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With the shuttle done, a co-founder of Microsoft sees an opening in space

With the shuttle done, a co-founder of Microsoft sees an opening in space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Start with the largest aircraft ever built, with a wingspan longer than a football field and a split fuselage fitted with six Boeing 747 jet engines — enough thrust to get 1.3 million pounds off the ground, about 425,000 pounds more than a fully loaded 747. Sling a 120-foot, three-stage rocket below the aircraft, and when the plane reaches 30,000 feet, fire the rocket into space. Then the plane flies back to Earth.

 

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen calls his newest venture Strato­launch, a system designed to lift 13,500-pound payloads — satellites, science experiments, cargo and, eventually, humans — into low-Earth orbit, where the space shuttle used to fly and where the international space station still dwells. Construction of the aircraft is underway in California, with test flights planned for the end of 2016 and the first mission to occur in late 2017 or early 2018.

 

 

Stratocumulus's insight:

According to the article:

 

"It is always desirable to launch to the east to capi­tal­ize on the direction of the Earth’s spin. The Earth travels about 1,000 mph west to east at the equator; you need to reach a speed of 17,000 mph to get to low-Earth orbit, so there’s no point in penalizing yourself 1,000 mph by heading in the wrong direction."

 

"No, not 'always.'" says Rand Simberg, of TransterrestrialMusings.com. "Only for low-inclination orbits. For very high inclination, or retrograde, it’s actually preferable to launch from a high latitude (ideally, for a retrograde orbit, you’d like to launch from a pole, to eliminate any earth rotation, because it’s rotating in the wrong direction)."

 

http://www.transterrestrial.com/?p=50610&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

 

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SSMS Science's curator insight, October 29, 2013 8:03 PM

Well if you didn't read the article then you should because this astronomical jet is the largest jet to ever made(of any jet). It has a wing span longer than a football field and 747 engines it tackes 425,000 more thrust then a fully loaded jumbo jet when it is completly empty. It also has a 120 foot long 3 stage rocket underneath it. The jet's main mission is to launch the rocket once it reaches 30,000 feet. Paul Allen calls his newest venture "Stratolaunch", it is desind to lift 13,500 pounds payloads in satelites, experiments, cargo and humans. But it's not going to hapen any time soon.TP            

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SpaceX ABS/Eutelsat-1 Mission | YouTube


At 10:50pm EST on Sunday, March 1, 2015, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket delivered the ABS 3A and EUTELSAT 115 West B satellites to a supersynchronous transfer orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

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Letter | To Beat SpaceX at 'Simon Says,' Europe Must Change

Letter | To Beat SpaceX at 'Simon Says,' Europe Must Change | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


If European space officials are tired of playing “Simon Says” with SpaceX, they can invest the money and intellectual capital needed to lead in space.

The unfortunate fact is, they almost never do. What Europe has done is to do a better job of marketing the inventions of others — which may be a good way to make money, but does not buy you a leadership role.

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A New Science Officer on the Space Station | SpaceRef

A New Science Officer on the Space Station | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


In space Samantha Cristoforetti honors Leonard Nimoy/Spock by continuing the Vulcan science officer tradition on ISS. Imagery by Michael Okuda.

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Astronaut Salutes Nimoy From Orbit

Astronaut Salutes Nimoy From Orbit | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

International Space Station astronaut Terry Virts (@AstroTerry) tweeted this image of a Vulcan hand salute from orbit as a tribute to actor Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Nimoy played science officer Mr. Spock in the Star Trek series that served as an inspiration to generations of scientists, engineers and sci-fi fans around the world.

Cape Cod and Boston, Massachusetts, Nimoy's home town, are visible through the station window.

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Rebooting space advocacy | The Space Review

Rebooting space advocacy | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Space advocates have struggled in recent years for major victories in their efforts to increase NASA’s budget or enact other space policy changes. Jeff Foust reports on how a new alliance of space organizations, and the outcome of a separate space summit, seek more targeted efforts to support space development and settlement.

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Iridium COO Scott Smith Joins Bessemer Venture Partners as an Operating Partner


MENLO PARK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Bessemer Venture Partners announced today that it has recruited Scott Smith of Iridium Communications, Inc. as a part-time Operating Partner, where he will help identify and advise portfolio companies in what BVP calls the emerging “spacetech” sector.

Smith will continue to serve as Chief Operating Officer and a board director of Iridium, operator of the world’s largest commercial satellite constellation. He previously served in the same role at Digital Globe. In addition to his experience at aerospace industry leaders, Smith’s background includes space tech startups: in 1995 he co-founded Space Imaging, and he recently served on the board of Skybox until its acquisition by Google.

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Moon Space Law: Legal Debate Swirls Around Private Lunar Ventures

Moon Space Law: Legal Debate Swirls Around Private Lunar Ventures | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


A recent action by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is stirring up some moon dust in a legal debate about private companies setting up shop on the moon.

In late 2014, the FAA's Office of the Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (AST) responded favorably to a Bigelow Aerospace's "payload review" request. This query related to commercial development of the moon. Some view the verdict as a necessary step toward creating a legal framework for businesses to set up shop on the moon. But it's also clear more legal conversations are in the offing.

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SpaceX Lofts Pair of All-Electric Satellites for ABS and Eutelsat

SpaceX Lofts Pair of All-Electric Satellites for ABS and Eutelsat | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


PARIS — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on March 1 successfully launched two telecommunications satellites destined for geostationary orbit – the first dual-geostationary launch for Falcon 9, which inaugurated a new all-electric satellite design from Boeing.

The two satellites’ owners, fleet operators Eutelsat of Paris and ABS of Bermuda, said their spacecraft safely separated from the Falcon 9 upper stage and were healthy and sending signals in orbit. Liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, occurred at 10:50 p.m. EST.

The launch did not include a SpaceX attempt to recover the Falcon 9 first stage because the requirements of a launch to geostationary transfer orbit demand too much of the stage’s fuel.

Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX expects to introduce modifications to the rocket beginning this year so that, ultimately, launches to geostationary orbit would include first-stage recovery.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 launches debut dual satellite mission | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX Falcon 9 launches debut dual satellite mission | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket made its sixteenth launch Sunday, carrying a pair of commercial communications satellites in the company’s first dual launch to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. The Falcon departed at the first attempt from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 at the start of a 44-minute window that opened at 22:50 local time (03:50 UTC).

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Astronauts install antennas for commercial crew capsules | Spaceflight Now

Astronauts install antennas for commercial crew capsules | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Astronauts Terry Virts and space station commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore ventured back outside Sunday for their third spacewalk in eight days to complete initial preparations for upcoming dockings by commercially developed Boeing and SpaceX crew ferry ships.

When the spacewalk ended, Virts took a moment to mention the 50th anniversaries of the first Russian and U.S. spacewalks by cosmonaut Alexey Leonov, on March 18, 1965, and Ed White, on June 3. White’s flight, aboard the Gemini 4 capsule, was the first to be managed from the mission control center at what is now the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

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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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When Will Humans Live on Mars? | YouTube


Earth is the only home we've ever known, and it's treated us well so far. But whether it’s climate change, an apocalyptic asteroid, or some horrifying disaster we don’t even know about yet, the Earth won't live forever.

Luckily for us, we’re in the middle of a new space race—one fueled not by countries trying to plant a flag on the Moon, but by explorers looking to get rich on Mars and beyond. The hope of these entrepreneurs is that in their quest for dollars, we'll find a way to help humanity settle on new worlds.

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Autonomous spaceport drone ship


The deck barge Marmac 300 (CG No. 1063184) was built in 1998 by Gulf Coast Fabrication in Pearlington, Mississippi for McDonough Marine Service, a tug and barge company based in Metairie, Louisiana. As built, it was 288 feet in length, with a 100 foot beam and a depth of almost 20 feet. In 2014, it was chartered by SpaceX for use as a landing pad for returning first-stage rockets after launching objects into orbit.

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Reader-submitted shots of Falcon 9 launch | Spaceflight Now

Reader-submitted shots of Falcon 9 launch | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Spaceflight Now readers sent in photos of Sunday’s blastoff of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, which lit up a late-night moonlit sky over Florida’s Space Coast on the way to orbit with two communications satellites.

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Understanding the legal status of the Moon | The Space Review

Understanding the legal status of the Moon | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

As government and commercial activity at the Moon ramps up, it raises questions about the legal status of some of those efforts, particularly the extraction of resources. Urbano Fuentes examines what one particular phase used in treaties regarding the Moon could mean for those activities.

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Silicon Valley Fund Invests in New Zealand's Rocket Lab

Silicon Valley Fund Invests in New Zealand's Rocket Lab | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — A company with offices in the U.S. and New Zealand announced March 2 that it closed a new round of funding to allow it to complete development of a small low-cost launch vehicle by 2016.

Rocket Lab Ltd. said it had completed a second, or Series B, financing round, led by venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) of Menlo Park, California. Two funds that participated in an earlier round, Khosla Ventures of Menlo Park and New Zealand-based K1W1 Ltd., also contributed to the Series B round, Rocket Lab said in a statement.

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Rocket Lab USA, Developer of the Electron Orbital Vehicle, Closes Series B Round

LOS ANGELES, March 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rocket Lab announced today that it has completed a Series B financing round, led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) with full participation from existing investors Khosla Ventures and K1W1 investment fund. In addition, Lockheed Martin will make a strategic investment in Rocket Lab to support the exploration of future aerospace technologies.

The company will use the funding to complete the Electron launch system and plans to begin operations as a commercial launch provider as early as 2016.

David Cowan, a BVP partner and former Skybox Board member, has joined Rocket Lab's Board as part of BVP's funding. "On the South Pacific islands of New Zealand, a world class team of engineers is designing a rocket that will revolutionize aerospace," says Cowan.

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Photos: Falcon takes flight | Spaceflight Now

Photos: Falcon takes flight | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off Sunday with a dual-satellite payload destined for geosynchronous orbits 22,300 miles above the Earth.

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SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Launches All-Electric Satellites

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Launches All-Electric Satellites | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A SpaceX rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday to put the world's first all-electric communications satellites into orbit. The 22-story-tall Falcon 9 booster soared off its seaside launch pad at 10:50 a.m. ET, the third flight in less than two months for the California-based launch company.

Perched on top of the rocket were a pair of satellites, built by Boeing and owned by Paris-based Eutelsat Communications and Bermuda-based ABS. Eutelsat and ABS shared satellite manufacturing and launch costs.

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Spacewalkers install new comms system for future vehicles | NASASpaceFlight.com

Spacewalkers install new comms system for future vehicles | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry “Butch” Wilmore stepped outside the ISS on Sunday on what was the final in a series of three spacewalks to prepare the station for the arrival of future cargo and crew vehicles. EVA-31, which began at 11:52 PM GMT, focused on installing a new communications system for the future vehicles – concluding a hugely successful trio of EVAs.

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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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