COTS Space Flight Demonstrations

Автор Kurus, 23.11.2005 04:10:22

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Bell

Цитатая бы на месте космонавтов на время этой стыковки в союзе забаррикадировался...
Ну во время стыковки АТВ никто в Союзе не барикадировался ;)
Иногда мне кажется что мы черти, которые штурмуют небеса (с) фон Браун

Lanista

ну для АТВ у них хотя бы была большая красная кнопка.

Salo

"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

Цитата04.01.2008 / 00:05    PlanetSpace намерена подать протест на решение NASA

     Компания PlanetSpace, которая вместе с компаниями Orbital Sciences Corporation и SpaceX боролась за контракт от NASA на услуги по доставке грузов и экипажей на борт Международной космической станции, намерена подать протест по поводу решения аэрокосмического ведомства отдать контракт ее конкурентам, пишет издание Wall Street Journal. Как считают в компании PlanetSpace, их предложение до последнего момента имело преимущество перед аналогичными предложениями от Orbital Sciences Corporation и SpaceX, о чём неоднократно говорилось в NASA. Тем не менее, окончательное решение оказалось не в пользу PlanetSpace. Руководство компании предполагает, что конкуренты использовали "грязные методы", чтобы сделка была оформлена "в их пользу".

     - К.И.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

ronatu

CpaBHuTe c opuruHa/\oM: :wink:

Report: Losing bidder may protest ISS cargo contract
Posted: Sat, Jan 3 9:03 AM ET (1403 GMT)
The company that lost a bid to win a NASA contract to ferry supplies to the International Space Station may protest the contract awards, the Wall Street Journal reported late Friday. PlanetSpace, a small company with several major aerospace companies as subcontractors, was one of three companies to bid on NASA's ISS Commercial Resupply Services program this fall, but lost out to Orbital Sciences Corporation and SpaceX.

PlanetSpace's proposal was scored higher than Orbital's, according to source selection documents, but NASA chose Orbital because of concerns about PlanetSpace's management weaknesses and ability to handle technical risk.

Sources told the Journal that PlanetSpace officials are consulting with lawyers on the possibility of filing a protest, but no decision has been made. A formal debrief is likely to take place in early January, after which PlanetSpace would decide whether to protest.
Когда жизнь экзаменует - первыми сдают нервы.

А.Коваленко

Обычное дело, перевод с примесью собственных фантазий. Факты надо чуть поджарить, иначе читать невкусно будет. Я сталкивался с такими вещами и при переводе в обратную сторону.

KBOB

ЦитатаОбычное дело, перевод с примесью собственных фантазий. Факты надо чуть поджарить, иначе читать невкусно будет. Я сталкивался с такими вещами и при переводе в обратную сторону.

Да ладно вам! Автор по рабоче-крестьянски перевел.
:roll: proposal was scored higher than :evil:, according to source selection documents, but  :P
Россия больше чем Плутон.

Salo

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/01/13/320991/race-to-international-space-station-begins-in-earnest.html
ЦитатаDATE:13/01/09
SOURCE:Flight International
Race to International Space Station begins in earnest
By John Croft
NASA's nascent commercial orbital transport system (COTS) is expected to go live late next year under a $3.5 billion programme. The programme's aim is to provide more than half of the cargo needed to run the International Space Station in the post-Space Shuttle era.

The agency on 23 December announced that Space Exploration Technologies and Orbital Sciences won commercial cargo resupply services (CRS) contracts valued at $1.6 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively.

Each must deliver 20,000kg (44,000lb) of a to-be-determined mix of pressurised and unpressurised cargo to the station from 2010 until 2015 under the contracts. NASA's payments are to be made in relation to a series of milestones to be completed.

A third company, PlanetSpace, which is teamed with Alliant Techsystems, Boeing and Lockheed Martin Space Systems, failed in its bid for a CRS contract.

SpaceX, which won a COTS contract in 2006, plans to use its new Falcon 9 booster topped with a Dragon capsule for three COTS demonstrations this year and next, with the first of 12 CRS launches starting in the fourth quarter 2010. Falcon 9 is based on SpaceX's smaller Falcon 1, which successfully reached orbit last September.

Steve Davis, SpaceX's lead systems engineer for Dragon, says the Dragon-Falcon 9 combination will be capable of lifting 2,550kg of cargo to the station, divided between the main pressurised module and a detachable "trunk" below. SpaceX says the Dragon can bring as much as 3,000kg cargo back to Earth.

SpaceX is building the system to be two-fault tolerant to achieve man-rated status if NASA later decides to contract out the shuttling of crews to the station under CRS. With a crew capability of seven, Davis says each Dragon passenger will have 1.5m3 (45.8ft3) of space, 15% more per person than in Russia's Soyuz capsule. Chief among the challenges with gaining a manned rating will be to build an escape system for the Dragon, says Davis.

SpaceX is also studying, at NASA's request, using a Dragon as a "life boat" replacement for, or supplement to, Russia's Energia-built Soyuz capsules for station egress. Davis says the Dragon life boat, built in a year and to cost $2-3 million more than the basic pressurised version, would be delivered in a Space Shuttle's cargo bay before the fleet is decommissioned.

Forthcoming test flights under the COTS programme will reveal if SpaceX's CRS ambitions are within its means. The company is preparing to launch its prototype Dragon-Falcon from Complex 40 at the Kennedy Space Center in June. Davis says the first Dragon, sans solar array and thermal system, will orbit the Earth three times at an inclination of 34° before re-entering the atmosphere and splashing down under parachute control in the Pacific Ocean up to 483km (260nm) off the coast of California.

The second launch, late this year, will include an ISS fly-by to within 10km. The third mission, in the first quarter 2010, will see the Dragon docked to the ISS via the station's remote manipulator arm.

Orbital Sciences, which joined COTS in February 2008, will have only one test launch of its new liquid fuelled Taurus II booster and Cygnus orbital manoeuvring capsule in late 2010 before sending its first of eight CRS contract launches into orbit in late 2011. The Cygnus is designed to carry 2,300kg to the ISS and return 1,200kg to Earth.

As for a back-up plan if one of both contractors fail, NASA associate administrator for space operations Bill Gerstenmaier says NASA has the option of using another contractor "at a later date" and could also decide to prolong use of the Space Shuttle, an option NASA administrator Michael Griffin says will cost $3 billion a year for two flights to the ISS. The "ultimate" fallback, says Gerstenmaier, would be to scale back ISS operations and crew, as was done after the Space Shuttle Columbia loss in 2003.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

http://www.avia.ru/news/?id=1232100021
ЦитатаNASA приостановило выполнение контракта по проекту "частного космического извоза"

16 января 2009
/AVIA.RU/
16 января, AVIA.RU - NASA было вынуждено приостановить исполнение контракта с частными космическими компаниями на доставку грузов на МКС после того, как проигравшая конкурс организация заявила официальный протест,- сообщает Lenta.ru со ссылкой на агентство Reuters.

Компания PlanetSpace, являющаяся совместным предприятием корпораций Lockheed Martin, Boeing и Alliant Techsystems, обратилась в Счетную палату США с заявлением, в котором утверждается, что с финансовой точки зрения предложение этой компании было заметно выгоднее, чем у конкурентов. Палата планирует вынести вердикт к 29 апреля текущего года,- сообщает агентство.

Конкурс, в рамках которого NASA выбирало будущего "извозчика", завершился в 2008 году. В результате победу одержали сразу две частные компании: SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) и OSC (Orbital Sciences Corporation).

Контракт, стоимость которого составляет $3,5 миллиарда, между ними и агентством был подписан в декабре 2008 года. Теперь его исполнение пришлось приостановить до окончания разбирательств,- уточнило информагентство.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=27399
ЦитатаHeinlein Trust and SpaceX Announce Competition to Promote Research Innovation in Zero Gravity

Date Released: Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Source: Heinlein Prize - Comments  

Removing Gravity Offers New Understanding of Biological and Physical Processes

HOUSTON, TX - The Heinlein Prize Trust announces the Microgravity Research Competition to reward innovation in the use of microgravity to advance biotech, nanotech, combustion, metallurgy, and other fields. Sponsored by the Trust and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the competition offers a $25,000 prize and transportation to and from Low Earth Orbit for the winning experiment aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

"Decades of demonstrations have shown that the microgravity of space provides a unique window on biological and physical processes," said Art Dula, Trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust. "Because of substantial recent funding by NASA and the private sector, access to microgravity will soon be more commonplace. This opens an incredibly exciting opportunity for the research community," Dula said.

The winning experiment will be launched into Earth orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. NASA recently selected Falcon 9 / Dragon to transport cargo to the International Space Station.

The Microgravity Research Competition is open to U.S. universities and non-profits organizations with industry partners. The winning team will also get to witness the launch of their experiment from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"SpaceX is excited to offer our Dragon spacecraft as a platform for in-space experimentation services to mainstream researchers," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and CTO. "We plan to fly 'DragonLab' missions starting in 2010 for this express purpose," Musk said.

In space, there is no gravity-induced convection, sedimentation, hydrodynamic shear force, hydrostatic pressure, or mass transfer, according to the competition announcement. Experiments in microgravity can reveal novel mechanisms fundamental to cell processes, disease processes, and the adaptation of living systems to changes in physical forces, it said.

The announcement, available at www.labflight.com, provides an overview of microgravity's practical applications and details on the competition. Proposals are due on March 20, 2009.

The application and judging process will be supported by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. The winner will be announced on April 18, 2009 at the Awards Banquet for the 2009 Rice Business Plan Competition hosted by the Rice Alliance.

"We very pleased to participate in this important competition," said Brad Burke, managing director, Rice Alliance, "because of the important role of commercializing the promising technology research and innovations".
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

ОАЯ


Salo

"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Lerm

В центре имени Эймса испытали изготовленные SpaceX фрагменты теплозащиты Dragon-а.

SPACEX MANUFACTURED HEAT SHIELD MATERIAL PASSES HIGH TEMPERATURE TESTS SIMULATING REENTRY HEATING CONDITIONS OF DRAGON SPACECRAFT
ЦитатаHAWTHORNE, CA - February 23, 2009 - Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces the passing of a significant technical milestone in the development of its Dragon spacecraft with the successful arc jet testing of PICA-X high performance heat shield material.

Subjected to temperatures as high as 1850 degrees Celsius (3360 degrees Fahrenheit), the tests simulated the reentry heating conditions that will be experienced by the Dragon capsule. Panels of the high performance carbon-based material will protect cargo and crew during the spacecraft's return from Earth orbit.

SpaceX developed the ability to manufacture PICA-X with the assistance of NASA, the originator of PICA (Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator). The "X" stands for the SpaceX-developed variants of the rigid, lightweight material, which has several improved properties and greater ease of manufacture.

"We tested three different variants developed by SpaceX," said Tom Mueller, VP of Propulsion, SpaceX. "Compared to the PICA heat shield flown successfully on NASA's Stardust sample return capsule, our SpaceX versions equaled or improved the performance of the heritage material in all cases."

The tests were conducted at the Arc Jet Complex at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, which has a rich history in the development of Thermal Protective Systems for NASA spacecraft, including Apollo, Space Shuttle, and robotic missions to Venus, Mars, and Saturn. The NASA Ames Arc Jet Complex is uniquely capable of simulating conditions experienced during reentry.

"The arc jet tests represent the culmination of an aggressive six-month development effort, and our goals have been met or exceeded,"
said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. "Dragon will be the first craft to return from Low Earth Orbit using a PICA-based thermal
protection system."

SpaceX is only the second commercial producer of a PICA-based material. All of SpaceX's initial production will be used for domestic in-house applications including the heat shields of the Dragon spacecraft, and the Falcon 9 second stage, which is designed to return from orbit for recovery and reuse.

The inaugural Dragon spacecraft flight is scheduled for 2009 aboard SpaceX's new Falcon 9 launcher.

The Dragon capsule will enter the Earth's atmosphere at around 7 kilometers per second (15,660 miles per hour), heating the exterior
of the shield to up to 1850 degrees Celsius. However, just a few inches of the PICA-X material will keep the interior of the capsule at
room temperature.

In January 2006, NASA's Stardust sample return capsule, equipped with a PICA heat shield, set the record for the fastest reentry speed of a spacecraft into Earth's atmosphere -- experiencing 12.9 kilometers per second (28,900 miles per hour). SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will return at just over half of that speed, and will experience only one tenth as much heating.


ЦитатаA sample of PICA-X heat shield material subjected to temperatures of up to 1850 degrees Celsius (3360 degrees Fahrenheit),
at the Arc Jet Complex at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. The NASA-originated PICA material holds the
record for high-speed reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. The SpaceX-developed and manufactured PICA-X variants meet or
exceed the performance of the original material, and will protect the Dragon spacecraft on its return to Earth.
The first flight is scheduled for 2009.

Salo

http://www.comspacewatch.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=28044
ЦитатаSpaceX Draco Thurster Succesfully Completes Qualification Testing



Precision rocket engine to control Dragon spacecraft on approach to International Space Station

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully completed a rigorous qualification of its new Draco spacecraft thruster and Draco propulsion tank at the SpaceX Test Facility in McGregor, Texas.

The Draco thruster test series included 42 firings with over 4,600 pulses of varying lengths and was performed in a vacuum test chamber to simulate the space environment. The series resulted in a total firing time of over 50 minutes on a single thruster.

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, recently selected by NASA as part of their Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract to carry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and return cargo to Earth, utilizes 18 Draco thrusters to provide precision control in orbit and while approaching the ISS.

he new SpaceX Draco thruster engine undergoing qualification test firing at the SpaceX Test Facility in McGregor, Texas. The Dragon spacecraft uses a total of 18 Draco thrusters for maneuvering, attitude control, and to initiate the capsule's return to Earth. First flight of the Dragon is scheduled for this year. Credit: SpaceX.

"The Draco thrusters allow Dragon to maneuver in close proximity to the ISS in preparation for berthing or docking," said Tom Mueller VP Propulsion, SpaceX. "Maximum control during these procedures is critical for the safety of the station and its inhabitants."

Draco thrusters generate approximately 90 pounds of thrust using storable propellants with long on-orbit lifetimes. The use of these propellants provides the option for a crew-carrying Dragon spacecraft to remain berthed at the ISS for up to a year.



Graphic showing SpaceX Draco thruster engines firing to separate the Dragon spacecraft from the Falcon 9 second stage. Dragon uses a total of 18 Draco thrusters for maneuvering, attitude control, and to initiate the capsule's return to Earth. First flight of the Dragon is scheduled for this year. Credit: SpaceX.

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to make its first flight in 2009 as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. Under COTS, SpaceX will demonstrate the Falcon 9 / Dragon system's ability to approach, berth, and transport cargo to and from the ISS. Following the demonstration of these capabilities, SpaceX will fly twelve cargo flights to the ISS for NASA's CRS contract.

Falcon 9, SpaceX's medium lift rocket, is scheduled for its inaugural flight later this year from SpaceX's launch site in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

Кажется протест Planetspace отклонён GAO.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/
ЦитатаCOTS D - Commercial Human Spaceflight to get at least $80m
posted by Robert Block on Apr 29, 2009 11:33:52 AM

NASA and the White House have agreed for the first time to release money to the human spaceflight option in its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, or COTS program.

Under an agreement hammered out with the White House, NASA announced today on Capitol Hill that it will provide the COTS program with $150 million of the $400 million for human exploration given to NASA under President Barack Obama's stimulus plan.

The money could help shorten the gap in American human space flight between the retirement of the space shuttle next year and the first flight of NASA's Constellation program, now scheduled for 2015 but believed to be slipping fast because of technical and financial woes.

According to industry insiders, about $80 million of the $150 million is specifically for a "crewed launch demo." The rest was broken down into $42 million for a docking system to the international space station, $20 million for a cargo transportation demo and $8 million for miscellaneous aspects of the COTS program, including human rating. The remaining $250 million of the stimulus money for human exploration will go to the Constellation program.

While acting NASA administrator Chris Scolese told Congress today that the $80 million for a "crewed launch demo" is not technically COTS D -- the human transportation part of the COTS program -- COTS D advocates are hailing it as a victory.

"It's a start," said one Washington space consultant.

Another industry insider pushing for the program said while $80 million is a far cry from what's needed, "I consider getting COTS-D started a major victory."

SpaceX, the California-based rocket company owned by dot.com millionaire Elon Musk, tried earlier this year to get $350 million of the stimulus funds set aside for COTS -D. The request was rebuffed by Congress.

SpaceX is further along than any other commercial rocket company in designing a rocket capable of carrying humans to the space station. The company's Falcon 9 rocket, which is supposed to launch its maiden test flight later this year from Cape Canaveral, was designed for human transport. Its Dragon capsule is being designed to ferry up to seven astronauts to the space station. The capsule also has a cargo configuration.

COTS is a NASA program to coordinate the commercial delivery of crew and cargo to the space station. The program was announced on Jan. 18, 2006. NASA has suggested that commercial services to ISS will be necessary through at least 2015 after the space shuttle retires next year. The agency has also contracted with Russia to use Soyuz rockets and capsules to ferry astronauts to the space station.

The program has four "options': COTS A, for launching unpressurized cargo carriers to the station; COTS B, for launching pressurized cargo; COTS C, for launching pressurized cargo to the station that can be returned to Earth (so-called downmass capability); and COTS D, crew launch and return.

The idea behind COTS was to save NASA money. Instead of flying payloads to the space station on government-operated vehicles, NASA would spend $500 million to finance the demonstration of orbital transportation services from commercial providers.

Unlike any previous NASA project, the proposed spacecraft are intended to be owned and financed primarily by the companies themselves and will be designed to serve both U.S. government agencies and commercial customers.

SpaceX won and negotiated the right to funding for all COTS options in 2006. The only other COTS participant, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia, bid only on COTS A and COTS B. Both SpaceX and Orbital have also won contracts from NASA to actually resupply the space station once the shuttle retires.

Many members of Congress have been reluctant to fully fund COTS D out of concern that it could look like a gift for a single company, SpaceX. But COTS D advocates have said that the option might be the only chance to fill the gap in American spaceflight after the shuttle retires.

The $250 million for Constellation is unlikely to help speed up the program, which is already about $2 billion over budget, according to NASA documents.

The rest of the stimulus money for NASA programs will be distributed as follows: Science: $400 million ($325M for Earth Science, $75M for astrophysics); Aeronautics: $150M; Cross-agency support: $50M; and
$2M for NASA's inspector general office.

The total stimulus funding for NASA was $1 billion.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

На ту же тему:
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/Human043009.xml&headline=Commercial%20Human%20ISS%20Flight%20Funds%20Backed
ЦитатаCommercial Human ISS Flight Funds Backed
Apr 30, 2009
By Frank Morring, Jr.

The Obama administration has cleared NASA to use $150 million of the $1 billion in economic stimulus package funding it will receive this year to advance possible commercial human spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS).

Acting Administrator Christopher Scolese told the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA that the agency's fiscal 2009 operating plan includes $400 million in stimulus funding for the agency's exploration activities, including the $150 million for what is known as COTS D - human versions of the Commercial Orbital Transportation System vehicles under development with almost $500 million in NASA seed money.

The new effort will extend beyond the two COTS contractors - Orbital Sciences Corp. (OSC) and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) - to anyone who responds to a request for information (RFI) on commercial crew delivery to the station, Scolese said April 29.

Among specific objectives in the RFI will be information on the docking systems needed for berthing commercial crew vehicles to the ISS and a better definition of what it will take to human-rate a vehicle originally built to deliver cargo to the station - a subject addressed with concern in the 2008 report of the independent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel.

Some $80 million of the $150 million will go to accelerate the use of commercial cargo flights to the ISS to gain experience for future missions with crews on board. "Fundamentally the plan we see going forward is to logically proceed from cargo, which will be difficult in and of itself, to a crew-escape capability to ultimately bringing crew up to the space station," Scolese told the House Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.

The remaining $250 million in FY '09 stimulus money will go into the Constellation Program, which is developing the Orion crew exploration vehicle and the Ares I rocket intended to launch Orion into low-Earth orbit. But the FY '10 budget request for NASA won't be out until next week at the earliest, and Scolese said until it is released the Houston-based Constellation Program won't have a chance to calculate how it will affect NASA's ability to begin flying astronauts in Orion.

Members of the House committee expressed concern that the gap between the end of the shuttle program, now planned by the end of 2010, and initial operational capability (IOC) for Orion/Ares I may grow beyond the five years NASA now expects.

Scolese discounted a prediction by the Congressional Budget Office that the IOC won't come until late 2016, saying the 50 percent cost-growth estimate the CBO used was overly pessimistic. And he said NASA expects to continue working under the Obama administration on a goal of returning to the moon by 2020.

However, he said new budget priorities - including renewed emphasis on Earth-observation missions to monitor climate change - may force a shift in the agency's plans for returning to the moon down from at least a human-tended outpost to something more like the short-term surface sortie missions NASA flew to the moon during the Apollo era.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8107877.stm
ЦитатаFirms team up for ISS supply ship
By Jonathan Amos
Science reporter, BBC News, Le Bourget
Video:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8108057.stm

How Cygnus would get to the station, following its launch on a Taurus rocket

US and Italian companies are teaming up to build a private re-supply ship for the International Space Station (ISS).

The Orbital Sciences Corporation has engaged Thales Alenia Space to build a pressurised module for its forthcoming cargo vessel, Cygnus.

The spacecraft is expected to carry almost three tonnes of food and equipment to the platform.

The agreement between Orbital and Thales signed at the Paris air show covers nine Cygnus ships in total.

The first is a demonstration flight that must prove to the US space agency (Nasa) that the commercial freighter design is up to the task, and that the robot vehicle poses no danger to the crew of the station.


"Cygnus has built into it all the critical safety features that are required for being in the vicinity of the space station," said Bob Richards, who leads the project at Orbital.

"The standards are extremely stringent," he told BBC News.

The maiden mission is scheduled to be launched in March 2011 on a Taurus II rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia.

Dump and burn

The Taurus will park the freighter in a low-Earth orbit from where it must make its own way to the station.   CYGNUS CARGO MODULE


External diameter: 3.07m
Standard length: 3.66m
Enhanced length: 4.86m
Standard cargo: 2,000kg
Enhanced cargo: 2,700kg

The Cygnus will then manoeuvre itself to within 10m of the front of the platform. There, it will be grabbed by a robotic arm and berthed to the station's underside, at the central connecting hub known as the Harmony node.

Astronauts will then be free to go in and out at will, to remove bags of fresh supplies and replace their volume with rubbish.

"We are going to develop nine modules," explained Roberto Provera from Thales.

"The first is for the demonstration mission. Then we will supply eight others, two in what we call a 'standard configuration' and six in an 'enhanced configuration'.

"Cargo carrying capability for the standard module is two tonnes; and for the enhanced version, we will have the capability to go up to 2.7 tonnes."   


The cylindrical MPLM can be seen in the back of the shuttle

The eventual fate of a Cygnus freighter is to undock and take a controlled dive to fiery destruction in the atmosphere over the Pacific - the same way that the Russian and European space agencies dispense with their robotic space trucks.

Orbital is one of two US companies that have won big Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts with Nasa, to help the agency fulfil its commitments at the station while it builds a replacement for the space shuttle.

Orbital is an established force in satellite and rocket manufacturing and produces - among many different space products - the mid-air Pegasus launcher.

'Many firsts'

Thales is one of the biggest space companies in Europe and has been a key supplier to the space station project. More than 50% of the pressurised volume of the platform has been produced by the French-Italian company, principally in its Turin plant.


Thales is basing the design of the Cygnus cargo module on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules (MPLMs) it produced for Nasa. The MPLMs are the large cylindrical "packing boxes" the shuttles use when they carry out major logistics missions to the ISS.

"We have good know-how in doing pressurized and manned modules," said Thales' Walter Cugno.

"We know how Nasa works; we are very well known by Nasa and appreciated. So I guess we're a natural partner for Orbital on the Cygnus venture."

The deal signed here at Le Bourget is valued at 180m euros ($250m). Thales expects to deliver the first pressurised module to Orbital at the end of 2010. Orbital will then integrate it with its own service and propulsion unit - that part of the Cygnus spacecraft which contains the computers, navigation and orientation systems and thrusters.


Thales has already begun construction of the module

Orbital is on a tight schedule and acknowledges that it faces a big challenge to pull off all elements of the demonstration mission.

Not only will it be the maiden flight of Cygnus but the maiden launch of the Taurus II as well.

Nasa will demand only the highest standards, and Cygnus will not be allowed near the platform unless it proves itself in a series of in-orbit trials prior to its arrival at the station.

"There are a lot of firsts in this but Orbital has had many first flights on vehicles, and so we think we've got processes in place that will make it a very reliable system," said Mr Richards.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Salo

"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"