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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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Engine trouble delays SpaceX launch on Thanksgiving | Spaceflight Now

Engine trouble delays SpaceX launch on Thanksgiving | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Topped with a television broadcasting satellite, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket fired its engines and was moments away from liftoff from Cape Canaveral on Thursday, but the commercial booster aborted the launch after computers detected the engines were too slow building up thrust.

 
Engineers raced to understand and resolve the problem, but they could not get comfortable enough to attempt the launch again before Thursday's time-constrained flight opportunity closed.

 

Officials had not announced a new target launch date Thursday evening, but SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk posted on his Twitter account the mission would likely be delayed a few days.

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From the Mojave to the Moon

From the Mojave to the Moon | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"A lot has happened in human space flight in the past half-century, although probably much less than most people would have expected. True, more than 500 astronauts have travelled to space and 12 have walked on the Moon. But the overwhelming majority have been government-employed and specially selected. Other than Mike Melville and Brian Binnie, who flew the prototype Virgin Galactic vehicle, the handful of private citizens who have travelled to space have done so as paying guests of governments. Apart from facing a ticket price in the tens of millions of dollars, they have needed to be in excellent health, endure rigorous training and even brush up on their Russian. I considered taking one of those flights myself a few years back and decided, all things considered, that I would rather build my own spaceship."

 

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Nitrogen Tanks Explode at SpaceX’s Texas Rocket Site | SpaceNews.com

Nitrogen Tanks Explode at SpaceX’s Texas Rocket Site | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — A pair of nitrogen tanks at Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s (SpaceX) rocket test facility in McGregor, Texas, exploded late Nov. 26, according to local authorities.

 

“Anyone that heard the loud boom and felt a rumble outside of McGregor can rest easy,” the McLennan County, Texas, Sheriff’s Department wrote on its Facebook page Nov. 26. “It was two nitrogen filled tanks that over pressurized and ruptured at Space X. Sources are saying no one was injured.”

 

In a Nov. 27 email, SpaceX spokeswoman Emily Shanklin said the event, “likely the result of over-pressurized gas,” took place at about 10:30 p.m. local time. She confirmed nobody was hurt. The equipment SpaceX was using at the time of the explosion was for slosh-baffle testing, which involves placing structures inside of liquid-filled tanks to control fluid movement.

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No injuries in SpaceX explosion in McGregor

No one was injured Tuesday night when over-pressurized nitrogen caused an explosive sound on SpaceX property in McGregor, SpaceX officials said.

 

The sound occurred at about 10:30 p.m. during a SpaceX “slosh baffle test,” officials said. McGregor firefighters responded, but waited about 3 miles outside the area until they were cleared by SpaceX employees to enter the scene.

 

McGregor Fire Chief Moe Spradley said that because nitrogen clears the air of oxygen, no one was allowed into the area until after midnight when the gas had dissipated and it was safe to enter.

 

 

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SES Relied on U.S. Intermediaries To Probe SpaceX’s Sept. 29 Upper-stage-restart Malfunction | SpaceNews.com

SES Relied on U.S. Intermediaries To Probe SpaceX’s Sept. 29 Upper-stage-restart Malfunction | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PARIS — Satellite fleet operator SES of Luxembourg said it has used U.S. citizens to look deeply into the Falcon 9 rocket’s Sept. 29 upper-stage-restart malfunction without trespassing on U.S. technology-export restrictions.

 

The restrictions, commonly known as ITAR, or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, limit non-U.S. access to information about rocket issues, even when the personnel in question are the customers paying for the rocket’s launch.

 

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX)’s Sept. 29 mission was supposed to include a demonstration of the ability of its Merlin 1D engine’s ability to restart a second time, a function that was not needed for the Sept. 29 launch but will be necessary for the launch of the SES-8 satellite, now scheduled for Nov. 28.

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Holiday travelers trump SpaceX launch plans | Spaceflight Now

Holiday travelers trump SpaceX launch plans | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Concerned a rocket launch might add more congestion to the skies during Thanksgiving week, federal regulators blocked SpaceX's bid to launch a commercial broadcasting satellite Tuesday and Wednesday, two of the busiest travel days of the year.


The SpaceX scrubbed a launch attempt Monday after a litany of technical problems triggered holds in the countdown, but instead of having another chance to launch Tuesday, the company had to stand down until Thursday.

 

The Falcon 9 rocket is poised to send the SES 8 television broadcasting satellite into orbit on the first commercial communications satellite launch from the United States since 2009.

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AXE Apollo Finalists to Compete in Florida Next Month | Parabolic Arc

AXE Apollo Finalists to Compete in Florida Next Month | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ (Unilever PR) – The phenomenon surrounding AXE Apollo, the largest and most successful campaign in the brand’s 30-year history, is coming to its epic conclusion in December 2013 at the AXE Apollo Space Academy1 (A.A.S.A.). After receiving 750,000 entries from all corners of the world, AXE has selected nine brave recruits to represent the U.S. These recruits will have the opportunity to be selected to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey: a trip to space.

 

More than 100 recruits from 61 countries will gather at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL to compete for the chance to receive one of 24 coveted tickets to space. There they will push the boundaries of their physical and mental limits by taking part in a series of A.A.S.A. space training missions to experience what life is like as an astronaut – from floating weightless onboard a Boeing 727, to reaching zero gravity-force, to piloting a SIAI Marchetti Air Combat plane.

 

 

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Moon Express Software Successfully Flies NASA Mighty Eagle Robotic Lunar Lander | SpaceRef Business

Moon Express, a commercial lunar enterprise, announces a successful free flight test of its lunar lander software on NASA's "Mighty Eagle" prototype robotic lander.

 

The "closed loop" free flight test conducted yesterday was the latest in a series of progressive tests of the company's flight software being conducted in collaboration with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama. The collaboration is helping Moon Express develop its commercial lunar landers for low-cost robotic missions to the Moon beginning in 2015.

 

"Today's successful free flight test on the NASA Mighty Eagle brings us closer to the Moon," said Moon Express co-founder & CEO, Bob Richards. "We thank NASA and the Mighty Eagle team for their support and collaboration as we advance our capabilities in lander technology."

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NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center's Mighty Eagle Successfully Concludes Test Series

The Mighty Eagle, a NASA robotic prototype lander managed out of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., successfully completed an autonomous, free flight test today to help validate software from Moon Express, Inc. The test flight was the last in series of progressive tests of the company’s flight software being conducted in collaboration with the Marshall Center.

 

Under the terms of a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement signed with Moon Express, the Marshall Center provided its Mighty Eagle lander test vehicle and engineering team in support of a series of test flights to help validate the company’s Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) flight software. Guidance algorithms developed by Moon Express were integrated into the existing software on-board the Mighty Eagle and used to perform the flight test series. This type of software is designed to tell the vehicle where to go and how to get there. In return, Moon Express is reimbursing Marshall for the cost of providing the test vehicle and technical support.

 

"We are really excited to conclude this test series with such a great flight," said Jason Adam, flight manager for the Mighty Eagle at the Marshall Center. "Working with Moon Express to help test their new software is a great example of the types of partnerships NASA is looking to build. By utilizing agency resources and expertise, we can gather data that can also help advance the commercial sector."

 

 

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With 2 More Cubesats in Orbit, Earth-imaging Startup Planet Labs Ships Next Batch of 28 to Wallops | SpaceNews.com

With 2 More Cubesats in Orbit, Earth-imaging Startup Planet Labs Ships Next Batch of 28 to Wallops | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SAN FRANCISCO — Planet Labs, the San Francisco company planning to establish the world’s largest Earth imaging constellation, announced Nov. 26 the successful launch of two satellites and shipment to Virginia of 28 additional spacecraft in preparation for their December launch. 

 

On Nov. 21, Planet Labs sent triple cubesats Dove 3 and Dove 4 into polar orbit on a Dnepr rocket from Russia’s Yasny launch site. “The launch was extremely successful,” said William Marshall, Planet Labs co-founder and chief executive. “They went into precisely the orbit we wanted. We have also successfully made contact.”

 

The latest additions to the Planet Labs fleet offer improvements in the capability provided by the firm’s first satellites launched in April, Dove 1 and Dove 2, which also were triple cubesats measuring 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters by 30 centimeters.

 

Dove 3 and Dove 4 will demonstrate the firm’s latest technology, including upgraded communications, attitude control and observation technology. “We like to iterate our satellite designs very rapidly,” Marshall said. “It’s the same compact form factor as Dove 1 and Dove 2, but we have stuck in more capability.”

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Planet Labs Launches Two More Satellites - Delivers Largest Imaging Fleet to Launch Pad | SpaceRef Business

Planet Labs Launches Two More Satellites - Delivers Largest Imaging Fleet to Launch Pad | SpaceRef Business | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Planet Labs announced today that it successfully launched its most recent satellites, Dove 3 and Dove 4, into orbit on a Dnepr vehicle.

 

This will be closely followed by the launch of Planet Labs' "Flock 1" fleet of 28 satellites in December, which will be the largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites ever launched.

 

"This is the third rocket launch for Planet Labs this year, and the Dove 3 and 4 satellites are the most advanced and agile satellites we have built to date" said Chris Boshuizen, co-founder and CTO of Planet Labs.

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SpaceX Challenge Has Arianespace Rethinking Pricing Policies | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Challenge Has Arianespace Rethinking Pricing Policies | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PARIS — The Arianespace commercial launch consortium is telling its customers it is open to reducing the cost of flights for lighter satellites on the Ariane 5 rocket in response to the challenge posed by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel said Nov. 25.

 

“I have sent a signal to our customers telling them that I could review our pricing policy, within certain limits,” Israel said in an interview with Les Echos, a French financial newspaper. “I think they have appreciated this.”

 

Israel’s comments came on the day when Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), after a decade of rattling Arianespace’s cage, was preparing its first-ever launch into the geostationary transfer orbit used by most commercial telecommunications satellites, and the place where most commercial revenue is made.

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Series of technical glitches ground Falcon until Thanksgiving | NewSpace Journal

Series of technical glitches ground Falcon until Thanksgiving | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The first launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying a payload to geosynchronous orbit will have to wait until Thanksgiving, after a series of relatively minor glitches kept the rocket on the ground during Monday evening’s launch window.

 

SpaceX had hoped to launch the SES-8 satellite for European satellite operator SES during a 66-minute launch window that opened at 5:37 pm EST (2237 GMT) from Cape Canaveral. However, the countdown was held at T-13 minutes for some time to check a valve on the first stage of the rocket, with the launch rescheduled for 5:54 pm EST. However, the countdown was stopped at T-6:11 in the countdown because of an issue around the time the first stage was switching to internal power.

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Mars One planning December 10 announcement about robotic Mars mission | NewSpace Journal

Mars One, the Dutch organization that has proposed sending humans to Mars on commercially-funded one-way trips, announced yesterday that it will be holding a press conference in Washington on December 10 to make an announcement “regarding the first private robotic mission to Mars.” That announcement will be made jointly with Lockheed Martin and “Surrey Satellite Systems Limited” (an apparent reference to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., a British company best known as a leading developer of small satellites.) Mars One will also use the press conference to “share new information on its public involvement activities leading up to this mission.”

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Virgin Galactic Adds Talent to its New Mexico Team | SpaceRef

Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi's aabar Investments PJS, announced today that Las Cruces resident Greg Powe and New Mexico native Kelly Barncastle have joined its best-in-class team.

 

Powe, who has lived in New Mexico for 30 years, is the newest addition to the operations team at Spaceport America, where he will serve as the Gateway facilities manager. He brings with him a wealth of managerial experience, including 22 years at the White Sands Space Harbor and White Sands Test Facility where he worked as facilities manager. During that time, Powe was awarded the Space Flight Awareness Silver Snoopy Award, which was presented to him for his technical competence, dedication and pride that guaranteed mission success. In his position at Virgin Galactic, he will manage the company's operational facilities at Spaceport America and in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Specifically, Powe will be responsible for the day-to-day, hands-on management of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space, coordinating activities, financials, contractors and manpower required for current and future needs at the spaceport.

 

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Earthquake-like tremors felt near Central Texas SpaceX facility

Earthquake-like tremors felt near Central Texas SpaceX facility | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office got on Facebook last night to address the loud booms that some residents heard and felt coming from the SpaceX complex in McGregor last night.

 

Residents reportedly felt two earthquake-like rumbles last night around 10:30 p.m, with some assuming that the Army was testing a large bomb at their base.

 

Two nitrogen-filled tanks were over-pressurized and ruptured at the SpaceX facility, according to deputies. There were no reports of injuries at the scene and authorities said there was nothing for residents to be worried about.

 

 

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SpaceX Cleared for Thanksgiving, Black Friday Attempts; FAA Won’t Say Whether Weekend Is Blacked Out for Holiday Air Travel | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Cleared for Thanksgiving, Black Friday Attempts; FAA Won’t Say Whether Weekend Is Blacked Out for Holiday Air Travel | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PARIS — The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given launch service provider SpaceX approval for two mission attempts, on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, to launch the commercial SES-8 telecommunications satellite, the FAA said Nov. 26.

 

In response to SpaceNews inquiries, the FAA said it had refused SpaceX’s request to launch on Nov. 26 or Nov. 27. “These are two of the heaviest flight travel days of the year,” the FAA said. 

 

Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) scrubbed a Nov. 25 launch attempt minutes before liftoff when the rocket’s on-board computer detected “pressure fluctuations on the Falcon boost stage liquid oxygen tank,” SpaceX Chairman Elon Musk said in a Twitter posting late Nov. 25.

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Why the World’s 2nd Largest Satellite Fleet Operator Agreed To Be SpaceX’s 1st Customer for a Launch to Geo | SpaceNews.com

Why the World’s 2nd Largest Satellite Fleet Operator Agreed To Be SpaceX’s 1st Customer for a Launch to Geo | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PARIS — It is a question that has been asked over and again since March 2011, when satellite fleet operator SES of Luxembourg, historically managed with the conservatism of a Luxembourg bank, contracted for a launch with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX).


How could SES agree to launch a satellite on a rocket that had never flown to geostationary transfer orbit and never demonstrated its ability to do so?


The Falcon 9, after a scrubbed launch attempt Nov. 25, is scheduled to make another attempt Nov. 28.


SpaceX Chairman Elon Musk, while addressing another question during a Nov. 24 press briefing, made the case for why a rocket that has flown only once should be trusted to launch a commercial satellite insured for $200 million.

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Officials Investigate After Tanks Rupture At SpaceX

Officials Investigate After Tanks Rupture At SpaceX | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

MCGREGOR (November 27, 2013) McGregor police and fire officials were investigating after a malfunction at SpaceX Tuesday night.

 

Officials said two nitrogen-filled tanks over pressurized and ruptured at the testing site in McGregor around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

 

No one was reported injured and the escape of gas did not result in an environmental hazard.

 

People from all across the area reported hearing a loud noise and feeling vibrations.

 

The scene was secured in about an hour.

 

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Falcon 9 v1.1 aiming for Thanksgiving launch of SES-8 | NASASpaceFlight.com

Falcon 9 v1.1 aiming for Thanksgiving launch of SES-8 | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket is currently being realigned for a Thanksgiving launch attempt on Thursday, following its scrub on Monday. Three attempts were made inside the 66 minute window to launch the SES-8 satellite from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral, in what is SpaceX’s debut of the upgraded rocket from their Florida base.

 

Monday’s attempt was issue-free throughout the bulk of the countdown, including key items such as the loading of RP-and LOX into the vehicle – both of which were completed at around 8pm UTC.

 

The countdown continued to proceed towards the initial T-0 at the opening of the window, prior to a hold being called at T-13 minutes, ahead of polling for the terminal count.

 

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Flying in Alabama skies this week: NASA's Mighty Eagle robot lander soars again (video)

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - NASA engineers and their partners from the Silicon Valley company Moon Express flew the space agency's Mighty Eagle robotic lander over a test area on Redstone Arsenal Monday. It was the last test in Alabama of guidance and control systems Moon Express will use on unmanned moon landers, including one that will take a telescope to the lunar surface in 2015.

 

"Today's successful free flight test on the NASA Mighty Eagle brings us closer to the moon," Bob Richards, Moon Express co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a NASA news release after the test. "We thank NASA and the Mighty Eagle team for their support and collaboration as we advance our capabilities in lander technology."

 

 

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Startup Generation Orbit Launch Service Bets Big on ‘Small Space’ | SpaceNews.com

Startup Generation Orbit Launch Service Bets Big on ‘Small Space’ | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — With fresh votes of confidence — and money — from NASA, Generation Orbit Launch Services of Atlanta is working on an air-launch system capable of sending about 40 kilograms of payload to orbit in single shot.

 

The company’s GOLauncher system would use a small business jet to carry a two-stage rocket, with a solid core and a liquid upper stage, to altitude for launch. Its first mission, a 2016 launch for NASA, is slated to take off from GOLauncher’s home base at the Cecil Field Spaceport, part of Cecil Airport in Jacksonville, Fla.

 

In the long term, Generation Orbit is betting on the emergence of a commercial market for tiny satellites. But in the here-and-now, the company is relying on NASA to get flying. On Nov. 12, Generation Orbit netted a $100,000 grand prize in the NASA-sponsored NewSpace Business Plan Competition, which follows a $2.1 million contract it got from the agency in September.

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28 Tiny Satellites Launching Together In December to See Earth from Space

28 Tiny Satellites Launching Together In December to See Earth from Space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The world's biggest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites has arrived at its launch site in preparation for liftoff just a few weeks from now.

 

San Francisco-based startup Planet Labs delivered the 28 tiny satellites that will make up its "Flock 1" fleet to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia earlier this month. The constellation is slated to blast off for the International Space Station aboard a private cargo vessel on Dec. 15, then be deployed from the orbiting lab a month or so later, Planet Labs officials said.

 

Flock 1 is designed to deliver frequent, low-cost and high-resolution imagery of the planet that could help monitor deforestation, track natural disasters and benefit humanity in a number of other ways, company officials say.

 

 

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With two more satellites in orbit, Planet Labs prepares a “flock” for launch next month | NewSpace Journal

With two more satellites in orbit, Planet Labs prepares a “flock” for launch next month | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Planet Labs, the San Francisco-based commercial remote sensing company that launched its first two satellites in April and exited from stealth mode in June, now has two more satellites in orbit. However, the company is now looking ahead to the launch next month of an entire constellation of small imaging satellites.

 

A Dnepr rocket launched Thursday from a Russian missile base carrying a payload of more than 30 small satellites. Included in that launch were Planet Labs’s Dove 3 and Dove 4 smallsats, spacecraft based on the CubeSat form factor, about 30 centimeters long by 10 by 10 centimeters.

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SpaceX Delays Milestone Commercial Satellite Launch Due to Technical Glitch

SpaceX Delays Milestone Commercial Satellite Launch Due to Technical Glitch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The private spaceflight company SpaceX delayed the launch of its first commercial communications satellite mission Monday (Nov. 25) due to an unspecified technical glitch with the flight's Falcon 9 rocket.

 

SpaceX aimed to launch the Falcon 9 rocket at 5:37 p.m. EST (0027 Nov. 27 GMT) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to send the huge SES-8 communications satellite into orbit for its customer, the satellite operator SES World Skies. But apparent glitches with the rocket pushed the liftoff time back by nearly an hour before an issue on the Falcon 9's first stage forced SpaceX to call off the launch attempt.

 

"We observed unexpected readings with the first stage liquid oxygen system so we decided to investigate," SpaceX officials said in a statement. "The launch vehicle and satellite are in great shape and we are looking forward to the next launch opportunity on Thursday at 5:38 p.m. Eastern time (0038 Nov. 28 GMT)."

 

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