NewSpace News #112 – October 2014

NewSpace News #112 – October 2014

October 19, 2014 NewSpace News



Boeing And SpaceX Survive To Last Round

The highly anticipated winners for NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts have been announced. SFF congratulates the Boeing Company and SpaceX for winning their fixed-priced contracts with maximum potential values of $4.2 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively. This contract includes a crewed test flight to the International Space Station (ISS) to validate the safety and performance of the vehicles.
– Press Releases by NASA, SFF, Boeing, and SpaceX

The Heroes of Hawthorne

SpaceX has had a very busy month. Beginning with the successful launch and deployment of AsiaSat 6, the company continues to showcase their rapid turnaround capability. Only after a few weeks from the commercial launch, CRS-4 has launched for the ISS with over 2 tons of experiments and supplies, including the first 3D printer inspace. On the following day, CEO Elon Musk and other officials havebroke ground in Brownsville, TX, which will be the site of the company’snew commercial spaceport. These steps forward are only the beginning. Following SpaceX’s recent selection as a potential NASA crew-taxi, Gen. John Hyten of Air Force Space Command has indicated that SpaceX could be certified to compete for military satellite launches as early as Dec. 1.
– Press Releases by SpaceX, NASA

Blue Skies Ahead

Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) have recently announced a partnership to address the lack of a modern domestic rocket engine to replace the Russian RD-180. The agreement includes a 4-year development process, full-scale testing by 2016, and a flight demonstration by 2019. Following development, the BE-4 engine will be available for use by either company on future launch systems. However, following this announcement, ATK has expressed concerns and has recommended to the United States Air Force (USAF) to consider the use of a solid rocket engine instead. While the USAF expects Blue Origin to develop a long-term replacement, they have expressed that the government would be open to solid engine solutions as well.
– Press Release by Blue Origin and Article by Space News

Carrier Has Arrived

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has revealed plans for a scaled down version of their flagship vehicle, Dream Chaser. The new version is about 75% the size of the original and is intended to be air-launched from a massive ‘carrier’ plane being built by Stratolaunch. They have also announced the Global Project spaceflight program, which will offer access to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to domestic and international clients. SNC has challenged NASA’s commercial crew taxi decision but also has stated that they will continue to pursue their Dream Chaser program regardless of the outcome. We at SFF wish them the best of luck and hope to see Dream Chaser in space as soon as possible.

– Press Releases by SNC

PR War

The NewSpace industry is getting a lot of media attention lately thanks to recent successes and creative marketing. Virgin Galactic’s (VG) partnership with Land Rover is still fresh in our memory, and VG has now also partnered with another iconic brand — the Grey Goose Vodka. XCOR on the other hand has just given out a ride on its Lynx spacecraft to pro golfer Andy Sullivan for winning the hole-in-one prize at the KLM Open in Netherlands.

– Press Release by VG, Article by ESPN

This ACME Is No Joke

Finding new commercial applications for space has always been a challenge, but ACME Advanced Materials has overcome the odds and developed a new viable use for space‘s unique microgravity environment. ACME has announced the successful commercialization of its process to manufacture extremely high quality silicon carbide (SiC) wafers, which can be used to create high performance electronics components. ACME is already backed by Cottonwood Technology Fund and Pangaea Ventures, and in the coming months, they will be building and testing devices made from their SiC wafers.

– Press Release by ACME

Texas Lures Another Rocket Company

Firefly Space Systems has been awarded a $1.2 million in incentives and grants from The City of Cedar Park Economic Development Corporation. They recently have moved the company to Cedar Park, Texas, which is near Austin, and have joined the Autodesk Cleantech Partner Program for their liquid oxygen and liquified natural gas (LNG) propulsion engine.

– Press Releases by Firefly

Zero Engine Corp

Zero Gravity Corporation’s vomit comet, the G-FORCE ONE aircraft, has been grounded since spring due to a legal dispute with Amerjiet, who manages and operates the vehicle. Zero G has been one of the early trailblazers for the NewSpace industry, and we at SFF hope that they can resume operations soon.

– Article by ParabolicArc

Commercial Spaceport is Official

XCOR, Orbital Outfitters (OO), Midland International Airport (MAF), and Midland Development Corp (MDC) have jointly announced the FAA approval of MAF as the first commercial airport to obtain a spacelaunch license. XCOR continues the process of moving to Midland, Texas, where their new R&D headquarters is being established alongside the new spaceport.
– Press Releases by XCOR, OO, MAF, MDC

Mind Of Its Own

NanoRacks, which provides commercial access to the InternationalSpace Station, has been experiencing technical difficulties with its CubeSat deployment system and is working with NASA, The Aerospace Corporation, and ISS partners to resolve the anomaly. NanoRacks is a key space-access provider for companies like Planet Labs, and SFF is looking forward to a timely resolution of the issues so that we can continue advancing the frontier.

– Article by Space News, Update by NanoRacks

Planetary Resources Expands Science Team

Dr. Dante Lauretta, who is the principle investigator for NASA’s OSIRIS REx mission, has announced that he will be joining the Planetary Resources (PR) team. Dr. Lauretta has served as a professor at the University of Arizona, teaching planetary science and cosmochemistry. PR President Chris Lewicki has stated, “[Dr. Lauretta’s] insight from studying the carbonaceous asteroid Bennu will be extremely useful as we develop technologies on collecting data for our own asteroid rendezvous missions.”

– Press Release by Planetary Resources

Suborbital A La Carte

NASA has selected 4 companies to provide suborbital access to spacefor its Flight Opportunities Program (FOP). The four companies, which represent a diverse array of capabilities, are Masten Aerospace, Paragon Space Development Corporation, UP Aerospace, and Virgin Galactic.

– Press Release by NASA

No Time To Stall

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) recently announced the selection of Eric Stallmer as their new president. Stallmer previously served as Vice President of Government Relations at Analytical Graphics Inc (AGI), President of the Space Transportation Association (STA), and has long been an advocate of commercial spaceflight.

– Article by Washington Post

Space Services has announced its acquisition of Odyssey Moon, formerly a Google Lunar XPRIZE contender. Many experienced industry veterans are joining Space Services from Odyssey Moon’s board of directors, including Jay Honeycutt from NASA and Lockheed, Christian Sallaberger from Canadensys Aerospace, and Carol Goldstein from Morgan Stanley. Both the Odyssey Moon and Space Services teams expressed delight over the acquisition.

– Press Release by Space Services

Made In Space‘s Director of R&D Mike Annis and author Andy Weir share their respective newspace initiatives with Dr. David Livingston on The Space Show.

Carribean Space Summit

Caribbean Space Summit (CSS2014) is about commercial spacetravel, its scientific and social challenges, and its potential. Invited speakers play key roles in the industry, and the interactive discussions during panel sessions will allow you to ask the right questions. CSS2014 will also host a small Job Fair, Poster Session, and the first ever SpaceUp Caribbean.