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Space Science

Mid-Atlantic Commercial Spaceport Makes First Launch 67

Posted by kdawson
from the scaring-the-ponies dept.
PeeAitchPee writes "East Coast residents of the US were treated to the first launch from the mid-Atlantic region's commercial spaceport. The 69-foot Minotaur I rocket soared from the launch pad at 7 a.m. ET, after teams spent the week resolving a glitch in software for one of the satellites that had scrubbed a liftoff on Monday. I witnessed the launch while driving to BWI airport this morning and it was beautiful! It left a zig-zag contrail in the southern sky and the separation / ignition of one of the upper stages was clearly visible." The spaceport, a commercial collaboration of Virginia and Maryland, is on the Delmarva peninsula south of the Maryland line, just west of Chincoteague Island.
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Mid-Atlantic Commercial Spaceport Makes First Launch

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  • by Oopsz (127422) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @03:47PM (#17270804) Homepage
    2,000,000. [virgin-atlantic.com] Some would argue that's a bargain..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16, 2006 @04:14PM (#17270986)
    Details I find are always sparse on the website, but here
    http://davinciproject.com/news/index.php [davinciproject.com]
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @04:56PM (#17271278)
    No, this looks like a fiscal boondoggle to me. And with the recent change in the membership of the US House of Repesentatives and Senate, one wonders whether or not anything else will ever launch from there.

    This is not a new construction. This is land (and launch pads) leased from the Wallops Island [nasa.gov] facility. NASA has been launching stuff from there for decades.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16, 2006 @05:15PM (#17271388)
    Can be found at: http://www.wff.nasa.gov/tacsat2/ [nasa.gov]
  • by jayteedee (211241) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @05:33PM (#17271530)
    So many problems. Lets see, where to start? Lets start with the word "cobbled" shall we. You NEVER just cobble together some rocket motors. When OSC (or others) use military rockets, there is an extensive retrofit to each motor: V-band separation instead of linear shape charges, replace liquid injection systems with thrust vector controllers, entirely new avionics, new safe and arm devices, new wiring, new raceway, batteries, etc. Plus, as the acticle CLEARLY stated, it was 2 military motors (Minuteman, probably SR-70 and M-55) and two motors from the Pegasus vehicle. Plus most of the re-used military rockets are re-poures with the cheapest ones I've seen being about $6 million (SR-19 motors). The Air Force didn't re-pay for these motors, but you can bet a civilian launch of the same vehicle would have to figure in the extra cost of the used military motors.

    So what if it's a economically challened area, the STATE (and then states) funded the launch pad, NOT the feds. They are lifting themselves up for their own area, not looking for federal handouts. And ranges DON'T hire rocket scientists at all (unless the scientist is looking for a stiff pay cut). These are typical building maintenance and electronic types. Even if they could launch from their own port, it presents two problems. ALL federally controlled space ports are overpriced since their government jobs, and they want/need to have launch sites in different areas to allow different orbital insertion planes. The bottom line is the military likes having places like this or Spaceport Alaska to give them more options and lower overhead.

    You should also point to this launch site, since it's a heck of a lot closer:
    http://www.spacetoday.org/Rockets/Spaceports/Launc hSites.html#WallopsIsland [spacetoday.org]

    And no, most military launches aren't any more secure than civilian launches. EVERYBODY is concerned when there is a multi-million dollar highly-explosive vehicle sitting on the launchpad. Only some launches are under super tight security (and contained unlabelled/mis-labelled cargo).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16, 2006 @08:36PM (#17272812)
    This is what you're looking for: Sea-Launch [boeing.com]

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