Thursday, January 15, 2009

General Edward Bolton Outlines Changes

Patrick Peterson

Change will come to the space industry in the form of more launches, an increased commercial emphasis and new rocket systems, Brig. Gen. Edward Bolton, commander of the 45th Space Wing, said Tuesday.

Last year, only seven rockets launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center. Including Wednesday evening's scheduled launch, nine rockets and shuttles are scheduled to blast off by May."That' the first thing to change," said Bolton, who was the keynote speaker at the National Space Club's monthly meeting in Cocoa Beach.

Other changes include the retirement of the space shuttle and the Air Force's retirement of the Delta II, and the introduction of SpaceX's Falcon 9. (United Launce Alliance will continue to offer the Delta II to other customers.)

"We have more systems coming onto the range and going off the range than at any time in my memory," said Bolton, whose career in the space industry spans 25 years.

SpaceX last week erected the first new rocket design in many years at Launch Complex 40. The Falcon 9 is scheduled for a summer launch, and the low-cost launch, if successful, could lure commercial satellite launches back to the U.S. from Asia and Russia."

We've got SpaceX coming as close to a purely commercial venture for a main system as has ever been done in this country," said Bolton. "With the changing mission, the changing requirements, we also have a changing infrastructure."
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