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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

So it Begins (We hope)

Apparently, Mike Griffin's comments on buying ISS cargo service from a private enterprise has had some effect. According to the Press release, SpaceHAB is beginning development of a fully commercial roundtrip delivery service to LEO. This system will be called Apex. According to Michael E. Bain, COO of SpaceHAB,

"Not only is Apex a viable option for commercially re-supplying the International Space Station, . . . It is also a flexible system that can act as an in-space resource module providing power, data, and thermal support or serve as an unmanned orbiting laboratory that brings experiment results safely back to earth."
Well they may have had this in mind before Mr Griffin, but it couldn't have hurt.

SpaceHAB, for those of you who don't know, are known mainly for their pressurized modules that have flown on numerous NASA Shuttle flights. They don't currently have any information other than the press release on their website, but I will keep looking and let everyone know.

Just waiting to buy my ticket.


Jon Goff said...

I'm curious what they actually mean by this. Michael Mealling just sent me a link a minute or two before I saw your article. Are they talking about developing a reusable launch vehicle? Or just the in-space portion? I wish it wasn't so vague.

Dan Schrimpsher said...

And as to the type of vehicle type, according to Alan Boyle's blog

"[Apex is a] series of modular spacecraft, which is designed to be
launched using other companies' rockets. Spacehab says the smaller Apex
craft could be lofted with something on the order of a SpaceX Falcon 1,
while the large-size Apex could bring payload to the international space
station atop an Atlas 5 or Delta 4 rocket...

The smallest Apex spacecraft could put 572 pounds (260 kilograms) into
orbit for later recovery on Earth, or send up 836 pounds (380 kilograms)
of nonrecoverable payload, according to a Spacehab fact sheet. The
biggest Apex could loft roughly 19,000 to 27,000 pounds (8,600 to 12,300
kilograms, recoverable vs. non recoverable), the company said."

So it is a craft that sits on somebody else's rocket, but it is
"recoverable" if nothing else, so not space only. Not RLV exactly,

Jon Goff said...

Interesting. Saw that after I posted.

Brian Dunbar said...

So it is a craft that sits on somebody else's rocket, but it is
"recoverable" if nothing else, so not space only. Not RLV exactly,

An Apex would fit nicely aboard the bus we have in mind for the lifter on the (proposed) space elevator.

Just saying.

Dan Schrimpsher said...

That is why it is called modular :) I have been toying with writing an article on how private rocket development and Agile software engineering can gain from each other. Hmm.., maybe I should revisit that.

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