July 2011

SpaceX has received tentative approval from NASA to send a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS on November 30th.  This will be after combining two previous planned flights into the single November 30th launch. The plan is for the spacecraft to arrive at the ISS on December 9th. This would be a huge victory for commercial space. Also if the mission is successful SpaceX will beat out competitor Orbital Science who has plans for a 2012 mission.

Dragon Spacecraft with solar array deployed - image credit: SpaceX

More information and Recent articles:

Space News



Estes now has full catalogs posted back to 1969. According to Estes “We have a summer intern who has been patiently scanning old catalogs and has most back through 1970 posted. Wow 40 years and counting. We hope to have all before the end of the summer.”

There are even a couple Centuri catalogs.

Estes Catalog Repository

Great early morning landing of the last shuttle. I feel sad that we are at the end.

Space shuttle Atlantis (STS-135) touches down at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), completing its 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, early Thursday morning, July 21, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Overall, Atlantis spent 307 days in space and traveled nearly 126 million miles during its 33 flights. Atlantis, the fourth orbiter built, launched on its first mission on Oct. 3, 1985. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Incredible photo from ISS Exp 28 crew of Shuttle heading home (click to enlarge)- photo credit: NASA

Post your comments to the Shuttle Tribute Wall

…also on Rocketry Blog today – Updated Sounding Rocket page

There are some interesting rules changes for the upcoming 2012 T.A.R.C. If this analysis is accurate the teams will need to build lighter. There is also a limit to total impulse that would require “F” motors. This analysis is from Heavenly Hobbies which does a great job of breaking down and comparing the rules between 2011 and 2012.

Click image to go to Heavenly Hobbies analysis

My favorite little rocket company just released 5 new rockets for NARAM-53.

Moon Glo™


Aerobee 150™


Baby Orion™

President Barack Obama talks with the crews of the Space Shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station during a phone call in the Oval Office, July 15, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

During the Obama conference with STS-135 and the ISS crew:

STS 135 brought a flag up from the STS-1 flight and presented it to the ISS crew.

“We’ll present the flag to the space station crew and it will hopefully maintain a position of honor until the next vehicle launched from US soil brings US astronauts up to dock with the space station,” STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson told the president.

“And I understand this is going to be sort of like a capture the flag moment for commercial space flight, so good luck to whoever grabs that flag,” Obama said.

“That’s an excellent point sir,” Ferguson replied. “We sure hope to see some of our commercial partners climbing on board really soon. I know there’s a lot of competition out there, there’s a lot of people are fervently working towards this goal to be the first one to send a commercial astronaut into orbit.”

Soon after the SPACEX posted this Tweet on Twitter:

Youtube link to Pres. Obama’s call to the ISS

Another great video in the Sagan Series

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