The YF-100 liquid rocket engine was a Chinese copy of the Russian RD-120, intended to power the new-generation CZ-5, CZ-6 and CZ-7 launch vehicles. The YF-100 development began in 2000 at the Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology (AAPT, or the Sixth Academy) in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. The engine was certified by the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) in May 2012. Credit: Dragoninspace.com
Chinese YF-100 LOX/Kerosene Rocket Engine Test
Credit: sina.com.cn. This took place on 11 November, 2010, somewhere in Shaanxi Province. It was a test of two YF-100 LOX/Kerosene rocket engines fired together.
BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhuanet) — China will launch its third spacecraft to land on the moon next year as part of its ongoing Lunar Exploration Program. According to the government, the development of the moon craft is on target for next year’s launch.
The Chang’e-3, named after the Chinese goddess of the moon, includes a lander and rover. The lunar program’s chief scientist says Chang’e-3 will make a soft landing on the moon and explore its surface. It is expected to take off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan province in the second half of 2013.
Two lunar orbiters, Chang’e 1 and Chang’e 2 were launched in 2007 and 2010 and successfully completed their missions.
New engine passes test and revs up space hopes
By Xin Dingding
A next-generation engine, that will pave the way for lunar exploration, was successfully tested on Sunday.
The engine, with a 120-ton-thrust using liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene, will enable the Long March 5 carrier rocket – which is expected to make its maiden voyage in 2014 – to place a 25-ton payload into near-Earth orbit, or place a 14-ton payload into geostationary orbit, experts said.
The tests, which included seeing how the engine would respond to rotational speeds of nearly 20,000 revolutions per minute and temperatures of 3,000 C for 200 seconds, were held in Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province.
“The successful tests confirm the reliability of China’s LOX/kerosene engine,” said Lai Daichu, test commander.
Tan Yonghua, head of Xi’an Aerospace Propulsion Institute under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, which developed the engine, said that the single engine currently used by Long March carrier rockets only has a 75-ton thrust, much less than the 120-ton thrust of the new engine.
Luan Xiting, deputy head of the institute, said that the new engine’s extra thrust will enable China to assemble a space station and also help with the third stage of the lunar exploration program.
The three stages involve orbit, landing and return.
Earlier reports said that the Chang’e-5 lunar explorer will bring about 2 kg of lunar samples to Earth.
Ouyang Ziyuan, a senior consultant in the lunar exploration program and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that Chang’e-5 will be launched atop the Long March 5 carrier rocket from the new space launch center in Wenchang, Hainan province, which is under construction.
The space program is in the second stage, with three lunar exploration spacecraft, Chang’e 2, Chang’e 3 and Chang’e 4.
Ouyang said in a recent e-mail reply to China Daily that China will launch its third lunar explorer, Chang’e 3, next year to land on the moon.
A rover will explore its surroundings.
The landing is expected to be the most challenging part of the mission, he said.
Chang’e 3 will hover about 4 meters above the lunar surface.
Then the engine will cut out, and the Chang’e 3 will drop onto the surface.
As for the rover, the leading scientist in lunar exploration said it is “China’s most advanced robot”.
The rover carries a lunar “radar” and while it is operating on the surface it can scan several hundred meters under the surface.
The rover also carries instruments that can detect minerals.
To combat nighttime temperatures, -180 C, scientists have developed nuclear-powered batteries that can help the lander and rover function.
They will conserve energy by “hibernating” and when the sun rises the solar energy will “wake” the lander and the rover, he said.
Ouyang said the second lunar orbiter, Chang’e 2, has traveled to explore an asteroid.
The asteroid, 4179 Toutatis, is listed as a potentially hazardous object by scientists because it makes frequent Earth fly pasts.
Prior to traveling into deep space, Chang’e 2, launched in October 2010, completed its six-month mission and spent 235 days some 1.5 million km from Earth, where it gathered a large amount of scientific data about solar activity, he said.
It started its quest for the asteroid on April 15, and is expected to observe the asteroid close up, he said.
(Source: China Daily)
Editor: Wang Yuanyuan
Curiosity’s Daily Update: MSL Configured for Final Approach; Flight Team Takes a Breath
July 26: MSL Configured for Final Approach; Flight Team Takes a Breath
July 25: MSL’s Terminal Descent Radar System Gets a Checkout
July 24: Curiosity’s Batteries Get a Charge
July 23: Prepping MSL’s Descent Stage Navigation System for Landing
July 22: Trajectory Tracking Continues
July 21: Getting a Better Bead on Trajectory
July 20: Curiosity Completes Week of Onboard Computer Preps
July 19: More Computer Preps for Curiosity
July 18: Curiosity Continues Computer Preps, Gets ‘Attitude Adjustment’
July 17: Curiosity Swaps Computers, Gets Updated Arrival Data
July 16: Curiosity Computer Preps for Arrival
July 13: Radiation Instrument Finishes Inflight Measurements
July 12: MSL Team Has Final Test of Landing Procedures
July 11: MSL Complete Turn
Start a space rocket “Soyuz-FG” with a cluster of spacecraft (SC) – Russian “Kanopus-In” and MCA-FCI (“Zond-PP”), Belarus BKA, «TET-1″ (Germany) and «ADS- 1B »(Canada).
Russia’s Soyuz successfully launched from Baikonur
Russia’s Soyuz rocket carrying five satellites on board was launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on July 22nd, 2012.
The rocket is expected to deliver the Russian satellites Canopus-B and MKA-PN1, a Belarusian BKA satellite, the Canadian ADS-1B and German TET-1 into orbit.
The Russian-made Canopus-B satellite is designed for remote sensing of the Earth.
The MKA-PN1 satellite is designed to help meteorologists collect data on ocean circulation and climate dynamics.
The launch was postponed several times due to lack of agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan on where the rocket`s tugs would land after separating.
The two countries’ space agencies have, however, agreed three rocket launches above Kazakhstan’s northern territories this year.
Sally Ride, the first U.S. women to enter space, died in Calif. at the age of 61 after a 17-month-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Sally Ride Dead; First American Woman in Space Was 61
By NED POTTER
The first American woman astronaut remembers her shuttle flights, and reflects on significant changes affecting Earth’s climate since then.
NASA Confirms Death From Pancreatic Cancer
Sally Ride, the NASA astronaut who became the first American woman in space in 1983, has died after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her office said today. She was 61 years old and had lived in California.
In 1983 and again in 1984, she flew as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Challenger, conducting experiments, operating the shuttle’s robot arm — and breaking through a very high-altitude glass ceiling.
“Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model,” said President Obama in a statement from the White House. “Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”
Click for Pictures: Sally Ride and Her Fellow Women Pioneers
Members of Congress, fellow astronauts and close friends offered tributes too.
“Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment, and love,” said her colleagues at Sally Ride Science, an organization she set up after her NASA career to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science and engineering. “Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.”
Born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, Sally Kristen Ride studied physics at Stanford University, earning a Ph.D. in 1978. By then she had already been selected as one of NASA’s first six woman astronaut candidates. The agency was gearing up for its new shuttle program, and said it wanted to expand its astronaut corps, which in its early years had been mostly limited to test pilots.
“Sally Ride broke barriers with grace and professionalism — and literally changed the face of America’s space program,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “The nation has lost one of its finest leaders, teachers and explorers. Our thoughts and prayers are with Sally’s family and the many she inspired. She will be missed, but her star will always shine brightly.”
Smart and assertive, Ride won assignment to the crew of STS-7, the seventh shuttle flight. It launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 18, 1983. It attracted some of the largest crowds to watch a shuttle launch, including many who made banners and chanted, “Ride, Sally, ride!”
“On launch day, there was so much excitement and so much happening around us in crew quarters, even on the way to the launch pad,” Ride recalled in a 2008 interview. “I didn’t really think about it that much at the time — but I came to appreciate what an honor it was to be selected to be the first to get a chance to go into space.”
The flight ran six days. She and four male crewmates orbited Earth 97 times, landing safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
“The thing that I’ll remember most about that flight is that it was fun, and in fact I’m sure it will be the most fun I’ll ever have in my life,” she said after her return from space.
She flew again the next year on another mission, designated STS-41G. On that flight a crewmate, Kathleen Sullivan, became the first American woman to go outside the ship on a spacewalk. Ride, operating the shuttle’s robotic arm, provided logistical support.
Ride would have flown again, possibly in 1986, but the Challenger was destroyed on its 10th mission, exploding 73 seconds after liftoff. Seven astronauts were killed, including the teacher Christa McAuliffe. The nation was stunned. The shuttle program was halted for two years.
Ride was appointed by President Reagan to serve on the panel investigating the tragedy, a job she would repeat in 2003 after the loss of the shuttle Columbia.
Ride left NASA after the Challenger disaster, turning her life to writing, teaching, speaking, and entrepreneurship. She said she had been an outlier when she turned to science in school; she wanted more young women to feel welcome in the mostly male world of technology.
She was not the first woman ever in orbit. Back in 1963, the Soviet Union launched Valentina Tereshkova on a three-day flight in its Vostok 6 capsule.
But American political leaders, locked in a space race with the Russians, derided the flight as a publicity stunt on which Tereshkova was mostly a passenger. No more women would fly in space for nearly 20 years.
Ride married a fellow astronaut, Steven Hawley, in 1982; the marriage ended in divorce in 1987. Her company said that for the last 27 years, she had a partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, and they lived in the San Diego area. She is also survived by her mother, Joyce, and a sister, a niece and a nephew.
“Sally was a very private person who found herself a very public persona,” said Hawley, now a professor at the University of Kansas. “While she never enjoyed being a celebrity, she recognized that it gave her the opportunity to encourage children, particularly young girls, to reach their full potential.”
Ride’s effect on younger women was electric. Astronaut Dottie Metcalfe-Lindenburger, who flew on one of the very last shuttle flights, said she was inspired in her childhood by Ride’s example.
“I grew up during the shuttle age, so I was really excited in the second grade when we started flying the shuttle and I remember watching that in our class,” Metcalfe-Lindenburger said in a 2009 interview with ABC News. “Somehow I realized that women could become astronauts.”.
Credit: NASA, ABC News, CBS News
Canoga Park-based Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne sold to GenCorp for $550M
By Gregory J. Wilcox, Staff Writer
ited Technologies Corp. said Monday it is selling Canoga Park-based Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, which helped pioneer the nation’s exploration of space, to Sacramento-based GenCorp Inc. for $550 million.
UTC has owned Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne for seven years.
Rocketdyne’s engines powered astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the famed Apollo program and later boosted the Space Shuttle fleet to lengthy orbits of Earth and to the International Space Station. Rocketdyne was combined with Pratt & Whitney under UTC in 2005.
GenCorp spokesman Glenn Mahone said there won’t be any immediate changes at the newly acquired unit but would not discuss developments like staffing levels until after the deal closes.
“Because of regulation and other requirements, I’m not at liberty to discuss specific things like that,” he said.
GenCorp’s biggest component is Aerojet, which also makes rocket engines. The combined company will not have much overlap, Mahone said.
It is also too soon to say what will happen to the Rocketdyne name, which dates to the post-World War II era. But it has survived numerous ownership changes.
“We are in the regulatory stage and that would be a bit premature,” Mahone said of a name change. “I’m sure no discussions have been made relative to that.”
Both companies expect the deal to close in the first half of 2013.
“GenCorp and PWR have complementary products and technology services making for a combined company that will be a critical contributor to our nation’s strategic access to space,” Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne spokeswoman Erin Dick said in an email.
PWR has about 1,400 employees in Los Angeles County, most of them at facilities on Canoga Avenue in Canoga Park and DeSoto Avenue in Northridge.
Dick did not offer specifics about any staffing changes while the deal goes through the federal review process.
“We will evaluate our workforce to ensure we are staffed to continue delivering on our customer commitments while ensuring we are as lean and efficient as possible,” she wrote.
GenCorp, which also has a real estate component, is not getting all of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. UTC is retaining ownership of the 47-acre Canoga campus and has ambitious plans for the land.
A year ago the company filed plans with the city of Los Angeles for a 6 million-square-foot residential, retail and office complex anchored by a 16-story hotel at Victory Boulevard and Canoga Avenue.
PWR will lease the property back from UTC while it consolidates operations into the DeSoto campus, which is expected to be completed next year, Dick said.
“All other decisions related to operations, facilities and corporate structure will be determined by GenCorp once the sale is complete,” Dick said.
Hartford, Conn.-based UTC has been shopping Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne since March to help pay for its acquisition of Goodrich Corp. in Charlotte, N.C.
“We are pleased to announce GenCorp’s agreement to purchase Rocketdyne. It is a significant step in our ongoing portfolio transformation,” UTC Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Louis Ch nevert said in the statement. “While it is not core to UTC’s commercial building systems and aerospace businesses, Rocketdyne is a solid company and a national asset with many talented employees.”
UTC is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries.
GenCorp Chief Executive Officer Scott Seymour said the acquisition of Rocketdyne will help enhance its competitive edge.
“We see great strategic value in this transaction for the country, our customers, partner supply base and our shareholders,” Seymour said in a written statement. “The combined enterprise will be better positioned to compete in a dynamic, highly competitive marketplace, and provide more affordable products for our customers.”
The Rocketdyne purchase almost doubles the size of GenCorp and provides additional growth opportunities, he said.
SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — GenCorp Inc. GY +12.30% , headquartered in Sacramento, California, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) from United Technologies Corporation UTX -1.28% for $550 million.
“We see great strategic value in this transaction for the country, our customers, partner supply base and our shareholders,” GenCorp Chief Executive Officer Scott Seymour said. “The combined enterprise will be better positioned to compete in a dynamic, highly competitive marketplace, and provide more affordable products for our customers.”
“In addition, this transaction almost doubles the size of our company and provides additional growth opportunities as we build upon the complementary capabilities of each legacy company that has enabled a generation of human space travel and national security launch services. We have the opportunity to build upon the proud heritage of our companies, the ability to create increased value for our customers and, best of all, to secure the future of both organizations,” Seymour continued.
PWR, headquartered in Canoga Park, California, is a provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.
The purchase price of $550 million, which is subject to adjustment for working capital and other specified items, is expected to be financed with a combination of cash on hand and issuance of debt. The acquisition of PWR is conditioned upon, among other things, the receipt of required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Subject to the satisfaction of these conditions, the acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2013. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings in the first year.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. is acting as exclusive financial advisor to GenCorp for this transaction. In addition, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. are providing fully committed financing to support this transaction.
Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed, and actual results may differ materially from those projected depending on a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors such as business climate, economic and competitive uncertainties, adverse legal and regulatory developments, and adverse changes in economic and political climates around the world. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among other things: the possibility that the expected efficiencies and cost savings from the proposed transaction will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; the ability to obtain governmental approvals of the transaction on the proposed terms and schedule contemplated by the parties; and the possibility that the proposed transaction does not close, including, but not limited to, due to the failure to satisfy the closing conditions. Forward-looking statements in this document should be evaluated together with the many factors that affect GenCorp’s business as described in more detail in GenCorp’s Form 10-K for the year ended November 30, 2011, and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
About GenCorpGenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company’s excess real estate assets. Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader providing propulsion and energetics to its space, missile defense, strategic, tactical missile and armaments customers throughout domestic and international markets. Additional information about GenCorp and Aerojet can be obtained by visiting the companies’ websites at http://www.GenCorp.com and at www.Aerojet.com .
Contact information:Investors: Kathy Redd, chief financial officer 916.355.2361Media: Glenn Mahone, vice president, communications 202.302.9941
SOURCE GenCorp Inc.
ULA Completes Reviews which Establishes Atlas V Design and Certification Baseline for Human Spaceflight
CENTENNIAL, Colo., July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — United Launch Alliance (ULA) today announced the completion of a crucial milestone in its on-going development and certification of the Atlas V launch vehicle for human spaceflight. ULA successfully completed the fifth milestone of its Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2) Unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA. ULA’s Engineering Review Board confirmed that Atlas V can readily comply with NASA’s stringent safety and performance requirements for human spaceflight, leading the way to develop a safe, reliable and cost effective Crew Transportation System (CTS).
ULA conducted the System Requirements Review (SRR) and Systems Design Review (SDR) that reflected the culmination of on-going efforts involving ULA design and development engineers, NASA technical experts and representatives from ULA’s commercial spacecraft customers. The SRR/SDR was a multi-disciplined technical review that ensured the Atlas V system can proceed into the detailed design and development phase to provide launch services for NASA’s commercial human spaceflight needs.
“The SRR/SDR were the result of an extensive effort with NASA and our commercial spacecraft partners during which we cooperatively established the baseline from which we will proceed into the detailed design and development phase of NASA’s Crew Transportation System,” said Dr. George Sowers, ULA’s vice president for Human Launch Services. “We continue to receive valuable insight from NASA’s human spaceflight experts as we move forward towards the certification of Atlas V for human spaceflight.”
With 31 successful missions spanning 10 years of operational service, the Atlas V is uniquely qualified to provide launch services for the CTS. Because Atlas V is already certified by NASA to fly the nation’s most complex exploration missions, as well as critical Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office national security missions, ULA was able to provide a wealth of design implementation, detailed system and sub-system analysis, qualification, certification, and flight data leading up to and during the reviews.
“Our partnership with ULA during this round of development has really been focused on understanding the core design of the launch vehicle,” said NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Manager Ed Mango said. “In these reviews we were able to see how ULA plans to modify the vehicle for human spaceflight.”
The SRR confirmed that the NASA CTS requirements applicable to the Atlas V are defined and testable, and are consistent with cost, schedule, risk, technology readiness and other system constraints. The SRR assessed the unique impacts of human spaceflight requirements as captured in the system specification, and ensured that the system requirements are consistent with NASA’s needs and concept of operations. The ULA, NASA and commercial spacecraft customer teams reviewed the detailed evidence that demonstrates how the existing, flight-proven Atlas V will meet NASA’s Human Spaceflight Certification requirements. The team paid particular attention to the comprehensive certification approach that will lead to CTS flight readiness.
As NASA moves forward with the Commercial Crew Development Program, ULA will extend its best in the world record of mission success to offer the safest possible launch services to meet the needs for the crew transportation system providers.
“The SRR/SDR was a key milestone in our support of the NASA Commercial Crew Development Program,” said Mike Holguin, ULA’s Commercial Crew Program manager. “The relationships we’ve forged will provide a solid foundation as we move forward into the next phase of the program.”
ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.
SOURCE United Launch Alliance
United Launch Alliance/
CENTENNIAL, Colo., July 16, 2012 — In the news release, NASA Selects United Launch Alliance’s Workhouse Delta II Rocket for Three Future Missions, issued 16-Jul-2012 by United Launch Alliance over PR Newswire, the headline should read “NASA Selects United Launch Alliance’s Workhorse Delta II Rocket for Three Future Missions” rather than “NASA Selects United Launch Alliance’s Workhouse Delta II Rocket for Three Future Missions” as originally issued inadvertently. The complete, corrected release follows:
NASA Selects United Launch Alliance’s Workhorse Delta II Rocket for Three Future Missions
CENTENNIAL, Colo., July 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — NASA’s Launch Services Program announced today that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) proven Delta II launch vehicle for three future missions.
The newly contracted missions include Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) scheduled to launch in July 2014, Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) scheduled to launch in October 2014, and the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS) scheduled to launch in 2016.
All three missions will launch from Space Launch Complex-2 at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.
“ULA is honored NASA has selected the Delta II launch vehicle to launch these critical science payloads,” said Michael Gass, ULA president and CEO. “While we count success one mission at a time, we have been able to count on the Delta II’s success 97 times in a row over the last decade. This is a tribute to our dedicated ULA employees, our supplier teammates and our NASA Launch Services Program customer who ensure mission success is the focus of each and every launch.”
ULA’s Delta II has launched the majority of NASA’s critical science missions over the last decade including the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, Genesis, Phoenix Mars Lander, Stardust, the twin GRAIL spacecraft and most recently the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California October 2011.
“The Delta II vehicle continues to offer excellent reliability and best value to our customers,” said Gass. “We look forward to working with NASA for these future Delta II launch campaigns.”
ULA’s next launch is the Atlas V NROL-36 mission for the NRO scheduled Aug. 2 from Space Launch Complex-3 at VAFB, followed by the Atlas V Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission for NASA on Aug. 23 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.
SOURCE United Launch Alliance
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