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Private Firm Sets Sights on First Moon Base | DNews

NASA may not be going to the moon anytime soon, but private companies plan to do so, a study by space habitat developer Bigelow Aerospace shows.

 

The study, commissioned by NASA, is intended as a supplemental roadmap for the U.S. government as it charts human space initiatives beyond the International Space Station, a permanently staffed research complex that orbits about 250 miles above Earth.

 

“Instead of being the typical approach where we put together all the plans and we ask for participation, we wanted to look at it the other way and see what’s available,” NASA’s head of space operations, Bill Gerstenmaier, told reporters during a press conference on Thursday.

 

 

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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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SpaceShip One X-Prize Flight #1 Launch Mike Melvill | YouTube

Ten years ago today, Mike Melvill made the first of two suborbital flights aboard SpaceShipOne required to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. It was a wild flight as the vehicle got into a rapid roll on its way to space.

Brian Binnie made the second suborbital flight on Oct. 4, 2004, to win the Ansari X Prize. The requirement was to make two flights into space within two weeks.

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Sierra Nevada and Stratolaunch Systems Studying Human Launch System | SpaceNews.com


TORONTO — A scaled-down version of the Dream Chaser vehicle being developed by Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) would fly into orbit on Stratolaunch Systems’s air launch system as soon as the end of the decade in a concept the two companies unveiled Oct. 1.

In the proposal, which executives of the companies said has yet to be formally approved for development, SNC would build a version of Dream Chaser about 75 percent the size of the vehicle it proposed for NASA’s commercial crew program. The vehicle would otherwise look similar to the original Dream Chaser and use a similar propulsion system.

That vehicle would be attached to the two-stage Thunderbolt rocket that Orbital Sciences Corp. is building for Stratolaunch. Thunderbolt will be launched from a custom-built aircraft Stratolaunch is building at its facility in Mojave, California.

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Sierra Nevada Turns To International Market For Dream Chaser | Aviation Week


TORONTO — Sierra Nevada Corp. is taking advantage of the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) here to push its Dream Chaser lifting-body spaceplane to offshore customers, now that NASA has rejected its bid to fly crews to the International Space Station.

The company’s legal challenge to the selection of Boeing and SpaceX to build competing capsules for the U.S. space agency’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program has thrown a blanket over the technical reasons for the choice.

“Because of the protest, I can’t comment,” said Administrator Charles Bolden when asked about the rejection of the Dream Chaser, which has reached atmospheric drop-test maturity with the help of NASA seed money.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation Develops Design for Stratolaunch Air Launch System for Low Earth Orbit


SPARKS, Nev. (Sept. 30, 2014) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today announced a design for an integrated system for human spaceflight that can be launched to low Earth orbit (LEO) using Stratolaunch System’s air launch architecture and a scale version of SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft.

The Dream Chaser is a reusable, lifting-body spacecraft capable of crewed or autonomous flight. Dream Chaser is the only lifting-body spacecraft capable of a runway landing, anywhere in the world. Stratolaunch Systems is a Paul G. Allen project dedicated to developing an air-launch system that will revolutionize space transportation by providing orbital access to space at lower costs, with greater safety and more flexibility.


Stratocumulus's insight:


This is very, very exciting.

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A highway’s ending is a spaceport’s beginning | The Space Review

A highway’s ending is a spaceport’s beginning | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Last week, SpaceX and local officials formally broke ground on a new commercial spaceport the company will build outside of Brownsville, Texas. Jeff Foust reports on the event and the company’s plans to develop and use the site over the next several years.

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SageRave's curator insight, September 30, 2:15 PM

Texas was already another plante, in my mind. However, a commercial company building their space port there leaves me thinking less of the company. Looks like the first to benefit from the space port will be exclusive, wealthy, and unwilling to consider average people in their business model.

 

If they start giving to charities, I'll be surprised.

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Space Angels Network Tours SoCal Space Companies | Parabolic Arc

Space Angels Network Tours SoCal Space Companies | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – September 29, 2014 (Space Angels PR) – Earlier this month Space Angels Network hosted an exclusive Expedition to Southern California space companies, offering unique insights inside the private space industry. The companies, located in Los Angeles and at the Mojave Air & Spaceport, included SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Masten Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace, Whittinghill Aerospace and Firestar Technologies.

Expedition participants experienced the progress of NewSpace first-hand by touring SpaceX’ facilities, including those of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, sitting in the XCOR Lynx trainer, and even firing a Lynx reaction thruster.

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Construction of Texas launch site to begin next year | Spaceflight Now

Construction of Texas launch site to begin next year | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- SpaceX broke ground on a new commercial spaceport Sept. 22 on the shores of South Texas, committing to the construction of the world's first privately-owned satellite launch pad scheduled to be operational as soon as late 2016.

The ceremonial groundbreaking, attended by more than 100 state and local officials, SpaceX employees, and media representatives, marked the end of a nationwide search for a location to build a new launch base for SpaceX's Falcon rocket family.

"This is just the first initial groundbreaking," said Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer at SpaceX. "It's going to take several years to build out the spaceport. This is going to be quite a significant building endeavor."

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Runner-Up In NASA's Space Taxi Contest Will Fight Decision

Runner-Up In NASA's Space Taxi Contest Will Fight Decision | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


As of now, all we know is that when NASA solicited proposals for CCtCap, they placed a lot of emphasis on safety, reliability of the vehicles, and cost-effectiveness. SNC claims that their Dream Chaser fulfills the requirements of the first two criteria, but that the company can build and operate their vehicle for cheaper than one of the contract winners’ vehicles. “SNC’s Dream Chaser proposal was the second lowest priced proposal in the CCtCap competition,” the press release claims. “SNC’s proposal also achieved mission suitability scores comparable to the other two proposals.”

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Defiant Sir Richard Branson insists he will be in space 'by spring' after rocket delays | Telegraph

Defiant Sir Richard Branson insists he will be in space 'by spring' after rocket delays | Telegraph | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sir Richard Branson has rejected claims by critics after the latest delay in lift-off that his Virgin Galactic commercial spaceship business will never make it off the ground.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the entrepreneur was in typically ebullient mood as he insisted that he would be aboard the first passenger flight of his new “spaceline” by next spring.

“I know the first question everyone has,” he said as he sat inside dome of the planetarium of the National History Museum in Manhattan. “They want to ask, ‘Richard, when the **** are you going into space?’” But this celestial-inspired location was not as close as he would make it to the stars, he promised, despite major hold-ups in the rocket development for the spaceship.

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ESA spaceplane on its way

ESA spaceplane on its way | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is ready to fly and left the Netherlands today for the launch site in French Guiana.

The spaceplane will reach an altitude of around 420 km before starting its descent. Using its sleek aerodynamic shape, thrusters and two tail flaps, it will return through the atmosphere as if from a low orbit.

The measurements collected by IXV during its hypersonic and supersonic flight to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean will be invaluable for designing future reentry vehicles.

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Sierra Nevada Protests NASA Commercial Crew Loss | Aviation Week

Sierra Nevada Protests NASA Commercial Crew Loss | Aviation Week | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) has filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking the congressional watchdog agency to reevaluate NASA’s decision to select two rival space-capsule designs instead of the company’s lifting-body Dream Chaser as a candidate to deliver U.S. crews to the International Space Station (ISS).

The company said late Friday that its bid in the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCTCap) was $900 million less than the bid submitted by Boeing, which won a contract worth as much as $4.2 billion to complete development, test fly and operate its CST-100 crew capsule. At the same time, SNC said, its proposal was "near equivalent [in] technical and past performance" source-selection scoring.

"[T]he official NASA solicitation for the CCtCap contract prioritized price as the primary evaluation criteria for the proposals, setting it equal to the combined value of the other two primary evaluation criteria: mission suitability and past performance," the company stated. "SNC’s Dream Chaser proposal was the second lowest priced proposal in the CCtCap competition."

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Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Award, Lays Off Staff | SpaceNews.com

Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Award, Lays Off Staff | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — Two days after laying off about 100 employees who had been working on its Dream Chaser vehicle, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) on Sept. 26 filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office of a commercial crew contract it lost earlier in September.

Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems unit, confirmed Sept. 26 that the company had filed a protest of NASA’s Sept. 16 award of two Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts to Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Details were not immediately available, but cost is at the heart of the protest. SNC maintains that its Dream Chaser system would offer substantial cost savings over the combination NASA selected.

Under government procurement regulations, NASA has 30 days to file a response to the protest. GAO is required to rule on the protest no later than 100 days after filing, or Jan. 5, 2015.

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Sierra Nevada Protests NASA's CCtCAP Awards


Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has filed a protest over NASA's award of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts to Boeing and SpaceX last week. Noting that this is the first time it has filed a legal challenge to a government contract award in its 51-year history, the company said in this case there are "serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process."

In a press release issued late this afternoon, SNC said that with the awards to Boeing and SpaceX, the government "would spend up to $900 million more ... for a space program equivalent to what SNC proposed." NASA's CCtCAP solicitation "prioritized price as the primary evaluation criteria ... setting it equal to the combined value of the other two primary evaluation criteria: mission suitability and past performance" and its Dream Chaser was the "second lowest priced proposal," SNC continues. Asserting that its design provides "a wider range of capabilities and value including preserving the heritage of the space shuttle program," it believes that a "thorough review of the award decision" is needed.

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Dream Chaser eyes rides on under review Stratolaunch system | NASASpaceFlight.com

Dream Chaser eyes rides on under review Stratolaunch system | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser – currently fighting for her future in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program – may join forces with Stratolaunch System’s air launch architecture, which is currently undergoing a major program review. SNC announced this week they have designed a scaled version of the Dream Chaser to fly crewed and automated missions with the air launch carrier.

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Sierra Nevada and Stratolaunch Team Up on Dream Chaser Space Plane | NBC News

Sierra Nevada and Stratolaunch Team Up on Dream Chaser Space Plane | NBC News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sierra Nevada Corp.'s Dream Chaser mini-shuttle space plane may have lost out in NASA's space taxi competition, but the company is still keeping the dream alive.

On Friday, Sierra Nevada challenged NASA's $6.8 billion award to its rivals, Boeing and SpaceX, on the grounds that Boeing put in a significantly higher bid "for a space program equivalent to the program that SNC proposed." On Monday, the company announced that it would offer the Dream Chaser as a winged spaceship for customers around the world.

Now Sierra Nevada says it has designed a launch system for low Earth orbit, or LEO, that combines a scale version of the Dream Chaser with the Stratolaunch super-airplane that's bankrolled by software billionaire Paul Allen.

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Community Chat: Why are you a space geek? - TMRO 7.30 | YouTube

This week we ask, "Why are you a space geek?"

In Space News:


CRS-4 Launches and Dragon berths
Soyuz launches the next Space Station crew
Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Award
NASA Requests Proposals for Follow-on ISS Cargo Contract
India puts their first interplanetary probe in orbit at Mars
NASA's MAVEN spacecraft enters orbit around Mars
Tickets Available for Ansari X Prize Celebration

TMRO is a weekly show all about space and the comsos. Covering major events from NASA, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos, SpaceX and more.

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Waypoint 2 Space Partners with Final Frontier Design | Parabolic Arc

Waypoint 2 Space Partners with Final Frontier Design | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


HOUSTON, Sept. 30, 2014 (Waypoint/FFD PR) – Today, Waypoint 2 Space (Waypoint) announced a partnership with Final Frontier Design (FFD) that will integrate FFD space suit designs with Waypoint’s innovative EVA training systems in support of Waypoint’s FAA safety approved commercial space training programs.

Waypoint recently began a Kickstarter campaign entitled, “Spacewalking on Earth,” to crowdfund one of the company’s training systems. “We are engaging the public in support of commercial space by providing an opportunity to invest in the Modular EVA Training System (METS) they will train on.” Soich said. “Having FFD provide a key component of METS is very exciting.”

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ULA, Blue Origin and the BE-4 engine | The Space Review

ULA, Blue Origin and the BE-4 engine | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

One of the big space developments of the last month was the surprise announcement that United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin are partnering on a new rocket engine. Anthony Young examines the program and its prospects for both companies and the space industry in general.

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Members Expedition 2014 | Space Angels Network

Members Expedition 2014 | Space Angels Network | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Space Angels hosted an exclusive Members Expedition to Southern California space companies, offering unique insights inside the private space industry.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation to Introduce Dream Chaser® Global Project Spaceflight Program


SPARKS, Nev. (Sept. 29, 2014) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is pleased to announce it will be presenting an overview of its Global Project spaceflight program Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 11:45 a.m. EST at the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Toronto. The Global Project offers clients a unique turn-key spaceflight capability based on SNC’s Dream Chaser crewed space vehicle.

SNC’s Global Project offers clients across the globe access to low Earth orbit (LEO) without the time, resources and financial burden of developing the necessary capabilities or infrastructure to support a mature human spaceflight program. The Global Project utilizes the Dream Chaser spacecraft as a baseline vehicle which, in turn, can be customized by the client for an array of missions to support government, commercial, academic and international goals. The individual mission customization of the Global Project can be applied to both crewed and uncrewed variants for a single dedicated mission or suite of missions.

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Failure to launch: Virgin Galactic can't get off the ground | Watchdog.org

Failure to launch: Virgin Galactic can't get off the ground | Watchdog.org | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SANTA FE, N.M. — Some New Mexico lawmakers are getting impatient with Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin Galactic who announced another delay of the company’s inaugural launch at Spaceport America, a commercial space venture that cost state taxpayers $212 million to build.

“There always seems to be some kind of delay before the first flight,” state Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe told New Mexico Watchdog. “I don’t know, I’m getting a little skeptical … This thing is not working yet.”

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SpaceX supply delivery in photos | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX supply delivery in photos | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX's Dragon spaceship delivered 2.5 tons of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station this week, part of a hectic few days aboard the outpost that included the arrivals of two vehicles with cargo and three new crew members.

The SpaceX supply ship blasted off Sept. 21 atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad and reached orbit less than 10 minutes later to kick off a two-day pursuit of the massive space-based research complex.

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Sierra Nevada protests NASA commercial crew decision | Spaceflight Now

Sierra Nevada protests NASA commercial crew decision | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


After being left out of NASA contracts to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, Sierra Nevada Corp. said Friday it has filed a protest asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the space agency's $6.8 billion award to Boeing and SpaceX.


The company cited "serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process" as the reason for filing the legal challenge to the GAO, which must decide on the protest by Jan. 5, 2015.

"SNC's filing seeks a further detailed review and evaluation of the submitted proposals and capabilities," the company said in a statement Friday. "SNC takes the nation's human spaceflight capability and taxpayer's money very seriously. SNC believes the result of further evaluation of the proposals submitted will be that America ends up with a more capable vehicle, at a much lower cost, with a robust and sustainable future."

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Sierra Nevada Protests $6.8 Billion Boeing-SpaceX Award

Sierra Nevada Protests $6.8 Billion Boeing-SpaceX Award | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sierra Nevada Corp. filed a formal protest with the U.S. government to block the $6.8 billion “space taxi” contracts awarded to Boeing Co. (BA) and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

The company’s own proposal would have saved as much as $900 million compared with the bids chosen by the government and was “near equivalent” on technical aspects, it said in a statement today. It filed the legal challenge with the Government Accountability Office over what it called “serious questions and inconsistencies” in the contract award process.

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Brian S. Smith, CIC, ARM's curator insight, September 28, 12:43 PM

Sierra Nevada protests for first time against award that could have saved taxpayers $900,000,000 compared to the award won by Boeing and Elon Musk

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Dream Chaser shows her fight – SNC protest CCtCap decision | NASASpaceFlight.com

Dream Chaser shows her fight – SNC protest CCtCap decision | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has confirmed it will protest NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract award decision. While the protest is ongoing, the spaceplane will continue her pursuit of international partners, while a bid on the next round of commercial cargo contacts will provide additional near-term focus.

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