AGI’S Commercial Space Operations Center Supports Tracking of Boeing’s First All-Electrical Satellites
The Commercial Space Operations Center (ComSpOC) of AGI, has been awarded its first Launch and Early Operations Phase (LEOP) subscription contract with The Boeing Company to deliver space situational awareness (SSA) data for its first all-electric propulsion 702SP satellites. The ComSpOC provides LEOP support to Boeing by generating High Definition Ephemeris (HiDEph™) and precise conjunction warnings throughout the multi-month, orbit raising phase that includes continuously thrusting spacecraft operations.
SpaceX Checks Throttle Valve After Flawed Falcon 9 Recovery Attempt
SpaceX is thought to be focusing on static friction in an engine throttle valve as the prime suspect for the loss of the Falcon 9 first stage during the third attempt at recovering the booster. The Falcon 9 was seconds away from what would have been the first successful landing of a used booster stage on SpaceX’s Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship (ASDS) when the vehicle toppled over and was destroyed.
Sierra Nevada Corporation and the German Aerospace Center Announce New Dream Chaser Program
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC’s) Space Systems and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) announce the signing of a new Dream Chaser program cooperation during the U.S. German Aerospace Roundtable (UGART) at the 31st annual Space Symposium hosted by the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Briny Water May Challenge Future Mars Spacecraft Design
Weather observations by NASA’s Curiosity rover support the surprising overnight presence of salt water films in the uppermost soil layers of the mobile spacecraft’s Gale Crater landing site within the equatorial belt of the red planet. The water and temperature observations by Curiosity are likely too low to support terrestrial organisms. The findings suggest the brine solutions are more abundant than previously assumed and may have implications for the planetary protection strategies as well as the design and operations of spacecraft that must contend with destructive chlorine bearing brines, according to the researchers.
Boeing Uses Langley Expertise to Ensure Astronaut Safety
Throughout the development of the CST-100, Boeing is testing fundamental capabilities of its abort system using unique facilities and expertise at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. The CST-100 features a pusher abort system that would push the capsule off its Atlas V rocket in the case of an emergency on the pad or during ascent, ensuring the safety of the crew on board.
Bigelow Module Ready to Fly to Space Station
A module built by Bigelow Aerospace will join the International Space Station later this year in a test of both the company’s technology and NASA’s use of alternative contracting techniques. NASA and Bigelow Aerospace marked the completion of all the development milestones for the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) in a ceremony March 12 at the company’s North Las Vegas, Nevada, headquarters. Bigelow built BEAM under a $17.8 million contract NASA awarded in late 2012.
Building Rockets that will Launch the Small Satellite Revolution
While every other gadget in our lives has gotten smaller, lighter, and cheaper, satellite technology has somehow gotten bigger, heavier, and more expensive since the days of Sputnik and Explorer I. But now, thanks to the recent advances in Cubesats and microsatellites, commercial satellite start-ups, universities, schools, and even IndieGoGo campaigns can put their own satellites into space. But small satellites need small satellite launch vehicles—after all, small satellites cannot truly change the world without cost-effective, frequent rides to space!
US Certifies Canadian JSpOC Chief
The US certified the first foreign Chief of Current Operations in its Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), a milestone that a top Air Force general said represents the growth of international cooperation on military space issues. Lt. Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of STRATCOM’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space, said the Canadian officer is now clear to run a shift at the JSpOC, putting him in charge of a team made up of US, UK, Australian and Canadian operators.
US Air Force Awards Contract for JSpOC Modernization
The U.S. Air Force has awarded Intelligent Software Solutions a contract worth $14.6 million to support the modernization of the U.S. Defense Department’s Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). The modernization effort, initiated in 2009, is expected to cost more than $500 million through 2017. It will enable the JSpOC to integrate data from multiple sources to give U.S. military commanders a comprehensive picture of the orbital environment.
Sierra Nevada Corporation and Houston Airport System Announce New Agreement
Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announce a new follow-on agreement to utilize Ellington Airport’s Spaceport as a future landing site for SNC’s Uncrewed Dream Chaser spacecraft – SNC’s solution for NASA’s Cargo Resupply needs and other critical space operations.