National Security After the SpaceX Explosion

Congress’s demand to cease using Russian engines may leave the military dependent on unproven rockets.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket breaks apart after launch from Cape Canaveral, June 28. PHOTO: RED HUBER/ZUMA PRESS

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket breaks apart after launch from Cape Canaveral, June 28. PHOTO: RED HUBER/ZUMA PRESS

The explosion of an unmanned SpaceX rocket after liftoff at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Sunday was a graphic reminder of why U.S. national space policy requires that there betwo independent means of launching satellites for national-security missions: in case one launch system fails.

SpaceX, headed by Elon Musk, is contracted to resupply the International Space Station. Critics who are unhappy about the use of Russian rocket engines for national-security launches have campaigned to get SpaceX involved in those missions. But the failure of its Falcon 9 version 1.1 rocket should give everyone pause about jettisoning a dependable arrangement vital to U.S. security.

Current U.S. space policy is implemented by buying both the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets from the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Both rockets have a 100% success record—83 launches without failure.

Yet Congress is on the verge of passing legislation—the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act—that will put U.S. space policy at considerable risk.

Full Link to WSJ Article Here

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Why Elon Musk’s space rockets are so much more promising than Jeff Bezos’ right now

This year is shaping up to be an extremely exciting time for the future of commercial spaceflight, which will be built upon the backbone of revolutionary 21st-century rockets. The private American space companies Blue Origin and SpaceX are paving the way.

Read full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-vs-jeff-bezos-2015-5

SpaceX-United Launch Alliance push for re-use in rockets is part of larger space trend – Denver Business Journal

Colorado Springs — The images of a SpaceX rocket booster toppling over and exploding after nearly landing on an ocean barge isn’t just a spectacle. It’s also the highest-profile example of a trend reshaping aerospace.

Pushed by tight budgets and growing concern about orbits increasingly littered with debris from past missions, companies have started getting serious re-using things where it makes sense and designing space systems to be sustainable, not single-use and disposable.

Re-use in space emerged as a major theme of this week’s annual Space Symposium industry gathering in Colorado Springs.

SpaceX, or Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Elon Musk’s rocket company based in Hawthorne, California, has made the biggest splash about re-using technology by trying to land its spent rocket booster on a floating barge in the ocean so it can explore what salvageable parts can be used again.

But SpaceX isn’t alone in looking to re-use rocket parts.

At the Space Symposium, Centennial-based United Launch Alliance revealed its designs for a new line of rockets it plans to build, called Vulcan, and it features re-using its booster engines in an effort to bring launch costs down to $100 million.

Rather than land a booster, ULA plans to have the first-stage rocket engines descend back into the atmosphere on a parachute to be caught by a helicopter and recovered for later refurbishing and re-use.

Read full article here: http://bit.ly/1Jzlnxi

 

Why We Don’t Have an SST | Flight Today | Air & Space Magazine

In the politics of supersonic transport, “boom” let to bust.

In retirement: the Concorde at the National Air and Space Museum Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (Dane A. Penland)

By Bill Sweetman

AIR & SPACE MAGAZINE | SUBSCRIBE
AUGUST 2014

Ask why there was no replacement for the Concorde, which retired in 2003, and people will tell you that supersonic commercial flight is uneconomical. It’s not necessarily true. A supersonic transport (SST) is within the state of the art, but attempts to build one have been misdirected by politics and entrenched business interests, with a dash of class warfare.

via Why We Don’t Have an SST | Flight Today | Air & Space Magazine.

Can A ‘Planet-Like Object’ Start Its Life Blazing As Hot As A Star?

How WISE 70304-2705 could have evolved from a star to a “planet-like object”. Credit: John Pinfield,

Nature once again shows us how hard it is to fit astronomical objects into categories. An examination of a so-far unique brown dwarf — an object that is a little too small to start nuclear fusion and be a star — shows that it could have been as hot as a star in the ancient past.

The object is one of a handful of brown dwarfs that are called “Y dwarfs”. This is the coolest kind of star or star-like object we know of. These objects have been observed at least as far back as 2008, although they were predicted by theory before.

via Can A ‘Planet-Like Object’ Start Its Life Blazing As Hot As A Star?.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Surviving In Space – Business Insider

VIDEO: The renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how long you Could Survive On Every Planet In Our Solar System
BUSINESSINSIDER.COM
See Video Here

Reaction to SpaceX decision to build launch pad in Cameron County – Brownsville Herald: Local News

Brad Doherty
The sun rises over Boca Chica Beach near the planned SpaceX rocket launch site in this 2014 file photo.

via Reaction to SpaceX decision to build launch pad in Cameron County – Brownsville Herald: Local News.

NASA Resurrected an ‘Impossible’ Microwave Thruster Technology | Motherboard

It’s always exciting when something seemingly impossible is validated by NASA—the smartest of the smart when it comes to cutting-edge aeronautical technology, right? Well, NASA scientists have just confirmed that an “impossible” technology is in fact possible.

via NASA Resurrected an ‘Impossible’ Microwave Thruster Technology | Motherboard.

SpaceX will build launch pad near Boca Chica Beach – Brownsville Herald: Local News

SpaceX, BEDC request building permits

By Laura B. Martinez, Staff writer

Cameron County, we’ve got SpaceX.

After months of speculation that the rocket company would chose the county for the site of a rocket launch pad, SpaceX officials today announced it will build the pad near Boca Chica Beach.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made the official announcement through a news release from Gov. Rick Perry’s office.

“SpaceX is excited to expand our work in Texas with the world’s first commercial launch complex designed specifically for orbital missions. We appreciate the support of Gov. Perry and numerous other federal, state and local officials who have partnered with us to make this vision a reality,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said. “In addition to creating hundreds of high tech jobs for the Texas workforce, this site will inspire students, expand the supplier base and attract tourists to the south Texas area.”

via SpaceX will build launch pad near Boca Chica Beach – Brownsville Herald: Local News.

AsiaSat 8 | Falcon 9 Satellite Launch Webcast – YouTube

This is the live launch webcast of the AsiaSat 8 mission which lifted off Tuesday, August 5th at 08:00 UTC.

The AsiaSat 8 satellite flew to its intended orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral.