. THE SPACE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY
. Operational Orbital Launch Vehicles
. Launch and reentry sites
. Launch Vehicle Integration and Processing
. Countdown milestones and key events before lift-off
Note: Apollo 11 was the spaceflight by which occured the first landing humans on the Earth's Moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr.
Produced by the Atomic Energy Agency and NASA, this film details the Project NERVA- the Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application. This was a joint program of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and NASA, managed by the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office (SNPO) at the Nuclear Rocket Development Station in Jackass Flats, Nevada U.S.A. Between 1959 and 1972, the Space Nuclear Propulsion Office oversaw 23 reactor tests.
This documentary explores the use of nuclear propulsion to complement the chemical fuels used in today's rockets. The film shows a Saturn V rocket on its launchpad, its launch and flight. Credit: PeriscopeFilm
NASA's Game Changing Development Program is developing new batteries, fuel cells and solar electric propulsion systems to move mans and machines through space. Credit: NASA X
Launch Vehicle Integration and Processing
Since there are many different types of launch vehicles, there are many different ways to integrate and launch them. In general, however, vehicle assemblies and subsystems are manufactured in several locations and then transported via rail, air, or sea to the launch site where the parts come together as a complete launch vehicle.
United Launch Alliance technicians inside the Space Launch Complex 37 Horizontal Integration Facility monitor progress as the second stage of a Delta IV Heavy rocket
Once the launch vehicle is fully integrated, it is then joined with its payload. This process is called payload integration. The payload arrives at the launch site from the manufacturing or checkout site to a specialized facility designed to handle the unique needs of the payload. For example, payloads may require fueling, last-minute integration with components, or final testing and checkout.
The payload is then attached to a payload adapter. The payload adapter is the physical connection between the payload and the launch vehicle and can be integrated with the launch vehicle either horizontally or vertically depending on the vehicle. Once integrated, the payload fairing is installed. The vehicle and payload then make their way to the launch pad, where the combination continues to be monitored during a technical checklist called a countdown. Fueling of a vehicle using liquid propellants takes place at the pad, usually immediately prior to launch.
While the launch vehicle and payload are handled at the launch site, other operations take place to support launch activities. These are handled by a launch range, which is tasked with ensuring that the launch is conducted efficiently and safely. Typically, the range arranges for the the appropriate control or warnings necessary to protect aircraft, waterborne vessels, and the public.
GAS USED IN ROCKETS
The Liquid Oxygen/Kerosene RP-1 (Rocket Propellant-1 or Refined Petroleum-1), or LOX / RP-1 (Kerosene), is a highly refined form of kerosene outwardly similar to jet fuel used as rocket fuel.
ADVANCED PROPULSION TECHNOLOGIES
These systems have the potential to provide new ways to reach beyond LEO, deliver more mass to destinations, provide ultra-high delta-V capability, process very high power levels, and enable rapid transit times to destinations deep in the solar system.
THE BEAMED-ENERGY PROPULSION
The Beamed-energy propulsion uses laser or microwave energy from a ground- or space based energy source and beams it to an orbital vehicle, which uses it to heat a propellant.
CAN WE TRANSFORM AN ASTEROID INTO A SPACECRAFT?
The micro-gravity and partial artificial gravity in Cislunar space will be used to control precisely the manufacturing of products made from exotic materials. Thus, this place will become useful to produce physical goods, create future jobs, and expand our global economy.
To feed the Cislunar space with exotic materials, Made In Space proposes the RAMA architecture, which turns asteroids into self-sufficient spacecrafts capable returning to this location. The architecture can transport asteroids from 10 m-long to 100 .
OPERATIONAL ORBITAL LAUNCH VEHICLES
By the end of 2016, there were 82 different orbital launch vehicles operating around the world. This figure includes variants of a family of vehicles. For example, there are 10 Atlas V variants defined by the number of solid rocket boosters used, type of fairing by diameter, and type of Centaur upper stage (single or dual engine). Not all of these vehicles are available for commercial use, whereby a payload customer can “shop around” for a ride into orbit.
There are six expendable launch vehicle types available for commercial use by launch providers in the United States. The Delta II will fly two more times (JPSS-1 and ICESat-2) before being retired in 2018. U.S. launch service providers include Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, Virginia-based Orbital ATK, California-based SpaceX, and Colorado-based ULA. ULA has historically only served U.S. government customers but has indicated plans to open its Atlas V, Delta IV, and future Vulcan vehicles for international competition. Another U.S. vehicle, the Super Strypi, developed and built by the University of Hawaii (UH), Sandia National Laboratory, and Aerojet Rocketdyne, was launched for the first time in 2015; however, the vehicle was destroyed shortly after launch. The availability of this vehicle for commercial use in the future remains uncertain.
Several orbital launch vehicles are under development with inaugural launches planned during the next two to five years. Some of these are operated by non-U.S. companies but are expected to fly from U.S. sites. Other U.S. vehicles are under various stages of development, including CubeCab’s Cab-3A, Generation Orbit’a GOLauncher-2, and others. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also sponsoring development of a vehicle that may be available for commercial use, the XS-1.
Artistic view of the Spaceplane XS-1 of DARPA
There are 15 expendable launch vehicle types available for commercial use outside the United States: Angara, Ariane 5, Dnepr, GSLV, H-IIA/B, Kuaizhou 1 and 11, Long March 2D, Long March 3A, Long March 3B, Proton M, PSLV, Rockot, Soyuz 2, and Vega.
Launch and reentry Sites
Launch sites are sites dedicated to launching orbital or suborbital vehicles into space. These sites provide the capability to integrate launch vehicle components, fuel and maintain vehicles, and integrate vehicles with payloads. Launch sites can facilitate vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) vehicles or horizontal takeoff, horizontal landing (HTHL) vehicles. From the launch site, a launch vehicle travels through an area called the launch range, which typically includes tracking and telemetry assets. These range assets monitor the vehicle’s performance until it safely delivers a payload into orbit or returns to Earth. Tracking and telemetry assets may also facilitate recovery of reusable stages.
FAA AST licenses commercial launch and reentry sites in the Untied States. As of the end of 2016, FAA AST issued 10 launch site operator licenses. Table 4 lists the FAA AST-licensed launch sites. Table 5 identifies the locations of all federal and non-federal launch sites in United States territory. FAA AST-licensed launch and re-entry sites are often co-located with federal locations, including Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, and WFF in Virginia.
Of the 19 active launch and reentry sites, the U.S. government manages eight, State Agencies manage ten FAA AST-licensed commercial sites in partnership with private industry, and a university manages one (Alaska’s Poker Flat site, which is not licensed by FAA AST). Four sites are dedicated to orbital launch activity, nine facilitate suborbital launches only, and five can host both types of operations.
In addition to these sites, there are three non-licensed sites where individual companies conduct launches using a licensed or permitted vehicle. Because the companies own and operate these sites using their own vehicles exclusively, a site license is not required. The Odyssey Launch Platform exclusively supports Sea Launch’s Zenit 3SL vehicles on the Central Pacific Ocean. SpaceX conducts flight tests of its Falcon 9R vehicle at its McGregor, Texas site. Blue Origin conducts FAA permitted flight tests from its site near Van Horn, Texas.