The Cape Week in Review - Next F9 Launch Announced, Discovery Prepped for STS-133

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced this week that they would shoot for a September launch for the next flight of their Falcon 9 rocket. Space Florida announced it had signed an agreement with a United Kingdom group to help further international commercial space cooperation. Over at OPF-3, Discovery was being readied for what could be her final flight. This week also marks the anniversary of rockets exploring the heavens from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX Announces September Launch of Second Falcon 9 Rocket

Building on the test flight of their Falcon 9 rocket on June 4, 2010 - Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is planning to launch their next test flight of the Falcon 9 on Sept. 2, 2010. The private space company is required to fly three test flights before it can begin the nine supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled under the $1.6 billion Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract the company has with NASA.

The Falcon 9 launch vehicle is half of the overall package that SpaceX will use to fulfill the COTS contract. The other half, SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft, will send supplies to the space station and may one day be used to ferry astronauts to and from the station.

On June 4, 2010 SpaceX launched the first Falcon 9 rocket with a prototype of the Dragon spacecraft perched atop. This launch served to test the viability of the rocket's design. While there were minor issues with this flight the mission accomplished all of its primary objectives and SpaceX's engineers are working to correct what anomalies did occur. If all goes well with the next two test flights SpaceX could fly the first supply mission as early as next year.

Space Florida Announces Partnership with UK Trade and Investment Team

The State of Florida's space research and investment organization, Space Florida, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to encourage mutually beneficial commercial space opportunities between the United Kingdom and the Florida.

Space Florida is responsible for maintaining Florida's aerospace industry where UKTI assists UK-based companies succeed in their international efforts. The MOU signed by the two is designed to assist both Florida and the UK's space ventures by forming a pipeline between these two markets.

"Strategic, international partnerships are critical to the viability and growth of future U.S. commercial space programs," said Space Florida President Frank DiBello. "Today's event marks a significant step forward toward ensuring Florida's numerous space assets - both physical and intellectual - are leveraged by the global space marketplace."

Under this MOU both Space Florida and UKTI will work to identify and share potential commercial opportunities of interest to both groups. They would also introduce or arrange networking opportunities with possible partners and more importantly - investors. This could greatly benefit Space Florida's and the UK's constituents.

Discovery Prepped for Flight

Technicians at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) prepared space shuttle Discovery's orbital maneuvering system for the orbiter's scheduled Nov. 1 flight. At Orbiter Processing Facility 3 (OPF-3) Discovery's propellant lines and cross feed valves were connected and checked as the orbiter has its systems prepared for what may be its final mission. These systems route either fuel or oxidizer to steering jets in the shuttle's nose and tail.

Things on the communications side of the house were not going quite as well. The S-Band ran into cabling issues after Discovery's last flight this past April. The cable has been replaced several times with the first replacement failing tests and three other replacement cables being too short.

Although the details are far from clear it now appears that a third shuttle mission will be taking place. Recent efforts by Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, whose district includes the Kennedy Space Center to have an additional flight included in the manifest have apparently been successful. If so, either Atlantis or Discovery will fly this final mission - STS-135.

Space Wing's Commander gets First Star

The commander of Patrick Air Force Base's 45th Space Wing got a little boost Friday, July 23 - from colonel to brigadier general. Burke "Ed" Wilson was promoted during a 30-minute ceremony held at the base's Shark Center.

Wilson became the U.S. Air Force's 139th brigadier general. He credited four things that had helped him in his career, faith, family, friends and freedom.

The stars that were pinned to his epaulets were given to him after they had made a very special journey of their own - into space aboard space shuttle Atlantis in 2000.

Wilson has been in the Air Force since 1985 having graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor of science. All of Wilson's positions have been space-related; one of these was with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Wilson has been in command of the 45th Space Wing since this February.

This week in Cape History

July 24, 1950: General Electric and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) launched the Bumper - 8 rocket. It was the first rocket launched from the recently established Long Range Proving Ground at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla. The purpose of the flight was to test staging methods while a rocket is flying horizontal. The mission was a failure however, just lasting two minutes.

July 25, 1990: NASA launched the Combined Release and Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES) aboard an Atlas rocket from Kennedy Space Center to study the Earth's ionosphere and magnetosphere. The Air Force Geophysics Laboratory's SPACERAD (Space Radiation Effects) project, along with other magnetospheric, ionospheric and cosmic ray experiments were also onboard CRRES.

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Rhian published on July 25, 2010 9:16 PM.

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