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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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SpaceX Readies for Launch; Showdown Over Dragon Capsule Seat

If all goes as planned, the commercial spaceflight company SpaceX will launch its Dragon capsule into low-Earth orbit and dock with the International Space Station on Saturday. Miles O'Brien fills us in on the details of the mission, the engineering challenges and the other spaceflight companies vying for a chance at delivering cargo and people to low-Earth orbit.

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Rocket Launch Saturday Is One Giant Leap for Commercial Spaceflight

Rocket Launch Saturday Is One Giant Leap for Commercial Spaceflight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

With the launch of the first privately built spacecraft to the International Space Station just days away, the commercial spaceflight industry is on the verge of a defining moment.

 

Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX is slated to launch its unmanned Dragon capsule to the space station on Saturday (May 19) from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The demonstration flight will test the spacecraft's ability to haul cargo to and from the orbiting outpost. If successful, SpaceX will become the first company to rendezvous and dock a privately built vehicle to the space station.

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Q&A: Commercial Spaceflight Federation President on Historic SpaceX Launch

Q&A: Commercial Spaceflight Federation President on Historic SpaceX Launch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

This is part of a series of Wired Q&As with spaceflight experts leading up to SpaceX’s launch.

 

Today we have Michael Lopez-Alegria, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, a commercial space advocacy group representing about 50 companies. Prior to this position he was a pilot for the U.S. Navy and worked for nearly 20 years as an astronaut. He flew on three Space Shuttle missions and spent a record 215 days aboard the International Space Station.

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A Big Deal | Space KSC

A Big Deal | Space KSC | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

How big a deal is the SpaceX Dragon launch scheduled for Saturday May 19?

 

On the scale of American spaceflight, comparisons can be drawn to various historical firsts, but let's begin with some context.

 

Since the retirement of the Shuttle — announced in January 2004 and planned for after completion of the International Space Station — the United States has lacked a domestic option for delivering cargo and crew to the ISS.

 

Cargo delivery was not an immediate concern. The STS-135 Atlantis flight was added by the Obama administration to build up supplies until the commercial cargo vehicles were ready.

 

Other ISS partners have a cargo capability — Russia (Progress), Japan (HTV-2) and the European Space Agency (ATV). None of those vehicles, however, has the capability of returning a payload to Earth from the ISS. They all burn up on re-entry.

 

The Dragon capsule was initially designed with the eventual intent of being a crewed ship, so a safe soft landing was always planned.

 

This, then, is why the Dragon mission is "a big deal."

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The Flight of the Dragon | The Once and Future Moon

The Flight of the Dragon | The Once and Future Moon | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

If things go according to plan Saturday, the world will witness SpaceX launch its first Dragon cargo supply mission to the International Space Station. As this flight has been heralded as the dawn of a new age in spaceflight – a paradigm shift in the way the spaceflight is approached – it is appropriate to step back for some reflection and perspective on what this flight may or may not represent. As noted by many, this particular cargo flight has a lot riding on it – with overarching concern for success (even if a bit unfair), created in part both by vociferous advocacy and excessive public pronouncements.

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SpaceX poised for high-stakes space station launch

SpaceX on Saturday aims to become the first private company to send its own cargo ship to the International Space Station, a feat that only a handful of world governments have pulled off.

 

The high-stakes mission is scheduled to begin before dawn Saturday (4:55 am, 0855 GMT) with the launch of the unmanned Dragon spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

 

The bid, if successful, would catapult the company owned by billionaire Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk even further ahead in the race to fill the void left by the shuttle program's end last year and restore America's access to space.

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Q&A: Space Historian on Historic SpaceX Launch

Q&A: Space Historian on Historic SpaceX Launch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

This is part of a series of Wired Q&As with spaceflight experts leading up to SpaceX’s launch.

 

Today we have David Portree, a historian of space exploration who runs Beyond Apollo on the Wired Science Blogs. He has authored books about spaceflight, including Humans to Mars: 50 Years of Mission Planning, Walking to Olympus: an EVA Chronology, NASA’s Origins and the Dawn of the Space Age and Mir Hardware Heritage.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Viewing Guide

SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Viewing Guide | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

When it comes to viewing launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, some places are better than others. Cape Canaveral covers a lot of real estate, so a location that is good for watching one type of rocket lift off might not necessarily be the best place for watching another.

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Interview with Ben Brockert, part 1 - The STIG Rocket | Moonandback

Interview with Ben Brockert, part 1 - The STIG Rocket | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Ben Brockert, an Engineer for Armadillo Aerospace, talks with MM about the developement and experience they have gained with the STIG Rocket.

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FAA public hearing on SpaceX draws hundreds in Brownsville

FAA public hearing on SpaceX draws hundreds in Brownsville | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

BROWNSVILLE — Hundreds of people turned out Tuesday for a public hearing on SpaceX’s proposal to build a satellite launch site in Cameron County, and virtually all comments from the public showed support for the project.

 

Dozens of people took the microphone and all supported the venture, according to Gilberto Salinas, spokesman for the Brownsville Economic Development Council. A few people voiced concerns for wildlife in the area.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration hosted Tuesday hearing to help assess the proposal by Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, for a launch pad in Cameron County. The gathering, held at the ITEC Center, attracted an estimated 500 people, all seeking information or wanting to offer comments.

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Starship Entrepreneur nears zero hour

Fancy a trip into space? You could be queuing at the departure gate within a year or two - provided you have a cool $200,000 or so to spare.

 

Only about 500 people are estimated to have left Earth's atmosphere but, if the forecasts are right, soon there will be more private citizens bobbing around in zero gravity than satellites.

 

The first trickle of space tourists in coming years will experience weightlessness in suborbital space, but future flights are expected to orbit Earth, rendezvous with space stations, circumnavigate the moon and even touch down at luxury space hotels.

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SpaceX Dragon blasting off to Space Station this Saturday

SpaceX Dragon blasting off to Space Station this Saturday | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

On Saturday, SpaceX will send its Dragon capsule spiraling all the way up to the International Space Station, approximately 230 miles above the surface of the earth – the first time a commercially-built, private spacecraft has linked up with the orbiter. In a press release, representatives for SpaceX called the mission a "milestone," which could help yield "rapid advances" in space transport.

 

"This is a demonstration mission, a test flight primarily designed to provide NASA and SpaceX with valuable insight to ensure successful future missions," the SpaceX team wrote.

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Private Space Taxi Builders Ponder Future Beyond NASA

Private Space Taxi Builders Ponder Future Beyond NASA | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The private spaceflight company SpaceX is poised to launch a robotic capsule toward the International Space Station Saturday (May 19) on a test flight that, if successful, could be a watershed moment for the commercial space industry. But while SpaceX has a NASA contract to provide cargo deliveries to the space station, the company and other private spaceship developers are looking to a future beyond NASA funding.

 

The Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX is one of several aerospace firms who are competing for NASA funding under the third and final phase of NASA's commercial crew development program. Proposals for this stage of the competition, called Commercial Crew integrated Capability(CCiCap), require companies to present a complete launch system — rocket and vehicle — for consideration.

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Q&A: Former SpaceX Executive on Historic Launch

Q&A: Former SpaceX Executive on Historic Launch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

This is part of a series of Wired Q&As with spaceflight experts leading up to SpaceX’s launch.

 

Today we have Lawrence Williams, the former vice president for strategic relations at SpaceX, one of its founding executives and a current SpaceX shareholder. Before Williams left the company in 2012 to develop his own technology and aerospace business development firm, called Capture10, he helped transform SpaceX from a $10 million company into one with a $3.5 billion a revenue base.

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Space Station's Robotic Cargo Ship Fleet (A Photo Guide)

Space Station's Robotic Cargo Ship Fleet (A Photo Guide) | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Take a tour of the robot cargo ship fleet for the International Space Station in this spaceship photo tour.

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After This Weekend's Launch, Here's What's Next For SpaceX | Forbes

After This Weekend's Launch, Here's What's Next For SpaceX | Forbes | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After a few minor delays, the SpaceX Dragon is waiting for its chance on Saturday to be the first private spacecraft to berth with the International Space Station. If all goes well, this will be a huge step forward for both SpaceX and for private space exploration generally. But that huge step will only be a first step. And while Elon Musk mentioned to me last month that he hopes one day to send a craft to Mars, there’s a lot of work between now and then. Here’s a few things that the company has on its plate:

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Commercial cargo & crew critiques fall short | RLV and Space Transport News

I enjoy David Portree's writings on 60s Space Age topics but he needs to do some serious catching up on near term space history: Q&A: Space Historian on Historic SpaceX Launch - Wired Science/Wired.com.

 

And while Portree mixes things up, Paul Spudis leaves most of the important things out: The Flight of the Dragon - The Once and Future Moon.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 launch: SpaceX ready to launch to space station

SpaceX Falcon 9 launch: SpaceX ready to launch to space station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

After months of delays, SpaceX hopes to launch its Dragon capsule atop its Falcon 9 rocket on a test flight to the space station that might include delivery of supplies.

 

The mission calls for the Dragon, SpaceX and its president, Elon Musk, to go where no private company has gone before. It's also a critical test of the Obama administration's decision to rely on commercial spacecraft to supply the space station.

 

"It's a huge step. And it's a huge step toward trying to reduce the cost of space flight," said space policy expert Howard McCurdy, professor of public affairs in the public administration and policy department at American University in Washington, D.C.

 

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From Astronaut-Hero To Space-Trucker: The Human Spin on Space Commercialization | Forbes

From Astronaut-Hero To Space-Trucker:  The Human Spin on Space Commercialization | Forbes | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The cast of “Alien,” in Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi blockbuster, may actually be more akin to future space-farers than our citizen heroes from NASA's Apollo era.

 

We all hope that there are more glory moments in our future, with a manned trip to Mars and scientific colonies on the moon. But the recent announcement by Bellevue, Wa.-based Planetary Resources, Inc. that it plans to mine Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) could also be a step in the right direction. As the startup company, backed in part by Google billionaires Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, notes, a solitary 500-meter asteroid could potentially reap the equivalent of all the Platinum Group Metals ever mined here on earth.

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SpaceX Launching Student Experiments and Emblems on 1st Space Station Flight

SpaceX Launching Student Experiments and Emblems on 1st Space Station Flight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Students' science experiments are about to make history, launching to space on the first attempt by a U.S. commercial company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).

 

And like many other historic space projects, the students' payloads packed on board SpaceX's Dragon capsule have their own specially-designed mission emblems, which are also flying to the orbiting laboratory.

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America’s New Space Race | The Amplifier - Georgia Tech Experts on Current Issues

America’s New Space Race | The Amplifier - Georgia Tech Experts on Current Issues | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA’s approach for development of a Space Shuttle replacement is to facilitate the success of a strong U.S. commercial space sector intent on building American spacecraft to open the space frontier to economic activity. I think this is a great plan. We’ve seen similar approaches work across other modes of transportation, where the U.S. government is the pioneer and technological leader that, at the appropriate point, transitions technological capability to commercial industry to grow and expand into that frontier. In implementing this transition now, a new space race has begun.

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Photos: SpaceX Set for Historic Launch to Space Station

Photos: SpaceX Set for Historic Launch to Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

See photos of SpaceX's preparations to launch an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station in May 2012.

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XCOR Announces Lynx Trip Winner | Parabolic Arc

XCOR Announces Lynx Trip Winner | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Mojave CA, May 16, 2012 (XCOR PR): XCOR Aerospace today announced the grand prize winner of a trip aboard the Lynx Mark I suborbital launch vehicle. XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson made the announcement at the Spacecraft Technology Expo (STE) in Los Angeles, CA.

 

“About two months ago, we were at an event called the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, where together with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) we gave away a suborbital flight,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson. “We had a winner, and we had a backup. Unfortunately our main winner was unable to accept the prize. Our backup winner, Jennifer Brisco, is now the official recipient of the suborbital flight.”

 

“It’s been my lifetime goal to take a suborbital flight,” said Jennifer. “This is an absolute dream…I am in shock right now, I am speechless.”

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SpaceX Re-Schedules Space Station Launch: Here's How You Can Watch

SpaceX Re-Schedules Space Station Launch: Here's How You Can Watch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

You can check out spacex.com, where the company will webcast the launch, complete with commentary from SpaceX corporate HQ. The webcast will start about 40 minutes before launch and will go until the Dragon separates from the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket.

 

NASA TV will cover the event starting at 12:30am Saturday morning. Spacevidcast and SpaceFlight Now may also cover the launch as well (they have covered a number of launches live in the past, but we make no guarantees.).

 

For all the specifics on the upcoming launch make sure to check out the official SpaceX COTS 2 Mission Press Kit (pdf).

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Private Rocket Launch Saturday May Herald New Commercial Spaceflight Era

Private Rocket Launch Saturday May Herald New Commercial Spaceflight Era | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A turning point for private spaceflight looks to be on the horizon.

 

The commercial rocket builder SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, Calif.) is preparing to launch the first privately built vehicle to the International Space Station this week. If it succeeds, it will be a milestone event in the history of space exploration. However, the firm and NASA warn against placing too much importance on one test flight.

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