Commercialization: March 2013 Archives

Orbital's private launch may show whether NASA made right call, Orlando Sentinel

"In the past four years, a different Orbital rocket failed on two separate NASA missions. Jeff Foust, editor of The Space Review, said Orbital needs a success to stake a bigger claim on the space-launch market. "If they have problems with [these Antares test flights] ... it starts to raise the question on whether they can make this whole thing work," Foust said, adding that it's a test of whether a midsized company such as Orbital can survive in an evolving space economy that features both upstart tourism ventures and heavyweight defense companies such as Lockheed Martin."

NASA Sources Sought: Commercial Crew Transporation System Certification Contract Phase 2

"The CTS certification contract (s) - Phase 2 is part of the Commercial Crew Program's phased acquisition intended to facilitate the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost effective access to and from low earth orbit including the International Space Station (ISS). This acquisition strategy utilizes competitive down-selection procedures that will enable the eventual purchase by NASA of commercial services to meet its ISS crew transportation needs, once the capability is certified by NASA."

SpaceX Likes Texas

SpaceX official testifies before House committee, Brownsville Herald

"At Thursday's committee hearing, Caryn Schenewerk, counsel and director of government affairs for SpaceX, testified that Texas is high on the list for the future site of a launch facility for the company's rockets. "We want to be somewhere where our activity is valued." she added. The SpaceX official testified that what SpaceX is doing is a capital-intensive endeavor and before the company chooses a site it wants to ensure that it will face no last-minute legal issues that might prevent rocket launches. "We don't want the one-in-10,000 person who wants to stop our activities and tries to get, for example, an injunction against the noise it will create. We want to know that we come to a community and to a state that values that noise," she said."

Keith's note: BTW @SpaceX refers to the Grasshopper cowboy as "Johnny".

Cowboy Rocketship, earlier post

Inspiration Mars: Some Thoughts About Our Plan, Mike Loucks, John Carrico and Dennis Tito

"Dennis Wingo provided some comments for us in his article Inspiration Mars: Some Thoughts About Their Plan. Dennis Wingo is a friend of ours. We welcome input from any source, especially visionaries like Dennis. Our IEEE Paper is an attempt to show the feasibility of the simplest possible Mars flyby mission. We chose a simple Mars flyby trajectory (the one from the Patel reference), and will choose a simple ECLSS, heat shield, etc., using existing designs and technologies on a single launch. We may eventually deviate from these assumptions, but only when we have proven that we must."

Inspiration Mars: Some Thoughts About Their Plan, Dennis Wingo, earlier post

Oversight of NASA - Statement of Paul K. Martin NASA Inspector General

"We found that NASA's efforts to reduce its underutilized facilities have been hindered by several longstanding and interrelated challenges: 1) fluctuating and uncertain strategic requirements; 2) Agency culture and business practices; 3) political pressure; and 4) inadequate funding. To its credit, NASA is undertaking a series of initiatives aimed at "rightsizing" the Agency's real property footprint. However, we noted that many of these efforts are in the early stages and may ultimately be insufficient to overcome the cultural and political obstacles that have impeded past efforts to reduce unneeded infrastructure. Accordingly, an independent outside process similar to the Department of Defense's Base Realignment and Closure Commission may be necessary."

NASA Space Act Agreement With Paragon Space Development Corporation for Inspiration Mars Evaluation

"This Agreement shall be for the purpose of NASA corroborating with the partner evaluating the aerocapture and reentry phases of Paragon's proposed Inspiration Mars Mission using baseline vehicle architecture and Paragon-defined mission parameters, NASA will use its unique expertise and facilities to predict the aerodynamic and aerothermal environments during the Earth reentry maneuvers and assess the performance of critical vehicle systems, such as the thermal protection system (TPS)."

Mr. Rohrabacher's Additional Views on the Science Space & Technology FY 2014 Budget

"We continue to hear that the SLS/MPCV system will serve as a back-up for Earth-to-orbit transportation in the unlikely event that none of the other systems in development are successful. Last year's request for this "back-up system" was more than 300% of the appropriated level of the primary system. By acting on this type of faulty logic, we have created a national debt as large as our GDP and still our nation refuses to take its foot off the deficit spending accelerator. SLS is unaffordable, and with relatively modest expenditures on specific technology development, we do not need a heavy lift vehicle of that class to explore the Moon, Mars, or near-Earth asteroids."

Views and Estimates for FY 2014 Budget, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (NASA)

"While NASA's Commercial Crew program could be the primary means of transporting American astronauts, we cannot be solely reliant on this program. The Orion MPCV, Space Launch System, and Commercial Crew programs require a program track with a sufficient budget to support the Space Station as soon as possible in preparation for the next steps of human exploration beyond Low Earth Orbit and ensure American preeminence in space."

Keith's note: It would seem that the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have a fundamental disagreement when it comes to the implementation of NASA's human and commercial space flight priorities.

Cowboy Rocketship

Grasshopper Hovverslam (with Video and Johnny Cash)

"SpaceX's Grasshopper doubled its highest leap to date to rise 24 stories or 80.1 meters (262.8 feet) today, hovering for approximately 34 seconds and landing safely using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. Grasshopper touched down with its most accurate precision thus far on the centermost part of the launch pad. At touchdown, the thrust to weight ratio of the vehicle was greater than one, proving a key landing algorithm for Falcon 9. Today's test was completed at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas."

Keith's note: The image to the right is the best one I could find of the cowboy that stands on the deck of the Grasshopper. You can see it at the end of this video for a few seconds. SpaceX PR folks did not have anything better to offer me. When you enlarge this video frame grab you can see that the SpaceX cowboy bears more than a passing resemblence to Guy Fawkes. I'm just sayin'...

NASA GRC Award: Continuing Non-NASA New Business Support Services

"Contract Award Amount: $400,000
Contractor: Jefferson Consulting Group, LLC 1401 K St NW STE 900 Washington, DC 20005-3455
Description: Continuing Non-NASA New Business Support Services"

"A previously competed MAS Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) award, NNCI 1DC82D, to Jefferson Solutions resulted in the development of a Center Strategic Plan for identifying and attracting non-NASA Business. The contract also led to the development of a three day training course for Business Development, External Partnering, and Communication and Engagement Skills for Business Development. At this time, the center desires to provide two additional sessions of the training course and to assess the implementation of the plan on a quarterly basis as well as, if necessary, to revise the plan andlor training based on said assessment. The Government estimates, but does not guarantee, that the volume of purchases through this agreement will be $400,000."

Keith's note: I wonder if NASA GRC is able to quantify how much new business (in a dollar amount) has been (or is expected to be) generated by this $400,000+ contract and the activities it covers. The real question: does this government expenditure actually generate real business? What metrics are used to determine if this training is worth doing?

Sequestration Message from the Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer

"At this time, NASA is taking every step to mitigate the effects of these cuts, but based on our initial analysis, it is possible that your contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or Space Act agreement may be affected. In addition, planned actions for new and existing work may be re-scoped, delayed, or canceled depending on the nature of the work and the degree to which it directly supports the Agency's mission goals. To the extent that your contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or Space Act agreement is affected due to these budget cuts, you will be contacted by your Contracting, Agreement or Grant Officer with additional details."

Dragon Update

SpaceX's Dragon Carrying NASA Cargo Resupplies Space Station

"The Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft was berthed to the International Space Station at 8:56 a.m. EST Sunday. The delivery flight was the second contracted resupply mission by the company under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract."

SpaceX Dragon Docks with the International Space Station (Video)

Dragon Launch Update

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches But Anomaly Detected Which Delayed Solar Array Deployment, SpaceRef Business

UPDATED at 3:50 p.m. EST and includes launch video and audio file of post-launch media briefing: "This morning at 10:10 a.m. EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 with Dragon spacecraft launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on its second of 12 NASA contracted resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS)."

Less than 24 hours after launching, the SpaceX Dragon was supposed to arrive at the ISS where the station crew would grapple and berth the spacecraft to the ISS for an expected three week visit.

However, after the Dragon spacecraft had separated from the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, and just before the Dragon solar arrays were to deploy, an anomaly occurred with the thrusters where only one of four was enabled. The spacecraft appeared to be in the correct orbit."

Congresswoman Eshoo Announces Plan for Hangar One and Moffett Federal Airfield

"Following a meeting with Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-Palo Alto), GSA, NASA, and the White House at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 26, the General Services Administration will issue a Notice of Intent regarding Hangar One and Moffett Federal Airfield, which reflects the following: 1. Moffett Federal Airfield will NOT be excessed. It will remain a restricted Federal Airfield and NASA will remain its custodian. 2. The Notice of Intent outlines a competitive bid process and the Request for Proposal (RFP) will be released this spring seeking a qualified lessee to provide for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic Hangar One."

Notice of Intent - Leasing Opportunity - Hangar One and Moffett Federal Airfield

"While the primary objective is to facilitate the expeditious re-siding of Hangar One, the Government will also consider proposals to manage the Moffett Federal Airfield."

Keith's note: Charlie Bolden has been relentlessly trying to shut this airstrip down and/or get rid of it for years.


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from March 2013.

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