RCSP Dynetics Launches FASTSAT with Fun Party

Wed, 11/24/2010 – 15:57 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
Friday night, November 19th, at Dynetics was amazing! Our first satellite, known as FASTSAT (Fast, Affordable Science and Technology Satellite), was launched aboard a Minotaur IV rocket. FASTSAT was developed in-house with NASA and the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (VCSI), also one of the Rocket City Space Pioneers, as partners. The launch occurred at 7:25 p.m. CST from Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska.
FASTSAT separated from the Minotaur IV rocket approximately 22 minutes after launch, entering low-Earth orbit 406 miles above Earth and immediately began powering up the spacecraft.
To celebrate the launch, Dynetics employees had a huge launch party with plenty of good Mexican food. We had some down time between launch and waiting to hear the satellite wake up. I got to entertain the crowd with my TEDx talk on “Re-energizing Space through Innovation,” and even got to fire up my jet scooter in the parking lot. Boy was it loud! We kids loved it! I also let the kids help me fly my R/C electric helicopter indoors with my IPhone. It is really cool – it uses the gyros and accels in the phone to control the helicopter via wifi. The onboard video camera allows you to get a bird’s-eye view from the helicopter while in flight. That video is streamed to my IPhone, which is also used to control the helicopter. It is really cool. The kids had a ball with that one.
All and all, it was an amazing night of fun at Dynetics. I am sure our office party rocked it more than any other gig in Huntsville on a Friday night. Gotta love the Rocket City!

Rocket City Space Pioneers Announce Partnership with the Huntsville Center for Technology

Fri, 11/19/2010 – 23:28 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
Today was a real special event for me and the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP). I returned to the Huntsville Center for Technology (HCT), my old stomping grounds from high school where back in 1981 and 1982, I attended tech school. It was cool then – and even cooler today.
I had come back not to go to school, but to unite with my brothers on a very special project. After revisiting the school a few weeks ago, I was impressed and hooked! After seeing the amazing projects they designed and built like hover crafts, battle ships, NASA hardware, and even moon buggies that students routinely beat out major colleges like MIT with, I knew I needed these guys as partners to help us win our Google X PRIZE!
We had an awesome day of cool students, live rocket engine testing, robots, and a whole lot of people enjoying a fun day at the Tech Center! Thanks to Dave Hewitt from Dynetics who fired “the little engine that could” after a couple of tries.
We had the mayor of Huntsville speak on the importance of technology and real hands on-engineering and building. And he pushed the button on one of our rockets! We also had Dr. Ann Roy Moore speak about what makes the HCT the great school it is. We had our team members joining us from Teledyne Brown Engineering, Draper Laboratory, the Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation (VCSI), and UAHuntsville. Tom Baumbach, Dynetics president, and Dr. Marc Bendickson, CEO, also came out.
Thanks to the team at HCT who helped with the activities; and Janet Felts, Public Outreach Liaison for RCSP, and Joy Dukimineer, the counselor at HCT, for doing such a great job coordinating this event.
I could not say enough about how honored I was to be back and actually working a project that will carry our generation to the moon. These students and faculty are amazing and second to none. They presented us with an incredible prototype of our lander! We are so excited about the momentum of this hardware rich team we are building. Huntsville is an amazing place to launch a team project to the moon! Welcome aboard, HCT, and thanks for your support, Huntsville!
Read about the event at www.rocketcityspacepioneers.com under “News.”

Catch a Ride on Our Mission

Thu, 10/07/2010 – 20:59 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
The Rocket City Space Pioneers are inviting you to “Catch a Ride on Our Mission.” Spaceflight Services, RCSP team member, is selling small payloads to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and Low Lunar Orbit (LLO).
Spaceflight, as part of the Rocket City Space Pioneer Google Lunar X-Prize Team, is responsible for mission integration and providing space transportation services to Low Lunar Orbit. Spaceflight is providing flight opportunities for ESPA class spacecraft (spacecraft weighing less than 180 kg) interested in launch services to GTO and LLO.
Spaceflight, as part of the RCSP team, is responsible for mission integration and providing space transportation services to LLO. Spaceflight is providing flight opportunities for ESPA class spacecraft interested in launch services to GTO and LLO.
The proposed mission will deploy three ESPA payloads into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and two additional payloads in a Low Lunar Orbit. The mission is also open to smaller spacecraft looking for a low cost ride to either of these destinations.
For more information, go to www.rocketcityspacepioneers.com and click on “Catch a Ride on Our Mission.”

The Rocket City Space Pioneers Continue to Get Inquiries

Fri, 10/01/2010 – 20:09 — Tim Pickens RCSP team leader
The Rocket City Space Pioneers are excited about all the interest we are receiving in this competition! Huntsville, home of the Rocket City Space Pioneers, is known as “The Rocket City” for its impact on space exploration. Huntsville has been developing important space technologies since the 1950s when the German scientists headed by Dr. Wernher von Braun, brought to the United States at the end of World War II, arrived to develop rocketry for the U.S. Army. Huntsville lofted the first satellite into orbit – Explorer I – in 1958.
That’s where “Alabama Explorer II,” the name Alabama Governor Bob Riley offered us $1 million to name our lunar lander, came from.
Huntsville is home to Redstone Arsenal and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where the Saturn V used by the Apollo program manned Moon missions was developed. Huntsville continues to play a vital role in space exploration.
We are pumped about igniting a spark in this community that has such a strong space heritage with our Race to the Moon. Companies, individuals, schools and other organizations are contacting us to find out how they can be a part of our Race to the Moon.
Homer Hickam, the “Rocket Boy,” spoke at our media event announcing our entry into the competition. He is the author of “Rocket Boys/October Sky” and several other books. His latest is “My Dream of Stars,” the memoir of space-flyer Anousheh Ansari who funded the $10 million for the Ansari XPRIZE.
We are looking forward to finding out more about the other teams at the Isle of Man Summit!