10 story Grasshopper does a little daring

Slashgear.com : SpaceX Rasshopper aces side tracking reusable rocket test go check out the video at the link way cool as always!20130814-190927.jpgEven more exciting, there’s some more details on the next steps!

Of course, the system will have to go significantly higher if it’s to be of use to NASA. SpaceX plans to introduce a second version of Grasshopper – known as v1.1 – sometime after October 2013, which will stand 160 feet tall and use nine of the engines from the Falcon 9-R rocket, rather than Grasshopper v.1′s single engine.

When testing begins, Grasshopper v1.1 is expected to eventually fly to heights of 300,000 feet, launching from a specially constructed pad at Spaceport America, New Mexico.

England takes a bet on Space

The Sabre air breathing rocket and the Skylon single stage to orbit craft grow more real with time. We should all remember that England was a hot bed of jet engine development in the early years and is still a leader (Rolls Royce.)20130719-091933.jpg20130719-091947.jpg20130719-091955.jpg

The announcement late last month that the Chancellor, George Osborne, is planning to put a chunk of the country’s meagre resources for capital expenditure behind a British project to develop a revolutionary jet engine for a reusable space plane, suggests the government has high hopes of the space engineering sector.
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The Chancellor’s interest in Skylon centres on the hybrid air-breathing rocket engine, known as SABRE, which would power it into orbit in a single stage. The engine relies on an entirely new pre-cooling technology that allows it to function at extremely high speeds, at plus Mach 5. The project has no competitor. If successful it would offer a uniquely lightweight and therefore more affordable means of reaching space. It has already completed a series of tests and the next stage is to build a full-scale prototype.

Read more: The Engineer : Career opportunities in the UK space sector
Also the company developing the tech: Reaction Engines 20130719-093143.jpg

Uh, Guys, the ‘scope’s pointed in the wrong direction?!

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An artist’s rendering of the proposed telescope on the Malapert crater on the moon. Moon Express/ILOA

Read more at: Wired: The Private Plan to Put a Telescope on the Moon
So yes you need an Earth link but I think Earth would be below the local horizon and a mast with a laser or smaller high frequency antenna would provide that link. I imagine the picture was marketing/art departments idea and it is cool.

The whole mission concept is cool and seems to make a lot of sense.

One thing we forget in this ‘later’ more ‘modern’ age is that historically science and scientific instruments were private, and they were not inexpensive it was a rich man’s game and often rich patron’s egos that got us to to the beginning of the twentieth century.

Looks like a great application of a ‘striped down’ mod of a SpaceX Dragon vertical lander…

To the Moon Gracie!

AWST Staff: Source: Aerospace Daily & Defense Report : NASA Calls For Private Lunar Lander Partners20130718-210636.jpg

Piggybacking on the Google Lunar X Prize and various commercial endeavors, NASA has offered its expertise and test facilities to potential lunar-lander partners who might be able to help mount scientific missions to the Moon’s surface as early as 2018.

A request for information published July 2 seeks concepts for “an industry-developed robotic lander that can be integrated with a launch vehicle for the purposes of supporting commercial (and potentially future NASA) missions.”

The U.S. space agency is interested in landers that can put two classes of payload on the lunar surface — 30-100 kg. (70-220 lb.) and 250-450 kg. Potential missions “of interest to NASA” include prospecting for volatiles at the Moon’s poles, sample return and setting up geophysical networks.

“U.S. industry is flourishing with innovative ideas based on NASA’s pioneering work to explore space, including low-Earth orbit and the Moon,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations (HEO) in Washington. He suggested that, data from commercial lunar landers, like space station research, could aid the agency’s plans to explore an asteroid and Mars.

“New robotic commercial capabilities on the Moon could extend that research in important ways, just as NASA expertise could help advance commercial endeavors to reach the Moon.”

The HEO directorate is proposing no-exchange-of-funds partnerships under Space Act agreements or other mechanisms, offering its technical expertise, unique test facilities, and some hardware and software to private companies willing to put up funding for lander development.

“NASA envisions that an integrated team comprised of NASA civil servants and the industry partner personnel could work together to design, develop and test landers,” the RFI says.

Responses to the RFI are due Aug. 2. Interest in private lunar landers has soared over the past three years after Google offered $30 million in prizes through the X Prize Foundation to teams that can land a robotic spacecraft on the lunar surface, have it move at least 500 meters, and send back video, images and data. Presently 22 teams worldwide are in the running, working against a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015.

‘Nuff said, really cool stuff

SpaceYES!!

SpaceX continues to drive down the barriers like the aggressive but rationale organization they are and the world needs to move us to the next level of Earth to orbit operations. And having a dream and stretch goals are required elements.

From NASA Spaceflight: Dragon Roadmap: From domestic crew independence to humans on Mars
July 5, 2013 by Chris Bergin
20130706-222213.jpg20130706-222206.jpgGrasshopper reaches a thousand feet in new nav test. Read more at: SpaceX shows off new nav gear with latest Grasshopper rocket launch-and-landing (video)
By Timothy J. Seppala posted Jul 6th, 2013 at 3:47 PM
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To Dream of Space

20130622-172454.jpgSpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell: The Case for Commercial Rockets
PM catches up with SpaceX’s Shotwell to find out about the company’s Grasshopper tests, the way to get to Mars, and how she’d like to see space in person.
Read more: SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell: The Case for Commercial Rockets – Popular Mechanics

What I’d love to have is some sort of inflatable structure that comes out of the top of Dragon—a clear inflatable structure. This is a visionary thing, not an engineering thing, but I can imagine popping out of the Dragon hatch into this clear sphere floating around in space.

YES!

To The Moon!

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Vision of an international research base on the Moon. Credit: ESA

New report indicates private industry interested in building moon base: by Bob Yirka

Two months ago NASA commissioned Bigelow Aerospace to conduct a survey of the corporate sector to learn about private enterprise plans for space exploration. While the report has not yet been completed, Bigelow president Robert Bigelow and NASA’s head of space operations William Gerstenmaier held a teleconference with reporter’s to discuss findings thus far
Bigelow told those on the line that he and his company have surveyed approximately 20 of the biggest names in aerospace, including some foreign entities. He says the major area of interest for aerospace companies right now is in establishing a permanent presence on the moon. Gerstenmaier responded by suggesting NASA would welcome such a development as it would work well with the agency’s future plans.

Another example of why important stuff should NOT be left to government bureaucrats

phys.org : Reports from “Humans 2 Mars Summit” suggest dust may prevent human settlement of Mars by Bob Yirka

…. perchlorates appear to be widespread on the planet’s surface. The fine dust material produced by perchloric acid has been known to cause thyroid problems in people here on Earth.
Just as problematic, … is gypsum…. been known to cause a condition similar to black lung in coal miners in people exposed to it for long periods of time.
… known presence of silicates on the Martian surface—if breathed-in they can cause reactions with water in the lungs and result in the creation of harmful chemicals.
Martian dust could pose health hazards because of the difficulty of removing it from space suits and boots. … fear the dust would build up in air filters and living quarters, adding yet another life threatening element to the list of other known hazards (traveling and landing safely, exposure to radiation and cosmic rays, etc.) for the people who seek to colonize the planet.

You can always find some pretext for why not to do something.

This sort of narrow thinking is why it the Mars colonization effort by somewhat older unworried warriors is a great idea, they will lead the way, they may die earlier…will almost certainly die earlier than they would on Earth but in the big picture they will be immortal.

I think that a commercial fly by of Mars possibly convoying with early colony equipment makes a lot of sense. Drop off a 3D printer to start fabbing buildings or building parts. The fly by would work on the tech of getting there and of living in space for long periods. Multiple (4 in a Bigelow Cross?) inflatable Bigelow modules would make a light weight but spacious habitat that one or two couples could live in for the time needed. I would boost and decelerate the complex with an earth orbital tug and have minimal onboard propulsion since its pointless mass to take with you. With the right kit of science and DIY they would keep busy doing various types of investigation the whole time.

Big picture:

  • Asteroid capture and exploitation
  • Refueling / reuse of space side craft
  • Asteroid mining for space side resources and drop side assets
  • L point science platforms with robo and human servicing
  • Low earth orbit hotel/spa/ops-center
  • 4 person large scale spacecraft flyby of Mars
  • Mars colony robot precursor landings
  • Mars colony crew of 6 to 8 no return, first Martians
  • Follow up resource flights to Mars, gradual build up of Mars colony
  • All possible in the next twenty years, tenish if we really pushed, and I think we could commercial/ kick start/survivor fund the whole bloody thing…

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