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NASA Commercial Development of Space Right on Schedule

NASA Commercial Development of Space Right on Schedule | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA has two commercial vehicles capable of delivering cargo with this morning’s successful docking of Orbital Science Corporation’s (OSC) Cygnus Spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).  Both the Cygnus and SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which first docked to ISS in May 2012, were developed through a combination of private funds and money made available through NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.  These successful cargo missions along with the continuation of other NASA programs demonstrate that NASA is right on schedule for its commercial development of space travel to the ISS.

 

 

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The NewSpace Daily
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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SpaceShip One X-Prize Flight #1 Launch Mike Melvill | YouTube

Ten years ago today, Mike Melvill made the first of two suborbital flights aboard SpaceShipOne required to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize. It was a wild flight as the vehicle got into a rapid roll on its way to space.

Brian Binnie made the second suborbital flight on Oct. 4, 2004, to win the Ansari X Prize. The requirement was to make two flights into space within two weeks.

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ULA, Blue Origin and the BE-4 engine | The Space Review

ULA, Blue Origin and the BE-4 engine | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

One of the big space developments of the last month was the surprise announcement that United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin are partnering on a new rocket engine. Anthony Young examines the program and its prospects for both companies and the space industry in general.

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Members Expedition 2014 | Space Angels Network

Members Expedition 2014 | Space Angels Network | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Space Angels hosted an exclusive Members Expedition to Southern California space companies, offering unique insights inside the private space industry.

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Sierra Nevada Corporation to Introduce Dream Chaser® Global Project Spaceflight Program


SPARKS, Nev. (Sept. 29, 2014) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is pleased to announce it will be presenting an overview of its Global Project spaceflight program Tuesday, Sept. 30 at 11:45 a.m. EST at the 65th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Toronto. The Global Project offers clients a unique turn-key spaceflight capability based on SNC’s Dream Chaser crewed space vehicle.

SNC’s Global Project offers clients across the globe access to low Earth orbit (LEO) without the time, resources and financial burden of developing the necessary capabilities or infrastructure to support a mature human spaceflight program. The Global Project utilizes the Dream Chaser spacecraft as a baseline vehicle which, in turn, can be customized by the client for an array of missions to support government, commercial, academic and international goals. The individual mission customization of the Global Project can be applied to both crewed and uncrewed variants for a single dedicated mission or suite of missions.

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Failure to launch: Virgin Galactic can't get off the ground | Watchdog.org

Failure to launch: Virgin Galactic can't get off the ground | Watchdog.org | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SANTA FE, N.M. — Some New Mexico lawmakers are getting impatient with Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin Galactic who announced another delay of the company’s inaugural launch at Spaceport America, a commercial space venture that cost state taxpayers $212 million to build.

“There always seems to be some kind of delay before the first flight,” state Rep. Luciano “Lucky” Varela, D-Santa Fe told New Mexico Watchdog. “I don’t know, I’m getting a little skeptical … This thing is not working yet.”

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SpaceX supply delivery in photos | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX supply delivery in photos | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


SpaceX's Dragon spaceship delivered 2.5 tons of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station this week, part of a hectic few days aboard the outpost that included the arrivals of two vehicles with cargo and three new crew members.

The SpaceX supply ship blasted off Sept. 21 atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral's Complex 40 launch pad and reached orbit less than 10 minutes later to kick off a two-day pursuit of the massive space-based research complex.

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Sierra Nevada protests NASA commercial crew decision | Spaceflight Now

Sierra Nevada protests NASA commercial crew decision | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


After being left out of NASA contracts to carry astronauts to the International Space Station, Sierra Nevada Corp. said Friday it has filed a protest asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review the space agency's $6.8 billion award to Boeing and SpaceX.


The company cited "serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process" as the reason for filing the legal challenge to the GAO, which must decide on the protest by Jan. 5, 2015.

"SNC's filing seeks a further detailed review and evaluation of the submitted proposals and capabilities," the company said in a statement Friday. "SNC takes the nation's human spaceflight capability and taxpayer's money very seriously. SNC believes the result of further evaluation of the proposals submitted will be that America ends up with a more capable vehicle, at a much lower cost, with a robust and sustainable future."

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Sierra Nevada Protests $6.8 Billion Boeing-SpaceX Award

Sierra Nevada Protests $6.8 Billion Boeing-SpaceX Award | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sierra Nevada Corp. filed a formal protest with the U.S. government to block the $6.8 billion “space taxi” contracts awarded to Boeing Co. (BA) and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

The company’s own proposal would have saved as much as $900 million compared with the bids chosen by the government and was “near equivalent” on technical aspects, it said in a statement today. It filed the legal challenge with the Government Accountability Office over what it called “serious questions and inconsistencies” in the contract award process.

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Brian S. Smith, CIC, ARM's curator insight, September 28, 9:43 AM

Sierra Nevada protests for first time against award that could have saved taxpayers $900,000,000 compared to the award won by Boeing and Elon Musk

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Dream Chaser shows her fight – SNC protest CCtCap decision | NASASpaceFlight.com

Dream Chaser shows her fight – SNC protest CCtCap decision | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has confirmed it will protest NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract award decision. While the protest is ongoing, the spaceplane will continue her pursuit of international partners, while a bid on the next round of commercial cargo contacts will provide additional near-term focus.

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Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Awards | Parabolic Arc

Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Awards | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"SPARKS, Nev. (Sept. 26, 2014) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced today that it has filed a legal challenge to the award of contracts to Boeing and SpaceX under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) program.  The CCtCap program will restore U.S. transportation capability to the International Space Station.

"SNC, Boeing and SpaceX submitted separate proposals for the CCtCap program.  While all three competitors were found to be compliant and awardable under the criteria set forth in the request for proposal (RFP), only two proposals were selected (Boeing and SpaceX), one of which would result in a substantial increased cost to the public despite near equivalent technical and past performance scores.

"In its 51 year history SNC has never filed a legal challenge to a government contract award.  However, in the case of the CCtCap award, NASA’s own Source Selection Statement and debrief indicate that there are serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process.  SNC, therefore, feels that there is no alternative but to institute a legal challenge."

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NASA Expands Commercial Space Program, Requests Proposals for Second Round of Cargo Resupply Contracts for International Space Station

NASA Expands Commercial Space Program, Requests Proposals for Second Round of Cargo Resupply Contracts for International Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


On the heels of awarding groundbreaking contracts to U.S. commercial space companies to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA has released a request for proposals (RFP) for the next round of contracts for private-sector companies to deliver experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.

Under the Commercial Resupply Services 2 RFP, NASA intends to award contracts with one or more companies for six or more flights per contract. As with current resupply flights, these missions would launch from U.S. spaceports, and the contracted services would include logistical and research cargo delivery and return to and from the space station through fiscal year 2020, with the option to purchase additional launches through 2024.

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DARPA, Industry Study How To Commercialize Experimental Spaceplane | SpaceNews.com

DARPA, Industry Study How To Commercialize Experimental Spaceplane | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — As technical work ramps up on an experimental military spaceplane program, government and industry are studying how to eventually commercialize the vehicle, an effort that includes chartering a study by a space advocacy organization.

The Experimental Spaceplane (XS)-1 program by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency seeks to develop a reusable first stage that, combined with an expendable upper stage, could place payloads of as many as 2,250 kilograms into orbit for less than $5 million per launch. DARPA awarded Phase One study contracts in July to Boeing, Masten Space Systems and Northrop Grumman.

“We would like to see this program transitioned to the commercial sector,” said Jess Sponable, DARPA XS-1 program manager, in a presentation at a Sept. 16 meeting of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) systems working group here. “We are looking to industry to define a transition path in the future.”

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Parabolic Flights Dropped From Ansari X Prize Anniversary Trip | Parabolic Arc

Parabolic Flights Dropped From Ansari X Prize Anniversary Trip | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The X Prize Foundation has suddenly dropped parabolic microgravity flights aboard Zero-G Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE aircraft from the itinerary of its $40,000 per person Ansari X Prize 10th anniversary trip.

Instead of floating around in zero g next Friday, participants will be sitting around listening to presentations from the “top Google Lunar X Prize teams.”

It’s not clear from the X Prize’s website which teams will be participating, or whether all current teams — which are spread out around the world — were given the opportunity to present to the high net worth individuals on the trip.

Despite the dropping of the Zero G flights — which cost $4,995 per person plus tax — from the itinerary, the cost of the overall trip remains at $40,000 on the X Prize website.

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A highway’s ending is a spaceport’s beginning | The Space Review

A highway’s ending is a spaceport’s beginning | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Last week, SpaceX and local officials formally broke ground on a new commercial spaceport the company will build outside of Brownsville, Texas. Jeff Foust reports on the event and the company’s plans to develop and use the site over the next several years.

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Space Angels Network Tours SoCal Space Companies | Parabolic Arc

Space Angels Network Tours SoCal Space Companies | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – September 29, 2014 (Space Angels PR) – Earlier this month Space Angels Network hosted an exclusive Expedition to Southern California space companies, offering unique insights inside the private space industry. The companies, located in Los Angeles and at the Mojave Air & Spaceport, included SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Masten Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace, Whittinghill Aerospace and Firestar Technologies.

Expedition participants experienced the progress of NewSpace first-hand by touring SpaceX’ facilities, including those of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, sitting in the XCOR Lynx trainer, and even firing a Lynx reaction thruster.

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Construction of Texas launch site to begin next year | Spaceflight Now

Construction of Texas launch site to begin next year | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- SpaceX broke ground on a new commercial spaceport Sept. 22 on the shores of South Texas, committing to the construction of the world's first privately-owned satellite launch pad scheduled to be operational as soon as late 2016.

The ceremonial groundbreaking, attended by more than 100 state and local officials, SpaceX employees, and media representatives, marked the end of a nationwide search for a location to build a new launch base for SpaceX's Falcon rocket family.

"This is just the first initial groundbreaking," said Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer at SpaceX. "It's going to take several years to build out the spaceport. This is going to be quite a significant building endeavor."

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Runner-Up In NASA's Space Taxi Contest Will Fight Decision

Runner-Up In NASA's Space Taxi Contest Will Fight Decision | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


As of now, all we know is that when NASA solicited proposals for CCtCap, they placed a lot of emphasis on safety, reliability of the vehicles, and cost-effectiveness. SNC claims that their Dream Chaser fulfills the requirements of the first two criteria, but that the company can build and operate their vehicle for cheaper than one of the contract winners’ vehicles. “SNC’s Dream Chaser proposal was the second lowest priced proposal in the CCtCap competition,” the press release claims. “SNC’s proposal also achieved mission suitability scores comparable to the other two proposals.”

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Defiant Sir Richard Branson insists he will be in space 'by spring' after rocket delays | Telegraph

Defiant Sir Richard Branson insists he will be in space 'by spring' after rocket delays | Telegraph | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sir Richard Branson has rejected claims by critics after the latest delay in lift-off that his Virgin Galactic commercial spaceship business will never make it off the ground.

In an interview with The Telegraph, the entrepreneur was in typically ebullient mood as he insisted that he would be aboard the first passenger flight of his new “spaceline” by next spring.

“I know the first question everyone has,” he said as he sat inside dome of the planetarium of the National History Museum in Manhattan. “They want to ask, ‘Richard, when the **** are you going into space?’” But this celestial-inspired location was not as close as he would make it to the stars, he promised, despite major hold-ups in the rocket development for the spaceship.

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ESA spaceplane on its way

ESA spaceplane on its way | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle is ready to fly and left the Netherlands today for the launch site in French Guiana.

The spaceplane will reach an altitude of around 420 km before starting its descent. Using its sleek aerodynamic shape, thrusters and two tail flaps, it will return through the atmosphere as if from a low orbit.

The measurements collected by IXV during its hypersonic and supersonic flight to a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean will be invaluable for designing future reentry vehicles.

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Sierra Nevada Protests NASA Commercial Crew Loss | Aviation Week

Sierra Nevada Protests NASA Commercial Crew Loss | Aviation Week | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) has filed a formal protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking the congressional watchdog agency to reevaluate NASA’s decision to select two rival space-capsule designs instead of the company’s lifting-body Dream Chaser as a candidate to deliver U.S. crews to the International Space Station (ISS).

The company said late Friday that its bid in the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCTCap) was $900 million less than the bid submitted by Boeing, which won a contract worth as much as $4.2 billion to complete development, test fly and operate its CST-100 crew capsule. At the same time, SNC said, its proposal was "near equivalent [in] technical and past performance" source-selection scoring.

"[T]he official NASA solicitation for the CCtCap contract prioritized price as the primary evaluation criteria for the proposals, setting it equal to the combined value of the other two primary evaluation criteria: mission suitability and past performance," the company stated. "SNC’s Dream Chaser proposal was the second lowest priced proposal in the CCtCap competition."

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Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Award, Lays Off Staff | SpaceNews.com

Sierra Nevada Protests Commercial Crew Award, Lays Off Staff | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — Two days after laying off about 100 employees who had been working on its Dream Chaser vehicle, Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) on Sept. 26 filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office of a commercial crew contract it lost earlier in September.

Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC’s Space Systems unit, confirmed Sept. 26 that the company had filed a protest of NASA’s Sept. 16 award of two Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts to Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Details were not immediately available, but cost is at the heart of the protest. SNC maintains that its Dream Chaser system would offer substantial cost savings over the combination NASA selected.

Under government procurement regulations, NASA has 30 days to file a response to the protest. GAO is required to rule on the protest no later than 100 days after filing, or Jan. 5, 2015.

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Sierra Nevada Protests NASA's CCtCAP Awards


Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has filed a protest over NASA's award of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts to Boeing and SpaceX last week. Noting that this is the first time it has filed a legal challenge to a government contract award in its 51-year history, the company said in this case there are "serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process."

In a press release issued late this afternoon, SNC said that with the awards to Boeing and SpaceX, the government "would spend up to $900 million more ... for a space program equivalent to what SNC proposed." NASA's CCtCAP solicitation "prioritized price as the primary evaluation criteria ... setting it equal to the combined value of the other two primary evaluation criteria: mission suitability and past performance" and its Dream Chaser was the "second lowest priced proposal," SNC continues. Asserting that its design provides "a wider range of capabilities and value including preserving the heritage of the space shuttle program," it believes that a "thorough review of the award decision" is needed.

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NASA Requests Proposals for Follow-on ISS Cargo Contract | SpaceNews.com

NASA Requests Proposals for Follow-on ISS Cargo Contract | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — NASA released Sept. 25 a request for proposals (RFP) for a second round of contracts to transport cargo to and from the international space station, with both current providers and new entrants expected to compete.

NASA plans to award one or more Commercial Resupply Services (CRS)2 contracts as a successor to its existing CRS contracts with Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp. and Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

Like the existing CRS contracts, CRS2 awards will cover the transport of pressurized and unpressurized cargo to the ISS, and the disposal or return to Earth of cargo from the station.

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SpaceX Bringing the Right Stuff to Patent Slog with Blue Origin, Expert Says | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Bringing the Right Stuff to Patent Slog with Blue Origin, Expert Says | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it


WASHINGTON — One patent attorney said a recently approved Blue Origin patent for landing rockets on water-going barges stands a good chance of being overturned, thanks to a review initiated by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — the company closest to actually using the technique Blue Origin wants to protect.

Examiners approved U.S. Patent 8678321, “Sea landing of space launch vehicles and associated systems and methods,” on March 25, giving Kent, Washington-based Blue Origin the rights to an invention that Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX claims in an Aug. 25 petition for review is “old hat” in the rocket-engineering world.

“The patent granted is, in my opinion and in SpaceX’s counsel’s opinion, invalid,” said Andrew Rush, a Jacksonville, Florida-based patent attorney who blogs about space-related intellectual property matters at IPinSpace.com and helped Mojave, California-based Masten Space Systems implement an intellectual property development program during a 2011 internship. “The applications Blue Origin filed were pretty aggressive and pretty broad and written, SpaceX alleges, without a high degree of knowledge and sophistication about the space industry.”

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Firefly Space Systems Awarded $1.2 Million Economic Development Grant from Cedar Park | Firefly Space Systems


Firefly Space Systems announced today that it will receive up to $1,225,000 in incentives and employment grants from The City of Cedar Park Economic Development Corporation following the rocket company’s recent relocation from Hawthorne, California to its new home in Cedar Park, Texas. Firefly’s expansion plans include building its team in Central Texas to 200 employees with an annual payroll of approximately $12 million by 2019.

The company also plans to invest approximately $7.5 million in property, plant and equipment over the duration of the 10-year agreement with Cedar Park. Current negotiations for an undisclosed 20,000-square-foot office location for Firefly are also nearing finalization.

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