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Company Hopes Space Experiments Will Produce New Bio-fuel for Jets | Parabolic Arc

Company Hopes Space Experiments Will Produce New Bio-fuel for Jets | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Imagine a plant you can grow in the barren oil fields of West Texas that when you process its berries, jet fuel worth billions of dollars comes out. And that crop is there because of America’s space program.

 

That’s what Richard Godwin and his Florida-based company, Zero Gravity Solutions Inc. (ZGSI), are hoping to make possible. The company, which just went public, is using space-based genetic research to modify a tropical plant called jatropha curcas to grow in the cooler environment of West Texas. The plant’s berries could produce up to five to six tons of fuel per hectare.

 

The key to the project has been experiments conducted on a series of space shuttle flights using a technique called “directed gene expression”.  When plants are exposed to a microgravity environment, they perceive a threat and go into a survival mode. In the process, they activate genes that are normally dormant in a 1 gravity environment, Godwin said last week during the NewSpace 2013 conference in San Jose, Calif.

 

 

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Space Access Society: Update on Shelby’s commercial cargo/crew poison pill

There's been some additional action in the fight over the future of NASA's Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew programs.  Florida Today and The Houston Chronicle ran stories reporting the Commercial Spaceflight Federation industry association's view that Senator Shelby's provision to impose cost-plus contract-type "certified cost and pricing data" on these programs could disrupt contracting and would increase overall costs.

 

“The language would effectively change an efficient and lean commercial program into a traditional government procurement with all of the associated overhead and cost,” said Alex Saltman, executive director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

 

“In addition, if this language were to become law before NASA awards the latest commercial crew contracts, NASA would likely have to restart the procurement with these new rules, pushing back the program up to a year and sending hundreds of millions of more taxpayer dollars to Russia for Soyuz rides,” Saltman added. “If the language were to go into effect after the awards, NASA could be tied up in contract renegotiations and challenges for months if not years.”

Stratocumulus's insight:


What To Do


Write (Or Call) Your Senators about this, soon.  Senator Shelby is carving out and claiming a very large piece of turf here.  Senators from California, Texas, New Mexico, and Florida (SpaceX) and Virginia and Utah (Orbital) should be directly concerned.  Other Senators may also want to discourage this sort of overreach.


Don’t try to go into depth or detail. Keep it simple and top-level. Most incoming email won’t get read beyond the first paragraph anyway.  Get the key points in the first paragraph, or in your first two sentences if calling.


The gist should be that there’s language in the Senate CJS NASA Appropriation Report mandating cost-plus type accounting for NASA’s Commercial Cargo and Commercial Crew programs, despite those being run on fixed-price contracts. This mandate will greatly increase costs and delay schedules in essential programs that have been till now models of cost-saving. It should be removed from the bill.

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The Propulsion of Tomorrow - TMRO 7.20 | YouTube

We are joined by Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz the CEO and founder of Ad Astra Rocket Company to talk about VASIMR - Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket. This is a next generation electric space propulsion technology that is already working on the ground. Next steps are to test in space.

In Space News:
Soyuz launches the Meteor M2 Satellite
Angara's Maiden Launch
Soyuz launches the O3b F2 Satellite
Firefly space and the Aerospike engine
Planetary Society reveals the launch date of LightSail-1

TMRO is a weekly show all about space and the comsos. Covering major events from NASA, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos, SpaceX and more, TMRO is your weekly news and views show for every space geek!


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Antares launches cargo craft to the ISS | Spaceflight Now

Antares launches cargo craft to the ISS | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PHOTOS of Sunday's successful Orbital Sciences' Antares Cygnus ORB-2 supply ship launch from Virginia's Eastern Shore.

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Space station-bound supply ship launched from Virginia | Spaceflight Now

Space station-bound supply ship launched from Virginia | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A fresh load of supplies and research experiments began a three-day journey to the International Space Station on Sunday after a successful midday launch aboard an Antares rocket from Virginia's Eastern Shore.


Loaded with approximately 3,300 pounds of provisions, the commercial Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus supply ship will complete the cargo delivery Wednesday with an automated approach to the space station.

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Orbital's Antares Sends Orb-2 Cargo Mission to ISS

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.—Like a giant flame against a mostly clear sky, an Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket carrying the company’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft blasted off today (July 13) en route to the International Space Station (ISS).


Cygnus is in orbit and all systems are operating nominally, said Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s executive vice president, at a post-launch press conference at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility shortly after the launch.  The cargo resupply mission, dubbed “Orb-2,” is the second of eight that Orbital has planned through 2016 under a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA worth $1.9 billion.  NASA’s other commercial cargo resupply provider is SpaceX.


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Antares lifts off to ISS | NewSpace Journal

Antares lifts off to ISS | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Technology and meteorology finally cooperated on Sunday as an Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket successfully launched a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station.


The Antares rocket lifted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia, at 12:52 pm EDT (1652 GMT) after a smooth countdown. Although the rocket disappeared into the clouds around a minute after launch as seen from viewing sites near the pad, the rocket continued its ascent to orbit without incident, placing Cygnus into low Earth orbit about ten minutes after liftoff.

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Antares ready to loft ORB-2 Cygnus on a path to the ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com

Antares ready to loft ORB-2 Cygnus on a path to the ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Orbital Sciences will launch an Antares rocket with their third Cygnus spacecraft Sunday afternoon, beginning a commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station. The rocket is due to lift off at 12:52 local time (16:52 UTC) from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.


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SpaceX conducts another Static Fire on next Falcon 9 v1.1 | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX conducts another Static Fire on next Falcon 9 v1.1 | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX has conducted what is hopefully the final major milestone ahead of their ORBCOMM OG2 mission from Cape Canaveral. The Static Fire test, conducted at 3pm local time on Friday, should – pending a review – realign the the Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket with a launch of the satellites in window that opens at 09:21 local time on Monday.


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Russ Roberts's curator insight, July 12, 9:30 PM

SpaceX is ready to launch a satellite package at 9:21 a.m. (local time) on Monday.  There were a few technical problems earlier in the week, but, apparently, Friday's Static Fire test went well and the Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket is ready for launch.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

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Space Angels Organizing $6,000 Commercial Space Junket | SpaceNews.com

Space Angels Organizing $6,000 Commercial Space Junket | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON -- The Space Angels Network is organizing a $6,000, three-day tour of Southern California’s commercial space companies that includes stops at SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Masten Space Systems and XCOR.


The members-only event slated for Sept. 10-12 promises “unique access to some of the most exciting startups and investors in commercial space. 


“During the trip you will meet current and future private astronauts, as well as the entrepreneurs who are taking them to space,” the invitation states.

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Air Force Certifies Falcon 9 Flights

Air Force Certifies Falcon 9 Flights | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The Air Force has certified SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch system as having conducted three successful flights, a prerequisite for companies seeking to win business from the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Program.


Under Air Force standards, SpaceX is already qualified to compete for EELV missions, but SpaceX must also be certified by the Air Force before any contract can be awarded to the company. Meeting the criteria for successful flights is a key milestone in the certification process.


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FAA Ruling Clears Path for SpaceX Launch site in Texas | SpaceNews.com

FAA Ruling Clears Path for SpaceX Launch site in Texas | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A plan by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to build a privately owned launch site just north of the U.S.-Mexico border near Brownsville, Texas, passed a key environmental review July 9, clearing the firm to submit a formal application to the Federal Aviation Administration.


The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation’s “Record of Decision” culminates a two-year process designed to vet primarily environmental aspects of building a spaceport on the Gulf of Mexico coast eight kilometers south of South Padre Island.

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Golden Spike and Honeybee Robotics Announce Preliminary Design for Unmanned Lunar Rover | Honeybee Robotics

Golden Spike and Honeybee Robotics Announce Preliminary Design for Unmanned Lunar Rover | Honeybee Robotics | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The Golden Spike Company, the world’s first enterprise planning to undertake human lunar expeditions for countries, corporations and individuals, and Honeybee Robotics, a premier developer of advanced robotic systems, today announced they have completed a preliminary design study for unmanned rovers capable of enhancing the next human missions to the Moon.

In partnership with technical staff at Golden Spike, Honeybee engineers conducted trade studies of both flight-proven and promising technologies to design configurable robotic rovers that can collect and store several kilograms of scientific samples from the Moon’s surface in advance of or in conjunction with Golden Spike’s human expeditions.

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LightSail 1 Solar Sail Due for SpaceX Launch in 2016 | NBC News

LightSail 1 Solar Sail Due for SpaceX Launch in 2016 | NBC News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The Planetary Society's LightSail 1 experimental solar sail is due to hitch a ride into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in April 2016, the nonprofit society announced Wednesday. "It's fantastic that at last we have a launch date for this pioneering mission," the Planetary Society's CEO, Bill Nye the Science Guy, said in a news release. Initial mission costs are said to be around $4 million. The society has been working on solar-sailing experiments since its unsuccessful Cosmos 1 mission in 2005.


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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 set for fourth attempt to launch Orbcomm OG2 mission | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 set for fourth attempt to launch Orbcomm OG2 mission | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX is making a fourth attempt to launch its Falcon 9 v1.1 – tasked with orbiting six OG2 satellites for Orbcomm’s second generation constellation – on Monday. The latest attempt – from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral – is targeting a T-0 of 9:21am local time, with the window ranging out to 11:54am, should SpaceX require it.


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Falcon 9 Version 1.1 - Epic Future Space | YouTube

In the 6th overall installment of Orbital Updates, Michael Clark talks about SpaceX's new version of their Falcon 9 rocket and the four flights it has made thus far.


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Falcon 9 rocket ready for launch | Spaceflight Now

Falcon 9 rocket ready for launch | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sits atop the pad at Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 a matter of hours before its scheduled launch carrying a half dozen Orbcomm spacecraft that represent the next generating in messaging satellite technology.

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Orbital Sciences Launches Second Paid Cargo Mission to ISS | SpaceNews.com

Orbital Sciences Launches Second Paid Cargo Mission to ISS | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON After a string of delays, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, on July 13 launched its second paid cargo mission to the international space station for NASA, setting up the company’s expendable Cygnus space capsule to berth with the orbital outpost July 16. 

Cygnus was launched by Orbital’s Antares rocket from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a Virginia-operated launchpad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in' Virginia. It was the fourth successful launch for Antares, which Orbital developed with financial assistance from NASA.

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Britain plans to build commercial spaceport

Britain plans to build commercial spaceport | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Britain is to build a commercial spaceport that will be used to launch manned missions and commercial satellites. A list of eight locations for the spaceport – which could be used by Virgin Galactic and the US company XCOR to launch space tourism flights – has been drawn up by the government and will be announced on Tuesday at the Farnborough air show.


It is planned to have Britain's spaceport in operation by 2018 even though a decision has yet to be made on its location. Several sites around the country have been linked to spaceport plans and are now being studied by officials.


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Antares rocket cleared for cargo launch from Virginia | Spaceflight Now

Antares rocket cleared for cargo launch from Virginia | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After a string of delays caused by stormy weather, conflicts with other flights and an engine test failure, Orbital Sciences Corp. is readying an Antares rocket for launch Sunday on a voyage to deliver 1.7 tons of cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, the company's second commercial resupply mission.


With forecasters predicting a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather, the two-stage 133-foot-tall Antares is scheduled for launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Virginia coast at 12:52 p.m. EDT (GMT-4) Sunday, the opening of a five-minute launch window.

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SpaceX targets Falcon 9 launch on Monday | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX targets Falcon 9 launch on Monday | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After a string of technical and weather-related delays, SpaceX engineers in Cape Canaveral are targeting liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket Monday with six machine-to-machine Orbcomm communications satellites designed to refresh the company's data relay network in low Earth orbit.


The satellites will help Orbcomm clients track ships, trucks, cargo containers, remote oil and gas infrastructure, weather buoys, research stations and other assets.


Liftoff is set for 9:21 a.m. EDT (1321 GMT) from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad. The launch window extends to 11:54 a.m. EDT (1554 GMT).

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All clear for Sunday’s Antares launch | NewSpace Journal

All clear for Sunday’s Antares launch | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA and Orbital Sciences said Saturday they believe that weather and technical issues are behind them and will be ready to launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station on Sunday.


Mission managers gave approval Saturday afternoon for the launch at 12:52 pm EDT (1652 GMT) Sunday of an Antares rocket on the Orb-2 commercial cargo mission to the station. That launch has been pushed back for two days after weather delayed launch preparations this week at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island, Virginia.

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Russ Roberts's curator insight, July 12, 9:27 PM

A Cygnus caro spacecraft destined for the International Space Station is set to launch Sunday, 13 July 2014, 1652 UTC.  The Antares rocket on the Orb-2 commercial mission has been delayed two days by bad weather at the Wallops Island, Virginia launch site.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

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SpaceX moves a step closer to Air Force certification | NewSpace Journal

SpaceX moves a step closer to Air Force certification | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

As SpaceX battles with the Air Force on one front, suing the service to contest a “block buy” launch contract awarded to United Launch Alliance, it is also working with the Air Force to get the Falcon 9 rocket certified to perform launches of military satellites under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. On Friday, SpaceX announced a major milestone in that certification process: the Air Force has certified the first three Falcon 9 v1.1 launches, performed from late September 2013 through early January 2014, as successful.

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SpaceX One Step Closer to AF EELV Contracts & Gets FAA OK for Texas Launch Site

SpaceX announced Friday (July 11) that the Air Force has certified that the company's Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket has successfully completed three flights.  That is one of the steps required before SpaceX can be awarded contracts from the Air Force for launches within the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.  Separately, on Wednesday it received approval from the FAA to conduct launches from a new launch site it plans to build in Texas.


The Air Force decision comes at a time when the SpaceX-Air Force relationship is rather strained.  The company is suing the Air Force because it awarded a block-buy contract to United Launch Alliance (ULA) last year for 36 EELV cores on a sole-source basis rather than allowing SpaceX to compete.  The Air Force and the Justice Department filed a motion last week asking the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to dismiss the suit.


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Arianespace Facing Shake-Up To Compete With SpaceX | Aviation Week

Arianespace Facing Shake-Up To Compete With SpaceX | Aviation Week | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In the coming months, Europe’s space community will have to admit it must prepare to pay a high price for a major strategic error. For decades, European Space Agency (ESA)-member states and industrial contractors maintained an outdated structure to develop, produce and market the heavy-lift Ariane booster. Europe acquired a largely dominant market share, despite the former USSR’s ambitions. Then came SpaceX, a brand-new player, which is simply revolutionizing the commercial space launch scene.



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FAA environmental decision clears the way for SpaceX Texas spaceport | NewSpace Journal

FAA environmental decision clears the way for SpaceX Texas spaceport | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The FAA has given its environmental approval for a proposed Texas launch site for SpaceX, one of the last milestones before the company makes a decision on a new commercial launch facility.


The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) issued Wednesday its “Record of Decision” on the proposed launch site on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, east of Brownsville and just north of the Mexican border. The decision came at the end of a long environmental impact assessment of the proposed facility, which SpaceX would use for commercial launches of its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles. The FAA had released the final environmental impact statement (EIS) report in late May.

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Legislation seeks to promote use of asteroid resources | Space Politics

A bill introduced Thursday by two members of the House Science Committee seeks to promote commercial asteroid ventures, including securing property rights for resources extracted from asteroids by American companies.


The American Space Technology for Exploring Resource Opportunities in Deep Space (ASTEROIDS) Act of 2014, HR 5063, was introduced Thursday by Reps. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), members of the House Science Committee. The relatively short bill (about four and a half pages in the copy provided by Posey’s office late Thursday, since the bill is not yet posted on Congress.gov) would direct the president, through the FAA and other agencies, to “facilitate the commercial exploration and utilization of asteroid resources to meet national needs,” “discourage government barriers” to asteroid resources ventures, and promote the right of American companies involved in those activities to both explore and utilize asteroids as well as transfer and sell them.

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