Waking Ideas Publishing - Technology & Space
Written By Danny Nicolas
Space Development Research: Start with these wikipedia articles.
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. ULA was formed in December 2006 by combining the teams at these companies which provide spacecraft launch services to the government of the United States. U.S. government launch customers include both the Department of Defense and NASA, as well as other organizations.
The start up will build a mobile launch system with three primary components; a carrier aircraft to be built by Scaled Composites, a multi-stage launch vehicle built by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and a mating and integration system to be built by Dynetics, with the first test flight of the carrier aircraft expected in 2015, and the first test launch of the launch vehicle no earlier than 2016.
The company revealed in April 2003 that it was working on a privately funded spacecraft, in an attempt to win the Ansari X PRIZE for the first private, manned spaceflight. This experimental rocket-powered spacecraft was given the name SpaceShipOne. On December 17, 2003, they announced SpaceShipOne's first supersonic flight, the first flight of its kind by a privately funded aircraft. SpaceShipOne successfully made this flight, reaching 68,000 feet (21,000 m) and 930 mph (Mach 1.2). The craft was brought aloft by the White Knight carrier aircraft.
It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 space boosters, both of which are built with a goal of becoming reusable launch vehicles. SpaceX is also developing the Dragon spacecraft to be flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
In order to control quality and costs, SpaceX designs, tests, and fabricates the majority of their components in-house, including the Merlin, Kestrel, and Draco rocket engines used on the Falcon launch vehicles and the Dragon spacecraft.
Future projects that are in the planning stages or in development include the Falcon Heavy Super Heavy Lift-class booster and a NASA robotic mission to Mars in 2018. The Heavy is based on Falcon 9 technology, and if construction goes as planned, it will be the most powerful rocket in the American arsenal since the Apollo-era Saturn V. Heavy can be used to send a crewed Dragon spacecraft on lunar orbiting missions – such as the Apollo 8 mission; or be used to send a modified unpiloted Dragon on a Mars landing mission. Musk has stated that his intention for the company is to help in the creation of a permanent human presence on Mars.
Its initial goal is to build a manned suborbital spacecraft capable of space tourism, but it has stated long-term ambitions of orbital spaceflight. The company was founded by John Carmack.
Blue Origin is a privately funded aerospace company set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. In a 2011 interview, Bezos indicated that he founded the company to help enable "anybody to go into space" and that to do so, he must focus on two objectives: thus, the mission of Blue Origin is to decrease the cost of access to space and increase the safety of human spaceflight.
In support of human spaceflight, Orbital is developing a new medium-lift rocket, Antares, and a spacecraft, Cygnus spacecraft, which will provide supplies to occupants of the International Space Station. Operational flights are scheduled to begin in 2012 from the new Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island in Virginia.
Bigelow Aerospace is a North Las Vegas, Nevada space technology startup company that is pioneering work on expandable space station modules. The space station will be constructed of both Sundancer and BA 330 expandable spacecraft modules as well as a central docking node, propulsion, solar arrays, and attached crew capsules. Initial launch of space station components is planned for 2014, with portions of the station available for leased use as early as 2015.
XCOR Aerospace is an American private rocket engine and spaceflight development company. In March 2011, United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced they had entered into a joint-development contract with XCOR for a flight-ready, 25,000 to 30,000 pounds-force (110,000–130,000 N) cryogenic LH2/LOX upper-stage rocket engine. Partially as a result of positive results achieved from an earlier (2010) effort to develop a new aluminum alloy engine nozzle using innovative manufacturing techniques, ULA believes the new engine technology will shave several hundred pounds of weight from the large engine and will "lead to significantly lower-cost and more-capable commercial and US government space flights."
Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public, along with suborbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites. Further in the future Virgin Galactic hopes to offer orbital human spaceflights as well.
The New Mexico authorities are investing almost $200m (£121m) in a purpose-built facility in Sierra County, New Mexico, Spaceport America. It will have a 3,000m (10,000 ft) runway and a suitably space-age terminal and hangar building designed by Foster and Partners. Sir Richard's Virgin Galactic enterprise will have competitors but he is almost certain to be the first to market, barring any problems arising in the test campaign. SpaceShipTwo's carrier plane is called WhiteKnightTwo. It was finished last year and has already begun its own trials.
The company will manufacture Virgin Galactic's spacecraft and will sell spacecraft to other buyers. The suborbital launch system offered will include the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft and the White Knight Two carrier aircraft. The company has announced plans to build three WhiteKnightTwo aircraft and five SpaceShipTwo rocket planes.
SpaceDev is based near San Diego in Poway, California. Its objective is to make routine commercial spaceflight possible and to help open space for all of humanity.
It designed and built the hybrid rocket motors for Paul Allen's Tier One suborbital SpaceShipOne space program operated by Scaled Composites. It is also developing micro- and nano-satellites, a small expendable launch vehicle, the SpaceDev Streaker, and has designed a piloted suborbital and orbital spaceship of its own, the SpaceDev Dream Chaser, in collaboration with NASA. The Dream Chaser design is planned to carry seven people to and from low earth orbit. The vehicle would launch vertically on an Atlas V and land horizontally on conventional runways.
Space Adventures, Ltd. is a Virginia, USA-based space tourism company founded in 1998 by Eric C. Anderson. As of 2010, offerings include zero-gravity atmospheric flights, orbital spaceflights (with the option to participate in a spacewalk), and other spaceflight-related experiences including cosmonaut training, spacewalk training, and launch tours. Plans announced thus far include sub-orbital and lunar spaceflights.
Space Adventures is offering advance booking for a future lunar mission involving travel to circumnavigate the moon, on a circumlunar trajectory. Pricing has been announced at US$100 million per seat. Space Adventures hopes the circumlunar voyage will occur sometime in 2015.
Copenhagen Suborbitals is a non-profit organization working towards suborbital manned spaceflight. Founded in 2008 by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen the project has accomplished a successful sea launch of a test hybrid rocket, carrying a full scale human model. This test was performed in June 2011 on a sea going mobile launch platform in the Baltic Sea, but had to be aborted 21 seconds into the flight where the rocket had reached an altitude of 2.8 km. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark and working on open source principles the funding for the project is donations and sponsoring, the organization is working with the stated goal of showing how space flight can be done outside governments and large corporations. The approach used by the group is is to minimize complexity by using the simplest possible solutions, such as solving problems with mechanical solutions over electronical solutions and working to avoid paperwork by using lightly regulated technology. If successful, Denmark will be the fourth nation to launch humans above the Kármán line which is the boundary to outer space, after Russia, USA and China. Peter Madsen is scheduled for the first flight, then Kristian von Bengtson will attempt a low earth orbit mission.
Skylon is a design for an unpiloted spaceplane by the British company Reaction Engines Limited (REL). It uses a combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket engine to reach orbit in a single stage. A fleet of vehicles is envisaged; the design is aiming for re-usability up to 200 times.
Published on Monday, April 16th, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.