Commercialization: August 2008 Archives

For Sale: Moon and Mars, NY Times

"Would you like to buy some real estate on Mars or the Moon? No, this would not be the equivalent of buying the Brooklyn Bridge, at least according to a review of legal precedents and treaties published in the Journal of Air Law and Commerce. The authors, Alan Wasser and Douglas Jobe of the Space Settlement Institute, conclude that the international Outer Space Treaty prohibits nations from claiming sovereignty over the Moon or Mars, it does not preclude private land claims, and they point to legal precedents establishing the necessary condition for anyone making a land claim: living there."

Editor's note: Sorry Al and Doug: I claimed all of the lunar surface 5 minutes before you guys did - whenever that was. How? Because I say so.

Today on the Space Show

Editor's note: Today on the Space Show: Richard Garriott will appear live from Russia on this live streaming Internet radio show. Listen LIVE 9:30-11:30 AM PDT.

Editor's note: Check out the rocketshadow Twitter feed from XCOR. Henry Vanderbilt got tapped for right seat with Rick Searfoss flying. Check in to see how that flight is going.

Going Into Space

Going to Space? First Stop: Eight Months of Grueling Training in Russia's Star City, WIred

"... Then you have to fork over $30 million to Space Adventures, a company that serves as go-between with the Russian space program. Just don't call its clients space tourists. "That term implies you are there to take photos and hang out," Garriott says. "I'm trying to prove you can actually be a valuable contributor to the activities on board the space station." He notes that he'll be conducting research on protein crystal growth on behalf of a biotech firm. But he doesn't deny that he's really going up because it will be a friggin' blast. "I'd be misleading you if I didn't admit that it's a very selfish activity," he says."


Editor's 11:35 am EDT update: An email to the NASA purchasing agent and a correction was made in a matter of minutes! Now THAT is efficiency!

SpaceX Determines Cause of Falcon 1 Launch Failure

"According to Elon Musk: We have a definitive understanding of what went wrong on Flight 3. The problem was due to a design error not a production or quality assurance issue. The thrust transient was longer than it was for the prior flight. The previous flight had an ablatively cooled engine. Flight 3 had a regeneratively cooled engine. The gap between engine cut off and staging was 1.5 seconds - which was fine for the ablatively cooled engine on Flight 2. But on Flight 3, with the regeneratively cooled engine, there was some residual thrust after engine shut down and this caused the first stage to be pushed back toward the second stage after separation and there was a recontact between the stages."

Editor's note: SpaceX puts everything on line - live - and comes back with a cogent failure analysis within a matter of days - for all the world to see. Contrast this with NASA's Ares/Constellation program wherein test failures are hidden and design flaws are suppressed.

I think I know who will get hardware on-orbit first.

Google Lunar X PRIZE T-Shirt Design Competition!

"We've got rockets. We've got rovers. We've got a race. But what we don't have is a creative, original T-Shirt that perfectly captures the spirit of exploration and innovation of the Google Lunar X PRIZE.

And is any world-wide competition complete without a cool T-Shirt? No! So we're reaching out to you, our biggest fans, to help us solve this grand challenge, in true X PRIZE Foundation fashion (no pun intended)."

Audio recording of short press conference (quality is poor, sorry)

From: Elon Musk
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2008 9:45 PM
To: Space Exploration Technologies
Subject: Plan Going Forward

It was obviously a big disappointment not to reach orbit on this flight. On the plus side, the flight of our first stage, with the new Merlin 1C engine that will be used in Falcon 9, was picture perfect. Unfortunately, a problem occurred with stage separation, causing the stages to be held together. This is under investigation and I will send out a note as soon as we understand exactly what happened.

The most important message I'd like to send right now is that SpaceX will not skip a beat in execution going forward. We have flight four of Falcon 1 almost ready for flight and flight five right behind that. I have also given the go ahead to begin fabrication of flight six. Falcon 9 development will also continue unabated, taking into account the lessons learned with Falcon 1. We have made great progress this past week with the successful nine engine firing.

As a precautionary measure to guard against the possibility of flight 3 not reaching orbit, SpaceX recently accepted a significant investment. Combined with our existing cash reserves, that ensures we will have more than sufficient funding on hand to continue launching Falcon 1 and develop Falcon 9 and Dragon. There should be absolutely zero question that SpaceX will prevail in reaching orbit and demonstrating reliable space transport. For my part, I will never give up and I mean never.

Thanks for your hard work and now on to flight four.


Video below

SpaceX: First 9 Engine Firing of Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle (with video)

"Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX ) conducted the first nine engine firing of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle at its Texas Test Facility outside McGregor on July 31st. A second firing on August 1st completed a major NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) milestone almost two months early. At full power, the nine engines consumed 3,200 lbs of fuel and liquid oxygen per second, and generated almost 850,000 pounds of force - four times the maximum thrust of a 747 aircraft. This marks the first firing of a Falcon 9 first stage with its full complement of nine Merlin 1C engines . Once a near term Merlin 1C fuel pump upgrade is complete, the sea level thrust will increase to 950,000 lbf, making Falcon 9 the most powerful single core vehicle in the United States."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from August 2008.

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