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Commercial human ventures planned for the moon - NASA study

May 23 (Reuters) - Corporate researchers may be living on the moon by the time NASA astronauts head off to visit an asteroid in the 2020s, a study of future human missions unveiled on Thursday shows.

 

The study by Bigelow Aerospace, commissioned by NASA, shows "a lot of excitement and interest from various companies" for such ventures, said Robert Bigelow, founder and president of the Las Vegas-based firm.

 

The projects range from pharmaceutical research aboard Earth-orbiting habitats, to missions to the moon's surface, he said on Thursday, citing a draft of the report due to be released in a few weeks.

 

 

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All About That Space | YouTube


“All About That Space” is a volunteer outreach video project created by the Pathways Interns of NASA's Johnson Space Center. It was created as a parody (to raise interest and excitement for Orion's first flight) of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”. The lyrics and scenes in the video have been re-imagined in order to inform the public about the amazing work going on at NASA and the Johnson Space Center.

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NASA Selects Commercial Space Partners for Collaborative Partnerships

NASA Selects Commercial Space Partners for Collaborative Partnerships | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA announced Tuesday the selection of four U.S. companies to collaborate with NASA through unfunded partnerships to develop new space capabilities available to the government and other customers. The partnerships build on the success of NASA's commercial spaceflight initiatives to leverage NASA experience and expertise into new capabilities.

The Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC) initiative is designed to advance private sector development of integrated space capabilities through access to NASA’s spaceflight resources and ensure emerging products or services are commercially available to government and non-government customers within approximately the next five years.

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Getting to Space is Never Easy, But It Will Be More Automated

Getting to Space is Never Easy, But It Will Be More Automated | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The next American spacecraft astronauts fly aboard to the International Space Station will be more automated than any that have come before thanks to advances in technology and software. These advances also have potential to reduce stress on the crew.

NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) is working with private industry partners Boeing and SpaceX to develop control systems that achieve a robust balance between computer and pilot guidance.

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XCOR makes progress in construction of Lynx spaceplane | Sen.com

XCOR makes progress in construction of Lynx spaceplane | Sen.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

XCOR Aerospace, one of the major challengers in space tourism, continues to make rapid progress towards final assembly of its Lynx suborbital spacecraft.

The Lynx is the only fully reusable suborbital spacecraft in production, designed for fast turnaround (two hours), low maintenance and low cost operations.


The two-seat, liquid-rocket-powered spacecraft takes off and lands horizontally. It will carry a professional pilot and a space tourist on a half-hour suborbital flight to 100 km (330,000 ft) before returning safely to the takeoff runway. The aircraft-like capabilities allow for up to four flights per day.

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Ratchet wrench ‘emailed’ to space station | Spaceflight Now

Ratchet wrench ‘emailed’ to space station | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


A future where mission control can digitally dispatch tools, spare parts and other vital materials to far-flung space crews took one giant leap toward reality when a 3D printer aboard the International Space Station produced a ratchet wrench on demand.

The 3D printer has been on the space station since it launched on an automated SpaceX supply ship in September, printing test coupons designed to prove the device functions in the weightless environment more than 200 miles above Earth.

On Dec. 17, engineers took the demonstrations a step further, uplinking a custom-made digital design file of a ratchet wrench to a laptop attached to the printer.

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Moon Rover 'Andy' Takes Home Two XPrize Milestone Awards, Totaling $750,000

Moon Rover 'Andy' Takes Home Two XPrize Milestone Awards, Totaling $750,000 | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In the Google Lunar XPrize competition, three-dozen teams are racing to become the first private enterprises to land a rover on the moon. The winner takes home $30 million. But getting there will take time, hard work, and a lot of money.


To help with the latter, the XPrize foundation is handing out “milestone prizes” to teams that demonstrate substantial technological achievements, and the first winner was just announced. Team Astrobotic has so far emerged as the front-runner in the race, taking home $500,000 for its mobility capabilities and another $250,000 for its imaging system.

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NASA Just Emailed A Wrench To The International Space Station | IFLScience

NASA Just Emailed A Wrench To The International Space Station | IFLScience | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

For the first time ever, hardware designed on the ground has been emailed to space to meet the needs of an astronaut. From a computer in California, Mike Chen of Made In Space and colleagues just 3D-printed a ratcheting socket wrench on the International Space Station. “We had overheard ISS Commander Barry Wilmore (who goes by “Butch”) mention over the radio that he needed one,” Chen writes in Medium this week. So they designed one and sent it up. 


“The socket wrench we just manufactured is the first object we designed on the ground and sent digitally to space, on the fly,” he adds. It’s a lot faster to send data wirelessly on demand than to wait for a physical object to arrive via rockets, which can take months or even years.

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DreamUp: NanoRacks Breaking New Ground in STEM Education | NanoRacks

DreamUp: NanoRacks Breaking New Ground in STEM Education | NanoRacks | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Houston, TX—December 19th, 2014 – DreamUp, powered by NanoRacks, is a nonprofit organization now providing a place for student project teams to raise required funds to fly a science experiment to the International Space Station (ISS).

The goal of DreamUp is to help students integrate into the commercial space community by delivering their experiments via NanoRacks to the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS.

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Falcon 9 completes full-duration static fire | Spaceflight Now

Falcon 9 completes full-duration static fire | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX fueled up a Falcon 9 rocket, ran through a mock countdown and fired the booster’s nine Merlin main engines Friday in a successful preflight static fire test officials hope will clear the way for liftoff Jan. 6 on a space station resupply mission.

The exercise occurred at approximately 2:55 p.m. EST (1955 GMT) Friday while the Falcon 9 rocket and a Dragon supply ship were kept grounded at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad.

“Today, SpaceX completed a successful static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket in advance of the CRS-5 mission for NASA,” the company said in an update. “The test was conducted at SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and ran for the full planned duration.”

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NASA approves SpaceX path towards crewed Dragon debut | NASASpaceFlight.com

NASA approves SpaceX path towards crewed Dragon debut | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA has approved SpaceX’s first Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) milestone. Known as the Certification Baseline Review, the milestone covers SpaceX’s plans for the design, manufacture, integration, launch and recovery of the crewed Dragon – through to her test flight – with the goal of achieving certification to launch NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

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San Jose State Students Developing CubeSat Launch Vehicle | Parabolic Arc

San Jose State Students Developing CubeSat Launch Vehicle | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


A group of San Jose State University students are developing an air-launched booster capable of placing CubeSats into orbit.

Project Spartan Spear‘s goal is to build a rocket that would be launched by modified F-104 fighter jets operated by Starfighters, Inc., a company based in Clearwater, Fla. The launch vehicle would be capable of placing three 1U Cubesats or 1 3U Cubsat into orbit.

“Our goal is to create a fast and reliable launch vehicle that is cheaper than today’s options for delivering CubeSats into space,” the group says on its website. “Current forms of transportation for CubeSats can take several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to take these miniature satellites into orbit. Our launch vehicle will be able to take CubeSats into orbit within a matter of months.”

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The First Uplink Tool Made In Space Is…

The First Uplink Tool Made In Space Is… | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The first uplink tool made in space is … a ratchet!

What exactly is an uplink tool?

The ‘uplink’ is the way we communicate with the ISS crew using a transmitting frequency from Earth to the International Space Station. Therefore an uplink tool refers to a tool design that was transmitted to the space station via the uplink and manufactured on-demand in space.

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SpaceX Delays Launch Of Next Space Station Cargo Mission to January | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Delays Launch Of Next Space Station Cargo Mission to January | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — SpaceX has postponed the scheduled Dec. 19 launch of an international space station cargo mission until early January, as a technical issue with the Falcon 9 rocket creates a domino effect of other delays.

In a statement issued Dec. 18, SpaceX said that a recent static fire test of the Falcon 9, where the vehicle’s nine first stage engines are briefly fired on the launch pad, encountered problems that led the company to repeat that test and thus delay the launch.

“While the recent static fire test accomplished nearly all of our goals, the test did not run the full duration,” the company said in its statement. “The data suggests we could push forward without a second attempt, but out of an abundance of caution, we are opting to execute a second static fire test prior to launch.”

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SpaceX Completes First Commercial Crew Milestone as Protest Clock Winds Down | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Completes First Commercial Crew Milestone as Protest Clock Winds Down | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — As SpaceX joins Boeing in completing the first milestones in their commercial crew contracts, the companies and NASA are awaiting a bid-protest decision now due in less than two weeks.


NASA announced Dec. 19 that Space Exploration Technologies Corp. completed the first milestone in its Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract, awarded Sept. 16. That milestone, called a certification baseline review, confirms the process that SpaceX will follow to achieve NASA certification of its Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket and Dragon v2 spacecraft to carry astronauts to and from the international space station.

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Commentary: Litigating the End of a Dream | SpaceNews.com

Commentary: Litigating the End of a Dream | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


"Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) must end its protest over the loss of an award to deliver astronauts to the international space station. Following NASA’s selection of Boeing and SpaceX for commercial crew transportation awards, SNC on Sept. 26 filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The company is not likely to quickly win its battle, and therein lies a serious problem for the future of commercial human spaceflight."

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NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete 23 Milestones in 2014, Look Ahead to 2015

NASA Commercial Crew Partners Complete 23 Milestones in 2014, Look Ahead to 2015 | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and the agency’s industry partners completed 23 agreement and contract milestones in 2014 and participated in thousands of hours of technical review sessions. The sessions focused on creating a new generation of safe, reliable and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit destinations.

“To say we’ve been busy would truly be an understatement,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of the Commercial Crew Program. “Our partners at Blue Origin, Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX have made tremendous strides in their respective systems throughout the year and we’re happy to have supported them along their way. My team and I are excited to continue to work with our partners in the coming year.”

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Virgin Galactic Significantly Altered Claims After SpaceShipTwo Crash | Parabolic Arc

Virgin Galactic Significantly Altered Claims After SpaceShipTwo Crash | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


"Immediately after the tragic crash of SpaceShipTwo on Halloween, Virgin Galactic took down its website and replaced it with a single page containing a brief statement about the accident. The website stayed that way, with additional statements and a handful of links, for three weeks. It was not until Nov. 20th that Virgin Galactic pushed a new website with full information about itself and its services.

"Not only did the website have a different design from the old one, the text on it had been significantly altered. Previous claims about passenger load, maximum altitude and safety had been toned down, subtly altered or abandoned completely. My guess is that Virgin’s lawyers went through the site line by line before it was relaunched."

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Planet-hunting telescope to launch on Falcon 9 rocket | Spaceflight Now

Planet-hunting telescope to launch on Falcon 9 rocket | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA’s decision to launch a satellite to search for planets around other stars on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2017 will allow officials to cancel plans to order a solid-fueled kick motor to send the telescope into a unique high-altitude orbit, the mission’s top scientist said.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in August 2017 on a two-year mission looking for planets circling nearby stars ripe for follow-up observations to determine whether the alien worlds might be tolerable for life.

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NASA just ‘emailed’ a wrench to space for the first time

NASA just ‘emailed’ a wrench to space for the first time | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Now that the International Space Station has a 3-D printer, engineers can design new tools on the ground and then beam them up to space.

In September, Made In Space, Inc shipped a 3-D printer to the astronauts at ISS. In November it printed its first object -- a replacement part for itself.

But this is the first time it has printed a specially-designed tool on-demand, which is exactly the kind of work its designers hoped it would do.

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Designing a Mothership to Deliver Swarms of Spacecraft to Asteroids | WIRED

Designing a Mothership to Deliver Swarms of Spacecraft to Asteroids | WIRED | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SAN FRANCISCO—An asteroid-mining company has unveiled plans for a new mothership spacecraft designed to carry a dozen small probes to explore asteroids, comets, or even the moon.


The mothership, designed by Deep Space Industries, is about 3 feet in diameter and 1.5 feet tall, weighing about 330 pounds. It would carry a swarm of small satellites called cubesats, small cube-shaped spacecraft about six inches on each side that would carry instruments to study and probe the target object.

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Space Access Society: Year-End Wrapup

2014 is winding down and Congress is done for the year.  We're going to take a quick look here at where some of our major issues have gotten to, before we join much of the rest of the country in getting very little business done during these last two weeks of the year.  Warm and happy (and safe, for those of us traveling)  holidays to us all!  And our special best wishes to all those who, holidays regardless, will keep right on working hard to make the future fly.

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CRS-5 LAUNCH UPDATE

CRS-5 LAUNCH UPDATE | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Today, SpaceX completed a successful static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket in advance of the CRS-5 mission for NASA. The test was conducted at SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and ran for the full planned duration.

SpaceX also conducted a static fire test on December 17 and while the test accomplished nearly all goals, it did not run the full duration. The data suggested we could have pushed forward without a second attempt, but out of an abundance of caution, we opted to execute a second test.

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SpaceX Completes First Milestone for Commercial Crew Transportation System

SpaceX Completes First Milestone for Commercial Crew Transportation System | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA has approved the completion of SpaceX’s first milestone in the company’s path toward launching crews to the International Space Station (ISS) from U.S. soil under a Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract with the agency.

During the Certification Baseline Review, SpaceX described its current design baseline including how the company plans to manufacture its Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket, then launch, fly, land and recover the crew. The company also outlined how it will achieve NASA certification of its system to enable transport of crews to and from the space station.

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ISS astronaut uses 3D printer to make socket wrench in space

ISS astronaut uses 3D printer to make socket wrench in space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Astronauts on the International Space Station have used a zero-gravity 3D printer to produce a working socket wrench complete with ratchet action – using digital plans that were emailed to the station by Nasa mission control on Earth.

Engineers at Made in Space, which built the experimental printer, overheard space station astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore mention on the radio that he needed a socket wrench. The company used computer-aided design (CAD) to draw up plans, produced an earthbound version of the spanner for safety certification by Nasa, then had the plans relayed to the ISS, where it took four hours to print out the finished product.

“The socket wrench we just manufactured is the first object we designed on the ground and sent digitally to space, on the fly,” said Made In Space founder Mike Chen.

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In Pictures: XCOR announces continued significant progress on XCOR Lynx Spacecraft

In Pictures: XCOR announces continued significant progress on XCOR Lynx Spacecraft | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Mojave, CA, Dec 18, 2014 – The XCOR Lynx® suborbital spacecraft continues to make rapid progress towards final assembly. 


“We’re really excited to have achieved this step.  It paves the way for the strakes to be attached as the next step.  Thanks to the hard work of the composites crew, we’re proceeding at a very rapid pace toward first flight.”

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SpaceX expected to set new Falcon 9 launch date | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX expected to set new Falcon 9 launch date | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Officials will likely set a new launch date Thursday for a SpaceX-owned commercial cargo craft that was expected to take off Friday heading for the International Space Station, according to sources familiar with launch preparations.

Managers were scheduled to meet to decide on a plan for the launch after SpaceX was unable to complete a preflight engine hotfire test Tuesday. The static fire test is a procedure SpaceX uses to verify the readiness of its Falcon 9 rocket and ground facilities for liftoff.

The nature of the problem during Tuesday’s static fire was not clear, and a SpaceX spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

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