Commercialization: October 2016 Archives

SpaceX AMOS-6 Anomaly Update 28 October 2016

"The investigation team has made significant progress on the fault tree. Previously, we announced the investigation was focusing on a breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank. The root cause of the breach has not yet been confirmed, but attention has continued to narrow to one of the three composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) inside the LOX tank."

"Pending the results of the investigation, we continue to work towards returning to flight before the end of the year."

Previous statements:

- SpaceX AMOS-6 Anomaly Update 23 September 2016
- SpaceX Anomaly Statement September 2, 6:45pm EDT

Spaceport America Relay Race Features an Amazing 200 Mile Course Along the Historic Rio Grande River from Texas to New Mexico, Spaceport America

"Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport located in southern New Mexico in the USA, today announced that, in collaboration with relay racing specialists MH Enterprises LLC, the Spaceport America Crew will host and support a two-day, 200 mile, relay race event."

Spaceport America, Wikipedia

"As of August 2012, Spaceport America is substantially complete and the cost of the entire project was $209 million. ... In May 2015, budgetary details made public revealed that the substantially unused spaceport has an annual deficit that has been running approximately US$500,000, with the deficit being made up by state taxpayers. The primary planned revenue in the times of delayed operations by Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, with limited operations by other minor tenants, is local tax revenue, paid by the taxpayers of Sierra and Dona Ana counties."

Space Foundation CEO Steps Down, Space Foundation

"Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Space Foundation, Admiral James O. Ellis Jr., announced that Space Foundation CEO, Elliot Pulham, has resigned his position, and the board has commenced a search for new leadership of the organization. ... We are committed to an open and competitive process to select the Foundation's next leader, and are grateful for the continued support of the space community."

Smith, Babin Examine Policy Governing Indian Launch Vehicles

"Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) yesterday sent letters to four senior officials following up on requests for information about the current U.S. policy governing the export of U.S. commercial satellites for launch on Indian launch vehicles. On July 6 Chairmen Smith and Babin wrote Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, seeking this information. Yesterday's letters reiterate requests for a briefing and documentation on the current U.S. policy."

Eric Stallmer, Commercial Spaceflight Federation Testimony , April 2016

"Here, CSF opposes any change to the current U.S. policy with respect to launch on Indian launch vehicle systems. For commercial as well as government launches, Indian launch vehicles are operated by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), a government entity that also funds the development and manufacture of these launch vehicles. Here, CSF has seen that pricing for commercial launch services on Indian rockets historically has not reflected the true costs associated with their initial development and on-going launch operations, putting U.S. commercial launchers at a disadvantage in competitions for these class of payloads. In effect, India is dumping these vehicles on the commercial market to the detriment of U.S. firms. We would encourage the U.S. Congress to support American firms offering legitimate pricing for launch services in this market."

Elliot Pulham, Space Foundation Testimony, April 2016

"The concern about using Indian boosters is not so much the transfer of sensitive technology to a nation that is a fellow democracy, but rather whether Indian launches are subsidized by the Indian government to the degree that other market actors, for example American launch companies or those of allies, would be priced out the market."

Keith's note: Why is India being singled out for special treatment? Who own's most, if not all, of China's launch infrastructure? Russia's? Europe's? Japan's? Who sets their launch prices? Why is it that every time the U.S. buys Soyuz seats the price goes up far more than it should?

- Will U.S. Companies Be Allowed To Launch on Indian Rockets?, earlier post
- America's Hypocritical Fear of Indian Rockets, earlier post
- Congress Asks Questions About U.S. Policy Regarding Indian Launch Vehicles, earlier post
- Hearing Discusses Using Old ICBMs As Satellite Launchers, earlier post

Orbital ATK Successfully Launches the Antares Rocket on its Return to Flight (with video), SpaceRef

"In a successful return to flight, Orbital ATK launched the upgraded Antares rocket with the Cygnus spacecraft on a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The launch scheduled for 7:40 pm EDT (2340 GMT) was delayed briefly due to a minor engine anomaly. Mission launch control cleared the rocket to launch which it did at 7:45 pm EDT, right as launch window was closing."

Keith's note: It has been 2 years since I tried to watch a launch from the street in front of my house in Reston, VA. Not an easy thing to do in a town that is certified as a 'tree city'. Luckily the notch in the trees in the direction of Wallops is still there. About 2 minutes after launch a steady red light appeared and I could see it for another minute or so.

Interplanetary Frontiers, OSTP: Harnessing the Possibilities of Science, Technology, and Innovation

"At the beginning of his Administration, President Obama set out anew vision for space exploration, harking back to the spirit of possibility and exploration that defined the space race of the 1960s, while building upon and advancing 21st century technologies and capabilities. In 2010, the Administration restructured the U.S. civil space program to look forward to bold new goals, not backwards to old ones; to collaborate with, rather than compete with, American entrepreneurs; and to broaden participation and take advantage of new technologies being created at NASA and in America's laboratories."

Boeing delays Starliner again, casting doubt on commercial flights in 2018, Ars Technica

"After an initial delay from late 2017 into early 2018, Boeing has acknowledged a second slippage of its schedule for the first commercial crew flights of its Starliner spacecraft. According to a report in Aviation Week, the company now says it will not be ready to begin operational flights until December 2018, a full year after NASA had originally hoped its commercial crew providers would be ready. The admission by Boeing confirms a report by NASA's Inspector General, which found significant delays with both the Boeing and SpaceX efforts to develop private spacecraft to ferry US astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The delay also explains why, as Ars has previously reported, senior managers with the International Space Station program are likely to press ahead with the politically painful decision to purchase Soyuz seats for the calendar year 2019."

- Industry Groups Avoid Mention of OIG Reports on Cost/Schedule, earlier post
- NASA OIG Report Predicts Commercial Crew Delay To Late 2018, earlier post

Boeing says it will beat SpaceX to Mars, Business Insider

"Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of Boeing (one of SpaceX's biggest competitors) casually loosed the remark during a session of The Atlantic's "What's Next?" conference. "I'm convinced that the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding on a Boeing rocket," Muilenburg said during the recorded event."

Here's How Boeing Plans to Send Astronauts to Mars, Inverse

"Boeing doesn't offer a timeline for its missions. "Mars is at least 100 times further away than the moon," Duggan says. "The opportunity to travel from Earth to Mars comes around about every two years. The Earth has to be catching up with Mars in its orbit to give you that shortest distance, and that's the ideal launch window." That window, and the time it takes to develop the tech needed to send astronauts between the two planets, will determine when Boeing reaches the red planet."

Boeing Mars website

Keith's note: First Boeing says they don't have a timeline and then they say that a "Boeing rocket" will beat SpaceX Mars. And of course Boeing is not going to pay for any of this - that's NASA job.

Blue Origin Completes New Shepard Abort Test (with video and screen shots)

"Blue Origin just completed an apparently flawless in-flight aboard of its New Shepard launch vehicle. The capsule separated and made a perfect landing. The booster continued, undaunted, to space and then made a textbook landing."

Flores Backs Robust, Domestic Commercial Space Launch

"U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas) led a bipartisan letter, signed by 23 additional members of Congress, to the administrators at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Secretary of the United States Air Force supporting a robust, domestic commercial space launch industry. The bipartisan group of lawmakers expressed their support of the ongoing investigation into the recent mishap involving a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The letter states: "Accidents are unfortunate events, and accident investigations should not be politicized. We encourage you to reject calls for your organizations to abandon established, well considered, and long standing procedures."

- Possibility of Sabotage Considered During SpaceX Investigation, earlier post
- ULA Congressional Delegation Criticizes SpaceX For A Totally Legal Mishap Investigation, earlier post

Implication of sabotage adds intrigue to SpaceX investigation, Washington Post

"The long-running feud between Elon Musk's space company and its fierce competitor United Launch Alliance took a bizarre twist this month when a SpaceX employee visited its facilities at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and asked for access to the roof of one of ULA's buildings. ... The building, which had been used to refurbish rocket motors known as the SMARF, is just more than a mile away from the launchpad and has a clear line of sight to it. A representative from ULA ultimately denied the SpaceX employee access to the roof and instead called Air Force investigators, who inspected the roof and didn't find anything connecting it to the rocket explosion, the officials said."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from October 2016.

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