SpaceX completes testing of SuperDraco engines
SpaceX and NASA announced that the propulsion system designed to safely abort the upcoming crewed Dragon capsule — dubbed SuperDraco — has been successfully fired 27 times and completed development testing. The SuperDraco thrusters are scaled up versions of the small Draco thruster used for maneuvering and docking control on the upper stages of the Falcon 9 rocket, the upcoming Falcon Heavy, and the Dragon spacecraft. SuperDraco provides roughly 200x more thrust than its little brother, and is designed for a variety of use-cases and capabilities. Each spacecraft will be fitted with eight SuperDraco thrusters, and each thruster provides roughly 1/9 the performance of a single Merlin 1D. The Falcon-9 launches with nine Merlin 1D engines, to give you an idea of how the systems compare.
SuperDraco is a 3D printed engine that’s designed to be throttled from 20% to 100% of thrust and can be restarted multiple times. The SuperDraco engines are going to be used to ensure that a crew capsule can abort a mission safely and either land or splashdown. Spacecraft that carry the SuperDraco system will also have redundant parachutes to ensure that the crew’s survival doesn’t depend on a single mechanism, and the SuperDraco engines have enough thrust to safely abort a mission even with one engine failure.
Moon Express commends house for historic vote supporting private sector lunar resource exploration and utilization
Today, history was made when the U.S. House of Representatives passed landmark legislation recognizing and promoting the rights of United States companies to engage in the exploration and extraction of space resources from the Moon and other celestial bodies. This historic legislation was passed as Title IV of the “U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA, or H.R. 2262 as amended)”, and provides the first ever codification of private sector mining rights for water and minerals obtained from the Moon.
Moon Express, Bigelow Aerospace, and many other companies are applauding the House for supporting the creation of a stable and predictable environment for private sector development while encouraging investments into the bold new field of space resource exploration and utilization. The “Space Resources and Utilization Act of 2015” protects and supports U.S. interests as private sector companies expand the economic sphere of Earth to the Moon and beyond.
Power cut on international space station can’t be repaired until 2016
The International Space Station has had a power cut and spacewalking repairs may be needed once a replacement part can be delivered by rocket.
Nasa said on Monday that the six astronauts were left with one less power channel on Friday. A short circuit in equipment on the station’s framework was to blame. The short apparently tripped a current-switching device, resulting in the loss of one of eight channels used to power the orbiting lab. The affected systems were switched to alternate lines.
Nasa spokesman Dan Huot said the crew had been operating normally and was in no danger. A similar failure in 2014 required spacewalking repairs.
No good spare parts for the job are on board. Nasa planned to launch a replacement on a SpaceX delivery scheduled sometime early in 2016, Huot said. SpaceX has been grounded since a failed launch in June.
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