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First Issue of new Space Quarterly Magazine

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Space Quarterly:  September 2011 Space Quarterly: September 2011 Document Transcript

  • September 2011 SpaceQuarterly.comSpaceX: Vision v. the Market ISSN 2162-9404 Digital edition $5.95 Commercial Crew to the Rescue? Lunar Economic Development The Future of On-Orbit Satellite Servicing9 772162 940005 Jeff Greason: The Accidental CEO & Policy Guru
  • 2 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011 Celebrating the Space Transportation System 1981–2011 The first space shuttle Columbia leaves the Vehicle Assembly Building for the launch pad in late December, 1980. Credit: NASA
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 3Volume 1, Number 1 Page 36: Companies are building spacecraft in the United States to take astronauts to low Earth orbit and beyond. SpaceX has plans to land Dragon spacecraft on the planet Mars. 5 Editor’s Letter 28 Online Our First Issue Social Media Tweetups By Marc Boucher Proving Popular By Randy Attwood 6 Calendar 31 Commercial Space: Moon 8 Commercial Space Travel The Philosophy of Lunar Spaceport America: Commercialization and Economic Build It and They Will Come? Development By Leonard David By Dennis Wingo 11 CCDEV2 Updates 34 Commercial Space Commercial Crew Development SpaceX — Vision vs the Market Program Status By Marc Boucher By Randy Attwood 43 Interview 13 SpaceX Dragon Rider The Accidental CEO By Ken Kremer Eva-Jane Lark speaks with Jeff Greason, CEO of XCOR Aerospace 17 Boeing CST-100 Crew Capsule Progressing Swiftly 51 Africa By Ken Kremer Africa and Space By Jim Volp 20 CCDev2 Provides Rare Insight Into Blue Origin Development 55 Japan By Ken Kremer Japan’s Space Program After the Disaster 22 Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser — By Paul Kallender-Umezu What’s Old is New Again By Marc Boucher 58 Commercial Space The Future of On-Orbit Satellite 27 South America Servicing The First Soyuz Launch from By Marc Boucher Kourou, French Guiana By Chris Gainor 62 In the Next Issue
  • 4 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Volume 1, Number 1 Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Subscription Rates Marc Boucher Print Edition marc.boucher@spaceref.com Available only in Canada, USA, and UK $39.00 per year (4 issues) Senior Editor Keith Cowing Digital Edition keith.cowing@spaceref.com $19.00 per year (4 issues) Managing Editor Randy Attwood randy.attwood@spaceref.com How to Contact Space Quarterly Editorial Design Director 703-652-0973 USA Richard Winchell 416-894-4629 Canada richard.winchell@spaceref.com sqeditorial@spaceref.com Contributing Writers Ad Sales Elizabeth Howell 703-652-0973 USA James Fergusson 416-619-9203 Canada Eva-Jane Lark sqadsales@spaceref.com Dennis Wingo Ken Kremer Subscriptions Leonard David sqsubscriptions@spaceref.com Chris Gainor P.O. Box 3569 Jim Volp Reston, Virginia 20195-1569 Paul Kallender-Umezu Space Quarterly invites reader comments. Letters to the Editor may be Please limit your comments to emailed to 250 words. Letters should include sqletters@spaceref.com, address, phone number(s), and or mailed to: e-mail address (if available). Connections with the subject Space Quarterly matter should be disclosed. We will Letters to the Editor not publish anonymous comments. P.O. Box 3569 We reserve the right to edit reader Reston, Virginia 20195-1569 comments for clarity and length. Copyright SpaceRef Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Space Quarterly (Printed Edition: ISSN 2162-9390, Digital Edition: ISSN 2162-9404) is published four times a year by SpaceRef Press a division of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. , P.O. Box 3569, Reston, Virginia, 20195-1569, USA.
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 5Editor’s LetterOur First Issue By Marc Boucher Sic Itur Ad AstraWELCOME TO SPACE QUARTERLY. IT WAS OVER TWO as this gives us and our writers enough time to research andyears ago that I decided I wanted to create a new publication, o er well thought analysis. e issue you are reading now willbut at the time I had no idea it would become Space Quarterly. hopefully be our smallest. We want to cover as much as we canI sketched ideas out for some time but didn’t actively pursue in each issue.the project until January of this year. It was then I decided it But aren’t magazines dying? e short answer is no.was time to move forward. But even then it took awhile for the e print world is changing. We realize that. at’s whyideas to take shape that would eventually lead to what you are this magazine is available in both print and digital formats.seeing and reading now. What’s more, we want to engage you in the important topics For almost 12 years now my business partner, Keith this magazine addresses. To that end we’re also launching theCowing, and I have been diligently updating our websites SpaceRef Forum where these articles will be available so thatincluding SpaceRef with the daily happenings in the space the conversation we start here can continue there. e Forumsector. However, there is so much news that it’s hard to cover will be the home not only for articles found in Space Quarterlyeverything in great depth. And besides, our websites have been but for many other related topics.more about the news now, as it happens. But that’s changing. We’ve started to assemble a highly quali ed group ofAnd this magazine is part of that change. writers, some who are dedicated journalists, while others are is magazine is meant to o er greater depth, analysis and industry experts. Our goal is that with each subsequent issuecontext about the topics we consider important. We’re going we increase the quality of our magazine.to focus on commercial space, space policy, military space and I hope that together, we can help grow this industry whichother timely topics. We’re going to publish quarterly for now can be so bene cial to humanity.
  • 6 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011CalendarSeptember October November4th China Society of 62nd International First Annual CanadianAstronautics & IAA Astronautical Congress Aerospace SummitConference on Advanced October 3–7, 2011 November 2–3, 2011Space Technology http://srs.gs/16Qq http://srs.gs/16QhSeptember 5–8, 2011http://srs.gs/16Qz International Symposium Annual Meeting of the Lunar for Private and Commercial Exploration Analysis GroupPlanetary Science Short Spaceflight November 7–9, 2011Course, UWO October 20–23, 2011 http://srs.gs/16QtSeptember 6–11, 2011 http://srs.gs/16Quhttp://srs.gs/16Qr MILCOM 2011 Wernher Von Braun November 7–10, 2011Commercial Suborbital Symposium http://srs.gs/16R1Vehicles Workshop October 25–27, 2011September 7, 2011 http://srs.gs/16Qw First hackerSPACE Workshophttp://srs.gs/16Qk November 11–12, 2011 http://srs.gs/16QpEuroconsult World SatelliteBusiness Week American AstronauticalSeptember 12–16, 2011 Society National Conferencehttp://srs.gs/16Qy November 15–16, 2011 http://srs.gs/16QxCanadian Space AgencyWorkshop on the Utilization 3rd Canadian Science Policyof Field Programmable Gate ConferenceArrays (FPGA’s) In Canadian November 16–18, 2011Space Missions http://srs.gs/16QiSeptember 27–28, 2011http://srs.gs/16Qg 2011 Canadian Space Society November 23–25, 2011AIAA Space 2011 Conference http://srs.gs/16QjSeptember 27–29, 2011http://srs.gs/16Qv 29th AIAA International Communications SatelliteSpace Generation Congress Systems Conference2011 November 28–December 1,September 29–October 1, 20112011 http://srs.gs/16R0http://srs.gs/16Ql 13th Annual Global100 Year Starship Study MilSatCom ConferencePublic Symposium Novermber 29–December 1,September 30–October 2, 20112011 http://srs.gs/16Qshttp://srs.gs/16Qo To get your event listed in the next edition of Space Quarterly, please contact our sales team at sqadsales@ spaceref.com, or in the U.S. at 703-652-0973, or in Canada at 416-619-9203.
  • 8 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Commercial Space TravelSPACEPORT AMERICA:Build It and They Will Come?By Leonard David
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 9Spaceport America LobbyCredit: Spaceport AmericaNEW MEXICO’S SPACEPORT AMERICA were prime contractor complaints of late of air travel today that dot the globe, airportsis kicking up lots of desert dust as it reaches payments. that handle millions of yers dailyits billing as the world’s rst purpose-built Undaunted, it has been full-speed aheadcommercial spaceport. As the crow ies – for Anderson while tackling problems. Whiff of optimismnot yet the tra c of outgoing and incoming “I’m a person that likes unprecedented Any visitor to the site can’t help but get aspaceships -- this rambling facility is taking things…and the rst commercial purpose- slight whi of optimism about the future ofshape some 30 miles (48 km) east of Truth or built spaceport in the world, that’s kind of public space travel. A er all, anchor tenantConsequences and 45 miles (72 km) north of unique,” Anderson said. “Many of the things Virgin Galactic and its WhiteKnightTwo/Las Cruces, New Mexico. that I did in my career, there was no job SpaceShipTwo system is being readied for A critical centerpiece of the spread out manual that said come in here and this is how pay-per-view space tourists – not at Spaceportcomplex that is Spaceport America is a you do it. I’m learning lots of things on the America, but at the Mojave Air and Space Portrunway to space. It measures 10,000 feet job and using a lot of what I used in 30 years in California.long by 200 feet wide, an elongated stretch of with the U.S. Air Force.” e promise: On a commercial cruise,tarmac specially built to handle horizontal e overall Spaceport America SpaceShipTwo would be hauled to aboutlaunch to space and air operations at the development comes with a price tag of $209 16 kilometers or 52,000 feet by thespaceport. million. Now dotting the 18,000 acre site WhiteKnightTwo mothership. At that point, For those advocates of Spaceport America is a futuristic-looking terminal hangar, the the SpaceShipTwo vessel would disengage,over the years, its construction has slowly spaceport operations center, fuel storage ignite its hybrid motor, and continue to overmoved from hard hat blueprints to a ready- facilities, water treatment infrastructure, 100 kilometers, some 62 miles straight up, tofor-prime-time tomorrowland. along with vertical launch pads and that the Kármán line—a common de nition of Still, there are challenges ahead in lengthy spaceway to handle horizontal where “space” starts. Along with freefall, aprepping Spaceport America, not the least of operations of such companies like Virgin spectacular view of Earth, each patron wouldwhich is just who will show up to make the Galactic, the spaceport’s anchor tenant. earn astronaut wings.enterprise a growing concern. Beyond Virgin Galactic, the state-of- Once entered into commercial ight the-art launch facility is working closely operations, SpaceShipTwo would ing twoFull-speed ahead with entrepreneurial space start-ups like UP pilots and six paying customers to the edgeClearly bullish on the promise of Spaceport Aerospace, Armadillo Aerospace, along with of space. e cash on the barrel head fee forAmerica is Christine Anderson, Executive established aerospace rms, such as Lockheed each rocketeer is a per-seat price of $200,000.Director of the New Mexico Spaceport Martin, Boeing, and Moog-FTS – all for the “Book your place in space now and joinAuthority in Las Cruces. purpose of developing commercial space ight around 430 Virgin Galactic astronauts who Anderson is no stranger to space. Before at the new facility. will venture into space,” claims the company’sretiring from 30 years in civilian positions For example, UP Aerospace has conducted website.with the U.S. Air Force, she was the founding nine suborbital launches from Spaceport Bankrolled by British entrepreneur,Director of the Space Vehicles Directorate at America since 2006. Another entrepreneurial Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Galacticthe Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland rocket rm, Armadillo Aerospace, began WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo launchAir Force Base in New Mexico. ight testing multiple vehicles on-site earlier system has already undergone a step-by-step Anderson also served as the Director this year. Lockheed Martin has also found campaign of piloted glide tests, includingof the Space Technology Directorate at the a home at Spaceport America, testing a mid-air evaluation of the passenger cra ’sAir Force Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland. prototype reusable launch system by ying a unique reentry technology.As the Director of the Military Satellite sub-scale ight demonstrator. SpaceShipTwo was rolled out into theCommunications Joint Program O ce at the Yet another user of the spaceport is public limelight in December 2009. SinceAir Force Space and Missile Systems Center the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium then, the cra has chalked up15 free ights.in Los Angeles she directed the development, (NMSGC). Making use of the UP Aerospace- Following high-altitude release by its yingacquisition and execution of a $50 billion provided SpaceLo rocket, the NMSGC’s launch pad, the WhiteKnightTwo, theportfolio. mission is to promote space programs SpaceShipTwo has been piloted through a Escaping from a short-lived retirement, and education to New Mexico students check list series of test objectives.and slipping into the Spaceport America post, and educators. Hurled to the edge ofshe was immediately thrust into a whirlpool space, experiments designed and created Laws of physicsof New Mexico politics and construction by New Mexico students are providing Indeed, over that period of testing, there’sbedlam: A state funding cut to the spaceport hands-on experience with the design and been quick turnaround of the rocket planeo ce budget equaled $1.1 million. en there implementation of scienti c payloads. and WhiteKnightTwo, showcasing an ability Still, more users of the spaceport are to rapidly whisk ticket-in-hand tourists intoA frequent visitor to Spaceport America, clearly needed to shore up the viability and space in the future. Test hops also includedLeonard David has been reporting on the vitality of the complex. mid-air appraisal of the cra ’s distinctivespace industry for more than five decades. But Anderson blanches at any gloomy “feathered” reentry technology.He is a winner of this year’s National forecast that Spaceport America could be an Likened to the ight of a shuttlecock inSpace Club Press Award and has been a expensive white elephant of a project—a space badminton, SpaceShipTwo’s fall to Earth fromcontributor to SPACE.com since 1999. bridge to nowhere. She is quick to say that the suborbital heights relies on aerodynamics nobody could have predicted the busy hubs
  • 10 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011VSS Enterprise flies over Runway Dedication at Spaceport America, New MexicoCredit: Spaceport America / Mark Greenberg level of medical examination or history. Many companies also require the space ight participant to purchase personal insurance. Finding insurance to cover this risky venture will require a specialized broker to obtain the policy, usually at a substantial premium. “ e purchase of a space ight ticket involves many more legal issues than buying a plane ticket. e participant should plan to consult with an attorney, a physician, and an insurance broker for guidance,” Yates concluded. Next up Legal issues aside, a wide array of SpaceShipTwo test goals appear to have been met – according to the builder of the system,and the laws of physics to manage speed and Yates said that the prospective traveler Scaled Composites of Mojave, California. ealtitude. will want to read the disclosure closely glide test agenda reached a summer hiatus Once SpaceShipTwo rockets itself out of because it reports on the risks of launch in 2011, with technicians weighing the datathe atmosphere, the entire tail structure of and reentry, including the safety record of gathered by the numerous WhiteKnightTwo/the spaceship can be rotated upward to about the vehicle. Following the disclosure, the SpaceShipTwo ights.65 degrees. In this feathered con guration, participant will be asked to sign an informed But ahead is a crucial chapter of testing.automatic control of attitude with the consent acknowledging that the participant at next phase of quali cation ying willfuselage parallel to the horizon is achieved. understands the risks and that his or her make rst use of a hybrid motor mounted is creates very high drag as the spacecra presence on board the vehicle is voluntary. within SpaceShipTwo, an engine provided bydescends through the upper regions of the By signing, the space ight participant limits the Sierra Nevada Corporation and built toatmosphere. his or her legal remedies if any problems later shove SpaceShipTwo and its customers on a e combination of high drag and low arise, she noted. suborbital space voyage.weight -- due to the very light materials used Given a successful test program,to construct SpaceShipTwo -- means that the “Waive” goodbye to rights? SpaceShipTwo ights lled to the portholesvehicle’s skin temperature during the plunge “ e U.S. government has not certi ed with rubbernecking adventurers could beginto Earth stays very low in comparison to the launch vehicles as safe for carrying in late 2012 or in rst quarter of 2013.previous human-carrying spacecra . at humans, and it requires that participants “We have been working steadily withsaid, thermal protection systems such as heat waive any rights to sue the government. e Spaceport America for several years now.shields or tiles are not required. space ight company also will likely require It is a major commitment for both Virgin On a commercial suborbital ight, a signed waiver,” Yates said. e scope and and the State of New Mexico,” explainedfollowing re-entry at around 70,000 feet, enforceability of these company waivers, she Virgin Galactic CEO, George Whitesides.SpaceShipTwo’s feathered tail drops back to pointed out, can vary from state to state, so “We are very serious and the State is as wellits original con guration and the spaceship the participant will want to have all of the about making Spaceport America the largestbecomes a glider for the trek back to the contracts, disclosures, and waivers reviewed success possible,” he told Space Quarterly.runway. beforehand by legal counsel. Similarly, if the Whitesides said that both his company and trip is cancelled, the space ight participant New Mexico have made signi cant progressLegal beagle talk might be limited in what she can recoup, – evidenced by the WhiteKnightTwo/While the technology to institute suborbital unless the contract spells out those rights SpaceShipTwo vehicles now in test- ight andspace tourism for astronaut wannabes may clearly. Spaceport America, which is getting closer tobe attained by Virgin Galactic, a number of “ e FAA requires a space ight completion every day.thorny legal issues are in the o ng. participant to be trained to respond “ e task at hand is to stay focused “Space tourists, or space ight participants to emergency situations and to avoid on our respective work as we progressas they are known in legal jargon, must jeopardizing the safety of the ight crew or through the nal phases of development rst be aware of their right to information,” the public. For many, the company-required and construction,” Whitesides added. “I amexplained Rachel Yates, a space lawyer of training is almost as rigorous as the actual convinced that the State’s investment willnote with Holland & Hart LLP in Greenwood ight, so the participant should be ready to pay o signi cantly in real economic growth,Village, Colorado. “By federal law, the incur substantial time and cost to prepare inspiration for local children, and globalspace ight company will need to provide a for the ight,” Yates observed. Although the attention to the high-tech future of Newwritten disclosure in advance of the ight to riders are not required by law to undergo Mexico.”insure that the participant understands the medical examinations, her view is thatrisks of space ight and remains willing to companies may prudently insist on sometravel,” she advised Space Quarterly.
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 11CCDEV2 UpdatesCommercial Crew DevelopmentProgram StatusBy Randy Attwood WITH THE COMPLETION OF THE LAST SPACE CCDev2 funding was announced last April. e shuttle ight last July, the only two countries with crew second installment of $269.3 million was awarded to access to Low Earth Orbit today are Russia and China. the following companies: All astronauts traveling to the International Space » Blue Origin received $22 million Station must get there on a Russian Soyuz spacecra , » e Boeing Company received $92.3 million launching from and returning to Kazakhstan. » SpaceX received $75 million is fact is not lost on American politicians and » Sierra Nevada Corporation received $80 million members of the public. Shutting down the space Blue Origin is developing the New Sheppard shuttle was a blow to the American ego. Not having a spacecra . Boeing is building its CST-100 – an Apollo replacement launch system and spacecra made the inspired type capsule. Sierra Nevada is working on whole thing worse. e problem was in part money – its Dream Chaser winged spacecra . All will use there isn’t enough in the annual NASA budget to fund a United Launch Alliance Atlas V to launch their ying the shuttle as well as developing its replacement. spacecra . SpaceX has already orbited and recovered A new program called Constellation was announced in its Dragon spacecra , launched on its Falcon 9 booster 2004 by the Bush administration to build a replacement last December and currently leads the program in its spacecra and booster to take astronauts not only to development e orts. Low Earth Orbit, but to the Moon and beyond. Beset by In the next four articles, Space Quarterly takes technical problems and budget shortfalls from the start, a look at each company and the status of each of its the program was o cially terminated earlier this year. programs. It should be noted that while this program In its place, NASA turned to the commercial market is currently funded and a third round of funding is for access to space. e Commercial Crew Development expected this fall, it is not guaranteed that the program (CCDev) program would provide funding for will go forward. Congress can be very ckle and with companies to help them develop spacecra to launch budget shortfalls and partisan politics dominating in crew to the International Space Station. Washington, nothing is certain. Should there not be a e CCDev program would be run in phases. e third round of funding then at least two of the current rst phase—CCDev1—provided nancing to ve participants would stop work on their e orts. is companies. e rst installment was a total of $49.8 includes Boeing and Sierra Nevada. Blue Origin and million distributed to the following companies: SpaceX would continue on, but the pace of progress of » Blue Origin received $3.7 million both would be slowed as they fund further development » e Boeing Company received $18 million themselves. » Paragon Space Development Corporation received $1.4 million » Sierra Nevada Corporation of Louisville received $20 million » United Launch Alliance received $6.7 million
  • 12 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Panels being added to a Dragon spacecraft.Credit: SpaceX
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 13CCDEV2 UpdatesSpaceX Dragon RiderBy Ken KremerSPACEX, THE UPSTART NEW SPACE a ords SpaceX an unparalleled base of With the forced retirement of the Spacecompany founded by entrepreneur Elon experience with their space ight vehicles. Shuttle eet, NASA is now totally dependentMusk in 2002, is blazing a private sector trek At one point, rival Boeing was considering on Russia’s Soyuz capsule to ferry USto space where no company has gone before. the Falcon 9 as the launch vehicle for its astronauts to the ISS and back. e resulting e rm’s Dragon capsule is a strong entrant competing CST-100 crew capsule but has now gap in US human launch capability willinto NASA’s Commercial Crew Development chosen the ULA Atlas V. endure for a minimum of three to ve yearsProgram – known as CCDev – which seeks to Last December, SpaceX successfully ew and has created a Russian monopoly instimulate the private sector into developing the inaugural operational Dragon cargo crewed access to the ISS.a new and lost cost means of commercially spacecra atop the second ight of a Falcon 9 e Russians have responded to thetransporting astronauts to Earth orbit and the booster. In so doing, SpaceX became the rst monopoly by increasing the price of theInternational Space Station. commercial company to y a spacecra to limited number of Soyuz seats—tripling the “In April 2011, NASA awarded SpaceX orbit and achieve a successful reentry, landing cost to $63 million per seat from roughly $20$75 million to develop a revolutionary launch and recovery back on Earth. million ten years ago.escape system that will enable the company’s “ e Falcon 9 and Dragon represent the SpaceX claims they can o er a far betterDragon spacecra to carry astronauts as safest and fastest path to American crew deal to the American taxpayer—$20 millionpart of the agency’s CCDev initiative to help transportation capability,” stated Grantham. per seat aboard their human rated Dragonprivate companies mature concepts and “With the December 8th, 2010 ight, many capsule—also dubbed the Dragon Rider.technologies for human space ight,” Kirstin Falcon 9 and Dragon components that are “SpaceX will be ready to y its rstGrantham, SpaceX Communications Director needed to transport humans to low-Earth manned mission in 2014. But it all dependstold Space Quarterly. orbit have already been demonstrated in ight on how many tests are required by NASA, NASA distributed $270 million amongst and both vehicles were designed from the nalization of the human rating requirementsfour rms to continue forward into the outset to y people.” and funding,” said Garrett Reisman, CCDev2second round of the commercial initiative— SpaceX is aiming for a giant leap in the Project Manager and former NASA astronautknown as CCDev2. e other competitors are capabilities of the Dragon cargo version by at the SpaceX launch control center in CapeBoeing, Blue Origin and Sierra Nevada. combining the COTS II and COTS III cargo Canaveral, Florida Unlike the other companies, SpaceX is demonstration ights into one, which would Reisman recently joined SpaceX and saidsimultaneously developing an unmanned allow Dragon to berth soon with the ISS is safety is a top priority.variant of the Dragon capsule and the capability is translatable and essential to the “I’m an engineer and am happy withnecessary launch vehicle—known as the human rated Dragon. what I see at SpaceX, and I won’t have ourFalcon 9—under the existing NASA COTS “We are taking all of the necessary steps guys design a vehicle that I would not feelcontract to deliver cargo to the ISS. is to combine those two missions, but NASA comfortable ying in.” hasn’t given us formal approval yet. We are “ e Dragon Rider is designed to carryDr. Ken Kremer is a freelance science working with NASA towards a November seven astronauts and stay at the station forjournalist, research scientist and speaker 30th launch target that would have us berth 210 days. For the initial ight it’s not yetwhose articles, space exploration with the International Space Station nine days decided if the crew will be NASA astronautsimages and Mars photomosaics later,” said Grantham. Since this interview, or a SpaceX crew,” Reisman said in a recenthave been widely published in SpaceX formally con rmed the November 30 interview.magazines, books and websites.. launch date. “Our design goal is to have minimal di erences between the Dragon Rider and
  • 14 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Falcon 9 launch from Space launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral.Credit: SpaceX/Chris Thompsonthe cargo Dragon. e Falcon 9 launcher will within minutes of li o , but the SpaceX “ ese milestones include static rebe identical. So, every time we y a Falcon 9 innovative design builds the escape engines testing of the launch escape system engines,we accumulate ight history and have a test into the side walls of Dragon, eliminating initial design of abort engine and crew ight. Our top priority right now is getting the danger of releasing a heavy solid rocket accommodations and prototype evaluationsDragon up to the ISS,” explains Reisman. escape tower a er launch.” by NASA crew for seats, control panels and At NASA’s direction, SpaceX is focusing “ e SpaceX design also provides the cabin.”their CCDEV2 e orts on the Launch Abort crew with emergency escape capability “SpaceX only gets paid by NASA whenSystem, or LAS, which is an emergency escape throughout the entire ight, whereas the we meet those milestones. And we are alsosystem that would save astronauts lives in the Space Shuttle had no escape system. e investing our own money,” said Reisman.event of an in- ight catastrophe by pulling result is that astronauts ying on Dragon will “So that gives us a lot of incentive to be costthe crew cabin away from the launcher in a be considerably safer.” e ective.”split second. “Dragon will have escape capability all the At a CCDev2 Kicko meeting with “During CCDEV2, we will be designing, way to orbit. Even Apollo did not have that,” NASA in May 2011, “SpaceX reviewed NASAtesting and developing the engines, tanks and says CEO Elon Musk. certi cation requirements, and the companyrelated components for the LAS and doing Since the escape system returns with the presented to NASA o cials the design statusall the risk assessments and safety mission spacecra , it can be reused along with the of all systems along with risks and potentialassurance work that needs to be done,” says capsule and results in even more signi cant mitigations”, Brantham elaborated.Reisman. reductions in the cost of space transport. “ e next SpaceX milestone is the LAS “ e integrated escape system will be According to the CCDEV2 award, “SpaceX Propulsion Conceptual Design Review,superior to traditional solid rocket tractor will modify Dragon to accommodate a crew, planned for July, where SpaceX will presentescape towers used by other vehicles in the with speci c hardware milestones that will design data, documentation, risk assessments,past,” said Brantham. “Due to their extreme provide NASA with regular, demonstrated and schedule data along with analysis andweight, tractor systems must be jettisoned progress,” explained Brantham.
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 15The Dragon spacecraft recovered after its maiden flight.Credit: SpaceX/Roger Carlsonveri cation plans to show that their concept is When asked how well is Dragon alignedtechnically sound and accommodates human with NASA’s dra human ratingfactors requirements.” requirements, Brantham replied, “Falcon 9 SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told Space and Dragon were designed from the start toQuarterly that the LAS review was successful be capable of carrying astronauts. We areand the next milestone, the Preliminary con dent we will be able to meet NASA’s nalDesign Review is scheduled for September. requirements.” SpaceX currently employs over 1500 “CCDEV2 is all about taking what wepeople at major facilities in Hawthorne, CA; have and putting astronauts inside. SinceMcGregor Texas; Cape Canaveral Air Force no other competitor has own their vehicleStation, Vandenberg Air Force Base and and we bring our own rocket to the table, weo ces in Washington, DC., and continues to are pretty con dent with where we stand,”grow,” Branthan told Space Quarterly. Reisman agreed. In addition to the two former NASA “I think that if we do our job well in theastronauts already working at SpaceX – Ken commercial arena than we are on the cuspBowersox of SpaceX Astronaut Safety and of a golden age in space ight, where youMission Assurance O ce, and Garrett will see a tremendous amount of innovationReisman—they expect to hire even more and unlocked,” concluded Reisman. “We haveare looking for exceptional talent as the rm many competitors coming up with di erentcontinues to sign new launch contracts. designs. at’s very exciting from an engineering perspective, just like the Golden Age in Aviation.”
  • 16 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Shown here is an artist’s concept of Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation(CST)-100 spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.Credit: Boeing
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 17CCDEV2 UpdatesBoeing CST-100 Crew Capsule ProgressingSwiftlyBy Ken KremerAEROSPACE GIANT BOEING IS MAKING technologies wherever we can to minimize and abort scenarios. We need to integraterapid progress on the CST-100 capsule, risk in the development.” the CST-100 avionics systems with those ofwhich it hopes will one day take American e CST-100 Crew Space Transportation the launch vehicle to verify they can workastronauts into space. is is the company’s Vehicle is a capsule-shaped spacecra that together and carry out an abort if necessary.”entry into NASA’s Commercial Crew program consists of a crew module and service module e CST-100 is speci cally designed tothat is aimed at stimulating private sector and can also carry some very limited cargo quickly reach the ISS and the planned Bigelowdevelopment of a new and low cost human depending on the con guration. “ e capsule Aerospace Orbital Space Complex. “Ourrated vehicle for journeys to low Earth Orbit is reusable up to 10 times. It’s the same mission model includes a rst day rendezvousand the International Space Station (ISS) and aerodynamic shape as Apollo but can carry a er about 8 to 9 hours,” said Elbon. “ eredesigned to replace NASA’s now retired Space up to seven crew members. I liken it to seven is no potty or galley. CST-100 is just intendedShuttle eet as soon as possible. people sitting in a minivan,” said Elbon. as a transportation to low Earth orbit system. With the retirement of the shuttles from Under the NASA CCDev2 contract, And that makes it much more a ordableactive ight duty status, NASA faces a which Boeing received $92.3 million, Boeing to operate compared to a system designedmanned launch gap of at least three to ve has a 14 month time span in the space act for long duration missions. It’s designed foryears with no means to lo astronauts to agreement to continue development of the 48 hours of nominal powered ight, with aorbit from American soil. In the interim, CST-100 crew capsule, continuing on the possibility of increasing to 60 hours to betterall ISS astronauts will travel on the Russian work started in the rst round and initiating align with NASA requirements. A er dockingSoyuz rocket. at’s why NASA’s commercial work on integrating the capsule with a launch with the ISS or Bigelow space stations wecrew initiative is so critical to reestablishing vehicle and reach a Preliminary Design would plug into their power source and couldAmerican access to human space ight Review (PDR). e PDR is an essential step stay for up to 7 months.”capability. that ensures the system design meets all “During the rst round of CCDEV, “Boeing is focused on making the capsule requirements. Boeing received $18 million from NASA andsafe, simple and a ordable so that we can On August 3, Boeing announced that it added a similar amount of our own money.make it available soon to close the gap had chosen the United Launch Alliance Atlas We’ve taken it through the SDR or Systembetween shuttle and the next spacecra ,” V rocket to launch the CST-100 from Cape Design Review milestone.” With those funds,said John Elbon, Boeing Vice President and Canaveral. e rst crewed mission could be Boeing built a full scale pressure test article,program manager for commercial crew launched as early as 2015. completed several risk reduction objectivestransportation in an interview with Space Selecting a launch vehicle provider is and settled on a baseline design. “UsingQuarterly at the Kennedy Space Center. “ e important according to Elbon because “we very cost weld free e ective manufacturingCST-100 could be ready as early as 2015. need to down select to a speci c vehicle to techniques and just seven engineers, weOur design philosophy is to use proven work out the speci cs for the normal launch constructed the test article in only 9 months,”
  • 18 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011 An aluminum pressure-test article on display at the Kennedy Space Center Credit: Ken Kremersaid Elbon. “We red our abort engine and it available for on orbit maneuvering. So it’s workspace that would be available to futuredid drop tests with the landing air bags.” a good idea. e abort system and the three astronaut crews. “Boeing also built a mock up so that foot long fuel tanks are in the service module Two months into CCDEV2, Boeingwe could have the crew sit in it and help below the crew module. So we will also be o cials reviewed the progress to date without with the layout of control panels. And test ring the rockets to verify they work and NASA. “We met with NASA and comparedwe fabricated our heat shield using a new testing the propellant tanks to make sure they our design to NASA’s dra set of humanlightweight material that Boeing developed— can expel all the fuel in those 3 seconds.” rating requirements and were synched upcalled Boeing Lightweight Ablator. We also During a normal ight, the abort engines with the vast majority of them,’ said Elbon.tested rendezvous and docking so ware. All will play another role and carry out the “ ere are a handful of simple things thatthat work was completed by October 2010 for deorbit burn and are jettisoned before the we are still working—like the missionjust $18 million in 9 months which is pretty landing. duration and how many hours of free ightamazing.” “Boeing is also building a 12 inch wind are available in case of contingencies. In our Boeing is now in the midst of tunnel model to verify all the aerodynamic baseline the crew doesn’t wear pressure suits.accomplishing their CCDEV2 objectives and data and forces on the capsule,” Elbon stated. But NASA would prefer that the crew wearis supplementing the NASA funding with “ e CST-100 will be at the Preliminary pressure suits. And there were a couple ofabout $5 to 10 Million of their own. “As part Design Review (PDR) stage by February places were the levels of redundancy didn’tof CCDEV 2 we are making a light weight 2012.” quite match. So we are working through thoseversion of our abort engine—which only res e full scale mockup and pressure test relatively simple things.”for 3 seconds. It’s a pusher system. So if we article were on display in a special Boeing “We are maturing the design and we wentdon’t use the fuel for an abort then we have pavilion at the Kennedy Space Center Press through a Phase 0 safety review with NASA Site during the launch countdown of the and went through each of our subsystems.” nal shuttle ight in July. e mockups gave an excellent feeling as to the volume and
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 19A mockup of the CST-100 on display at the Kennedy Space CenterCredit: Ken Kremer A busy schedule of aggressive parachute good progress. So I’m hopeful that NASA will as overall prime contractor for the ISS. “Atests lie ahead. “ e next upcoming select us to continue in the next phase.” lot of the people working on and designingmilestones over the summer and beyond “Of course that next phase has to happen CST-100 worked on the Space Shuttle via ourinclude drop tests from a rig using the and needs to be funded.” Given the dire heritage company Rockwell International,”landing airbags. is will also test horizontal budget outlook in Washington, funding is said Paul Diggins, Boeings CST-100velocity movement since we’ll be using by no means assured. “Realistically we could Manufacturing Director. “ ose folks wereparachutes and there will be wind. Next launch an initial crewed test ight in 2015 trained by Rockwell engineers in our spaceMarch 2012, we’ll drop a new mockup with a with two Boeing test pilots under our baseline exploration division who earlier built theparachute deploy o a helicopter and test the scenario—since this is being developed as a Apollo Command Module.”air bag deploy.” commercial venture.” “But the CST-100 is a new design e landing engines are located on the side “By the end of 2015, the CST-100 would compared to Apollo and with about twice theof the capsule. “CST will land on land and in be operational. Leading up to this would be a habitable volume.”the ocean only in a contingency. e primary pad abort test in 2014, an uncrewed multi- “We have to compete on cost withlanding sites are Edwards AFB and White day test ight later in late 2014 and an ascent our competitors. It’s a very competitiveSands.” abort test in early 2015.” environment. If we don’t achieve our cost As Boeing works through the design in e ight schedule has already been targets then we won’t survive and be there atthe coming months, there will also be an somewhat delayed due to NASA funding the nish line,” concluded Diggins.Interim Design Review with many design and shortfalls.analysis cycles. “We are optimistic that we’ll Boeing must be counted as a strongcontinue in CCDEV 3. It’s a competition. contender given the rm’s 50 year experienceWe have a good design and we are making building spacecra like Apollo and the Space Shuttle as well as their current responsibility
  • 20 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011CCDEV2 UpdatesCCDev2 Provides Rare Insight IntoBlue Origin DevelopmentBy Ken Kremer
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 21Artist’s rendering of Blue Origin’s space vehicleCredit: Blue OriginBLUE ORIGIN IS A PRIVATE AEROSPACE “Our incremental development program System Requirements Review (SRR) whichcompany founded in 2000, funded by approach uses suborbital tests to retire are the rst reviews in the design process”Amazon.com founder Je Bezos, development risks. at’s how we intend to said Meyerson.headquartered in Kent, WA and one of four step our way toward human space ight. Our “Our second project is to continue the rms competing in the second round of Kent site is about 250,000 square feet in size design work we started under CCDev1 on ourNASA’s Commercial Crew program—known and where we have the facilities, teams and pusher escape system which will culminateas CCDev2. tools to take on this endeavor. We have our with a pad escape test of our suborbital crew NASA’s goal is to stimulate the private own rocket engine test facilities at Kent. We capsule. e third project is acceleratingsector into developing a safe and low cost also have our own privately developed launch our booster engine development. We are‘space taxi’ to lo US astronauts to Earth orbit test site in West Texas, 33 square miles in size, developing our own LOX/LH2 booster engineand the International Space Station (ISS) now where we’ve own the rst iteration of our and will be testing that thrust chamber atthat the Space Shuttle is retired. Until then, suborbital vehicles.” one of the existing stands at NASA Stennis.astronauts ying to the ISS must depend on “Under CCDev1, we successfully at engine is designed to do deep throttlingthe Russian Soyuz. accomplished both of our milestones. We to support our vertical takeo and vertical In April 2011, NASA awarded Blue Origin assembled a composite pressure vessel for our landing technology,” Meyerson elaborated.$22 million in CCDev2 funding. is was suborbital vehicle. en we proof pressure Blue Origin’s suborbital ‘New Shepard’the smallest slice of the $270 million in total tested it and drop tested it to demonstrate a development program will be used to provethat was distributed amongst the remaining hard landing and veri ed all our loads and out technologies in an incremental fashioncompetitors; Boeing, Sierra Nevada and design parameters. We also developed our before the rm commits to orbital space ight,SpaceX. in-house pusher escape system. We tested Meyerson explained. “If we have enough funding—as we work that using a solid rocket motor developed by “ e CCDEV2 projects were proposedthrough the political realm—we want to keep Aerojet and conducted two ground tests.” because they help us accelerate orbitalthe competition going as long as we can and Blue Origin has chosen the Atlas V—built capability. We are committed to developingget services to the International Space Station by United Launch Alliance (ULA)—as the safe and a ordable commercial humanby the middle of the decade,” says Ed Mango, initial launcher of choice due to its proven space ight.”NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager. track record. Simultaneously the rm plans Asked about whether there is a market According to the NASA Space Act to build their own ‘Reusable Booster System’ for commercial human space ight beyondAgreement, Blue Origin is working to mature (RBS) to further reduce costs at some NASA, Meyerson told Space Quarterly, “Ithe design of their biconic spacecra , develop unde ned future date. absolutely do believe there is a market beyondan abort system and test engine components. ULA and NASA just signed a new Space NASA for multiple suppliers to launch peopleDetails about Blue Origin’s highly secretive Act Agreement on July 18 to speed up studies to orbit—as long as the price is competitive.”space projects are hard to obtain and Blue on determining exactly what would be Of the four companies selected for theOrigin representatives are not granting required to human rate the Atlas V—which second phase of the CCDev program Blueinterviews at this time. three of the four CCDev2 awardees have Origin faces the toughest obstacles moving e biconic vehicle would be capable of selected as their launch vehicle. forward. It is not considered a front-runner incarrying seven astronauts and cargo to and Blue Origin is working on three projects the program, but the fact that it made it thisfrom the ISS, serve as an emergency lifeboat in CCDev2; maturing the orbital space far suggests NASA has some faith in themand stay docked for up to 210 days. e vehicle design development for their biconic and that they should be taken seriously.vehicle would accomplish a ground landing spacecra , further development of the pusher SpaceX leads the way, followed by Boeingon return to Earth. abort system and engine component testing. and Sierra Nevada, with Blue Origin a distant In a rare public presentation, Rob “First, we are maturing the design of fourth. With NASA’s funding in a precariousMeyerson, President of Blue Origin, gave our Orbital Space Vehicle. Several items in position going forward it would appeara short overview of the company’s CCDev that task are completing key system trades; unlikely that more than three companiesplans at a recent brie ng for reporters at the working on our ermal Protection System would receive funding in the next round. isKennedy Space Center. with NASA Ames Research Center; de ning would suggest that Blue Origin may be out “Blue Origin is developing a Crew the biconic shape which provides lower entry of luck for CCDev3 funding. But even so, itsTransportation System (CTS) that is g loads than a capsule – we’ll re ne that billionaire owner does have the resources tocomprised of an ‘Orbital Space Vehicle’ and with aerodynamic analyses and wind tunnel keep the company a oat for years to come.a ‘Reusable Booster System’ that will take testing; developing the interface requirements However, eventually this 11-year-old veryhumans safely and a ordably to and from low between the Orbital Space Vehicle and the secretive company will have to emerge fromEarth orbit (LEO),” said Meyerson Atlas V rocket by working hand in hand the shadows and show what it’s made of. with United Launch Alliance; and we’ll be completing two program reviews—the Mission Concept Review (MCR) and the
  • 22 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011CCDev Updates Artist Rendering of the Dream Chaser Docked to the International Space Station Credit: Sierra NevadaSierra Nevada Dream Chaser —What’s Old is New AgainBy Marc Boucher
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 23 Dream Chaser Structure Current Status Credit: Sierra NevadaSIERRA NEVADA CORPORATION’S (SNC) Module Test Firings, and Dream ChaserDream Chaser is a reusable spacecra similar Engineering Test Article (ETA) Preliminaryto the shuttle: it is designed for vertical launch Structure Proof Testing. SNC reached all four.and horizontal landing. Within about four Once these milestones were met, SNCyears we may see the Dream Catcher perched competed for the second round of funding inon top an Atlas V at the Kennedy Space the CCDev program. is time, there were 22Center waiting for launch. proposals submitted to NASA, four of which e Dream Chaser Space System (DCSS) were selected. SNC was selected in April 2011.has resulted from research in the early 1990s One of the reasons SNC was selected forat the Langley Research Center on NASA’s the second round of funding was becauseHL-20. e “HL” stands for horizontal NASA wanted diversity in the program.lander. e HL-20 itself resulted from years e nal selection was made by Philipof research in the 1960s and 1970s on other R. McAlister, who said in the selectionli ing-body concepts, such as NASA’s M2-F1 statement, “ ere are signi cant technicaland M2-F2, the HL-10, and the Air Force’s challenges associated with li ing bodiesX-24A and X-24B. e HL-20 was dubbed that are not present in capsules; however,the “personnel launch system.” Unlike the li ing bodies o er signi cant operational require less than $1 billion, including theshuttle, the HL-20 was designed to be small, capability including cross range performance, NASA money it has already received andcarry astronauts on suborbital and orbital ability to land on multiple runways, lower being contingent on the continuation of the ights, but carry little cargo. e smaller entry g-forces, and quick crew access and CCDev program.and simpler spacecra allows for lower-cost egress post landing. At this early stage in the On July 7, SNC signed a commercialoperations and improved ight safety. development, I felt it was important to have space agreement with the Kennedy Space It is with this legacy that Sierra Nevada both li ing bodies and capsules represented Center (KSC) for ground operations support,proceeded to enter NASA’s Commercial Crew in the portfolio.” something KSC has plenty of experienceDevelopment (CCDev) program with the SNC was not alone in proposing a li ing- with a er processing the shuttle for 30 years.Dream Chaser. body spacecra for the second round. Orbital By signing the agreement with KSC, SNC e DCSS has very little in common Sciences Corporation was also competing, con rmed its plan to launch from KSC andwith the original HL-20 design other than and its design was also based on the HL-20 has stated it plans on using a United Launchthe outer mould line and centre of gravity. legacy. Both proposals were good, but SNC’s Alliance Atlas V rocket. e Atlas V is aSNC kept the outer mould line and centre proposal had a few more bene ts to it: the reliable launcher, with 26 successful launchesof gravity because years of tests have proposal demonstrated a strong commitment and one partial success. However, beforedemonstrated that the outline works. SNC is to public–private partnerships associated it can launch any crew, it must go throughusing a new composite structure with modern with the program, it reached a Preliminary stringent human rating certi cation. at ismaterials and construction techniques along Design Review by the end of CCDev round not expected to take very long, however. ewith their own hybrid rocket motor design, 2 compared to a System Design Review for DCSS is a much less complex spacecra thanwhich has already been used on Scaled Orbital, and it o ered exibility in optimizing the shuttle and has no need for hazardousComposite’s SpaceShipOne. e DCSS will crew and cargo up-mass and down- post-landing ground support. So, SNC hopesalways use a “human-in-the-loop,” meaning a mass. SNC’s proposal allowed for a crew that the DCSS can be turned around muchpilot, during launch. Landings, however, can con guration of two to seven astronauts and faster for the next launch than the shuttlesbe automated or piloted. the ability to trade out crew for cargo. Orbital were. In the rst round of CCDev funding, Science Corporation’s proposal was set at a For CCDev round 2, SNC has one yearSNC received $20 million of the available crew con guration of four. to reach 9 milestones and can optionally$50 million, the largest share. To reach the Of the $270 million NASA allocated to complete an additional 10 milestones if it so rst round of funding, SNC had to reach the four selected CCDev2 proposals, SNC chooses. e milestones are as follows:four milestones: a Program Implementation was awarded $80 million, bringing its total 1. System Requirements ReviewPlan, a Manufacturing Readiness Review of contribution from NASA to $100 million. (completed)Aeroshell Tooling, Space Vehicle Propulsion SNC is a private company, and it will not 2. Canted airfoil section (completed) disclose how much money it has invested in 3. Cockpit-Based Flight SimulatorMarc Boucher is a space policy and the development of DCSS. When contacted (completed)commercial space analyst, co-founder by Space Quarterly, Mark Sirangelo, Executive 4. Vehicle Avionics Integration Laboratoryof SpaceRef and Editor-in-Chief of VP and Chairman, commented that their (September 2011)Space Quarterly. He has a background in investment is in the tens of millions. Another 5. System De nition Review (October 2011)software development and has started source said the investment was equal to what 6. Flight Control Integration Laboratoryup several technology businesses. NASA had invested. Sirangelo also stated (November 2011) that to nish development of the DCSS would 7. ETA Structure Delivery (December 2011)
  • 24 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Artist Rendering of the Dream Chaser Launching on an Atlas VCredit: Sierra Nevada 8. Separation System Test (February 2012) e other optional milestones include; ongoing maturation of the commercial 9. Preliminary Design Review (May 2012) Perform materials testing, captive carry space sector which can only bode well for interface and ETA landing gear drop tests, the rest of the industry as it slowly takes Completing these milestones on time is ETA captive carry ight test, wind tunnel root and grows.important because the third round of CCDev testing, Dream Chaser handling qualities SNC also announced in July that it hadfunding is expected to be announced this fall, evaluation, Main RCS test, two hybrid rocket recently expanded its already impressivewith contracts awarded in the spring of 2012. motor test rings, thrust vector control test team by adding former astronaut SteveSNC needs to win money in the next round if and an ETA active carry ight test readiness Lindsey, who recently commandedit hopes to complete the DCSS program. So it review. STS-133, as their new Director of Flightwould be helpful to SNC to reach some of the Interestingly, the atmospheric drop test Operations. Lindsey joins former astronautoptional milestones before the end of May. would be conducted using e Spaceship Jim Voss who recently became SNC’s ViceHowever, reaching all 10 does seem to make Company’s (TSC) WhiteKnightTwo aircra . President of Space Exploration Systemsfor a very aggressive schedule. SNC plans on TCS is a jointly owned company of Scaled along with another half-dozen formerconducting an atmospheric drop test, the Composites and the Virgin Group and NASA employees, mostly from the defunctlast of the optional milestones, in 2012. It started by their respective founders, Burt Constellation program.had been previously reported in the media Rutan and Sir Richard Branson. Rutan is Should SNC receive CCDev round 3that the drop test would occur sometime popularly known for designing the White funding then they plan on doing an orbitalbetween April and the end of June, however Knight aircra and SpaceShipOne which test in late 2014 or early 2015.Sirangelo told Space Quarterly that it would helped Scaled Composites win the $10 millionbe sometime in 2012 bringing into question Ansari X Prize in 2004. With SNC using thethe previous report. TSC aircra for it’s drop test, we’re seeing the
  • 26 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Final testing of the Soyuz launch site at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana last AprilCredit: ESA/S. Corvaja
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 27South America Credit: ESA/S. CorvajaThe First Soyuz Launchfrom Kourou, French GuianaBy Chris GainorTHE WORLD’S UNDISPUTED said the Soyuz complex is actually closer toworkhorse space launch vehicle, the the town of Sinnamary than to the town ofSoyuz rocket, enters a new era this Kourou.fall when it launches for the rst time Many of the features of the new launchfrom the Guiana Space Centre near the complex are similar to the Soyuz launchequator in South America. pads at Baikonur and Plesetsk. e launch e Soyuz launch vehicle is vehicle is assembled horizontally in anthe direct descendant of the R-7 integration building and then moved by railIntercontinental Ballistic Missile 600m to the launch pad, where it is erectedthat put Sputnik into orbit in 1957. and supported on the pad by the tyulpanStarting with the rocket that launched (tulip) launch system that falls away as theYuri Gagarin in 1961, rockets in this rocket rises at li o .family have launched every Soviet and Like the older Soyuz launch pads, theRussian spacecra carrying human passengers, along with many other Guiana launch pad stands atop a gigantic ame trench. e Guianasatellites and space probes. Up to now, all of the Soyuz rocket’s more launch complex di ers from other Soyuz launch pads in that it also hasthan 1,760 launches have taken place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome an eight-level, 53m tall mobile launch service tower that can surroundin Kazahkhstan or the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. the rocket on the pad and permit vertical integration of the upper stage e European Space Agency and Arianespace began construction and payload for each rocket.of the French Guiana launch facility for Soyuz in 2004 a er reaching e Soyuz rocket is one of the few launch vehicles rated to launchagreement with the Russian space agency Roscosmos, and Soyuz human passengers, and while no such launches are planned at therockets began arriving at the Guiana Space Centre in 2009. moment, the Guiana launch facility can be easily modi ed to permit A er the new Soyuz launch pad systems were tested in a simulated launching of human passengers.launch campaign that ended with a “virtual mission” on May 5, e Soyuz rocket launched from Guiana typically stands 46.2 m tallpreparations began for the rst Soyuz launch from Guiana, which and has four stages, including the four booster rockets and the centralis scheduled for October 20 at 7:34 a.m. local time. e rocket is due core stage that constitute the rst two stages, a third stage and theto orbit a pair of satellites from Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation Fregat fourth stage that is designed to function in orbit with restartablesystem. engines. is rocket di ers from previous versions of the Soyuz rocket Launching a rocket from a site closer to the equator allows you to with an enlarged payload fairing, a new ight control system, andtake advantage of the Earth’s eastern rotation. e rotation speed at the upgraded engines in the third stage.equator is greater than that at the northern latitudes of Baikonur and e addition of Soyuz to the stable of launchers in Guiana givesPlesetsk. Because French Guiana is close to the equator, the rocket is Arianespace an intermediate-size rocket between its large Ariane 5already moving 1700 km/h towards the east while sitting on the pad. launch vehicle, which has been in service for 15 years, and the newLaunching Soyuz from Kourou with this extra boost makes Soyuz Vega rocket, which is soon coming into service for smaller satellitecapable of launching larger payloads to geostationary transfer orbit. payloads going to low Earth orbit. “With a launch location close to the equator, Soyuz will have e October 20 launch will carry the rst two operational satellitesimproved performance and be able to carry up to three tones into in the Galileo satellite navigation system, which is slated to consistgeostationary transfer orbit, compared to the 1.7 tonnes that can be of 27 satellites and three spares on orbit, all at an inclination of 56launched from Baikonur,” ESA spokesman Roberto Lo Verde told degrees. Experimental versions of the Galileo satellites were launchedSpace Quarterly. in 2005 and 2008. e Soyuz launch complex is 12 km northwest up the French is launch is attracting so much interest that the Guiana SpaceGuiana coastline from the existing Ariane 5 launch complex. Lo Verde Centre is expecting a large number of spectators, Lo Verde said. “ ere is already such a huge interest that there are no hotel rooms anymore le in Guiana, and all viewing sites are completely full.”Chris Gainor is an author and historian specializing in space flight andaeronautics. He has written four books, including Arrows to the Moon:Avro’s Engineers and the Space Race, and To a Distant Day: The RocketPioneers, and articles in various academic and other publications.
  • 28 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011OnlineSocial Media TweetupsProving PopularBy Randy AttwoodOVER 19 YEARS AGO, AS PEOPLE BEGAN TOdiscover the World Wide Web, NASA jumped in and setup web sites for all of its centers and activities. Today,they are following that tradition by making extensiveuse of Twitter, a fast growing popular social mediaservice that allows its users to send short messages of140 characters or less to people who follow them. eycan access these messages, called tweets, using a varietyof so ware programs and on their mobile phones. It is not uncommon for people who follow Twitter toreceive tweets from astronauts aboard the InternationalSpace Station (ISS). A recent tweet from astronaut RonGaran was accompanied by a photo he had taken ofAtlantic Canada. All four astronauts on the STS-135 mission, Atlantis’recent last ight of the space shuttle program, hadTwitter accounts. Although some tweeted more thanothers, there were few tweets during the busy mission.Canadian astronaut Chris Had eld regularly sendstweets from Russia as he trains for his 2012 ISS mission. A few years ago NASA started to organize andrun Tweetups. Tweetups are gatherings of people whotweet an event. NASA invited people from all over theworld to register to attend the launch of a space shuttle.Although there is room for only 150, thousands apply. e lucky few chosen are given access to the LaunchComplex 39 Press Site at the Kennedy Space Center andenjoy two days of presentations and tours, culminatingwith a view of the launch from only ve kilometersaway.Randy Attwood has been following the space programfor over 40 years. He has appeared on televisionand radio for over 30 years as a commentator.He is a Senior Editor at SpaceRef InteractiveInc. and Managing Editor of Space Quarterly. A
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 29A: Canadian Space Agency astronauts David Saint-Jacques and B: 150 Tweeters participate in the NASA Tweetup the morningJeremy Hansen at the July 8 CSA Tweetup in St Hubert, Quebec of the launch of STS 135 at the LC39 Press Site, KSCCredit: Katrina Ince-Lum Credit: Randy Attwood SpaceRef has many Twitter accounts. @SpaceQuarterly @SpaceRef @NASAWatch B @CanadaInSpace @OnOrbit @SpaceWeather A large tent is set up for the Tweeters near the @SpaceCommerce countdown clock. Tables are provided with power @ShuttleStation and most important, wi- for Internet access. NASA @SpaceEd astronauts and representatives as well as a Hollywood @Space_Calendar celebrity or two give presentations while the tweeters @EuropeanSpace can type away, tweeting what they are hearing. e @ChinaInSpace Tweeters also are taken on tours of the NASA facilities @AsiaInSpace and even get a close up look at the shuttle on the pad. @India_InSpace e Tweetup provides NASA with a social media base @AfricaInSpace to get its message out to the public. @MercuryToday e Canadian Space Agency (CSA) held a Tweetup @VenusTodayB for the last shuttle launch. Next to the NASA Tweetup @EarthToday tent, the CSA set up a tent for broadcasting a webcast @MoonToday back to St. Hubert, Quebec where 20 tweeters had been @MarsToday selected and gathered to learn more about the mission, @JupiterToday the program and to tweet out to their followers. @SaturnToday Astronauts Chris Had eld, Robert irsk, Julie Payette @PlutoToday and David Williams were in Florida. Astronauts @NASAHackSpace David St Jacques and Jeremy Hansen were at the CSA @HubbleScience headquarters for the #CSATweetup. @SpaceMeme Other NASA centers have hosted Tweetups include: @SpaceElevator the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Johnson Space @Astrobiology Center and NASA Headquarters. Tweetups are now being held to mark launches of Here are some of our unmanned missions. NASA organized Tweetups for editors’ accounts: the recent launch of Juno to Jupiter and the upcoming @00mb launch of Grail to the Moon. (Marc Boucher) Tweetups are in fashion now and look to be a @KeithCowing growing phenomenon. @RandyAttwood Here are the primary NASA and Canadian Space Agency Twitter accounts: @NASA @CSA_ASC @ASC_CSAA
  • 30 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Taken by Lunar Orbiter 2 in 1966 and restored by by the Lunar Orbiter Image RecoveryProject (LOIRP), this view looks into the giant crater Copernicus at an angle that no human—or robotic eye—had ever seen before. The mountains rising from the floor of Copernicusallowed people see the Moon in a new way—as a world waiting to be explored.Credit: NASA/LOIRP
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 31Commercial Space: MoonThe Philosophy ofLunar Commercialization andEconomic DevelopmentBy Dennis WingoProviding Context and Connection work and that we have yet to embrace new e foundation of the global redistributionto the World Today ideas that could take us into the future. He argument is that we live in a nite worldWhen a technologist or scientist is asked to is right on this but the limitation of his work and since this is a fundamental factwrite about the commercialization of the is that he does not address any form of the (unchallenged), all arguments that followMoon, the almost overwhelming desire is new order in the underpinnings and the new must then be about how to fairly distributeto jump right in and exposit on the how responsibilities of the state and people in what the resources so that a global civilization ofof commercialization as it is the most fun. is now a planetary civilization. the 21st century is sustainable. At its heart,Engineers like to design things, scientists like e dominant discussion in the political this is what the argument about sustainableto discover things, and entrepreneurs like sphere today regarding a new order or societal development is about. An immense amount ofto gure out how to make money on things. underpinning surrounds dealing with the political capital is being expended regardingHowever, before any of this can truly move problems brought about by the fact that this reorganization of the global economicforward, the why of lunar commercialization within 39 years, we will have a planetary order but what if the foundation of themust be clearly understood before the forces population of 9 billion plus humans. e argument is awed?can be marshaled that actually allow you to problems of resource depletion, climate I wrote a chapter in a book that is yetexecute on the how. change, and the economic rise of China, to be published by the National Defense Today we live in a world in a slow motion India, and the rest of what used to be called University Press entitled “Solar Systemcrisis. Just look around at the global political the third world and their demands on Economic Development as a Core Value oflandscape of 2011 and this is evident. e resources dominates the discussion. e a New Spacepower eory”. e issue of the nancial melt down that began in 2008 and national and global debate is how to allocate current world status and the linkage of thatcontinues today is calling into question the global resources in a manner that keeps to spacepower theory (as Clauswitz is tovery foundation of our western civilization the whole system from falling apart while landpower theory and Martin is Seapowerthat was basically put into place in the post being fair to the aspirations of the emerging theory) was developed. A central tenant ofWWII period. Robert Samuelson has written nations. the spacepower theory chapter is that pasta piece* on July 25th of this year about the Central to the meat of the discussion from and current thinking has been bound tocrisis of the old order. His conclusion is that standpoint of many in the elite is that in what I termed the “geocentric” mindset. isthe old answers forged in that era no longer order for there to be enough resources for all, mindset is de ned as…. there must be a dialing back of the appetite “geocentric” is defined as a for resources in the west to allow the nations mindset that sees spacepower* http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/ of the east to rise to some unde ned plateau and its application as focused2011/07/25/the_crisis_of_the_old_order.html while pulling the west down to a similar primarily on actions, actors, and level. is is at the heart of the redistribution influences on earthly powers, theDennis Wingo is a 33 year veteran of the schemes embodied in most of the political earth itself, and its nearby orbitalcomputer and space industries. Dennis is e orts regarding global climate change as acurrently the CEO of Skycorp Incorporated, environs. means to provide a moral foundation to thea small commercial space company e ort. is argument is reported on daily,located at the NASA Ames Research Park e geocentric mindset also underpins yet the context of it, and the underpinningsat Moffett Field California. Dennis has the foundation of the global redistributiontwo patents for space applications and of that argument have never been subject to argument as well, and thus the entire newa book on the economic development scrutiny. order argument that springs from that wellof space called “Moonrush”.
  • 32 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Just a few kilometers from the Apollo 17 Taurus Littrow landing site, alunar mining facility harvests oxygen from the resource-rich volcanic soilof the eastern Mare Serenitatis. 1995. Credit: NASA/SAIC/Pat Rawlingsis based upon a awed premise that brings To those of us who have spent our lives technological genius understood and they allus to the commercialization and economic working to bring about or to support the worked and brought forth a future that is ourdevelopment of the Moon. e premise economic development of space and the present.that underpins the commercialization and Moon, it is hardly a Black Swan event. e commercialization and economiceconomic development of the Moon and However, our little world is invisible today in development of the Moon is our black swanbeyond is that we live in a solar system rich the larger context of the political development event as it cannot be predicted by those miredwith resources that can be used to not only be of a new social order to replace the one that is in the geocentric mindset nor is it consideredfair to the rest of the world, but will enable a crumbling today. e economic development to be a probable outcome for the future byglobal civilization that makes today’s world as of the Moon is only a potential black swan those who have invested their political e ortsquaintly obsolete as we view the world of the event in the same context that silicon valley toward the sustainable one world model. Inyear 1700. was a potential black swan event of the early addition, all commercial and government 1970’s. No one at the time predicted the rise space e orts today are focused on the Earth.Lunar Commercialization and of silicon valley and its impact on our world Remote sensing, communications, geo-Economic Development as the today in 1972. None of those who wrote location, all of these are space applicationsBlack Swan of Our Time books like “Limits to Growth” had any idea are geocentric in application. It is with goodFor those who are unfamiliar with the Black of the technological revolution that was on reason as the Earth is where the money is toSwan eory, this has been de ned by Nassim our doorstep at the time nor did the political pay for these services.Nicholas Taleb in his book regarding the role world understand how much we would e question becomes, how do thoseof small probability events and their large change as a society as a result. of us who do understand the impact ofimpact on the world (read the reasons for the e people of silicon valley and other tech the commercialization and economic nancial meltdown of 2008), it is stated as a centers did. People like Gordon Moore of development of the Moon move the ballmetaphor that encapsulates the concept that… Intel, then a small company did, the people at forward? In the 1970’s a er the demise of the the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Apollo program Dr. Wherner Von Braun and The event is a surprise (to the and others understood. Steve Jobs, Steve others started the National Space Institute observer) and has a major impact. Wozniak and Bill Gates understood. Lore as a platform to educate a new generation After the fact, the event is Harp, Adam Osborne, Gary Kildall, Vint about the value of space. e L5 society rationalized by hindsight. Cerf and all the other names that now de ne was a grass roots organization dedicated
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 33This artist’s concept of lunar mining operations illustrates One of several concept illustrations created as the resultthe production of liquid oxygen. March 1983. of the Lunar Base Systems Study. April 1988.Credit: NASA/Eagle Engineering/Pat Rawlings Credit: NASA/Eagle Engineering/Eric Christiansonto the actual development of space. Other community and garner the money o the bat vastly more about how much aluminum, iron,groups such as the Space Studies Institute, to do such an enterprise. However, there is a thorium, and other valuable metals that may bestarted by Dr. Gerard K. O’Neil was founded class of investor, that we in our eld call the there to displace having to carry these resourcesto build the practical foundation for the visionary capitalist, one who understands and from our deep gravity well on the Earth. Withcommercialization and development of space shares our goals and vision for the future, that the advances in computer technology andfor its potential role for solving the 70’s era can bridge this gap between business plan and automated manufacturing that we have had onenergy crisis and human expansion into space. reality. Elon Musk is one example of this type the Earth in the last 20 years, a completely new e Space Frontier Foundation was founded of capitalist, who, a er cashing out of a dot and far lower cost self-sustaining infrastructureby O’Neil acolytes to encourage people to form com company at an early age, placed his bet can be developed.businesses in commercial space. Most of us and his capital toward building a commercial What we have had in the past decade arewho are today involved in commercial space space company molded on the foundation advances that have not yet been considered fordevelopment have, at one time or another, that made silicon valley the envy of the world. their application for the commercializationbeen associated with such groups. All of these With his company SpaceX, Elon has been and economic development of the Moon.groups have provided real value in keeping the successful in leveraging his investment based What these advances are doing is to narrow ames of our hopes alive, but more is required upon the new business model to begin to the gap between the implementation of lunarand the time is now, the opportunity is now, supplant the major government contractors. development and the capital required to dofor space. Instead of focusing on how to best run up so. is is the crucial element in that we are costs to gain that increment of fee from the now to the point where there is little doubt byNo Bucks, No Buck Rogers, or government, SpaceX uses the technological us in our community that this is viable, theCalling All Visionary Capitalists foundation and business ethics of silicon key is show how to do it with those visionary ere is one crucial di erence between the valley to best gure out how to maximally capitalists who share our goals.Silicon Valley black swan event and the leverage his private investment and the To further reduce this gap, we ascommercialization and economic development capture of government and commercial technologists and developers must showof the Moon, which is capital. e no bucks, business to build a thriving business. It interim steps that further lower the capitalno Buck Rogers quote is from the book is this structure that can be emulated by required for this investment that are“ e Right Stu ”, about the early Apollo era other companies that will help to create the themselves pro table enterprises. is setsgovernment program but it is equally apt for corporate infrastructure for the commercial up the virtuous cycle that brings in morethe commercial and economic development of and economic development of the Moon. investments and reaches that economicthe Moon. In the early days of Silicon Valley, a tipping point to where our black swancompany like Apple could start in a Cupertino The Moon becomes the new paradigm and the new ordergarage. In the days of the Internet boom, a All of this leads up now to the why of lunar of the twenty rst century.guy or gal with a laptop and some so ware commercialization. In the 1970’s the resourcesdevelopment expertise could start a billion of the Moon were barely understood. Today,dollar company. e commercialization and with the advent of several advanced remoteeconomic development of the Moon is a capital sensing missions by several nations, we have aintensive activity that cannot be bootstrapped vastly more detailed knowledge of the Moonin the same manner, as much a we would wish and its potential. at knowledge is stillotherwise. underpinned by those six Apollo missions It is simply not tenable today for a start and their rocks, returned at such a great price.up company who wants to commercialize or We now know that there are billions of tonseconomically develop the Moon to start with a of water on the Moon, that can be used forbusiness plan, present it to the Venture Capital fuel and to support human life. We now know
  • 34 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Commercial SpaceSpaceX —Vision vs the Market
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 35Another Dragon lands on Mars.Credit: SpaceXIn an era fraught with so many SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES, MORE COMMONLY known as SpaceX, is unlike any other rocket and spacecra companyuncertainties comes a company that exists today. In it’s nine years of existence, it has only launched a total of seven rockets and yet its competitors, including China, fearthat could change the world, in them. But it wasn’t always that way, and its future success is far from certain.time. SpaceX is a New Generation rocket and spacecra company, one of a very few in a market whose heritage is not born of the defense program. In fact, “SpaceX was founded with the long-term goal of enabling humanity to become a space-faring civilization” accordingBy Marc Boucher to their mission statement. It is this goal and the vision that its driven founder, Elon Musk has, which separates it from its competitors and which could propel it into a force that changes the world. Musk and SpaceX are not the rst to startup with such a grandiose goal, but they are the rst to successfully y a rocket, the Falcon, and
  • 36 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011SpaceX’s Mission Control Center located at theirheadquarters in Hawthorne, California.Credit: SpaceXtheir own spacecra , Dragon, and to do it cheaper than anyone in the his obvious other skills, that Musk brought with him when he foundedmarket. is is not a result to take lightly. e market globally has SpaceX.noticed. Part of Musk’s research included a trip to Russia to learn more e road to its current, but limited success, has not been easy. But about the Russian space program and to learn what they would chargeit has been smoother than other rocket programs that preceded it. to launch a payload to Mars. His experience in Russia proved to be anSpaceX is built “on the shoulders of giants”, said Musk a er its last eye opener and was ultimately the catalyst that led him to start SpaceX.launch on December 8th of 2010. On that day, a Falcon 9 rocket lo ed Once the idea of SpaceX came to maturation, he decided he wouldthe Dragon spacecra to safely orbit the Earth twice before a successful seek out the best talent in the industry. And in an industry that eatswater landing and recovery. cash quickly and is slow to deliver pro ts, he would need a lot of cash to Built on giants indeed. get him through the rst few years. Fortunately for Musk, a er selling When Musk decided in mid-2002 to start SpaceX, he did so a er his rst two companies for a combined $1.5 billion, he was in a positionspending a year doing research. Modern rocket history goes back 80 to bankroll the start of SpaceX. So Musk invested $100 million of hisodd years before Musk started his venture, and in those years, many own money into the company during the early years. Along the way hecountries had tested tens of rocket variants. Most were built primarily also received approximately $80 million from venture capitalists and atfor their defense programs. For Musk, this was a great legacy upon one point, took out a $30 million loan.which to base his ideas. With the funds available, it was time to hire the right mix of talent Musk was not trained as a rocket scientist. In fact, his professional that would build SpaceX from the ground up. Inevitably, some of thecareer revolved around so ware and Internet technologies. is rst hires didn’t quite see eye to eye with Musk’s leadership style andproved to be an asset, as at the time Musk had been working in the quietly le . While Musk listens to the people he’s hired, ultimately hehigh pressure, fast paced changing Internet world in Silicon Valley. To makes the big decisions. Some of those who’ve been there since thetruly succeed in that world, which was booming in the late 1990’s, you beginning, or were hired within the rst year and now hold executiveneeded not only to create a viable business model and execute it, you level positions include Gwynne Shotwell, now President, Tim Buzza,had to constantly innovate. It’s that notion of innovation, along with Hans Koenigsmann, Tom Mueller, Robert Reagan, Branden Spikes ,
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 37A Falcon 9 in the hangar.Credit: SpaceX/Mike Sheehanand Chris ompson to name a few. Most of these people were veterans the same class. While this made news in 2003, just 9 months a erof the industry coming from companies such as Boeing, TRW, e SpaceX had been founded, it still wasn’t being taken seriously withinAerospace Corporation, McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing). ey the industry.had worked on programs such as the Delta II, III, IV, Titan IV, the e only way SpaceX was going to be taken seriously was toInternational Space Station and the list goes on. So while Musk gets actually build a rocket, successfully y it and do it cheaper thanmuch of the media attention, it’s this core of highly skilled people that anyone else. A er all, that was the promise, to do it cheaper.has been there almost from day one, that works well together and that Unfortunately, there would be the inevitable delays and setbackshas helped put SpaceX on the map. which ultimately pushed back the rst Falcon 1 launch to March Now, if your mission statement is to enable humanity to become a of 2006, nearly four years a er the company had started. And thatspace-faring civilization, then you’re thinking BIG PICTURE. But to launch was a failure. History is littered with failures of new rockets,make this vision happen, you need to start small. And this is exactly so although it was disappointing that the rst Falcon 1 launch failed,what Musk did. But he did it in a way that opened up the market to it was not wholly unexpected and certainly would not deter Musk orSpaceX before a single rocket had been built. It turns out marketing is SpaceX.one of Musk’s and SpaceX’s great strengths. Although SpaceX claimed a partial success in their next attempt For SpaceX to succeed in this market, which was, and still is, a year later, within the industry it was still considered a failure. Butdependant on government support and contracts, it would need to do for SpaceX, patience was supreme and with each launch came newsomething to not only compete, but to get people’s attention. From knowledge and lessons learned. More than a year would pass beforethe beginning, Musk said one of his objectives was to cut the cost of the next launch attempt and once again it was a failure. By now, thea launch by 1/10th of current standards. is was not only ambitious, summer of 2008, six years a er its founding, SpaceX still hadn’tit garnered a few snickers from many industry insiders and still does. delivered on its promise. Whispers could be heard of people losingMusk’s rst rocket, initially known as the Falcon and then later the faith.Falcon 1, was a small rocket to which Musk said he would charge $6million per ight to orbit. is was 1/3rd the price of competitors in
  • 38 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011An artist’s concept of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy during launch.Credit: SpaceX But the reality was SpaceX was learning, adopting, innovating a er each failure. Less than two months a er its latest failure SpaceX was ready to try again. is time, success! e fourth ight of Falcon 1, Flight 4 was the turning point. e date was September 28th, 2008. Within the next two years SpaceX would launch another Falcon 1 and it’s newer, larger variant, the Falcon 9, both successfully. While success was sweet on that early fall day, previous failures had come at a price. Early on in its development, SpaceX had wanted to base its launches out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California not too far north from it’s headquarters in Los Angeles. It had signed an agreement with the Air Force to develop and use Space Launch Complex 3 West (SLC-3W). One of the rst launches scheduled there was for the Air Force experimental satellite TacSat-1. Scheduled to launch in 2004, TacSat-1 never ew. A er continual delays, the Air Force abandoned the launch as it had met its needs with the launch of TacSat-2 in December 2006 by SpaceX competitor Orbital Sciences. To make matters worse, it turned out that the adjacent pad, Space Launch Complex 3 East (SLC-3E) was going to be used frequently by United Launch Alliance (ULA), another SpaceX competitor, for Atlas V launches of military payloads. Due to a launch restriction, SpaceX found itself abandoning SLC-3W and Vandenberg altogether. e restriction that scuttled SpaceX’s original Vandenberg launch site was that while a launch vehicle was sitting on the pad at SLC-3E waiting for launch, no launch could happen at SLC-3W. And since a launch vehicle could sit for months on the pad at a time it made no sense for SpaceX to continue using SLC-3E. With Vandenberg out the picture for the time being, SpaceX moved its launches to the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Paci c where eventually all Falcon 1 launches took place. Launching out of Kwajalein wasn’t ideal, but with years of delays SpaceX’s options were limited for launch sites. Even before the rst Falcon 1 had launched, SpaceX had plans for a larger variant, the Falcon 5. at variant was quickly shelved for the next variant, the Falcon 9, a more capable vehicle with 9 Merlin engines on its rst stage. And in November 2007 SpaceX broke ground on Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station adjacent to the NASA’s Kennedy Space Center where the Falcon 9 would be launched. Less than a year a er the second Falcon 1 successfully launched and two and half years a er ground breaking, the rst Falcon 9 launched in June of 2010 and was successful. In December of 2010, the next launch of the Falcon 9 successfully carried the Dragon spacecra into orbit. e frustrations of the rst six years were long gone now. In two and half years SpaceX had gone from its third Falcon 1 failure in a row to having four successful launches in a row for two di erent rockets and one new spacecra . If the market hadn’t been paying attention before, they certainly were now.
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 39 History has lessons to teach, and it seems Musk took those to heart. So of the $800 million SpaceX has spent through 2010, $300 It may have taken SpaceX six years to successfully launch a million came from NASA. I’d say NASA has spent that money wisely,rocket but it learned from its mistakes. Not only did it learn from its considering the progress SpaceX has made.mistakes but it had learned from all those who had preceded it. And Although I only o ered two comparisons, the point is that at thisbeing unencumbered by too much government red tape as a private stage in its development, SpaceX is a well run, successful organizationcompany, Musk could basically build the company the way he wanted accomplishing tasks others with money have not been capable of doing.to as long as the funds were there. And in comparison to NASA, doing it real cheap. Being a private company is the only way SpaceX could have SpaceX couldn’t a ord to spend the kind of money NASA did.achieved what it has in the time it did. e company needed focus, e comparison to NASA does make me wonder what SpaceX couldleadership and a vision. All of which it’s proven it has in abundance. accomplish if it had been given the resources NASA had for theIn its nine years of existence, SpaceX has spent $800 million through Constellation Program.the end of 2010 in developing Falcon 1, Falcon 9 the Dragon spacecra e future for SpaceX looks good but it is far from certain. Whileand all of their facilities, which is substantial. It has designed and it’s launch manifest is growing, and is considerable at over 40 pendingbuilt all the hardware and so ware itself. It has own seven rockets launches, it still has competitors to deal with. And unlike the earlyof which the last four have been successful. It has orbited a spacecra days when SpaceX wasn’t taken seriously, now they most certainlydesigned for cargo and human space ight. are. eir competitors are learning and adopting, albeit slowly. If their In comparison to another private startup, Blue Origin, founded in competitors don’t adopt, they’ll be le behind, consigned to the history2000 by Amazon founder and billionaire Je Bezos, two years before books.SpaceX, has yet to y a rocket or spacecra to orbit. Blue Origin is a With the good times comes good news. Earlier this year, SpaceXvery secretive company but with little to show publicly, it’s safe to say it announced it would be returning to Vandenberg, this time it wouldis years behind SpaceX. use Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) and wouldn’t have to Another comparison worth making is with NASA’s now defunct worry about the previous restriction that plagued SLC-3W. SpaceXConstellation Program. e program was born from the Vision for broke ground on the new complex in July and is expected to launchSpace Exploration released by President Bush in February 2004. its rst vehicle from there in early 2013. Instead of launching Falcon 1 e program was to see the development of Orion, a crew capsule to from Vandenberg, SpaceX will now be launching its new entry into thecarry astronauts, Altair a lunar lander and the Ares launcher. e heavy li launch market, the Falcon Heavy. And what a beast it is. eprogram was estimated to cost $97 billion if it had continued through Falcon Heavy will be able to launch 53 metric tons to Low Earth Orbit,2020. e rst products of the program were to have been Orion more than twice the payload of its’ nearest competitor. And this forand Ares. In fact, considerable work was done in both programs an advertised price of between $80 and $125 million, which is cheaperand NASA did launch a test vehicle, the Ares-1X on a 2 minute test than anyone else. ight in October of 2009. e test however came a month a er the Pricing is the foundation of SpaceX’s future success. If theyGovernment Accountability O ce (GAO) had released a report titled can continue to reduce the cost per launch, then not only will they“Constellation Program Cost and Schedule Will Remain Uncertain dominate the market but they will open up access to space to moreUntil a Sound Business Case Is Established”. In the report, the GAO government and commercial ventures. Of course, that’s the wholesaid that development of Ares 1 and Orion represented $49 billion point. SpaceX doesn’t exist as a government jobs program. Nor doesof the $97 billion estimated for the program through 2020 and that it exist to make its owners rich. SpaceX exists to help humanity andNASA was already obligated to spend $10 billion in contracts. In to make it a space-faring civilization. at’s the vision. at’s whatFebruary 2010, President Obama e ectively killed the program by competitors have to deal with.not funding it in the next budget. In June of this year, NASA o cially e question is, can it dominate the market?terminated the program. While Constellation is dead, the Orion SpaceX is a growing company. It has more than 1500 employeescapsule was reborn as the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. As for the now. Can the innovations that got it to this point continue as itlauncher Ares, congress has directed NASA to build something bigger, grows? Musk thinks so. He said “SpaceX intends to make far moremuch bigger, a Heavy Li Launch Vehicle under the new program dramatic reductions in price in the long term when full launch vehiclename Space Launch System. To date, NASA has not released how it reusability is achieved. We will not be satis ed with our progress untilwill proceed with this Congress mandated program. we have achieved this long sought goal of the space industry.” Vehicle NASA spent over $10 billion over seven years to develop what was reusability is one of those innovations SpaceX has yet to conquer andthe Constellation Program. Other than one short rocket test, it had no which it feels it must to bring down launch costs by a factor of ten ashardware ready to y, whether it’s a capsule or rocket at the time of the once promised. e quote was part of a statement Musk made in Mayprograms termination. of this year in response to Chinese o cials who said that China could It should be noted that NASA did invest in an alternate launch not compete with SpaceX’s low prices.system and crew capsule. rough the Commercial Orbital Another issue for SpaceX to deal with is going public. SpaceX willTransportation Services Program, NASA invested in several have to go public once it reaches the 500 shareholder mark. It wouldcommercial companies to help fund development of their e orts to have done so already but with the market the way it’s been the lastprovide cargo services to NASA for the International Space Station few years, this has been put on hold. Musk told Space Quarterly that(ISS). As well, NASA funded the Commercial Crew Development should the market stabilize and be “in decent shape”, then in late 2012program. is program is to help commercial companies in their the company might be ready to go public. SpaceX has to go public atdevelopment of commercial crew access to the ISS. Ironically enough, some point because all employees receive stock options. Going publicNASA has granted $300 million from those programs to SpaceX. has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, it means an in ux of cash to help the company grow even further. On the minus side comes
  • 40 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Elon MuskCredit: SpaceXpressure to deliver results sooner, the added overhead of lings and has helped. e third round of funding for the Commercial Crewmore complicated tax preparation but more importantly the focus Development program is expected to be announced in the fall.of the company, the singular vision can be slowly eroded through No doubt SpaceX will be one the applicants. However with massivepublic in uence. However it’s hard to see Musk relinquishing control budget de cits, and a Congress that can’t seem to get anything done,of SpaceX or having the vision change. One way to go public and there is no guarantee the program will go forward. And of coursekeep voting control, thus controlling the direction of the company, there is no guarantee SpaceX will win funding should the next roundis if SpaceX o ers dual-class shares. With dual-class shares there is go forward. If it doesn’t it, might slow down development of SpaceX’sone class for anyone who wants to buy shares and another with super Dragon program but it will go forward with it nonetheless.voting rights. Currently SpaceX has eight Dragons under development and Another potential problem for SpaceX going forward is patents. NASA has agreed to combine its second and third demo ights into e patent system in the U.S. is broken and is badly in need of repair, one resulting in an expected November 30th launch of Falcon 9 withbut that doesn’t appear to be something the government plans on a Dragon spacecra onboard and a rendezvous with the ISS in early xing anytime soon. Musk told Space Quarterly that if he had his December. It’s also considering expanding its launch locations toway, SpaceX wouldn’t le patent applications. e reason is simple, it include a strictly commercial launch facility, though no location haswould provide a blueprint of some of SpaceX’s innovations that could been selected yet.be copied by foreign competitors who ignore the patent laws. Having SpaceX has grown from an idea in 2002 to a company that must besaid that, Musk did say SpaceX has led a few patent applications and reckoned with and one which could dominate the sector. at’s quitewould le more in the future in response to another commercial space an accomplishment for a nine year old company in a tough business.company who is ling patent applications for “obvious things”, thus And while its vision and its business acumen have gotten it this far,taking advantage of a broken patent system. SpaceX has a long way to go before it reaches its ultimate goal: making SpaceX has leveraged every little advantage it could along the way. humanity a space-faring civilization. e market is there. Can it growGetting NASA funding to help further development of its program it, hold it, enable it further?
  • 42 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011XCOR test fires its Lynx 5K18 engine with lightweight aluminum nozzle; United Launch Alliance (ULA) and XCORto apply the nozzle and XCOR’s liquid hydrogen (LH2) pump technology to new LH2 engine development.Credit: XCOR/ Mike Massee
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 43InterviewTHE ACCIDENTAL CEOEva-Jane Lark speaks with Jeff Greason,CEO of XCOR Aerospace EVA-JANE LARK: XCOR Aerospace, JEFF GREASON: Much less than I would at 11 years old, is one of the first have expected. I gured that if our business NewSpace companies and perhaps plan survived contact with 3 years of reality, we one of the longest survivors in this very were going to be doing pretty good. Instead, challenging, emerging industry. How I have to say that things have developed very has your vision of the future and XCOR’s much along the lines that I expected but of role in it changed since you started the course it’s taken longer—both for XCOR and company? for the industry as a whole to get through
  • 44 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Credit: XCOR the steps that I was anticipating, largely media will rediscover one of those markets because of the di culty of getting capital and for a short time, all the articles will be investment in the industry. e few surprises about that market. So it’s interesting watching I didn’t expect—I didn’t expect COTS, I the tides of fashion come and go. But all three thought NASA would defer any substantial of those have always been an important part participation in the commercial market until of our business model and we have plenty it was too late to do them any good. at’s of customer interest in all of these market a positive surprise. e other thing I didn’t segments. Even among the market that is expect was the traditional aerospace players people, tourism is by no means the only or to reach out to the emerging players quite as even necessarily the dominant component early in the process as has been happening. My of that market. Researchers—people who are only really negative surprise is that of raising being paid to y into space because they areEva-Jane Lark is a Vice-President and capital—I knew was going to be hard—but going to do some value-added activity—are aInvestment Advisor at one of Canada’s it has been even harder than I’d thought and substantial portion of the market for people.largest full-service investment firms and that’s slowed things down. But the large players ey’re not paying their own way.is a passionate observer and advocate of are joining in a constructive way in what’sspace development, especially commercial going on, earlier than I had expected. And that’s one of the advantages ofspace development. She is frequentlyinvited as a speaker, panelist and judge to a one on one vehicle as opposed to aoffer her keen insights into emerging new Your Lynx vehicle and the (suborbital) multi-passenger vehicle…space industries and their financing, as well Space Tourism market are what XCOR is Oh de nitely. e experimenters all haveas business case and policy issues facing best known for, but that is not your only customer requirements of one kind or another.SBSP and space resource development. She product and market, is it? ey o en need the vehicle trajectory to beis the creator and author of EVA Interviews: No, the suborbital market right from the designed for their mission or they need theThe Business of the New Space Age™. beginning to us has been segmented into vehicle windows to point in a given direction People, Payloads and Upper Stages and not and that would obviously be much more one of those markets has ever dominated di cult if you were trying to balance the needs our thinking. From time to time, the popular
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 45of many di erent customers on one short As you’ve predicted, NASA budgets will I think non-defense discretionary spending is ight. be dropping. How are you and XCOR going to be declining across the board, and if dealing with that? Do you think this NASA just manages to decline at the same rateCan you tell us more about what is provides any unexpected opportunities as the budget as a whole, I think they are goingcurrently the largest contributor to your to you or the commercial space sector to be doing well.earnings? Also where you’ve had the as a whole? Or just problems?most recent successes? NASA’s budget dropping is not an opportunity, In the past, you have mentioned the ere really is no one single thing that it is a problem. It’s not so much a problem for challenges you have with getting partshas dominated our net revenues over the us because NASA is not an important part of and supplies. SpaceX has also chosencompany’s history anymore. Certainly, we’ve our business model. Certainly there are others to make most of their own componentsdone a number of rocket engine or rocket companies that have viewed NASA as an from scratch due to these samepropulsion system developments for variouscustomers. We’ve done some work with NASA.We’ve done some work with DARPA. We’vedone some work with ATK. We’ve done somework with ULA that’s currently ongoing.All of those have been revenue generating Yeah! Everyone likes the partactivities for us. Generally speaking, we havea technology roadmap of the technologieswe need for our own future vision. Once that makes the fire.we’ve done some of the initial research anddevelopment on those, there’s o en a biggerinvestment that’s required to mature thetechnology to the point where it is ight read. we’ve had some success in nding othercustomers who are interested in the technologythat we’ve developed. Instead of having todevelop the technology to the fully ight ready important part of their business model and for challenges with quality, availability andstatus on our own dime, we get paid to do it. them, it can be a de nite negative. Certainly, timely delivery. Most people, when they whatever damage it does to the United States, think of commercial opportunities inWe do have some advance sales revenue for it is a much more serious problem for people the NewSpace sector, focus only on thethe services of the Lynx and we have some who aren’t in the commercial space sector perceived excitement and glamour ofrevenue from advanced sales or advanced wet than for people who are. For people who the rocket companies.lease payments on vehicles to our two external are in the commercial sector, by de nition, Yeah! Everyone likes the part that makes thecustomers—Space Experiences Curaçao which we have markets that aren’t government, re.is a Dutch company that is going to operate otherwise we wouldn’t be commercial. Foron the former Dutch possession of Curaçao that portion of the aerospace industry that It strikes me that there areand Yecheon Astro Space Center which is depends on government contracts for their opportunities for skilled technicianslocated in South Korea. And we’ve done some entire livelihood, and for the entire population and entrepreneurs to create businessesdesign service work for vehicles that people are of the United States which depends on the providing parts and components to thedesigning where they want us to integrate the continued access to space services, satellites, larger NewSpace companies, and evenpropulsion systems for them. We sometimes GPS and things like that; the health of that to the traditional aerospace companies. nd ourselves doing a fair amount of design industrial base ought to be a matter of great Is that happening? Where do you see thesupport, on a paid basis, on how to integrate concern. So it’s a bad thing for the commercial greatest need for innovative solutions?that propulsion system. space industry but it’s a much worse thing for It’s not happening to a very great extent yet. the nation as a whole. e reason I predicted ere are cases. But yes, that’s where theWhich product or market has the largest it, is simply because the pressures on the entire opportunity is. When this industry becomesgrowth potential for you? budget are going to grow. NASA has enormous successful, it will go through a transition fromSuborbital ights services. at’s where our potential to be of tremendous service to the vertically integrated companies to horizontallyheart is and it’s in the near term. e key on country; even more so than it has been. But integrated companies. Much like the transitionthat one is to get the vehicle ying. for various reasons that potential has by no that happened in the electronics industry, means been fully realized. I think people can when we went from computing that was beingAny time frame? legitimately question whether NASA is as done by companies like IBM or DEC. IBMWe’re working as fast as we can and the money valuable a use of taxpayer’s money as some used to boast that they started with the sandsituation continues to improve so right now other uses and that makes them vulnerable and ended with the complete system. WeI’m hoping to get ight tests going in the fall at a time when the budgets are going to eventually went through a transition whereof next year—barring surprise and there are be constrained up and down the federal now there are companies that specialize in discmany sources of surprise. government. drives, companies that specialize in central
  • 46 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011processing units, companies specializing in do the end-to-end systems to come in to do will ourish, so there will be a rising tide thatmemory, companies that make mother boards pieces of the value chain and start companies. we can be a part of.etc. at made a much better product availableat a much lower price with much greater That’s my perception. It seems to be an I think of you as having become thecapabilities. at’s going to happen in this area that is rarely focused on. “accidental space policy guru”…industry, but it’s not happening yet. e reason It will be very di cult to make a go of it in Well I’m already the accidental CEO. efor that is, as you mentioned, the supply chain that kind of a supply-chain business until there core of XCOR’s business is to develop spaceof components is very thin right now—valves, are a few more companies who are cash ow transportation capabilities that are trulypumps, tanks. ere are companies that do positive and pro table to be your customers. independent from anything other thanaero structures and that’s very valuable. We’re commercial market forces, so that we don’tusing that. Engines, reaction control thrusters, Or in a similar terrestrial niche rely on the winds of government agencies to be able to sustain our business. Having said that though, transportation technologies of all types, throughout what history we I figured that if our business have, have usually had a relationship with the government. e reason for that is very plan survived contact with 3 simple. e nature of a transportation sector is that they enable sectors of the economy so years of reality, we were going it’s always very important to the development of the economy that you have transportation. to be doing pretty good. Many, many more dollars of the GDP depend on the existence of transportation than ever ow into the transportation sector. So it’s always an arena that’s correctly seen as an important sector for our government policy. And there is always a connection between transportation technologies and military readiness. ere’s a relationship betweenlife support systems (that has one or two possibly… automobiles and tanks, there’s a relationshipvenders), suits—we had to facilitate a company Yes I think that’s de nitely how I would do it— between commerce shipping and the navy,standing up to do suits because we couldn’t is come up with how can I have two sides of there’s a relationship between having a civil nd the suits that we wanted. ere’s a lot of the same product line, one of which that serves and a military aircra sector. So for allstu that goes into an aerospace vehicle and the aerospace industry and one that serves those reasons, the government isn’t goingright now, companies are nding themselves, terrestrial markets. away and they will have a presence in theourselves included, making a lot of those space transportation arena as they do inpieces. Which is what makes it tough. In the You’ve discussed propellant depots and other transportation. erefore it would beshort term, there’s opportunity there because the importance of ISRU (in-situ resource enormously helpful if that were an in uencepart of what interests our customers in XCOR utilization) in various venues. Is XCOR that fostered the development of spaceis they will discover that we are successfully itself pursuing any technologies in these transportation technologies rather than beingmaking some piece, and they will come to us areas and do you feel this concept is either indi erent or obstructive.to see if we will make that kind of piece for gaining enough acceptance to becomethem. en they discover we make, not just a focus for space programs or is the big e days in which the government was anpieces but whole systems and they o en end huge rocket mentality still in charge? obstructive in uence to the development ofup transitioning to a whole propulsion system e big huge rocket mentality won’t win but space transportation are gone. at was truecoming from us. But there is only so much one that doesn’t mean any of the alternatives will for a while but it’s not now. So now the onlycompany can focus on without losing its focus. either. By which I mean the proponents of the frustrating aspect is that we have this oneWe are constantly making new valves. I would great big rocket may choose to go down with sector of government involvement in spacelove to see valves spin out as a line of business. the ship. And stay clinging to the gurehead transportation called NASA and NASA spendsBut I haven’t had the bandwidth to gure out of that past glory until the whole enterprise on the order of $3B a year procuring spacehow to make that into a business of its own ounders—which wouldn’t be a bad thing. transportation services. And that’s a lot—inright without losing my focus. If there were a comparison to scale of the commercial marketsuitable company out there who wanted to be We aren’t pursuing any technologies in that in space transportation. So if they choose toin the valve business—we should talk! Because area directly. It’s a little weird for me as I have spend that money on things that are quitemaybe we can license some of our designs to two roles that I play right now in the industry. di erent than commercial customers want, sothem for a fee and then we don’t have to worry One of them, of course, and the one that’s most that it doesn’t come from the same industrialabout doing next generation designs for all important to me, is to head my company but base, then that taxpayers’ money is spent inthe valves. And that’s just one of many, many one of them is also to try and help shape the a way that doesn’t procure us any new spaceexamples. ere are lots more opportunities policy direction so that the industry as a whole transportation. It just serves NASA’s needs, itfor people who don’t want to or aren’t able to doesn’t have any implications for the larger
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 47XCOR CEO Jeff Greason performs a suit fit check in anengineering mockup of the Lynx pressure cabin.Credit: XCOR national capability to do space transportation. no choice but to maintain their own industrial Je Greason is the founder, President and If they choose to purchase things that can base because the things they want to do, the CEO of XCOR Aerospace. XCOR Aerospace come from the national industrial base that human exploration missions they want to do, is focused on the research, development also serves military and commercial needs, can’t be done any other way. e importance of and production of safe, reliable, reusable then it would make a big di erence for the propellant transfer technology, (you don’t even launch vehicles (RLVs), rocket engines and good. Propellant transfer is a tactic. It is necessarily even need the depot, just being rocket propulsion systems. Je Greason not in and of itself a goal. e real driver, able to move the propellant from one vehicle is a recognized leader in the commercial which I’m always beating on, is why doesn’t that you’ve launched into another), is that as space flight arena and one of the foremost NASA participate in the nation’s aerospace soon as you have that capability demonstrated, authorities on NewSpace regulatory enterprise instead of having its own parallel it is clearly, demonstrably not true that you policies and rules. In 2009, Je served aerospace industrial base? We’re seeing now must have this unique capability that is totally on the President’s Human Space Flight the implications of that. If NASA were to unsupplyable from any other source, in order Review Committee (Augustine Committee) purchase launch services from the industrial to do exploration missions. which conducted an independent review of base that serves the other two sectors then if U.S. human spaceflight plans. He holds 18 their budget went up, they could buy more And once we have that capability, you can patents. and if it went down they could buy less. But start planning how to do moon missions with we wouldn’t be facing this problem that if they Delta IV heavies tomorrow. Or you can start buy a little less, the entire enterprise ounders planning how to do Mars missions with 20 because they can no longer sustain large ton vehicles that you can get from ULA or sectors of their own supply chain. SpaceX and that they would produce on the same production line that they would produce e importance of propellant depots is simply smaller rockets that serve other customers. that it had o en been argued that they have You’d still share the same industrial base even
  • 48 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011though the rocket might have a di erent name is a long term historical movement. We tend Assuming XCOR is successful with Lynxplate on it. It’s just that there is an attachment to look back at the opening of the West or and the suborbital markets, what is yourto, not just doing human missions, which I the opening of the Americas and we look at next big goal?understand and totally support, there’s an particular events—the Louisiana Purchase or Absolutely, Lynx is just one more step onattachment to doing them the same way we did the expeditions of Columbus and we think that our technology roadmap. XCOR has alwaysApollo—which really you can only explain as because those were turning points on the road, planned for a fully reusable two stage orbitalan appeal to magic. e believe that somehow they were milestones that were reached, that system. In fact Lynx is what we got when weif we just do something that looks enough somehow that’s all the mattered. But lots of said we need a simpler, earlier vehicle that willlike Apollo the happy days will come again other things were going on, so these things do demonstrate and mature the technology thatand NASA’s budget will miraculously climb have a movement aspect to them. I mentioned we need for the orbital system. Because we’reto Apollo levels. at doesn’t work. We had a earlier in another context that sometimes a for-pro t company, that predecessor vehicleSaturn 5 before and we cancelled it. Becausethe budget wouldn’t support it! And the ideasfor how to do Saturn 5 class boosters today areno cheaper.Working with the FAA, do you find thempositive and enabling or are they a Why doesn’t NASAchallenge for you?All of the above. We have to have them. So participate in the nation’sthey are enabling. And they do many thingsthat are positive in assisting the industry aerospace enterpriseto develop. At times, they require a lot ofdialogue and a lot of work to move things instead of having itsto the right conclusion and at times that canbe a challenge. And I suspect they’d say the own parallel aerospaceexact same things about us. But we have agood relationship with FAA/AST. I’ve beenworking with them now longer than most of industrial base?the people have been at the agency. We have agood legislative foundation for the regulationof commercial space ight in the United Statesand that regulatory foundation really is theenvy of the world in the space regulatory arenaright now. A lot of other countries that wouldlike to operate these kinds of vehicles arelooking at what the United States has done and people have a tendency to think of these things can’t just be an experiment, it has to be revenuealmost the rst thing I hear almost every time with magical thinking, that if I just create the generating in its own right and that’s how theI talk to an operator in another country is that symptoms that somehow I will create the cause Lynx came to be.we don’t have any laws like that yet. So we’re too. at doesn’t work. A lot of smart people,in a good position, we’ve done a lot of smart a lot of very passionate people have put a lot of You’ve shown what someone with a keenthings; we just have to not screw it up. e ort since the Apollo era into trying to trying interest in space can do by deciding to to make space happen by getting a critical take action. XCOR is the result. Do youAs the “accidental space policy guru”, mass of people to care about how important have any recommendations for like-you’ve become an eloquent voice in it is. I’m not against that, I’m all for it. But the minded individuals?space policy discussions with your reason why transportation, I think correctly Hmmm.recent speeches and your participation receives a lot of focus right now is that becausein the Augustine Committee. In your people believe it can actually happen in some Yeah.recent ISDC speech*, you addressed reasonably near time frame. And if we don’tthe unspoken goal of “settlement” that solve the transportation problem, it won’t. I could be wrong but I don’t think so. I thinkNASA and politicians skirt around rarely But that doesn’t mean the other aspects aren’t that, it’s tough to predict the time frame, butusing that term. What foundations do important but I’m not the right kind of guy to within a time horizon that makes sense toyou think are crucial, that are not yet tackle that problem. I don’t think about how think about, I think we are going to solve thein place or have been insufficiently to do it. Earth to orbit transportation problem. I thinkfocused on by governments and the we’re going to get space transportation that’scommercial sector? in a cost range where there are a lot of otherOpening space as a real frontier, as a place * 2011 International Space Development markets that open up for doing things infor settlement as a supplier of resources, as Conference space. What we really need are those markets.a generator of wealth for terrestrial society, http://youtube.com/watch?v=Wy2kIPLsUn0 We don’t need another trucking service right
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 49now. What we need are things in trucks. e talking for 30 years about all the businesses we we need more businesses to use rockets. erechallenge of the space transportation business could start. Well, let’s start some. are a lot of studies that have been done, a lot ofis that unless the government chooses to ideas out there. One of the interesting thingsstimulate the market by participating in it as a Frequently research has been done and it’s paid about the space business is that unlike mostcustomer, then the markets for advanced space o . It’s simply that nobody could gure out other businesses, because it’s been fallow for sotransportation are speculative. Everybody how to commercialize it at the kind of price long, you don’t have to invent a great idea, youbelieves that they’re there but it’s hard to points that the transportation was at. ere can go and look one up!borrow money on that basis. So the time is was a set of studies done back in the 1990supon us to start the next FedEx or the next called the Commercial Space Transportation Thank you so much, Jeff for a veryFlowers.com or the next people who gure out Study and every couple of pages in that have enlightening discussion!that you can ship fresh sh from Alaska. You di erent business ideas. If transportation gotknow, in the same way that there are many, down to this, or that kind of price range, thenmany more companies that make money this or that kind of business would becomeby using air transportation than there are interesting.Boeings. It’s time for people to start thinkingabout the business plans for—what if we DO Really the bottom line message is that if people Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are those ofhave a way to get things up and down to space want to get involved but they’re not rocket the author and her guest and may not reflectfor, say, $500 a pound? People have been scientists, we don’t need more rocket scientists, those of Space Quarterly or BMO Nesbitt Burns.
  • 50 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Most of Africa and portions of Europe and Asia can be seen in this spectacular photograph takenfrom the Apollo 11 spacecraft during its trans-lunar coast toward the moon. July 17, 1969.Credit: NASA
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 51AfricaAfrica and SpaceBy Jim VolpMANY PROBLEMS HAVE PLAGUED AND us, many countries want to take part in mostly to the lack of funding and basiccontinue to plague the continent of Africa, the space industry. It is not surprising that infrastructure. is has changed in recentfrom inherent poverty to natural disasters, within some of the least-developed countries years, though, with a number of Africanto repeated battles with famine, and to tribal there also exists a body of well-educated, countries creating space agencies, developingwars. e current drought in the horn of highly informed, scienti cally and technically space policies with long-term plans, andAfrica illustrates this all too clearly. e sophisticated individuals who are recognized launching satellites into space.realization of its predicament has urged for their e orts to introduce space science and e African countries that have spacevarious African governments to embark on technology to bene t national development. agencies are Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, andcapacity building to help reduce high levels of e African Association of Remote Sensing of South Africa. Libya, Tunisia, Morocco,illiteracy and bring about development. the Environment alone has over one thousand Ghana, Ethiopia, and Mauritius have remote Space applications have proved to be of registered members with various degrees sensing centres. ere are ten African remotegreat value to humanity, both as a means of of experience and zeal to work toward the sensing and communication satellites inresource utilization and as a catalyst for the improvement of the environment. space. Algeria and Nigeria are also stronggrowth and development of other industries. Although African countries are joining the partners of the Disaster MonitoringIn many space-advanced countries, space race 50 years a er the Sputnik launch, Constellation consortium.development in the space industry has for African countries it is not so much about e rst African in space was Southresulted in innovation and has stimulated space exploration as it about a race against African Mark Shuttleworth* who in 2002research to use various spino s from poverty, food insecurity, natural disasters, paid to y on a Russian Soyuz as a spacethe space industry. ese countries have and environmental degradation. participant to the International Spacecontinued to expand upon their application of Station.. at ight almost a decade old hasspace technology far beyond the initial aims The Space Industry in Africa inspired youth in and beyond the Africanof reaching above Earth for communication, African countries have used various continent to pursue Science, Technology,environmental monitoring, management, applications of space technology for some Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)and, more recently, navigation. e time, with South Africa, Algeria, and Egypt education.advantages of these developments in the space having the oldest history of space activity onindustry are well known through workshops the continent. South Africa space activities Cooperationand seminars as well as through websites arose through interests in astronomy in 1820, African countries have talked more and morethat provide information on the laudable and has been active in space observations about improving the utilization of spaceachievements based upon space technology and satellite tracking since the beginning of resources to promote continental development. the space age. e Algerian space program e Abuja Treaty of 1991 explicitly commits started in 1947 during the colonial period, the African Union to establish a satellite-basedJim Volp’s interest for Space in Africa when France established a constellation of system of communication.started after visiting Nigeria as part launch complexes and test sites at the Special Apart from Africans leading the growthof a UNESCO Space Education team in Weapons Test Centre. e Egyptian space of the space sector in Africa, other space2005. Ever since it has been his goal program was established in 1960, although it agencies, such as ESA, NASA, the Indianto help facilitate the development of was discontinued a er only seven years. Space Research Organisation, and theAfrican space activities, one way or theother. Jim is a consultant for the UAE- For a long time, African countries Brazilian Space Agency, have over timebased Arab Youth Venture Foundation. continued to use space resources without shown interest in partnering with Africa to venturing as major space players due promote the space sector. For example, the
  • 52 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011NASRDA engineer with NigeriaSat-X and NigeriaSat-2 during thermalvacuum testing at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories.Credit: Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.former President of India, A.P.J. Abul Kalam will take place in Cape Town. During the week analyzed. What activities are going on? Whoproposed Indo-African space cooperation prior to the conference, there will be a special are the major players in the space industryand extended a line of credit that supported program called “Space Serving Development in each country? How are space-relatedspace applications such as tele-medicine, in Africa.” Several organizations helped activities carried out? How does one get to thee-commerce, and e-governance. build momentum leading up to the IAC: In key actors? e answers to these questions are ESA is in support of commitments made September 2010, a high-level conference called not readily available.by the EU supporting Africa in countering “Space for the African Citizen” was organizedthe e ects of climate change, combating in Brussels. e proceedings of this conference Review of Information Sourcesdeserti cation, and environmental were on the agenda of the joint meeting of the A number of studies and reports exist aboutdegradation. A very successful ESA project EU and ESA Ministerial Council and the 3rd the applications of space technology in Africa.is the TIGER initiative, which addresses the Africa-EU Summit of Heads of States. Some are available online, and others are canproblem of water management in Africa. e European Space Policy Institute only be accessed in hard copy. Here are some e United Nations has established (ESPI) and Eurisy have embarked on a 2-year key information sources:two regional centres for space science and project called “Fostering a European-Africantechnology education, one in Morocco for Partnership for Sustainable Development in Athena Global Earth Observation Guide:French-speaking countries and the other in Africa through Satellite Applications.” Last is guide contains information about howNigeria for English-speaking countries. And but not least, the International Academy of Earth observation satellite technology is usedthe UN International Strategy for Disaster Astronautics is creating a lot of positive waves globally. It summarizes Earth observationReduction promotes disaster information with events organized in Tunis, Nigeria, and infrastructure and applications in 43 countriesmanagement in Africa. Cameroon. including countries in Africa. It lists names e development of an African space of agencies involved in Earth observationagency has been proposed to coordinate and The Challenge within each country and gives insight intolink the various isolated scientists around the Many projects that involve the use of space are the opportunities and hurdles. e guidecontinent. e idea is still in its infancy but if ongoing in Africa. However, what is clearly sees possibilities of partnerships betweenmodelled a er the ESA, it could go a long way lacking is a comprehensive overview of what is African capacity nodes and other satelliteto championing space activities in Africa. going on in a central information portal. operators and acknowledges a willingness by As an example in 2005, NOAA conducted the international community to assist AfricaIt’s Time for Africa a global remote-sensing survey. e survey in times of disaster. It is limited in content, e focus on Africa is rising, remarkably indicated a steady growth in the use of however, because it covers only six Africanso this year. In early October 2011, the remote-sensing technology in Africa. countries: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa,International Astronautical Conference (IAC) However, the African market is still poorly Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt. Although these
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 53countries are active in space applications, National Academies Press Book: is book team members and follow the rollout of space-they are not representative of the capacity contains information about geographic related educational materials in South Africa.available in the continent. See http://www. information activities in Africa with a focus http://www.africaninspace.comathenaglobal.com/en/AGEOguide.html on areas targeted by the U.S. program called GSID. It covers many countries and subdivides Index of Objects Launched into Space:ESPI Report: is European Space Policy Africa into three regions: the upper Niger http://www.oosa.unvienna.org/oosa/Institute report contains a comprehensive basin in West Africa, the Limpopo-Zambesi showSearch.domapping of European-African Actors and region of South-Eastern Africa, and theActivities. See http://www.espi.or.at/index. African Great lakes/Kenyan-Tanzania coastal Space in Africa LinkedIn Group:php?option=com_content&id=21 zone in East Africa. It also includes ongoing A LinkedIn group was started to unite e orts international projects in Africa. See http:// and share news and information. See http://Jane’s Space Systems and Industry Directory: www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_ www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2534090 is directory contains names, addresses, and id=10455summaries of a few space organizations in ConclusionAfrica. It also lists space systems and industries * e First African in Space Project: Clearly Africa is entering a new phase inand provides information about South Africa, In April 2002, a citizen of an African country space activities, momentum is building andZimbabwe, Côte-d’Ivoire, Morocco, Egypt, launched into space and journeyed to the more resources are being made available.Kenya, and Gabon. e information seems International Space Station. e website is Space activities globally are on the rise andto be concentrated on potential war zones your guide to the mission, to the science Africa will not be le behind. Africa in space,and weapon manufacturers. e information experiments that South African scientists once considered a distant proposition, is noprovided is quite good but covers only a few designed for, to the diary of a cosmonaut-in- longer. Africa in space is happening rightcountries. In addition, it is not as updated as training, to the personal stories of the team now.one would expect from this great information members who made it all a success. Check ourbank. See http://jsd.janes.com/ galleries of project images, read the logs of our
  • 54 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011 ALOS satellite view of Sendai in the Tohoku region showing the extensive flooding of the airport and vicinity. Credit: JAXA
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 55JapanJapan’s Space ProgramAfter the DisasterBy Paul Kallender-Umezu FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011 14:46. WITHIN seaboard. ey showed a map which was lit seconds of the swaying beginning, it was up crimson ashing with tsunami warnings. apparent that the tremor ripping through An hour later, the shock turned to horror Tokyo was no ordinary quake. It takes a force as we watched a Self Defense Force (SDF) of nature to make a building as substantial as helicopter’s live video of a titanic black the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, tsunami rolling through elds and villages, feel like it is “swimming”. e whole building smashing houses and tossing and engul ng felt like it had bounced o its foundations and cars like little toys in its wake. It is a sight I was oating, like a cup and saucer back and will never forget. forth over a table on a ship plowing through a e Great Eastern Japan Earthquake major storm. shi ed Japan’s main island Honshu 2.4 meters At one minute, when even strong quakes nearer China and managed to jolt the Earth usually begin to subside, the author did on its axis by something between 10 and 25 something he’s never done in 20 years cm, according to estimates. But as devastating living and working in Japan—he joined the and dreadful as it was to the Tohoku region, Ministry sta in huddling in disbelief under killing over 20,000 people and destroying or the nearest desk as at panel displays lurched damaging over 125,000 buildings across 18 drunkenly, les shot o tables, and chairs Japanese prefectures, the good news is that rolled leisurely across aisles. e surges that this monster quake didn’t do any substantial started rippling through the substantial damage to Japan’s space infrastructure. e 17-story bunker of concrete and masonry that factories, space centers and parts suppliers are houses the Ministry just kept coming. all located far from the devastated region. Sometime during the third minute, the e bad news is that while Japan’s limitedA graduate of Columbia J-School where swaying, accompanied by the odd scream, space recourses and extensive disasterhe won the Horgan Prize for Excellence in had subsided. Emerging, we stood in shock management and observation agreementsScience Writing, Kallender-Umezu is Tokyo as data started pouring out of the NHK did a grand, however limited job in providingCorrespondent for Space News and Defense news bulletin showing a “kyodai jishin” critical support and information to centralNews and coauthor of In Defense of Japan: (megaquake) initially registering magnitude and local government and responders, theFrom the Market to the Military in SpacePolicy (Stanford University Press, 2010). 8.8, soon upgraded to 8.9 (and subsequently costs of reconstruction and recovery to Japan 9.0), occurred hundreds of miles away as a nation are likely to deal a crippling o the shore of the north eastern Tohoku to long laid out hopes to double Japan’s
  • 56 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011space budget to provide a national disaster Chunghwa Telecom would be shipped on achievable by other assets. We were ablemonitoring infrastructure as envisioned. time. ( e satellite, based on MELCO’s to con rm and measure extent and scale e immediate impact of the March DS2000 frame, was subsequently launched of ooding in Minami-Soma that provedmegaquake on Japan’s space program was, in late May.) Similarly Mitsubishi Heavy invaluable to gauging what rescue resourcesit seems, relatively minimal. Some damage Industries’ complex near Nagoya, where the should be assigned to such areas, helped withoccurred at the 530,000 square-meter H-2A medium launch vehicle and H-2B/HTV search patterns and priorities. We were able toTsukuba Space Center complex, where the ISS launch/resupply vehicles are built, is even speed the search for victims and help decisionJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) further away, as is Japan’s launch complex in makers with reconstruction priorities,”runs the country’s International Space Station far o Kagoshima, southern Japan. Takiguchi said.project, said Midori Nishiura, Executive However in terms of the broader picture, ETS-8 and Kizuna were able to o er morefor Public A airs at JAXA, causing repairs if there is one thing that the Great East Japan limited, but still useful help. For example,at the Tsukuba visitors center, for example. Earthquake proved, it was the utility of Kizuna provided a range of high de nitionMore serious for Tsukuba, which is situated space assets to provide detailed and useful video conferencing systems for particularlyabout midway between Tokyo and Tohoku, disaster monitoring information, survey hard-hit cities with central government andwas a collapsed roof that caused an 11-day data and emergency communications that responders. “Kizuna played a vital role inshutdown of a control room for mission proved invaluable assets to central and local promoting face-to-face teleconferencing,operations for the Japanese Kibo laboratory government, police and the Self Defense helping local government coordinate theiron the International Space Station (ISS). Force, said Futoshi Takiguchi, Manager, response,” Takaguchi said. Additionally, repairs have had to be Disaster Management Support Systems More impressive was how the resourcesconducted at the Tsukuba’s 13-meter diameter o ce at JAXA’s Satellite Applications and of SENTINAL Asia swung into action, hespace chamber, said Professor Kozo Fujii, Promotion Center. said, with data provided by FORMOSAT-2,Deputy Director General at JAXA’s Institute While JAXA is a research and THEOS and CARTOSAT all providingof Space and Astronautical Science, but the development organization, it was still able images of the coastline. Further, JAXA wasdelays are not enough to disturb JAXA’s to put its on-orbit resources in the form of able to utilize its longstanding partnershipmission schedules. “Yes, there was some the cartographical and ground monitoring with the International Charter for Space anddamage, and I am not allowed to say how ALOS (Daichi), the WINDS (Kizuna) gigabit Major Disasters to provide data from a slewmuch, but we usually have about six months Internet, and ETS-8 geostationary-to-mobile of resources including SPOT-5, RADARSAT,bu er and the delays are easily absorbable,” satellites to good use, Takiguchi said in a July Terrasar-X, Rapideye, IKONOS, Geoeye andhe told Space Quarterly in an interview. 25 interview with Space Quarterly at Tsukuba. Worldview 1 and 2, among others. e private sector emerged unscathed, Just as importantly, JAXA was able to lever But the main concern is what mightaccording to public relations o cials its deep and broad connections with the have been, said Takiguchi. Daichi, alreadycontacted for this article. Both Mitsubishi SENTINAL system, a pan-Asian cooperative operating beyond its mission life when theElectric Corporation (MELCO) and NEC emergency disaster monitoring network tsunami rolled in, ceased functioning onCorp., which have their main satellite framework, he said. April 22.factories based in Kamakura and Keihin, First o , Daichi swung into operation With only three domestically built R&Dsandwiched between Tokyo and Yokohama, almost immediately and by the evening of satellites available, and each of them taskedreported no damage and no interruptions in March 11 was already providing disaster with its own international and domesticproduction. mapping of the Tohoku region to Iwate, missions, JAXA’s e orts were arguably MELCO quickly sought to reassure its Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. “Daichi impressive. However budget concerns meancustomers that the ST-2 telecom satellite was able to make extensive mapping of the that future missions may face delays—justbeing built for SingTel and Taiwan’s inland ooding and damage that was not when a major disaster to the Japanese
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 57Tsukuba Space CenterCredit: JAXAhomeland proved how vital development of remains, as does development of the Epsilon extremely expensive to map and observe suchsuch assets is, said Takiguchi. solid rocket. ALOS-3 and the Global Change dangers without ALOS-3,” he said. For example, while Daichi’s replacement Observation Mission-Climate (GCOM-C) But Satoshi Tsuzukibashi, Directorsatellite ALOS-2 is due for launch in 2015, global environmental monitoring satellites of the Industrial Technology Bureau atALOS-3 remains in research phase with are slated to be delayed, according to the Keidanren, Japan’s most powerful industrialonly a project team in place, and there are report. Such delays can be for a year, or for lobby, who also has an advisory role in thefears that a preferred launch for 2017 will several years. Strategic Headquarters for Space Policy, isbe jeopardized, he said. “Ideally we would Meanwhile, the Strategic Headquarters pessimistic about the ability of the Japaneselike to launch ALOS-3 in 2016; we would for Space Policy was, as this article was being government to raise the budget signi cantly,like to bring this forward, as the services of written, in the last stages of three years of since any wiggle room for space activitiessuch a mission are strongly asked for by the on-o negotiations with the Ministry of budget, like many other technology areas,disaster monitoring community,” he said. Education Culture, Sports, Science and has been crushed out by the prospect of huge“We are saying that budget should be found, Technology (MEXT) and the Ministry of rebuilding recovery costs. With the Japaneseand we are opposing cuts, but all this is being Economy Trade and Industry about nalizing government facing unprecedented debtnegotiated,” he said. the new government administrative structure and an estimated $300 billion in recovery at’s because next year’s budget is facing in the shape of a new space agency. A nal costs from the earthquake and disaster,some critical issues, according to insiders report due August 8 has been delayed until including cleanup costs for the Fukushimain Japan’s space establishment, following the end of the month as haggling continues Dai-chi Nuclear Power Plant, the Strategicthe June 30 recommendations of a powerful over whether MEXT will cede about 30% of Headquarters for Space Policy has no choicesubcommittee at the Strategic Headquarters its budget to the Prime Minister’s Cabinet but to focus few core critical projects, he said.for Space Policy, Takaaki Iwasa told Space O ce for the new (as yet) unnamed agency, e decision is doubly hurtful as it wasQuarterly. Iwasa is the Director of the according to Takafumi Matsui, author of the only three years ago, with the passing ofO ce for Space Utilization Promotion at proposal, who is also Emeritus Professor of the Basic Space Law passed by the Japanesethe Ministry of Education Culture, Sports, the University of Tokyo and head of Japan’s Diet, that the strengthening of Japan’sScience and Technology. Planetary Research Center in an interview disaster monitoring missions was mandated According to the June 30 with the author. MEXT controls about 60% including strategic objectives such as therecommendations, obtained by the author, of Japan’s 300 billion yen annual government use of space for defensive military purposesnext year’s budget request will focus mainly space budget and is reluctant to cede budget and industrialization of Japan’s spaceon investing in building Japan’s seven- or programmatic control, Matsui told Space development. A subsequent implementationsatellite Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, the Quarterly on August 9. strategy drawn up by Strategic Headquartersregional global positioning system being MEXT for its part is strongly ghting to for Space Policy called Japan’s Basic Plan forbuilt by MELCO, and a few choice projects have funding maintained to stop signi cant Space Policy the following June called for aincluding the 500 kg, 50-cm optical, and delays for the ALOS-3 and GCOM-C near doubling of the national space budget1-meter resolution radar Advanced Satellites satellites, Iwasa said in an August 1 interview. to be achieved through 2020 and the launchwith New system Architecture (ASNARO) “Both ALOS-2 and ALOS-3 are regarded of up to 34 satellites in the same timeframe.earth observation satellites being built for the as very important by the international In post 2/11 Japan, in an era of reducedMinistry of Economy Trade and Industry by observer and research community, expectations, Keidanren’s basic policy isNEC. particularly ALOS-3, with its ability to now to push forward for the development of While other programs are going to observe and map undersea volcanoes, for (the Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) as onebe allowed to continue to run, Japan’s example. We are being told that it will be of the most important space infrastructurecommitment to operating Kibo a er 2015 development projects.
  • 58 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Commercial SpaceThe Future of On-OrbitSatellite ServicingBy Marc BoucherTHE SERVICING OF SATELLITES ON- NASDA (now JAXA) in 1997. is was the Ultimately, this led to the On-Orbitorbit is not a new idea, but it appears to rst spacecra to demonstrate autonomous Satellite Servicing Study conducted by theentering a renaissance period. rendezvous and docking. As well, the Air Goddard Space Flight Center which was It was inevitable that once we started to Force launched two spacecra as part of the released in 2010 and which incorporated thelaunch satellites, spacecra and space stations Experimental Spacecra System, XSS-10 results from 1) an industry-wide Request Forinto space, that these marvels of human and XSS-11, in 2003 and 2005 respectively, Information, 2) an International Workshopingenuity would need servicing. demonstrating autonomous operations on On-Orbit Satellite Servicing held in As an example, in 1973, NASA launched including autonomous proximity operations. March 2010, 3) examination of notionalSkylab and soon found out there were some More recently, the Defense Advanced missions for possible servicing customers, 4)serious technical problems that unless Research Projects Agency (DARPA) examination of near-term in-space hardware xed, would not permit astronauts to use conducted the Orbital Express mission demonstrations and 5) the need to developthe lab as it was intended. NASA’s solution in 2007. e mission consisted of two and validate ground simulator and test bedwas to equip astronauts with the hardware spacecra ; the Autonomous Space Transport capabilities.necessary to make the repairs during several Robotic Operation (ASTRO) spacecra e study’s conclusion was unequivocal:Extravehicular Activities (EVA’s). It worked, and the NEXT-Generation Serviceable “Viable plans can be put into place to developand the servicing of Skylab saved it. Of Satellite (NEXTSat). During its four-month a meaningful on-orbit satellite servicingcourse, the servicing of Skylab required mission, ASTRO and NEXTSat worked capability, allowing us to achieve our keyhumans. together meeting their mission objectives ambitions in space using today’s technology e future of servicing satellites could be and con rmed the viability of technologies and with current and projected launchperformed by humans but the cost of such an needed for satellite servicing. systems.”endeavor on a larger scale just wasn’t and isn’t Also in 2007, the NASA Advisory Several important themes recurred duringcost e ective. To truly service a large number Council Astrophysics Subcommittee the study:of satellites, new ideas would be needed. recommended NASA perform studies for 1. In examining the range of tasks requiredTo that end, NASA organized four Satellite “in-space operations potential assembly, for servicing, the tasks themselves (andServices Workshop’s in the 1980’s with the servicing, and deployment.” en in 2008, the hardware to support them) do not rst being held at NASA’s Johnson Space Congress started to take notice of the need appear to be the limiting factors.Center (JSC) in June of 1982 and the last in for on-orbit servicing by mandating in 2. Legacy satellites can be successfullyJune 1989, once again at JSC. the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 that serviced While the 1980’s proved to a proli c NASA “shall take all necessary steps to 3. Modular, recon gurable robotictime for satellite servicing research, it led to ensure that provision is made in the design architectures that are mobile aroundlittle action in the 1990’s, other than some and construction of all future observatory- large structures are important totechnology demonstrations. And it wasn’t class scienti c spacecra intended to be provide a cost-e ective and upgradeableuntil Congress mandated NASA in 2009 to deployed in Earth orbit or at a Lagrangian servicing infrastructureconduct a new study that e orts in the U.S. point in space for robotic or human servicing 4. Launch mass and orbit modi cationbegan to ramp up. and repair to the extent practicable and capacity drive servicing mission design ere had been several more technology appropriate.” 5. Astrodynamics is a major factor indemonstrations in the years before 2009, is was followed up in NASA’s scal mission design, especially when there ismost noticeably the Japanese Engineering year 2009 and 2010 appropriation bills with human presenceTest Satellite VII (ETS-VII) conducted by further guidance from Congress.
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 59On July 12, 2011, spacewalking astronauts Mike Fossum and Ron Garan successfully transferred the Robotic Refueling Missionmodule from the Atlantis shuttle cargo bay to an temporary platform on the International Space Station’s Dextre robot.Credit: NASA 6. Satellite servicing is critical to our challenges, but none of which are a detriment and replacement of satellites. And satellites, national interests to moving forward. like cars, need maintenance—otherwise, they From a needs perspective, one only has to can and will eventually fail. Lastly, the study said that unless the U.S. look at the growing number of objects placed One maintenance example, which hasplays a leadership role in satellite servicing between Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary a direct bearing on the economic viabilityand other countries develop the capacity and Earth Orbit (GEO) in the last 25 years. is of satellite servicing, is refueling. Satellitethe U.S. does not, the consequences would be includes a growing and dangerous category technology has evolved and lifespans havedire. of object—orbital debris. ere are over been exceeding expectations. is leads to So why is it critical that the U.S. take 19,000 objects in orbit that are larger than 10 a fuel problem. Satellites, which can still bea leadership role? Why is it that satellite centimeters in size. Smaller debris numbers useful, are running out of fuel before they fail.servicing is important? is latest study and are in the tens of millions. ere are however And without fuel, they cannot perform thethe many that preceded it provide us with over 1500 objects considered to be debris that necessary maneuvers to stay in their orbitalthose answers. weigh over 100 kilograms each and which slots. Given that the majority of costs involved Satellite servicing includes: account for the 98% of the over 1900 tons of in getting a GEO satellite in orbit occur up 1. Servicing failures, whether from debris in orbit. front, it makes sense for the satellite owners incorrect orbits, repairs of failed Aside from orbital debris, we’ve seen the to want to keep the satellite functioning as components, deployment assistance, number of GEO satellites increase from 50 to long as possible. Most older satellites weren’t consumables resupply and removal. 398 active satellites in the last 25 years. GEO designed to be refueled but some newer ones 2. Spacecra lifetime extension and satellite slots are nite and valuable. Dealing are. However, with the technology available includes relocation of the satellite, with the removal of, or servicing of satellites today it is now possible to consider refueling consumables resupply, component in these slots is a critical issue going forward. satellites. replacement and removal. Our continuing and increasing A current demonstration that NASA 3. Other services such as inspection, dependence on satellites for communication, considers critical in fostering satellite assembly and scavenging. global positioning, defense, disaster servicing is a technology demonstration From a technological perspective, we are mitigation etc. only underscores the need on the International Space Station (ISS).now at the point where satellite servicing for a solution in dealing with the growing Led by the Satellite Servicing Capabilitiesis readily possible. ere are still some number of debris in orbit and maintenance O ce at the Goddard Space Flight Center
  • 60 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011Engineers test an Robotic Refueling Mission tool.Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 61Artist concept of servicing client satellite for MDA’sSpace Infrastructure Servicing initiative.Credit: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.and Project Manager Frank Cepollina is the be yes. NASA’s On-Orbit Satellite Servicing Its business plan apparently included theRobotic Refueling Mission (RRM) and Dextre Study was unequivocal in that determination. need to service U.S. government satellitesPointing Package (DPP). But it’s not the only supporting study to reach as well. But being a Canadian company, the e RRM test platform was own on the this conclusion. Brook Sullivan completed question is whether it would be allowed tolast shuttle mission and installed by the crew his PhD at the University of Maryland on compete for U.S. government contracts inof Atlantis on the ISS. e demonstration is this very topic in 2005. His dissertation was this area. MDA does have a U.S. subsidiaryset to begin in November and will be used titled Technical and Economic Feasibility company, MDA Information Systems Inc.,to demonstrate and test tools, technologies, of Telerobotic On-Orbit Satellite Servicing. which has been operating in the U.S. sinceand techniques needed to robotically refuel He concluded that “ e overall expected 1969. It’s with this subsidiary company MDAsatellites in space. value market assessment and evaluation of a hopes to able to bid on government contracts. e DPP will demonstrate the algorithms proposed small servicer for geosynchronous At this time, MDA is currently conductingand control mechanisms to locate and pointat a speci c location on Earth or a celestialobject, as well as track and perform relativestate estimation of vehicles visiting the ISS. NASA will make the data available fromthese demonstrations to any entity in the U.S.with the hope that the commercial sector usesit to kickstart their own venture into satelliteservicing. At present, no U.S. company hasstepped forward publicly with speci c plansto enter this new emerging market. And whileNASA is pushing for satellite servicing tobecome a reality in the commercial sector,foreign organizations are not sitting by idly. is includes the German Space Agency(DLR) which is working on the DeutscheOrbitale Servicing Mission (DEOS) as wellas the commercial Orbital Life Extension retirement operations clearly demonstrate the an extended de nition phase of its SISVehicle (OLEV). DEOS is a technology economic feasibility of telerobotic on-orbit initiative. e de nition phase is scheduleddemonstrator designed to capture a tumbling satellite servicing.” to be completed by early November. If MDAclient satellite with a servicing spacecra to Bur what about the commercial sector concludes that there is enough of a market, itde-orbit the coupled spacecra within a pre- itself? Is anyone actually planning to startup will move forward with the project. However,de ned orbit corridor at the end of mission. operations? And in particular in the U.S.? the question of whether it can compete forOLEV is managed by European consortium A er all, this is clearly one of the hoped potential U.S. government contracts remainsfor which the DLR is one participant. OLEV for outcomes of NASA’s RMM and DPP open and it is unclear if MDA would proceedwill operate as an orbital spacecra supplying technology demonstrations. if it could not access the government market.the propulsion, navigation and guidance to e answer is both yes and no. What’s important to understand withkeep a satellite in its proper orbital slot. DEOS MDA Corporation of Canada in 2010 the MDA initiative is that Intelsat, a majoris currently in a phase B study while OLEV announced plans to move forward with satellite service provider, has shown faith inhas nished its phase B study. an on-orbit solution it calls the Space MDA’s plan to service its satellites. is is a China has also developed an interest Infrastructure Servicing (SIS). e SIS rst. is points to the fact that a potentiallyin satellite servicing. e National Nature spacecra is an on-orbit servicing spacecra lucrative new revenue stream in the spaceScience Foundation of China and the that would initially carry up to 2,000 systems sector is about to open up. RegardlessFundamental Research Funds for the kilograms of fuel and a suite of robotic tools of MDA’s future in the on-orbit satelliteCentral Universities funded the study “A to service satellites. It seemed the venture servicing market, there now appears to beuniversal on-orbit servicing system used was going nowhere as MDA was initially momentum building for a viable commercialin the geostationary orbit” and was carried unable to sign on an anchor tenant needed to solution to the much needed on-orbit satelliteout by Wenfu Xu at the Harbin Institute make the venture viable. But on March 15th servicing market.of Technology in Shenzhen. e study was of this year, MDA announced it had nally e future of on-orbit satellite servicing, itpublished in Advances in Space Research signed up its anchor tenant, and a large one seems, starts now.Volume 48, Issue 1. While only a paper study, at that—Intelsat. MDA was so con dent inthere are plans to further the develop the the venture, and being ush with cash, itsystem. decided to take a gamble and fund the initial While there have been many technology development itself. It would invest $200demonstrations over the years, moving million over the next four years.beyond purely technical demonstrations into While the deal with Intelsat was whatthe commercial realm is the next step. But is it had been hoping for, it concerned only ait economically viable? e answer appears to portion of the commercial satellite market.
  • 62 SPACE QUARTERLY September 2011In the Next IssueWhere is U.S. SpacePolicy Headed?The Space Coast after theShuttleNASA and Congress Battleover the Space LaunchSystemChina Risingand more…
  • September 2011 SPACE QUARTERLY 63Celebrating the Space Transportation System 1981–2011 The space shuttle Atlantis moves to Launch Pad 39A during rollout at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 31, 2011. Credit: NASA Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool