New Crew Ship Designs Selected By NASA.

NASA has decided on the designs for its next capsules to take astronauts to space and return them safely to Earth.

Boeing and SpaceX have been awarded contracts to develop the new capsules, which should be ready by late 2017.

Since the space shuttles were retired in 2011, everyone has used Russia’s Soyuz vehicles to get to the International Space Station.  Then there were some political problems..

Boings CST-100 capsule will be capable of handling seven crew members.

SpaceX is developing a manned version of its already successful Dragon capsule that regularly re-supplies the ISS.

NASA is require to give funds to competing companies, which is smart as it avoids the military industrial complex version of crying about contracts (to some degree).

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Private Company SpaceX Shows Off Version 2 Of The Dragon.

SpaceX has shown off its latest version of their Dragon spacecraft.

Dragon capsule

The new craft is designed to carry a crew and land vertically, “like a helicopter”.

Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX is competing with several other companies for NASA contracts to carry people and cargo to and from space.

Dragon interior

The spacious interior of the capsule is vastly different than the cramped quarters that exist in most current spacecraft.

It seems almost roomy and more relaxing than economy class on any airline.

Just think how this will play into my plans of turning the ISS into the first space hotel!  I’ll be the Donald of space! (Only without that hair thingy.)

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Any Landing You Can Walk Away From…

SpaceX successfully “soft”  landed its Falcon-9 rocket under control.

Demo

The Falcon-9 vehicle was launched from Cape Canaveral last week and used its engines to slow its fall, and then deployed a set of legs for the final part of the  “soft”  landing.

Image credit: Bezos Expeditions

Traditionally, first stage rockets have been discarded and are not re-usable.

“No-one has ever soft-landed a liquid-rocket boost-stage before,” said SpaceX chief designer Elon Musk. “I think this bodes well for achieving reusability.

Boost stage and legs

If the first stage can be re-used, the cost of space flight could be dramatically reduced.  The first-stage of a Falcon-9  is about 70% of a flight’s $60m price tag.

I just remember all those Sci-Fi movies I watched where the rockets take of and land like this all the time.  It seems to be a little bit closer to reality now.
– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Chasing the Dream, Part Deaux.

The Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spacecraft is moving toward viability.

The Dream Chaser finished four low and high speed ground tests at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif.  The tow-and-release tests took place at speeds ranging from 10 to 60 miles per hour (16 to 96 kph) to check the flight computer, guidance, steering and the flight surfaces.

“Watching Dream Chaser undergo tow testing on the same runway where we landed several space shuttle orbiters brings a great amount of pride to our Dream Chaser team,” stated Steve Lindsey, SNC’s Space Systems senior director of programs, who is also a former NASA astronaut.
The craft also went under “captive carry” test using a helicopter with the craft suspend under it for 2 hours. This was the second captive-carry test of the Dream Chaser and its first captive-carry.

International_Space_Station_after_undocking

SNC is one of three companies receiving money from NASA under the agency’s commercial crew program, whose goal is to move astronaut launches back to America in the next few years. The other competitors are SpaceX and Boeing.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Chasing the Dream.

Ever since the NASA space shuttle fleet has been retired, there hasn’t been any real replacement.  Now, the private Sierra Nevada Corp., based in Colorado, has plans to change the status quo.

https://i0.wp.com/newspace2012.spacefrontier.org/media/images/Sierra_Nevada_Space_Systems.png

In the next few weeks, the company plans to perform a key drop-test for its Dream Chaser space-plane.  The Dream Chaser, will be released by a carrier helicopter at an altitude of 12,000 feet (3,657 meters), and hopefully glide back and land autonomously at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California.

The unmanned 30-second drop test begins a series of trials prior to low-Earth orbit trips.  If the company is successful, they have a potentially lucrative contract with many governments to carry both crew and cargo to the International Space Station.  The space-plane could also potentially carry satellites into low earth orbit where they can be boosted to higher orbits.

The Dream Chaser has room for seven and looks like a miniature space shuttle. The craft is 29.5 feet (9 m) long and has a wingspan of 22.9 feet (7 m). For comparison, NASA’s space shuttle was 122 feet (37 m) long, with a wingspan of 78 feet (24 m).

https://i0.wp.com/www.airportjournals.com/Photos/0607/X/0607027_1.jpg

SNC isn’t the only company looking to cash in on the commercial space race.  SpaceX and Boeing both have space-planes that they are working on.

The Dragon from SpaceX has already docked with the ISS as I told you about here.

https://i0.wp.com/i.space.com/images/i/000/017/916/wW3/spacex-dragon-1900.jpg

The Boeing CST-100 (Crew Space Transportation) spacecraft is another capsule based project is still in development.

https://astronomyandlaw.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/mtf10-003-03_ccdev.jpg?w=300

The Dream Chaser space-plane is the only non-capsule design currently being developed.

NASA hopes at least one of these vehicles is ready to fly astronauts to and from the space station by 2017.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Build the Enterprise

I think this is a great concept.   Over at the  Build the Enterprise site they have imagined a way to construct an actual working version of the Enterprise.  Granted, it won’t travel at warp speed (which is theoretically possible) just yet, but it would move people around the solar system fairly quickly.

The specifications call for a gravity wheel inside the saucer section to maintain 1g of gravity and three 1.5GWe ion engines producing a 0.002g constant acceleration.  Both of these technologies are currently available.  The largest ion engine ready for production is 0.5GWe, so the 1.5GWe isn’t unreasonable.

With the size and mass of the proposed ship, it is estimated that a trip to Mars should only take 90 days with a full crew.

Although I like our current robotic missions to the planets, I would absolutely love to take a trip to Mars.

All of this is for a first generation space-ship using currently available technology.  I think someone needs to tell Mr. Branson of Virgin fame to build one of these instead of his SpaceX projects.

If you have a new spacecraft  and need help to protect your idea, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation at nvantreeck@usip.com or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

 

P.S. It seems that someone has a head start!