by Edward Ellegood
Florida Space Report
December 21, 2017


Falcon Heavy at the Cape

Max thrust at lift-off is 5.1 million pounds or 2300 metric tons. The first mission will run at 92%.

Max thrust at lift-off is 5.1 million pounds or 2300 metric tons. The first mission will run at 92%. Falcon Heavy launching from same pad as the Saturn V Apollo 11 moon rocket. It was 50% higher thrust with five F-1 engines at 7.5M lb-F. I love that rocket so much. — @elonmusk


Snazzy Videos of Blue Origin’s Flight

See the interior of the Blue Origin space capsule during its recent flight, including Mannequin Skywalker, a dummy strapped into the capsule’s seat. And see the external video of the countdown, launch, first-stage vertical landing, and capsule landing. — SPACErePORT



400th Merlin 1D Engine

The SpaceX team recently completed production on our 400th Merlin 1D engine—the latest iteration of SpaceX’s rocket engine that powers Falcon 9 to space. To date, SpaceX’s Merlin engines have been fired over 440 times on orbital missions and over 5,600 times in test and launch. This represents over 396,000 seconds of engine firing, enough to launch ~8 million pounds—or the equivalent of 7 International Space Stations—into orbit. — SpaceX

Click Image to Enlarge
SpaceX is currently the largest private producer of rocket engines in the world.



Click Image to Enlarge


Space Isn’t a Place to Go – It’s a Place to Do

There’s a lot of talk out there about going to space. But space isn’t just a place to go. It’s a place to do. To do amazing things that make a difference in people’s lives. And the reality is, after decades of progress, the barriers to getting into orbit really are coming down. As a result, space is becoming more accessible to everyone. These days, not just countries but also companies are leaving the Earth. And pretty soon, everyday people will join them. That’s pretty amazing to think about. We’re not far from the day when the first person steps foot on the surface of Mars, or when a booming space economy is part of our everyday lives. And space itself is changing, becoming increasingly crucial to global security and also increasingly congested, contested and competitive. When it comes to space, Lockheed Martin is a company that doesn’t just think big thoughts — we get big things done. From the earliest days of the space program, we’ve been on the forefront of space technology. Lockheed Martin and its heritage companies built the United States’ first reconnaissance satellite, its first Mars lander, and its first GPS ground system. — Linkedin

Photo Credit – Lockheed Martin


These 90 Private Companies are Reshaping the Space Industry

Morgan Stanley is further backing its prediction the space industry will triple in size, announcing Wednesday the launch of a new “space disruptor series.” The firm identified 90 private companies “on the forefront of space disruption,” writing in a note to investors. Headlined by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and telecom satellite startup OneWeb, the report says that “the universe of private space companies is likely much broader” than even this list. “While public investors may find it challenging to invest in space exploration, the private side is a different story. As we expand our knowledge of the private side, we expect to offer more valuable insights to public investors,” Morgan Stanley said. Morgan Stanley divvies up the space sector into 11 sub-industries: satellite launch, satellite internet, deep space exploration, lunar landing, earth observation, asteroid mining, space debris, space tourism, space research, manufacturing and other. — CNBC

Jeff Bezos checking out Blue Origin’s Crew Capsule 2.0 after touch-down in West Texas on December 12, 2017.


Why Boeing Can Make a Brash Prediction About Beating Elon Musk to Mars

Defense and aerospace giant Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future. Muilenburg is boldly stating his intent to aggressively take on all competitors — including celebrity billionaire rivals like Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is bankrolling a space exploration company.

Chicago-based Boeing has reason to be brash. Aside from being an important supplier to NASA, the Chicago-based company’s current run of upbeat financial and business fortunes makes it a favorite to win the space race to Mars. More than bragging rights, a successful Mars initiative will boost the company’s stature and business prospects and create more jobs.

Last week, Fortune magazine’s tech site tweeted a story link about Muilenburg accompanied by this message, “Boeing CEO: We’re going to beat Elon Musk to Mars.” Within minutes of its posting, Musk retorted: “Do it.” Boeing’s Twitter response: “Game on!” Boeing is building NASA’s Space Launch System, a design that Muilenburg touted in an October speech as the “largest and most powerful rocket ever built.” A test flight is expected in 2019, according to Boeing. — Chicago Tribune


SpaceX Double Re-Use With Falcon/Dragon Combo

SpaceX doubles down on the concept of recycling spacecraft that the company has flown and landed back on Earth. In the year’s final mission for NASA, SpaceX reuses both a rocket and a capsule that it’s fired off before. Making space missions work more like commercial airline flights dramatically reduces costs — less money gets wasted discarding rockets and spacecraft after single launches. SpaceX’s success in this pursuit has made it one of the world’s most richly valued private companies. It’s also won over customers including NASA. — SFGate

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said this year that he plans to send paying tourists on flights around the moon in 2018. Photo: Mark Brake, Getty Images


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Dragon spacecraft onboard, launches from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in June 2017. Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA, NASA Via Getty Images


NASA Funds Flight for Space Medical Technology on Blue Origin

Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard reusable space vehicle on Dec. 12 carrying a medical technology that could potentially treat chest trauma in a space environment.

The New Shepard reusable vertical takeoff and vertical landing space vehicle was launched with the experimental technology from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site. In addition to NASA funding non-government researchers to fly payloads, Blue Origin is a Flight Opportunities program launch provider for government payloads. The Flight Opportunities program, is managed under NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). — Space Daily


Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser Space Plane Aces Free-Flight Drop Test

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s privately built Dream Chaser space plane aced a critical test Saturday (Nov. 11) during a successful free-flight over California’s Mojave Desert. The uncrewed Dream Chaser made a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base during the free-flight test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, NASA officials said in a statement. Earlier this year, officials at the Armstrong center, where Dream Chaser is being tested, said the space plane would to be dropped from an altitude of 12,500 feet by a Columbia 234-UT helicopter for this test.

Sierra Nevada is developing Dream Chaser to deliver supplies to the space station for NASA under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS-2) program. Under that agreement, Sierra Nevada will fly at least six cargo delivery missions for NASA by 2024, agency officials said in the Nov. 11 statement. Two other companies, SpaceX and Orbital ATK, will use their own spacecraft to fly delivery missions for NASA as part of the CRS-2 program. —


Space Tourism to Launch in 2018 at Spaceport America?

The first commercial space tourism flight is still on the schedule to go up from Spaceport America at some point next year. Virgin Galactic Director of Operational Services Nick Kaczmarek told the Middle Rio Grande Economic Development Association board last week in Truth or Consequences that the first flight is expected in 2018. The flight would include Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson.

“We’re very quickly getting ready for commercial operations,” Kaczmarek said. He said test flights of the vehicles taking the tourists to space are also expected to be conducted at the site before the commercial tourism flights take place. He said Virgin Galactic has developed a new ship called Unity that was built after the fatal SpaceShipTwo test in 2014. Kaczmarek said testing is now moving from glide flights to powered-flight testing.

“I think that’s where you’re going to see a lot more of an increase in media activity,” Kaczmarek said. “As of today, there have been 560 people who have flown into space,” Kaczmarek added. “We have more than 600 future astronauts who have paid for tickets. As of right now we have more people waiting than who have actually gone up.” The passengers have paid $250,000 each for the flights. They come from all over the globe, Kaczmarek said. — El Defensor Chieftain

Click Image to Enlarge


Trump to Send Astronauts Back to the Moon — and Eventually Mars

President Donald Trump wants to send astronauts where no man has gone before. During a signing ceremony in the Oval Office on Monday, Trump will authorize the acting NASA administrator Robert M. Lightfoot Jr. to “lead an innovative space exploration program to send American astronauts back to the moon, and eventually Mars.”

“The President listened to the National Space Council’s recommendations and he will change our nation’s human spaceflight policy to help America become the driving force for the space industry, gain new knowledge from the cosmos, and spur incredible technology,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said Monday. — CNN


National Space Council: Bringing American Values to Space

The executive secretary of the National Space Council said the administration’s approach to space policy will be one of “bringing American values to space.” In a luncheon speech this week, Scott Pace said there are seven core elements of that policy approach, ranging from supporting private sector activities to conducting activities that advance U.S. interests internationally. Pace, asked about the potential of increased cooperation with China, said there are possibilities in some areas, but that it would depend on the broader geopolitical relationship between the two countries. — Space Policy Online


Apple Orders Space Drama Series

Apple has given a straight-to-series order to a space drama from the Battlestar Galactica developer. The untitled project hails from Sony Pictures Television and Moore’s studio-based Tall Ship Productions. The untitled series explores what would have happened if the global space race had never ended. This is is the third original scripted series ordered by Apple via its recently formed worldwide video programming division. — Deadline Hollywood

Apple has ordered a space drama from Battlestar Galactica creator Ronald D. Moore.