In Memoriam: Frederick I. Ordway III (1927-2014)

The National Space Society is mourning the passing today of NSS Board of Governors member Frederick I. Ordway III.

Frederick I. Ordway III

Fred Ordway at a book signing at the 2011 NSS International Space Development Conference

Frederick Ira Ordway III was an educator, consultant, researcher, and author on space flight and energy programs. His career began in various geological and engineering positions for Mene Grande Oil Company in San Tome, Venezuela in 1949. Five years later he was in the guided missiles division of the Republic Aviation Corporation. Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s he held positions with the General Aeronautics Research Corporation, the National Research and Development Corporation, and Saturn Systems office at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in Huntsville, where he developed a long-time association with Wernher von Braun. From 1960-64 he was Chief of Space Information Systems at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

Next came a period of consulting: 1965-66 for Paramount Pictures The Adventurer’s; and 1968-69 for the Encyclopedia Britannica, the American College Dictionary of the English Language, and Stanley Kubrick at MGM for 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Throughout the 1970’s he was in various positions at the Department of Energy; during 1975-77 he was Assistant to the Administrator of ERDA and during 1977-1994 he was Policy and International Affairs director in the special projects office.

Ordway was the author of numerous books including Visions of Spaceflight: Images from the Ordway Collection, The Rocket Team: From the V-2 to the Saturn Moon Rocket, and (with Wernher von Braun) History of Rocketry and Space Travel.

Fred was the recipient of the 2012 National Space Society Space Pioneer Award for a Lifetime of Service to the Space Community as well as the recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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NASA selects Deep Space Industries for two asteroid contracts

NASA has awarded two contracts to Deep Space Industries Inc. to accelerate the agency’s plans to partner with private industry on asteroid prospecting and harvesting.  One will analyze commercial approaches to NASA’s asteroid goals and how an industry-led asteroid economy can make crewed Mars missions safer, sooner, and less expensive.  The second will examine several small asteroid-prospecting payloads that can be launched as hitchhikers on NASA missions.

Participating with Deep Space on both successful proposals will be Near Earth LLC, which has been raising capital for satellite and space companies since 2002 (and over $15 billion since 1993 at prior investment banks).  It also frequently provides financial and strategic advisory services to major aerospace companies, satellite operators, private equity firms, and hedge funds.

Dr. Mason Peck of Cornell University, a former Chief Technologist for NASA, will collaborate with Deep Space on the small ride-along payloads contract with research into tiny “Sprites” that could be released by the dozens or hundreds during asteroid encounters to gather wide-area data.

“Deep Space brings commercial insight to NASA’s asteroid planning, because our business is based on supplying what commercial customers in Earth orbit need to operate, as well as serving NASA’s needs for its Moon and Mars exploration,” said CEO Daniel Faber. “The fuel, water, and metals that we will harvest and process will be sold into both markets, making available industrial quantities of material for expanding space applications and services.”

“The space industry is transforming with new lower-cost launch options and inexpensive small satellites, trends that Deep Space intends to exploit for its prospecting missions,” said Hoyt Davidson, Managing Member at Near Earth LLC.  “These missions should position Deep Space for the next major growth opportunity in Space — supplying space enterprises and governments with resources found and processed in space.”

The first study will analyze the economic fundamentals of a commercially oriented Asteroid Initiative, and document the expanded exploration resources that industry could supply to NASA if this course were followed.  NASA would receive greatly improved sampling/surveying technologies for the crew inspecting the captured asteroid at no cost to the agency.  NASA also would gain use of potentially crucial resources harvested from the asteroid without needing to pay for the research and development costs required to unlock them.

Deep Space has several spacecraft types under development for its asteroid mineral surveys, all based on the same core subsystems. In the second study, the company will assess each of these spacecraft for compatibility with NASA’s launch vehicle for its asteroid mission plus the initial launch of NASA’s Space Launch System.  The missions will be designed to further commercial and academic goals through innovations like Cornell’s Sprites.

“Each Sprite is a functional spacecraft weighing less than a penny,” said Dr. Mason Peck.  “Sprites on Deep Space missions will be revolutionary new tools for gathering data across wide areas of interest, both on and around asteroids.”

“A profitable asteroid industry is upon us,” said David Gump, Vice Chair and Director of Marketing for Deep Space.  “During the current prospecting phase, Deep Space revenue sources include providing data to scientists and NASA, and enabling corporate marketers to activate their customers through direct  participation in the asteroid adventure.”

The two system concept studies start next month and will be completed in six months in support the agency’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).  The full NASA announcement of the contract awards is at www.nasa.gov/asteroidinitiative.

Posted in Asteroid, Commercial Spaceflight, Near Earth Objects, Space Business | 2 Comments

National Space Society Message to Congress

The following was sent to key Congressional leaders.

Washington, DC (June 18, 2014)
Attention Members House/Senate Conference Committee:

National Space Society Urges House/Senate Conference to Fully Support Commercial Crew

The Washington DC-based National Space Society (NSS) has been a consistent supporter of NASA’s Commercial Crew program to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

*   While not at the President’s request level, NSS is pleased to see a strong financial commitment to the commercial crew program. Adequate funding is required to rapidly end US reliance on Russia for astronaut transport to the International Space Station.  We urge the Congress to adopt the Senate’s higher level ($805 million) as the bills move through the process.

*   Competition between multiple commercial crew suppliers in the operational service is an essential element of the program and is critical to maintaining the highest level of safety, staying on schedule, and maximizing cost efficiencies.

*   The next round of commercial crew development is progressing according to Congressional direction – through FAR-based firm fixed-price competitive contracts – and the process underway should not be altered or slowed down at this time.

*   The country needs to rapidly develop domestic Astronaut transportation capabilities and NASA’s current approach, coupled with appropriate funding, puts America on that path.

*   NSS also endorses the recent decision by the Obama administration to extend the life of the ISS by four years to 2024.  NASA should take additional steps to further extend both the life and the capabilities of the ISS, including using commercial crew vehicles to support a larger ISS crew, creating greater science, technology and commercial output.

Posted in National Space Society, Space Policy | 1 Comment

NSS Issues Political Action Network Alert in Support of Commercial Crew

On June 5, 2014 NSS issued an alert to the NSS Political Action Network concerning support for Commercial Crew in the current Senate Appropriations Bill.  The alert can be found at:

http://www.nss.org/legislative/alerts/NSS.Legislative.Alert.2014.Jun.5.pdf.

The alert calls for requesting full funding for Commercial Crew at $848 million as requested by NASA, rather than the $805 million appropriated by the Senate, or the House allocation of $785 million.  In addition the alert calls for the removal of language that would impose FAR (Federal Acquisitions Regulations) accounting on fixed price Commercial Crew and Cargo contracts, with the intent of making these programs more expensive and slowing them down. Additional information on Commercial Crew can be found in the recent NSS position paper at:

http://www.nss.org/legislative/positions/NSS_Position_Paper_Commercial_Crew_2014.pdf

Posted in Commercial Spaceflight, Space Policy | 2 Comments

In Memoriam: Peter E. Glaser (1923-2014)

The National Space Society is mourning the passing of NSS Board of Governors member Peter E. Glaser on May 29, 2014.

Peter E. GlaserDr. Peter E. Glaser was Vice President for Advanced Technology at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA, a company that he was associated with from 1955-1994. After his retirement in 1994, he continued to serve as a consultant to the company for many years.

Dr. Glaser is best known as the inventor of the Solar Power Satellite concept, which he first presented in the journal Science for November 22, 1968 (“Power from the Sun: It’s Future”). In 1973 he was granted a U.S. patent on the Solar Power Satellite to supply power from space for use on the Earth.

Born in Czechoslovakia, Glaser was a survivor of the Holocaust who came to the United States in 1948 and earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Columbia University.

Dr. Glaser was project manager for the Apollo 11 Laser Ranging Retroreflecter Array installed on the lunar surface of July 20, 1969, and two other arrays installed on subsequent missions — the only science experiments still in operation on the Moon. He also was responsible for the Lunar Heat Flow Probes and the Lunar Gravimeter which were operational during the Apollo program, and the Initial Blood Storage Experiment flown on the NASA shuttle Columbia (STS-61-C) in January 1986, to explore gravitational effects on human blood cells.

Dr. Glaser served on several NASA Committees including Task Force on Space Goals, NASA Advisory Council (1984-1989), and Lunar Enterprise Case Study (1988-89). He formed the SUNSAT Energy Council in 1978; an NGO associated with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and currently serves as its Chairman. He also chaired the Space Power Committee of the International Astronautical Federation (1984-89). He has served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of Technology Assessment of the United States Congress.

Dr. Glaser was President of the International Solar Energy Society (1968-69), and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Solar Energy (1971-1984). Dr. Glaser received the Farrington Daniels Award from the International Solar Energy Society in 1983.

He is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. In 1993 the International Astronautical Federation established the Peter Glaser Plenary Lecture to be given at the Annual Congresses. He was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame of the United States Space Foundation in 1996. Dr. Glaser has published more than 300 technical papers and books. His personal collection, the Peter E. Glaser Papers, have been donated to the MIT Archives and Special Collections.

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SpaceX Unveils Dragon 2 Spacecraft

15-minute video, May 29, 2014

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SpaceX Completes Qualification Testing of SuperDraco Thruster for Launch Escape System on Dragon Spacecraft

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announced that it has completed qualification testing for the SuperDraco thruster, an engine that will power the Dragon spacecraft’s launch escape system and enable the vehicle to land propulsively on Earth or another planet with pinpoint accuracy.

The qualification testing program took place over the last month at SpaceX’s Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas. The program included testing across a variety of conditions including multiple starts, extended firing durations and extreme off-nominal propellant flow and temperatures.

The SuperDraco is an advanced version of the Draco engines currently used by SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft to maneuver in orbit and during re-entry. SuperDracos will be used on the crew version of the Dragon spacecraft as part of the vehicle’s launch escape system; they will also enable propulsive landing on land.  Each SuperDraco produces 16,000 pounds of thrust and can be restarted multiple times if necessary.  In addition, the engines have the ability to deep throttle, providing astronauts with precise control and enormous power.

The SuperDraco engine chamber is manufactured using state-of-the-art direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), otherwise known as 3D printing.  The chamber is regeneratively cooled and printed in Inconel, a high-performance superalloy that offers both high strength and toughness for increased reliability.

“Through 3D printing, robust and high-performing engine parts can be created at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional manufacturing methods,” said Elon Musk, Chief Designer and CEO.  “SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making our vehicles more efficient, reliable and robust than ever before.”

Unlike previous launch escape systems that were jettisoned after the first few minutes of launch, SpaceX’s launch system is integrated into the Dragon spacecraft.  Eight SuperDraco engines built into the side walls of the Dragon spacecraft will produce up to 120,000 pounds of axial thrust to carry astronauts to safety should an emergency occur during launch.

As a result, Dragon will be able to provide astronauts with the unprecedented ability to escape from danger at any point during the ascent trajectory, not just in the first few minutes.  In addition, the eight SuperDracos provide redundancy, so that even if one engine fails an escape can still be carried out successfully.

The first flight demonstration of the SuperDraco will be part of the upcoming pad abort test under NASA’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capabilities (CCiCap) initiative. The pad abort will be the first test of SpaceX’s new launch escape system and is currently expected to take place later this year.

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3rd Space Solar Power International Student and Young Professional Design Competition

The Space Generation Advisory Council is pleased to announce its partnership with the International Astronautical Federation’s Space Power Committee (SPC) to organize and run the 3rd Space Solar Power International Student and Young Professional Design Competition.

The competition aims to challenge entrants to submit a technical paper for a new and innovative technical concept for Space Solar Power (SSP). SSP, in its typical implementation and for the purposes of this competition, is the idea of transmitting power harvested from the sun in space down to Earth.

The winning entrant will be given up to USD 2000 to cover travel costs to Toronto, Canada, to present their paper at the 2014 Space Generation Congress (SGC) and to present a poster at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

MORE INFORMATION

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ISDC Space and Media Track: Ted Schilowitz

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Innovator and futurist Ted Schilowitz is founding team member & first employee of Red Camera Co and consultant for digital cinema technology company Barco and 20th Century Fox. Ted is speaking at the Space and Media Track at the ISDC National Space Conference along with a list of scheduled speakers in segments encompassing movies & television, social media, art & books, games, simulations, news, filming in space, classroom, and music. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) was excited to hear what Ted Schilowitz had to say about his Friday talk “The Future Is Immersion.”

QGITS: How did you earn the title futurist-consigliere?

Ted Schilowitz: It comes from the radical nature of my career, I’m one of the founding members and 1st employee of a movie camera company called Red Digital Cinema. Red has become very much a force in the motion picture world and it’s been a main stream tool for making movies. When I started, it was just me and Jim Jannard putting it all together and then it blew up into something significant. My title early on was “Leader of the Rebellion.” That was kind of an interesting moniker to establish in what we were doing by being very radical and very disruptive in a space that was right for disruption. Years later once the rebellion was well in hand, I had to change the business card title and it just said “insert title here” that just drove the press crazy. I retired from Red about 9 months ago, it was a very short lived retirement because one of my friends who is one of the studio heads at Fox, who used the Red camera quite a bit, essentially asked me to help look around the next corner of technology and all the things it means from a storytelling stand point. We had to come up with a title that would reflect that and not be some sort of business title. So the studio said that I was here to look at the future so we should call you “futurist” and you’re here to be our “consigliere” to the future and advise us. Since I was bold enough to stand up in meetings, have the courage and say what I think, that’s why the studio wanted me there, so they put on my business card “futurist-consigliere” which of course gives everybody a little chuckle, it’s nothing more than that, it’s just funny.

QGITS: Your Friday presentation talk at the ISDC conference is on “The Future is Immersion.” Can you talk a little bit about that?

Ted Schilowitz: I am talking about the learning and the exploration of forms, functions and how it relates to the field of motion pictures entertainment and what that means and how it’s changing. Also what’s important and what’s around the next corner. I am involved in a number of these efforts and what I believed is the next generation of cinema which is a project called “Escape” which I am doing with a company called Barco, the worldwide leader in cinema projection. We have created an experience extending the vision of cinema around you. I have another fun and interesting title at Barco called “CinemaVangelist.” I also have a very high interest in virtual reality which is an extension of this visual experience to have a personalized vision of the future with a headset on you. So my talk covers pieces and parts of that and an understanding of form, function and a future.

QGITS: What were your thoughts when asked to be a part of the ISDC Conference Space & Media Track added this year?

Ted Schilotwitz: I’m thrilled to be a part of it, I am a huge space fan. I grew up in central Florida so I am a child of the space generation and have been enamored with it since I was a little kid. I track this stuff, I know a lot about it, I love the excitement and the exploration of it. I was thrilled when asked to be a part of the conference in some fashion to talk about my vision of the future and how it relates to entertainment and storytelling. I love to meet all the other people that are speaking and talking. They have wonderful things to say and stories that get me all excited about space all over again.

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ISDC NASA Lunar Exploration Sub-Track: Dave Dunlop

By Candice Nunez, NSS ISDC Reporter, courtesy QGITS

Dave Dunlop is the presenting and managing Track Chair of the Lunar Sub-Track during the NASA Exploration session. Dave has been part of the International Committee of the National Space Society in partner with other organizations that share the same vision of a future in which the free enterprise human economy expands to include settlements on the Moon and elsewhere. QGITS  (an online publication for STEM students) had the pleasure in speaking with Dave Dunlop about the panelists presenting on the Lunar Sub-Track.

QGITS: Last year’s lunar track was about lunar lava tube exploration on the Moon, will there be any talks about them again this year?

Dave DunlopDave Dunlop: This year we are having a number of presentations involving the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition. We are getting updates about the Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) competition and their recent Milestone awards to several teams from Dr. Andrew Barton, Chief Technology Officer of the GLXP. He will be presenting at the Lunar Track, Friday May 16th, in the afternoon. Google Lunar XPRIZE teams that are also presenting at ISDC conference are: Moon Express, Penn State Lunar Lions, and Team Synergy Moon.

Although we devoted an entire day of our two day lunar track last year to lava tubes this year we have a more diverse range of topics and presentations. Last year we talked about lava tubes on the Moon but there are also a number pits on the Mars shield volcanos that would seem to be evidence of underlying lava tubes there as well. Astrobotic is another GLXP team that is planning a future lunar lava tube mission. This continues to be a hot topic for exploration. To get something into the lunar lava tube is something that has never been tried before – it’s quite challenging. I hope they can pull that off.

QGITS: What will you be speaking about at this year’s Lunar Sub-Track 2014?

Dave Dunlop: I am giving a talk on the International Lunar Geophysical Campaign. We are trying to do is to stimulate international interest in sending more small affordable science missions to the Moon. At present only three countries have managed to soft land on the Moon. If you look at a number of missions that are being planned over the next 10 years, there’s quite a few. What I have counted amount about 24 missions in development right now. Mostly those come from major spacefaring powers like China, India, Japan, Canada and Russia. If you look at these missions, there only 8 countries out of the major G-20 economies. Why aren’t there more lunar missions coming from G-20 countries? Our campaign is trying to encourage the number of these affordable Lunar CubeSat scale missions and more nations to be engaged.

We hope for example that some of the GLXP teams that have not had the ability to raise enough capital or adequate time to meet the GLXP deadline can repurpose their efforts and subsequently find both national as well as private sponsors for lunar science missions. NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual network has a number of international nodes and I understand that some additional nations are also joining that network. Perhaps there can be some collaborative project that these initiatives can mutually develop. We could see a new paradigm of small scale affordable science missions undertaken by more countries than ever before as a result.

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