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AssassinsMace

Brigadier
I know it was a demonstrator but to the contrary it over-performed for its limited envelope. If it wasn't powered, how did it achieve Mach 5 unless the rocket carrying it was already descending while the shuttle was attached and still firing which is not normal. 40 miles is not even low earth orbit so it goes up then it goes down. Gravity is not going to get you Mach 5 going down.
 

Quickie

Major
I know it was a demonstrator but to the contrary it over-performed for its limited envelope. If it wasn't powered, how did it achieve Mach 5 unless the rocket carrying it was already descending while the shuttle was attached and still firing which is not normal. 40 miles is not even low earth orbit so it goes up then it goes down. Gravity is not going to get you Mach 5 going down.
Imo, the shuttle probably got boosted by the rocket launcher to that horizontal velocity just as a satellite would . By the time the shuttle had glided back to the sea surface, its velocity would've already been much reduced to below the Mach due to air friction.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Source: Irregularity occurred as Soyuz upper stage was orbiting Glonass satellite
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May 30, 13:57 UTC+3
The Russian Defense Ministry’s press service reported earlier that stable telemetry link was established and maintained with the Glonass-M satellite

© Marina Lystseva/ITAR-TASS, file
MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. An irregularity occurred when the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket’s third stage was orbiting a Glonass-M satellite from the Plesetsk spaceport in Russia’s northwestern Arkhangelsk region on Sunday, a source in the Russian space rocket industry told TASS on Monday.

"The Fregat upper stage worked longer than planned and used its engines to remedy the situation. A state commission is probing into the accident," the source said.



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Russia’s Glonass-M satellite delivered into interim orbit


According to him, the upper stage successfully placed the satellite into the target orbit and then Fregat entered the disposal orbit.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s press service reported earlier that stable telemetry link was established and maintained with the Glonass-M satellite. The spacecraft’s onboard systems are functioning normally.

According to the rocket and space industry source, the testing of the satellite before its putting into service will last for about a month.

The Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket was launched at 11:45 am, Moscow time (08:45 GMT) on Sunday from site No 43 of the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region in north Russia by an operational crew of the Russian Aerospace Force’s space troops.

Ten minutes after the launch, the carrier rocket’s upper stage comprising a Fregat booster and the Glonass-M navigation satellite separated from the rocket in a normal mode. The satellite’s further injection into orbit was carried out by the Fregat acceleration unit.

This is the second launch of a Glonass-M satellite and the third launch of a Soyuz-2 medium-class carrier rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome this year.


As Roscosmos State Corporation said earlier, up to eight satellites may join the Glonass system constellation by the end of 2017. Both Soyuz launch vehicles and Proton-M heavy carrier rockets may be used for the launches. A source in the space rocket industry told TASS that the launch of a Proton carrier rocket with three Glonass satellites may take place already before the end of 2016.

Glonass is Russia's satellite navigation system designed to provide Russia with its own navigation data for military and civilian use, as well as to compete with the US Global Positioning System (GPS) in the commercial market for navigation data.

Aside from the satellite launched on May 29, Russia’s Glonass orbital constellation comprises 28 satellites, of which 24 are used according to their target designation while two spacecraft are in the operational evaluation of the chief designer, one in the orbital reserve and the other one at the stage of flight tests.



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NASA inflates spare room in space


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May 28, 2016



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This image obtained May 28, 2016 courtesy of NASA shows an inflatable add-on room, known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), at the International Space Station (AFP Photo/)
Washington (AFP) - NASA on Saturday successfully expanded and pressurized an add-on room at the International Space Station two days after aborting the first attempt when it ran into problems.

The flexible habitat, known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), completed slowly extending 67 inches (170 centimeters) at 4:10 pm (2010 GMT) following more than seven hours during which astronaut Jeff Williams released short blasts of air into the pod's walls from the orbiting lab using a manual valve.

After the expansion was completed, he opened eight air tanks inside BEAM, pressurizing the pod to a level close to the space station's 14.7 pounds per square inch.

"The module is fully expanded at this point and fully pressurized," NASA spokesman Daniel Huot said. "A very successful day today with the expansion of the first expandable human-rated habitat to ever be flown into space."

Astronauts will now perform a series of tests to ensure the pod does not leak air and conduct other preparations before entering it through the station's Tranquility module for the first time in approximately a week, NASA said.

The inflation process may be better described as "unfolding" since it takes very little air to bring the pod to full size, experts said. Only about 0.4 pounds per square inch (psi) is needed to expand BEAM to its full shape.

The expansion caused a popping sound not unlike that of popcorn as the structure slowly filled out, live video feed from the space station on NASA television showed.

NASA is testing expandable habitats astronauts might use on the Moon or Mars in the coming decades.

Efforts to inflate the flexible habitat got under way around 9 am (1300 GMT) after the first attempt failed on Thursday because of too much friction between the pod wall's fabrics, possibly because it had been left packed longer than originally planned.

Astronauts are expected to re-enter the module several times a year throughout the two-year technology demonstration to retrieve sensor data and assess conditions inside the unit, including how well it protects against space radiation, the US space agency said.

Bigelow Aerospace developed the first-of-its-kind habitat as part of an $18 million contract with NASA.

Fully expanded, the module is 13 feet long (four meters) by 10.5 feet (3.23 meters) wide.

Expandable habitats' benefit lies in the little space they take up in spacecrafts' cargo holds while providing greater living and working space once inflated.

But key questions that remain to be answered include how well such pods would protect people against solar radiation, debris and the temperature extremes of space.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
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Chine panels being fitted to the side of the Lynx. (Credit: XCOR)

From what I’m hearing, the layoffs are part of a retrenchment to focus on projects that are bringing in revenue, such as the upper stage engine XCOR is developing for ULA. It appears that many people working on the Lynx suborbital space plane were laid off.

The company’s burn rate — what it was spending every month — was just too high, especially as it is maintaining facilities in Mojave, Calif., and Midland, Texas. It’s also been a while since XCOR has made any announcements about new fundraising rounds.

Work on the Lynx — which has been under construction for about four years — is being suspended. The last update on its progress from XCOR, provided at the Space Access 2016 Conference in April, indicated that one wing had been built by the manufacturer and funds were required to construct the second wing.

Most of the rest of the vehicle has already been assembled. Work was continuing on closing the cycle on the vehicle’s engine as well. That work will continue along with development of the ULA engine.

The Lynx is a precursor to a fully reusable, multi-stage system that is intended to make human space travel a routine activity. The reusable engine that XCOR is developing for ULA is a step in that direction, but it’s only one piece of a much larger puzzle. Without the Lynx as a test bed, the project will be more difficult to undertake.

It is unlikely that much work on the orbital system was being done in recent months given the financial constraints and a lack of personnel to do it. In reorganizing the company last year, CEO Jay Gibson had designated founders Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong to focus on the orbital system.

That new management structure didn’t work out. Greason, DeLong and co-founder Aleta Jackson left XCOR in November. They subsequently established a consulting company focused on rapid prototyping.

That’s what I know so far. More updates as information becomes available.

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DARPA Requests Designs for XS-1 Military Space Plane
By Calla Cofield, Space.com Staff Writer | May 27, 2016 07:32am ET



An artist's concept of DARPA's Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1), a proposed robotic space vehicle that could fly 10 times in 10 days and lower the cost of putting satellites in orbit.
Credit: DARPA
The U.S. military's plans to build a satellite-launching robotic space plane are moving forward. On Monday (May 23), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) put out its official call for proposals for the futuristic space plane design.

The goal of the
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is to build a reusable space plane that, at optimal operation, should be able to fly 10 times in 10 days, at a cost of no more than $5 million per flight. Typically, space vehicles are not fully reusable, and the pieces that are reused need to undergo time-consuming safety checks between flights. XS-1 would be used primarily as a cheap and fast way to deliver satellites to orbit, DARPA officials said.

DARPA is already working with three groups on designs for XS-1. This week's announcement sets a deadline for those groups to submit their design proposals (July 22). In early 2017, DARPA is expected to
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with the construction of an XS-1 prototype for flight testing. [
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]

The XS-1 program has four primary technical goals,
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. The first is a plane that can do 10 flights in 10 days, and demonstrate "aircraft-like access to space." Second, the plane must be able to deliver a payload into low Earth orbit, which means it has to be able to move very fast. It must be able to launch a payload weighing up to 1,500 lbs. (680 kilograms) and have the capability to upgrade to 3,000-lb. (1,360 kg) payloads. And, each flight of the space plane, even with its heaviest payload, can't cost more than $5 million.




In an era of declining budgets and adversaries’ evolving capabilities, quick, affordable and routine access to space is increasingly critical for both national and economic security," DARPA officials wrote in a statement on the agency's website. "Current satellite launch systems, however, require scheduling years in advance for an extremely limited inventory of available slots. Moreover, launches often cost hundreds of millions of dollars each, due in large part to the massive amounts of dedicated infrastructure and large number of personnel required."

"DARPA created its Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program to help overcome these challenges and create a new paradigm for more routine, responsive and affordable space operations, reducing the time to get capabilities to space," officials said in the statement.

The XS-1 program began in 2013, and initially DARPA aimed to make the first test flights in 2018. More recent estimates put the first flights
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.

The program is currently broken into three phases. Phase I sought to "evaluate the technical feasibility and methods for achieving the program's goals," according to the DARPA website. In 2014 and 2015, during Phase 1, the agency
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working on XS-1 designs: Northrop Grumman, partnered with Virgin Galactic; Boeing, partnered with Blue Origin; and Masten Space Systems, partnered with XCOR Aerospace. The three groups have released simple, digital renderings of
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.

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that it had received funding from the Obama Administration to move into Phase 2. This week's announcement puts a final deadline on XS-1 design proposals, which can include previously tested technologies or totally new ideas. The call for proposals is open to anyone, not just those companies that have already received funding.

The military has another reusable space plane in operation:
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, which hops a ride aboard a rocket and can then orbit the Earth
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. Built by Boeing, the two X-37Bs have launched on a total of four missions in six years. Just what they're doing up there is a mystery; most X-37B payloads are classified.

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Dolcevita

Senior Member
USA....NASA & the US Navy



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MUOS-5 appears to be in trouble.



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MUOS-5 encounters anomaly while raising orbit
An anomaly has temporarily halted the fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite from reaching its targeted geostationary orbit (GEO), according to a statement from the United States Navy. The announcement comes just two weeks after the craft was launched atop a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket.

MUOS-5 was launched on June 24 into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). Over the last couple of weeks, the vehicle’s onboard engines were tasked with circularizing the orbit over the course of some seven orbits, according to Spaceflight Now. Orbit raising was scheduled to be completed by July 3 for the satellite to enter its test location 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) above Hawaii.

Due to the anomaly—the nature of which has yet to be announced—the orbit-increasing burns had to be temporarily halted. According to a July 8 press release, the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Space Systems has reconfigured the satellite from orbital transfer into a stabilized, safe intermediate orbit to allow for the MUOS team to evaluate the situation and determine options for proceeding.

As the spacecraft’s solar panels and mesh antennas have yet to be deployed and were expected to be so within nine days of launch, it is unclear how this delay will impact activation of those systems and how long the vehicle can remain in this temporary orbit.

While this is the fifth satellite in the MUOS constellation, its primary function is that of an on-orbit spare. The other four satellites are positioned equidistant around Earth at GEO.

“[The] delay in reaching its test location will have no impact upon current legacy or Wideband Code Division Multiple Access [WCDMA] satellite communications operations,” the press release stated.

According to Spaceflight Now, hobbyist observers tracking the satellite have pinpointed the current orbit of MUOS-5 at 9,471 by 22,185 miles (15,242 by 35,703 kilometers) at an inclination of 9.8 degrees. It has been there for about a week.

If the problem is fixed, the satellite will ultimately be circularized into an orbit of some 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers) in altitude with an inclination of 5 degrees. After initial tests, the spacecraft will be maneuvered to a position near where MUOS-4 is currently residing, over the Indian Ocean.

This is the final piece of the $7.7 billion mobile communications network for the U.S. Navy, which includes four ground stations. All five satellites have a projected lifespan of 15 years. MUOS-1 was launched in February 2012; MUOS-2 in July 2013; MUOS-3 in January 2015; and MUOS-4 in September 2015.

Those with MUOS terminals can connect with “smartphone-like” capabilities, which includes voice, text, video, and data transmission on a high-speed Internet Protocol-based system.

Each was built by Lockheed Martin and has a 14-meter-diameter reflecting mesh antenna. Additionally, all five are equipped with both WCDMA and UHF supporting hardware.

 

Miragedriver

Brigadier

When it comes to sending
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, the biggest hurdle NASA has faced is the amount of energy needed to carry a very small payload over such a long distance. Modern technology doesn't allow for us to get enough there to start a full Martian colony. But 24-year-old engineering student
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believes he's found a solution with an efficient self-healing plasma rocket.
 

Miragedriver

Brigadier
Journey to Mars in Less than Two Days Onboard this Radical Train Concept



Forbes Magazine

Earlier this year,
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(think New York to Dubai in 22 minutes). But now he’s set his sights on something much bigger.

Pushing the limits of his imagination out of this world, the Montreal-based innovator has envisioned Solar Express—a futuristic train designed to ferry goods and passengers between celestial bodies and space stations.

Using the force of gravity to slingshot around planets and moons, the locomotive—designed in collaboration with industrial engineer Olivier Péraldi—would remain in constant motion similar to a ski lift, with smaller vehicles locking onto it along the way.

The train would comprise of a series 50-meter-long cylinders placed end to end, with each capsule divided into four cargo bays that maintenance robots could swap in-flight. “A large ‘space city’ would rotate around the longitudinal axis and provide artificial gravity inside so that humans could walk and live there during the long months of travelling,” Bombardier notes.

The configuration, class, and function of each car would vary, though rest areas would likely fall towards the middle of the craft, where gravity has less of an effect. The center would also contain a zero-gravity area, where certain experiments could be held, while outer zones with normal gravity would cater to human activities.


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