Commercialization: July 2012 Archives

Keith's note: There will be a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 pm EDT titled "Emerging Commercial Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle Market". The hearing was announced several weeks ago. Yet the Commercial Spaceflight Federation has not issued a heads up or media advisory for this hearing. Nor is anything posted on their website. Not only are three of its members testifying, a representative of the CSF's Suborbital Applications Researchers Group is testifying as well. One has to wonder just what it is that the CSF does when it seems to go out of its way to not promote things of obvious importance to its members, the media, and the commercial space industry as a whole.

Suborbital Reusable Vehicles: A 10-Year Forecast of Market Demand Released, Space Florida

"Space Florida - the State of Florida's spaceport authority and aerospace economic development agency - and the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space (FAA-AST) - partnered in November 2011 to commission a study prepared by The Tauri Group, on the forecast 10-year demand for suborbital reusable vehicles."

Keith's update: This report has been issued by Space Florida (a CSF member) and was conducted by a company that will be testifying today. CSF has made no mention of this report.

Department of Commerce BIS Survey: U.S. Space Industry 'Deep Dive'

"The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), Office of Technology Evaluation, in coordination with the U.S. Air Force, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Reconnaissance Office is undertaking a survey and assessment of the U.S. space industrial base supply chain network. The principal purpose of this project is to gain an understanding of the complicated network supporting the development, production and sustainment of products and services across the defense, intelligence community, civil and commercial space sectors."

GAO: Commercial Space Launches: FAA Should Update How It Assesses Federal Liability Risk

"According to studies, the United States provides less commercial space launch indemnification for third party losses than China, France, and Russia. These countries put no limit on the amount of government indemnification coverage, which in the United States is limited by the Commercial Space Launch Act Amendments of 1988 (CSLAA). Governments' commitments to pay have never been tested because there has not been a third party claim that exceeded a private launch company's insurance."

EELV: DOD Is Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Its New Acquisition Strategy, GAO

"The Department of Defense (DOD) has numerous efforts in progress to address the knowledge gaps and data deficiencies identified in the GAO report. Of the seven recommendations GAO made to the Secretary of Defense, two have been completely addressed. While two of GAO's recommendations have actions underway that are expected to be completed, two recommendations need more action for completion and one has had no action taken."

GenCorp Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne from United Technologies Corporation

"GenCorp Inc. (NYSE: GY), headquartered in Sacramento, California, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) from United Technologies Corporation (NYSE: UTX) for $550 million. "We see great strategic value in this transaction for the country, our customers, partner supply base and our shareholders," GenCorp Chief Executive Officer Scott Seymour said. "The combined enterprise will be better positioned to compete in a dynamic, highly competitive marketplace, and provide more affordable products for our customers."

AIP FYI #102: Subcommittee Examines NASA Derived Technology Transfer Activities

"Regarding the IG report, Palazzo commented that "the IG found a general lack of awareness among NASA program managers about the technology transfer and commercialization process and that many personnel did not understand the range of technologies that could be considered as technological assets. Furthermore, the report found that the number of patent attorneys and dedicated Innovative Partnership Office staff - and related funding - was insufficient given the technology transfer and commercialization potential."

NASA: Notice of Prospective Space Act Agreement and Intent to Transfer Sponsorship of Investigational New Drug Application

"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has identified a potential pharmaceutical industry partner named Epiomed Therapeutics, Inc., having its principal place of business in Irvine, California, which is interested in assuming responsibilities for the further development and commercialization of a pharmaceutical dosage form for intranasal administration of scopolamine (INSCOP). NASA has been actively engaged in the clinical development of this agent and is now seeking a Space Act Agreement (SAA) Partner whose role will include production of the formulation under FDA stipulated GMP GUIDELINES for clinical trials."

Keith's note: No mention of CASIS - anywhere. Isn't this the sort of thing CASIS is supposed to be doing?

United Tech in talks to sell Rocketdyne to GenCorp, Reuters

"United Technologies Corp (UTX) is in final discussions to sell its Rocketdyne business to GenCorp Inc (GY), a maker of aerospace propulsion systems, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The deal, which may come late this week or early next week according to one of the sources, represents part of the diversified U.S. conglomerate's efforts to divest non-core units and focus on closing its $16.5 billion acquisition of aircraft component maker Goodrich Corp (GR)."

Keith's note: GenCorp is the parent company of Aerojet.

Put space policy on the presidential to-do list, Jay Barbree, NBC

"Forty-five years later, one of the relative newcomers to the space business, SpaceX, is receiving roughly three-quarters of a billion dollars from NASA -- while one of the shuttle program's longtime contractors, ATK, is still trying to get in on the funding for space station resupply."

Keith's note: It is beyond odd that Jay Barbree focuses on the money spent on SpaceX but ignores the billions that NASA spent on Ares 1's first stage - which is now being used as the first stage of Liberty. Ares 1 was, itself, a derivation of another government-funded research program to develop the Space Shuttle SRBs. Given th ebillions spent on SRB and Ares 1, SpaceX is an incredible bargain by an order of magnitude.

"Most space veterans agree with those goals, Mr. President, but with a cautionary note: Don't prop up t.e newcomers while giving short shrift to America's most experienced aerospace companies. This happened before, when the White House took the contract from the experienced and gave it to the inexperienced. In 1967, the Apollo 1 astronauts paid with their lives in a launch-pad fire."

Keith's note: Contrary to Barbree's ill-informed statement, North American Aviation was far from being "inexperienced". Once again, it is odd how Barbree focuses on one company and a fatal accident but does not bother to mention Morton Thiokol (bought by ATK to form the basis of its solid rocket business) and its involvement in the Challenger accident which resulted from the very same SRBs that from the basis for the basic Ares 1/Liberty design.

Liberty should be allowed to succeed or fail on its own merits. Yet Jay Barbree continues to write this one-sided, badly-researched revisionist history. Indeed, the things he writes are downright misleading and are fraught with inconsistencies and glaring omissions. Does NBC simply not care enough to provide Jay Barbree with a research assistant or fact checker?

- Jay Barbree Needs A Fact Checker, earlier post
- Jay Barbree is Stuck In The Past, earlier post
- A Confused Story and Things That Never Happened, earlier post

NASA Selects Launch Services Contract for Three Missions

"NASA has selected United Launch Services LLC of Englewood, Colo., to launch the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) and Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) spacecraft. The spacecraft will launch in October 2014, July 2014 and November 2016, respectively, aboard Delta II rockets from Complex 2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."

NASA Selects Launch Services Contract for Jason-3 Mission

"NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., to launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Jason-3 spacecraft in December 2014 aboard a Falcon 9 v1.0 rocket from Complex 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California."

Marc's note: The announcement of who will get selected for the next round of CCiCap could be as early as later this week, though more likely next week. The question is who will get funded. We know that NASA can select up to three companies to fund, two fully, one half funded. NASA does not need to select three companies. But based on previous NASA statements you could argue they will select three companies. One important factor is the funding level available to them. What do you think? Who will get funded? Vote in our poll.

NASA Selects Space Launch System Advanced Booster Proposals

"NASA has selected six proposals to improve the affordability, reliability and performance of an advanced booster for the Space Launch System (SLS). The awardees will develop engineering demonstrations and risk reduction concepts for SLS, a heavy-lift rocket that will provide an entirely new capability for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit."

"The purpose of this hearing will be to examine the direct economic and societal benefits that investments in NASA have generated and highlight those areas where continued investments could help stimulate the pipeline for future economic growth."

- Democrats Highlight Importance of the Nation's Investments in NASA that Strengthen the American Economy, and Improve Our Daily Lives
- Beyond Tang and Teflon: Witnesses Highlight NASA-Derived Technologies that Save Lives and Fuel Economic Growth
- Hearing Charter
- S&A Subcommitte Chairman Steven Palazzo (R-MS)
- Mason Peck, Chief Technologist, NASA
- George Beck, Impact Instrumentation, Inc.
- Brian Russell, Zephyr Technology
- John Vilja, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
- Richard Aubrecht, Moog Inc.

Virgin Galactic Reveals Privately Funded Satellite Launcher and Confirms SpaceShipTwo Poised for Powered Flight

"Today during the Farnborough International Air Show 2012, Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline, announced "LauncherOne", a new air-launched rocket specifically designed to deliver small satellites intoorbit. With substantial funding already raised from Virgin Galactic's partner aabar Investments PJS, and with commercial flights of this new orbital launch vehicle expected to begin by 2016, Virgin Galactic aims to offerfrequent and dedicated launches at the world's lowest prices."

New York City plans to pay NASA $13 million to see if it can fix the city's troubled emergency communication system, New York Daily News

"NASA's independent Verification and Validation office, which usually tests systems for the space program, will be reviewing the revamped 911-system, the Department of Information and Technology confirmed. NASA spokeswoman Beth Dickey said the agency would act as "a second set of ensure that what's being built is going to function properly." "Let's say you have a satellite that's supposed to look at the sun," Dickey said. "What IV&V does is make sure that the satellite is actually going to be able to do that -- that the software on board will make the satellite do what it's supposed to do."

Keith's note: Yet another example of NASA technology (i.e. a spinoff of sorts) having use outside of traditonal space-oriented applications. Something for NASA to make note of. But has NASA PAO or CTO bothered to issue a press release on this? No, of course not. No mention at IV&V either.

NASA Solicitation: Intepretation Translation, Visa Processing, and Logistical Support

"Oral interpretation and written translation of official and technical/scientific/engineering documents ... Former Soviet States (Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan), Russian Federation, and China, Visa processing for ... and China ... Administrative coordination, advance preparation and support of conducting onsite overseas official meetings and high level visits; 8) Overseas logistics support primarily for the Former Soviet states and China, providing administrative, clerical and in-country ground transportation logistic services ..."

Keith's note:With regard to mention of "China", I thought NASA was supposed to NOT be working with China on any space matters. As such, why is "China" and "onsite overseas official meetings and high level visits" mentioned in this (or any) NASA procurement?

Why is Money Stuck to the Wall of the International Space Station? (2003) SpaceRef

Evolving Traditions Aboard the International Space Station (2003) SpaceRef

Ed Lu: "I'd like to tell the team in Houston a little bit of story if you are ready to hear. I got an email today pointing out that Keith Cowing, the author - or the editor of NASA Watch introduced a story entitled "Why is there money on the International Space Station?".

SXC and Anton Kreil - "The First Trade in Space" via FInancial Times

"In an interview in the latest edition of the London-based publication Square Mile Magazine, Kreil has announced that he will be attempting to become the first person in history to make a financial markets transaction in Space, when he hops aboard the XCOR Lynx MKII shuttle with SXC in 2014."

Keith's note: You're a little late, Mr. Kreil. ISS residents have been exchanging various currencies in space in exchange for services for over a decade. Also, without getting into specifics, every ISS crew member has regular private conversations with their families back home and I know that these conversations have included financial matters. Enjoy your flight - and let me suggest that you do something of far greater value: look out the window.

Bell Labs Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Telstar and Birth of Modern Communications

"Bell Labs, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent will celebrate one of its great historical achievements with the 50th anniversary of the launch of Telstar I, the world's first active communications satellite. The launch on July 10, 1962, in partnership with NASA, ushered in the era of modern communications including real-time global telephone service, data communications and TV broadcasting. Telstar I, a sphere roughly a yard in diameter and weighing about 170 pounds, was a technology 'tour de force,' incorporating dozens of innovations from Bell Labs, including the transistor and solar panels, and was powered by 3,600 solar cells also invented by Bell Labs in 1954. The satellite could carry 600 voice calls and one black-and-white TV channel."

XCOR Aerospace and Midland Development Corporation announce establishment of XCOR's new commercial spaceflight R&D center headquarters

"The Midland Development Corporation (MDC) and XCOR Aerospace jointly announced today the establishment of XCOR's new Commercial Space Research and Development Center Headquarters that will be created over the next eighteen (18) months. XCOR manufactures reusable rocket engines for major aerospace prime contractors and is the designer, manufacturer and operator of the Lynx, a winged fully reusable, high performance suborbital space vehicle that is designed to safely carry two persons or scientific experiments to the edge of space and back up to four times per day."

Keith's update: There will be a media telecon at 3:00 pm EDT today. Live tweeting at @NASAWatch

Marc's note: There is a rumour circulating that SpaceX had pulled itself out of the running for CCiCap funding. I have confirmed with SpaceX that this rumour is false.

NASA and Excalibur Almaz Inc. Complete Space Act Agreement, NASA

"During this unfunded Space Act Agreement with EAI, NASA learned valuable information about how the company plans to upgrade the existing capsule with modern flight capabilities," CCP Manager Ed Mango said. "We commend the EAI team for completing all of their established milestones during this partnership."

Marc's note: What happens now that Excalibur Almaz has completed its unfunded CCDev2 contract? Based on previous selections in the commercial crew program, and knowing only 2 1/2 proposals will be selected in the next round, it seems unlikely Excalibur Almaz will get funded. So it would seem Art Dula and co. will have to continue self-funding the project.

Fledgling NASA Nonprofit Starts To Liftoff, NPR (Morning Edition)

"At a hearing later in March, Congressman Frank Wolf, R-Va., asked the head of NASA, Charles Bolden, what grade he would give CASIS on its progress so far. Bolden said it was too soon to tell. "I'd give them a D-plus overall," says Keith Cowing, who runs the website He worked for the agency in the early days of the space station program, and has been a persistent critic of CASIS. "They're making incremental progress, but I just don't think they're going fast enough," he says. "I don't think that they've engaged the people who have decades of experience in doing research in space. And I'm a little frustrated that they haven't gotten that message."

- More Whining From CASIS: Its Not Our Fault, earlier post
- CASIS: It Takes More Than Golf to Utilize the ISS, earlier post
- CASIS & ISS National Lab: Still Ignoring Their Own Stuff, earlier post
- Wake The Kids: CASIS Has A New Logo, earlier post

Other CASIS posts

Keith's note: It has been a week since the CASIS-cosponsored ISS utilization conference in Denver. Nothing has been put online by CASIS in terms of presentations, videos, written summaries. Nothing. Alas, in this interview, CASIS representatives once again proclaim that "CASIS has to succeed" yet they seem to be going out of their way to help it fail by continuing to avoid explaining what it does outside of a very small constituency.

Astronauts support expansion of space station crew size, Houston Chronicle

"Astronauts aboard the International Space Station said this week they would welcome NASA's proposals to expand the lab's crew size from six to seven. "It would certainly help," said Don Pettit, a flight engineer and one of three crew members working in the U.S. half of the station. NASA senior leaders have begun talking about expanding the lab's crew size to seven when vehicles built by private contractors, such as SpaceX, come online as expected later this decade."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from July 2012.

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