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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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Commercial spaceflight showed its ambitions in 2012

Commercial spaceflight showed its ambitions in 2012 | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

 

Sen looks back at the spaceflight highlights of 2012 including Skylon's SABRE engine development and Dragon becoming the first commercial spacecraft to visit the ISS.

 

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Texas spaceport backers look to state for help

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Texas space aficionados hope rockets will someday be launched into orbit from a beachside site near the U.S.-Mexico border, but a tight state budget and a previously frustrated attempt to land such a spaceport could complicate efforts.

 

Backers of a proposal to build a launch site at Boca Chica Beach, about 25 miles east of Brownsville, concede finding more money to lure California-based SpaceX to the state's southernmost tip will be a challenge.

 

 

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XCOR Aerospace Continuing To Hire For Midland Commercial Spaceport

XCOR Aerospace Continuing To Hire For Midland Commercial Spaceport | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

MIDLAND -- An aerospace company continues to grow its presence in the Permian Basin.

On July 9th, XCOR Aerospace officially announced that it would be bringing a commercial space research and development center to an area next to the Midland International Airport.

Renovations on the XCOR Aerospace headquarters are set to begin in early 2013.

 

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On Bryan Chan part 2

Bryan Chan, a star Aerospace Engineer and a valuable member of the Moon Express team sits down to share his role at Moon Express, his passion for aerospace and his vision for the future.

 

 

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Meet the Latest Start-up to Take on Space

Meet the Latest Start-up to Take on Space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A half-century ago, the Space Race was fought between nations. Today, that battle has a decidedly scrappier feel, with start-ups leading the charge.

 

One recent entrant is the Golden Spike Company, a Boulder-based start-up that plans to offer human expeditions to the moon. Earlier this month, the company announced that it would begin shuttling manned crews to the moon by 2020. There's only one small catch: The price of admission is about $1.4 billion for two passengers.

 

 

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Paul Allen's Stratolaunch moves toward 2017 test launch from KS

A billionaire-backed commercial space venture unveiled with fanfare a year ago has undergone a major change but continues to eye Kennedy Space Center as its eventual base of operations as it moves toward a 2017 test launch.

 

Stratolaunch Systems, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, is developing the world’s largest aircraft – boasting a wingspan longer than a football field – to carry rockets that would launch satellites from the sky, and possibly someday people.

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GLXP News: Earthrise Space Adds Rapid Machining as Sponsor | Parabolic Arc

GLXP News: Earthrise Space Adds Rapid Machining as Sponsor | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

ORLANDO, FLA., Dec. 19, 2012 (Earthrise Space PR) –Earthrise Space Inc., is proud to announce that they have gained Rapid Machining as a Suborbital Level sponsor. The Suborbital Level is the second-highest level that ESI has, making Rapid Machining a valuable member of the growing constellation of ESI sponsors.

 

ESI depends upon sponsors like Rapid Machining to help support the company’s efforts in pursuit of the Google Lunar X PRIZE. ESI’s “Sagan” rover is being designed to fulfill the requirements of the competition, which includes landing a privately-funded rover on the lunar surface, having it traverse 500 meters and then transmit data and images back to Earth. ESI could not complete these goals without these vital sponsorships.

 

 

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SpaceX’s entry into $70 billion U.S. launch market draws Lockheed jab

SpaceX’s entry into $70 billion U.S. launch market draws Lockheed jab | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Space Exploration Technologies, led by billionaire Elon Musk, is poised to break into the U.S. military’s $70 billion launch market after winning its first missions from the Pentagon.

 

The Defense Department on Nov. 27 directed the Air Force to end a launch monopoly held by the government’s two biggest contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. A week later, the service awarded the trial missions to Musk’s firm, known as SpaceX.

 

The Lockheed-Boeing venture has had a lock on the business for six years. SpaceX, which recently showed it could fly to the international space station, now has the opportunity to prove that its rockets are capable of launching satellites serving Pentagon planners, ground troops and the nation’s spies.

 

“The one market they have really yet to crack so far is the military launch market,’’ said Jeffrey Foust, a senior analyst at Futron, a technology consulting firm based in Bethesda. “They’re just starting to do that now.”

 

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The way God and Heinlein intended | Michael Belfiore

Grasshopper is SpaceX‘s reusable rocket. In a test flight last week at the company’s McGregor, TX proving grounds, the 10-story machine reached the height of a 12-story building before settling back to the launch pad on a jet of flame.

 

As science fiction writer Jerry Pournelle has pointed out, it’s the way God and his fellow sf writer Robert Heinlein intended rockets to land.

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When Dragon made commercial spaceflight a reality

When Dragon made commercial spaceflight a reality | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

(Sen) - 2012 was the year of the Dragon - the first private spacecraft to deliver cargo supplies to the International Space Station. It took SpaceX, the privately owned space business founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk, just10 years to design and build Dragon, and the rocket which launched it.

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Multi-Angle: Grasshopper 12-Story Test Flight 12/17/12

SpaceX's Grasshopper takes a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper, a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds. Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.

 

The 12-story flight marks a significant increase over the height and length of hover of Grasshopper's previous test flights, which took place earlier this fall. In September, Grasshopper flew to 1.8 meters (6 feet), and in November, it flew to 5.4 meters (17.7 feet/2 stories) including a brief hover.

Testing of Grasshopper will continue with successively more sophisticated flights expected over the next several months.

 

 

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SpaceX launches its Grasshopper rocket on 12-story-high hop in Texas

SpaceX launches its Grasshopper rocket on 12-story-high hop in Texas | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX's prototype Grasshopper rocket took one giant leap last week, rising to a 12-story height and settling back down safely on its landing legs at the company's Texas rocket test facility. Just for fun, the engineers let a dummy cowboy go along for the ride.

 

The Dec. 17 test flight at the pad in McGregor, Texas, was documented in a YouTube video released today — and discussed in a series of lighthearted tweets from SpaceX's billionaire founder, Elon Musk.

 

"To provide a little perspective on the size of Grasshopper, we added a 6-ft cowboy to the rocket. ... Then we took him for a ride," Musk wrote. So how did the cowboy fare? "No problemo," said Musk.

 

 

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Orbital Sciences Hits Key Milestones Toward ISS Cargo Flights | Parabolic Arc

Orbital Sciences Hits Key Milestones Toward ISS Cargo Flights | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

As the year draws to a close there are now three substantially complete Cygnus Service Modules in Orbital’s Dulles, Virginia Satellite Manufacturing Facility (see photo below). In addition to the integration and testing of the spacecraft, the program has achieved a number of key milestones in the last few months:

 

 

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Reda Anderson, RIP | Michael Belfiore

Reda Anderson, RIP | Michael Belfiore | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Pioneers are those brave enough to go where no one, or few, have gone before. Usually that involves taking a risk; if it were completely safe, the way would already be well-traveled.

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Orbital Sciences Poised For 2013 ISS Deliveries

Orbital Sciences Poised For 2013 ISS Deliveries | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Hurricane Sandy came and went in late 2012, as did many of the start up issues at Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), elevating the prospects that Orbital Sciences Corp. will complete its NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems program milestones in the New Year and begin lucrative cargo deliveries to the International Space Station.

 

A successful demonstration flight of Orbital’s two stage Antares rocket from MARS including an inaugural rendezvous of its Cygnus cargo craft with the six-person orbiting science laboratory targeted for April would bring the Dulles, Va., based company’s abbreviated five-year development effort under the COTS initiative to a successful close.

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ORBCOMM, SpaceX Reach New Agreement on OG2 Satellite Launches | Parabolic Arc

ORBCOMM, SpaceX Reach New Agreement on OG2 Satellite Launches | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

ORBCOMM and SpaceX have reached a new $42.6 million agreement on for the launch of 18 OG2 communications satellites aboard Falcon 9 rockets over the next 18 months. The satellites were originally scheduled to be launched by smaller Falcon 1e rockets, but SpaceX opted not to develop the launch vehicle.

 

ORBCOMM disclosed the new agreement in a regulatory filing. The deal replaces one worked out between the two companies in August 2009. The launches are scheduled to take place between the second quarter of 2013 and the second quarter of 2014.

 

 

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On Bryan Chan - part 1

Bryan Chan, a star Aerospace Engineer and a valuable member of the Moon Express team sits down to share his role at Moon Express, his passion for aerospace and his vision for the future.

 

 

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The Year's Most Audacious Private Space Exploration Plans | Wired.com

The Year's Most Audacious Private Space Exploration Plans | Wired.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It has been a remarkable and exciting year for commercial spaceflight companies.

 

Private asteroid mining! Commercial trips to the moon! Mars settlements! We barely had time to catch our breath from the last secret organization announcement when suddenly some other team was cropping up and declaring a bold new adventure in space.

 

“You had the unveiling of these really audacious business plans that at first blush you would dismiss as impossible,” said journalist and aerospace analyst Jeff Foust, editor and publisher of the space-industry-watching The Space Review. “But when you look at both the technical and financial pedigree of the people backing these systems, you step back and say, ‘Well, maybe there’s something here."

 

 

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Lockheed, SpaceX Trade Barbs | Slashdot

"SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was blunt about the source of the price difference between the companies: "The fundamental reason SpaceX’s rockets are lower cost and more powerful is that our technology is significantly more advanced than that of the Lockheed-Boeing rockets, which were designed last century." The Delta IV and Atlas V rockets of Lockheed-Boeing average about $464 million per launch, while SpaceX's Falcon 9 launches for $54 million. Its upcoming Falcon Heavy will go up for $80-125 million."

 

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Astronauts4Hire: Happy Holidays from A4H

Astronauts4Hire: Happy Holidays from A4H | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Reflecting back upon 2012, I am impressed by the strides Astronauts4Hire has made to firmly establish itself as an important leader in the commercial spaceflight industry. Our primary mission is to build the next generation astronaut workforce by providing skills training, networking, and other professional development opportunities to aspiring commercial astronauts. As a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, we rely upon the volunteer efforts of our members, generosity of our sponsors, and collaboration with our partners to meet our goals. With your help, we have achieved a lot in the past year, including:

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Washington Company Is Working to Mine Asteroids

Washington Company Is Working to Mine Asteroids | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The job description and title, “Chief Asteroid Miner,” are not what you are likely to come across on a job-search Web site. Besides, the position is taken. Chris Lewicki, the president of Planetary Resources, a company based in this city just east of Seattle, has it on his business cards.

 

“It’s certainly an audacious thing that we’re after,” said Mr. Lewicki, 38.

 

Lots of small start-up companies have stars in their eyes, captivated by entrepreneurial dreams — some half-baked, some brilliant, often a bit of both — of global success and riches. Here, at least the part about the stars is literal.

 

 

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SpaceX Grasshopper Test Reminiscent of DC-X, New Shepard

SpaceX revealed on December 23 that it conducted another successful test of its Grasshopper rocket on December 17.   This time the rocket rose 40 meters (about 120 feet), hovered, and vertically descended to land on the pad where it had just taken off. 

 

SpaceX posted a video of the 29-second test on YouTube.  Watching it is reminiscent of an earlier program, the DC-X, sponsored initially by DOD's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and later by NASA.

 

DC-X stood for Delta Clipper-Experimental and a later version, DC-XA, added "advanced" to the name.   McDonnell Douglas, one of the country's leading aerospace companies at the time, was the prime contractor on the project and renowned former astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad was the project's leader at the company.

 

 

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Single Camera: Grasshopper 12-Story Test Flight 12/17/12

SpaceX's Grasshopper takes a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper, a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds. Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.

 

The 12-story flight marks a significant increase over the height and length of hover of Grasshopper's previous test flights, which took place earlier this fall. In September, Grasshopper flew to 1.8 meters (6 feet), and in November, it flew to 5.4 meters (17.7 feet/2 stories) including a brief hover.

Testing of Grasshopper will continue with successively more sophisticated flights expected over the next several months.

 

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SpaceX’s Grasshopper successfully conducts a 40 meter leap | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX’s Grasshopper successfully conducts a 40 meter leap | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX’s ambitions of creating a full reusable launch vehicle have taken another step forward via the third – and most ambitious to date – test of their Grasshopper test vehicle. The 40 meter leap into the skies at their test facility in Texas – followed by a stable hover and smooth landing – was conducted without a hitch.

 

The Grasshopper – consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure – is aiming to blaze a trail towards what many people think is a near-impossible task, to create the world’s first fully reusable orbital launch system.

 

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Alan Stern on Bloomberg discusses Golden Spike

Alan Stern on Bloomberg discusses Golden Spike | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

 

Golden Spike CEO Alan Stern discusses a developing space venture. He speaks with Betty Liu on Bloomberg Television's "Money Moves." (Source: Bloomberg)

 

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