Today I am going to give you a few news stories because I just had a lot of time to spend posting and I found some interesting stories. So first I will start with SpaceX's recent successful engine test.
On January 18, SpaceX had the first successful test of its multistage Falcon 9 medium to heavy lift rocket. The engines operated at full power, generating over 180,000 pounds of force, equivalent to a Boeing 777 at full power, and consuming 700 lbs per second of fuel and liquid oxygen during the run. Elon Musk says that no real problems were encountered during the test and he hopes to soon have the full complement of nine Merlin engines up and running. The next run, scheduled for February, will use three engines operating for a full first stage mission duty cycle of three minutes. This first stage will get the 180 ft long Falcon 9 vehicle to more than ten times the speed of sound; the Falcon 9 second stage will continue accelerating the payload to a final velocity that may be in excess of Mach 30 for missions beyond low Earth orbit. The next tests will be with 5, 7, and finally all 9 engines firing. SpaceX hopes to have the Falcon 1 ready by this spring and the Falcon 9 ready by the end of 2008. For more info, pics, and some videos go to the press release.
In other news NASA has kicked Rocketplane Kistler out of a commercial partnership where they are trying to develop a spaceship to service the International Space Station. NASA is currently trying to find another partner to take Rockerplane's spot alongside SpaceX, who is also in the partnership. NASA will be splitting $485 million between two companies for their work on vehicles that will travel to the ISS with crews and supplies. Rocketplane was kicked out when they failed to meet the required $500 million of privately raised cash. Rocketplane attempted to file a lawsuit about the severed partnership but their claim was denied. NASA hopes to have a new partner by the end of February. For some more information here is the link.
Finally let's look into the future. Imagine the near future when people will regularly be in outer space and in zero gravity. Will space suits become a fashion statement and zero-g outfits all the rage. That is the idea at the Hyper Space Couture Design Contest. In this contest designers come up with outfits for the passengers of the upcoming suborbital flights. This contest is hosted by Rocketplane Kistler. Virgin Galactic is also working on outfits though they won't comment. More info on space fashion.
Well just to end this post I wanted to ask some of my readers if you like longer posts like this one or shorter posts. I enjoy writing both kinds so I was just going to ask.
Thanks for reading,