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Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
 
NASA SELECTS THREE COMPANIES TO DEVELOP FABRICATION LABORATORY PROTOTYPES
Friday, December 8, 2017
Click image for a larger picture

Fiber optic cables are one item that can be made in space

Source: Pixabay


Fiber optic cables are one item that can be made in space

Source: Pixabay


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WASHINGTON - NASA has partnered with three U.S. companies under the agency's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program to create prototypes of a space-based, on-demand fabrication capability.

The selected companies are: Interlog Corporation of Anaheim, California; Techshot, Inc. of Greeneville, Indiana; and Tethers Unlimited, Inc. of Bothell, Washington. Combined funding for the awards is approximately $10.2 million. These companies will have 18 months to deliver the prototype, after which NASA will select partners to further mature the technologies.

Earlier this year, NASA sought proposals for ground-based prototypes of a multi-material fabrication lab, or FabLab, under Appendix B of the NextSTEP-2 Broad Agency Announcement. With these new partnerships, the agency is prepared to take the effort to the next level.

In-space manufacturing is seen as a major component for exploration deeper into space. Manufacturing components in space will allow components, which are more compact than the finished products, into space to be assembled. It also opens the possibility of manufacturing certain products for use on Earth. For example, fiber optic cables built in the vacuum of space are more efficient than those built on Earth.

Source:  NASA
Associated URL: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-three-companies-to-develop-fablab-prototypes
Source Date: December 8, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 12/08/2017

 
 
LONG MARCH 6 TO ACHIEVE STEADY PRODUCTION BEGINNING AROUND 2019
Thursday, December 7, 2017
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A Long March 6 blasting off

Source: Xinhua/Yan Yan


A Long March 6 blasting off

Source: Xinhua/Yan Yan


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NEWTOWN, Conn. - The first Long March 6 blasted off in September 2015, culminating six years of development. Development of the Long March 6 actually began after that of the Long March 5. However, the Long March 6 launched sooner because it is smaller and simpler than the extremely large Long March 5.

The launch of the Long March 6 is an important milestone for China's launch industry. Since the Long March 5, 6, and 7 share components, the September 2015 launch enabled China to test a number of new technologies - most importantly, the new YF-100 rocket motor.

In addition, with a successful test launch in place, the Long March 6 is primed to take over for the older Long March 4 in China's launch lineup. At first, it will supplement Long March 4 launches. By 2019, the Long March 6 will take over as China's primary lightweight launch vehicle.

The Long March 6 will be used to carry payloads into low-Earth orbit. These payloads will likely be remote-sensing satellites for the Chinese and other governments. The market for these smaller satellites will continue to experience steady demand, meaning plenty of opportunities for the Long March 6.

The launch vehicle will also carry small satellites into orbit. The 2015 flight carried 20 satellites into orbit - the most for a Chinese launch vehicle. The market for small satellites is a major opportunity for launch providers around the world. Small satellites enable a wider range of operators to enter the satellite market and also improve resilience for military planners, since the loss of a single small satellite will not cripple a satellite network and can be replaced more easily.

The Long March 6 will face competition from such vehicles as the Russian Angara, European Vega, and Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). However, the Chinese government will favor the Long March 6, guaranteeing it market share in that country. China will also sell the Long March 6 to countries, such as Venezuela, that have difficulty getting launch vehicles elsewhere.

The Long March 6 will never reach the high levels of production that the larger Long March 5 and Long March 7 will achieve. Nevertheless, production will be steady starting around 2019.

Source:  Forecast International
Associated URL: www.forecastinternational.com
Source Date: December 7, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 12/07/2017

 
 
VECTOR SPACE SYSTEMS BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF NEW MANUFACTURING FACILITY
Thursday, December 7, 2017
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A Vector Space test launch vehicle

Source: Twitter/Vector Space Systems


A Vector Space test launch vehicle

Source: Twitter/Vector Space Systems


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TUCSON, Ariz. - With the announcement of a construction team, Vector Space Systems has begun construction of a new manufacturing facility to build its launch vehicles. The team will consist of Holladay Properties as the lead developer on the project, Barker Contracting as the contractor, and architects from Swaim Associates LTD to carry out Vector's vision for the new factory. The new facility will be located in Tucson, Ariz.

Over the last year, the City of Tucson, Pima County and the Arizona Commerce Authority led the facility development through a public-private partnership agreement to further the economic advancement of the Arizona technology and aerospace industry. Vector's new facility is expected to be completed by early 2019. Vector estimates it will bring 200 jobs to the Tucson area including jobs in engineering, manufacturing and technical support. The public-private partnership is expected to have an overall direct and indirect economic impact on the region totaling $290 million over the next five years.

Vector Space Systems is a newcomer to the launch market. Even other startups, like Rocket Lab and LauncherOne, predate Vector in their entry to the market. Vector has made up for its recent arrival in the market by moving extremely aggressively. Vector raised an initial round of capital from investors in April 2016. By the end of the year, the company had successfully acquired Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, conducted a flight test of a subscale prototype, and conducted a ground test of one of its core stage rocket motors.

Vector continued its rapid development pace in 2017, conducting two suborbital flights and raising additional funds. The start of construction of a new manufacturing facility is another step towards operational readiness for Vector.

Because of this rapid timetable, Vector is in a good position to gain first mover advantage, acquiring operational knowledge and customers before others its competitors even start vehicle launches.

Source:  PR Newswire
Associated URL: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vector-announces-selection-of-construction-team-begins-production-of-first-orbital-vehicle-300567567.html
Source Date: December 7, 2017
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 
Posted: 12/07/2017

 

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