ISPCS 2015 Round-Up, “Making a Difference”
Some 300 attendees gathered in Las Cruces, NM for the 11th annual InternationalSymposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. The theme this year was “Making a Difference.” Here’s what you may have missed…
The Launch Market Heats Up
- Orbital ATK is ready to get back into the space game after its October 2014 launch failure. The company will fly a cargo mission to the International Space Station this December and next March on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
- Josh Brost, a business development executive with SpaceX said the final report on the June 28 launch failure should be delivered to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) within the next month. There is no specific timetable yet for when launches will resume.
- Shipping of the Cygnus spacecraft to Florida next week will take longer with the South Carolina flooding.
- Dream Chaser flight tests to begin in Q1 2016.
- New Shepard will try for vertical landing, complete with wedge fins, drag brakes, aft fins and deep-throttling BE-3 engine. Flight tests will end this year before tickets go on sale.
- 11 minutes from launch to landing, going to 100+hm, four minutes of weightlessness.
Spaceports Spring Up
- Spaceport Colorado pushing for an FAA license, six miles from Denver International Airport, for horizontal launch vehicles. David E. Ruppel, airport director for Spaceport Colorado, expects to submit the application in the next few months with a decision by the second quarter of 2016.
- Spaceport America, 90 miles north of El Paso, TX, was approved to launch large horizontal vehicles.
- Jon Barela, New Mexico’s economic development secretary, said the state is restructuring regulation and tax codes to encourage the development of the aerospace industry.
The Industry Grows
- Virgin Galactic’s second SpaceShipTwo is in preparation for its next maiden flight, expected “soon.” Three shifts are working to finish the vehicle, with special care to quality and safety. The oxidizer tank has yet to be bonded into the fuselage, but they are working on integrating other plumbing, electrical and pneumatics systems.
- MadeInSpace’s Andrew Rush will work with NanoRacks to develop the ability to assemble small satellites on the ISS for quick deployment.
- John Mulholland of Boeing and Garrett Reisman of SpaceX are confident they will keep to their schedules and have their commercial crew vehicles ready by the end of 2017.
- There are about 500 employees at Blue Origin now with over 300 openings in Florida, Washington and Texas.
- Frank Culbertson of Orbital ATK is still waiting on that “killer app” for large-scale space utilization but he’s confident it will be found.
Public Private Partnerships Advance
- CASIS Director Gregory Johnson wants to expand ISS projects to include biomedical, earth observation, and on-orbit production.
- If granted the CRS-2 contract, Dream Chaser can be ready late 2018 or early 2019.
- Blue Origin will maintain their unfunded extension of the NASA commercial crew agreement, President Rob Meyerson still finds value in that relationship.
ISS as a Growth Platform for Commercial Space
- Culbertson said we need commercial space station facilities and we’re getting close. Orbital ATK is working on a couple of partnership opportunities using the Antares rocket outside of NASA’s commercial crew program.
- Secure World Foundation’s (SWF) Michael Simpson wants to see more international agreement similar to debris mitigation guidelines. SWF announced it’s a founding partner of a new international working group to look at the legal issues of space resources.