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HobbySpace.com Special Report

NewSpace in 2010
A log of the Ups and Downs in entrepreneurial spaceflight

Most recent change: Jan.2.10
Log up to date through:
Dec.31.10

Highlights of the successful flight of Falcon 9 with the Dragon capsule on December 8th, 2010.
Find links to articles, commentary, photos and videos here.
(Video via SpaceX
)

This page provides a compilation of links to articles, blog postings, videos, and other resources for significant events and developments during 2010 in the New Space area. Unless otherwise indicated, the links are to the Space Transport News blog.

Note: I exclude most of the hundreds of posts related to the big controversy over President Obama's new direction and budget for NASA, which was introduced on February 1st. This would overwhelm the log here and is not directly related to New Space except for the plan to use commercial crew transport services. See Space Transport News and the Space Policy category for posts about the NASA budget controversy and battles.

For next year, see the NewSpace Log for 2011.


Here are some year end reviews of space in 2010:


This Masten Space Systems video shows a boosted hop of their Xombie
vehicle to 68 meters from an unusual viewpoint.

The following Highlights section describes particular NewSpace events of interest during the 2010 and points to sets of links with additional information and resources about those events.

Highlights:

  • December
    • Dec. 3: The X-37B/OTV-1 (Orbital Test Vehicle) made a successful autonomous return and landing at Vandenberg AFB affter 225 days in space. During its that time, it made several orbital changes. It's mission and operations were kept secret. The reusable prototype vehicle, which was launched on April 22 with an Atlas V, will possibly return to space but a second vehicle (OTV-2) will make the next flight, currently set for sometime next spring.
    • Dec. 4: SpaceX successfully carries out a static test firing of the Falcon 9 engines on the pad in preparation for the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft.
    • Dec. 8: The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the Dragon, the orbital operations of the Dragon and its landing are all a complete success!
    • Dec. 13: Several companies submitted proposals for NASA's $250M Commercial Crew Development - Phase 2 program (CCDev-2). Full list not revealed but known to include propsals led by Boeing, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, and Sierra Nevada (SNC).
    • Dec. 13: Revealed that Virgin Galactic will partner with Orbital Sciences and Sierra Nevada on their respective CCDev-2 proposals.
    • Dec. 15: For CCDev-2, Orbital Sciences unveils a four passenger lifting body design that would launch on an Atlas V. The are partnering with several companies including Virgin Galactic
    • Dec. 20: NASA awarded $500k to each of three firms in the Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) program. Six organizations received the initial contracts in October for this program, which seeks to gather technical data on the design and development of lunar lander systems. Each of the six then submitted System Definition Review (SDR) packages and on the basis of those packages, NASA selected the three firms for the subsequent larger grants. All six organizations are also entrants in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition.

  • November
    • Nov 9: SpaceX raises $50M in additional private capital.
    • Nov. 10: The Spaceship Company, the joint Scaled Composites/Virgin Galactic firm that will produce WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo vehicles, has a ground-breaking for a new hangar.
    • Nov. 13: The Ares Institute announces sponsorship of a contest to win a suborbital space flight.
    • Nov. 14: Florida Today publishes an extensive and mostly positive article on the prospects for commercial human spaceflight.
    • Nov.17: Dutch airline KLM announced that it would sell tickets for XCOR Lynx flights in Curaçao. (In October, XCOR and Space Experience Curacao (SXC) unveiled a partnership to begin tourist flights in Curaçao in 2014.)
    • Nov.17: SpaceShipTwo glides back to the Mojave spaceport for the 3rd time after dropping from the WhiteKnightTwo.
    • Nov.17: The two X-34 vehicles were moved from storage at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base to the Mojave Air and Spaceport.
    • Nov.22: Masten Space Systems and Space Florida announce agreement for test flights at SLC-36 at Cape Canaveral.
    • Nov.22: SpaceX receives first FAA license for spacecraft return from orbit to a landing on earth.

  • October
    • Oct.3: ARCA Space has a successful test flight of its Helen 2 rockoon system.
    • Oct.5: XCOR and Space Experience Curaçao announce a wet least agreement in which XCOR will fly space tourists on its Lynx Mark II suborbital spaceplane from a commercial spaceport on Curaçao, one of the five island territories in the Netherlands Antilles.
    • Oct.7: During a visit to the ULA plant in Decatur, Alabama, Robert Bigelow says they will be announcing within a couple of weeks the names of the first six countries that have indicated they will be customers for his orbital habitats.
      • Just before the ISPCS meeting in Las Cruces, Robert Bigelow gave the names of the first six countries to signe MOUs for using the BA habitats.
    • Oct.8: Armadillo Aerospace highlighted in a Blackberry Torch commercial.
    • Oct.10: The SpaceShipTwo successfully makes its first glide flight after dropping from the WhiteKnightTwo.
    • Oct.15: NASA announces that six teams would receive contracts for purchase of technical data generated by their lunar robotic systems.
    • Oct.19-21: Lots of interesting news and information released by Bigelow Aerospace, Sierra Nevada, and others during the Int. Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS 2010) held in Las Cruces, New Mexico
    • Oct.22: A dedication ceremony is held for the runway at Spaceport America. Richard Branson, Lori Garver and other notables attended and spoke. The WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShiptTwo combo flew over several times and then landed for a short time.
    • Oct.22: Researchers published a paper in September that describes a study of the effects on the climate of soot (unburnt fuel particles) emissions from a hybrid rocket like that intended for the SpaceShipTwo. Nature News a month later posts a news item implyng that the climate effects found in this initial study apply to all space tourism vehicles, even though other vehicles use propulsion systems that produce little or no soot. The Nature News pronouncement gets wide press coverage with headlines claiming that space tourism will lead to serious climate damage.
    • Oct.25: NASA announces a request for proposals for up to $200M in the second phase of its Commercial Crew Development program (CCDev-2).
    • Oct.28: The SpaceShipTwo successfully carries out its second glide test flight.
    • Oct.29-31: The Space Studies Institute held the Space Manufacturing 14 conference at NASA Ames in Mountain View, California. Presentations and panel discussions of a wide range of issues on the utilization of and

  • September
    • Sept.9: Space X and EADS Astrium announce partnership to market Falcon 1 launch services in Europe.
    • Sept.10: Boeing and Space Adventures hint at announcement on Sept.15th about a commercial spaceflight partnership.
    • Sept.10: Boeing and the Indian space agency in talks on partnership in human spaceflight including use of Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft.
    • Sept.13: WhiteKnightTwo "Eve" returns to the air following repairs to the landing gear, which failed following the landing after a flight on August 19th.
    • Sept.15: Boeing and Space Adventures announce a commercial spaceflight partnership. Space Adventures will market rides to orbit in spare seats on Boeing's commerical CST-100 spacecraft when it begins delivering crews to the ISS.
    • Sept.16: Armadillo Aerospace begins free flights of its Super Mod streamlined VTVL vehicle.
    • Sept.17: Rocket pioneer Robert C. Truax died. In the 1940s and 50s he led development of the Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) and participated in the Thor, Viking and Polaris missile programs. He subsequently pursued commercial rocket projects and tried in the 1970s and 80s to develop a commercial low cost suborbital manned rocket.
    • Sept.20: XCOR announces that they had completed the Lynx supersonic wind tunnel tests.
    • Sept.29: A consortium of Russian enterprises form the Orbital Technologies company to pursue development of a commercial space station for launch in 2016.
    • Sept.29: The House of Representatives approved the NASA Authorization bill previously passed in the Senate that included substantial funding for a commercial crew launch services program and $15M for the CRuSR (Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research) program. The commercial crew program will lead to commercial orbital launch services both for the ISS and for commercial facilities such as Bigelow space stations. CRuSR will buy suborbital space transport services for scientific, educational and technology payloads from companies flying fully reusable suborbital space vehicles.

  • August
    • Aug.3: ARCA Space's suborbital launch of their rockoon system was canceled after a balloon failure. The next attempt is set for October.
    • Aug.6: NASA announces program to buy technical data from private/commercial lunar rover projects such as those in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. Convincing NASA to carry out this sort of data purchase program has long been a goal of NewSpace advocacy organizations.
    • Aug.11: A test of the hybrid motor "RocketMotorTwo" for the SpaceShipTwo was carried out.
    • Aug.12: A prototype Dragon capsule is dropped from 14,000 ft from a helicopter and it successfully deploys its drogue and landing parachutes. It is retrieved from its landing in the ocean near Morro Bay, California.
    • Aug.13: The NASA sponsored Strong Tether Centennial Challenge event, held during the Space Elevator Conference, again failed to see any entrant come close to the required strength.
    • Aug.18: The FAA selects the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, based at New Mexico State University, as the host for the Center for Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation. Several other universities are part of the COE-CST collaboration.
    • Aug.19: WhiteKnightTwo "Eve" suffers a landing gear collapse after landing from a test flight. Scaled Composites says the problem is "minor".
    • Aug.19: NASA hosts the Commercial Crew RFI Forum to discuss input from companies that responded to the agencies request for information, advice and designs regarding the planned commercial crew services program.
    • Aug.22: Copenhagen Suborbitals starts to get lots of publicity as they aimed for their first suborbital test flight of their unmanned rocket at the end of the month.
    • Aug.30: NASA awards Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems each a contract for suborbital flights on their vertical-takeoff-vertical-landing vehicles.

  • July
    • July 2: More videos and information came out during July about the partnership of Armadillo Aerospace and NASA's Project M, which seeks to place a humanoid style robot on the Moon. Armadillo is developing lander prototype vehicles.
    • July 3: The Bigelow Aerospace website was revamped in July and gave more information and graphics about their space plans as well updates on the major expansion of their headquarters in Las Vegas.
    • July 7: It was revealed in an Oklahoma newspaper that the firm Rocketplane, which once was developing vehicles for both suborbital and orbital operations, had filed for bankruptcy and liquidation. The company had obtained Oklahoma tax credits early in the decade for development of a suborbital space tourism vehicle. Later it bought Kistler Aerospace and successfully won a NASA COTS contract in 2006 to use the Kistler K-1 vehicle for cargo deliveries to the Space Station. However, an inability to raise sufficient private capital led to the cancellation of the COTS contract. In the meantime, the suborbital project became derailed following a decision to switch to a new design after spending considerable money on a design that turned out to have major flaws.
    • July 13: NASA announced sponsorship of three new Centennial Challenges competitions:
      • $2m nanosat launch
      • $1.5m night rover
      • $1.5m sample return
    • July 14: The Teachers in Space program announced three additional slots available for teachers who want to participate in their suborbital spaceflight program.
    • July 15: The WhiteKnightTwo carried out a captive carry test flight with a crewed SpaceShipTwo in preparation for a drop and glide test of the SS2.
    • July 16: The firm Final Frontier Design introduced a new low cost spacesuit aimed for commercial spaceflight operations.
    • July 19: At the Farnborough Air Show, Boeing and Bigelow unveil the latest version of the CST-100 Capsule project that they are jointly developing. It could fly on different rockets and would be used to take up to 7 passengers to Bigelow Habitats.
    • July 20: NanoRacks commercial experiment facility activated on ISS.
    • July 23-25: The Space Frontier Foundation's conference NewSpace 2010 took place in Sunnyvale, California. A dedicated page of resources is available here.
    • July 28: Peroxide Propulsion in Sweden closes after accident. The company had supplied bulk H2O2 for some projects in the US such as Unreasonable Rocket.
    • July 30: MDA reveals that it is having difficulty finding an initial customer to get its in-space servicing spacecraft project off the ground.

  • June
    • June 4: Successful first launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
    • June 5: Armadillo Aerospace flew a Mod vehicle to 2000 ft (610m). Near apogee they shut off and then restarted the engine, and flew the vehicle down for a safe landing
    • June 8: XCOR and ULA announce a partnership to develop liquid hydrogen piston pumps.
    • June 13: SpaceX receives contract to launch Taiwanese earth observation satellite
    • June 16: SpaceX and Iridium sign largest commercial launch contract in history. The $495M deal will cover launches of Iridium's new constellation of 72 satellites starting in 2015.

  • May
    • SpaceX prepares for first Falcon 9 launch - SpaceX preparations for first launch during the month
    • May.4: UP Aerospace successfully launches commercial sounding rocket from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
    • May 9: George Whitesides named Virgin Galactic CEO
    • May.25: Masten Space Systems and XCOR announce partnership to pursue NASA contracts for studies of lunar landers with LOX/Methane engines.
    • May.26: Masten Space carries out successful engine re-light during test flight
    • May.27-31: Space Investment Summit 8 + International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2010) - Chicago, IL.

  • April
    • April 19: SpaceX carried out another pad fueling test on the Falcon 9 to see if the changes to the adhesive for the thermal cork on the first stage booster fixed the debonding problem seen in first test.
    • April 22: The X-37 successfully reaches orbit via an Atlas 501.
    • April 24: At the Tulsa air show, the Rocket Racing League successfully debuts the Mark III X-Racers, built by Armadillo Aerospace
    • April 29: Space Adventures and Armadillo Aerospace announce a partnership to offer suborbital spaceflights at a ticket price of $104k per seat. (Additional details were released at ISDC 2010 in May.

  • March
  • February
    • Feb 1: NASA unveiled its 2011 budget, which included the use of commercial transport services for crews by 2015. See Space Transport News and the Space Policy category for lots of links to the NASA budget controversy and battles.
    • Feb.2: SpaceDev/SNC, Blue Origin and others got the first CCDev (Commercial Crew Development) grants.
    • Feb. 10-11: The FAA commercial space transportation conference had to deal with extreme snow conditions but nevertheless had good attendance and interesting presentations.
    • Feb. 12: The Rocket Racing League announced that it would do an exhibition at the Tulsa Air Show in April.
    • Feb. 18-20: The first suborbital spaceflight research conference (NSRC 2010) in Colorado was very well attended and indicated growing enthusiasm for science apps on reusable suborbital vehicles.
    • Feb. 27: SpaceX carried out a successful wet rehearsal of the Falcon 9/Dragon on the pad at Cape Canaveral.

  • January
    • Jan. 11: A suborbital spaceflight training program with a group of scientists, including Alan Stern, got considerable attention.
    • Jan. 15: Masten Space flew their XOIE vehicle.

December


Launch of Falcon 9 with the Dragon spacecraft on December 8, 2010.
Video from SpaceX webcast by Spacevidcast

Highlights:

  • Dec. 3: The X-37B/OTV-1 (Orbital Test Vehicle) made a successful autonomous return and landing at Vandenberg AFB affter 225 days in space. During its that time, it made several orbital changes. It's mission and operations were kept secret. The reusable prototype vehicle, which was launched on April 22 with an Atlas V, will possibly return to space but a second vehicle (OTV-2) will make the next flight, currently set for sometime next spring.
  • Dec. 4: SpaceX successfully carries out a static test firing of the Falcon 9 engines on the pad in preparation for the first flight of the Dragon spacecraft.
  • Dec. 8: The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of the Dragon, the orbital operations of the Dragon and its landing are all a complete success!
  • Dec. 13: Several companies submitted proposals for NASA's $250M Commercial Crew Development - Phase 2 program (CCDev-2). Full list not revealed but known to include propsals led by Boeing, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, and Sierra Nevada (SNC).
  • Dec. 13: Revealed that Virgin Galactic will partner with Orbital Sciences and Sierra Nevada on their respective CCDev-2 proposals.
  • Dec. 15: For CCDev-2, Orbital Sciences unveils a four passenger lifting body design that would launch on an Atlas V. The are partnering with several companies including Virgin Galactic
  • Dec. 20: NASA awarded $500k to each of three firms in the Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) program. Six organizations received the initial contracts in October for this program, which seeks to gather technical data on the design and development of lunar lander systems. Each of the six then submitted System Definition Review (SDR) packages and on the basis of those packages, NASA selected the three firms for the subsequent larger grants. All six organizations are also entrants in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition.

Links:


November


Florida Today includes this video with its extensive report on commercial spaceflight:
Space, Inc. moving closer to launch ... - Florida Today - Nov.14.10

Highlights:

  • Nov 9: SpaceX raises $50M in additional private capital.
  • Nov. 10: The Spaceship Company, the joint Scaled Composites/Virgin Galactic firm that will produce WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo vehicles, has a ground-breaking for a new hangar.
  • Nov. 13: The Ares Institute announces sponsorship of a contest to win a suborbital space flight.
  • Nov. 14: Florida Today publishes an extensive and mostly positive article on the prospects for commercial human spaceflight.
  • Nov.17: Dutch airline KLM announced that it would sell tickets for XCOR Lynx flights in Curaçao. (In October, XCOR and Space Experience Curacao (SXC) unveiled a partnership to begin tourist flights in Curaçao in 2014.)
  • Nov.17: SpaceShipTwo glides back to the Mojave spaceport for the 3rd time after dropping from the WhiteKnightTwo.
  • Nov.17: The two X-34 vehicles were moved from storage at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base to the Mojave Air and Spaceport.
  • Nov.22: Masten Space Systems and Space Florida announce agreement for test flights at SLC-36 at Cape Canaveral.
  • Nov.22: SpaceX receives first FAA license for spacecraft return from orbit to a landing on earth.

Links:


October


Scenes from the first glide test flight of SpaceShipTwo "Enterprise" on October 10.
Virgin Galactic

Highlights:

  • Oct.3: ARCA Space has a successful test flight of its Helen 2 rockoon system.
  • Oct.5: XCOR and Space Experience Curaçao announce a wet least agreement in which XCOR will fly space tourists on its Lynx Mark II suborbital spaceplane from a commercial spaceport on Curaçao, one of the five island territories in the Netherlands Antilles.
  • Oct.7: During a visit to the ULA plant in Decatur, Alabama, Robert Bigelow says they will be announcing within a couple of weeks the names of the first six countries that have indicated they will be customers for his orbital habitats.
    • Just before the ISPCS meeting in Las Cruces, Robert Bigelow gave the names of the first six countries to signe MOUs for using the BA habitats.
  • Oct.8: Armadillo Aerospace highlighted in a Blackberry Torch commercial.
  • Oct.10: The SpaceShipTwo successfully makes its first glide flight after dropping from the WhiteKnightTwo.
  • Oct.15: NASA announces that six teams would receive contracts for purchase of technical data generated by their lunar robotic systems.
  • Oct.19-21: Lots of interesting news and information released by Bigelow Aerospace, Sierra Nevada, and others during the Int. Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS 2010) held in Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Oct.22: A dedication ceremony was held for the runway at Spaceport America. Richard Branson, Lori Garver and other notables attended and spoke. The WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShiptTwo combo flew over several times and then landed for a short time.
  • Oct.22: Researchers published a paper in September that describes a study of the effects on the climate of soot (unburnt fuel particles) emissions from a hybrid rocket like that intended for the SpaceShipTwo. Nature News a month later posts a news item implyng that the climate effects found in this initial study apply to all space tourism vehicles, even though other vehicles use propulsion systems that produce little or no soot. The Nature News pronouncement gets wide press coverage with headlines claiming that space tourism will lead to serious climate damage.
  • Oct.25: NASA announces a request for proposals for up to $200M in the second phase of its Commercial Crew Development program (CCDev-2).
  • Oct.28: The SpaceShipTwo successfully carries out its second glide test flight.
  • Oct.29-31: The Space Studies Institute held the Space Manufacturing 14 conference at NASA Ames in Mountain View, California. Presentations and panel discussions of a wide range of issues on the utilization of and

Links:


September


Armadillo Aerospace flies its Super Mod rocket on a free flight to over 2000 ft on Sept. 16th.

Highlights:
  • Sept.9: Space X and EADS Astrium announce partnership to market Falcon 1 launch services in Europe.
  • Sept.10: Boeing and Space Adventures hint at announcement on Sept.15th about a commercial spaceflight partnership.
  • Sept.10: Boeing and the Indian space agency in talks on partnership in human spaceflight including use of Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft.
  • Sept.13: WhiteKnightTwo "Eve" returns to the air following repairs to the landing gear, which failed following the landing after a flight on August 19th.
  • Sept.15: Boeing and Space Adventures announce a commercial spaceflight partnership. Space Adventures will market rides to orbit in spare seats on Boeing's commerical CST-100 spacecraft when it begins delivering crews to the ISS.
  • Sept.16: Armadillo Aerospace begins free flights of its Super Mod streamlined VTVL vehicle.
  • Sept.17: Rocket pioneer Robert C. Truax died. In the 1940s and 50s he led development of the Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO) and participated in the Thor, Viking and Polaris missile programs. He subsequently pursued commercial rocket projects and tried in the 1970s and 80s to develop a commercial low cost suborbital manned rocket.
  • Sept.20: XCOR announces that they had completed the Lynx supersonic wind tunnel tests.
  • Sept.29: A consortium of Russian enterprises form the Orbital Technologies company to pursue development of a commercial space station for launch in 2016.
  • Sept.29: The House of Representatives approved the NASA Authorization bill previously passed in the Senate that included substantial funding for a commercial crew launch services program and $15M for the CRuSR (Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research) program. The commercial crew program will lead to commercial orbital launch services both for the ISS and for commercial facilities such as Bigelow space stations. CRuSR will buy suborbital space transport services for scientific, educational and technology payloads from companies flying fully reusable suborbital space vehicles.

Links:


August

A video of the SpaceX test drop on August 12th of a prototype Dragon capsule.
More information at SpaceX report on Dragon drop test - Aug.20.10.

Highlights:

  • Aug.3: ARCA Space's suborbital launch of their rockoon system was canceled after a balloon failure. The next attempt is set for October.
  • Aug.6: NASA announces program to buy technical data from private/commercial lunar rover projects such as those in the Google Lunar X PRIZE competition. Convincing NASA to carry out this sort of data purchase program has long been a goal of NewSpace advocacy organizations.
  • Aug.11: A test of the hybrid motor "RocketMotorTwo" for the SpaceShipTwo was carried out.
  • Aug.12: A prototype Dragon capsule is dropped from 14,000 ft from a helicopter and it successfully deploys its drogue and landing parachutes. It is retrieved from its landing in the ocean near Morro Bay, California.
  • Aug.13: The NASA sponsored Strong Tether Centennial Challenge event, held during the Space Elevator Conference, again failed to see any entrant come close to the required strength.
  • Aug.18: The FAA selects the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, based at New Mexico State University, as the host for the Center for Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation. Several other universities are part of the COE-CST collaboration.
  • Aug.19: WhiteKnightTwo "Eve" suffers a landing gear collapse after landing from a test flight. Scaled Composites says the problem is "minor".
  • Aug.19: NASA hosts the Commercial Crew RFI Forum to discuss input from companies that responded to the agencies request for information, advice and designs regarding the planned commercial crew services program.
  • Aug.22: Copenhagen Suborbitals starts to get lots of publicity as they aimed for their first suborbital test flight of their unmanned rocket at the end of the month.
  • Aug.30: NASA awards Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems each a contract for suborbital flights on their vertical-takeoff-vertical-landing vehicles.

Links:


July

Orbital Complex - Bigelow Aerospace
An illustration of the orbital complex of three habitats (two Sundance
and one BA-330 modules) that Bigelow Aerospace plans to launch beginning
in 2014. See the Bigelow Aerospace website for lots of information and
graphics about their plans.

Highlights:

  • July 2: More videos and information came out during July about the partnership of Armadillo Aerospace and NASA's Project M, which seeks to place a humanoid style robot on the Moon. Armadillo is developing lander prototype vehicles.
  • July 3: The Bigelow Aerospace website was revamped in July and gave more information and graphics about their space plans as well updates on the major expansion of their headquarters in Las Vegas.
  • July 7: It was revealed in an Oklahoma newspaper that the firm Rocketplane, which once was developing vehicles for both suborbital and orbital operations, had filed for bankruptcy and liquidation. The company had obtained Oklahoma tax credits early in the decade for development of a suborbital space tourism vehicle. Later it bought Kistler Aerospace and successfully won a NASA COTS contract in 2006 to use the Kistler K-1 vehicle for cargo deliveries to the Space Station. However, an inability to raise sufficient private capital led to the cancellation of the COTS contract. In the meantime, the suborbital project became derailed following a decision to switch to a new design after spending considerable money on a design that turned out to have major flaws.
  • July 9: JAXA announces that the IKAROS becomes first solar sail to accelerate from solar light.
  • July 13: NASA announced sponsorship of three new Centennial Challenges competitions:
    • $2m nanosat launch
    • $1.5m night rover
    • $1.5m sample return
  • July 14: The Teachers in Space program announced three additional slots available for teachers who want to participate in their suborbital spaceflight program.
  • July 15: The WhiteKnightTwo carried out a captive carry test flight with a crewed SpaceShipTwo in preparation for a drop and glide test of the SS2.
  • July 16: The firm Final Frontier Design introduced a new low cost spacesuit aimed for commercial spaceflight operations.
  • July 19: At the Farnborough Air Show, Boeing and Bigelow unveil the latest version of the CST-100 Capsule project that they are jointly developing. It could fly on different rockets and would be used to take up to 7 passengers to Bigelow Habitats.
  • July 20: NanoRacks commercial experiment facility activated on ISS.
  • July 23-25: The Space Frontier Foundation's conference NewSpace 2010 took place in Sunnyvale, California. A dedicated page of resources is available here.
  • July 28: Peroxide Propulsion in Sweden closes after accident. The company had supplied bulk H2O2 for some projects in the US such as Unreasonable Rocket.
  • July 30: MDA reveals that it is having difficulty finding an initial customer to get its in-space servicing spacecraft project off the ground.

Links:


June


Recording of webcast of the successful first launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9
rocket from Cape Canaveral on June 4, 2010.

Highlights:

  • June 4: Successful first launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
  • June 5: Armadillo Aerospace flew a Mod vehicle to 2000 ft (610m). Near apogee they shut off and then restarted the engine, and flew the vehicle down for a safe landing
  • June 8: XCOR and ULA announce a partnership to develop liquid hydrogen piston pumps.
  • June 13: SpaceX receives contract to launch Taiwanese earth observation satellite
  • June 16: SpaceX and Iridium sign largest commercial launch contract in history. The $495M deal will cover launches of Iridium's new constellation of 72 satellites starting in 2015.

Links:


Armadillo Aerospace: four pane view of the boosted hop flight on June 5th, 2010
of the Mod vehicle with engine shutdown, drogue deployment, engine restart, safe landing.


May

During the flight of Masten Space's Xombie vehicle on May 26, 2010, the engine
was deliberately shut off and then re-lit. This is the first public demonstration of such
a capability, which is needed for VTVL vehicle suborbital flights. See MSS statement.

Highlights:

  • SpaceX prepares for first Falcon 9 launch - SpaceX preparations for first launch
  • May.4: UP Aerospace successfully launches commercial sounding rocket from Spaceport America in New Mexico.
  • May 9: George Whitesides named Virgin Galactic CEO
  • May.25: Masten Space Systems and XCOR announce partnership to pursue NASA contracts for studies of lunar landers with LOX/Methane engines.
  • May.26: Masten Space carries out successful engine re-light during test flight
  • May.27-31: Space Investment Summit 8 + International Space Development Conference (ISDC 2010) - Chicago, IL.

Links:

 


KRQE news video of the UP Aerospace launch from Spaceport America on May 4th
with educational and commercial payloads aboard.


April

Highlights:

  • April 22: The X-37 successfully reaches orbit via an Atlas 501.
  • April 24: At the Tulsa air show, the Rocket Racing League successfully debuts the Mark III X-Racers, built by Armadillo Aerospace
  • April 29: Space Adventures and Armadillo Aerospace announce a partnership to offer suborbital spaceflights for $104k.

Links:


March


First captive carry flight of the WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo combo on March 22, 2010

Highlights:

Links:


February


Alan Stern, Principle Investigator for the New Horizons mission to Pluto and former head of
NASA's science directorate, and researcher Dan Durda in this video promote the potential of
suborbital space transports for scientific research, education and public participation in spaceflight.

Highlights:

  • Feb 1: NASA unveiled its 2011 budget, which included the use of commercial transport services for crews by 2015. See Space Transport News and the Space Policy category for lots of links to the NASA budget controversy and battles.
  • Feb.2: SpaceDev/SNC, Blue Origin and others got the first CCDev (Commercial Crew Development) grants.
  • Feb. 10-11: The FAA commercial space transportation conference had to deal with extreme snow conditions but nevertheless had good attendance and interesting presentations.
  • Feb. 12: The Rocket Racing League announced that it would do an exhibition at the Tulsa Air Show in April.
  • Feb. 18-20: The first suborbital spaceflight research conference (NSRC 2010) in Colorado was very well attended and indicated growing enthusiasm for science apps on reusable suborbital vehicles.
  • Feb. 27: SpaceX carried out a successful wet rehearsal of the Falcon 9/Dragon on the pad at Cape Canaveral.

Links:


January


Full duration test firing of the Falcon 9 upper stage engine on January 2nd
at the SpaceX Texas Test Facility in McGregor.

Highlights:

  • Jan. 11: A suborbital spaceflight training program with a group of scientists, including Alan Stern, got considerable attention.
  • Jan. 15: Masten Space flew their XOIE vehicle.

Links:

 

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The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey
NewSpace Watch at NSG

 

 

NewSpace Reviews
2009
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