May 14th, 2004

Bigelow signs contracts for Dnepr launches

Bigelow Aerospace, an American company developing inflatable orbital habitats, has signed a contract for six launches on a Russian Dnepr booster, Russian news services reported this week. According to the RIA Novosti news agency, Bigelow and Kosmotras, the company that markets the Dnepr, signed a contract at the Berlin Air Show this week for six Dnepr launches carrying what the report described only as “civilian satellites.”

May 6th, 2004

SpaceX announces first Falcon 5 sale

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announced this week the first sale of its medium-lift Falcon 5 launch vehicle. Company founder and CEO Elon Musk said that SpaceX has sold the first Falcon 5 launch to Bigelow Aerospace, a company developing inflatable structures that could be used as commercial orbital habitats. The payload, identified in a report as Genesis Pathfinder, is designed to test inflatable modules based on technology developed for NASA’s TransHab, a project the agency supported for several years before canceling. The launch is currently scheduled for November 2005 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

March 17th, 2004

UK auditor criticizes government for not revealing Beagle 2 risks

A report by the UK National Auditor Office concluded that the British space agency did not properly reveal all the risks associated with the Beagle 2 lander when it sought public funding for the mission. The report, a broad review of the UK’s civil space efforts, noted that the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and its parent office, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), suffered weaknesses in risk analysis.

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