Commercialization: September 2009 Archives

DEPUTY DIRECTOR, Old Dominion University Research Foundation, Washington Post

"Virginia Commercial Space Flight (VCSFA) seeks a skilled, entrepreneurial leader willing to join a small team and assume full responsibility for all ops. including construction, design, launch manifest, grants, personnel, bus. development financial mgmt and public affairs are produced, implemented and evaluated cost effectively and in accordance with all contract requirements, federal and state laws and regulations. The ability to work with Government and private sector Program Managers affiliates and subcontractors on time and cost results in a matrix management environment is vital. Deputy works with the Executive Director to establish the VCSFA as the East coast leader in commercial space flight support services."

Patenting NASA

NASA Request for Information: No-cost Patent Marketing and Brokerage Services With Revenue Sharing Component Upon License Execution

"NASA's Goal: NASA wishes to maximize the benefit to the public from NASA's R&D investments yielding new technologies and patents. Seeking no-cost methods to further advance dissemination of NASA's patent investment will provide the best value to the public through the introduction of new and efficient licensing processes and tools. NASA recognizes that there are many business models in the U.S. for providing IP management services, such as patent brokering, using a variety of different transaction methods and platforms. NASA is issuing this request for information in an effort to better understand the range of possible models and services available for assisting NASA with the dissemination of NASA technology, at no additional cost to the taxpayer."

Boeing Submits Proposal for NASA Commercial Crew Transport System

"The Boeing Company 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. ... 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."

Sept. 15 House of Representatives Hearing on Space Flight Includes Misconceptions; Industry Group Offers Clarity (White paper Text), Next Step in Space Coalition

"Next Step in Space, a coalition of businesses, organizations, and people working toward ensuring the future of human spaceflight in the United States, today issued a white paper titled "Acquiring U.S. Commercial ISS Crew and Cargo Services Creates New Industry in LEO, Enables Program for Exploration Beyond" to help clarify issues discussed at a September 15th hearing of the House Committee on Science & Technology on "Options and Issues for NASA's Human Space Flight Program."

"Some comments made at the House hearing last week incorrectly suggested that the Augustine Committee's recommendation to procure crew services to the International Space Station would necessarily be in lieu of further development of NASA's exploration program to travel beyond Earth orbit," said Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. "However, these two programs are complementary, not competitive. As former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin has pointed out numerous times, the Constellation Program is designed and optimized for missions beyond low-Earth orbit, not for Space Station servicing."

Masten Tries For The Prize

Masten Space Systems Attempts to Qualify For Lunar Lander Challenge (With Video)

"Masten Space Systems unsuccessfully attempted a Level 1 flight on Sept. 16 as part of the Centennial Challenges - Lunar Lander Challenge at the company's test facility at California's Mojave Air and Space Port. In order to qualify for Level 1 prize money, a rocket vehicle must lift off from one concrete pad, ascend to approximately 50 meters, travel horizontally, and land on a second pad. After refueling at that pad, the vehicle must repeat the flight back to a landing on the original pad within two and half hours. The vehicle must remain aloft for at least 90 seconds on both flights."

Space Florida choses former NASA official as next leader, Orlando Sentinel

"A committee seeking a replacement for Space Florida's former President Steve Kohler, who stepped down in May under a barrage of criticism, has unanimously chosen former NASA deputy administrator Shana Dale to be the next leader of the state aerospace development body. "Today [Tuesday] in a publicly noticed phone call, Dr. Ken Ford as chair of the Space Florida Board Search Committee told Lt. Governor [Jeff] Kottkamp the Search Committee's unanimous choice is Shana Dale," Space Florida spokeswoman Deb Spicer said in a statement."

Keith's note: According to a reliable source Shana Dale has not been extended a formal offer from Space Florida and she has decided to accept an offer from another company. Shana Dale has confirmed this information.

Armadillo Aerospace Makes Record-Breaking Rocket Flights to Qualify for $1 Million NASA PRIZE Presented by X PRIZE Foundation (with videos)

"As part of the X PRIZE Foundation's Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, Armadillo Aerospace, led by id Software founder John Carmack, successfully flew its lunar Lander rocket vehicle, "Scorpius," twice in two hours, flying between a pair of landing pads to qualify for the $1 million top prize purse. This milestone event in privately funded space activity once again demonstrates the value of prizes to stimulate innovation. Other entrants in the competition will have the opportunity over the next several weeks to accomplish the same feat, but Armadillo's flights mean it is certain NASA's Centennial Challenges Program and the X PRIZE Foundation will be giving away at least $1 million before year's end."

Augustine panel: NASA needs a new vision -- and more money, Orlando Sentinel

"Last week, senior executives from NASA's contractors -- including ATK; The Boeing Co.; Pratt Whitney; and Lockheed Martin Corp -- held a teleconference to map out a strategy to press for more money to keep Ares and its Orion capsule alive Tuesday, a senior executive for ATK, which is building the solid-rocket first stage of the Ares I and would have much to lose if the rocket was supplanted by commercial lifters, took issue with that recommendation. Charles Precourt, a former chief astronaut for NASA and now an ATK vice president for launch systems, told the Cocoa Beach chapter of the National Space Club that the space community needed to understand the consequences of giving commercial companies a larger role. Asked whether he thought NASA would be willing to put astronauts on a commercial rocket, he said, "I wouldn't be if I were [still] the chief astronaut."

Keith's note: It is stick-in-the-mud, "only NASA can do hard risky things", commentary by former astronauts that only serves to make the commercialization of space harder - not easier. Oh wait ... he works for ATK. Small wonder he is against anything that might work better and cost less than Ares 1. His paycheck depends on Ares. As they say, where you stand depends on where you sit.

More Good News for SpaceX

SpaceX and Astrium Announce Groundbreaking Deal

"Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Astrium announce a contract for a SpaceX Falcon 1e to launch an Earth observation satellite designed by Astrium or its recently acquired subsidiary Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL). The Falcon 1e is an 'enhanced' version of SpaceX's successful Falcon 1 launch vehicle. Designed from the ground up by SpaceX, the Falcon 1e has upgraded propulsion, structures and avionics systems in order to further improve reliability and bring to market increased mass-to-orbit capability to better serve the needs of the small satellite community. Astrium and SSTL provide a range of innovative, cutting edge Earth Observation satellite products and through this agreement will be able to offer customers a turnkey solution, with in-orbit delivery of a low Earth orbit satellite system."

NASA Awards Wackenhut Agency-Wide Protective Services Contract (24 June 2009)

"NASA has announced the selection of Wackenhut Services Inc. of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to perform an agency-wide consolidated contract for protective services. The initial contract value for a possible 10-year period totals approximately $1.2 billion. Wackenhut will provide fire services, security services, emergency management, export control, protective services training, and protective services information assurance and information technology security."

Animal House in Afghanistan, Mother Jones

"Drunken brawls, prostitutes, hazing and humiliation, taking vodka shots out of buttcracks-- no, the perpetrators of these Animal House-like antics aren't some depraved frat brothers. They are the private security contractors guarding the US embassy compound in Kabul. These allegations, and many more, are contained in a letter sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday by the Project on Government Oversight, which has been investigating the embassy security contract held by ArmorGroup North America (a subsidiary of Wackenhut, which is in turn owned by the security behemoth G4S)."

Big Win for SpaceX

Orbcomm and SpaceX Reach Deal to Launch Satellite Constellation

"ORBCOMM Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announce they have reached an agreement for SpaceX to launch 18 ORBCOMM Generation 2 (OG2) satellites to begin as early as the fourth quarter of 2010 through 2014. SpaceX will deliver ORBCOMM's second-generation satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) for the purpose of supporting ORBCOMM's existing constellation of satellites, adding new features, and growing its global Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) offerings. Each new satellite will be equipped with an enhanced communication payload designed to increase subscriber capacity for M2M communication up to 12 times over the current satellite constellation, increase message sizes, and include AIS detection capability."

XCOR Aerospace Reaches Several Significant Milestones in the Lynx 5K18 Rocket Engine Test Program (Videos)

"XCOR Aerospace announced today that it has reached several significant milestones in the 5K18 rocket engine test program. This is the engine that powers XCOR's Lynx suborbital spacecraft. The engine can be seen running in several newly released videos including a video demonstrating the very stable "shock diamond" pattern visible in the engine's supersonic exhaust. "Like all of our rocket engines, this engine has demonstrated the ability to be stopped and re-started using our safe and reliable spark torch ignition system", said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. "The basic cooling design has also been completed and the engine is able to run continuously at thermal equilibrium. With those milestones reached, the 5K18 test program is now moving forward into a second phase of tuning and optimization, in which we will also greatly increase our cumulative run time."

SpaceX Delivers Hardware to Cape Canaveral in Preparation for STS-129 and Integration with the ISS

"Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces delivery of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Communication Unit to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in preparation for launch on Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-129. The unit will be delivered by Atlantis to the International Space Station (ISS) and integrated in preparation for SpaceX's future flights to the orbiting laboratory. Developed by SpaceX, in collaboration with NASA, the unit allows for communication between the ISS, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, and ground-based mission control. The system also allows the ISS crew to monitor an approaching or departing capsule. As part of NASA's COTS competition, SpaceX will conduct flights of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, culminating in Dragon berthing with the ISS and then returning to Earth."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from September 2009.

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