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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

More on COTS Finalists

The print version of Space News has an article on SpaceX and Rp/K's COTS milestones. According to Brian Berger, here are where the two companies are at (hat tip RLV & Space Transport News):

* has "built a structural engineering model of the Dragon capsule"
* made the Dragon's "heat shield support structure and nose cone" plus some other components
* currently assembling a Falcon 9 first stage;
* the first stage should be finished structurally, i.e. less the engines and internal plumbing, by end of March
* has test fired the upgraded Merlin 1C engine dozens of times
* hoping to launch the Falcon 1 in mid-March
* First Falcon 9 demo flight in September 2008

* raised $45M last fall and they are making progress towards an unspecified financial milestone in May
* is nearing completion of an agreement with NASA to use the Michoud facility in New Orleans to build the K-1 and the cargo module for it.
* some K-1 components have been in storage at Michoud for several years. Other hardware will need to be shipped there.
* plans "to have the K-1 first stage assembled by September, followed sometime later by the second stage.
* After checking out the full system with both stages together, it will be partially disassembled and flown "to Australia in time for a mid- to late-2008 launch"
* First COTS demo flight in 2009

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