Assuming the next three launches hold their date, SpaceX will hit their target cadence of once every two weeks right off the bat. Iridium-1 on January 14, EchoStar 23 on January 26, CRS-10 on February 8, SES-10 on February 22. Those are gaps of 12 days, 13 days, and 14 days, respectively.
Energia owes Boeing $320 million plus legal fees. Most recently, Roscosmos sold NASA six Soyuz seats for $81.7 million each. If Boeing were to sell these seats to NASA for the same price, they’d get just over $408 million in payment. It’s a very odd way to get the money they’re owed, but it’ll work.
Moon Express is fully-funded for their first mission to the Moon. I can’t wait to see how Rocket Lab does this year. It will be a seriously impressive feat if they launch 8 times this year—all on or close to schedule—and get Moon Express off by December.
There’s clearly a split over this topic within NASA and their advisory groups. My guess is that “load and go” is going to win out in the end. If SpaceX can put together a strong, reliable 2017, with the above report from NASA’s Safety Technical Review Board in hand, this issue could be put to bed once and for all.
Roscosmos posted a statement on their site about the investigation, but hasn’t updated their English site just yet. Anatoly Zak of RussianSpaceWeb.com has a nice wrap-up.
Thanks to sghill over on the NASASpaceFlight forums who uploaded the Supplemental Environmental Assessment for SpaceX’s LZ-1 expansion plans. There are some really nice details hidden among a lot of boring details. Head over to the post if you want to download the full PDF.
Thanks to my producers and supporters for the month of December, and throughout 2016. If you’re getting some value out of what I do here and want to send a little value back to help support Main Engine Cut Off, head over to Patreon and donate as little as $1 a month—every little bit helps.
The inevitable delay has been confirmed—approximately a six-month push–which is not surprising. The more important and meaningful revelation that came yesterday, per Jeff Foust of SpaceNews, was about the Falcon 9 propellant loading procedures as it pertains to crewed launches.
National Geographic posted a clip with fantastic behind-the-scenes footage from the first successful Falcon 9 landing. The emotion from every person who works at SpaceX is wonderful to watch—from the crowd behind mission control, to Gwynne Shotwell hugging and high-fiving anyone nearby, to Elon Musk running like a little kid after it lands.
Four months ago, we heard about the tricky situation Inmarsat is in with this satellite. It’s not a big surprise that they switched, and while it’s a bad look for SpaceX, it’s not that big of a deal. Yet.