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Commercial Space Travel May Bring Science Benefits, Advocates Say

Commercial Space Travel May Bring Science Benefits, Advocates Say | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard commercial spaceships may have its risks, but the payoffs from lower-cost flights to the orbiting outpost, and expanded scientific use of the microgravity environment, are expected to be considerable, industry officials told lawmakers today (June 20).

 

William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration Operations Directorate, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Science and Space this morning (June 20) to discuss the risks and opportunities associated with the burgeoning commercial spaceflight industry.

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NewSpace: A New Era In Space Exploration. As one era ends a new one begins: a new golden era in spaceflight. Join us for all the latest headlines in this bold new adventure.
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Newspace 2016

NewSpace 2016. Hosted by the Space Frontier Foundation, from Seattle, Washington.

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Virgin Galactic preparing for busy LauncherOne future | NASASpaceFlight.com

Virgin Galactic preparing for busy LauncherOne future | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

While Virgin Galactic prepare to restart test operations with its SpaceShipTwo vehicle, the company has revealed an ambitious future for its LauncherOne system – including a home base in California that is currently “too big” for their needs, but will allow for the expectation for dozens of missions per year. LauncherOne will be tasked with a multi-orbit, multi-payload ride for numerous small satellites via its air-launch system.

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Astrobotic Selects Space Industry Veteran to be Mission Director | EconoTimes

Astrobotic Selects Space Industry Veteran to be Mission Director | EconoTimes | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PITTSBURGH, June 29, 2016 -- Astrobotic, which is building a service to make the Moon accessible to the world, today announces the selection of Sharad Bhaskaran as Mission Director. A nationwide search was conducted for the new position and Bhaskaran stood out as a clear fit to lead the team, with 25 years of experience at Lockheed Martin successfully developing and managing payload projects for spaceflight applications.

"Sharad, with his extensive space experience, is a perfect fit to lead our team of world class partners including Aerojet Rocketdyne, Airbus Defence and Space, Carnegie Mellon and NASA in the development of the Peregrine lunar lander," said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic.

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NASA IG Wants Better Mishap Investigation Policy for Commercial Cargo Launches

The NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on Tuesday that praised NASA for some aspects of its management of the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with SpaceX, but reiterated earlier concerns about the independence of mishap investigations into these "commercial cargo" launch services.  NASA concurred with most, but not all, of the OIG's recommendations.

The OIG report was prompted by the June 28, 2015 SpaceX CRS-7 (SpX-7) Falcon 9 rocket failure that was intended to send a Dragon spacecraft full of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).  Among the $118 million in cargo that was lost was an International Docking Adapter, the first of two needed for future dockings of SpaceX and Boeing commercial crew vehicles. 

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Sierra Nevada Corporation Enters Talks with the United Nations on a Dedicated Dream Chaser Spacecraft Mission

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding toward defining one or more Dream Chaser missions that will host payloads from member countries. SNC’s Dream Chaser is a reusable, orbital spacecraft designed to be a flexible Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) and transportation system for a variety of low-Earth orbit (LEO) missions.

Under the agreement, UNOOSA and SNC will work with member countries to develop an interface control document and payload hosting guide to allow payloads developed by participating countries to be hosted and operated on a dedicated mission, providing those countries affordable access to space. By utilizing Dream Chaser as a flexible SUV for LEO missions, countries will benefit from social, economic and educational opportunities.

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Jeff Bezos provides a sneak peek at Blue Origin’s orbital rocket factory in Florida

Jeff Bezos provides a sneak peek at Blue Origin’s orbital rocket factory in Florida | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos today put a spotlight on the construction of a giant rocket production facility in Florida for his Blue Origin space venture – but he also gave a shout-out to the engine production team back in Kent, Wash.

In an email to Blue Origin’s fans, Bezos noted that ground has been broken for an orbital vehicle manufacturing site at Exploration Park, just south of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Ground-clearing actually began last month.)

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A new level of urgency for space-based solar power | The Space Review

A new level of urgency for space-based solar power | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The US military has examined space-based solar power in the past, but has taken little action beyond studies. Nathan Kitzke argues that developing even small-scale systems could have benefits for both military operations and national leadership.

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SpaceX And Blue Origin Fight To Win The Modern Space Race

SpaceX And Blue Origin Fight To Win The Modern Space Race | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Most Blue Origin and SpaceX insiders recoil at the idea of a rivalry, preferring to view their contributions to spaceflight as progress for all mankind. But the fact is that the two companies are engaged in fierce competition: to recruit the best engineers, and, above all, to make history. And their respective leaders, Bezos and Musk, are in the running to be the world’s dreamer-in-chief. Let Alphabet CEO Larry Page have his moonshots; this is about Mars. Bezos and Musk are not only competing against each other but an emerging generation of aerospace entrepreneurs, as well as fellow swashbuckling billionaires Paul Allen, Yuri Milner, and Richard Branson, all of whom have private space initiatives. But Blue Origin and SpaceX’s more frequent launches, chronicled for social media consumption, have given them the lead in the public’s imagination.

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Former NASA ISS manager planning commercial space station venture | SpaceNews.com

Former NASA ISS manager planning commercial space station venture | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SEATTLE — A former NASA manager of the International Space Station announced June 22 that he is starting a new venture that eventually plans to develop a private space station.

In a presentation at the NewSpace 2016 conference here, Mike Suffredini, president of the commercial space division of Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies (SGT) who joined the company shortly after retiring from NASA last September, said he has co-founded a new company that initially will seek to install a commercial module on the ISS.

That module would serve as a precursor for a private facility once the ISS is retired. “We intend to work on a low Earth orbit platform to follow the International Space Station,” he said.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. moves ahead on NASA milestones for Dream Chaser spaceship

Sierra Nevada Corp. moves ahead on NASA milestones for Dream Chaser spaceship | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After years of postponements, Sierra Nevada Corp. is planning to deliver a rebuilt test prototype of its Dream Chaser mini-space shuttle to NASA for testing in the August time frame, a company executive said recently.

Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president for SNC Space Systems, also said the company has just satisfied the first milestone in its contract with NASA to develop the Dream Chaser as a cargo transport for the International Space Station.


Sirangelo provided an update on the Dream Chaser at the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2016 conference in Seattle.

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Supporting Payload Integration on Blue Origin’s New Shepard

Supporting Payload Integration on Blue Origin’s New Shepard | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

June 22, 2016 – West Texas Launch Site – NanoRacks has successfully manifested and integrated the Company’s first payload on a Blue Origin flight – the fourth launch and landing of the same New Shepard space vehicle on June 19, 2016.

The NanoRacks team is excited about this key milestone, and looks forward to bringing the same customer diversity we enjoy on the International Space Station (ISS), to Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle.

“The ability to load research payloads into this rocket as late as four hours prior to flight is priceless” says Ajeeth Ibrahim, NanoRacks Account Manager. “For NanoRacks to be able to integrate so close to launch truly expands the types of life sciences and other time-sensitive research that can be conducted in suborbital space.”

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Boeing proposes big satellite constellations in V- and C-bands | SpaceNews.com

Boeing proposes big satellite constellations in V- and C-bands | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PARIS – Boeing wants U.S. and international regulators to relax constraints on low-orbiting satellite broadband constellations using C- and V-band and has specifically asked for a license to launch and operate a network of 1,396-2,956 V-band satellites.

El Segundo, California-based Boeing, a major manufacturer of geostationary-orbiting telecommunications satellites for commercial and government customers, has placed itself squarely on the side of those arguing that low-orbiting constellations can be designed not to interfere with higher-orbit satellites and wireless terrestrial networks.

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World View pivots from stratospheric tourism to ‘Stratollites’ lofted by balloons

World View pivots from stratospheric tourism to ‘Stratollites’ lofted by balloons | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

World View Enterprises made a splash with its plans to send tourists up to the stratosphere, but now it has a more down-to-earth focus: using balloons to send up satellite-style payloads for months-long missions.

The tours are still part of the Arizona-based company’s business plan, CEO Jane Poynter said recently at the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2016 conference in Seattle. The time frame for testing a full-size mockup of the Voyager crew capsule has been pushed back, however.

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Paying for the Road to Mars | SpaceNews.com

Paying for the Road to Mars | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

While the world’s focus, understandably, is on the amazing technologies being demonstrated by SpaceX and Blue Origin, it is their financial and strategic plans that may matter most.

Unlike NASA or anyone else in the space industry, SpaceX and Blue Origin have plans to pay for their goals in space. The idea of major space projects paying for themselves, unfortunately, is just as unprecedented as the companies’ technologies.

The new technologies are certainly impressive — and necessary to achieve the financial goals.

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Crew Dragon Pressure Vessel Put to the Test

Crew Dragon Pressure Vessel Put to the Test | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Pressure vessels built by SpaceX to test its Crew Dragon designs are going through structural testing, so engineers can analyze the spacecraft’s ability to withstand the harsh conditions of launch and spaceflight. A pressure vessel is the area of the spacecraft where astronauts will sit during their ride to the International Space Station. It makes up the majority of the Crew Dragon’s structure but does not include the outer shell, heat shield, thrusters or other systems.

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NASA negotiated discounts after SpaceX launch failure | SpaceNews.com

NASA negotiated discounts after SpaceX launch failure | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — NASA received discounted prices for future cargo missions and other “significant consideration” from SpaceX in the aftermath of the loss of a Dragon cargo mission to the International Space Station, according to a NASA report.

The report, issued by the NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG) June 28, the one year anniversary of the Falcon 9 launch failure that destroyed the Dragon spacecraft bound for the ISS on a mission designated SpX-7, also raised questions about how NASA handles launch failure investigations, manages risk for cargo flights and assigns cargo for those missions.

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Sierra Nevada Corp. is working with U.N. on global space program for Dream Chaser

Sierra Nevada Corp. is working with U.N. on global space program for Dream Chaser | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Sierra Nevada Corp. says it’s working with the U.N. Office for Outer Space Affairs on an arrangement that would give countries around the world the opportunity to fly payloads into orbit and back on the company’s Dream Chaser space plane.

“Beyond the commerce, this represents the global reason and the holistic reason why space is important to us,” Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president for SNC’s Space Systems business area, told GeekWire today.

A memorandum of understanding with the U.N. office, known by the acronym UNOOSA, was signed last week, Sirangelo said. The pact is meant to lead to a detailed agreement under which UNOOSA and SNC would facilitate affordable access to space for U.N. member states.

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Blue Origin breaks ground on Florida factory | SpaceNews.com

Blue Origin breaks ground on Florida factory | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — Blue Origin has broken ground on the orbital vehicle manufacturing complex it expects to open just outside the gates of Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in December 2017.

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos emailed reporters June 28 to share new renderings and photos of ground-clearing activities at the site. “It’s exciting to see the bulldozers in action — we’re clearing the way for the production of a reusable fleet of orbital vehicles that we will launch and land, again and again,” he wrote.

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NASA Investigation into SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Explosion Questions Single Strut Theory | Parabolic Arc

NASA Investigation into SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Explosion Questions Single Strut Theory | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

While SpaceX blames a faulty strut supplied by a contractor for the explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket in June 2015, an independent investigation by NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) concluded there were several “credible causes” for the accident, including poor quality control at Elon Musk’s launch company.

“In addition to the material defects in the strut assembly SpaceX found during its testing, LSP pointed to manufacturing damage or improper installation of the assembly into the rocket as possible initiators of the failure,” according to a report published on Tuesday by the NASA Office of Inspector General (OIG). “LSP also highlighted improper material selection and such practices as individuals standing on flight hardware during the assembly process, as possible contributing factors.”

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Space Station Live: Chasing a Dream | YouTube

NASA Commentator Lori Meggs speaks with John Olson, the vice president for space systems for Sierra Nevada Corp., to learn more about its “Dream Chaser.” The company is making its dream a reality in partnering with NASA to advance the development of a commercial crew and cargo transportation system. Sierra Nevada Corp., SpaceX and Orbital ATK were selected by NASA for cargo missions to fly between 2019 and 2024.

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SpaceX discusses progress toward human missions of Dragon/Falcon 9 | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX discusses progress toward human missions of Dragon/Falcon 9 | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

While continuing to impress even themselves with their ability to successfully propulsively land Falcon 9 first stages on land and in the ocean, SpaceX is continuing to progress on its human spaceflight endeavors, with the company’s Dragon spacecraft, Falcon 9, and ground operations development all keeping pace for a second quarter 2017 debut of the human-rated Dragon spacecraft before the first human Dragon launch by the end of 2017.

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Former NASA space station manager makes plans for commercial outpost

Former NASA space station manager makes plans for commercial outpost | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Former space station manager Mike Suffredini says he’s working on a plan to send up a commercial space module that could be attached to the International Space Station – and then disattached to become the foundation for a private-sector outpost in orbit.

 

“We intend to work on a low-Earth-orbit platform to follow the International Space Station,” Suffredini said recently at the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2016 conference in Seattle.


Representatives of the new venture, called Axiom Space, are in contact with NASA about the idea, but Suffredini stressed that he’s staying at arm’s length to comply with the space agency’s conflict-of-interest requirements.

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Vulcan Aerospace

Vulcan Aerospace | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"I had the pleasure of giving the opening keynote at the NewSpace 2016 conference here in Seattle, where I discussed the NextSpace vision for low-Earth orbit (LEO).  This idea centers on LEO as a true economic domain, accessible to an even broader range of customers from all economic market segments, including commercial entrepreneurs, visionaries and the government.
 
"To accelerate this vision, Paul G. Allen founded Stratolaunch and Vulcan Aerospace with the aim of providing greater access of LEO.  The Stratolaunch aircraft and the Vulcan Aerospace business model will create a flexible, reliable and convenient way to access space through air-launch. By tackling the challenge of access, we hope to foster new ideas and markets in LEO. I encourage you to read Paul's thoughts on this topic from earlier this week."

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Planetary Resources’ asteroid miners go international, starting with Luxembourg

Planetary Resources’ asteroid miners go international, starting with Luxembourg | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Planetary Resources says it will start ramping up an international asteroid-mining subsidiary in Luxembourg by the end of the year – and will think about expanding operations to other locales as well.

The Luxembourg deal was announced last week, but many of the details are still to be determined, said Chris Lewicki, Planetary Resources’ president and CEO.

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How Seattle became a major player in the new space race

How Seattle became a major player in the new space race | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Kim Malcolm talks with Geekwire's Alan Boyle about how the Seattle area became a major hub for the entrepreneurial space industry. Last week, Seattle hosted NewSpace 2016, the industry's largest annual conference.

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