Commercialization: November 2010 Archives

"Welcome to NASA's On-line Partnering Tool! This application has been designed specifically to help you align your top interests with NASA's most appropriate experts. As the interactive tool walks you through the path to partnership, you will be asked to identify your specialized areas of interest. If you don't see an exact match please mark "other" and add additional details in the text box. Once you complete the tool's questions, your information will be submitted directly to NASA. An introductory email will be sent on your behalf to the NASA locations which are expert in your fields of interest."

Keith's note: I am still baffled as to why NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun's Office is so utterly incapable of issuing press releases and other advisories about interesting things such as this "On-line Partnering Tool". There's more to good PR than a Twitter post a week and a half ago, Bobby.

Orbital Names Peter Marquez Vice President of Strategy and Planning

"Orbital Sciences Corporation announced today that former White House Space Policy Director Peter J. Marquez has joined the company as Vice President of Strategy and Planning. ... "Orbital is very pleased to welcome Peter to our senior management team. His recent background in formulating and implementing a comprehensive update to the nation's space policy will bring the company extraordinary insight into how we can best serve the country's space needs and interests in a difficult budget environment," said Mr. Hamel. "The time is especially opportune for Peter to join Orbital, as the government is currently considering the future direction of space programs to allow civilian agencies and defense and intelligence customers to accomplish their critical missions. Orbital is well-positioned to support these government procurement initiatives and Peter's knowledge will help us advance our strategic interests."

LG, Nokia Accused of Infringing Caltech Camera Patents, Business Week

"The university last year sued six digital-camera makers, including Canon Inc. and Nikon Corp. for infringing six patents for pixel sensors. The inventions came from research Caltech did for the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration."

Caltech Sues Nokia, LG, Et Al Over Camera Patents, Cellular News

"Last year Caltech sued Canon, Nikon and 4 other digital-camera makers, for infringing on six patents relating to pixel sensors in digital cameras. All of the patents were granted following research the university was doing for NASA. The case is California Institute of Technology v. STMicroelectronics, 10-9099, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles)."

Keith's note: While NASA Headquarters and its field centers are off openly promoting the spinoff potential of what NASA does to the public and private sector, Caltech decides to get greedy and sour that the very effort by going after companies that have employed NASA-funded technology. NASA paid Caltech/JPL for all of this work using taxpayer dollars. That said, Caltech may well have the theoretical fine point of legality on their side, but its unfortunate that they decide to treat their NASA work as a cash cow that they can milk instead of seeing this work as a service that they provide to the nation.

Mission would send astronauts to moon's far side, Space.com via MSNBC

"While NASA has officially given up its plans to send humans back to the surface of the moon anytime soon, a contractor is proposing a mission to send a crew to a stationary spot in orbit over the far side of Earth's neighbor. Lockheed Martin has begun pitching an L2-Farside Mission using its Orion spacecraft under development."

Lockheed Martin Sees 2013 Space Capsule Test Flight, WS Journal

"At least some of the incoming Republican panel chairmen and other senior GOP lawmakers, these officials said, may view the proposed test flight as circumventing congressional language to quickly develop a new heavy-lift NASA rocket able to transport astronauts past low-earth orbit. Congress has adopted language strongly favoring space-shuttle derived rockets for this purpose, rather than a version of the Delta IV. The Delta IV is operated by a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co."

Keith's note: Bravo Lockheed Martin. A near-term, private sector solution to human space flight, using a commercially available rocket and Orion - much sooner than Ares 1 could have ever done so. Now, sit back and watch as the (otherwise) pro-business Republicans in Congress - especially ATK's congressional delegation - try and stop it.

Masten Space Systems Signs Letter of Intent with Space Florida

"Masten Space Systems and Space Florida announced today the signing of a Letter of Intent to explore performing demonstration launches of a Masten suborbital reusable launch vehicle from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. "We have been looking at Florida as a launch option for some time now," stated Masten Founder and CEO Dave Masten. "We are excited to begin the process of determining if Launch Complex 36 is a good location for our flight operations, and hope to attempt a demonstration launch sometime in 2011."

NASA Statements On FAA Granting Reentry License To SpaceX

"Congratulations to the SpaceX team for receiving the Federal Aviation Administration's first-ever commercial license to reenter a spacecraft from Earth orbit," NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said. "With this license in hand, SpaceX can proceed with its launch of the Dragon capsule. The flight of Dragon will be an important step toward commercial cargo delivery to the International Space Station. NASA wishes SpaceX every success with the launch."

NASA: Medium Launch Transition Strategy Leverages Ongoing Investments but Is Not Without Risk.

"NASA's plan has inherent risks that need to be mitigated. NASA has not developed detailed estimates of the time and money required to resolve technical issues likely to arise during the launch vehicle certification process. As these costs are currently unknown, according to Science Mission Directorate officials, NASA has not yet budgeted for them. Further, both space station resupply vehicles have experienced delays and more delays are likely as launch vehicle development is an inherently risky endeavor. Neither potential provider currently has the facilities needed to launch the majority of NASA earth science missions requiring a medium capability."

Question for Mike Coats

Keith's note: Question for NASA JSC Center Director Mike Coats: How much Lockheed Martin stock do you currently own?

Creating a True Space Economy

Seeding the Future, Calling Private Money, Dennis Wingo

"When Zero G Zero Tax was last seriously looked at by the joint taxation committee in 1999-2000 or thereabouts, they estimated that it would cost the treasury $10 billion over ten years so the nation could not afford it. Looking back today at the amount of money that is, it seems almost trivial considering the cost of so many mega-financial government and commercial deals in real estate, finance and other industrial sectors. Be that as it may, I think that ZGZT as it is called will bring in far more money to the treasury in the form of payroll taxes and economic growth in the form of jobs, good jobs than just about any other investment by the government in the future of an industry."

Keep Reaching for the Stars, opinion, Washington Post

"When President Obama's bipartisan panel to reduce the federal budget deficit unveiled a proposal chock-full of deep spending cuts and tax increases last week, it sent ripples of angst across the country. The items that most set both Republican and Democrat hearts afire -- Social Security retirement age increases, gas tax raises, military cutbacks -- seemed to border on reasonable. But the one that got me was "eliminate funding for commercial spaceflight" to save $1.2 billion by 2015. I guess the post-Sputnik drive to have the best national space program in the world is officially being laid to rest. The panel obviously didn't recall the White House's reverence of "the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover" as stated on the front page of a 1958 booklet called "Introduction to Outer Space" which was produced to sell the idea of space exploration. Though Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the panel's co-chairs, acknowledged that commercial spaceflight is a "worthy goal," they said they were unclear why the federal government should subsidize it."

The coming train wreck for Commercial Human Spaceflight, Wayne Hale

"Now NASA has released a draft (dated Oct. 8, 2010) of its requirements CCT-REQ-1130 ISS Crew Transportation and Services Requirements. I'd like for you to read it but it is behind NASA's IT firewall and you must have an ID and password to access it. I have read it and I'm disappointed. The document runs a mind-numbing 260 pages of densely spaced requirements. Most disappointing, on pages 7 to 11 is a table of 74 additional requirements documents which must be followed, in whole or in part. Taken all together, there are thousands of requirement statements referenced in this document. And for every one NASA will require a potential commercial space flight provider to document, prove, and verify with massive amounts of paperwork and/or electronic forms. This, folks is the old way of doing business. This is one of the major reasons why spaceflight is as costly as it is."

Keith's note: I wonder if Soyuz will meet these requirements. It would be rather strange if it did not since we have certified it as being safe for American astronauts for more than a decade. Rest assured, if you asked this question of someone at NASA responsible for drafting these requirements, they'd really try and find a way not to answer it.

Trying to clean up amess, Wayne Hale

"I have come to regret posting my essay on the coming wreck over commercial space flight. There are two reasons why..."

NASA OIG: NASA's Top Management and Performance Challenges

"Efforts to develop commercial vehicles capable of carrying humans to the ISS and other low Earth orbit destinations present significant challenges. One issue of particular complexity is NASA's intent to "human-rate" any new flight system, whether developed commercially or by NASA. NASA only recently developed comprehensive human-rating standards for NASA-developed systems, and the certification process that will be used to human-rate commercial vehicles - several of which are already well under development - is not yet fully defined. Given the importance of this issue, the OIG is examining NASA's development of human-rating standards for commercial vehicles and will evaluate how commercial space transportation providers intend to implement NASA's safety and human-rating requirements."

Deficit Commission Errs, "Illustrative Cut" Would Outsource Human Spaceflight to Russia

"The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, representing 37 companies employing thousands of Americans nationwide, released a statement opposing in the strongest possible terms the "illustrative cut" to commercial spaceflight put forth today by the co-chairs of the Deficit Commission."

NASA and Esri Agreement Supports GIS Initiatives

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently signed an enterprise license agreement (ELA) with Esri, making ArcGIS software tools available for unlimited use by authorized NASA employees and contractors. The agreement reflects NASA's extensive and growing use of Esri's ArcGIS software to bring geospatial intelligence to a wide variety of mission-critical efforts, from streamlining operations to enabling research and exploration."

Replacing Ares V

NASA Selects Companies For Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle Studies

"NASA has selected 13 companies for negotiations leading to potential contract awards to conduct systems analysis and trade studies for evaluating heavy-lift launch vehicle system concepts, propulsion technologies, and affordability. The awards total approximately $7.5 million with a maximum individual contract award of $625,000. Each company will provide a final report to help lay the groundwork for the transportation system that could launch humans to multiple destinations, including asteroids, Lagrange points, the moon and Mars."

Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Round One Companies Have Reached Substantial Hardware Milestones In Only 9 Months, New Images and Data Show

"Showcasing the potential of commercial crew transportation and commercial fixed-price agreements, five company teams selected by NASA in February 2010 under the $50 million Commercial Crew Development Round One program have built significant working hardware in just nine months, new images and data show."

Reference Model for the International Space Station, U.S. National Laboratory

"In response to the recent GAO recommendations and White House direction, SOMD reviewed all prior studies and elected to commission an independent assessment by an objective third party. ProOrbis, LLC was selected to conduct the assessment based on two factors: (1) ProOrbis is a management consulting firm specializing in the re-positioning of sophisticated high technology assets for maximum value generation, and; (2) ProOrbis had no prior history in the civil space sector and thus offered freedom from predisposed biases. In June 2010, ProOrbis was formally tasked to provide within 90 days a "reference model" for an organization and strategic approach that could maximize the value to the nation for the U.S. share of the ISS. The ProOrbis final report, "Reference Model for the ISS U.S. National Laboratory" is the result of that effort."

Keith's Note: As far as I can tell, NASA never issued a press release about this report. With all the talk of human spaceflight and commercialization, one would think that an attempt to frame the future uses of the ISS would be of broad interest. Guess not.

European Business Innovation Centre Network and Space Florida Initiate International Market Development Program

"The European Business Innovation Centre Network (EBN) and Space Florida last week initiated a Memorandum of Understanding to develop new market opportunities and resources for Small and Medium Aerospace Enterprises in Europe and Florida. Ongoing activities will further business development and job creation initiatives in the aerospace sector for Florida, as well as establish Florida as the threshold to American markets for European SMEs. The agreement was signed at the European Satellite Navigation Conference in Munich."

NASA and LEGO Join Forces

NASA And The LEGO Group Partner To Inspire Children To Build And Explore The Future

"A LEGO space shuttle headed to orbit helps mark the Tuesday signing of a Space Act Agreement between NASA and The LEGO Group to spark children's interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). To commemorate the beginning of this partnership, the small LEGO shuttle will launch with the crew of the space shuttle Discovery on its STS-133 mission, targeted to launch Wednesday, Nov. 3, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from November 2010.

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