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Cross posting this as it has only been been posted in the update thread. Strange it appears to be not far from ISS. Perhaps they need a payload that can observe space stations.

I have found that on June 4, USA 276 will in fact be very close by when (if all goes according to plan)  the SpaceX DRAGON CRS-11 should arive at the ISS at this date. That is, if USA 276 doesn't change its current orbit before then.

Due to slightly different rates of precession of their orbital nodes, the orbits will slowly diverge from their current close coincidence over time, unless USA 276 makes a corrective manoeuvre.

I have pondered the question whether this all is coincidental or not. While I can in fact think of a potential goal where this all would be on purpose, that would be a very wild thing to do, so perhaps it is not so likely. For the moment, let's better chalk it up to coincidence until new developments seem to point otherwise.
Space Science Coverage / Re: Proposed Europa Missions
« Last post by vjkane on Today at 04:45 PM »
The bit about the lander is likely to be over-ridden by the politicians that's pretty clear by now.
The politicians may make noise, but unless they increase the planetary budget by something on the order of $200M/year to keep the Clipper on a 2022 launch and then by several hundred million more a year for the lander, it is all noise.
I didn't realize that there are literally no planned LEO missions for SLS. All planned missions are BLEO. The 70-130 tonne LEO payload numbers don't actually represent any real missions.
Precisely.  I would love to see these discussions talk about the real SLS payload number - the payload sent beyond low earth orbit.
Personally, I loathe the idea of ginormous flagship missions. That was necessary with Apollo, when we lacked the ability to sustain high launch cadence and reliable orbital rendezvous, but those are solved problems now. Assemble in LEO and then go to wherever you want to go.

If I had the SLS budget to play with, I'd say to make it do one thing and one thing only: launch a single-engine high-energy propulsion bus with onboard gaseous biprop RCS and solar-powered cooling system, with side-mounted automated coupling ports. Contract with commercial providers to launch the actual mission spacecraft and then use the SLS bus to send it wherever you want it to go. Your payload too large for one propulsion bus? Launch two of them and couple them side-to-side. In other words, Kerbal the hell out of it.
They've had to move the test back to Saturday.
Would not surprise me if this doesn't end up on a Falcon 9 as it seems an ideal mission for Space X to bid for.

No more than an Atlas V

Both are capable. Falcon costs less but Atlas has more reliability history. I expect at least 1 of this pair to fly on the Atlas, if not both. The history of reliability is not easily discounted and plays well against cost, especially for one-of-a kind missions like these.
The other engine Boeing was looking at was the BE-3. The now designated AR-22 was the only other plausible rapid reusable hydrolox engine available.

But the weight range of this vehicle to LEO puts it at the very low end (actually about half that of a DIV without solids) as a replacement and starts Boeing into a competition with a subsidiary that they 50% own.

If Boeing could scale this vehicle up into a larger Medium class vehicle by factor of 5. Then it could become that highly competitive LV to SpaceX and also if partnered with Dreamchaser could represent a very cheap personnel transport to LEO. Also a scale up by factor of 5 puts it into direct competition with Vulcan (and SpaceX for which it would be a peer in probably Price) for the the lower end payloads which actually outnumber the larger payloads.

Could Boeing if successful with this vehicle be contemplating selling their interest in ULA. This vehicle if successful could kill ULA unless ULA goes with creating a rapid reusable 1st stage vehicle.

I'm surprised Boeing didn't ask Northrop to dust off the TR-106 or TR-107 since it's not trying to be a SSTO and doesn't need an engine with as high of an ISP as the SSME.

The latter plus an expendable upper stage would be a near F9 v1.0 class LV.

Agreed they would be able to re-learn how to build rockets. ..
I'm hoping neither Boeing nor LM will start 're-learning' rocketry, but just go and snap up one of the new startups and go carefully about augmenting and complementing their capabilities to help them grow up fast.
Lucy's orbit is quite interesting, it will visit both the SJL4 and SJL5 Trojan clouds.
Roscosmos says this is fake news.

Do they mean it's "Trump fake news" or the story is actually wrong? ;)
While I'm just fine flying on Boeing's aircraft, they don't exactly have a stellar recent record with launch vehicles (ALASA, SLS, etc)...
But the spacecraft they keep building fly just fine.
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