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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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Orbital’s Antares: An eye on the present and the future | NASASpaceFlight.com

Orbital’s Antares: An eye on the present and the future | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Orbital are still hoping to launch their Antares rocket on its debut trip into space this coming week, despite an issue during its Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR). Elsewhere, the Castor 30XL upper stage motor – that will fly with Antares on later flights of the Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS – enjoyed a successful static fire in Tennessee.

 

Orbital are just days away from the debut launch of their new medium class rocket, having successfully conducted Wet Dress Rehearsals (WDR) – known as cold flow testing – ahead of the recent 7K hot fire test, in preparation for the A-One mission’s pre-launch flow.

 

The 27 second hot fire test proved to be successful, with a review of the results providing a green light to proceed towards this upcoming debut launch – a validation flight that will be the last major milestone ahead of the first Cygnus spacecraft mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

 

 

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What’s Robert Bigelow up to now with NASA? | NewSpace Journal

What’s Robert Bigelow up to now with NASA? | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In January, NASA announced it had reached a deal with Bigelow Aerospace to fly a prototype expandable module, called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), to the ISS in 2015. The agreement was hailed as a major partnership for both organizations: NASA gets to test technology that could be useful for future deep space exploration, and Bigelow gets to show off its technology before flying larger, standalone commercial modules. The two, though, may have even bigger plans in store.

 

On Thursday, Las Vegas City Life columnist George Knapp wrote that Bigelow and NASA have reached an “adventurous deal” that “reads like a Kubrick screenplay or an Arthur C. Clarke story,” he claimed. The two have agreed to study “a series of strategic goals and timetables” for future space exploration, up to and including bases on the Moon, led by private enterprise. “Bigelow’s company would become a clearinghouse of sorts,” Knapp wrote. “Its first assignment: to identify which other companies would be most valuable for NASA’s long-range goals.”

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Volunteers Line Up For Tito's Mars Flyaround

Volunteers Line Up For Tito's Mars Flyaround | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Inspiration Mars, the bold plan to send a man and woman on a 501-day trip around the Red Planet beginning in January 2018, reports individuals and industry are offering their services for the task, including “hundreds” of couples who have qualifications that would put them in the running.

 

“We have received emails from people saying we’d like to be considered when it’s time, and from amazing people, with phenomenal backgrounds that are very applicable,” said Taber MacCallum, Inspiration Mars chief technology officer and an experienced life-support engineer. “I think we’re going to be selecting from an incredible set of teams.”

 

Jane Poynter, MacCallum’s wife and co-founder with him of Paragon Space Development Corp., which is developing closed-loop life support for the mission, said among unofficial applicants have been couples who have sailed around the world together on multiyear voyages, and others who have wintered over in Antarctica.

 

 

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Google Lunar X Prize Race Tightens | Parabolic Arc

Google Lunar X Prize Race Tightens | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

For all of you Google Lunar X Prize fans who have spent the last five years on the edge of your seat wondering who was going to win this slow motion race to the moon (and you know who you are),  things got a bit clearer after last week’s global team summit in Chile attended by 20 of the 23 competitors.

 

According to an entry on the prize’s blog, four teams have announced launch contracts for sending their rovers to the lunar surface:

 

 

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SpaceX, USAF Launch Talks Nearly Complete

SpaceX, USAF Launch Talks Nearly Complete | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is nearly finished negotiating the details of its first two contracts providing launch services to the U.S. Air Force.

 

Talks for its Falcon 9 v1.1 launch of NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (Dscovr) satellite and a Falcon Heavy flight lofting the Air Force’s Space Test Program (STP-2) satellite should be wrapped up by the end of the month, SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell tells Aviation Week. Dscovr is slated to boost in November 2014, with STP-2 to follow in September 2015.

 

Each of these flights will be one of three successful missions required for SpaceX to gain certification from the U.S. Air Force to boost future national security payloads. Both vehicles will rely on the yet-to-be-proven Merlin 1D. The Air Force has already set aside roughly $100 million for the Dscovr mission and another $162 million was being eyed for the STP-2 mission when Space X won the contracts in December.

 

 

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How to Catch an Asteroid: NASA Mission Explained (Infographic)

How to Catch an Asteroid: NASA Mission Explained (Infographic) | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

An audacious plan included in NASA’s 2014 budget proposal would send a robotic spacecraft out to capture an asteroid and hall it back to an orbit around the moon for study. One of NASA’s stated goals is to visit an asteroid by the year 2025.


A 2012 Keck Institute study described an Asteroid Capture and Return (ACR) spacecraft capable of intercepting an asteroid. A 50-foot (15 meters) capture bag would enclose the asteroid and allow the spacecraft to maneuver the rock in space by firing its rocket engines.

 

 

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NASA touts plan to grab asteroid as 'unprecedented technological feat'

NASA touts plan to grab asteroid as 'unprecedented technological feat' | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA says it will begin work on an ambitious mission to capture a near-Earth asteroid and bring it to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system as part of the agency's overall $17.7 billion agenda for the coming year.

 

The budget request for fiscal year 2014, unveiled on Wednesday, also aims to get U.S. astronauts back to flying on U.S.-based spaceships by 2017, launch the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope by 2018 and send another rover to Mars by 2020.

 

 

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Deep Space Industries calls for NASA to work with private sector on asteroid initiative

Deep Space Industries calls for NASA to work with private sector on asteroid initiative | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

HOUSTON, Texas – (April 9, 2013) – NASA’s new project to retrieve and study a small asteroid represents an opportunity to do things a new way in space, says Deep Space Industries.  NASA’s asteroid plans, if coupled with private sector initiatives, will be a great start to understanding both the threat and promise of space objects – saving taxpayer funds while also helping kick start a new U.S.-led commercial space industry.

 

“As we have just seen, asteroids are a real and present danger, but they also hold the promise of vast resources,” said Deep Space Chairman Rick Tumlinson. “We need to understand them, yet in the current fiscal climate we also need to do so on a budget, and show something for our investment – and that means involving the private sector from the start.”

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Lyle Upson's comment, April 11, 2013 6:15 AM
this seems to be a good path to see unfold
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Private Space Taxi Plan Safe from Sequester, NASA Chief Says

Private Space Taxi Plan Safe from Sequester, NASA Chief Says | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the budget for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, an effort to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard privately owned spacecraft by 2017, is safe from sequestration — for now.

 

"So far, we see no significant impact the rest of this fiscal year," Bolden said March 28 during a media conference call about Space Exploration Technologies Corp.'s (SpaceX) recently completed cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station. "But our projection is that if we are not able to get out of this condition, it may slow progress on commercial crew."

 

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ISPCS 2013 to address the risk and reward of commercial spaceflight | SpaceRef

ISPCS 2013 to address the risk and reward of commercial spaceflight | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The 2013 International Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) will focus on strategies for managing the risks and reaping the rewards of the rapidly evolving commercial space industry, officials announced today. Keynote speakers and panelists at the ninth annual symposium will explore best practices that increase yield and decrease costs with attention to the present and future applications that modern society needs. Closely coupling science and technology development with market demand is necessary as our industry addresses risk assessment and management. Discussions will address realistic expectations and timeframes for achieving the rewards as commercial space transportation continues to justify early investments.

 

 

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Former NASA Astronaut Lee Archambault Joins Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser® Team

Former NASA Astronaut Lee Archambault Joins Sierra Nevada Corporation's Dream Chaser® Team | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Sparks, NV – April 8, 2013 – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is proud to announce that former NASA astronaut Lee Archambault has joined the Dream Chaserteam as a chief systems engineer and test pilot.  In his new position, Archambault will be responsible for planning and execution of multiple aspects of Dream Chaser’s flight test programs and the design of the crew interfaces in the Dream Chaser cockpit. 

 

"As a crew member on two Space Shuttle missions to the International Space Station (ISS), I was honored to be part of a great NASA team that has made the United States the leader of manned spaceflight,” said Archambault. “Now, as a member of SNC’s Dream Chaser team, I hope to contribute to the design, development, and test of the next U.S. built and launched crewed spacecraft, providing transportation to the ISS for our astronauts.  I believe the Dream Chaser will be the safest, most reliable, and preferred method of travel to and from low Earth orbit for years to come."

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Move over NASA and make room for the TVA of space: A model for accelerated commercial space development | The Space Review

Move over NASA and make room for the TVA of space: A model for accelerated commercial space development | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The change in NASA strategy to encourage commercial space development is already bearing fruit, with successful launches by SpaceX and the formation of an increasing number of commercial space development firms. However, notwithstanding these early successes, NASA is far from being an ideal vehicle for advancing commercial development of space.

 

Space pioneers such asteroid mining companies Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources; Golden Spike, which plans commercializing lunar exploration; and Bigelow Aerospace would be joined by many other firms doing even more exciting things if financing were available and if there were a clear legal framework for space industrial development.

 

The US can take the global lead in commercial space development through the formation of a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of space development to accelerate space industrialization.

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Lyle Upson's comment, April 11, 2013 6:22 AM
I found this to be a revolting read ... a global space communism in place of commercial progress
Stratocumulus's comment, April 13, 2013 3:20 AM
Interesting. I'll have to read all of this then. TVA took place during FDR's presidency. Many still accuse him of socialism.
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Photos: Orbital Sciences' 1st Antares Rocket Test Flight

Photos: Orbital Sciences' 1st Antares Rocket Test Flight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it
See photos of Orbital Sciences' first Antares rocket ahead of its April 2013 test flight.
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Lyle Upson's comment, April 11, 2013 6:25 AM
exciting, go Antares
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SpaceShipTwo creates a cool contrail – first blastoff coming soon

SpaceShipTwo creates a cool contrail – first blastoff coming soon | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane successfully glided through a test on Friday that sent oxidizer flowing through its engine — a sight that led observers to speculate that the suborbital spacecraft's first powered flight could be imminent.

 

SpaceShipTwo have been tested in the air for more than three years. Its hybrid rocket engine has undergone extensive development and testing, including multiple test firings on the ground. But the rocket has not yet been lit up in flight — and that's a crucial step in Virgin Galactic's plan to put tourists in outer space.

 

Based on rumblings coming from Mojave, Calif., where Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites have been testing the six-passenger plane, the first powered test flight could come on April 22. Virgin's British billionaire founder, Richard Branson, hinted that something big was coming in a weekend blog posting: "I look forward to seeing you all in Mojave soon," he wrote.

 

 

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Media Extravaganza Could Slash Private Moon Mission Costs

Media Extravaganza Could Slash Private Moon Mission Costs | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Good news for all you frugal travelers out there: A private startup's manned moon missions could end up costing around $500 million per seat instead of the originally advertised $750 million.

 

The Golden Spike company, which aims to start flying paying customers to the lunar surface and back by 2020, has pegged the cost of these two-person trips at about $1.5 billion. But the company plans to bring the per-seat ticket price down considerably by staging an Olympics-like media spectacle around each mission.

 

"We think that we can lower the effective ticket price, by selling the air time, the naming rights and the merchandising rights to these missions, by between 20 and 30 percent — by creating that other revenue stream and sharing it with our customers," Golden Spike president and CEO Alan Stern told reporters Thursday (April 11) at the 29th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

 

 

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News – SpaceShipTwo Advances Towards Powered Flight with Spectacular “Cold-Flow” Test | Virgin Galactic

News – SpaceShipTwo Advances Towards Powered Flight with Spectacular “Cold-Flow” Test | Virgin Galactic | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

History continues to be made in the skies above the Mojave Desert. Hot on the heels of last week’s nitrous venting and feather test, SpaceShipTwo achieved another successful first today with a spectacular “Cold Flow” flight.

 

The test objectives were successfully met, advancing another important step towards powered flight.

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Bigelow Aerospace: To infinity — and beyond!

Business deals don’t get much bigger than this one. Have you ever read a contract that gives a governmental green light to a program to “place a base on the surface of the moon?” Ever see an agreement signed by the U.S. government that declares a specific goal “to extend and sustain human activities across the solar system?” Me, either.

 

Yet that is essence of an adventurous deal already reached between NASA and Las Vegas space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow. An official announcement is still a few days away and will likely happen during a news conference at NASA headquarters. In the meantime, I have a draft copy of what could be an historic contract, one that reads like a Kubrick screenplay or an Arthur C. Clarke story. It is flat-out otherworldly.

 

 

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Inspiration Mars FISO Presenation : No Pressure for SLS

Inspiration Mars FISO Presenation : No Pressure for SLS | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Inspiration Mars made a presentation to the Future In Space Working Group last Wednesday,  and wasted little time in dispelling reports that NASA is applying heavy pressure to select the Space Launch System as the launch vehicle.  The presentation, complete with audio, can be found here,  and it is certainly worth a listen.

 

What emerges is a refreshing picture of what many in the space community wishes would take place with the U.S. and other national space agencies as well.   Having determined that a certain desirable goal is feasible, in this case a circumnavigation of Mars with a low energy, free return trajectory,  Inspiration Mars is methodically, but expeditiously wading through the alternatives,  the “trades” to make it happen.

 

 

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Allen Taylor's curator insight, April 11, 2013 3:38 PM

Could the successful high-speed re-entry of a Dragon-class returning Inspiration Mars spacecraft expose the Orion spacecraft as redundant and too massive to return from Mars without burning up?

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Boeing progressing on CST-100 space capsule

Boeing is making progress on the CST-100 capsule, intended to fly astronauts to the International Space Station.

 

"Our next milestone we've got planned is in July, for the orbital manoeuvring and control engine developed by Rocketdyne," says John Mulholland, Boeing's programme manager. "We've already done some early demonstration tests of that, this would be the final demonstration before their critical design review, which is later in the fall."

 

In addition to orbital manoeuvres, the engines will be used for emergency aborts during ascent aboard the Atlas V launch vehicle, and retrofiring to slow the capsule from orbital velocity to initial re-entry speed.

 

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Virgin Galactic's feathered spaceship flexes its wings

Virgin Galactic's feathered spaceship flexes its wings | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

(Sen) - With another successful glide test under its belt, all eyes are on Virgin Galactic's next major milestone: turning the engines on to power its suborbital spaceship.

 

SpaceShipTwo soared over the Mojave Desert last week in another glide test, breaking free of its carrier spacecraft WhiteKnightTwo and touching down safely after running some tests in the air.

 

Among them was another test of the spaceship's "feathers", which are rudders that turn up to 90 degrees during the re-entry to increase the drag and add control to the spacecraft.

 

"We’re happy to report that all of yesterday’s test objectives were successfully met," Virgin Galactic stated.


"This was her 24th glide flight and the 6th in-flight test of her patented feathered re-entry system," it added. "The flight test team also successfully verified SS2’s nitrous loading and venting system, another key milestone on the way to our first powered flight."

 

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Paragon SDC to Develop Inflatable Space Habitat with NASA SBIR Award | Parabolic Arc

Paragon SDC to Develop Inflatable Space Habitat with NASA SBIR Award | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA has selected Paragon Space Development Corporation of Tucson for two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards to develop technologies for inflatable space habitats and the regeneration of oxygen for crews on their way to the moon and Mars.

 

“Paragon Space Development Corp (Paragon) and Thin Red Line Aerospace proposes to explore the utilization of inflatable structures by designing a habitation module as an integrated, all-fabric inflatable structural architecture, rather than modifying rigid space structural designs with an inflatable envelope,” according to the proposal summary. “Paragon and TRLA have developed several concepts with the potential to eliminate the need for hard-material support structure within an inflated habitat.”

 

 

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CST-100 Review Clears Way For Wind Tunnel Testing

CST-100 Review Clears Way For Wind Tunnel Testing | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Boeing is set to begin detailed wind tunnel tests of its Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) spacecraft following a successful preliminary design review of the launch vehicle adapter structure.

 

The CST-100 is designed to carry crews to the International Space Station as well as take space tourists to the Bigelow Aerospace orbital space complex, and could make its first test flight as early as 2016.

 

Completion of the review marks a key milestone for Boeing, which is developing the CST-100 under a Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) agreement with NASA. Boeing, along with competitors SpaceX and Sierra Nevada, was awarded a contract for this follow-on phase to the Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev-2) program last August.

 

 

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County space port authority holds first meeting

County space port authority holds first meeting | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The Cameron County Space Port Development Corp. was launched Monday when its board of directors held its first meeting at the Dancy Building.

 

The purpose of the non-profit body is to facilitate establishment of the aerospace industry in Cameron County, starting with the rocket launch site that Space Exploration Technologies founder Elon Musk aims to build. Despite competition from Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico, Texas is the leading contender for the project, Musk has said.

 

 

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Is Mars for Sale?

Is Mars for Sale? | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Early explorers risked their lives to reach the ends of the world, but not purely for the advancement of mankind. In reality, their bravery was motivated by one very powerful prospect: the possibility of wealth, be it treasure or land.

 

Today, Mars is our land beyond the horizon — a territory that can only be reached by plunging off the edge of our flat, incomplete map. But just like setting sail to the unknown West, sending a human to Mars is enormously expensive, not to mention dangerous, perhaps even deadly.

 

But even with the clear risks, people are sinking millions into private Mars colonization projects. Will they eventually pull a King Ferdinand and claim Martian land as their own?

 

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The uneasy state of NASA’s human space exploration program | The Space Review

The uneasy state of NASA’s human space exploration program | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Next Monday marks the third anniversary of what will likely be President Obama’s signature speech on space policy. On April 15, 2010, Obama spoke at the Kennedy Space Center and outlined his administration’s space exploration goals, formally setting aside the Vision for Space Exploration’s goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2020. In its place, Obama set goals of sending humans to a near Earth asteroid by 2025 and to Mars orbit a decade later, with a landing some time after that; the then-49-year-old president said, “I expect to be around to see it.”

 

In the intervening three years, NASA has struggled to sell that vision of a human asteroid mission to both the space community and the general public. There remains some skepticism that it is, or should be, the goal of the agency’s human spaceflight program: they note that NASA has yet to identify—and may not yet have even discovered—the asteroid to be visited by that mission, and see little sign of preparations for it beyond the development of the Orion crewed spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket. Will a new initiative expected to be in the administration 2014 budget request, due out Wednesday, change that?

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