Archive for December, 2012

Proton Puts Gazprom Satellite in Wrong Orbit

Proton Puts Gazprom Satellite in Wrong Orbit

Source RIA Novosti: A Russian Proton-M rocket marked by International Launch Services failed to place a Gazprom Space Systems communications satellite into the correct orbit following a  5:13 PM launch (Moscow time)  from the Baikononur Space Center in Kazakstan on  Saturday, December 8.  According to early reports, the Yamal-402 satellite,  built by Thales Alenia and consisting of 46 KU band transponders, separated four minutes earlier […]

Water Ice on Vesta Too?

Water Ice on Vesta Too?

NASA / JPL announced on December 6th the discovery of “long , narrow, sinuous” gullies on the asteroid Vesta.  Although no one is claiming at this point that the gullies are clear evidence of water ice,  the features bear a remarkable resemblance to similar water carved chasms on Earth and on Mars.  The features in question differ markedly from other, short […]

Posted in: Asteroids, Space Science
To the Moon Alice! with Golden Spike

To the Moon Alice! with Golden Spike

Yesterday, the Golden Spike Company presented its plan for a return to the Moon beginning perhaps as early as the  end of this decade. The technical aspects of the plan, and that’s all it really is at the moment,  is described in some detail in this document, posted on the Goldenspikecompany.com website. Coming as it does both […]

Golden Spike Video

Golden Spike Video

Press Conference at 2:00 PM EST Today at the National Press Club.  

The Ariane Conundrum

The Ariane Conundrum

Two weeks ago, at the European Space Agency Ministerial meeting in Naples, Italy, Germany and France advocated competing views over the future of the Ariane V launch vehicle, and in particular  how to respond to pricing pressure from SpaceX. Now, according to an article in Space News, the chosen course of action is already showing cracks. The Ariane V, which holds a dominant position […]

And the Dam Begins to Break, SpaceX Awarded First EELV Class Launches

And the Dam Begins to Break, SpaceX Awarded First EELV Class Launches

Following up on yesterday’s surprise announcement  in Space News that the Air Force was setting aside 14 EELV class launch opportunities for competitive bidding starting in 2015, Aviation Week is reporting that a separate but related Air Force launch procurement effort, the Orbital/Suborbital (OSP-3) is making its first two awards to SpaceX.  The OSP program is functioning both […]

EELV Update : A Split Decision and a New Beginning

EELV Update : A Split Decision and a New Beginning

Note: This replaces a prior post to reflect new information Space News is reporting that the Pentagon has decided to break the United Launch Alliance  EELV monopoly, and open up the program to competition. Under the new plan, the Air Force is authorized to proceed with a block buy of “up to” 36 launch cores from current monopoly vendor United Launch Alliance, […]

Posted in: EELV
Where No Man(made object) Has Gone Before

Where No Man(made object) Has Gone Before

In contrast to the somewhat disappointing press briefing yesterday, especially considering the bizarre and confusing buildup, on mixed findings from the Mars Curiosity Rover, another NASA briefing proved considerably more interesting. It concerned the latest, and presumably some of the last findings to come from the much older, simpler and far more distant Voyager 1 probe as it traverses  through what science fiction might call an […]

Posted in: NASA, Space Science
Sea Launch Concludes 2012 With Successful Ride to Orbit for Eutalsat

Sea Launch Concludes 2012 With Successful Ride to Orbit for Eutalsat

Switzerland based Sea Launch AG successfully conducted its third mission of the year on Monday, lofting the Eutalsat-70B communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit from its floating Ocean Odyssey platform in the Pacific.  The launch of the Zenit-3SL rocket, the 34th in the history of the program took place from 154 degrees West longitude along the equator, and followed previous launches in June and August of […]

NASA Scrubs Nano-Sat Launch Challenge

NASA Scrubs Nano-Sat Launch Challenge

The continually disappointing state of very small launch vehicle development was dealt another blow November 18th, when NASA notified Space Florida that it would be terminating its role in funding the Nan0-Sat Launch Challenge. The challenge, which was never officially approved, and only progressed as far as choosing a logo and developing a set of draft rules,  would have paid […]

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