Jeb Bush Wants More Orion Business for Florida

Florida is not content with just winning the assembly and launch work for NASA’s next human spaceship.

Gov. Jeb Bush and the president of the state’s new space agency say they aim to capture more pieces of NASA’s next moon-landing program as well as investment and jobs created by space tourism and other private space businesses.

“We need to attract high-wage jobs,” Bush said. “We need to target our resources for high wage jobs in targeted areas and space is one of them.”

Space Florida, meeting Friday for the first time under new president Steve Kohler, mostly took care of basic transition housekeeping such as approving an initial $8.5 million annual budget and establishing target deadlines for hiring staff, reports and planning documents.… Read the rest

Swedes Planning to Fly Cottage to the Moon

Charming cottage, secluded location, stunning panoramic views…

A Swedish artist has asked experts to help design one of Sweden’s iconic little red cottages – but this one will stand on the Moon.

Mikael Genberg has recruited the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) to help plan the operation.

The little red houses are found across the Swedish countryside, but Mr Genberg says he wants this one to become “an international symbol”.

He says if everything goes to plan, the house may appear on the Moon in 2011.

Mr Genberg has arranged a competition for students and companies to design a house that could be contained in a small, light package, that would open up once landed on the Moon’s surface.… Read the rest

Russians Headed to the Moon

MOSCOW, Oct. 18 — Russia is building a new spaceship that can fly to the moon.

Nikolai Sevastyanov, head of Russia’s Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, told RIA Novosti the final design of a modernized spaceship has been given the working name of Soyuz-K.

Sevastyanov said the new spaceship is being designed so it can be launched both from the Baikonur space center and equatorial Kourou space center, RIA Novosti reported.

He said Russia plans to conduct its first manned flight around the moon in 2011-2012.

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Test Driving the Orion Space Capsule

For the past 10 minutes, I’ve been trying to nuzzle the Orion space capsule up to the International Space Station to dock, but I keep drifting left, smack into a European lab.

Then I look slightly past the flat-panel screen that displays my incompetence with the joystick, through the window and straight up. I see the moon. It’s filling the view and grabs my attention from the docking job at hand.

The moon is what this is all about.

I’m in a full-scale mock-up of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle that’s supposed to replace the space shuttle fleet and eventually take astronauts back to the moon.… Read the rest

Dan Dumbacher to Lead Development of Ares

Dan Dumbacher, deputy director of the Exploration Launch Projects Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., helps manage and lead overall development and integration of the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicle systems.

NASA’s Ares I is the launch vehicle that will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle to space. Ares V will serve as NASA’s primary vessel for delivering resources to space — from large-scale hardware and materials to establish a permanent moon base, to food and fresh water needed to extend a human presence beyond Earth orbit.… Read the rest

NASA Prepares for Flight Tests of Ares 1

NASA is beginning detailed planning for the first round of flight tests for the Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), with documentation – acquired by this site – showing the full outlines of the test flight objectives.

The first flight, Ares I-1, will be a suborbital test of the booster with an inert fifth SRB segment and a dummy second stage with steel-filled propellant tanks and mock-up engines.

The test flight, originally called ADFT-0 (Ascent Development Flight Test-0), is currently scheduled to take place in April 2009 at a cost of about $300 million.

The flight will provide a simulation of the performance of the first stage of the Ares I and a test of the staging sequence.… Read the rest

Orion’s Smart Cockpit

NASA’s Orion crew vehicle’s smart cockpit will monitor the vehicle’s health, use synthetic, enhanced and virtual vision systems, have advanced on-screen symbology and may eventually employ a talking computer.

The Lockheed Martin-built Orion will use a glass cockpit that is derived from Honeywell’s Boeing 787 flight deck technology. Orion’s cockpit computers will carry out routine and repetitive system monitoring tasks, which Apollo-era astronauts had to do themselves.

Vehicle health management software is seen as key to automating this activity so the cockpit system only informs the astronauts, and ground control, about the spacecraft’s status when necessary. While the Shuttle’s cockpit’s screens are filled with data that astronauts have to interpret and act on, Orion’s displays will use graphics along with enhanced synthetic vision and additional flight related symbology.… Read the rest

Ares I Contract Modified

NASA is extending a contract with ATK Thiokol of Brigham City, Utah, to continue developing the first stage for the Ares I crew launch vehicle.Ares I is the crew launch vehicle that will transport the Orion crew exploration vehicle, its crew or other small cargo payloads into low-Earth orbit. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the first stage will consist of a single solid rocket booster similar to those used on the space shuttle, but with a fifth motor segment added.

The upper stage will consist of a J-2X liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine and the associated propellant tanks and main propulsion system.… Read the rest

Orion Contract Extension Worth $35M Goes to ATK Subsidiary

NASA has awarded a contract extension worth up to $35 million to a subsidiary of Alliant Techsystems Inc. This is for work on the Orion spaceship program.

This is in addition to a $28 million contract awarded to ATK Thiokol for the development of booster rockets for Ares 1 – the vehicle used to launch the Orion spaceship.  The extension of the contract will focus on nozzle metal hardware and maintain design and engineering analysis for a systems review to be held during December of 2006.  The contract extension will also be used for an initial test launch of Ares 1 during 2009.… Read the rest

Technical Challenges of Traveling to Mars

A U.S. scientist says human missions to Mars face technical challenges well beyond those faced during the exploration of the moon.

In two new papers, Donald Rapp, formerly with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, reviews the current state of our understanding of life support and radiation safety and concludes that significant additional research will be required before safe and affordable human missions to Mars can become a reality.

Rapp reviews the current state of the understanding of life support for human missions to Mars and concludes current plans for life support contain optimistic assumptions regarding the degree of recycling and reliability that can be achieved and the amount of mass that life support systems may require.… Read the rest