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Moon Express Unveils Private Lunar Lander (Images)

Moon Express Unveils Private Lunar Lander (Images) | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A commercial space company has revealed the design of the lunar lander that it aims to send to the moon in 2015.

 

California-based Moon Express unveiled the blueprint and first images of its MX-1 lunar lander today (Dec. 5) in Las Vegas, during the last day of the Autodesk University computer-aided design conference. In addition to delivering payloads to the lunar surface, the coffee-table-size MX-1 could also help service satellites, deploy tiny "cubesats" in Earth orbit and clean up space junk, company officials say.

 

"We really have tried to create a multifaceted, flexible and scalable spacecraft that can be utilized by other people for a number of different business applications," Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards told SPACE.com.

 

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Hans Koenigsmann | SpaceX, Exploration through Innovation | NEAF Talks

Dr. Koenigsmann leads the Flight Reliability Team at SpaceX and serves as Launch Chief Engineer during the launch campaigns. The Flight Reliability team resolves anomalies, evaluates and mitigates risk and performs other functions on the vehicle system level. SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world’s most advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk to revolutionize space transportation, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.

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Shields up! Scientists tweak design of Alpha Centauri probes to minimize damage

Shields up! Scientists tweak design of Alpha Centauri probes to minimize damage | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The scientists behind the Breakthrough Starshot mission are already fine-tuning the design for their nano-probes to increase the odds they’ll survive the trip to Proxima Centauri b.

In a paper posted to the arXiv pre-print server last week, researchers lay out their latest calculations on the kinds of damage their scaled-down spacecraft could face as they speed toward the Alpha Centauri system at 20 percent of the speed of light.

The mission and the study have taken on greater importance, due to this week’s announcement that a potentially habitable planet has been detected in orbit around Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf that’s part of the star system. It’s the star that’s closest to our own solar system, lying only 4.2 light-years away.

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Concrete poured for Blue Origin’s orbital space complex in Florida

Concrete poured for Blue Origin’s orbital space complex in Florida | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Work is progressing on the facility in Florida where Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture plans to build its orbital spaceships.

Bezos called attention to the groundbreaking milestone for the 750,000-square-foot rocket factory in June. Today, Space Florida, the state development agency that’s leasing the property and Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 36 to Blue Origin, tweeted that concrete is being poured for the campus’ first building.

The $200 million manufacturing and launch facility at Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park is expected to open by early 2018 and employ about 300 people.

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Dragon spacecraft splashes down with station research specimens | Spaceflight Now

Dragon spacecraft splashes down with station research specimens | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A SpaceX-owned Dragon cargo craft left the International Space Station on Friday and flew back to Earth for a parachute-assisted splashdown in the Pacific Ocean with a dozen mice and more than 3,000 pounds of experiment specimens and space hardware.

The homecoming concluded a 37-day stay by the Dragon spacecraft at the orbiting research lab. The unpiloted supply ship launched from Cape Canaveral on July 18 and arrived at the station two days later.

Astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi took control of the space station’s robotic arm to release the Dragon cargo capsule at 6:11 a.m. EDT (1011 GMT) as the complex sailed 251 miles over the Timor Sea north of Australia.

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The next step for human spaceflight | Space Angels

The next step for human spaceflight | Space Angels | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

This month has been a significant one for Virgin Galactic. On August 1st it was announced that the company had received its Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) license for testing of SpaceShipTwo. The license covers test flights over the next two years from the Mojave Air and Spaceport in California, and will ultimately see commercial operations of the craft. The announcement came the same day as the second version of SpaceShipTwo – VSS Unity – conducted its first taxi test. This is a test designed to evaluate and calibrate the navigation and communications and telemetry systems ahead of flights.

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CRS-9 Dragon prepares for homecoming to conclude successful mission | NASASpaceFlight.com

CRS-9 Dragon prepares for homecoming to conclude successful mission | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX’s CRS-9 Dragon spacecraft is preparing to depart from the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, following a highly successful Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the orbital outpost. Known as End Of Mission (EOM) operations, Dragon’s safe return will be marked by a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean later in the day.

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SpaceX to lease building at Port Canaveral, may build another one

SpaceX to lease building at Port Canaveral, may build another one | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX is moving some of its operations to Port Canaveral, port Chief Executive Officer John Murray said Wednesday.

The space launch company plans to lease the now-vacant former Spacehab building on the north side of the port, and is looking at constructing a second building on vacant land adjacent to that site, Murray told port commissioners.

SpaceX is expected to process and refurbish rockets, as well as potentially perform other functions, at the port, Murray said.

“We’re happy to announce that they’re onboard,” he said. “It’s good for the port, it’s good for the community, and it's a high-visibility project. So we’re really excited about that. They're a great client to have on our port. It's a win-win for everybody."

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DARPA to establish satellite-servicing consortium to discuss on-orbit repair standards | SpaceNews.com

DARPA to establish satellite-servicing consortium to discuss on-orbit repair standards | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Defense Research Projects Agency plans to establish a consortium to discuss standards and practices for on-orbit satellite servicing as a corollary to Robotic Servicing of Geostationary Satellites (RSGS), an effort to develop robotic spacecraft to inspect, repair and move other satellites.


“Our fear was that we would create a robotic servicing capability through RSGS and when our industry partner went to Lloyds of London for insurance, someone would say, ‘You have no authority to conduct that mission,’” said Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.

Through the construction and operation of the International Space Station, the international community has established laws and regulations concerning government spacecraft conducting rendezvous and proximity operations with other government spacecraft as well as government spacecraft conducting rendezvous and proximity operations with commercial spacecraft.

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SpaceX puts historic flown rocket on permanent display | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX puts historic flown rocket on permanent display | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Crews outside the SpaceX’s headquarters in Southern California on Saturday positioned the booster that stuck the first Falcon 9 rocket landing for vertical display, and now the launcher is an unmistakable Space Age trophy visible to passersby on nearby streets and freeways.

Workers put the rocket near the southeast corner of SpaceX headquarters at the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Jack Northrop Ave. in Hawthorne, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.

The 156-foot-tall (47-meter) rocket stage landed at Cape Canaveral after a Dec. 21 launch with 11 Orbcomm communications satellites.

It was the first launcher stage SpaceX recovered after years of effort, during which the company switched from a plan to retrieve rockets with parachutes to an outside-the-box scheme involving multiple engine restarts, landing legs, and precision landing algorithms.

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A Decade of Commercial Transportation Blazes a Path for Successful Space Ventures

In 2006, a new vision for space transportation in low-Earth orbit took form. Ten years later, the landscape of humanity’s doorstep into the cosmos has fundamentally changed, thanks to efforts by NASA and American commercial companies.

 

At the time of the first Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) award in August 2006, NASA officials envisioned that commercial companies would take over low-Earth orbit transportation services while the agency focuses its research and development resources on deep space exploration.

 

NASA employed a two-phase strategy for developing commercial capabilities to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.  COTS was a demonstration of a commercial partners’ capability, providing NASA an opportunity to assess performance prior to purchasing services.  NASA then awarded Orbital ATK and SpaceX commercial resupply services contracts to each deliver at least 20 metric tons of cargo to the orbiting laboratory on their Dragon and Cygnus spacecraft, respectively.

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SpaceX Conducts Successful Crew Dragon Parachute System Test | Commercial Crew Program

SpaceX Conducts Successful Crew Dragon Parachute System Test | Commercial Crew Program | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A Crew Dragon test article successfully deployed its four main parachutes as planned during a test that saw the SpaceX-made test article dropped from a C-130 aircraft 26,000 feet above Delamar Dry Lake, Nevada. The Crew Dragon, designed to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, will use four parachutes when returning to Earth. SpaceX plans to land the initial flight tests and missions in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX is working on a propulsive landing system the company intends to use in the future missions to propulsively land on land using its SuperDraco engines.

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Spacewalk installs docking adapter to ready ISS for commercial crew | NASASpaceFlight.com

Spacewalk installs docking adapter to ready ISS for commercial crew | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The International Space Station (ISS) has finally received a new docking adapter on Friday, which will enable the orbital outpost to welcome the first of a new generation of crew vehicles. The spacewalkers of EVA-36 installed the long-awaited International Docking Adapter (IDA) via efforts that got underway at 12:04 PM GMT and ended just under six hours later.

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Spacewalk Concludes After Commercial Crew Port Installation | Space Station

Spacewalk Concludes After Commercial Crew Port Installation | Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins concluded their spacewalk at 2:02 EDT. During the five-hour and 58-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts successfully installed the first of two international docking adapters (IDAs).

The IDAs will be used for the future arrivals of Boeing and SpaceX commercial crew spacecraft in development under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Commercial crew flights from Florida’s Space Coast to the International Space Station will restore America’s human launch capability and increase the time U.S. crews can dedicate to scientific research, which is helping prepare astronauts for deep space missions, including the journey to Mars.

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A sudden light

A sudden light | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

ROCKETS are the thrilling, spectacular bit of space flight. But without something useful to carry they are basically just fireworks. To get a sense of the new entrepreneurial approach to unearthly enterprise, start instead with the radical changes in what it takes to make a spacecraft.

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SpaceX is building new facilities at Port Canaveral to refurbish rockets

SpaceX is building new facilities at Port Canaveral to refurbish rockets | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX plans to lease one building and construct a newer second building at Port Canaveral, just two miles from where it launches its Falcon 9 rockets from the Cape Canaveral space pad, port chief John Murray tells Flordia Today. The company plans on leasing the former 52,000 square foot Spacehab building, which used to belong to the aerospace company now called Astrotech Corporation. The new building will be constructed nearby.

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SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down, bringing mice and more from space station

SpaceX Dragon capsule splashes down, bringing mice and more from space station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean today, carrying more than 3,000 pounds of cargo and science samples back down to Earth from the International Space Station.

NASA’s Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi worked with the station’s robotic arm to pull the Dragon away from its berth and set it free at 3:11 a.m. PT. “Dragon depart successfully commanded,” Rubins reported.

Mission Control passed along thanks to the crew for their efforts, “and to the Dragon recovery team, fair winds and following seas.”

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SpaceX's CRS-9 Dragon returns to Earth

SpaceX's CRS-9 Dragon returns to Earth | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After more than a month berthed to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceXs CRS-9 Dragon capsule was detached and released from the orbiting complex. A few hours later, the spacecraft was deorbited and recovered in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.

After being packed with more than 3,100 pounds (1,400 kilograms) of return cargo, the capsule was unberthed from the Harmony module in the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 26. Ground teams commanded the robotic Canadarm2 to move Dragon to a release point some 33 feet (10 meters) below the Destiny laboratory. At 6:11 a.m. EDT (10:11 GMT), Expedition 48 astronauts Kate Rubins and Takuya Onishi commanded the arm to release the vehicle.

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NASA TV Coverage Set for US Cargo Ship Departure from Space Station

NASA TV Coverage Set for US Cargo Ship Departure from Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After delivering almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, experiments and equipment – including a docking adapter for future American commercial crew spacecraft – a SpaceX Dragon cargo craft is set to leave the International Space Station Friday, Aug. 26. NASA Television will provide coverage of Dragon’s departure beginning at 5:45 a.m. EDT.

 

SpaceX’s Commercial Resupply Service-9 mission arrived on station July 20. The Dragon spacecraft will be detached from the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module using the station’s Canadarm 2 robotic arm. Robotics controllers will send commands to maneuver the spacecraft into place before it’s released by Expedition 48 Flight Engineers Kate Rubins of NASA and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) at 6:10 a.m.

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SpaceX eyeing facility for reused Falcon 9 stages

SpaceX eyeing facility for reused Falcon 9 stages | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., — Port Canaveral’s Chief Executive Officer John Murray told Florida Today that SpaceX will be moving some of its operations to the Florida Space Coast. The plans include leasing a building that once housed Spacehab and building a new building next door to that site to support refurbishment of the rocket stages they are landing at Cape Canaveral.

According to the Florida Today story, SpaceX has needed more room for its operations in Florida since it started landing the first stages of Falcon 9 rockets back at Cape Canaveral after they have sent their payloads to orbit.

 

SpaceX has recovered six stages since December 2015, two on land, four on an autonomous spaceport drone ship positioned out in the Atlantic Ocean.

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I Will Launch America: Brittani Sims

I Will Launch America: Brittani Sims | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Brittani Sims is one of the many dedicated employees supporting NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

An electrical engineer by education, Sims developed a passion for safety and human spaceflight in high school after watching the space shuttle on TV.

“I was just sitting on the couch watching TV and the news was covering the return of the space shuttle,” said Sims. “I wasn’t even aware what NASA did at the time. I remember asking my mom, ‘Did you know that we put people into space?’ When I went to school the next week, I told people that I wanted to work for NASA, and a lot of them didn’t really believe me.”

Sims says those doubts only served as additional motivation for her to achieve her goals.

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NASA classes MMOD as primary threat to commercial crew vehicles | NASASpaceFlight.com

NASA classes MMOD as primary threat to commercial crew vehicles | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA has claimed the threat of MicroMeteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) – small pieces of space debris capable of punching bullet hole wounds into spacecraft – is the “primary” threat to the safety of Commercial Crew vehicles. The claim was made as the Agency works on closing the gap between the current analysis of the Loss Of Crew (LOC) numbers with the Program’s goal.

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Another Falcon 9 rocket returns to perch in Port Canaveral | Spaceflight Now

Another Falcon 9 rocket returns to perch in Port Canaveral | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The sixth Falcon 9 rocket booster recovered by SpaceX has returned to Port Canaveral after an up-and-down flight Aug. 14 that sent a commercial Japanese broadcasting satellite toward orbit.

The 15-story first stage of the Falcon 9 launcher touched down on SpaceX’s landing vessel nearly 400 miles east of Cape Canaveral less than nine minutes after blastoff at 1:26 a.m. EDT (0526 GMT).

After detaching from the Falcon 9’s upper stage, the booster flipped around and ignited three of its nine Merlin engines for a re-entry burn, then fired its center engine just before landing to slow down before reaching the football field-sized barge.

Aerodynamic grid fins helped steer the rocket, and four landing legs popped open seconds before touchdown.

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The inside story of how billionaires are racing to take you to outer space

The inside story of how billionaires are racing to take you to outer space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Later this year, tech entrepreneur turned space pioneer Elon Musk is planning the blastoff of a new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, that would be twice as powerful as any other in use and one of the biggest since the Apollo era’s mighty Saturn V. The stage for the rocket’s debut: the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took off for the moon in 1969.

SpaceX’s use of 39A is the ultimate symbol that the government’s monopoly on space travel is over. To Musk, it also is proof of an additional triumph — over his fellow billionaire and rival Jeffrey P. Bezos, who had fought to secure the launchpad for himself.

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Mark Warren's curator insight, August 26, 4:08 AM
The inside story of how billionaires are racing to take you to outer space
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New ‘front porch’ added to International Space Station

New ‘front porch’ added to International Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Two members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 48 crew stepped outside the orbital complex to install a new “front porch.” The nearly six-hour long spacewalk started at 7:04 a.m. CDT (12:04 GMT) Aug. 19 with a goal to install International Docking Adapter-2 (IDA-2) to the forward end of the station.

 

NASA astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins, commander and flight engineer respectively, each tag-teamed to install IDA-2 as the primary task of the mission. The adapter was brought to the space station by way of SpaceX’s CRS-9 Dragon. It has remained inside the trunk since arriving at the outpost one month ago.

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Spacewalkers attach docking adapter to space station for commercial vehicles | Spaceflight Now

Spacewalkers attach docking adapter to space station for commercial vehicles | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Two spacewalkers attached a new docking port to the International Space Station Friday, clearing the way for U.S. crew ferry ships being built by Boeing and SpaceX to begin test flights to the lab complex next year. It was a key step in NASA’s drive to regain independent access to the lab complex for the first time since the shuttle fleet was retired in 2011.

Attached to the station’s no-longer-needed shuttle port at the front of the station, the Boeing-built International Docking Adapter will allow spacecraft from both companies to bring crews to the outpost, ending NASA’s sole reliance on Russian Soyuz ferry ships. A second IDA is expected to be attached in 2018.

“It is amazing that now we’ve opened up a new chapter in the story of the International Space Station, putting the front door on this for future commercial vehicles,” radioed station commander Jeff Williams, who worked with astronaut Kate Rubins to attach and outfit the IDA. “Congratulations to the entire team.”

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