Commercialization: March 2006 Archives

Fred Gregory Un-Retires

Frederick D. Gregory, former NASA Deputy Administrator, joins Lohfeld Consulting Group

"The Lohfeld Consulting Group announced today that former NASA Deputy Administrator Frederick D. Gregory has accepted a position with the corporation as Managing Director, Aerospace and Defense Strategies. Mr. Gregory will lead the Aerospace and Defense strategy practice offering consulting services to aerospace, defense and information technology companies to assist in the development and execution of their strategies in government and international markets."

Preliminary SpaceX Internal Analysis of Falcon I Launch, SpaceX

"I am very encouraged and grateful that our launch customers took the time to call and express their support of SpaceX when their reaction could easily have been the opposite. We will stand by them as they have stood by us. SpaceX is in this for the long haul and, come hell or high water, we are going to make this work."

Someone's looking out for that satellite..., Kwajalein Atoll and Rockets

"The rocket impacted on a dead reef about 250 ft away from the launch pad, so most of it is recoverable for analysis. Amazingly, the satellite was thrown high into the air when the rocket impacted and came crashing down through the roof of our machine shop, landing mostly intact on the floor! One helluva' return trip."

Vanguard 1, National Air and Space Museum

"Vanguard 1, known as TV-3 before launch, was to have been placed in orbit on December 6, 1957. The satellite was recovered after the launch rocket malfunctioned almost immediately after ignition and crashed on the launchpad."

Falcon I Fails

Historic SpaceX Launch Set for Today March 24: The World's Lowest Cost Rocket to Orbit

Falcon I Launch Fails, SpaceRef

"The Falcon I rocket was launched today at 5:30 pm EST from Omelek Island and climbed upward for around a minute. Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's Vice President for Business Development, has confirmed that the rocket has been lost."

The following Statement was posted on the SpaceX website by Elon Musk:

"Falcon 1 Maiden Flight Update: Posted March 24, 2006 3:00 pm We had a successful liftoff and Falcon made it well clear of the launch pad, but unfortunately the vehicle was lost later in thefirst stage burn. More information will be posted once we have had time to analyze the problem."

Fuel leak apparently doomed Falcon 1, SpaceflightNow

Post-Launch Analysis, Kwajalein Atoll and Rockets

From Elon this morning: "Preliminary Fault Analysis - The good news is that all vehicle systems, including the main engine, thrust vector control, structures, avionics, software, guidance algorithm, etc. were picture perfect. Falcon's trajectory was within 0.2 degrees of nominal during powered flight. However, at T+25s, a fuel leak of currently unknown origin caused a fire around the top of the main engine that cut into the first stage helium pneumatic system. On high resolution imagery, the fire is clearly visible within seconds after liftoff.

Editor's note: Arabsat 4a has been splashed into the Pacific Ocean. It went in at 43 degrees south 212 degrees east on 24 March.

Update

ArabSat bites the dust, dashing hopes, MSNBC

"An off-course communications satellite that a private team wanted to rescue and resell has instead been steered to its destruction in Earth's atmosphere, according to the Defense Department and amateur satellite watchers."

Remarks by NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale at a Space Transportation Association Breakfast March 22, 2006

Editor's note: For a number of years STA used to provide me with advance notice of these events such that I could post a notice on NASA Watch and SpaceRef. Not any more. For the second time in a week or so the STA has had a breakfast where only selected media were informed while others were not. I have to assume that I am not welcome at these events and/or STA does not want them publicised on NASA Watch since multiple email requests to STA's President Rich Coleman have been ignored. You'd think that NASA Public Affairs would require that any venue where its leaders take time to speak be more accessible to the public. Oh well. You can always listen to an audio file of the event over on Futron's space politics blog.

SpaceX Update

SpaceX Moves Closer to Inaugural Launch of Falcon I (link to video of static firing)

"No major issues were discovered following the static fire, but, as a cautionary measure, we are going to take one more day to review data andverify system functionality. Launch is now scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. California time."

SpaceX Update

Editor's note: According to SpaceX sources, the test firing countdown and static fire went fine except that they had a ground helium supply disconnect prematurely during engine startup. One of their flight video cameras also stop working. Neither event is seen as being a big issue, but these things will take a few days to correct. SpaceX is still working toward a launch in the next few days.

DoD, FTC meet on Boeing-Lockheed alliance;no decision yet, MarketWatch

"Pentagon and Federal Trade Commission officials met Friday to discuss a proposed joint venture between Boeing Co. (BA) and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) but no decisions have been made, a Defense Department spokeswoman said Friday."

Pentagon backs US rocket-launch merger-consultant,Reuters

"A plan by Lockheed Martin Corp. to merge their rocket-launch work for the U.S. government has received the Defense Department's conditional backing, defense consultant Loren Thompson said on Friday."

Boeing, Lockheed venture faces March 31 deadline, Reuters

"Spokesmen for Lockheed and Boeing say the companies remain committed to the United Launch Alliance venture first announced 10 months ago, and said the contract clause could be extended. But defense consultant Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute said the long delay in approval for the merger had left executives at both firms with some second thoughts. "Pentagon regulators have taken so long to review the proposal that I think managers at both companies are beginning to grow ambivalent about the transaction," he said."

Lockheed-Boeing rocket deal has escape hatch, Denver Post

"A contract clause in Lockheed Martin and Boeing's proposed merger of military rocket- launch operations allows either company to terminate the deal if it doesn't win regulatory approval by March 31."

NASA JSC Solicitation: Independent Assessment for the Space Program Office

Editor's note: What is the "Space Program Office"?

NASA JSC Solicitation: Audio-Visual Technical Support for the Lunar & Planetary Science Conference

Editor's note: This item is classified as "Naics Code: 485999 -- All Other Transit and Ground Passenger Transportation" with the total amount of $58,130. The AV company mentioned is in Seabrook, Texas and this meeting is being held only a few miles away. $58,310 is sure a lot of money to spend on a bunch of AV folks driving back and forth in JSC's immediate neighborhood!

Enter the Dragon

The SpaceX Dragon: America's First Privately Financed Manned Orbital Spacecraft?, SpaceRef

"Space Exploration Technologies Inc. - Better known as SpaceX - is developing its own manned spacecraft. Indeed, they've been at this for several years. Its name is "Dragon." This spacecraft is designed to carry not only humans into low Earth orbit - and to locations such as the International Space Station - but also carry cargo to and from orbit."

Round-the-moon rescue?, MSNBC

"What can you do with a satellite in a useless orbit? That's the question now facing the folks who built, launched and hoped to use the Arabsat 4A telecommunications satellite and one of the potential answers could involve an unorthodox trip all the way around the moon to get the orbit back in sync."

Blackstar Revealed

AWST: USAF's Top Secret Two-Stage-to-Orbit Manned 'Blackstar' System, Aviation Week

" This two-vehicle "Blackstar" carrier/orbiter system may have been declared operational during the 1990s.

A large "mothership," closely resembling the U.S. Air Force's historic XB-70 supersonic bomber, carries the orbital component conformally under its fuselage, accelerating to supersonic speeds at high altitude before dropping the spaceplane. The orbiter's engines fire and boost the vehicle into space. If mission requirements dictate, the spaceplane can either reach low Earth orbit or remain suborbital."

NASA JSC Contract Award: Consulting Services for Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)

" Naics Code: 523930 -- Investment Advice, Contract Award Amount: 115200, Contractor: Alan Marty"

JP Morgan: Alan Marty, Executive-In-Residence"Early in his career, Mr. Marty was an Associate Professor in Materials Science as Silliman University and served as a White House Fellow during the Bush administration in 1989."

Nanobusiness Alliance: "Mr. Marty is executive-in-residence for JP Morgan Partners with responsibility for leading the firm's investments in the nanotechnology arena."

NASA JSC Solicitation: Venture Capitalist Consulting Services

NASA Wants a Venture Capitalist (earlier post)


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from March 2006.

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