Subscribe to Email Updates:

Enter your email address:

Civil News

Elon Musk: Lipstick or a Colony on Mars?

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 24-Oct-2014 (Updated: 24-Oct-2014 11:10 PM)

In a wide-ranging “one-on-one” interview today at MIT, Elon Musk easily transitioned from technical to philosophical discussions about rockets, Mars exploration, Tesla cars, and hyperloops.  From asking rhetorically whether buying lipstick is more important than colonizing Mars, to insisting that bringing Mars resources back to Earth is unrealistic even if it was cocaine, it was an entertaining exchange.

Musk’s interview by MIT aeronautics and astronautics department head Jaime Perarie was part of the department’s three-day centennial celebration that featured lectures and panel discussions by illustrious aerospace professionals, including many astronauts and MIT professor Dava Newman, recently nominated to be NASA Deputy Administrator.

Musk’s hour-and-a-half long session was split roughly 50-50 between questions from Perarie and from audience members, many of them students.  He made many quotable comments, including the fact that SpaceX will try to land a Falcon 9 first stage on a floating platform as soon as the next flight, but at least sometime in the next 12 months, with the goal of reflying that stage as a demonstration of reusability.

Among the highlights of the space-related portions of the session are the following:

Reusability

  • SpaceX plans to land a Falcon 9 first stage on a floating platform within the next 12 months, perhaps on the next flight.   Musk said they have soft-landed the Falcon 9 first stage in the ocean twice: “it sat there for several seconds, tipped over and exploded.”  The next step is to land it on a floating platform being built in Louisiana.   SpaceX may attempt it on the next Falcon 9 launch to the International Space Station (ISS) – currently scheduled for December 9 – but Musk said there was at best a 50 percent chance of success.  Nonetheless, he added, there are 12 more Falcon 9 flights in the next 12 months and he thinks there’s an 80-90 percent chance of success over that period of time and that first stage will refly.  “We’re close” to demonstrating reusability, he said.
  • He has no plans for reusing the Falcon 9 second stage, however.  For full reusability, he is focusing on next generation vehicles using liquid methane and oxygen – his Raptor design – which will be reusable all the way to Mars.  He expects test flights of such a system in 5-6 years.

Propulsive Landing

  • The penalty for propulsive landing is low, he said.  One can use less mass if a parachute or water landing is employed, but that negatively impacts reusability.   The key is propulsive landing with precision.   That is needed to land on the Moon or Mars, too.
  • In a more humorous moment, he commented that in science fiction aliens land on Earth propulsively, not by splashing down in the ocean or with parachutes.  “Would be weird to see them landing in the ocean,” he remarked with a smile.

Why SpaceX?

  • Asked if it was true that he created SpaceX because he, himself, wants to fly in space, Musk said no, if that was all he wanted he could buy a ticket on Russia’s Soyuz as others have done.  He said that before he started SpaceX he wanted to send a small greenhouse to Mars to get people excited about sending people to Mars in an effort to increase NASA’s budget.  But he concluded what was really needed was better rockets so it was not a matter of sending people to Mars once and never doing it again.  His goal is to advance rocket technology to send many people to Mars so a self-sustaining colony can be established.

Why Colonize Mars?

  • People focus on the problems here on Earth, he said, but some small amount of money – less than one percent of our resources -- should be spent on establishing colonies on Mars and making humanity a multi-planet species.   It’s a matter of priorities, he continued.  It is less important than health care, for example, but more important than cosmetics.  “I’m in favor of cosmetics … but lipstick or a colony on Mars?” he asked with a grin, followed by laughter from the audience.

International Cooperation or Competition?

  • Asked if colonies on Mars will be international or American, Musk said he hopes there will be many colonies on Mars.   He favors competition, not cooperation.  If governments all must work “in lockstep” as they do with the International Space Station, he said, “things do not go fast.”  Instead, he favors “positive” competition like in the Olympics where people compete “hard” but the net result is good.

Space Resources Will be Used in Space Not on Earth

  • Musk made clear that he thinks that space resources will be used in space, not brought back to Earth.  “Even if you had crack cocaine in pre-packaged pallets” on Mars, it would not make sense to bring it back to Earth, he said.

One Way Trips to Mars

  • Musk humorously asked if that meant “one way and you die” or “one way and you’re resupplied,” but more seriously commented that spaceships are expensive and they must be returned to Earth regardless of whether the people want to come back.
  • As for MarsOne’s concept of using SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rockets, Musk said that if they want to buy them, he will sell them, but he doesn’t think they have the money for even one and, in any case, the Dragon, with an interior volume of an SUV, is not large enough to accommodate people for such long trips.  He recommends waiting for next generation technology.

NASA

  • “I’m a huge fan of NASA,” Musk said.  He is impressed with what the agency is doing in human spaceflight today considering all the constraints it must work under.  If NASA continues to expand on its support of competitive commercial space, that will have the most positive impact on the future of space development, in his view.
  • Asked what would happen to his plans if NASA reached Mars using its Space Launch System (SLS) before SpaceX gets there, Musk said that would be great, but as far as he knows, he is the only one trying to develop systems to send lots of people to Mars to establish a colony there.  He is focused on developing better rocket technology.   It would be “cool” to send one mission to Mars, but what will change humanity is sending large numbers of people.  “I don’t see anyone” out there other than SpaceX trying to do that; “not to say we’ll be successful, but I don’t see anyone else trying.”

Other topics included space elevators (he’s skeptical, but happy to be proved wrong), artificial intelligence (which he referred to as “summoning a demon”), hyperloop systems (he offered technical advice to a student who tried to build one as a senior project), and his Tesla cars.  The entire session is available on MIT’s website.

October 27 Confirmed as Orb-3 Launch Date

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-Oct-2014 (Updated: 22-Oct-2014 06:56 PM)

NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation have confirmed the October 27, 2014 launch date for Orbital's Orb-3 cargo mission to the International Space Station  (ISS).  The launch date was dependent on whether a tracking station on Bermuda withstood Hurricane Gonzalo.   Inspectors have determined it will be ready for the launch next week.

This is Orbital's third operational cargo mission to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.  Orbital launches its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the coast of Virginia. The Bermuda tracking station is required for such launches.

Launch is scheduled for 6:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time on October 27.

Orbital announced that it has named this Cygnus spacecraft after the late Deke Slayton.  Slayton was one of first seven astronauts selected for America's human spaceflight program in 1959 -- the Mercury 7 -- but an irregular heartbeat kept him grounded until he was cleared to fly the very last Apollo mission --  the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. After leaving NASA, he became one of the early commercial space launch entrepreneurs, heading a company named Space Services that developed the Conestoga 1 rocket, which in 1982 because the first privately funded rocket to reach space.

Top House Committee Republicans Press NASA for Answers on SLS, Orion, CCtCAP

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 22-Oct-2014 (Updated: 22-Oct-2014 03:15 PM)

The chairmen of the House Science, Space and Technology (SS&T) committee and its Space Subcommittee sent a letter to NASA yesterday (October 21) asking the agency to respond to previous inquiries from the committee regarding the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion, the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts and other matters to which NASA has not yet replied.

In yesterday's letter, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Steve Palazzo (R-MS) repeated their requests for updated information on NASA's plans for launching SLS and Orion.  Their original letter on August 27 stemmed from NASA's announcement that day that it was committing to a November 2018 launch readiness date for SLS, almost a year longer than expected.  That letter requested a response by September 10, 2014, but the committee said it still has not received answers to its questions.

As for CCtCAP, yesterday's letter notes that Space Subcommittee staff "reached out" to NASA the day the CCtCAP decision was announced, requesting a briefing and the source selection statement.  The letter explains that the committee understood it could not have such a briefing until after NASA briefed the offerors, but those briefings are now completed.  Although Sierra Nevada Corporation is protesting the awards to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the committee's letter notes that the statute governing the bid protest process does not authorize "the withholding of any document or information from Congress or an executive agency."  In addition, the committee states that NASA is proceeding with the contracts despite the protest and details of the source selection document were released to the press.  "We assume the Administration will submit a budget proposal to Congress in the next few months that will include funding for the CCtCAP program," the letter continues, and Congress's "ability to evaluate this budget request may be challenged by NASA's uncooperative position."

The letter also presses NASA to provide previously requested data on NASA's treatment of potential termination liability obligations across the agency.

This letter asks for a NASA response by October 28, 2014.

Court Declines SNC's Motion to Overrule NASA on CCtCAP Authorization to Proceed

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 21-Oct-2014 (Updated: 21-Oct-2014 05:29 PM)

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued a verbal decision today declining to overrule NASA on its decision to allow SpaceX and Boeing to proceed in executing the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts.  Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is suing the government over NASA's October 9 decision to rescind a previously issued stop-work order while SNC's protest of the contract awards is under consideration by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

In a terse statement, Judge Marilyn Blank Horn said:

"On October 21, 2014, the court held a hearing in the above captioned protest.  Given the urgency to resolve the override issue, the court provided the parties with a verbal decision declining to overrule the override."

"Override" refers to NASA overriding a provision of the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) under which work on a contract ordinarily would cease while a protest of the contract award is pending.   NASA initially issued a stop-work order to Boeing and SpaceX in compliance with CICA after SNC filed its protest with GAO.   On October 9, however, it rescinded that order, overriding the CICA requirement, on the basis that its statutory authority allowed it to avoid serious adverse consequences.

SNC's suit before this court is that NASA did not demonstrate those serious adverse consequences in overriding the CICA requirements and the override was "illegal and void."

GAO has until January 5, 2015 to rule on SNC's underlying protest of the contract awards.  At the time it filed the protest, SNC said it found "serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process."

Boeing, SpaceX and SNC are all being funded under the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) phase of the commercial crew program.  On September 16,  NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX to continue on to the next phase, CCtCAP, under which each company is expected to complete work on new commercial crew space transportation systems to take NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station by the end of 2017.  Both designs are capsules: Boeing's CST-100 and SpaceX's Dragon V2.  SNC's design is a winged vehicle, Dream Chaser, that resembles a small space shuttle.

Key Senate NASA Staffer Moving on to Lockheed Martin

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 20-Oct-2014 (Updated: 20-Oct-2014 11:39 PM)

Ann Zulkosky, the top Senate Democratic staffer dealing with NASA issues on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, is leaving to join Lockheed Martin.

Zulkosky is a member of the Democratic professional staff of the committee, which is chaired by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).  Rockefeller is retiring at the end of this Congress and committee staff changes are common when the chairperson retires.  Zulkosky has been handling a variety of science issues, but is best known in space policy circles for her work on NASA issues with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), who chairs the committee's Science and Space Subcommittee.

Zulkosky and her Republican staff counterpart, Jeff Bingham, working with Nelson and the committee's top Republican at the time, Senator Kay Bailey Hutichison (R-TX), are largely credited with writing the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, a hard fought compromise between the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats and Republicans.  Bingham retired last year.

The 2010 law included funding recommendations only through FY2013, which has expired, but the policy provisions remain in force.  Key policy provisions allowed the Obama Administration to proceed with the commercial crew program to develop crew transportation systems to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), while insisting that NASA also develop a new spacecraft (Orion) and rocket (the Space Launch System) to take astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.

The House passed a new NASA authorization bill in June.  Senate action is expected next, but that may be more difficult to achieve with Zulkosky's departure.

In an email this evening, Zulkosky confirmed that she is headed to Lockheed Martin as Director of NASA Programs, succeeding Mike Hawes.  Hawes was recently tapped to replace Cleon Lacefield as the company's vice president and program manager for Orion.

What's Happening in Space Policy October 20-24, 2014

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 19-Oct-2014 (Updated: 19-Oct-2014 04:42 PM)

Here is our list of space policy-related events in the coming week, October 20-24, 2014, and any insights we can offer about them.  Congress returns on November 12.

During the Week

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has scheduled a second hearing on Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC's) lawsuit against the government vis a vis the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts for Tuesday at 2:30 pm ET (it's not listed on our calendar because we don't list court dates for lawsuits since they are rarely open to the public).  The first hearing was on Friday, where the court allowed SpaceX and Boeing to intervene in the case.  The court is also considering SNC's request to keep most of the filings under seal because some of the material may be proprietary and some is protected under SNC's protest to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).  SNC is protesting NASA's award of the CCtCAP contracts to Boeing and SpaceX.  Ordinarily, under the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA), work would stop under those contracts until GAO rules on SNC's protest (it has until January 5, 2015).  NASA did issue a stop-work order, but later rescinded it based on its statutory authority to avoid significant adverse consequences.  SNC is challenging the legality of that rescission.  Check back with SpacePolicyOnline.com to learn about what happens on Tuesday.

There are many other interesting events on tap during the week as well.   On Monday, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (which administers the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space), the Mexican Space Agency and another Mexican organization, CICESE, will hold a symposium on Making Space Technology Accessible and Affordable.  The opening ceremony and a press conference -- including the head of the Mexican Space Agency, Javier Mendieta -- will be webcast. 

The third of three International Space Station (ISS) spacewalks in as many weeks is scheduled for Wednesday.  This time it is two Russians, Max Suraev and Alexander Samokutyaev, who will step outside.   NASA TV will cover it beginning at 9:00 am ET.

Two very interesting luncheons are being held in the Washington, DC area on Thursday, unfortunately at exactly the same time.  The Washington Space Business Roundtable is hosting a panel of experts on the future of satellite communications in support of DOD at the University Club is downtown DC, while the National Capital Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics is hearing from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Chris Scolese across the river in Arlington, VA.   Not to mention that there's an all-day symposium in DC that day on space and satellite regulatory issues.  Busy day!

Those and other events we know about as of Sunday afternoon are listed below.

Monday, October 20

Wednesday, October 22

Wednesday-Sunday, October 22-26

Thursday, October 23

How To Keep Up With Comet Siding Spring's Encounter with Mars Tomorrow

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 18-Oct-2014 (Updated: 19-Oct-2014 03:01 PM)

Comet Siding Spring will make a close pass of the planet Mars tomorrow (Sunday, October 19) while human and robotic observers watch intently to see what they can learn about this rather rare type of celestial body.  On Earth, the best viewing is from the Southern Hemisphere and it will not be visible to the naked eye (Magnitude 13), but several websites plan live coverage with images and/or commentary.

Astronomers world-wide have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Comet Siding Spring, also known as C/2013 A1, which was discovered in January 2013 by Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia.   This particular type of comet, from the Oort Cloud far beyond the orbit of Pluto, rarely reaches the inner solar system.  This is the comet's first time sweeping around the Sun so none of its material has yet been affected by the Sun's heat.  It is comprised of material from the time the solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago.

The nucleus of the comet will come within 87,000 miles (140,000 kilometers) of the surface of Mars at 2:28 pm Eastern Daylight Time (11:28 am PDT, 18:28 GMT).   It will pass Mars traveling at 126,000 miles per hour (56 kilometers per second). 

Five spacecraft are currently orbiting Mars:  three from NASA and one each from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).  In addition, two functioning NASA rovers are on the surface:  Opportunity and Curiosity.  All will be tasked to study the comet and its interaction with Mars. 

To be on the safe side, NASA positioned its orbiters -- Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and MAVEN -- so they will be on the opposite side of the planet as the comet's tail passes by lest any of the particles damage spacecraft instruments.   ISRO similarly repositioned its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).  The European Space Agency decided that the risk of damage to its Mars Express orbiter was so low that it did not change its orbit.   The tail will be in close proximity to Mars about 90 minutes after the nucleus goes by and will be there for only about 20 minutes.

Many other space- and Earth-based observatories will study the comet as well.   NASA has a website with a wealth of information about its plans.

Comet expert Karl Battams posted an analysis of the parallels between observing this comet and last year's comet ISON, which was a disappointment for many observers because the comet was not as spectacular as expected.  Today Battams said in his blog post that the same phenomenon has occurred with Comet Siding Spring:  "...again, like comet ISON - we have watched nervously in these final couple of weeks ... as the comet has suddenly and dramatically faded in brightness.  This in particular has left us scratching our collective heads...."   Still, although "we have plenty of unknowns," he is optimistic for a successful Mars-based observing campaign.

He (@SungrazerComets) and the Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla (@elakdawalla) are among those who will be tweeting the event (#MarsComet or #SidingSpring).  Both list places on the web that will have live images and/or commentary:

  • Virtual Telescope beginning at 16:45 GMT (12:45 pm EDT)
  • ESA beginning at 1:50 pm EDT
  • Slooh beginning at 2:15 pm EDT
  • amateur astronomer Peter Lake will broadcast from the iTelescope.net Observatory at Siding Spring

SNC v NASA: Boeing and SpaceX Allowed to Intervene, Next Hearing Date Set

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 17-Oct-2014 (Updated: 21-Oct-2014 05:29 PM)

At today's hearing before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Boeing and SpaceX were granted their requests to intervene in Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC's) lawsuit to force NASA to reinstate a stop-work order on the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts. 

SNC filed suit on Wednesday asking the court to declare "illegal and void" NASA's October 9 decision to override provisions of the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) so that work could proceed under the CCtCAP contracts despite SNC's protest of the award.   Today was the first hearing in the case.

Boeing, SpaceX and SNC are all being funded under the current phase of NASA's commercial crew program -- the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP) phase.  On September 16, NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX to continue into the next phase, CCtCAP.  Sierra Nevada filed a protest against that decision with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on September 26.   NASA issued a stop-work order to Boeing and SpaceX on the CCtCAP contracts because of the protest, but rescinded it on October 9 arguing that it was acting under its statutory authority to avoid serious adverse consequences. 

That prompted SNC to file this lawsuit against the U.S. Government on the basis that NASA had not demonstrated that it could not wait until GAO issued its ruling on SNC's protest.  GAO has until January 5, 2015 to make its determination.

Today, Judge Marian Blank Horn granted motions from Boeing and SpaceX to "intervene" in the case and ordered that they file their submissions by Monday, October 20, at noon.  The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, at 2:30 pm ET.

The commercial crew program is essentially a public-private partnership where the government and the private sector are sharing the costs of developing new crew space transportation systems to take astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) with NASA serving as a market for the resulting services.  CCtCAP is the final phase of the development program, leading, NASA hopes, to operational systems by the end of 2017.  Until commercial crew systems are operational, NASA must rely on Russia to take crews to and from ISS because the space shuttle was terminated in 2011.

MIT Engineer Dava Newman Nominated as NASA Deputy Administrator

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 17-Oct-2014 (Updated: 17-Oct-2014 01:57 PM)

President Obama has nominated Dava Newman to be the new NASA Deputy Administrator.  The post has been vacant since Lori Garver left in September 2013.

Newman is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT and is perhaps best known for her design of spacesuits specifically for use on Mars.  She explains the theories behind the design in a YouTube video posted in 2011.

In a press release issued by MIT, Newman calls her nomination "very exciting, and an enormous honor" adding that NASA has a "clear vision" with Mars as the destination in its long term plan.  She is very familiar with NASA's current challenges in the human spaceflight arena having served as a member of the Technical Panel of the National Research Council's (NRC's) "Pathways" report on the future of human spaceflight released this summer.  She is also a member of the NRC's Space Studies Board.

MIT's Dr. Dava Newman.  Photo Credit:  MIT.

In addition to her duties as an engineering professor, she is director of MIT's Technology and Policy Program, Director of the MIT Portugal Program, co-director of the Man-Vehicle Laboratory at MIT, and a Harvard-MIT Health, Sciences and Technology faculty member.  She has a B.S. from the University of Notre Dame and two S.M.'s (one in aeronautics and astronautics, the other in technology and policy) and a Ph.D. (in aerospace biomedical engineering) from MIT.

Her nomination must be approved by the Senate.  Congress returns on November 12.  Whether the Senate will have time to consider her nomination before the 113th Congress adjourns is unclear.  There are few legislative days remaining, but that hurdle is surmountable if both sides of the aisle agree.

Sierra Nevada Files Suit to Reinstate Stop-Work Order on CCtCAP

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 16-Oct-2014 (Updated: 16-Oct-2014 04:04 PM)

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims yesterday asking the court essentially to overturn NASA's decision to allow work to proceed under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts.  SNC is protesting NASA's award of those contracts to Boeing and SpaceX and ordinarily work would stop until the protest was resolved.  NASA initially told the companies to stop work, but rescinded that order about a week later, triggering SNC's lawsuit.  A hearing on SNC's suit is scheduled for tomorrow morning (Friday, October 17).

Sierra Nevada, Boeing and SpaceX are all being funded under the current phase of NASA's commercial crew program -- Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCAP).   Those three companies, at least, bid for the CCtCAP phase which will lead to operational commercial crew systems to take astronauts to and from the International Space Station.   NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX for CCtCAP on September 16.

On September 26, SNC filed a protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) because it found "serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process."  GAO has 100 days (until January 5, 2015) to rule on the protest.

NASA issued a stop-work order to Boeing and SpaceX because of the protest.  The stop-work order affects only the CCtCAP contracts, not work under the CCiCAP agreements. 

However, on October 9, NASA rescinded the stop-work order, overriding provisions of the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) on the basis that it was acting within statutory authority to avoid significant adverse consequences.

In filing its lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, SNC asserts that NASA's override decision was "illegal and void" because the government failed to establish that "performance of the contract is in the best interest of the United States" or "urgent and compelling circumstance that significantly affect the interests of the United States will not permit waiting" for the GAO decision.  SNC calls NASA's override decision "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion and ... contrary to law, all in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act...."

SNC asks the court to declare NASA's override "illegal and void" or alternatively to "preliminarily enjoin the Defendant from further implementing" the override -- in other words, to reinstate the stop-work order -- until the court issues a final judgment on the matter.

Because SNC's filing to the court relies on material subject to a GAO protective order (because of its bid protest to GAO) and on other material that may contain proprietary information, SNC further requests the court to keep the primary documents it filed with the court (memorandum and appendix) under seal.   For now, at least, only a few of SNC's documents are available to the public through the court's PACER electronic system: Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal and Motion for a Protective Order, Motion for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, and Plaintiff's Applications for a Temporary Restraining Order to Prevent Unlawful Override of CICA Stay.

The court has scheduled a hearing on the case, Sierra Nevada Corporation v United States, before Judge Marian Blank Horn for 10:00 am ET tomorrow, October 17.