In the aerospace world in 2010, you couldn't escape the
word "budget." Sweeping changes were made in the NASA budget, which
could change the course of how Americans participate in space
exploration, and commercial companies made great strides in both
space business and space tourism.
Here, then, is a sampling of the stories ANN reported in the
category of Aerospace in 2010.
NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden
named David D. McBride director of the agency's Dryden
Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, CA. "David has
done a terrific job as the acting Dryden director, and I am pleased
he will be continuing as director," Bolden said. "David's
expertise, leadership and flight research acumen will benefit NASA
and the entire aerospace community."
David D. McBride
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has
captured its first look at the starry sky that it will soon
begin surveying in infrared light.
The Navy's former Master Jet Base in Jacksonville, Florida,
Launch Site Operators License from the FAA, making it the
nation's 8th designated horizontal launch commercial
NASA launched an extensive investigation after a
small amount of cocaine was found in a restricted area of the
processing hangar for shuttle Discovery at Kennedy Space Center,
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, or ASAP, has released its
2009 annual report. The congressionally-mandated group of
independent experts was initially established after the Apollo 1
fire. The panel was critical of NASA's Commercial Crew plans for
Reacting to that report, The Commercial Spaceflight Federation
it agrees with the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) on
its recognition of the importance of commercial spaceflight both
for cargo and crew missions, but disagreed with certain other
conclusions and finds some of the assertions in the ASAP's Annual
Report to be incorrect.
Pilot and skydiver Felix Baumgartner
announced his intention to become the first person ever to
break the speed of sound with his own body. As a part of the
Red Bull Stratos mission, Baumgartner hoped to ascend to at least
120,000 feet in a capsule lifted by a helium balloon and, protected
by a pressurized "space suit," launch a freefall jump that could
exceed Mach 1.0 - more than 690 miles per hour - before parachuting
President Obama's budget was reported to contain no money for a
return to the moon. The Constellation program that was to make that
possible, as well as the Ares I rocket that would have replaced the
Space Shuttle, and the Ares V heavy lift booster, were all expected
to be put off for years, if not a decade or more
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden
held a news conference to outline the agency's budget for
fiscal year 2011, in which the President zeroed out the
Constellation and Ares programs which had been intended to return
men to the moon.
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the lunar surface "
strongly endorsed" the President’s new direction for
But U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the ranking GOP member
of the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and Related Agencies
issued a statement sharply criticizing the Obama
Administration’s proposed NASA budget for fiscal year
And with the President's budget moving NASA away from carrying
humans into space, the agency
awarded $50 million through funded agreements to further the
commercial sector's capability to support transport of crew to and
from low Earth orbit.
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) conducted a
three-day long demonstration of cargo loading and unloading
procedures for its Dragon spacecraft, which NASA has contracted to
provide delivery services to the International Space Station (ISS)
starting in 2010.
James Cameron, the writer and director of "Avatar" and
"Titanic" who served on the NASA Advisory Council from 2003 to
2005, published an
op-ed in The Washington Post endorsing commercial human
spaceflight and President Obama's new plan for NASA.
NASA and its international partners began looking forward to
scientific opportunities aboard the International Space Station
(ISS). With station assembly nearing completion, the ISS
Partnership is looking forward to using the station to its fullest
Two former leaders of the Republican Party, Newt Gingrich and
urged current members of Congress to support President Obama's
NASA budget, which was unveiled earlier this month.
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation enthusiastically welcomed
announcement that the agency will fund dozens of science and
education payloads to fly on commercial suborbital vehicles built
by companies including Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten
Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, and XCOR Aerospace.
The Space Exploration Alliance (SEA), the nation's largest
coalition of non-profit space advocacy groups,
made plans for its annual visit to Capitol Hill.
The USAF X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
arrived in Florida to begin processing in anticipation of an
April 19 launch aboard an Atlas V rocket. The robotic
spacecraft is a continuation of the X-37 program originally
designed by NASA to test next-generation spaceflight technologies
and transferred to DARPA in 2004.
The Obama administration's desire to hand the reigns of human
space flight over to private companies ran into
stiff opposition on Capitol Hill, and NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden is finding his management style the subject of some
intense criticism as well.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Ranking Member on the
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, introduced
legislation to close the gap in U.S. human space flight that
will occur if the space shuttle is retired before the next
generation of space vehicle is developed.
officially turned over the U.S. on-orbit segment of the
International Space Station (ISS) to NASA with the signing Friday
of government form DD-250 at the conclusion of an Acceptance Review
Board meeting in Houston.
At a meeting of the heads of the space agencies from the
nations partnering in the International Space Station program, the
reaffirmed the importance of full exploitation of the station's
scientific, engineering, utilization, and education potential.
SpaceX announced a
successful test firing of the inaugural Falcon 9 launch vehicle
at Space Launch Complex 40 located at Cape Canaveral, FL.
Two of the men who were part of NASA's lunar program
told the BBC that the Obama Administration's decision to scrap
a manned return to the moon could damage the nation's space
Virgin Galactic announced that its commercial manned spaceship,
VSS Enterprise, successfully completed its
first "captive carry" test flight, taking off at 0705 PST from
Mojave Air and Spaceport in California.
Roger L. Easton was
recognized by the National Inventors Hall of Fame for
pioneering achievements in spacecraft tracking and timing and
navigation technology (TIMATION) that led to the development of
critical enabling technologies of the NAVSTAR-Global Positioning
President Barack Obama
spoke to about 200 people at NASA's Kennedy Space Center,
saying that he is "100 percent committed to the future of NASA."
The President had a mockup of the Orion crew capsule as a backdrop
for the speech, which earlier this week he decided should be back
in the NASA budget as an escape vehicle for ISS.
Air Force officials
prepared to launch the U.S.'s newest and most advanced unmanned
re-entry spacecraft April 21 at Cape Canaveral Air Station,
made some changes to the target launch dates for the last two
scheduled space shuttle flights.
Potential major changes in the NASA budget not withstanding,
NASA's Pad Abort 1 flight test, a launch of the abort system
designed for the Orion crew vehicle,
lifted off at 0700 MDT Thursday at the U.S. Army's White Sands
Missile Range (WSMR) near Las Cruces, NM.
Orion Crew Module Mockup
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and
held a full committee hearing on the future of U.S. human space
flight. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Astronauts Neil
Armstrong (Apollo 11) and Eugene Cernan (Apollo 17), Norman
Augustine, who chaired the Augustine Commission on human
spaceflight, and John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and
Technology Policy all testified before the committee.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA),
along with its board of directors, named
Roger Myers, general manager of Aerojet, as a 2010
With spectacular weather and some of the finest professional
and amateur rocket researchers and hobbyists in the world to
overlook the proceedings, the 2010 TARC was an
unqualified success. A team from Penn Manor High School in
Millersville, PA, took first place at the Eighth Annual TARC,
Saturday, earning the title of national champion.
Virgin Galactic appointed George T. Whitesides as its first
Chief Executive Officer. In this role, Whitesides will guide
the business through its transition from a development project to a
commercially operational business.
Space shuttle Atlantis
delivered science experiments and a new Russian laboratory to
the International Space Station, continuing the transition from
station assembly to continuous scientific research through the end
of the decade.
The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA)
launched a mission to Venus that is carrying a probe to study
the planet's atmosphere as well as a spacecraft that will be
powered only by a solar sail.
The Planetary Society joined the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the American Astronomical Society, the
Universities Space Research Association and other groups to
support the NASA budget proposal for fiscal year 2011.
Space shuttle Atlantis and six astronauts ended a 12-day
journey of more than 4.8 million miles with an 0848 EDT landing at
NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was Atlantis'
final planned mission.
Masten Space Systems
successfully demonstrated in-air engine re-light capability
Wednesday at the company's test facility in Mojave, CA. Xombie,
Masten's most-flown vehicle, became the first VTVL vehicle to
successfully re-light a rocket engine in flight.
During a visit to the John F. Kennedy Space Center Wednesday,
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis (pictured, right) announced a
grant of $15 million to assist approximately 3,200 workers who
will be impacted by the impending retirement of NASA's Space
The day was not without its drama, but just minutes before the
launch window closed, SpaceX moved a
giant step closer to commercial re-supply of ISS, and boosted
the fortunes of the commercial space industry literally into orbit.
First Falcon 9 Launch
Bill Nye ... yes THAT Bill Nye known to millions of television
viewers as "The Science Guy" ...
took the helm as the new Executive Director of the Planetary
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Ranking Member of the
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, said that
NASA leadership was
skirting the law to shut down the Constellation program after
publicly announcing a decision to reprioritize work on the
The Orion crew exploration vehicle took shape as the two halves
of the crew module were
fused together at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New
Former Mercury astronaut John Glenn, who later became a United
States Senator from Ohio and participated in a shuttle mission as a
lawmaker, says that NASA
should not retire the shuttle until a new U.S. space
transportation system is ready to fly.
In an open letter to the United States Congress, a group of
more than 50 "space leaders" ... executives, former astronauts,
space scientists, space journalists, and others ... urged the legislature to both fully fund the
commercial crew to Space Station program proposed in the
President's FY2011 budget request for NASA, and accelerate the pace
and funding of NASA's human space exploration projects beyond Earth
NASA began to make noises that the final two space shuttle
would be delayed by several months, extending the program until
February of 2011.
submitted to Congress a fiscal year 2011 budget amendment that
targets up to $100 million toward spurring regional economic growth
and job creation in the aerospace industry.
President Obama announced the administration’s new
National Space Policy, which he said expressed his direction
for the nation’s space activities, and articulates his
commitment to reinvigorating U.S. leadership in space for the
purposes of maintaining space as a stable and productive
environment for the peaceful use of all nations.
adjusted target dates for the last two shuttle missions
because critical payload hardware for STS-133 would not be ready in
time to support the previously planned Sept. 16 launch.
interview with Al Jazeera television, NASA Administrator
Charles Bolden (pictured) said his, and by extension NASA's
"foremost" mission is to improve U.S./Muslim relations. And he said
President Obama has given him that task. The White House
would not back up that statement, as spokesman Robert Gibbs
said President Barack Obama did not assign the new NASA
administrator the task of reaching out to Muslim governments.
The Orion crew exploration vehicle successfully completed the
Phase 1 Safety Review of NASA's Human Rating Requirements for
space exploration in low Earth orbit and beyond.
approved a Launch Site Operator's License for Space Florida to
facilitate commercial launches from Space Launch Complex 46
Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic
moved a step closer to their first suborbital passenger flights
with VSS Enterprise, as the ship flew for the first time with a
crew of two on board.
Xtraordinary Adventures, in conjunction with RocketShip Tours,
taking reservations for space flights on The Lynx, XCOR
Aerospace's newest fully reusable rocket powered suborbital
vehicle. With the lowest published price in the industry, the
RocketShip Tours / Xtraordinary Adventures offers a complete
package of training, medical screening and suborbital flight for
The Planetary Society
issued a statement about the request that the U.S. House of
Representatives suspend the rules when voting on the NASA
The United States Senate
approved bipartisan legislation its authors say will safeguard
America’s human spaceflight capabilities, while balancing
commercial space investment with a robust mission for NASA.
Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson
completed the third contingency spacewalk to
install a spare ammonia pump module on the S1 Truss. The
original pump module failed July 31, and ground controllers powered
down numerous station systems and readjusted them to provide
hosted a forum to present an overview of common themes captured
from industry responses to NASA's Commercial Crew Initiative
Request For Information (RFI).
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson
announced a plan aimed at boosting the commercial rocket
industry and attracting thousands of jobs to Florida’s Space
Coast and further lessen the impact from the wind-down of the space
WhiteKnightTwo, which is designed to serve as the launch
platform for Virgin Galactic's Spaceship Two, was slightly damaged when the aircraft had what
was described by Scaled Composites as a mechanical problem with its
left main landing gear.
SpaceX successfully completed a
high altitude drop test of its Dragon capsule - meeting 100% of
test objectives. This was the last in a series of tests to validate
parachute deployment systems and recovery operations before the
craft's first launch.
NASA's Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Program (CRuSR)
awarded a total of approximately $475,000 to Armadillo
Aerospace of Rockwall, TX and Masten Space Systems of Mojave, CA.
The awards will allow the two companies to perform test flights of
their experimental vehicles near the edge of space.
NASA extended the Space Program Operations Contract with United
Space Alliance, LLC of Houston to March 31, 2011. The $909,593,590
supports flight operations for the Space Shuttle and
International Space Station programs.
The Canadian Space Agency
delivered a test unit of its contribution to the James Webb
Space Telescope, successor of the Hubble Space Telescope, to NASA's
Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Canadian Space Agency Webb Guidance Sensor
After undergoing a major overhaul and upgrades, the Boeing /
NASA X-48B Blended Wing Body research aircraft
resumed flight tests from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center
at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation said that it strongly supports Senate bill S.3729, the NASA
Authorization Act of 2010, which has been approved unanimously by
the Senate. The House of Representatives
approved the bill with bipartisan support by a vote of 304 to
The FAA announced a
new grant program designed to fund projects that develop and
expand commercial space transportation infrastructure. The Space
Transportation Infrastructure Matching Grants will be awarded to
four separate projects located in Alaska, California, Florida, and
continued preparations for the next launch of a Falcon 9
rocket, which will include the first flight of an operational
Dragon spacecraft. November 8 is currently the projected launch
Space Experience Curaçao (SXC) and XCOR Aerospace, Inc.
announced the signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the wet lease of a
production version of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft, pending
United States government approvals.
The Russian Space Agency Roscosmos said that the Soyuz TMA-20
spacecraft which is intended to transport a crew to the ISS in
was damaged in transport to the Baikonur cosmodrome in
In a flight that moved the world a big step closer to
commercial sub-orbital space tourism, Virgin Galactic successfully
the first piloted free flight of SpaceShipTwo, named the VSS
Enterprise. The spaceship was released from its mothership at an
altitude of 45,000 ft and glided to a landing at Mojave Air and
Space Port in California.
SpaceShipTwo First Glide Flight
President Barack Obama
signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Authorization Act of 2010 into law setting spending levels for the
space agency, and setting the stage for greater commercial
participation in space.
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA)
dedicated the nearly two-mile long "Governor Bill Richardson
Spaceway" at Spaceport America , representing significant progress
toward launching commercial customers into space from the desert of
The Space Shuttle Program Mission Management Team decided to delay the final launch of Discovery
by at least one day. The shuttle is scheduled for an 11-day mission
to the International Space Station. It was the first in a
series of delays that would
push the final launch into February.
NASA usually goes the other way ... that is to say ... up. But
when 33 miners were trapped nearly a half mile below the surface of
the earth, a team of the space agency's employees was called on to assist in the rescue.
Nov. 2, 2000, marked the
10th anniversary of the arrival of the first crew aboard the
International Space Station to live and work aboard the orbiting
laboratory. In a statement commemorating that event, NASA
administrator Charles Bolden called the milestone significant for
both NASA and its partners in the ISS.
13 companies for negotiations leading to potential contract
awards to conduct systems analysis and trade studies for evaluating
heavy-lift launch vehicle system concepts, propulsion technologies,
successful test-firing was conducted of a liquid-fuel AJ26
engine developed to power the first stage of Orbital Sciences
Corp.'s Taurus II space launch vehicle at NASA's John C. Stennis
Space Center in Mississippi.
At least one traditional airline is
testing the space tourism waters. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
announced that they were embarking upon a new relationship with
Space Experience Curacao (SXC).
XCOR Lynx Suborbital Spacecraft
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was among the heads of the
world's space agencies to
participate in a summit held specifically for those leaders in
The FAA made SpaceX the first-ever commercial company to
receive a license to
re-enter a spacecraft from orbit.
As the International Space Station transitions from its
assembly phase to full utilization as a unique scientific outpost,
investing in the station's future use by ensuring a wide pool
of organizations outside the agency have access to the orbiting
As 2010 neared its end, United Launch Alliance (ULA) celebrated its fourth anniversary with 45
successful launches in the company's 48 months of operation.
NASA announced that the
first demonstration flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and
Dragon capsule for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation
Services program was scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8, from Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The first attempt was
scrubbed after engineers discovered two small cracks in the aft end
of the 2nd stage engine nozzle expansion. The spacecraft finally launched successfully a few days later.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden
praised SpaceX on its successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket
carrying a Dragon demonstration COTS vehicle which is slated to
begin carrying cargo to ISS next year.
Who says rocket scientists don't have a sense of humor? Before
the successful launch, voyage, and recovery of SpaceX's Dragon
Spacecraft, the first time in history a commercial company has
recovered a spacecraft from orbit, reporters were buzzing with news
"secret" payload, stowed on board.