Thursday, May 18, 2017

U.S. Air Force Plans For Weekly Launches From Florida

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - The U.S. Air Force is preparing for weekly launches from Florida's Space Coast.

Currently, the 45th Space Wing is on track to support thirty launches this year from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center.

The space wing and its Eastern Range assets provide a vast network of radar, telemetry and communications instruments to facilitate the safe launch of all Department of Defense National Security Space, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and commercial operations.

According to Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, the 45th Space Wing commander, the wing is developing plans to enable a launch a week to meet the growing demand of national, civil and commercial organizations to put capabilities on orbit.

One key initiative in reducing the time between launches is the implementation of the Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS). The system enables the 45th Space Wing to support more launches by expediting range turnaround times with more stringent safety standards, all while cutting launch costs.

A self-contained, independent system mounted to the launch vehicle, AFSS determines if the launch vehicle poses an unacceptable hazard to people or property by using pre-established, programmed mission rules developed by Range Safety Flight Analysts. These configurable software-based rules are reliant on redundant flight processors using data from Global Positioning System and inertial measurement unit navigation sensors. If necessary, AFSS has the ability to destroy the rocket to ensure public safety.

Photo credit: SpaceX
Article Sources: USAF

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Jeff Bezos Gives Sneak Peak Of Blue Origin's New Shepard Capsule

VAN HORN, Texas - Blue Origin CEO, Jeff Bezos, revealed in an email a sneak peak of the New Shepard capsule's interior and exterior designs that will ferry tourists into space.

The most standout feature of the capsule is its windows. At 47.7 inches high and 28.6 inches wide, Blue Origin boasts that the New Shepard capsule will have the largest windows ever launched into space.

Email sent by Jeff Bezos:

"Our New Shepard flight test program is focused on demonstrating the performance and robustness of the system," Bezos wrote. In parallel, we’ve been designing the capsule interior with an eye toward precision engineering, safety, and comfort. Here’s a sneak peek.

Step inside…

Every seat’s a window seat.

The largest windows ever in space.

Gradatim Ferociter!

If you happen to be attending the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs April 3-6, come see this for yourself. The high-fidelity capsule mockup will be on display alongside the New Shepard reusable booster that flew to space and returned five times. 

Jeff Bezos"

Named in honor of the first American in space, Alan Shepard, the New Shepard vertical takeoff and vertical landing vehicle will carry six astronauts to altitudes beyond 100 kilometers, the internationally-recognized boundary of space.  The vehicle is comprised of two elements—a crew capsule in which the astronauts ride and a rocket booster powered by a single American-made BE-3 liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen engine. At liftoff, the BE-3 delivers 110,000 pounds of thrust. 

Following powered flight, the crew capsule separates from the booster and coasts into space, providing several minutes of weightlessness. As the crew capsule descends, it reenters the atmosphere with astronauts experiencing about 5x the force of gravity before deploying three main parachutes for landing. Meanwhile, the booster descends under guided flight to the landing pad. Just prior to landing, the booster re-ignites its BE-3 engine which slows the vehicle to 4.4 mph for a gentle, powered vertical landing, enabling vehicle reuse.

Image credits: Blue Origin

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blue Origin Breaks Ground On Florida Rocket Facility

Artist concept of Blue Origin Rocket Factory In Florida

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida - Blue Origin broke ground on its 750,000-square-foot rocket factory at Exploration Park just south of Kennedy Space Center in Florida, CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Tuesday.

The site will eventually serve as launch, manufacturing and support facilities for Blue Origin's Orbital Launch Vehicle (OLV) program that will launch from Space Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station later this decade.

In partnership with United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine is slated to replace the Russian-made RD-180 engine by 2019.

Dubbed by Bezos as "a 21st century production facility where we’ll focus on manufacturing our reusable fleet of orbital launchers and readying them for flight again and again," the  project will create 330 new jobs and a capital investment of $200 million on Florida's Space Coast over the next five years.

Land cleared on Merritt Island for Blue Origin faclity

Bulldozers clear land on Merritt Island for Blue Origin faclity

Photo credits: Blue Origin

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

VIDEO: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Successfully Lands A Reusable Rocket

VAN HORN, Texas -- Blue Origin, a private commercial space company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, successfully launched and landed its New Shepard reusable rocket from west Texas on Monday, November 23, 2015.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Amazon's Jeff Bezos Launches First Rocket Into Space: VIDEO

VAN HORN, Texas -- Blue Origin, a private commercial space company founded by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, successfully launched the first test flight of its New Shepard pace vehicle from west Texas on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

"Today we flew the first developmental test flight of our New Shepard space vehicle. Our 110,000-lbf thrust liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen BE-3 engine worked flawlessly, powering New Shepard through Mach 3 to its planned test altitude of 307,000 feet," Bezos said. "Guidance, navigation and control was nominal throughout max Q and all of ascent. The in-space separation of the crew capsule from the propulsion module was perfect. Any astronauts on board would have had a very nice journey into space and a smooth return."

"In fact, if New Shepard had been a traditional expendable vehicle, this would have been a flawless first test flight. Of course one of our goals is reusability, and unfortunately we didn’t get to recover the propulsion module because we lost pressure in our hydraulic system on descent. Fortunately, we’ve already been in work for some time on an improved hydraulic system. Also, assembly of propulsion module serial numbers 2 and 3 is already underway - we’ll be ready to fly again soon."

Blue Origin was selected by United Launch Alliance to serve as the primary propulsion provider for its Next Generation Launch System capable of carrying humans to low-Earth orbit.  Blue Origin has recently been considering sites in Brevard County and Volusia County near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a metal manufacturing facility.

Image and Video Credit: Blue Origin