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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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Private Liberty Rocket and Spaceship Pass Key NASA Test

The new commercial Liberty rocket and space capsule being developed by aerospace firm ATK have passed a key NASA test and are on track to launch astronauts into orbit by 2015, company officials announced today (July 17).

 

ATK completed an in-depth review of the Liberty launch system, which consists of a rocket and a seven-passenger space capsule. The review was the last of five milestones required under the unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA) ATK inked with NASA during the second phase of the agency's Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev-2).

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Private Space Exploration a Long and Thriving Tradition

Private Space Exploration a Long and Thriving Tradition | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

With the U.S. space-shuttle program over, companies and governments are rushing to privatize travel into the cosmos. This spring, Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, launched a capsule that docked with the International Space Station -- the first commercial space vehicle to do so.

 

In the desert of New Mexico, Virgin Galactic is preparing for the first suborbital space flights for paying customers, with actor Ashton Kutcher one of the latest to sign up for the privilege. In Huntsville, Alabama, Stratolaunch Systems Inc. is busy dismantling Boeing 747s, hoping to use their engines and other systems to build the world’s largest plane, which will help propel a new spacecraft into flight.

 

All three projects have wealthy entrepreneurs backing them: PayPal Inc. co-founder Elon Musk is the head of SpaceX, U.K. billionaire Richard Branson is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., and Paul G. Allen, the co- founder of Microsoft Corp., started Stratolaunch last year.

 

The three men might not know it, but they’re following in a grand tradition of private wealth furthering advances in rocketry and space exploration.

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Virgin Galactic Portraits Film

An exclusive insight behind the scenes of some of the key Virgin Galactic Team.

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ATK Completes Final Milestone Under Commercial Crew Space Act Agreement | Parabolic Arc

ATK Completes Final Milestone Under Commercial Crew Space Act Agreement | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

ARLINGTON, Va., July 17, 2012 (ATK PR) – ATK successfully completed the last Liberty space transportation system milestone under the company’s unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA for the Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev-2).

 

The final milestone under the SAA was a Program Status Review (PSR) for the Liberty system. During the PSR, the Liberty team presented NASA with detailed progress of the program, including integrated master schedule, DAC cycle status, system requirements, software status, flight test plan, system safety review, ground processing certification plan and schedule for initial operation capability.

 

The CCDev-2 Liberty SAA enabled NASA and the Liberty team to share technical information related to theLiberty transportation system during the preliminary design review phase of the program. ATK completed five milestones and held three Technical Interchange Meetings, all on internal funding.

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Texas warms to NewSpace | The Space Review

Texas warms to NewSpace | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

One of the most commonly used tools by local and state governments to support economic development efforts is the incentive package. Cities and states will put together grants, low-interest-rate loans, tax holidays, or other incentives to induce companies to move existing facilities or establish new ones in their locales. The hope is that the up-front costs of those incentives will be paid back—and then some—through jobs and, eventually, tax revenue, as well as intangibles like civic pride.

 

From that perspective, it’s not surprising that localities are now offering incentives to lure emerging entrepreneurial “NewSpace” companies. Yet, the announcement last Monday, July 9, that XCOR Aerospace would establish its headquarters and research & development center in Midland, Texas, thanks to an incentive package offered by a local development corporation, took many by surprise. That astonishment is in part linked to the company, which has been closely tied to the California town of Mojave since its founding over a decade ago, as well as the unexpected selection of Midland, a city not associated with spaceflight. The bigger story, though, may be that Texas, a state once largely indifferent to NewSpace, is showing increased interested in such ventures, and that interest is being reciprocated by companies.

 

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Rockets of Human Space Flight

Rockets of Human Space Flight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Crewed space vehicles of the recent past and the recent future.

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How the Lunar X Prize Is a Preview of the New Space Age

How the Lunar X Prize Is a Preview of the New Space Age | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Never mind the fact that the Google Lunar X Prize teams won't launch their crafts until 2015. Those teams are already meeting extremely high demand for their still-hypothetical moon missions as different organizations lobby for space onboard.

 

"Our first mission payload is oversubscribed and our second is fully subscribed," said Alan Stern, director of the Florida Space Institute and chief scientist for the Google Moon Express team. "There are a number of market segments for commercial lunar travel."

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SPACE RACE - Mining's giant leap | CNBC Business

SPACE RACE - Mining's giant leap | CNBC Business | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Private enterprise is shooting for the stars at the moment.

 

But while California-based SpaceX celebrates the docking of its Dragon capsule with the International Space Station, others are intent on making astronomical profits from the minerals in heavenly bodies.

 

US company Planetary Resources - backed by Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot and former Microsoft chief architect Charles Simonyi, among others - is planning to extract water and platinum-group metals (PGMs) from near-Earth asteroids. If that weren't ambitious enough, it then wants to convert the water into hydrogen and oxygen, use these elements to make rocket fuel and transform the asteroids into filling stations.

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Gallery: Google Lunar X-Prize Teams

Gallery: Google Lunar X-Prize Teams | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The Google Lunar X Prize is an international challenge to land a robot on the lunar surface, have it travel at least 1,650 feet (500 meters) and send data and images back to Earth.

 

The first privately funded team to do all of this before the end of 2015 will receive the $20 million grand prize. An additional $10 million is set aside for second place and various special accomplishments, bringing the prize's total purse to $30 million.

 

Here's a look at the 25 teams left in the competition as of July 2012:

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SpaceX completes Dragon spacecraft design review | Orlando Business Journal

SpaceX completes Dragon spacecraft design review | Orlando Business Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA partner Space Exploration Technologies — SpaceX — has completed its design review for the Dragon spacecraft, which is designed to carry astronauts into low Earth orbit, including to the International Space Station.

 

SpaceX is one of several companies working to design spacecraft with crew transportation capabilities under the Commercial Crew Development Round 2 agreement with NASA's commercial crew program.

 

The goal of the commercial crew program is to make spaceflight services available to commercial and government customers.

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Lucky Big Bang Theory Fan Wins Trip into Space Aboard XCOR’s Lynx | Parabolic Arc

Lucky Big Bang Theory Fan Wins Trip into Space Aboard XCOR’s Lynx | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SAN DIEGO and BURBANK, Calif., July 13, 2012 (WB PR) — In what will certainly go down as the ultimate Comic-Con giveaway, Warner Bros. Television awarded one lucky fan of The Big Bang Theory a truly out-of-this-world trip … INTO SPACE aboard XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx RLV (Reusable Launch Vehicle) at the show’s panel session in Hall H at Comic-Con: International San Diego today, Friday, July 13, 2012.

 

Mercedes Becerra of Paso Robles, Calif. was the lucky winner. The winning golden ticket was contained in a silver envelope that Becerra was given when she entered the conference room for a panel discussion about The Big Bang Theory.

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Space-related job seekers flood Sierra Nevada event in Brevard

Space-related job seekers flood Sierra Nevada event in Brevard | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

COCOA BEACH — Job hunters hoping for a shot at work on a next-generation human spacecraft resembling a miniature shuttle filled a hotel conference room and lined hallways here Thursday morning.

 

“I’m encouraged there’s so many good and talented people available, but it’s sad that there are so many people that are looking for work that have been helping our nation’s space program in the past,” said Jim Voss, a former astronaut who heads development of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s winged Dream Chaser spacecraft. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to help a little bit.”

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Commercial space flight shows reignited interest in the Air Launch system | NASASpaceFlight.com

Commercial space flight shows reignited interest in the Air Launch system | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Virgin Galactic unveiled their new air launch system – called LauncherOne – this week, classing it as a “revolution” in space access for small satellites. However, the concept of carrying one’s rocket to a high altitude, prior to “dropping” the vehicle and lighting its engine, isn’t new, yet appears to be gaining renewed interest – with LauncherOne announced just half a year after another air-launcher, Stratolaunch, was revealed to the public.

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Listner: DON'T Kill All The Lawyers, They're Needed As Uses of Space Evolve

Michael Listner, a lawyer, humorously urged the space community yesterday not to follow Shakespeare's advice to "kill all the lawyers." Recounting a litany of thorny legal issues that may arise as collisions in space become more likely and flights into space of ordinary citizens on commercial vehicles become commonplace, for example, space lawyers will be needed more than ever.

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Texas Space Alliance Brings Together Governor, Commercial Space Companies | Parabolic Arc

Texas Space Alliance Brings Together Governor, Commercial Space Companies | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

AUSTIN, TX, JULY 18, 2012 (TXA PR) – The Texas Space Alliance (TXA) and the office of the Speaker of the House are pleased to announce the meeting in Austin between Governor Rick Perry and numerous representatives of the nation’s top new commercial space firms. The TXA team brought together representatives from SpaceX, XCOR Aerospace, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), Armadillo Aerospace, NanoRacks, Celestis, and ATK Liberty to talk about the needs of Commercial Space, and what Texas can do to fully embrace and nurture this vital, fledgling new industry.

 

“We’ll defer to historians on where this goes in the books, but this is the first time ever that representatives from so many commercial (NewSpace) firms have gathered in one place to share their support for our shared vision for the future of Texas in space, and communicate that to the Governor,” said Bob Lancaster, TXA President. “Definitely a significant milestone in the history of Texas.”

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Mission Highlights: SpaceX's Dragon Makes History

On May 25, 2012 SpaceX made history when the Dragon spacecraft became the first privately developed vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station. Previously only four governments -- the United States, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency -- had achieved this feat. This video features highlights from the mission.

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Commercial crew providers aplenty (part 2) | The Space Review

Commercial crew providers aplenty (part 2) | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The success of SpaceX to rendezvous its Dragon capsule with the International Space Station this past May as part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program would appear to give the young aerospace company a head start in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (C3P). But as noted last week (see “Commercial crew providers aplenty (part 1)”, The Space Review, July 9, 2012), other companies are involved in the competition, including established aerospace firms like ATK, who is partnered with EADS Astrium on the Liberty system. And they are not the only major aerospace companies involved in the commercial crew competition.

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CCiCap Announcement Coming Soon | NASA Watch

CCiCap Announcement Coming Soon | NASA Watch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The announcement of who will get selected for the next round of CCiCap could be as early as later this week, though more likely next week. The question is who will get funded. We know that NASA can select up to three companies to fund, two fully, one half funded. NASA does not need to select three companies. But based on previous NASA statements you could argue they will select three companies. One important factor is the funding level available to them. What do you think? Who will get funded? Vote in our poll.

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Attaining the unobtainable

Attaining the unobtainable | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The voyage into space once seemed like something out of a science fiction novel. Luckily, it’s now becoming a reality, and is approaching at lightning speeds. With many private space firms evolving rapidly, and at a staggering pace, our future involving the final frontier is heading towards that of a booming industry in space tourism. By turning the idea of space travel away from primarily government based missions, and towards independent and private companies, we are enabling a broader audience to be reached and impacted.

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Tom Mueller’s SpaceX Debrief | Moonandback

Tom Mueller’s SpaceX Debrief | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In its fall 2011 issue, Loyola Marymount University’s LMU Magazine conducted a pre-flight interview with Tom Mueller M.S. ’92, SpaceX vice president of propulsion development, who earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University’s Los Angeles, California campus. They asked Mueller for a post-mission debriefing. He was interviewed via email by Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.

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Has NASA Decided to Continue Funding Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser? | Parabolic Arc

Has NASA Decided to Continue Funding Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser? | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Sierra Nevada Corporation has ramped up the hiring process for its Dream Chaser program in advance of a scheduled NASA announcement of the next round of commercial crew funding. Dream Chaser is in the running for additional development funds.

 

The company held jobs fairs in Houston and Cocoa Beach, Florida last week specifically to recruit employees for Dream Chaser. The interesting aspects here are both the specificity of the recruitment (for Dream Chaser) and the timing. The press release announcing the recruitment sessions was distributed via PRNewswire on July 6, only four days before the event in Houston and six days before the one in Florida.

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GLXP News: Omega Envoy Partners with Florida Space Institute | Parabolic Arc

GLXP News: Omega Envoy Partners with Florida Space Institute | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

ORLANDO, FLA., July 10, 2012 (Omega Envoy PR) –Omega Envoy, the Florida team competing in the Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP), and its parent company, Earthrise Space Inc. (ESI) are proud to welcome the Florida Space Institute (FSI) as a new partner. FSI will provide critical test and spacecraft integration equipment for the team’s use. This will include the use of a clean room, as well as vacuum and thermal chambers.

 

“We at the Florida Space Institute support the goals of the Google Lunar X-Prize and are proud to be helping Earthrise Space accomplish its ambitions,” said Florida Space Institute Director Dr. Alan Stern.

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SpaceX a step closer to crew transportation

SpaceX a step closer to crew transportation | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

(Sen) - The design review of the crewed version of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft has completed successfully. Dragon, which recently delivered cargo to the space station, is being adapted to carry crew into orbit and the company hopes it will be ferrying astronauts by 2015.

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Private Manned Space Capsule Passes Major Review

Private Manned Space Capsule Passes Major Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The crewed version of SpaceX's Dragon space capsule has passed a key design review, moving one step closer to carrying astronauts into orbit, NASA officials announced Thursday (July 12).

 

In the review, which was conducted June 14 at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., company officials gave NASA details about every phase of a potential crewed Dragon mission to the International Space Station.

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United States Rocket Academy Welcomes XCOR Aerospace to Texas

(Dallas) The United States Rocket Academy welcomed this week’s announcement that XCOR Aerospace will establish a new Commercial Space Research and Development Center in Midland, Texas.

 

“Texas is on the verge of becoming the Space State,” said United States Rocket Academy chairman Edward Wright. “XCOR will be the fourth company testing fully reusable suborbital rocketships in Texas.”

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