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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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Big week for commercial space flight, big week for Louisville-built Dream Chaser | The Denver Post

Big week for commercial space flight, big week for Louisville-built Dream Chaser | The Denver Post | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Just two days before the heralded return of SpaceX's Dragon capsule 560 miles off the coast of Baja California, a company much closer to home reached a critical milestone of its own in the commercial race to space -- albeit one done largely out of the glare of the media spotlight.

 

Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems, headquartered on the Colorado Technology Center campus in Louisville, passed one of the most complex tests it has faced in its attempt to launch a seven-person orbital vehicle -- called the Dream Chaser -- into space by 2016. Known as a captive-carry test, the effort required the 40-foot-long and 25-foot-wide Dream Chaser to be lifted by an Erickson Air-Crane helicopter into the skies above Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport and put through a battery of tests measuring its aerodynamic flight performance.

 

Last week's successful result paves the way for the sleek space plane to undergo autonomous approach and landing tests at Edwards Air Force Base in California this fall before finally heading skyward on an Atlas V rocket.

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SpaceX: Giving Berth, Hatching, Making a Splash

SpaceX: Giving Berth, Hatching, Making a Splash | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Is NASA's Orion capsule atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket the next big step? Will SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, reportedly with twice the carrying capacity of the Delta IV Heavy, eclipse NASA's plans? Should we reach toward an asteroid, the Langrange points, or Mars? No matter what the nation decides regarding the future of manned spaceflight, the success of Dragon these past couple of weeks have established that SpaceX will have a role to play in that future.

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Commercial Crew Vehicles Will Use New Docking Standard

Commercial Crew Vehicles Will Use New Docking Standard | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Before the SpaceX Dragon can begin carrying crews to the International Space Station (ISS), it must deliver a new docking mechanism that astronauts will affix permanently in the spot where space shuttles once connected to the orbiting laboratory.

 

That is good news and bad news for SpaceX. The company can add 750-1,000 lb. of payload to its commercial cargo manifest for the ISS. But any competitor with a docking mechanism that meets the emerging International Docking System Standard (IDSS) will also be able to use it.

 

“In the event that the crew needs to leave for some reason, you don't want to be dependent on a system on the ISS like the arm,” says Skip Hatfield, manager of the development projects office for the ISS program at Johnson Space Center (JSC). “You want to be able to jump in the thing and just depart, in case you're having a bad day, so to speak.”

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Colorado spaceplane results being sifted | 9news.com

Colorado spaceplane results being sifted | 9news.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

BROOMFIELD - Some 9NEWS tippers couldn't quite believe what they were seeing: a spaceplane soaring through the skies over Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport. And now the results from that spaceplane aerodynamic test are being analyzed by those who designed the craft.

 

The spaceplane so many people saw and marveled at earlier in the week, is the Dream Chaser Orbital Crew Vehicle being developed by the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) in Louisville.

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The Private Sector Will Take Us Where No Man Has Gone Before

The Private Sector Will Take Us Where No Man Has Gone Before | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Free Enterprise: The SpaceX Dragon capsule is back on Earth, having splashed down in the Pacific Thursday morning. Don't think this to be a trivial matter. It's the dawn of a new era of space exploration.

 

When the Dragon dropped into the water off the Baja California coast, it completed the world's first private spaceflight. Once the domain of a few governments, space travel is now officially and legitimately open to the private sector.

 

SpaceX isn't the only private space travel pioneer.

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As Dragon capsule splashes down, SpaceX begins to convert skeptics (+video)

As Dragon capsule splashes down, SpaceX begins to convert skeptics (+video) | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The first commercially owned and operated cargo craft to rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station ended its historic nine-day demonstration mission with a perfect spashdown in the Pacific Ocean Thursday morning local time.

 

Throughout its travels, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation's (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo craft carried more than cargo to and from space station. The flight also carried the aspirations of a new generation of aerospace companies hoping to expand humanity's access to space.

 

In many ways, the ambitious mission – though just a demonstration – represented a high-profile test of NASA's new direction. The agency in effect is turning over the keys to low-Earth orbit to the private sector. Under Geroge W. Bush, NASA moved in that direction for cargo. Under President Obama, it has expanded the goal to include humans as well.

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Interview with Rick Tumlinson , part 4 - Outreach & Inspiration | Moonandback

Interview with Rick Tumlinson , part 4 - Outreach & Inspiration | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Rick Tumlinson talks with Moonandback about how Earthlight can outreach to the public and inspire them about space exploration and settlement.

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Back on Earth, SpaceX planning more private flights to space

Back on Earth, SpaceX planning more private flights to space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX, the upstart Hawthorne company that shot a capsule to the International Space Station and back this week, won't have much time to savor its first major success.

 

The company, officially Space Exploration Technologies Corp., won international attention for being the first privately owned company to visit the space station, deliver cargo and return safely. Now that the U.S. has retired its fleet of space shuttles, the company wants to begin running regular cargo supply missions this year and eventually deliver astronauts there.

 

But that's just the beginning of the company's list of ambitious plans.

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Welcome Home, Dragon! Party like it's 1965... | Rocketeers

Welcome Home, Dragon! Party like it's 1965... | Rocketeers | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Congratulations to SpaceX and the NASA COTS office for the successful conclusion to the Dragon C2+ cargo resupply demonstration mission.

 

The conclusion of the Dragon C2+ mission has effectively reproduced all the unmanned technical milestones of the entire Gemini programme for approach, rendezvous and docking in a single flight, completely vindicating SpaceX's decision to amalgamate the planned C2 (flyby) and C3 (berthing) missions.

 

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Spaceships will follow Dragon's trail

Spaceships will follow Dragon's trail | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX's scorched Dragon cargo capsule is on a ship making its way back to Los Angeles after Thursday's historic descent from orbit.

 

The California-based company reported that the 14.4-foot-high (4.4-meter-high) spacecraft and its more than 1,300 pounds (620 kilograms) of cargo were in good shape, despite its plunge from the International Space Station.

 

A few items will be delivered to NASA officials with a 48-hour turnaround, as a demonstration of the procedure for returning time-sensitive cargo from orbit. But the Dragon itself and most of its payload will be taking a slower ride to the port of Los Angeles. Arrival is expected around June 6, depending on weather.

 

NASA and SpaceX released a slew of awesome pictures and video documenting the Dragon's return, via SpaceX's Zenfolio gallery as well as NASA's Flickr and YouTube accounts. Here's a selection:

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The Commercial Spaceflight Federation Highlights Some Recent Achievements in the Commercial Space Industry | Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation released the following statement from President Michael Lopez-Alegria today.

 

“This has been an incredible couple of weeks for the companies in the commercial spaceflight industry. Our members are working toward a common goal of opening spaceflight up to the public and expanding NASA’s reach, which will create high-tech jobs in the U.S. while building innovative technology that will improve life on Earth. SpaceX achieved a historic first, and in just the ten days while they were in orbit, many other companies hit milestones or announced new initiatives.”

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More Google Lunar X Prize Mergers Expected | SpaceNews.com

More Google Lunar X Prize Mergers Expected | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SAN FRANCISCO — Competition for the Google Lunar X Prize is heating up with the May 30 announcement of the first major acquisition of one team by another and widespread discussion among team leaders of additional mergers.

 

“We expect further partnerships and mergers as this year progresses and teams determine that joining forces may be one way to get ahead,” Alexandra Hall, Google Lunar X Prize senior director, said in a June 1 email.

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Boeing Receives Study Contract for On-Demand Small Sat Launcher | Parabolic Arc

Boeing Receives Study Contract for On-Demand Small Sat Launcher | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., May 31, 2012 – The Boeing Company has been awarded an 18-month study contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to evaluate technologies for on-demand small satellite launch systems.
Under the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) contract, worth about $4.5 million, Boeing will analyze affordable, aircraft-based satellite launch platforms that can quickly deploy small satellites or payloads of up to 100 pounds into any required orbit.

 

“We will apply experience from across Boeing in aircraft and launch system development and operation, as well as our proven rapid prototyping skills, to offer an innovative analysis to support this important DARPA mission,” said Steve Johnston, director of Advanced Space Exploration for Boeing Phantom Works. “ALASA will expand our knowledge of launch system solutions that can be integrated into existing operational aircraft with minimal modifications.”

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SpaceX: what their successful Dragon flight means

Congratulations to SpaceX for their successful first Dragon flight to the ISS and back to Earth!

 

This is a great achievement. But in and of itself it is only the beginning. It is not yet a breakthrough. It is only a demonstration that a breakthrough is possible...

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SpaceX Expects Falcon 9 Hat Trick To Open Door for US Military Payloads | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Expects Falcon 9 Hat Trick To Open Door for US Military Payloads | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — With the third successful flight of its Falcon 9 rocket, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) may find the door to a long-desired but recalcitrant customer cracking open — the U.S. military.

 

The Hawthorne, Calif.-based company nailed an ambitious test flight to send a Dragon cargo capsule to the international space station. That mission, which wrapped up successfully May 31 with Dragon’s splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, not only laid the groundwork for SpaceX to begin working off its 12-flight, $1.6 billion contract with NASA to fly space station cargo, it also demonstrated the rocket’s reliability, a condition for competing to launch U.S. national security payloads under guidelines unveiled last year.

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CSF Commends Sierra Nevada Corporation for the Successful Captive Carry Test of their Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle | Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Washington D.C. – Today, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) announced that they had begun their test flights for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program with a successful captive carry test of the full scale Dream Chaser Flight Vehicle in Colorado.

 

“The first full scale test flight of the Dream Chaser is a significant achievement for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program , displaying irrefutable progress towards crew transport capabilities from U.S. soil by demonstrating that concepts have turned into hardware,” said Michael Lopez-Alegria, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and former astronaut. “The captive carry test completes the 12th milestone for SNC under the second round of NASA’s CCDev program. This milestone-based competition between many highly capable teams is bringing out the best in the industry and providing NASA with affordable options to take crew to the International Space Station. I congratulate the team at Sierra Nevada Corporation, and all of their industry and NASA partners, on this success and look forward to many more to come.”

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Forget Facebook, SpaceX Success Has Market Thinking 'IPO' | StreetInsider.com

Forget Facebook, SpaceX Success Has Market Thinking 'IPO' | StreetInsider.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In April, Musk told Bloomberg that an IPO might be possible in 2013. However, with all the hype and interest around the recent success, many are wondering if the IPO could come sooner rather than later.

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Voices: SpaceX Showered in Praise for Dragon Space Capsule Success

Voices: SpaceX Showered in Praise for Dragon Space Capsule Success | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

With Dragon back on Earth, and its mission an unqualified success, the comments are pouring in from SpaceX officials, NASA, members of Congress and commercial spaceflight supporters.

 

Here's a look at just some of the reactions from the Dragon spacecraft's successful mission:

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Interview with Rick Tumlinson , part 5 - The Texas Space Alliance | Moonandback

Interview with Rick Tumlinson , part 5 - The Texas Space Alliance | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Rick Tumlinson talks with Moonandback about the status of the Texas Space Alliance and how policies can hold back progress without congressional support.

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Dragon Mission Report | NASA expects quick start to SpaceX cargo contract | Spaceflight Now

Dragon Mission Report | NASA expects quick start to SpaceX cargo contract | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The top NASA manager in charge of the agency's commercial cargo transportation program hailed SpaceX's demonstration flight to the International Space Station as a success and indicated approval for continued resupply missions under a $1.6 billion contract would be a mere formality.

 

Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of NASA's commercial cargo development program, said the flight looked to be 100 percent successful.

 

"We'll get a quick-look report from SpaceX next week, and then we'll await a final post-flight report several weeks later," Lindenmoyer said.

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The New Entrepreneur Classification System

The New Entrepreneur Classification System | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

While watching the SpaceX launch last week, it occurred to me that the term “entrepreneur” as a blanket definition had become woefully inadequate. How can one word properly define everyone from a guy who puts up a Launchrock page to Elon Musk? Surely there had to be a more precise way of defining an entrepreneur.

 

In the interest of saving the word “entrepreneur” as a useful descriptor, I propose the following classifications be affixed after the word the same way people use “MD” after their name. From now on entrepreneurs will be designated by the letters H, EBMP, FO, TRD, WC, and EM. Explanations for each classification are as follows.

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Falcon Heavy rocket, Dream Chaser vehicle move forward | Ars Technica

Falcon Heavy rocket, Dream Chaser vehicle move forward | Ars Technica | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Several big developments have taken place in the fledgling commercial space industry this past week, with big news from both SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation, the builders of the Dream Chaser reusable winged vehicle.


Via Artur Coelho
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What’s Next for New Space | The Daily Planet

What’s Next for New Space | The Daily Planet | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Now that SpaceX’s Dragon capsule has returned triumphantly to Earth, the idea that young, relatively inexperienced companies can play in the space big leagues—with far less NASA oversight than usual—gains credibility. The coming year will be a busy one for New Space, with several companies rolling out vehicles or beginning test flights after years of behind-the-scenes development. Here’s the current state of play:

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Elon Musk Unedited

Elon Musk Unedited | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Elon Musk and SpaceX is on a roll. I am glad to see it, but it is worth remembering how risky the space business is. As they say in the financial services industry, “past performance is not a guarantee of future results.” In any case, Musk’s critics owe him something more than silence. He and his team have proven an awful lot with this stunningly successful vanguard run to the ISS.

 

There is no doubt Musk thinks big. But more importantly, he takes action on his bold dreams. We talked about his vertical manufacturing philosophy, his plans for manned flight, the political battle he and other commercial space companies have endured, and his goal to homestead Mars.

 

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Government and Space: Lead, Follow, and Get Out of the Way

So what can our government do right now to support rather than impede the American-led opening of the grandest frontier of all time? And how does NASA stay relevant? Simple: Lead, follow, and get out of the way:

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