Self-eating missile lands some money. The British defense and security accelerator has pledged almost US $ 120,000 for the further development of a novel "Autophage" missile. Developed at the University of Glasgow, the project burns its own structure as a propellant upon ascent into orbit.
Burn the fuel, burn the tanks … Car phage engines have already been tested with fully solid propellant by the Glasgow team, reports Parabolic Arc. The new funding will support the research needed to use a higher energy hybrid propellant, and this new engine will be tested next year at Kingston University in the new London missile laboratory in London. (submitted by platykurtic)
Crew 1's mission goes into November. NASA's SpaceX Crew 1 mission to the International Space Station will now start at the earliest in early to mid-November, the space agency announced this week. This mission will be launched by NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's mission specialist Soichi Noguchi, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.
Issue related to attempting to launch GPS III … NASA said the delay would "give SpaceX additional time to complete hardware tests and data reviews as the company evaluates the non-nominal behavior of Falcon 9's first stage engine inflators, the Recently observed on a non-engine -NASA mission launch attempt. "The problem arose with a Falcon 9 attempt to launch on October 2nd, which cleared at T-2 seconds. A new date for the GPS III mission has not been set. (submitted by Ken the Bin and platykurtic)
Impulse build-up for fuel depots? This week NASA made significant investments in technology to store and transfer cryogenic propellant in space. The $ 250 million grant goes to four companies: United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, and Eta Space. Ars explains why this is a follow-up decision and could transform space travel, including launch.
Mine water, motor rockets … At the same time, ULA's Managing Director Tory Bruno proposed the creation of a "Strategic Propellant Reserve", a series of fuel depots between the earth and the moon. This would stimulate startups to think about reusing upper tiers and support companies looking to mine water from the moon. ULA presented the idea to the National Space Council's User Advisory Board. Bruno said the group agreed to investigate further, SpaceNews reports. (submitted by JohnCarter17, Ken the Bin and platykurtic)
China launches 30th missile of the year. China's Gaofen-13 earth observation satellite is en route to geostationary orbit after successfully launching from Xichang on Sunday on a Long March 3B. This marked the first launch from China's busiest four launch sites since July 9, following renovations and upgrades with launch towers, refueling, power supplies and communications to increase reliability, safety and cadence, SpaceNews reports.
Ten more? … The renovation work aims to improve the annual launch capacity from around 17 to around 30 launches. The launch on Sunday marked China's 30th in 2020, including major interplanetary spacecraft and space station-related launches. Four of the 30 failed. Chinese officials earlier said they are targeting 40 starts this year. (submitted by Ken the Bin)
The start of the Soyuz crew marks the end of an era. A Soyuz spacecraft launched for the International Space Station on Wednesday in what will likely be the last mission NASA will pay Russia for a seat on, SpaceNews reports. NASA's Kate Rubins joined the crew in May when NASA announced it would buy a definitive Soyuz seat from Roscosmos for $ 90.25 million.
Time to barter? … NASA officials had stated for months before the May announcement that it was not just this seat, but possibly a second seat for a mission starting in the spring of 2021. However, since the successful mission of the Demo 2 commercial crew for the ISS of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spaceship this summer, NASA has not expressed any public interest in purchasing future Soyuz seats. It is likely that NASA and Roscosmos will swap seats for future missions, but nothing has been officially announced. (submitted by Ken the Bin and platykutic)
Upper stages represent the highest risk for space debris. According to a new report from the European Space Agency, while rocket manufacturers are better able to dispose of upper stages left in orbit, rocket bodies are still the most dangerous piece of debris in orbit. The report identifies more than 25,000 tracked objects, including satellites, upper steps and debris, reports SpaceNews.
Please dispose of unwanted missiles … In 2019, more than 70 percent of missile bodies met guidelines for debris reduction in orbit, compared to only about 20 percent in 2000. However, many upper stages of launches decades ago are still in a near-earth orbit and continue to pose a problem. Approximately 80 percent of the objects on the list of most affected space debris were placed in the upper stages. (submitted by Ken the Bin and platykurtic)
Engines ready for Ariane 6's first launch. Europe's new heavy-lift rocket, powered by a single main Vulcain 2.1 core engine, an upper-stage Vinci engine, and two or four solid rocket engines, is about to launch in the second half of 2021. Now it's ArianeGroup, all engines are ready to fly after a series of qualification tests.
A continental undertaking … The LOX hydrogen engines Vulcain 2.1 and Vinci can now be assembled on the core stage in Les Mureaux, France, and on the upper stage in Bremen, Germany. Ariane 6 is a program managed and funded by the European Space Agency. ArianeGroup is the design agency and prime industrial contractor.
Boeing is pushing tests at the core stage. Speaking to reporters this week, John Shannon, program manager for the Boeing Space Launch System, said the core phase was nearing the final two tests. Boeing is planning a wet dress rehearsal test on October 30th, followed by a hot fire test on November 14th at NASA's engine test facility in southern Mississippi.
Rona and the tropics … Earlier this year, Shannon said on a media call earlier this year that Boeing hopes to run the hot fire test in "July or August" this year. However, the double strikes from COVID-19 that forced the engine test facility to shut down, as well as the closure of five hurricanes and tropical storms this summer, have added to delays. If all goes well, the core stage will be delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in January.