The International Space Station’s mobile transporter (lower center) moves towards the center of the ISS truss structure on flight day 10.
As the Space Shuttle Discovery crew continue with mission STS-120, which could be the 14th or the 12th mission before the end of the Shuttle programme, NASA’s shiny new Constellation programme Ares I crew launch vehicle first-stage contractor Alliant Techsystems, aka ATK, has fired off a solid rocket booster The Space Politics blog and its contributors are getting themselves all in a twist over a Florida Today article about the dates for entry into service (EIS) for NASA’s Ares I CLV, Orion crew exploration vehicle launch system.
Let me clear up the confusion. NASA does state that the goal is EIS in September 2013 but, they qualify this target with the statement that, with the funding situation and because of Space Shuttle retirement pressures and other issues they actually do not expect to have EIS until March 2015. NASA administrator Michael Griffin told Congress in March that he had a 65% confidence level that they would have EIS in March 2015 assuming the agency got the budgets it was requesting. Well it hasn’t.
So visit www.flightglobal.com/spaceflight to see the latest on the countdown to another Orion delay next week.
The state of Florida is not hanging around waiting for Orion, it has decided to team up with New Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow.
Florida might want to approach the Russians as this article suggests all is not well between Kazahkstan, where Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome is located, and the Russian government
Talking of private commercial spaceflight investment opportunities, see more info on “space angels” here
And the competition is hotting up with South Africa looking to have its own launcher.
Sort of space related but the Rocket Racing League, which is backed by the US “New Space” business community, has had a test flight and here is a video – I might have linked to this before but what the hell!
NASA is also wanting to advance technology with this announcement