On Monday, January 26th, 2015, NASA, Boeing and SpaceX held a news briefing on NASA Television at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to highlight key development activities, test plans and objectives for achieving certification of two American crew transportation systems. Under Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts for NASA’s Launch America initiative, Boeing and SpaceX will develop safe and reliable crew transportation to and from the International Space Station on American spacecraft launched from the United States.
(Bloomberg) -- “The Next Space Race” is a journey through the booming business of space exploration. The International Space Station is a near zero-gravity laboratory dedicated to scientific research. The end of NASA's shuttle program left the world with only one way to get there, buy a seat from the Russians. Now NASA is holding a billion dollar competition challenging private enterprise to build America's next spacecraft. Boeing, SpaceX and Sierra Nevada are all multi-billion dollar aerospace companies and are each determined to win the NASA contract in order to become the leader in the emerging space industry. Bloomberg gets rare access to these space pioneers, including a tour of SpaceX with CEO Elon Musk.
SpaceX has revealed more details into its upcoming drive to bring the crewed version of its Dragon spacecraft on line, in its bid to return a domestic crew transportation system to the United States. Near term milestones include two abort tests, ahead of launching a crew on the Dragon V2, following what SpaceX estimates will have been after 50 flights of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle.
American industrialization has long shown the benefits to customers of competitive markets, and NASA is capitalizing on that approach through the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. The agency selected two independent systems designed by Boeing and SpaceX that, once certified, will add to the fleet of ships serving the International Space Station. Multiple awards maximizes meeting the program objectives, provides more options and flexibility for the agency throughout contract performance, reduces overall risk to the program, and best ensures successfully accomplishing safe, reliable missions to the station. Boeing and SpaceX are moving forward on their respective plans, providing NASA options for its transportation service needs while meeting the agency’s rigorous demands for safety.
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - To the International Space Station and beyond! That's where America's astronauts are headed with the help of private industry.
Johnson Space Center was the location of a joint news conference Monday with SpaceX, and Boeing, the two companies under contract now to transport astronauts to and from the ISS. Both companies are still testing their astronaut capsules, but manned missions are expected to begin in 2017.
"As a result of the performance of our providers, this is not a hoax. This is not a myth. Not a dream," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
This would also mark the end of the United States dependence on Russia for astronaut transportation. Both companies say they can do so for millions of dollars less than the US pays the Russians on a per astronaut basis.
American spacecraft systems testing followed by increasingly complex flight tests and ultimately astronauts flying orbital flights will pave the way to operational missions during the next few years to the International Space Station. Those were the plans laid out Monday by NASA's Commercial Crew Program officials and partners as they focus on developing safe, reliable and cost-effective spacecraft and systems that will take astronauts to the station from American launch complexes.
Five teams competing for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE have just been awarded a combined $5.25 million for meeting significant milestones in developing a robot that can safely land on the surface of the moon, travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send mooncasts back to the Earth. A tiny startup from India, Team Indus, with no experience in robotics or space flight just won $1 million of this prize. It stood head to head with companies that had been funded by billionaires, had received the assistance of NASA, and had the support of leading universities.
The good news is that governments no longer have a monopoly on space exploration. In two or three decades, we will have entrepreneurs taking us on private spaceflights to the moon. That is what has become possible.
Since 2007, teams of entrepreneurs from around the world have been working towards a dream: To kick-start a new era of commercial exploration on the moon. Today, with the awarding of the Google Lunar XPrize Milestone Prizes, five talented teams have proved that those dreams may become a reality sooner than later.
San Francisco (January 26, 2015) — XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competition, today announced that five Google Lunar XPRIZE teams have been awarded a combined US$5.25 million in recognition of key technological advancements toward their quest to land a private spacecraft on the surface of the moon. Determined by a judging panel of science, aeronautics and space industry experts that evaluated numerous tests over the past year, the Milestone Prizes honor hardware and software innovations needed to overcome technical risks in the three crucial areas—Imaging, Mobility and Landing systems—all of which are necessary to complete a successful Google Lunar XPRIZE mission.
In the end, it took John Ashcroft to get the US Air Force and Elon Musk to play nice together.
SpaceX, Elon Musk’s rocket company, announced a settlement with the Air Force, ending a lawsuit that accused the military of unfairly awarding an $11 billion launch contract to United Launch Alliance, a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture that is the sole contract provider of space access to the US military.
Elon Musk “appears” as himself in an episode of Fox’s longest-running animated series The Simpsons premiering Sunday, Jan. 25.
In the episode, titled “The Musk Who Fell to Earth,” the SpaceX and Tesla Motors founder “lands in Springfield [where] he and Homer become fast friends and revolutionize the town’s nuclear plant. But when Musk goes overboard and Mr. Burns wants him removed, Homer must figure out a way to break up with him,” according to the official synopsis.
"A confidential source in Davos reports that Planetary Resources threw one helluva party the other night during the World Economic Forum. The source says it was the same event that Business Insider reports ended early in the morning after the booze and the patience of a neighbor and Swiss police ran out. The website doesn’t identify the company, but my source says it was definitely the space miners from Seattle."
This Sunday, Elon Musk, the head honcho at Tesla Motors and SpaceX, will enjoy the rare experience of watching himself in a Simpsons episode called “The Musk Who Fell to Earth.” The episode was inspired by a meeting Musk had with James L. Brooks, the longtime executive producer of the show. The men were spitballing ideas, and by the end of their discussion Brooks knew he wanted Musk to play a fictionalized version of himself on the show.
The Milestone phase of the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize is coming to a close, so we're gathering representatives from the five prize-winning teams to talk about how they plan to get to the moon by next year.
NASA expects to spend some $5 billion underwriting development of commercial spacecraft built by Boeing and SpaceX to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, officials said Monday, ending sole reliance on the Russians for crew ferry flights and eventually lowering the average cost per seat to around $58 million.
WASHINGTON — With a legal challenge now behind them, two companies that won NASA contracts offered more details Jan. 26 about their plans to develop and test commercial crew vehicles, while the agency expressed optimism those vehicles will be ready for service by 2017.
At a press conference at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, both NASA and company officials offered new details about Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts the agency awarded to Boeing and SpaceX in September. Those details had largely been under wraps while a third company, Sierra Nevada Corp., filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
On Jan. 5, the GAO denied the protest, a decision NASA commercial crew program manager Kathy Lueders described as a “late Christmas present” for the program. “It’s great to be able to finally talk openly about what the commercial crew program is doing,” she said.
At a NASA press conference Jan. 26 to discuss the U.S. space agency’s commercial crew transportation efforts, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said that SpaceX anticipated performing at least 50 launches of its Falcon 9 rocket before the first test flight of a Dragon spacecraft carrying crew, planned for early 2017.
During a question-and-answer session that followed, one reporter asked Shotwell if that estimated number of Falcon 9 launches included Air Force missions that the company might win as a result of a settlement the Air Force and SpaceX reached Jan. 23, about which neither side has revealed many details.
Shotwell, in her response, indicated no desire to get into trouble with the government by offering more details about that settlement.
NASA held a press conference on Monday with its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) partners Boeing and SpaceX to highlight progress on developing U.S. systems to take astronauts to space.Both companies said they will be ready by the end of 2017, but CBS News adds that NASA still plans to use one seat on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft for the duration of the space station program and for Russians to fly on the U.S. systems.
Launching American astronauts on American vehicles from American soil has been a NASA goal since the Obama Administration terminated the space shuttle program in 2011.NASA currently pays Russia approximately $75 million per seat to launch U.S. astronauts (and those from its Canadian, European and Japanese ISS partners) on Soyuz spacecraft.Russia is the only ISS partner capable of launching humans into space today.
The Google Lunar Xprize wants to do something that has never been done before in the history of mankind: land a private spacecraft on the moon that can travel at least 500 meters and transmit both high-definition video and imagery back to Earth, once there.
Today, Xprize handed 5 of the competing teams a combined $5.25 million of the $30 million total in prize money for overcoming key technical risks in landing, mobility and imagery.
The prize money is part of a series of interim Milestone Prizes meant to reward teams who meet certain requirements necessary at this stage in the competition. They are an optional reward, designed to recognize advanced progress in each team’s spacecraft.
The Milestone Prizes, totaling US$6 million, demonstrated (via actual testing and analysis) robust hardware and software to overcome key technical risks in the areas of imaging, mobility and lander systems — all three being necessary to achieve a successful Google Lunar XPRIZE mission. Milestone Prizes were available in each of those three categories. The prize value and winning teams are:
Although humanity first set foot on the moon decades ago, people forget that getting there is difficult. The $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE is asking teams to do something that has never been accomplished--landing a private spacecraft on the surface of the moon that travels at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and imagery back to Earth. This is a feat that only the world's three largest space powers have accomplished, and in success, this accomplishment will bring the cost of landing on the moon down from a $1 billion effort to a $50 million effort--making it 20 times cheaper and enabling individuals, universities and private companies to access to the moon.
SAN FRANCISCO — Pascal Jaussi, a former Swiss air force pilot and flight test engineer, began working on a project to develop a reusable suborbital shuttle in 2005 while studying mechanical engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne’s Swiss Space Center. The end of that project in 2009 marked the beginning of Jaussi’s own campaign to build a multinational team, devise a business plan and attract private investors for Swiss Space Systems (S3).
FIGHT FOR SPACE is a feature length documentary film that explores the economic and cultural benefits of human space exploration, and examines the historical and political events that have led to the decline of human space exploration. FIGHT FOR SPACE presents viewpoints from Astronauts, politicians and staff, scientists, former NASA officials, commercial space entrepreneurs, and many other individuals in the space community.