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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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Space News Roundup November 12, 2008

The Mars Rovers, which have been searching the Mars surface since 2004, have been hit by a dust storm and there power levels have dropped to "dangerously low levels."

STS-126 is set to launch Friday at 6:55 pm CST. The shuttle Endeavour is carrying a module to the ISS to increase its capacity to six members from the current three.

The Mars Phoenix mission has been closed after failing to communicate for a week. Phoenix discovered ice on Mars consistent with sea water.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

SpaceX Introduces DragonLabTM -- a Free-Flying, Reusable Spacecraft Offering Fast Track to Orbital Flight for Pressurized and Unpressurized Payloads

SpaceX to Host (Invitation-only) Users Workshop on November 6
Hawthorne, CA - November 3, 2008 – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is introducing a new commercial product called DragonLab™, a free-flying, reusable spacecraft capable of hosting pressurized and unpressurized payloads to and from space. DragonLab will launch to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

DragonLab provides a platform for in-space experimentation, including recovery of pressurized and some unpressurized payloads, as well as deployment of small spacecraft. As a complete system, DragonLab provides for all aspects of operation: propulsion, power, thermal control, environmental control, avionics, communications, thermal protection, flight software, guidance, navigation and control, entry, descent and landing and recovery.

SpaceX will host a DragonLab Users Workshop on November 6, 2008. This workshop will be an opportunity for potential customers to fully explore DragonLab's capabilities, as well as present customer-specific interests and requirements. The workshop agenda includes an overview of the Dragon spacecraft, concept of operations, payload accommodations and cost parameters.

"Just as importantly," said Max Vozoff, Product Manager for Dragon and DragonLab and host of the Users Workshop, "we will hear from potential users about their applications, requirements, and concerns, as well as discuss contracting mechanisms. We will also include a tour of our 550,000 square foot SpaceX manufacturing facility where we design and build all major systems for SpaceX launch vehicles and spacecraft."

SpaceX is currently manufacturing the Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle to provide the U.S. with cargo services to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) competition. The maiden flight of Dragon/Falcon 9 is currently scheduled for June 2009 from SpaceX's Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Two subsequent flights will be completed by 2010, culminating with Dragon berthing with the ISS.
Contact to request further information or an invitation to attend. All participants must register in advance to attend this workshop.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, powered by internally-developed Merlin engines, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any altitude and inclination, from low-Earth to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions.

On September 28, 2008, Falcon 1, designed and manufactured from the ground up by SpaceX, became the first privately-developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth.

As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition (COTS), SpaceX is in a position to help fill the gap in American spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) when the Space Shuttle retires in 2010. Under the existing Agreement, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA, culminating in Dragon berthing with the ISS. SpaceX is the only COTS contender with the capability to return cargo to Earth and demonstrate the capability to carry crew to and from the ISS.

Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers over 550, located primarily in Hawthorne, California, with four additional locations: SpaceX's Texas Test Facility in McGregor near Waco; offices in Washington DC; and launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.

Photo Caption: SpaceX DragonLab™ - a free-flying, fully-recoverable, reusable spacecraft capable of hosting pressurized and unpressurized payloads.