Spy Satellite Companies Form Space Monopoly | Danger Room A satellite image of Washington D.C. during the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. Photo: DailyM/Flickr Earlier this year, the spy satellite industry was hit hard by defense budget cuts. For the top two commercial satellite companies, which survive largely by providing imagery to the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies, the cuts left only enough money for one to survive. Now budget austerity has forced the companies to merge together and create a new space monopoly with control over what we see from orbit. On Monday, Colorado-based satellite firm DigitalGlobe announced it’s merging with Virginia-based competitor GeoEye in a stock and cash deal worth $900 million.
SEN - Space Exploration Network
Sen— Scientists have proposed using pulsars - 'cosmic lighthouses' - as a way of navigating future space missions. Space navigation currently relies on communications with Earth which can become problematic at large distances from the planet, but the proposed star navigation based on pulsar signals would make deep space exploration more feasible. Stars have always been important for navigation, and mariners have lobang been using the night sky to find their way. Many satellites and spacecraft also have star trackers which monitor the positions of the constellations so that they can automatically adjust their orientation. Cosmic lighthouses will guide spaceships through the Galaxy
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LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Spaceport America is billed as the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Under construction roughly 45 miles north of Las Cruces on a remote desert landscape, the 18,000-acre Spaceport America site sports a nearly two-mile long, 200–foot-wide “spaceway” that can handle the suborbital traffic flow of pay-per-view space tourists using anchor tenant Virgin Galactic and its WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo system. A futuristic-looking terminal hangar is nearly complete, adding to the facility’s space-age ambiance. But another vibe is in the air – a “build it and they will come” optimism, but one that also has its fingers crossed for good luck. [Photos: Spaceport America Blooms in N.M. port's Construction Heralds Era of Commercial Space Travel | Spaceport America in New Mexico | Commercial & Private Spaceflight Industry
Updates on SpaceX and Orbital’s COTS progress Much of the attention commercial spaceflight has been getting recently has been focused on NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, including, as noted here, concerns about contracting mechanisms for future phases of the program. But CCDev is very much based on the earlier Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program for developing commercial cargo transportation to and from the ISS; the success of CCDev is dependent in part on the success of COTS. And the two companies that have COTS agreements with NASA are making some news recently on their efforts. SpaceX has, for some time, been working to get NASA to agree to combine their second and third COTS missions (their first successfully flew last December), allowing them to both approach and berth with the station on the same flight.
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Britain launches first space agency Britain launched its own space agency Tuesday with the help of home-grown astronaut Major Timothy Peake, aimed at boosting the country's multi-billion-pound space technology industry. While Peake may be its only astronaut, Britain is a world leader in areas such as robotics, satellites and telecommunications, which contribute about six billion pounds (nine billion dollars, 6.7 billion euros) a year to the economy. The new UK Space Agency, complete with a logo depicting the Union flag morphed into a soaring arrow, will manage what is now a loose partnership of government departments and research councils dealing with space. About 68,000 people are employed directly or indirectly in the industry and Business Secretary Peter Mandelson said it was "exactly the kind of high value-added industry we need to support". Officials said it could grow to 40 billion pounds a year by 2030.
Astrium signs up for Next Gen Launcher High Thrust Engine Astrium, Europe's leading space company, continues to prepare Europe's future propulsion technology by signing a euros 60 million rider with the European Space Agency (ESA) and its partners of the joint propulsion team consortium, Avio SpA (Italy) and SNECMA (SAFRAN Group) (France). The contract is part of ESA's Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP). The activities were started back in 2007 and have accumulated a value of more than euros 100 million. Following the successful system requirements review in May 2011, this rider covers further important development steps towards engine and subsystems preliminary design reviews for the Next Generation Launcher (NGL) first stage engine demonstrator to be reached by mid-2013. The engine demonstrator is focused on maximizing the implementation of key enabling technologies which are being developed by 14 companies from nine European countries.
TSS (Tethered Satellite System)
Having finished writing about the space elevator , I am moving on to another spacelaunch method in this new article in the non-rocket spacelaunch series . Tether propulsion consists in using long, very strong cables (known as tethers) to change the velocity of spacecraft and payloads. The tethers may be used to initiate launch, complete launch, or alter the orbit of a spacecraft. This form of propulsion would be significantly less expensive than spaceflight using modern rocket engines. Artist’s conception of satellite with a tether. Image by NASA. Tether propulsion
The use of tethers in space poses many challenges and safety issues. This third part to the tether propulsion article will focus on those issues. A lot of the challenges and safety issues of a space tether system are similar to those of a space elevator described in a previous article , but some are unique to the space tether concept. Tether propulsion safety issues
Tether propulsion in fiction This is the fourth and final part of the tether propulsion article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the tether propulsion concept in fiction. The most prominent science fiction novels on the subject include:
Tether satellite missions This is the second part to the article about tether propulsion . It will focus on space missions that tested tethers in space. Gemini 11 mission: 1966 Gemini 11 mission with tether visible.
Earth is not the only planet that could have a space elevator. Variants of the basic space elevator design could also be built on other celestial bodies in the solar system. Most of those variants could fit into three categories: space elevators for rotating bodies (such as the Earth or Mars), space elevators for tidally locked moons or planets (such as Earth’s Moon or some of the Jovian moons) and space elevators for asteroids or other small bodies. Martian space elevator A Martian space elevator would follow the basic Earth space elevator concept, with the main difference that it would be much shorter than Earth’s. Extraterrestrial Space Elevator Concepts
This is the fourth and final part of the space elevator article of the non-rocket spacelaunch methods article series. This post will focus on references to the space elevator concept in fiction. The first mention of anything remotely similar to a space elevator was the beanstalk in the children’s fairy tale called Jack and the Beanstalk , published in 1807. In this story a plant grows up into the sky enabling Jack to climb it and see what’s up there. Space Elevators in Fiction
This is the second part to the article about the space elevator . In this post I will focus on the safety issues of a space elevator . Space elevator climber. Image Credit & Copyright: Liftport Space Elevator - Safety Issues
Advantages and Difficulties of a Launch Loop This is the second part to the article on the launch loop from the non-rocket spacelaunch series. A complete list of all the articles in this series can be seen at the end of this post. A schematic of a launch loop as imagined by Lofstrom. Advantages of launch loops
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