Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Passes Preliminary Design Review

Already it is half way through February in year 2006 so year 2008 doesn't seem all that far away when the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is to launch.

I think that what is found by the LRO will have much to do with what might be accomplished later, now if someone else gets the data before the LRO then the gauntlet will be thrown down.

I hope we see some info from SMART-1 and others as they go to the Moon as well. - LRK -

[PDF 403 KB]
PAYLOADS ON-BOARD THE SMART-1 SPACECRAFT S/C interface, integration, test and early operations

Now what do you want to see at the first Lunar Base camp?

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg
Web Site:
RSS link:
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Passes Preliminary Design Review - Evergreen,VA,USA NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter team said Friday it has completed its preliminary design review as part of the mission confirmation process. ...

The first in a series of robotic missions to the moon, the LRO is scheduled
for launch in October 2008. It will carry six science instruments and a
technology demonstration.

The mission goal is to develop new approaches and technologies to support
the effort to send humans back to the Moon and to Mars as part of the Bush
administration's Space Exploration Vision.

The team completed the review on Feb. 9, and it will release the results,
along with ongoing assessments of project cost and schedule, as part of a
confirmation review, sometime this spring.

At that point, NASA' officials must decide whether to authorize additional
work and must set the project's cost estimate.

The mission's critical design review is scheduled for fall, and will
represent the completion of detailed system design, the transition to
assembly and integration of the mission elements.

Copyright 2006 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

In January 2004 the President of the United States decided to advance U.S.
scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space
exploration program that integrates human and robotic exploration
activities. This decision was documented by President's Space Exploration
Policy Directive (NPSD31), signed into effect on January 2004. Subsequent to
these decisions, NASA established an independent advisory group entitled the
LRO ORDT (Objectives/Requirements Definition Team) that met in March to
define the specific objectives for the 2008 mission, the first of a series
of missions to the moon. This first mission is dedicated to obtaining the
applied science/engineering measurements needed for future exploration. To
maximize the data return for this mission, NASA intends to solicit and
competitively select the measurement investigations for the payload that
best meet the objectives of this mission. The Goddard Space Flight Center
(GSFC) has been designated by NASA to lead this mission and will provide
both the Spacecraft and the Launch Services for the mission (these will not
be competed).

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter: Searching For A 'New Moon'
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 08 February 2006
07:20 am ET

NASA's back to the Moon adventure is being kick-started by the building of
the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. That probe is the opening volley of
spacecraft in response to President George W. Bush's multi-billion dollar
Vision for Space Exploration that he outlined in January 2004.
A goal of the Vision is returning humans to the Moon as early as 2015 and no
later than 2020.

To make that happen, starting no later than 2008, a series of robotic
missions will be sent to the lunar surface "to research and prepare for
future human exploration," Bush proclaimed.

This week, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) begins a preliminary
design review. A process that is sure to reflect the financial stress and
strain status of NASA's newly issued budget for fiscal year 2007.

Posted: January 5, 2005

NASA Selects Investigations For Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

NASA has selected six proposals to provide instrumentation and associated
exploration/science measurement investigations for the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter (LRO), the first spacecraft to be built as part of the Vision for

Space Exploration

The LRO mission is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2008 as part of NASA's
Robotic Lunar Exploration Program. The mission will deliver a powerful
orbiter to the vicinity of the moon to obtain measurements necessary to
characterize future robotic and human landing sites. It also will identify
potential lunar resources and document aspects of the lunar radiation
environment relevant to human biological responses.

Proposals were submitted to NASA in response to an Announcement of
Opportunity released in June 2004. Instrumentation provided by these
selected measurement investigations will be the payload of the mission
scheduled to launch in October 2008.

"The payload we have selected for LRO builds on our collective experience in
remote sensing of the Earth and Mars," said NASA's Deputy Associate
Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Ghassem Asrar. "The
measurements obtained by these instruments will characterize in
unprecedented ways the moon's surface and environment for return of humans
in the next decade," he added.

"LRO will deliver measurements that will be critical to the key decisions we
must make before the end of this decade," said NASA's Associate
Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Craig
Steidle. "We are extremely excited by this innovative payload, and we are
confident it will fulfill our expectations and support the Vision for Space
Exploration," Steidle added.

"The instruments selected for LRO represent an ideal example of a dual use
payload in which exploration relevance and potential scientific impact are
jointly maximized," NASA's Chief Scientist, Dr. Jim Garvin said. "I am
confident LRO will discover a 'new moon' for us, and in doing so shape our
human exploration agenda for our nearest planetary neighbor for decades to
come," he said.

The selected proposals will conduct Phase A/B studies to focus on how
proposed hardware can best be accommodated, completed, and delivered on a
schedule consistent with the mission timeline. An Instrument Preliminary
Design Review and Confirmation for Phase C Review will be held at the
completion of Phase B.

Selected investigations and principal investigators:

Is There Water on the Moon?

Wed, 20 Apr 2005 - NASA's Lunar Prospector hinted at the possibility that
there are pockets of water ice in permanently shadowed craters at the Moon's
poles. These reservoirs of water would be and invaluable supply of drinking
water and air for astronauts, as well as the raw material for propellants.
Scientists just need to confirm that it's there. NASA will be sending a new
spacecraft, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, in 2008. It'll have four
separate instruments capable of detecting water. So, we might know the
answer soon.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Good day,

Starting a space launch business is not easy or without problems. A bit of perseverance is required.
- LRK -

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of access to space ultimately by a factor of ten. Our design and manufacturing facilities are located in Southern California, near the Los Angeles airport, and our propulsion development and structural test facilities are located in Central Texas.

We have been waiting for the launch of the Space-X's Falcon 1, and it almost happened but one more delay. Use the "UPDATES" tab to take you to the News Updates page.

You can also add yourself to their e-mail notification.

Remember, operations moved from Vandenberg Air Force base to Kwajelein where they have been developing launch capabilities.

Want a job with them, better be good.
- LRK -

SpaceX has exceptionally stringent hiring criteria. You must have either a demonstrated track record of world-class ability in your field, outstanding academics or other evidence of exceptional ability. Particular value is placed on having won or ranked strongly in state, national or international prizes in technical achievement, or having personally built working hardware.
SpaceX is primarily an engineering driven company and needs exist for mechanical, electrical and aeronautical engineers interested in:

Rocket engine combustion
Advanced structural design & analysis
High Mach aerodynamics
Avionics, guidance & control

Prior launch vehicle, spacecraft or aircraft experience is desirable, but not required. There are also opportunities for those with a physics or mathematics background and an inclination towards the practical.

Hope we get to look up at them (well by way of video at least).

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:
Falcon 1 Maiden Flight Update: Posted February 10, 2006
We were very happy to be able to execute a flight countdown all the way to lighting the engine. Although there wasn't a launch this time, we made a lot of progress refining the rocket and launch pad -- all work that needed to be done anyway. I will post a longer update next week, after we have enough time to finish forensics of recent events and formulate next steps.
[Note: there is a link on this page to view the static firing of Falcon-1.]
Posted February 9, 2006
After analyzing data from the static fire countdown, we decided to postpone the launch. The vehicle is being lowered for further investigation.

Once we have thoroughly checked out all systems, I will post an update on what was found and when the next countdown attempt will occur. Based on range availability and logistics constraints, a rough guess would be two to four weeks.
January 2006 Update
(Note: Subscribers to the email list receive the update earlier than it is posted on the website. Email address privacy is always respected.)

New Launch Time

The new launch time is February 8 at 4:30 p.m. California time with Feb. 9 as a backup day. We will actually be ready to launch earlier, but are planning to spend extra time reviewing and double-checking all vehicle systems.

Following the problem on Dec. 19, we flew a whole new first stage to Hawaii via C-5 just in time to catch the barge from there to Kwaj a few days before New Year's Eve. The new stage should arrive at Kwaj in about a week, whereupon we will switch it out with the damaged unit, which will be sent back to California for repair. The repair is not particularly difficult or expensive, but can only be done properly in a factory setting.

What Was the Problem?

As previously reported, we traced the problem to the failure of an electronic component in one of the first stage fuel tank pressurization valves. Although we have triple redundant pressure sensors and dual redundant pressurization valves, when this component shorted, it caused the valve controller board to reboot, effectively eliminating the redundancy.

This is the first time in 3.5 years of hard testing that we have ever seen this happen. Moreover, the component in question has a cycle life and power rating far in excess of the theoretical load that it should see. To address this specific problem, we are replacing the component with one that has a quasi-infinite lifespan and taking a few other steps that will isolate any issue with this component if it goes wrong in the future.

However, as I mentioned in an earlier update, we are not simply going to address this particular point problem and then merrily jump back into a countdown sequence. Throughout January, the SpaceX team will be doing another full review of vehicle systems, including propulsion, structures, avionics, software and ground support systems. We will be conducting additional engine tests, stage separation tests and avionics tests to once again attempt to flush out any issues. Even if we find nothing, the exercise is worthwhile.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Good evening

NASA WATCH has a link to's copy of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's remarks to the National Space Club.
Here is the link to the PDF file at
- LRK -

02.09.06 - Remarks to the National Space Club Exploration must become, in the public mind, nothing more or less than "what NASA does."
+ View Transcript (45 Kb PDF)

Will snip a few paragraphs from SpaceRef's copy. You might want to read the whole speech or copy the PDF file.
- LRK -

Thanks for looking up.
(hoping that we have something to look up at)

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:

Remarks to the National Space Club by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin
"I do think that it is important to note that we are delaying missions, not simply abandoning them. We will still do the Space Interferometry Mission, the Terrestrial Planet Finder, and the Global Precipitation Monitoring mission. We will not do them right now. In making a decision concerning what to delay and what to keep on schedule to the extent possible, I determined that delays in starting SIM, TPF, and GPM would be less harmful to the space program overall than would further delays to the CEV program. I simply believe that further delays to CEV are strategically more damaging to this nation than are delays to other missions. I stand by this view."

Posted by kcowing at 11:10 AM Permalink Snip
Remarks to the National Space Club by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin
Date Released: Friday, February 10, 2006
Source: NASA HQ
9 February 2006

Three years ago, members of the National Space Club were dealing with some of the darkest days ever known to our space program, the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew. In the days and months following the loss of Columbia, there was an extensive discourse concerning our nation's lack of clear, coherent, and compelling goals for the nation's human spaceflight program. NASA was seen to be suffering from a period of uncertainty and benign neglect concerning the broader purposes of our space enterprise.

Admiral Hal Gehman and the members of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) recognized that merely determining the proximate cause of the accident, and returning the shuttle to flight, would be an insufficient remedy. The policy discussion of that period was both needed and timely, and I felt privileged to have a small voice in it as a private citizen. I am now even more honored to be leading our nation's civil space program out of that dark period and into what House Science Committee Chairman Boehlert referred to as a Renaissance period. All of us here hope that he is right.


Simply stated, the Vision for Space Exploration asserts that the proper goal of the nation's space program is that of human and robotic exploration beyond low Earth orbit. After extensive and thoughtful discussion, the Congress explicitly and overwhelming ratified the President's view last December. Quoting from NASA's 2005 Authorization Bill, the Agency is directed to "establish a program to develop a sustained human presence on the Moon, including a robust precursor program, to promote exploration, science, commerce, and United States preeminence in space, and as a stepping stone to future exploration of Mars and other destinations." The Vision for Space Exploration is the law of the land. It is now up to NASA to carry forward this Vision and other priorities of the Congress and the President within the resources provided.


First, the Vision for Space Exploration respects both old commitments and new dreams. The President has reaffirmed yet again our nation's commitment to our partners on the International Space Station. NASA will complete the assembly of the Space Station using the minimum possible number of Space Shuttle flights to do so, prior to its retirement by 2010. My hope is that by maintaining that commitment, our international partners will view NASA and the United States as good partners through thick and thin, good people with whom to team in future endeavors of space exploration and scientific discovery.
Second, we will build the Crew Exploration Vehicle to return to the Moon, and then later we will set course Mars, and eventually beyond.

We will help drive the creation of a new space industry in low Earth orbit and beyond in such a way that NASA becomes a reliable and supportive customer for that industry.
We will do these things in concert with other nations having similar interests and values. And, as we look forward to the events that will define this century and beyond, I have no doubt that the expansion of human presence into the solar system will be among the greatest of our achievements.

In order to maintain momentum for this multi-generational journey, we must have a broad base of support among the American public. Exploration must become, in the public mind, nothing more or less than "what NASA does." I believe that the greatest contribution that NASA makes in educating the next generation of Americans is providing worthy endeavors for which students will be inspired to study difficult subjects like math, science, and engineering because they too share the dream of exploring the cosmos. Space exploration is the most technically challenging endeavor that nations do, and it is also one of the most exciting and inspirational. I continue to be awed by rocket launches, even though I've seen dozens. I'm awed by pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope of galaxies colliding and gaseous nebula forming new stars. I'm awed by the bravery of our astronauts. I'm amazed by the insights our scientists discover about our home planet, and what they find out about other planets in our solar system. We need to share this sense of awe with the broader public.




The first element of this flight plan is of course the Crew Exploration Vehicle, or CEV. We translated the requirements of the exploration architecture into detailed requirements for the CEV, and the final RFP for this crucial new system is in the hands of the contractors who will bid on it. For those of you who thought last year was busy for NASA, I want you to buckle your seat belts and place your trays in the upright and locked position. 2006 presents even more challenges. This year, we will re-start the assembly of the International Space Station, after fixing the PAL ramp foam debris. The next test flight, STS-121, commanded by Colonel Steve Lindsay, will help us determine whether NASA can safely return the Space Shuttle to its primary task of assembling the International Space Station.

This next flight will also tell us whether the Space Shuttle can safely conduct a fifth servicing mission of the Hubble Space Telescope in 2008.



Moon and Mars - Videos