ISS News: December 2008 Archives

Military rockets: Solution for NASA?, Orlando Sentinel

"According to documents presented to Obama's transition team three weeks ago -- including internal studies by the rockets' manufacturer, United Launch Alliance -- upgraded human-rated versions of the military EELVs would have enough power to take NASA's fully loaded Orion crew capsule into orbit. In fact, the studies say some configurations of the rockets can lift up to 6 metric tons more than NASA requires..."

... Industry officials say that a few days later, Griffin called Robert Stevens, the CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., which jointly owns ULA together with Boeing Co., and demanded that Stevens stop what Griffin called the subsidiary's efforts to "kill Ares I" by promoting versions of its own rockets that could carry humans to space.

Kazakhstan bans foreigners from Baikonur, other areas, Novosti

"The Kazakh government issued a decree on Friday banning foreigners from visiting four areas of the country, including the city of Baikonur, which services the eponymous space center. Baikonur, the town of Gvardeysk near the former capital, Almaty, and two regions in the Kyzylorda province have been closed to foreigners until 2015."

Editor's note: Gee, that is certainly going to make it rather difficult non-residents of Kazakhstan to ride Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS - or return home, isn't it? The "Gap" just became a void.

Insight Into SpaceX and COTS

SpaceX: More NASA Launches, Less Money, FreeSpace, Discovery News

"I attempt to cover the news without bias, but privately I cheered NASA's selection of startup SpaceX and innovative Orbital Sciences over The Big Three collaborative (not automakers, aerospace contractors) bidding on $3.5 billion of government work to deliver stuff to the International Space Station. I thought it was a little weird that SpaceX's share, totaling $1.6 B to start, covered 12 missions, while Orbital, which got an additional $300 million, was responsible for eight. In a conference call with reporters to announce the award, NASA's spaceflight chief Bill Gerstenmaier said the agency didn't see anything out of line with Orbital's bid."

COTS Pick: A Sea Change?

NASA Rejects Trojan Horse, Motley Fool

"On Christmas Eve-Eve, NASA finally announced the results of its long-running Commercial Resupply Services competition, and as the tidbit above correctly points out, neither Lockheed nor Boeing (nor Alliant Techsystems, for that matter) wound up in the winners circle. What you may not know, is that none of these three companies were actually bidding for the contract at all, at least not directly. Instead, these three giants of the aerospace industry chose to hitch their carts to a foal of a company named PlanetSpace, which acted as the prime contractor in the bid. Turns out, NASA was not amused -- nor impressed."

NASA Awards Space Station Commercial Resupply Services Contracts

"NASA has awarded two contracts -- one to Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., and one to Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif. -- for commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station. At the time of award, NASA has ordered eight flights valued at about $1.9 billion from Orbital and 12 flights valued at about $1.6 billion from SpaceX. These fixed-price indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts will begin Jan. 1, 2009, and are effective through Dec. 31, 2016. The contracts each call for the delivery of a minimum of 20 metric tons of upmass cargo to the space station. The contracts also call for delivery of non-standard services in support of the cargo resupply, including analysis and special tasks as the government determines are necessary."

From: "Henderson, Edward M. (JSC-MG)"
Date: December 11, 2008 3:56:59 PM CST
Cc: "Reed, Rebekah D. (JSC-MG)"
Subject: SBSP Demo Team Termination

Dear Team Members,

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that we have been asked to terminate all NASA's support on the SBSP demo activity. This direction was just received from management and I wanted to pass it along to you as soon as possible to avoid wasting any more additional work that you have most graciously been volunteering. Management provided the following explanation:

Warp Drive for ISS

NASA Administrator Hails Agreement with Ad Astra

"NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Operations William Gerstenmaier and Ad Astra's President and Chief Executive Officer Franklin Chang Diaz signed the agreement on Dec. 8. The agreement is structured in a series of "gates," designed to allow the parties to assess milestones on an incremental basis while proceeding to flight. Upon the achievement of these milestones, NASA and Ad Astra envision that VASIMR will be launched to the station and be tested, for the first time, in the vacuum of space."

NASA and Ad Astra Rocket Company sign Agreement for flight test of the VASIMR rocket engine aboard the International Space Station

"The NASA Authorization Act of 2005, Section 507 (P.L. 109-155) designates the US portion of the ISS a National Laboratory. While smaller projects have already been initiated for installation at interior locations of the ISS, the Ad Astra project will serve as a "pathfinder" by demonstrating a new class of larger, more complex externally-installed science and technology payloads, encouraging others to pursue similar projects and facilitating their efforts with a model for implementation."

NASA Strategic Management Council Meeting 9 July 2008

"Griffin stated his desire to see a Space Act Agreement signed to fly a Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) experiment, stating that the engine needs a test in space. ... Action: Space Operations Mission Directorate is to report back to the Strategic Management Council on the status of the Space Act Agreement to conduct a Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR) experiment on the International Space Station."

Editor's note: If you watch this video you will eventually see KSC PAO's Allard Beutel drink official recycled urine - and utter several classic bad PAO quips in so doing. He drinks from a bottle that actually has a NASA brand label on it listing the ingredients. What a guy. Alas, you have to wait through 8 minutes of NASA technobabble to see Allard actually take a sip.

Video below

Editor's note: What can I say. Its juvenile, sophomoric - and funny.

Video below

NASA Extends Contract with Russian Federal Space Agency

"NASA has signed a $141 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation services planned through the spring of 2012. The firm-fixed price extension covers comprehensive Soyuz support, including all necessary training and preparation for launch, crew rescue, and landing of a long-duration mission for three station crew members. The crew members will launch on two Soyuz vehicles in the fall of 2011."

Editor's note: That's $47 million per crew member flown up and down. That is much more than the $30 million that Richard Garriott paid for his flight and all of the ancillary training and support services that went with it. I wonder what SpaceX would charge? The Transition Team seems to be interested as well.



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the ISS News category from December 2008.

ISS News: November 2008 is the previous archive.

ISS News: January 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.