"SpaceX's Grasshopper took a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper, SpaceX's vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds."
Commercialization: December 2012 Archives
"Tucked into the annual U.S. defense budget bill making its way through Congress this week is a long-fought and potentially lucrative reprieve for U.S. satellite manufactures and suppliers to export their products, officials said on Wednesday. Since 1999, spacecraft and their components have been grouped with ammunitions, fighter jets and other defense technologies and subject to the nation's most stringent export controls. The restriction followed a 1996 Chinese rocket launch accident that claimed a U.S.-manufactured satellite. In the course of the investigation, the company was accused of inadvertently transferring restricted technology to China. Before 1999, the State Department had the option of processing satellite and spacecraft component export requests under more lenient commerce control guidelines. "We are going to give the president back that power," space attorney Michael Gold, who headed a Federal Aviation Administration export control advisory group, told Reuters."
Just as the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 did not put the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads in charge of the economic development of California and the yet to be formed states in between, there is no reason for NASA to be in charge of the economic and industrial development of the solar system. Thus the vision statement for a national space policy short and succinct could be: "The economic and industrial development of the resources of the solar system for the benefit of the United States of America and all mankind is the goal of our national space efforts."
NASA Human Space Flight Industrial Base in the Post-Space Shuttle/Constellation Environment, Bureau of Industry and Security's Office of Technology Evaluation
"The Shuttle retirement and CxP transition will impact future NASA HSF programs through a loss of unique skills, capabilities, products, and services by select suppliers. The assessment highlights and prioritizes immediate areas of concern for NASA, with focus on the 150 survey respondents that identified themselves as dependent on NASA. Within the group of 150 NASA- dependent companies, the 46 NASA-dependent companies that reported negative net profit margins for at least one year from 2007-2010 should be given particular attention. Without continued business opportunities, these companies have the highest potential of shutting down. Ongoing efforts to develop a deep-space exploration capsule and heavy-lift rocket capability are important first steps to maintaining capabilities, and should be viewed as the building blocks to spur a sustainable HSF supply chain."
Lockheed-Boeing Launch Monopoly to Be Ended by Pentagon, Business Week
"The U.S. Defense Department plans to open more than a dozen rocket launches to competition, moving to end a monopoly held by a Lockheed Martin Corp.-Boeing (BA) Co. joint venture. The Air Force is authorized to buy as many as 14 booster cores over the next five years from potential challengers such as Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX and headed by billionaire Elon Musk, and Orbital Sciences Corp., Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top weapons buyer, wrote in a Nov. 27 memo obtained by Bloomberg News. A booster core is the main component of a rocket."
SpaceX Bests Orbital Sciences In First OSP-3 Duels, Aviation Week
"Already, about $100 million has been obligated under a new Orbital/Suborbital Program (OSP)-3 contract for the missions. Another $162 million is expected to be set aside in the coming days, Pawlikowski says. SpaceX "was considered the best value to the government," she tells Aviation Week."