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Swiss Rocket Plane May Launch People on Private Science Trips

Swiss Rocket Plane May Launch People on Private Science Trips | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PARIS — A startup Swiss spaceflight company is planning to upgrade its proposed private satellite launch system into a manned suborbital space shuttle for science missions, the company announced Monday (June 17).

 

The company Swiss Space Systems (S3) has no immediate plans to enter the space tourism market, but does see a market for low-cost microgravity research flights that may be more attractive to researchers than launching experiments on satellites or to the International Space Station, the company's founder and CEO Pascal Jaussi said.

 

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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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I saw Atlas V launch and now I'm in love with NASA | YouTube


On Jan. 20, we headed to Cape Canaveral, Florida to watch the Atlas V rocket launch, a communications satellite for the US Navy.

While there, we spoke with a retired NASA shuttle astronaut and representatives for the United Launch Alliance, ESA, and Sierra Nevada Corp. about the future of human exploration.

Stratocumulus's insight:


3:50 - "... the early days of Apollo(?)" Other than that a pretty good video.

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WorldView-3 Imagery Sharpens DigitalGlobe’s Competitive Edge

WorldView-3 Imagery Sharpens DigitalGlobe’s Competitive Edge | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS — Geospatial imagery and services provider DigitalGlobe on Feb. 27 said its WorldView-3 satellite is the key to driving growth both with the company’s dominant customer, the U.S. government, and in the global commercial market.

The showcase feature of WorldView-3, which entered service Oct. 1, is its 30-centimeter-diameter ground sampling distance. On Feb. 22 the U.S. government, as expected, authorized the commercial sale of 30-centimeter-resolution imagery, giving DigitalGlobe a long-sought weapon with which it will now attack the global market for aerial imagery.

DigitalGlobe is now, in effect, equivalent to the first on its block with a new iPhone. None of its competitors have 30-centimeter-resolution capability.

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Proposed Oak Hill project is aerospace-related manufacturing, would bring 300 jobs


Project Panther — the major economic development project that area officials are working to attract to Oak Hill — involves aerospace-related metal manufacturing that could support a proposed spaceport at the Volusia/Brevard county line or possibly commercial spaceflight operations elsewhere.

The name of the company that has hired a site selection consultant to evaluate potential locations remains anonymous, but interviews with several Volusia County civic leaders this week revealed it’s an aerospace company looking to build a manufacturing facility.

Economic development boosters say the project is pivotal to efforts to attract higher-paying jobs and tap into the growing commercial space market that NASA and Space Florida are trying to develop in the region.

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Legless Falcon 9 conducts Static Fire test ahead of Sunday launch | NASASpaceFlight.com

Legless Falcon 9 conducts Static Fire test ahead of Sunday launch | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1 has conducted a Static Fire – or Hot Fire – test at Cape Canaveral’s SLC-40 ahead of Sunday’s mission to loft the ABS-3A and Eutelsat 115 West B satellites into orbit. This mission won’t involve a propulsive landing on the company’s ASDS, although it will still provide another milestone for SpaceX – via the first dual passenger launch for the Falcon 9.

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SES reserves two Falcon 9 launches from Texas | Spaceflight Now

SES reserves two Falcon 9 launches from Texas | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Two communications satellites owned by SES are booked to fly into orbit from South Texas on a pair of Falcon 9 rockets in 2017, giving SpaceX its first two confirmed payloads assigned to launch from the new commercial spaceport, officials said Wednesday.

SES announced SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch the two satellites — SES 14 and SES 16/GovSat — nine days after the company unveiled an order for three spacecraft to be manufactured by Airbus Defense and Space, Boeing Satellite Systems and Orbital ATK.

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Russia -- and its Modules -- To Part Ways with ISS in 2024

Russia -- and its Modules -- To Part Ways with ISS in 2024 | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS — The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, on Feb. 24 announced that it will remain a part of the international space station until 2024 before detaching the Russian modules and forming its own outpost in low Earth orbit.

The statement followed a meeting the Scientific and Technical Council, under the chairmanship of Yuri N. Koptev, Roscosmos’ head of manned space flight and the agency’s former chief in the 1990s.

The statement gave no precise motive for Russia’s wanting to create an all-Russian space station beyond an ambition to provide “secure access to space for Russia.”

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First Cruz Space Hearing Inquisitive, Not Confrontational


Sen. Ted Cruz’s first hearing as chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees NASA and commercial space activities was politely inquisitive and not confrontational as some expected. Cruz (R-TX), a leading Tea Party activist, is a relative unknown quantity on space issues. The hearing exhibited that he is an advocate of U.S. leadership in space, ending U.S. reliance on Russia, and supporter of commercial space.

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Falcon Heavy rocket hangar rises at launch pad 39A | Spaceflight Now

Falcon Heavy rocket hangar rises at launch pad 39A | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX began erecting a new hangar at a former space shuttle launch pad in Florida last week, moving the historic facility closer to launching astronauts again.

Positioned at the south perimeter of launch pad 39A, the hangar sits on the gravel crawlerway used to transport Saturn 5 moon rockets and space shuttles from the nearby Vehicle Assembly building to the launch pad.

SpaceX has no plans to use the mammoth VAB, the crawlerway or NASA’s huge diesel-powered crawler-transporters, which are being upgraded for the Space Launch System, an enormous government-owned launcher designed to take humans into deep space, and eventually Mars.

The rocket SpaceX plans to send up from launch pad 39A is not as big as NASA’s mega-rocket, but it will be the most powerful launcher flying when it debuts. The Falcon Heavy rocket, fitted with 28 kerosene-fueled engines, is scheduled for its first test launch in the second half of 2015.

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'NASCAR on the Moon': Hakuto and Astrobotic Pair Up for Prize

'NASCAR on the Moon': Hakuto and Astrobotic Pair Up for Prize | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


This is definitely a new kind of space race: Two teams competing in a private moon competition have paired up to get to the lunar surface by the end of next year, potentially sowing the seeds for a sort of lunar NASCAR race.

The new Google Lunar X Prize partnership between the U.S.-based team Astrobotic and the Japanese group Hakuto means that the two teams — and perhaps additional groups, if they decide to sign on — could duke it out in a "Formula 1 race on the surface of the moon," said Astrobotic CEO John Thornton.

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SageRave's curator insight, February 25, 10:29 AM

I remember a SG-1 episode that featured a race in space. These little contest might be really popular with your grandchildren! The test runs should be quite interesting.

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Mars One Loses Television Deal | SpaceNews.com

Mars One Loses Television Deal | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — A private venture to send humans on a one-way journey to Mars has suffered another setback with the loss of a television deal, although the venture’s leader said it won’t affect the ongoing selection of crews for the mission.

Mars One co-founder and chief executive Bas Lansdorp said Feb. 24 that Mars One had terminated an agreement with entertainment company Endemol announced in 2014 to develop a “worldwide TV event” for the selection of the first Mars One crews. New Scientist first reported the terminated contract Feb. 20.

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New Moon Rovers Will Race in a Lunar Grand Prix

New Moon Rovers Will Race in a Lunar Grand Prix | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Teams of scientists and engineers around the world have been figuratively racing one another to the moon as they try to win the Google Lunar X PRIZE, a $30 million contest meant to spark a new generation of moon rovers. Now, they may wind up literally racing one another on the surface of moon. Rovers will be rolling side-by-side toward the finish line to claim the prize in what may be the first-ever moon motorsports event.

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Two Google Lunar XPRIZE Teams Announce Rideshare Partnership For Mission To The Moon In 2016


TOKYO, Japan (February 23, 2015) – HAKUTO, the only Japanese team competing for the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, has announced a contract with fellow competitor, Astrobotic, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., to carry a pair of rovers to the moon. Astrobotic plans to launch its Google Lunar XPRIZE mission on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., during the second half of 2016. HAKUTO’s twin rovers, Moonraker and Tetris, will piggyback on Astrobotic's Griffin lander to reach the lunar surface. Upon touchdown, the rovers will be released simultaneously with Astrobotic’s Andy rover, developed by Carnegie Mellon University, travel 500 meters on the moon’s surface and send high-definition images and video back to Earth, all in pursuit of the $20M Google Lunar XPRIZE Grand Prize.

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Meet Will Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne Point Man

Meet Will Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne Point Man | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


As if trying to establish the world’s first suborbital space tourism business weren’t enough of a technical and market challenge, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic venture also wants to get in the game of launching small satellites.

The tourism side naturally commands the most attention — that was the case even before last year’s fatal crash of Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo rocketship during a test flight. But the company, whose backers include Aabar Investments of the United Arab Emirates, also has been plugging away quietly on a dedicated air-launched rocket that would deliver small satellites to low Earth orbit for $10 million or less.

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Space Station’s Commercial Users Hitting Bottlenecks

Space Station’s Commercial Users Hitting Bottlenecks | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — As NASA continues to encourage the commercial use of the International Space Station, some potential customers, and the companies supporting them, are running into problems making full use of it.

At a workshop on ISS utilization here Feb. 17, organized by Houston-based NanoRacks, agency officials emphasized their efforts to increase commercial use of the ISS as part of a long-term transition to future commercial facilities.

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Susan J Boston's curator insight, February 28, 8:14 AM

For commercial use does it mean we'll see commercials through Hubble Telescope?

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Who's paying £34million to blast Sarah Brightman into space?

Who's paying £34million to blast Sarah Brightman into space? | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Just before 11am on September 1, a mighty Soyuz‑FG rocket will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome deep in the desert steppes of Kazakhstan.

On board will be a space capsule containing three highly-trained cosmonauts bound for the International Space Station (ISS). The crew will be commanded by Colonel Sergei Volkov, a 42-year-old Russian who will be leading his third mission into space.

Assisting him will be 35-year-old Danish Flight Engineer Andreas Mogensen, the holder of a doctorate in engineering from the University of Texas. The third crew member will be a 55-year-old English soprano called Sarah Brightman.

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Chris Quilty Handicaps Silicon Valley-fueled Space Race

Chris Quilty Handicaps Silicon Valley-fueled Space Race | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The recent flood of investment in audacious commercial space projects is spookily reminiscent of the late-1990s satellite gold rush, which famously turned into a rout.

Google stepped up last year with its nearly $500 million purchase of satellite imaging startup Skybox and followed that up with a $900 million investment in SpaceX’s newly announced plan to deploy a 4,000-satellite Internet-delivery constellation, which is also being backed by Fidelity Investments. Meanwhile, chipmaker Qualcomm and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group have cast their lot with the 650-satellite OneWeb Internet venture led by O3b founder Greg Wyler.

These proposed mega-constellations bear a striking resemblance to the Teledesic and Skybridge Internet-in-the-sky ventures of yesteryear, which never got off the drawing board. By contrast, mobile telephony ventures Globalstar — Qualcomm was a ground-floor investor — and Iridium, along with machine-to-machine (M2M) messaging service provider Orbcomm, did manage to launch large low-orbiting constellations, only to declare bankruptcy shortly thereafter.

The new crop of financiers, a combination of venture capitalists, institutional investors and well-heeled technology giants, are not oblivious to the history — clearly they are betting that a different set of circumstances will carry the day this time around.

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Successful spacewalk ends with water leak | Spaceflight Now

Successful spacewalk ends with water leak | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Terry Virts floated outside the International Space Station Wednesday for the second of three spacewalks to help ready the lab complex for dockings by commercial crew capsules being built by Boeing and SpaceX. Back inside the station’s airlock, Virts reported a small amount of water in his space helmet, but officials said he was never in any danger.

Even so, given a near-catastrophic helmet leak in July 2013, engineers will need to troubleshoot the latest issue to make sure the suit’s internal systems are healthy enough for Virts and Wilmore to carry out a third planned spacewalk Sunday.

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SES Books Falcon 9 Launches for SES-14 and SES-16/GovSat

SES Books Falcon 9 Launches for SES-14 and SES-16/GovSat | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES on Feb. 25 said two of the three satellites it ordered the previous week will be launched aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets in 2017.

Luxembourg-based SES, which was the first established commercial satellite fleet operator to use Falcon 9 and has another launch scheduled with SpaceX this summer, said its SES-14 and SES-16/GovSat satellites would be launched on separate Falcon 9 vehicles.

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Ted Cruz Makes Few Waves in Debut Hearing

Ted Cruz Makes Few Waves in Debut Hearing | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — The new chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee offered few surprises in his first hearing Feb. 24, calling for NASA to refocus on human space exploration but expressing his support for one of the current administration’s major space policy priorities, commercial crew transportation.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who became chairman of the space subcommittee after Republicans won control of the Senate in the 2014 elections, discussed both government and commercial spaceflight in the subcommittee’s first hearing of the new Congress.

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The Pork is Falling! | Space KSC

The Pork is Falling! | Space KSC | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


"Five years ago today, the House Science Committee held a hearing to discuss the Obama proposal released three weeks before. For more than two hours, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden was the target of accusations and distortions. Many of them falsely claimed that the Administration had proposed the end of U.S. human spaceflight. In reality, the Administration proposed cancelling a boondoggle program to replace it with one that introduced competition and innovation to reduce the cost and open space to the private sector, so more people could go into space."

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Lunar X Prize Teams Partner To Share Risks and Rewards

Lunar X Prize Teams Partner To Share Risks and Rewards | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — Two teams competing in the Google Lunar X Prize competition announced plans Feb. 23 to work together in an arrangement that could ultimately result in several teams sharing the prize purse.

Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic Technology said it reached an agreement with Tokyo-based Team Hakuto to carry the Japanese team’s two small rovers to the moon on Astrobotic’s lander. The Hakuto’s rovers, named Moonraker and Tetris, will fly with Andy, a rover being built by Carnegie Mellon University for Astrobotic.

In a conference call with reporters, Astrobotic Chief Executive John Thornton said that the three rovers will race each other after landing to achieve the prize requirement of traveling at least 500 meters across the lunar surface. “It will be like a Formula One race on the surface of the moon,” he said.

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Red Planet or Bust? Private Mars One Mission Faces Earthly Challenges

Red Planet or Bust? Private Mars One Mission Faces Earthly Challenges | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The Dutch-based Mars One venture is closing in on choosing its crews for one-way trips to the Red Planet, but will they be all dressed up in spacesuits with no place to go? Over the past week, there's been a string of reports that highlight the huge challenges facing Mars One.

Space News reports that the project's leaders haven't followed up on concept studies for robotic missions aimed at sending a lander and an orbiter to Mars in 2018. The Daily Mail says Mars One's deal with Endemol's global TV production team has fizzled out. Meanwhile, the Guardian quotes one of Mars One's initial supporters, astronomer Gerard 't Hooft, as saying the mission "will take quite a bit longer and be quite a bit more expensive" than advertised.

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100th Merlin 1D engine flies on Falcon 9 rocket | Spaceflight Now

100th Merlin 1D engine flies on Falcon 9 rocket | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Depending on how you count it, SpaceX launched its 100th kerosene-fueled Merlin 1D rocket engine on a Falcon 9 rocket Feb. 11, underscoring what it says is an accelerated flight regime for the centerpiece of the company’s propulsion shop.

The Falcon 9 rocket uses 10 Merlin engines on every mission — nine standard Merlin 1D powerplants on the launcher’s first stage and a single modified Merlin 1D optimized for firing outside the atmosphere on the second stage.

If you’re a purist, the 100th flight of a Merlin 1D engine on the Falcon 9’s booster stage will come this weekend with the launch of two communications spacecraft for Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite — a mission currently targeted for no sooner than Feb. 27.

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Google Lunar XPrize teams partner for a 2016 SpaceX moonshot | CNET

Google Lunar XPrize teams partner for a 2016 SpaceX moonshot | CNET | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The Google Lunar XPrize , a $30 million purse of prizes encouraging private teams to put lunar rovers on the moon, this morning took if not quite a giant leap, then at least a big step. Two of those teams, Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic and Japan-based Hakuto, signed on to share a rocket ride to the moon in late 2016.

Hakuto, which developed a pair of rovers to explore the lunar surface, will hitch a ride on Astrobotic's lander, which plans to set down in Lacus Mortis, located in the northeastern portion of the moon. Once on the surface, both teams will deploy their rovers and go exploring. The first to cover 500 meters (around 550 yards) while broadcasting high-definition footage will take home the $20 million grand prize.

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Space Frontier Foundation and National Space Society Announce the Formation of the Alliance for Space Development | Space Frontier Foundation


Washington, D.C. - The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) and the National Space Society (NSS) will announce the formation of the Alliance for Space Development (ASD) at a media event on February 25th in Washington, D.C. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R) and Representative Chaka Fattah (D) will co-host the press conference in the House Space Subcommittee hearing room in the Rayburn office building. The ASD (http://allianceforspacedevelopment.org/) is dedicated to influencing space policy toward the goals of space development and settlement. At press time, the LifeBoat Foundation, The Mars Society, The Mars Foundation, The Space Development Steering Committee, The Space Tourism Society, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Students on Capitol Hill, Tea Party in Space, and the Texas Space Alliance have joined the ASD.

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Wall St. Grills Fleet Operators Over Mega-Constellation Threat

Wall St. Grills Fleet Operators Over Mega-Constellation Threat | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS — Wall Street analysts are peppering established satellite fleet operators with questions about how they plan to survive after the likes of Google, SpaceX, Facebook and OneWeb have launched hundreds or thousands of satellites, drones, balloons and other Internet-delivery platforms.

Demonstrating a penchant for staying ahead of a curve that may or may not exist, some analysts take it as a given that these companies will raise the billions of dollars of infrastructure costs, clear regulatory hurdles and bring platforms into service before the end of the decade.

The three largest commercial satellite fleet operators – SES, Intelsat and Eutelsat – have all told investors they welcome big-name interest in global connectivity but question whether stratospheric balloons or mega-constellations of low-orbiting satellites is economically feasible.

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