Thursday, January 02, 2003

Space News - Futuristic rocket soars in test flight

A hybrid rocket loaded with prototypes of futuristic spacecraft technologies successfully completed its first suborbital flight, the U.S. space agency announced.

The payload included a hypersonic parachute, a super-stable planetary re-entry probe model and a "wave rider" flying wedge, which is about 50 inches (127 cm) long and designed to fly like a glider after being deployed high in the atmosphere.

The Lockheed Martin rocket flight was the first to test a large hybrid propulsion system.

"Hybrid propulsion offers significant advantages over solid-fuel propellants in that hybrids are nonexplosive, able to be throttled, low cost and environmentally benign," said Randy Tassin, a vice-president of Lockheed Martin space systems.

CNN -- US Military needs extra $1 bln for new rocket boosters

A top Air Force official said he was optimistic the Pentagon and the White House would back a proposal to give Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. an additional $1 billion to keep developing a booster rocket for U.S. military satellites.

Dickman said the Air Force originally spent $1 billion on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), but more funding was needed now since the commercial launch market had shrunk dramatically, which meant the companies were unable to use commercial business to defray the cost of military launches. Fl Today -- NASA Faces Challenging Year for Space Station Construction

In 2003, the International Space Station is set to lengthen its wingspan almost threefold. Meanwhile, NASA and the international partners may decide what the station will look like when it's finally finished.

This year will see as many as six shuttle flights from Kennedy Space Center. The first one is set to begin in about two weeks as Columbia embarks upon a science mission.

The rest of the shuttle flights this year will soar to the International Space Station.

Russia will also launch its two Soyuz escape vehicles to the station. These are the spacecraft that have carried two paying space tourists, Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth, to the space station. So far, no tourists have been announced for the April and October 2003 flights.

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