ARS Technica published a comprehensive article covering the mess European launch is in. Longish, but worth the read,

 

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/07/as-the-spacex-steamroller-surges-european-rocket-industry-vows-to-resist/

 

Read the article. Main problem here is imho that these guys are still full on head in the sand when it comes to denying the need to innovate and believing SpaceX is heavily subsidized by Uncle Sam in order to push the competion out of business. 

 

All that is really happening is government is just willing to pony up 1st class tickets while the rest is flying economy. But that is a concept they just can't seem to grasp.

 

But hey, Ariane 6 is to Europe what SLS is to America. A big fat jobs program that is being kept running by politicians. So don't go calling the kettle black just yet ;)

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DocM

"First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you."
~~ Nicholas Klein, 1914 (no, not Ghandi!)

 

Ars Technica...


After 25 years, military told to move from "expendable" to "reusable" rockets

This is a big boon for SpaceX after more than a decade of fighting.

Less than a year and a half has passed since SpaceX first flew a used first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, but this achievement has already shaken up the glacial process of lawmaking and military budgeting. The final version of the defense budget bill for fiscal year 2019 will make both a symbolic and a significant policy change when it comes to reusable rockets.

The conference report from the US House and Senate calls for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program of the Department of Defense, commonly known as the EELV program, to be named the "National Security Space Launch program" as of March 1, 2019. No longer will the military rely solely on expendable rockets.

Moreover, the report says the US Air Force must consider both expendable and reusable launch vehicles as part of its solicitation for military launch contracts. And in the event that a contract is solicited for a mission that a reusable launch vehicle is not eligible to compete for, the Air Force should report back to Congress with the reason why. The US House has already agreed to the conference report, and it should be taken up in the Senate next week. After that, it will need the president's signature to become law.
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The US Congress appears to have noticed these significant achievements. As part of the conference report, Congress directs the Air Force to report back on how the military will ensure the used rockets are safe to use and how much money the government will save as a result. It is quite a change from the state of play just 13 years ago, when ULA was dominant and SpaceX was roundly dismissed by the courts and the broader aerospace community.

 

25254688767_b67e0bf2ac_k-1-800x533.jpg

 

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DocM

AKA Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles 2, or EELV-2.

 

Because of the rise of reusable rockets like Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and soon New Glenn which are not "expendable" Congress  is moving to relabel the program National Security Space Launch Program, or NSSLP.

 

https://spacenews.com/air-force-close-to-selecting-next-generation-launch-vehicles/

 

Quote

Air Force close to selecting next-generation launch vehicles

 

WASHINGTON — The Air Force plans to reveal this month which companies it has selected for the next phase of the "launch service agreement" program that seeks to use commercial rockets for national security space missions.

The highly anticipated LSA selection was originally scheduled to be announced in July but has slipped to "sometime in August,"  a spokeswoman for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center told SpaceNews.

The program was created to take advantage of American industry investments in launch vehicles and ensure they are modified to meet national security space requirements. The Air Force has said it wants to develop at least three launch system prototypes and narrow it down to two competitors by 2020.
>
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In the early phase of the LSA program in 2016, the Air Force entered into cost-sharing agreements for rocket propulsion systems with SpaceX, Orbital ATK (now Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems), ULA and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Each company demonstrated a proposed rocket propulsion system.* The three rocket manufacturers and propulsion supplier Aerojet Rocketdyne are said to be in contention for the next round of awards and there has been speculation that Blue Origin will enter the fray.
>
The LSA program also fits the Air Force's broader goal to get out of the business of "buying rockets" and instead acquire end-to-end services from companies.
>

 

 

* The SpaceX engine USAF contracted for in 2016 and 2017 is a Raptor upper stage egine. If they have indeed demonstrated it for the USAF brass... 

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DocM

US Dept. of Defense website, my hastily done graphic

 

BFR_USAF.thumb.jpg.516b3c0a3942af27326ed97167e97226.jpg

 

Defense.gov...

 


Air Mobility Command Chief Looks Toward Supplying Forces From Space

WASHINGTON -- Deliveries from space are going to happen, and the Defense Department must be ready to capitalize on the capability when it happens, the commander of the Air Forces Air Mobility Command told the Defense Writers Group here today.

Air Force Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II said he is looking to space to enhance the American militarys global mobility and move at the speed of war.

"Air Mobility Command needs rapid access to space," the general said, and he is working with private corporations to examine the ways forward. "I just had a visit with SpaceX and Virgin Orbital," he said. "They tell me they can get around the globe in 30 minutes with a Big Falcon Rocket."

"Using  the rocket, the command could deliver 150 metric tons for less than the cost of a C-5 Galaxy transport jet delivery," he said.

Space is a new frontier for transportation, and private companies are developing technologies that are driving the costs of launches down, the general said. "What happens if we pre-position cargo in space?" he asked. "I  don't have to use terrestrial means [to deliver it]. I can position it in space and have an automatic vehicle go up and come back down."

"I want to get around the globe quickest so I can affect that adversary," he continued. "It is in its infancy stages,  but I want to put mobility people in Space Command so they can learn space and I want space folks in Mobility Command. If we don't do this and we stay in the air domain, Air Mobility Command will become irrelevant."

Concepts Ready in Five Years

The general said he believes that the concepts can be ready within the next five years. "Within five years after that, it will be happening," he told the defense writers.

AMC has a future concept section that is looking closely at the capability, Everhart said, and Air Force personnel are already looking to develop a concept of operations for mobility in space.

Air Mobility Command is an integral part of U.S. Transportation Command and is a crucial enabler for all services and combatant commands. The United States is a superpower because the American military can deploy anywhere in the world and sustain those forces.

Air Mobility Command is a $46 billion enterprise with 1,100 aircraft and 124,000 total- force airmen, including civilians. "The world is our [area of responsibility]," the general said.

The big grey planes with the American flag on the tail are a visible sign of U.S. capabilities, Everhart said. "I call it grey-tail diplomacy," he added. "The American flag on the tail tells our friends were there to help and tells our enemies to watch out."

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Unobscured Vision

Ooooohhh ... if the USAF (and thereby the DOD) throws their significant technical expertise and financial backing behind the BFR/BFS?! Sure it'll carry some conditions, but I don't think there'll be anything that either party can't deal with.

 

This is a win-win AFAIAC.

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DocM

The only way I see this working in forward areas is by using dropships to deploy the goods to the destination.

 

On land or near the coast: LZ's + depots or the P2P droneships/platforms could work.

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Unobscured Vision

Oooo ... that actually could work well. Ejectable compartments with parachute/paraglide capability, or LZ's + Depots/whatever.

 

Lots of configuration options available. Pretty much anything can be made mobile nowadays.

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DocM

 

After DC-X was cancelled many of its engineers ended up at little startups  called Blue Origin and SpaceX.

 

DC-X Flight #8 demonstrated a swan dive maneuver similar to what SpaceX's Big Falcon Spaceship will use when rotating from re-entry attitude to a vertical landing.

 

 

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DocM

LC-48 would be for small launchers like Boeing's Phantom Express spaceplane (aka DARPA's XS-1), Electron, Firefly etc.

 

LZ-2 will be 3 landing pads, and it sounds like their main occupant will be SpaceX due to their expected high flight rate (StarLink, etc.). Due about 2020, it will be between LC-39B and Playalinda Beach..

 

 

636688815985759292-kscmasterplanmap-lc48-landing.thumb.jpg.9200f734350def1d71a0ef6367cdff34.jpg

 

636690784728768199-sf-ksc-lz2-configA.thumb.jpg.e31cd8afb3489c0bea01515f55da6012.jpg

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      NASA has awarded a $2.89 billion contract to SpaceX to continue developing a commercial human lander that will deliver the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface. Under current plans, the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft will take astronauts to Lunar orbit where two of the up to four crew members would transfer to SpaceX’s human lander.

      Kathy Lueders, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Explorations and Operations Mission Directorate, said:

      You’re probably already familiar with SpaceX’s human landing system, it’s the Starship which the firm has recently been smashing into the ground as it attempts to perfect the landing sequence. The latest Starship test is expected next week where it will hopefully achieve a landing with the newfound financial motivation from NASA.

      For those wondering whether the private sector can meet the rigorous NASA requirements, the space agency has confirmed that SpaceX has been working closely with NASA experts to ensure the lander design meets NASA’s performance requirements and human spaceflight standards. The standards range from engineering, safety, health, and medical technical areas.

      The first mission to the Moon's surface by NASA is its Artemis 3 mission which is expected in 2024 but it could still be delayed. Artemis 3 will be preceded by Artemis 1 expected in November 2021 and Artemis 2 planned for August 2023. Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed lunar orbital test flight while Artemis 2 will send a crewed mission to lunar orbit.

      NASA has big plans for the Moon in this decade. It wants to carry out several lunar surface missions and build a space station in orbit around the Moon for easier access to the lunar surface.