XCOR’s ‘Trunnel’ is Built Ford Tough + Stratolaunch Boss Flies to ULA

It’s a Truck! It’s a Wind Tunnel! It’s Each!

Entrepreneurial corporations usually depend on ingenuity to make progress with restricted assets. That’s the case with XCOR Aerospace, which wanted a method to do wind tunnel exams of a scale mannequin of its Lynx suborbital spaceplane. Enter the “Trunnel”: a Ford F-250 pickup with its cab eliminated and a streamlined again finish, permitting it to hold the mannequin at speeds of as much as 100 mph (160 km/h) on the Mojave Air and House Port’s runways. The corporate is testing the Trunnel now to verify the air movement is right earlier than mounting the mannequin on high for exams. [XCOR Aerospace]

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United Launch Alliance introduced a revamped government group Tuesday. The 11-person group contains each present ULA executives, some in new positions, in addition to some new hires. Among the many new members of the chief group is Gary Wentz, the previous head of Stratolaunch, who’s now leads ULA’s human launch providers. The brand new government group is a part of a company restructuring that included the early retirement of a dozen veteran managers earlier this yr. [Denver Business Journal]

Orbital ATK reported elevated income and earnings in its fiscal third quarter. The corporate reported a web earnings of $80 million on income of $1.135 billion for the three months ended Oct. 4, slight will increase over the identical quarter a yr in the past, earlier than Orbital Sciences and ATK merged. Orbital officers stated they’re planning to hold out 4 cargo flights to the ISS over the subsequent yr, two launched on Atlas autos and two on Orbital’s personal Antares, and expects to listen to the result of NASA’s new business cargo competitors as quickly as subsequent week. [Orbital ATK]

SpaceX is taking part in down its plans for satellite tv for pc constellation because it focuses on launch. Firm president Gwynne Shotwell stated at a convention Tuesday that plans for a 4,000-satellite constellation to supply broadband Web providers have been nonetheless “very speculative” with little work going into the idea for the time being. Shotwell stated SpaceX is working to return the Falcon 9 to flight, with a launch of 11 Orbcomm satellites on an upgraded model of the rocket scheduled for early December. [table4]

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The Home handed a invoice to reauthorize the Ex-Im Financial institution. The Home voted 313–118 in favor of a invoice that reauthorizes the financial institution by way of fiscal yr 2019. The financial institution’s authorization lapsed firstly of July, stopping it from doing any new offers. Ex-Im has been a key device in recent times to finance business satellite tv for pc and launch offers, and corporations have stated with out the financial institution they’ve misplaced enterprise. The invoice’s prospects within the Senate are unsure, however reauthorization may very well be included within the closing model of a freeway invoice. [table4]

Two NASA astronauts will carry out a spacewalk exterior the Worldwide House Station right now. Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren are scheduled to start out a 6.5-hour spacewalk shortly after 8 a.m. Jap time. The 2 will carry out upkeep on the station’s exterior, together with putting in energy cables and lubricating a part of the station’s robotic arm. The spacewalk would be the first for each Kelly and Lindgren. [CBS]

NASA’s Astrophysics Division is contemplating competing future missions with a billion-dollar price ticket. Division director Paul Hertz stated at a latest assembly that he helps an idea for “Probe-class” missions that may value $1 billion every and be chosen in competitions, analogous to the New Frontiers class of missions within the company’s Planetary Science Division. NASA will probably search help from the astronomical neighborhood for the idea, asking them to prioritize such missions of their subsequent decadal survey, due out in 2020. [table4]

A protracted-delayed Russian house coverage ought to be accomplished within the close to future. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin stated the coverage, protecting Russian house actions from 2016 by way of 2025, will likely be performed quickly, probably in November. The coverage was scheduled to be prepared final yr, however postponed due to management adjustments within the Russian house program and monetary issues brought on by the decline of the ruble. A draft earlier this yr confirmed a ten % minimize in deliberate spending, however it’s not sure what funding the ultimate coverage will suggest. [Moscow Times]

A number of corporations are inquisitive about taking up operations of a fleet of navy communications satellites. No less than 4 corporations recognized curiosity in a request for data issued by the Air Pressure final month relating to outsourcing operations of the Wideband International Satcom (WGS) program. These corporations embody Intelsat Common, Kratos Protection and Safety Options, Northrop Grumman and SGT. The Air Pressure might commercialize WGS operations as quickly as subsequent yr. [table4]

One other Google Lunar X Prize group is hitching a trip to the moon on an Astrobotic Know-how lander. Workforce AngelicvM of Chile stated Tuesday that its Uni rover will fly to the moon on a lander Astrobotic is creating. It should be a part of Astrobotic’s personal rover in addition to two from Workforce Hakuto, a Japanese group within the competitors. Astrobotic is planning to launch its lander in late 2017, close to the competitors’s deadline. [table4]

A really completely different lunar rover met an unlucky finish in Alabama. A prototype lunar rover developed at NASA’s Marshall House Flight Middle within the mid-Nineteen Sixties was offered to a junkyard in Alabama for scrap final yr and has since been destroyed. It was unclear how the rover, of a unique design from those flown on the later Apollo missions, ended up in personal arms: one legal professional quoted in a NASA Workplace of Inspector Common report stated that “early Apollo prototypes have been not often tagged and sometimes went lacking.” [Motherboard]

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