Commercialization: December 2020 Archives

After ISS - What?

The International Space Station can't stay up there forever. Will privately run, commercial replacements be ready in time?, Washington Post

"Wary of a gap, Bridenstine has increasingly been sounding the alarm, urging Congress to fully fund its requests to build a commercial presence in Earth orbit that would include private stations. Last year, NASA requested $150 million as part of its plan, but Congress granted just a tenth of that. For the fiscal 2021 budget, NASA requested the same amount but will receive just $17 billion, sparking a new round of warnings: "ISS won't last forever & incentivizing the private sector to begin follow-on capabilities are needed now," said Lori Garver, who served as NASA deputy administrator in the Obama administration. "This concept isn't hard, have we learned nothing in the last 10 years?"

Aerojet Rocketdyne to be Acquired by Lockheed Martin in $5.0 Billion All-Cash Transaction, Aerojet Rocketdyne

"We are pleased to bring together our complementary companies in a transformative transaction that will provide premium cash value for our shareholders and tremendous benefits for our employees, customers and partners," said Eileen P. Drake, CEO and President of Aerojet Rocketdyne. "Joining Lockheed Martin is a testament to the world-class organization and team we've built and represents a natural next phase of our evolution. As part of Lockheed Martin, we will bring our advanced technologies together with their substantial expertise and resources to accelerate our shared purpose: enabling the defense of our nation and space exploration. On behalf of the Aerojet Rocketdyne Board and management team, I'd like to thank all of our employees for their unwavering dedication and focus in helping us achieve this great milestone."

Keith's note: Every time one of these big aerospace dinosaurs eats another dinosaur they promise that there will be increased value to the customers etc. Except it never happens. Costs always go up and projects are always delayed. Stockholders may realize some profit but the customers (taxpayers) invariably have to spend more money for the same products.

Lockheed Martin now owns Aerojet Rocketdyne (Aerojet and Rocketdyne merged a few years ago) which means they control all SLS propulsion except for the SRBs and they build Orion. Boeing oversees SLS. Northrop Grumman ate Orbital ATK which was formed when Orbital Sciences and ATK merged. They control Cygnus and Antares and the SLS SRBs. So the SLS is now built by 3 companies that used to be 7 just a few years ago. Oh yes - Lockheed Martin co-owns United Launch Alliance with Boeing. ULA is going to use Blue Origin engines. Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman formed the HLS "National Team". Just keep this in mind when the whole Artemis project gets revisited in a few months because it costs too much and is years behind schedule.

Space Economy, Bureau of Economic Analysis

"BEA has developed a preliminary set of statistics measuring the contributions of space-related industries to the overall U.S. economy. These estimates give business leaders, policymakers, and the public a new tool to analyze the space economy and to inform investment decisions. Preliminary estimates of the U.S. space economy's GDP, gross output, private employment, and private compensation by industry were published in the December 2020 Survey of Current Business. BEA will continue to explore options for further work and extensions to these space economy statistics."

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract to Blue Origin for New Glenn Launch Services, NASA

"NASA has awarded a NASA Launch Services (NLS) II contract to Blue Origin and their New Glenn launch service in accordance with the contract's on-ramp provision. The New Glenn launch service will be available to NASA's Launch Services Program(LSP) to use for future missions in accordance with the on-ramp provision of NLS II."

Keith's note: It is good to see that NASA is including the ever-expanding launch market to accomplish its various missions - even when the rides they buy are on vehicles that have yet to actually fly. Alas, once upon a time, NASA only gave out contracts such as this to companies with rockets that actually existed and had flown a half a dozen times. Now, NASA relies more on other factors to make these awards. Given the huge amounts of money involved and the fact that this rocket is part of what may support the Artemis Program, you'd think that we'd get a peek at the actual rocket. Some some insight into what basis upon which NASA made this decision - as was the case with Falcon 9 and Antares - would also be nice. Just sayin'

Keith's note: Heads up Jim Reuter: Have you seen "Welcome to NASA's Virtual Technology Day on the Hill" The page has 11 videos with speakers. Only one speaker is female.

Really?

NASA Selects Companies to Collect Lunar Resources for Artemis Demonstrations

"Space resources will play a key role in NASA's Artemis program and future space exploration. The ability to extract and use extraterrestrial resources will ensure Artemis operations can be conducted safely and sustainably in support of establishing human lunar exploration. Moreover, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) will play a vital role in a future human mission to Mars. Like many other operations, ISRU activities will be tested and developed on the Moon, building the required knowledge to implement new capabilities that will be necessary to overcome the challenges of a human mission to Mars."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from December 2020.

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