Commercialization: October 2017 Archives

Orbital ATK Successfully Launches Minotaur C Rocket Carrying 10 Spacecraft to Orbit for Planet

"Orbital ATK ... announced its commercial Minotaur C rocket successfully launched 10 commercial spacecraft into orbit for Planet. The Minotaur C launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California."

Minotaur-C, Wikipedia

"Minotaur-C (Minotaur Commercial), formerly known as Taurus ... Three of four launches between 2001 and 2011 ended in failure."

Keith's note: I just got this advertising email from Axiom Space titled "The Promise of Human Spaceflight for Investors" bragging about Axiom being featured in lots of high visibility magazines. The email is slick, with nice portraits of the Axiom team - the faces they apparently want investors, the public, and the news media to see. I am certain that everyone is highly skilled, etc. But as I scrolled down this very long email something struck me: its all 50-something males. After eight of their smiling faces scrolled by there was a single woman - at the bottom of the list. Eight males, one female. I guess this is the optics that Axiom Space wants to put forward for their vision of the future human spaceflight.

I asked Axiom about this. Amir Blackman replied "Other than the two founders, all team members are listed in alphabetical order. Gender is not a consideration in our hiring process. We are an equal opportunity employer and seek out team members based on their qualifications and experience." Right. Like I said eight males, one female.

Here is a larger version of their email (I thought I'd give them some free PR).

Solid Rocket Motors: DOD and Industry Are Addressing Challenges to Minimize Supply Concerns, GAO

"The consolidation in the SRM industrial base has also been accompanied by a decrease of suppliers throughout the supply chain. For example, one SRM manufacturer estimated a decrease in suppliers, from approximately 5,000 to 1,000, over the last 20 years. This increases the risk of production delays and disruptions in the event that key components and materials available from a single source become unavailable from that source. GAO found that DOD and industry are taking steps to identify and mitigate these risks, such as by establishing alternative sources and requiring advance notice when suppliers are considering exiting the market."

Survey: Americans Support Entrepreneurs in Space But Want Improvements on Earth, Brodeur Partners

"The new poll of more than 600 Americans' attitudes toward business in space was conducted earlier this month by the Brodeur Partners' Space Group. The new survey found that Americans:

- Still see national security as the top space activity;
- At the same time, they support private sector activity in space;
- However, they want some degree of government regulation, especially privacy protection;
- And they expect space development to directly benefit Earth; and
- Think the U.S. is a leader, if not the leader, in space technology.

"Americans still view space technology through the old lens of defense and national security," said Jerry Johnson, a partner at Brodeur Partners and author of the study. "But we also found that there is support for commercial activity in space, even government funding for that activity, if those businesses are reasonably regulated and can demonstrate benefits on Earth."

Keith's note: Once or twice a year someone does a space poll that says the same things that all of these space polls always say: people like space. Of course, this poll will be cited by those who see validation for their stances on space and will be ignored by those whose viewpoints are not strongly supported. Based on the press release (that's all that has been released) you can pretty much project whatever you want upon the poll and also extract whatever you want from it. We have no idea who paid for this poll, who the pollsters talked to, how they did the poll (phone, writing) or all of the questions the participants were actually asked. So ... your mileage may vary. Yawn.

Lyft Me To The Moon

This past week I interviewed Keith on the SpaceQ podcast. We discussed Jim Bridenstine and NASA, Elon Musk and SpaceX, and Lockheed Martin and Mars.

You can subscribe to the podcast using your favourite podcast app (iOS and Android). For apps like OverCast or Pocket Cast you can search using the podcast title SpaceQ or use the RSS feed URL listed below.

The RSS feed URL is: http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:286233381/sounds.rss

The podcast is also available on Apple iTunes and SoundCloud.

NASA OIG: NASA's Management Of Space Parts For Its Flight Projects, OIG

"While NASA Centers are required to use SMS to track their supply and material inventory, we found that five of nine are instead using stand-alone inventory control systems or other NASA systems to manage their flight inventory, including spare parts. These non-SMS systems contain over $252 million worth of flight inventory. As a result, Headquarters' Logistics Management Division's visibility into flight assets across the Agency and its ability to accurately account for flight inventory Agency-wide is limited and inconsistent."

FAA: Stakeholders' Perspectives on Potentially Moving the Office of Commercial Space Transportation, GAO

"Representatives from commercial space launch companies and spaceports GAO interviewed described advantages and disadvantages of moving the Office of Commercial Space Transportation to the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, but most of them favored moving the office. Conversely, most Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials GAO interviewed did not favor the idea. A senior official in the Office of Commercial Space Transportation said that there are advantages and disadvantages to moving the office and that whether such an action would be beneficial depends on the implementation details and the administration's preferences. Officials from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation said they currently do not have plans to move the office."


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