With the recent announcement the Space Launch System (SLS) has become challenged by her schedule, the NASA rocket may soon find herself in a battle with a commercial “alternative”. SpaceX’s super powerful Exploration Class rocket is targeting crewed missions to Mars up to 10 years ahead of SLS – although both vehicles continue to avoid being classed as competitors.
A faulty sensor aboard a prototype rocket likely led to its destruction last week during a flight at SpaceX’s test facility in Central Texas, company officials said.
The rocket testbed, powered by a modified first stage from the Falcon 9 booster with three engines, flew off of its prescribed trajectory during an Aug. 22 vertical takeoff and landing test flight. The rocket’s on-board safety system recognized the problem and issued a self-destruct command.
A three-way race to build a commercially operated spaceship to shuttle astronauts — and other paying customers — to and from low-Earth orbit is close the finish line, with NASA aiming to award development and flight service contracts as early as next week.
So far, two companies favoring capsule designs — Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX — have won the lion’s share of NASA’s Commercial Crew program funds. The effort, which began in 2010, is intended to provide a U.S. alternative for flying crews to the International Space Station, which orbits about 260 miles above Earth.
DALLAS (MarketsandMarkets PR) – The Nano and Microsatellite market is estimated to grow from $702.4 million in 2014 to $1887.1 million in 2019. This represents a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 21.8% from 2014 to 2019. Commercial sector is expected to be the largest contributor for Nano and Microsatellite by 2019. In terms of regions, APAC is expected to be the biggest market in terms of revenue contribution by 2019 surpassing North America.
The major forces driving this market are price reduction, increasing demand, investments from Silicon Valley, superior mission launches and continual decrease in average satellite mass. The significance of the Nano and Microsatellite has increased, due to increase in number of application areas such as academic training, scientific research, earth observation, remote sensing and many others wherein such satellites can be leveraged. The increase in use of these satellites across a range of commercial applications in all regions of the world has been noted as one of the major factors behind continual increase in Nano and Microsatellite market size.
It might just be plumbing to me and you, but it’s something a little more technical to the Virgin Galactic crew. “As planned, the pilots just completed an in-flight test of SpaceShipTwo’s “plumbing” – the pressurization system for the rocket motor,” commented the spaceline upon completion of Thursday’s 53rd successful test flight. “This was an important test of SpaceShipTwo, and a great dress rehearsal for our next powered flight, which is coming soon.”
Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane was set loose on Thursday over California’s Mojave Desert for a gliding test flight — and although its hybrid rocket motor wasn’t lit up, the pilots checked out the propulsion system’s plumbing for a future blast.
Virgin Galactic flew SpaceShipTwo on Thursday, sending the suborbital vehicle on a glide flight above the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The purpose of the flight, according to a series of tweets from the company, was to perform a “cold flow” test of the vehicle’s propulsion system, running liquid oxidizer through the motor without igniting it. “As with all test flights, we’ll analyze the data in great detail before moving on,” the company said in one tweet, “but from the ground, it looked very successful.”