Posts Tagged SpaceX

Space: SpaceX’s Success May Lead To Military Contracts

In this article, they mentioned ULA as the only certified company to launch military payloads. But if SpaceX can get certified, they will be the second.

The reason why I am excited about this stuff, is that for both ULA and SpaceX, they will need some heavy duty security to guard these military satellites as the rockets are being prepared, and protect the launches. So expect to see everything from basic security, all the way up to special response teams or SWAT type teams to protect this stuff. Because once you get into the realm of defense related space contracts, national security depends upon the successes of these launches and the integrity of the satellites.

I have not seen any job ads or news about this type of security, but I expect we will as time goes by.  Of course private protection forces for space launches are not a new concept, and I mentioned KSC SWAT guys protecting NASA launches a long time ago. So I will definitely keep my eyes open for space related security gigs…..and the future is now. –Matt


Members of the Kennedy SWAT team are ready and well equipped to keep the Space Center safe. Image credit: NASA/KSC

SpaceX’s Success May Lead To Military Contracts
By Richard Stalker
SpaceX made history 2 weeks ago becoming the very first private company to launch a capsule into space and have it dock with the International Space Station. Now that the Dragon has successfully returned to earth, SpaceX can start working on it’s contract through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The resupply contract for the International Space Station has it making 12 runs, and since it is reusable, they will have the ability to ferry items back and forth, not just trash but experiments.
This launch was the second one for the Falcon 9 and after a third successful one they will be allowed to bid for military contracts to launch satellites into space. “The new entrant criteria did say three launches are required (for Falcon 9) before certification can happen for national security payloads,” said SpaceX Communications Director Kirstin Brost Grantham.

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Cool Stuff: The Historic Launch Of Falcon 9–Private Industry Enters The Space Race!

Today, though, “Falcon flew perfectly!!,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter moments after the launch. “Feels like a giant weight just came off my back :).”
At a press conference held after the launch, Musk said that “every bit of adrenalin in my body released at that point,” and that the elation he felt was like “winning the Super Bowl.”
“I would really count today as a success no matter what happens for the rest of the mission.”-National Geographic

This is awesome news and congrats to Elon Musk and the team at SpaceX. The company had to delay the launch by a couple of days due to some issues, but the second time was a charm. Now it will link up with the International Space Station and hopefully that will go without a hitch.

My latest thoughts on the private space industry and security, is that government is now relinquishing it’s monopoly on space. And space, strategically, is the ultimate high ground. My concerns in this case, would be the protection of space property like satellites from those wishing to destroy or hack that stuff. Or state and non-state actors exploiting cyber weaknesses of these systems that control this space hardware. Or worse yet, actually causing crashes or glitches in space launches, as a way to take out the competition in the space market.

Can you imagine a terrorist group, taking control of a rocket like Falcon 9 and crashing that into the ISS?  Or plowing it into some key satellite that is vital to national security? Or causing a rocket to fail on launch, and crashing that thing purposely into a population center?

Also, if you look at how much money each launch costs, then you can see how this industry might fire up some serious corporate competition/sabotage.  Especially between private companies and countries.  If one country is dependent on a private company, and then another country with a state sponsored commercial space program attacks the systems of that private company, all so folks have no where else to go for space launches but that state sponsored commercial program, then you can see how this can play out.  This is not to say we will see Russia or China attack SpaceX, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. Especially with cyber attacks.

With that said, I certainly hope SpaceX and others are serious about security, both physical and cyber, because it doesn’t take much to ruin a business plan and mission.-Matt


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Cool Stuff: The Ultimate Public-Private Partnership–Contractors In Space!

This is just cool. Here is a NASA astronaut describing the public-private partnership between SpaceX and NASA with this upcoming logistics mission. Dragon is the name of the supply capsule, mounted on a Falcon 9 rocket, that will be sent to the International Space Station to resupply it. Dragon would be the first commercial spacecraft to perform this mission at the ISS.

Not only that, but government needs SpaceX to get this right.  We are talking about delivering the essentials of life–food, etc. and there are people in space who are depending on these deliveries. So all eyes will be on this company and their team of quality control folks, engineers, and everyone in between on getting this thing off the ground and delivering like a champ. (which this will be a really interesting case study for how private industry will do this versus how NASA used to do this–differences, similarities, cost savings, etc.)

What I really enjoyed though was the comparison of today’s public-private partnership, to yesteryear’s use of private industry to support the expansion out west.  I have discussed this partnership when it came to scouts and the Army, and Don Pettit’s example of contractors supplying forts is another one.

Not only that, but today’s contractors in the war have been immensely important to the task of supplying military outposts and supporting logistics missions all over. So yes, when I see a government Astronaut talking about contractors and commercial spaceflight, while he is in space, I rate that as pretty awesome. Check it out. –Matt


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