Rep. Jim Bridenstine took advantage of one of the committee's first hearings of the year to ping Pentagon acquisition czar Frank Kendall -- and the three-star U.S. Air Force general testifying alongside him -- about the Pentagon's use of commercial communications satellites.
The European Commission confirmed that it will continue using Europeanized Russian Soyuz rockets to launch Europe’s Galileo positioning, navigation and timing satellites despite the rocket’s recent anomalies.
Call Antonio Fabrizi the father of Europe’s Vega small-satellite launcher and he waves you off. But consider: Fabrizi in the late 1990s worked as head of launchers at the company now known as Avio, where he was involved in Vega’s early designs. Avio is now Vega’s industrial prime contractor.
Neither the New York Times nor the Secret Service identified the drone pilot by name or revealed what he does at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. An NGA spokesman told the Times that the man was off duty at the time "and is not involved in work related to drones or unmanned aerial vehicles in any capacity at N.G.A.”
With a legal challenge now behind them, two companies that won NASA contracts offered more details Jan. 26 about their plans to develop and test commercial crew vehicles, while the agency expressed optimism those vehicles will be ready for service by 2017.
Orbital Sciences Corp. expects to take delivery of the first pair of its newly purchased Russian rocket engines in June or July, with a second pair arriving before the end of the year, under a contract whose value Orbital said has been overstated in the Russian press.
S3 and its partners are preparing to roll out the first phase of their three-step business plan with microgravity aircraft flights scheduled to begin during the second half of this year, followed by small-satellite launches in 2018 and suborbital passenger flights sometime after 2020.
At a NASA press conference Jan. 26 to discuss the agency’s commercial crew transportation efforts, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said that SpaceX anticipated performing at least 50 launches of its Falcon 9 rocket before the first test flight of a Dragon spacecraft carrying crew, planned for early 2017.
The European Commission is under pressure to resolve nagging money issues surrounding its two flagship space programs, the Copernicus environment-monitoring effort and its fleet of Sentinel satellites; and the Galileo positioning, navigation and timing network.