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The battle for Launch Complex 39A | Space Politics

In May, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center issued an announcement for proposals regarding Launch Complex 39A, a Space Shuttle launch pad no longer needed by NASA (which plans to use neighboring pad 39B for future Space Launch System launches). The agency hoped to attract a commercial user who could take over use and maintenance of the launch site, which, the announcement stated, would fulfill an agency mandate to support commercial use of space while also preserving the pad, since the agency has no budget to maintain the facility.

 

Two companies responded to the announcement: SpaceX, which reportedly is seeking exclusive use of the pad for its launch vehicles; and Blue Origin, which is proposing making the facility a multi-user pad both for its future launch vehicles and for other customers. While NASA has yet to make a decision on who would take over pad 39A, Blue Origin has preemptively filed a protest with the GAO. The rationale of the protest hasn’t been disclosed by the company, and the GAO listing for the protest provides only the filing date and the decision due date, December 12.

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Elon Musk Reveals His Plan for Colonizing Mars

Elon Musk takes the stage of the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sept. 27, it won’t be to rehash terrestrial concerns like a fatal Tesla autopilot crash or a poorly received merger proposal. Instead, the space and electric-car entrepreneur will be talking about realizing his boyhood dream: going to Mars.

Stratocumulus's insight:

 

The talk begins around 20:40. Enjoy.

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Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans dramatic rocket test flight on a big day for space

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans dramatic rocket test flight on a big day for space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture is aiming to conduct its toughest flight test to date on Tuesday, Oct. 4, an auspicious date in space history.

Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital spaceship will blast off from the company’s test range in West Texas on Tuesday morning, the company said today in a tweet. It’s due to be webcast via Blue Origin’s website.

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Congressmen seek answers about Falcon 9 accident | SpaceNews.com

Congressmen seek answers about Falcon 9 accident | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Ten members of Congress sent a letter to several government agencies about the Sept. 1 explosion of a SpaceX Falcon 9, raising questions about government use and oversight of the launch vehicle.

The four-page letter, whose lead author is Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), was sent Sept. 29 to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. It comes four weeks after a Falcon 9 exploded on the pad during preparations for a static-fire test, destroying the rocket and its satellite payload.

The letter noted that this accident, and a June 2015 Falcon 9 launch failure on a NASA cargo resupply mission, both took place after the Air Force certified the Falcon 9 for national security missions. “The certification, designed to subject the Falcon 9’s design and manufacturing processes to a review of their technical and manufacturing rigor, appears to have fallen short of ensuring reliable assured U.S. access to space for our most important payloads,” the letter states.

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Launch contract deadline looms for lunar lander teams | SpaceNews.com

Launch contract deadline looms for lunar lander teams | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — The organization running the Google Lunar X Prize said Sept. 27 it has no plans to extend an impending deadline for launch contracts that most teams are currently in danger of missing.

The competition offers a $20 million prize for the first team to land on the moon, travel at least 500 meters and return video “mooncasts” and other data. It requires teams to have a launch contract, verified by the X Prize Foundation, in place by the end of this year in order to remain in the competition. The prize itself has a deadline of the end of 2017.

Andrew Barton, director of technical operations for the prize at the X Prize Foundation, said in a talk at the International Astronautical Congress here that three teams out of the 16 still in the competition have launch contracts verified by the foundation. Two of those teams, SpaceIL and Moon Express, had their launch contracts verified last year.

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A virtual marketplace for a future Moon Village? The FAA just might make it happen

A virtual marketplace for a future Moon Village? The FAA just might make it happen | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – If the world wants to create a village on the moon, the Federal Aviation Administration is willing to start up an online trading post for lunar services.

George Nield, the FAA’s associate administrator for commercial space transportation, says he doesn’t even need to wait for the village to be built.

Nield offered to set up what he called LMASS – the Lunar Marketplace and Swap Shop – during one of today’s sessions at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara.

“Think of it as a corkboard,” Nield said. The potential traders could include businesses that are working on ways to move cargo from low Earth orbit to lunar orbit, or on moon landers, or on habitats, or surface transportation, or communication services, or other technologies that will eventually be needed for lunar operations.

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Reality check: Elon Musk’s Mars plan will cost more, take longer. What else is new?

Reality check: Elon Musk’s Mars plan will cost more, take longer. What else is new? | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – In order to make the figures work for Elon Musk’s plan to put settlers on Mars, SpaceX will have to build boosters and interplanetary spaceships for less than the price of a Boeing 777x jet, on a shorter time frame.

What’s more, Musk is aiming to ramp up to building 1,000 of those spaceships. That’s three times the number of 777x orders to date.

The comparisons between Boeing’s next airplane and SpaceX’s ultimate spaceship suggest Musk is overly optimistic about what it’ll take to get a million settlers to Mars by the end of the century.

So what else is new?

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The biggest lingering questions about SpaceX's Mars colonization plans

The biggest lingering questions about SpaceX's Mars colonization plans | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

On Tuesday, thousands of people stampeded into a lecture hall in Guadalajara, Mexico, to hear SpaceX CEO Elon Musk talk about how he wants to colonize Mars. The fervor of the audience gave the room an electric charge as Musk’s speech got underway; people cheered as he avowed to create a self-sustaining Mars colony of 1 million people over the next 40 to 100 years.

Musk dazzled the crowd with concepts for two new types of vehicles: a massive reusable rocket booster and a giant transporter to carry people and cargo to Mars. He also laid out critical details about them — such as how big they would need to be and the materials they would be made from. And we got more insight into the new powerful Raptor engine that SpaceX is building to get this plan off the ground.

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SpaceX’s Elon Musk announces vision for colonizing Mars | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX’s Elon Musk announces vision for colonizing Mars | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk on Tuesday outlined an ambition to send humans to Mars with methane-fueled reusable spaceships and the largest rocket ever built, an effort he said will likely require government support and initially cost billions of dollars to develop and test.

Musk’s rollout of his Mars colonization vision, a glitzy reveal years in the making, included a description of an architecture that could eventually ferry more than 100 people to the red planet on each expedition, and perhaps thousands if SpaceX and its partners could muster support to build a fleet of boosters and airliner-sized spaceships.

“What I want to do is make Mars seem possible, to make it seem as if it’s something we can do in our lifetimes, and that you can go,” Musk said.

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Musk Shares Technical Details of His Dream for Mars Colonization

Elon Musk has made no secret of his passion to make humanity a multiplanetary species by creating a self-sustaining society on Mars as a backup plan in case Earth is destroyed in a cataclysmic event. On Tuesday he provided some of the technical details of the Earth-Mars transportation system he wants to build, which will open opportunities for entrepreneurs and others to decide what happens on Mars. He will build the space equivalent of the Union Pacific railroad, but leave it to others to fill in the details of how a society will begin and grow there.

Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX, spoke at a special session of the 2016 International Astronautical Congress (IAC2016) being held in Guadalajara, Mexico. These annual IAC meetings bring together space engineers, scientists, lawyers, and policy makers and his much-anticipated talk was aimed at that audience. An archived webcast of the presentation and slides are posted on the SpaceX website along with an animated video demonstrating how the system would work.

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SpaceX's Mars plans call for massive 42-engine reusable rocket | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX's Mars plans call for massive 42-engine reusable rocket | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk announced plans by his company to develop a large new launch vehicle and reusable spacecraft that could be ready to take large numbers of people to Mars as soon as the mid-2020s.

Musk, in a highly-anticipated speech at the International Astronautical Congress here that attracted an unusually raucous audience for a professional conference, said that SpaceX had made initial progress on those plans despite only a small fraction of the company working on the effort.

The “Interplanetary Transport System” announced by Musk involves the development of a large reusable booster that will launch a spaceship into low Earth orbit. That spaceship will be fueled by later booster launchers of tanker vehicles, then fly to Mars.

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Donald Schwartz's curator insight, September 28, 2:07 PM

The large number of engines suggests too many failure points. Take a look at Russia's N1 rocket for background.

 

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Different paths to Mars | The Space Review

Different paths to Mars | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Elon Musk will unveil his plans for human missions to Mars this week, but he’s not the only person talking about Mars exploration. Jeff Foust reports there’s a new emphasis on Mars mission planning, as other companies and organizations propose alternative approaches for getting humans to the Red Planet.

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Elon Musk: A Million Humans Could Live on Mars By the 2060s

Elon Musk: A Million Humans Could Live on Mars By the 2060s | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In perhaps the most eagerly anticipated aerospace announcement of the year, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has revealed his grand plan for establishing a human settlement on Mars.

In short, Musk thinks it’s possible to begin shuttling thousands of people between Earth and our smaller, redder neighbor sometime within the next decade or so. And not too long after that—perhaps 40 or a hundred years later, Mars could be home to a self-sustaining colony of a million people.

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SpaceX’s Elon Musk makes the big pitch for his decades-long plan to colonize Mars

SpaceX’s Elon Musk makes the big pitch for his decades-long plan to colonize Mars | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has made some ambitious sales pitches in his career, but today’s big reveal about his plan to transport a million settlers to Mars over the next few decades has to be the topper.

The billionaire began his 95-minute talk with the existential concern over Earth’s long-term future, and the need to set up a civilization beyond Earth to safeguard the species. “I hope you’d agree this is the right way to go. Yes? … That’s what we want,” he said.

From there on, Musk laid out a step-by-step blueprint that culminated in a vision of a totally reusable super-spaceship that could transport 100 to 200 passengers and their luggage to the Red Planet.

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Blue Origin to test New Shepard abort system next week | SpaceNews.com

Blue Origin to test New Shepard abort system next week | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Blue Origin plans to test the abort system on its suborbital New Shepard vehicle on Oct. 4 as the company trickles out additional details about its New Glenn orbital launch vehicle.

The company announced Sept. 29 that the test, which the company said earlier this month would take place in early October, is now scheduled for Oct. 4 from the company’s test site in West Texas. The company did not release a launch time, but said a webcast of the event would begin at 10:50 a.m. Eastern.

The liftoff will be similar to several previous New Shepard test flights, but 45 seconds into the flight the abort motor in the crew capsule of the vehicle will fire, sending it away from the propulsion module. The crew capsule will then parachute to a landing similar to that on a normal flight, when the crew capsule separates after main engine burnout.

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United Nations to fly first space mission on Dream Chaser | SpaceNews.com

United Nations to fly first space mission on Dream Chaser | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — The United Nations plans to purchase a dedicated mission on a Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft in 2021 to give developing nations an opportunity to fly experiments in space.

At a press conference during the International Astronautical Congress here Sept. 27, the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) said the agreement to fly the dedicated Dream Chaser mission is part of a broader effort by the office to increase access to space to emerging nations.

“Our project is the first-ever United Nations space mission,” said Simonetta Di Pippo, director of UNOOSA. “The mission has one very important goal: to allow United Nations member states to conduct research that cannot be done on Earth.”

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Musk says Falcon 9 investigation remains SpaceX’s top priority | SpaceNews.com

Musk says Falcon 9 investigation remains SpaceX’s top priority | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — Even as he rolled out an ambitious program of heavy-lift rockets and spacecraft to send people to Mars, SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said Sept. 27 his top near-term priority is to complete a “vexing and difficult” investigation into the Falcon 9 pad explosion early this month.

Speaking at a press conference after his address during the International Astronautical Congress here where he announced plans to start sending people to Mars as soon as 2024, Musk said the most likely reasons for the Sept. 1 explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and its satellite payload have been ruled out.

“We’ve eliminated all of the obvious possibilities” for the anomaly, he said. “So what remains are less probable.” Musk didn’t discuss what those less probable options might include.

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Boeing Eyes Moon-Orbiting Space Station as Waypoint to Mars

Boeing Eyes Moon-Orbiting Space Station as Waypoint to Mars | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The aerospace company Boeing has a grand plan to build a crewed space station in orbit around the moon, a sort of lunar proving ground for the technologies and procedures needed to send astronauts even farther out, to Mars.

"If we're thinking about going that far away to Mars, we need to take a kind of interim step," said John Elbon, Boeing's vice president and general manager for space exploration, in a closed-door presentation for journalists at a major industry conference earlier this month. "And to take the capabilities that we're developing on station, take them to the next level and test them a little farther away. And that's the idea of going to cislunar space."

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A million people on Mars? Explaining Elon Musk’s bold plan to colonize the Red Planet

A million people on Mars? Explaining Elon Musk’s bold plan to colonize the Red Planet | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Colonies on Mars are no longer restricted to the pages of sci-fi classics and the imagination of ambitious space geeks. These settlements are not only possible, they are moving closer to reality with each passing year, and this week SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk laid out a step-by-step plan to put a million people on the red planet, possibly in as little as 40 years.

Musk’s plan is built around SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System, a fleet of 1,000 passenger spaceships that would make a total of 10,000 trips to Mars over the course of 40 to 100 years, carrying settlers and necessities for establishing a colony.

But is that ambitious goal reachable? How could the plan ever be affordable? And how does Musk’s vision stack up against that of Blue Origin and its founder Jeff Bezos? GeekWire Aerospace and Science editor Alan Boyle calls in from the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico to take a deep dive into these and other questions in this special podcast segment.

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Here are the top 5 takeaways from Elon Musk's big Mars speech

Here are the top 5 takeaways from Elon Musk's big Mars speech | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk has never been shy about his ambitions to save humanity by making it a multiple planet species.

For more than 10 years, the billionaire has championed the idea that humanity's best hope for survival is by extending our reach into the solar system.

During a speech in Guadalaraja, Mexico on Tuesday, Musk finally laid out SpaceX's vision for getting people off Earth and establishing a city — filled with everything from pizza parlors to fueling stations — on Mars.

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SpaceX and the Blank Slate

SpaceX and the Blank Slate | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Elon Musk’s announcement of his plans to colonize Mars inevitably invites comparisons to NASA’s efforts to land humans there in the mid-2030s. Both plans are being picked apart and analyzed for feasibility, cost, and their abilities to form political and industry coalition support. But this ignores a fundamental difference between the two organizations: SpaceX is designing a perfect system from a blank slate, while NASA is piecing together an imperfect solution from things already in existence.

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Elon Musk's rocket to 'make humans a multiplanetary species'

Elon Musk's rocket to 'make humans a multiplanetary species' | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX chief Elon Musk has unveiled his most ambitious project yet - an 'interplanetary transport system' to take man to Mars in 80 days and build a sustainable human colony of a million people there.

'What I want to achieve is make Mars seem possible, to show that we can do it in our lifetimes, and you could go,' he said at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico.

However, he warned the trip was likely to be dangerous - and said candidates for the first missions 'must be prepared to die'.

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How SpaceX Will Make Interplanetary Civilization a Reality

On Tuesday, 27 September, Elon Musk announced SpaceX's Martian Colonization Architecture. This video is designed to get you hyped, and help explain to your friends and family why you might be so hyped.

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SpaceX unveils Mars mission plans | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX unveils Mars mission plans | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk announced plans by his company to develop a large new launch vehicle and reusable spacecraft that could be ready to take large numbers of people to Mars as soon as the mid-2020s.

Musk, in a highly-anticipated speech at the International Astronautical Congress here that attracted an unusually raucous audience for a professional conference, said that SpaceX had made initial progress on those plans despite only a small fraction of the company working on the effort.

The “Interplanetary Transport System” announced by Musk involves the development of a large reusable booster that will launch a spaceship into low Earth orbit. That spaceship will be fueled by later booster launchers of tanker vehicles, then fly to Mars.

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Elon Musk wants to build a transit system that lets humans tour the entire Solar System

Elon Musk wants to build a transit system that lets humans tour the entire Solar System | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Elon Musk today announced plans for a giant rocket and spaceship that will theoretically be capable of sending humans to Mars. The theory, according to him, is that we could find a way to colonize Mars in just a century or two. In typical Musk fashion, he wasn't done there. During the latter stages of his presentation, the SpaceX CEO explained why he decided on Twitter a few weeks ago to rename the Mars Colonial Transporter to the "Interplanetary Transport System" — he wants the ITS to go so much farther beyond Mars. With a proposed 77-meter-tall rocket acting as a "javelin" for the massive ITS spaceship, Musk teased the idea of SpaceX spending centuries helping humans explore the outer reaches of the Solar System.

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SpaceX reveals ITS Mars game changer via colonization plan | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX reveals ITS Mars game changer via colonization plan | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX’s Elon Musk has made his landmark speech, finally revealing details of his plans to make humanity a multiplanetary species. In a keynote speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Musk outlined a monster rocket and huge spacecraft capable of transporting at least 100 people to Mars – a planet Musk appears to have ambitions of terraforming.

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