United Nations to fly first space mission on Dream ChaserThe United Nations plans to purchase a dedicated mission on a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft in 2021 to give developing nations an opportunity to fly experiments in space.
At a press conference during the International Astronautical Congress here Sept. 27, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) said the agreement to fly the dedicated Dream Chaser mission is part of a broader effort by the office to increase access to space to emerging nations.
“Our project is the first-ever United Nations space mission,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, director of UNOOSA. “The mission has one very important goal: to allow United Nations member states to conduct research that cannot be done on Earth.”
Inmarsat and Honeywell take ‘GX Aviation’ on global flight tour to complete system integrationInmarsat (ISAT.L) and Honeywell (NYSE: HON) have successfully completed the first GX Aviation Global Flight Tour, in preparation for launching the ground-breaking new broadband solution for airline passengers later this year.
The tour covered more than 10 locations across North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, logging over 120 flight hours and 45,000 miles onboard the Honeywell Boeing 757 test aircraft – almost equivalent to flying twice around the globe.
The 38-day tour focused on complete system integration and fine-tuning in a wide range of operational circumstances and locations, including over land and in the middle of the ocean.
SpaceX’s Mars plans call for massive 42-engine reusable rocketSpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk announced plans by his company to develop a large new launch vehicle and reusable spacecraft that could be ready to take large numbers of people to Mars as soon as the mid-2020s.
Musk, in a highly-anticipated speech at the International Astronautical Congress here that attracted an unusually raucous audience for a professional conference, said that SpaceX had made initial progress on those plans despite only a small fraction of the company working on the effort.
The “Interplanetary Transport System” announced by Musk involves the development of a large reusable booster that will launch a spaceship into low Earth orbit. That spaceship will be fueled by later booster launchers of tanker vehicles, then fly to Mars.
Airbus Defence and Space Gets First Customer for ISS Bartolomeo PlatformAirbus Defence and Space has gained its first hosted payload customer for the Bartolomeo platform, a planned attachment to the European Columbus module of the International Space Station (ISS). Neumann Space, an Australian Space technology company, plans to use an allotted volume of more than 50 liters of payload space on Bartolomeo for the Facility for Australian Space Testing (FAST) program.
“The FAST program provides a unique opportunity for the in-orbit demonstration of technology for small and medium enterprises, schools and universities filling a gap in the current market,” said Patrick Neumann, chief scientist and co-founder of Neumann Space. “With FAST, a collection of payloads starting at just 1 kg mass will be sent together with our Neumann Drive to be operated in space for up to 12 months.”
GlobalStar Says NASA Completes Test Flight Using ALAS Aviation Tracking SolutionGlobalstar, Inc. and its partner, ADS-B Technologies, announced the completion of the NASA Langley Research Center research flight with the Cirrus SR22 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Surrogate designed to test the operation of the ADS-B Link Augmentation System (ALAS). Initial results indicated continuous communication between the aircraft and Globalstar’s satellite system with only brief interruptions during extreme maneuvering, which reconnected quickly.
The Cirrus SR22 test flights focused on testing the ability of ALAS to continuously pass two-way data between the aircraft and NASA’s ground control station using remote control capabilities. The first of two 40 minute flights included extreme maneuvering with two 60 degree bank angle turns specifically designed to test the ALAS connection. The second flight produced similar results during a series of maneuvers involving heading and altitude changes.
NanoRacks to Deploy RemoveDebris Mission from ISS in 2017NanoRacks has received a launch contract from the RemoveDebris consortium to deploy an Active Debris Removal (ADR) experiment from International Space Station (ISS) in June 2017. The launch sequence will involve the satellites on the Kaber platform being launched in a box to the ISS on-board a cargo resupply mission, unpacked by astronauts on the ISS, then attached to a slide table in the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), and finally deployed into space.
The RemoveDebris mission started in 2013 and has more than 60 people assigned to the mission. The European Commission and partners have co-funded the project, with earlier program research funded through the European Union Seventh Framework Program.
Firefly Alpha Rocket Combustor Completes Full Mission Duty Cycle TestFirefly Space Systems has successfully completed more than 50 hot fire tests, including multiple full Mission Duty Cycle (MDC) tests, of the combustor for the Firefly Alpha launch vehicle. The combustor is designed for both stages of the smallsat launcher; the upper stage will use an engine with a single combustor, while the first stage engine will use an array of 12 identical combustors arranged in an annular aerospike configuration.
Firefly rocket engines operate using LOx/RP-1 propellants. The basic combustor design can use either methane or RP-1 fuels. The FRE-1 upper stage variant of the engine will produce 7,000 lbf thrust, and the first stage cluster used in FRE-2 will produce 125,000 lbf thrust.
ULA Launches Rocket Hardware Design Challenge with GrabCADUnited Launch Alliance (ULA) has kicked off the 3-2-1 Liftoff! ULA Rocket Hardware Challenge via GrabCAD Community Challenges, inviting participants to design a launch support attachment bracket — to be produced using additive manufacturing technology — for ULA’s current Atlas 5 rocket. The design will subsequently be evaluated for application on ULA’s next-generation Vulcan Centaur rocket. GrabCAD, a division of Stratasys, is a digital manufacturing hub helping designers and engineers build products faster.
Participants will design a support bracket used during ground processing at the base of the Atlas 5 payload fairing. It is used at numerous locations around the vehicle’s Centaur upper stage, acting as a support point for work platforms on the days leading up to launch. The bracket remains with the upper stage of the rocket during flight.
Launch contract deadline looms for lunar lander teamsThe organization running the Google Lunar X Prize said Sept. 27 it has no plans to extend an impending deadline for launch contracts that most teams are currently in danger of missing.
The competition offers a $20 million prize for the first team to land on the moon, travel at least 500 meters and return video “mooncasts” and other data. It requires teams to have a launch contract, verified by the X Prize Foundation, in place by the end of this year in order to remain in the competition. The prize itself has a deadline of the end of 2017.
Andrew Barton, director of technical operations for the prize at the X Prize Foundation, said in a talk at the International Astronautical Congress here that three teams out of the 16 still in the competition have launch contracts verified by the foundation. Two of those teams, SpaceIL and Moon Express, had their launch contracts verified last year.
DataPath in Need of 200 Field Services Experts after Major Contract WinDataPath is seeking to expand its field services division by nearly 200 new positions following the receipt of a massive U.S. government contract to provide all four branches of the U.S. military with remote communications support. The company is actively hiring field engineers and technicians with significant experience supporting deployed satellite communications and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) networking systems for the U.S. military.
Under the award, DataPath’s field personnel will support a complete range of fielded satellite communications equipment from man-pack antennas to trailer-based earth terminals to large-scale earth terminals. The company is seeking in-theater personnel to help provide services in 20 countries including Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Djibouti, Germany, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Korea, Japan, and the United States.