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Rollout and lift of the United Launch Alliance Delta 4 Heavy rocket that will launch a prototype of NASA’s Orion capsule on an uncrewed, Earth-orbiting test mission in early December. Credit: NASA Kennedy Space Center

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Oct. 23, 2014
Washington  District Of Columbia
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Oct. 27, 2014 to Oct. 29, 2014
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Oct. 27, 2014 to Oct. 30, 2014
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Nov. 4, 2014 to Nov. 6, 2014
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Commentary | Bring Back Project Pilot

Matt Bile writes:

Most people have never heard of Project Pilot, the U.S. Navy’s maverick air-launched orbital booster program of 1958. Those who have call it an interesting failure. The project probably put one satellite in orbit in six launch attempts. It had minimal effect on the future: The designer of today’s only air-launched booster, the Pegasus, was unaware it existed.

I propose that we bring it back.

Bring all of it back: the shoestring budget, the small team and the lack of structure, reporting and paperwork. If we can’t do all the things in the outlandish concept I’m about to lay out, then let’s at least talk about which parts we can do. We know that no effort since 1958 has given us a cheap responsive launcher, so let’s consider something so crazy it just might work.

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Upcoming Editorial Calendar:

Oct. 6

Profile: Thomas Berger, Director, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

Oct. 13

Profile: Thomas Markusic, Chief Executive, Firefly Space Systems

Oct. 20

Profile: Rep. Mike Rogers, Chairman, House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee

Earth Science/Climate Monitoring (Monthly Feature): Researchers using satellites to predict whether an El Nino event will bring significant rainfall is in store for drought-stricken western states.

Oct. 27

Profile: Hiroshi Imazu, Chairman, Space Policy Committee, Liberal Democratic Party of Japan.

Spotlight (Monthly Feature): Satellogic, Argentine cubesat constellation company

 

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