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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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The Commercial Spaceflight Federation Congratulates NASA and Commercial Industry Partners on Successful Berth with the International Space Station | Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Washington D.C. - The Commercial Spaceflight Federation applauds the hard work of the teams at NASA, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Aerojet Rocketdyne and all of the many contractors involved on the success of their second COTS demonstration mission. On September 18, an Aerojet Rocketdyne dual AJ26 engine system successfully boosted Orbital’s Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft. Today, Cygnus successfully berthed with the International Space Station and delivered approximately 1,300 lb. of cargo.

 

“With this launch, Orbital, Aerojet and their team have once again demonstrated the value of partnerships between the commercial spaceflight industry and NASA,” said CSF President Michael Lopez-Alegria. “Congratulations to the NASA and industry team; we look forward to many more successful flights.”

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Orbital's Cygnus Spacecraft Successfully Berths With The International Space Station

(Dulles, VA 29 September 2013) – Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that its Cygnus™ cargo logistics spacecraft successfully completed its rendezvous and approach maneuvers with the International Space Station (ISS) and was grappled and berthed with the station by the Expedition 37 astronaut crew earlier this morning. After Cygnus was launched into orbit by Orbital’s Antares rocket on Wednesday, September 18 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, it completed an extensive series of in-orbit tests and orbit-raising maneuvers demonstrating its readiness to operate in close proximity to the ISS. Final approach to the station began at about 3:00 a.m. (EDT) this morning, culminating with the station’s robotic arm grappling the spacecraft at 7:00 a.m. when it was about 10 meters away. Cygnus was then guided to its berthing port on the nadir side of the ISS’ Harmony module where its installation was completed just before 8:45 a.m.

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Falcon Launch Report | SpaceX to put Falcon 9 upgrades to the test Sunday | Spaceflight Now

Falcon Launch Report | SpaceX to put Falcon 9 upgrades to the test Sunday | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX plans to launch a souped-up version of its Falcon 9 rocket Sunday on a proving flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, testing upgraded engines and other systems designed to achieve the company's ambitious manifest of satellite launches, space station resupply missions and crewed expeditions.

 

The 224-foot-tall rocket, sticking out above the coastal hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is scheduled to blast off at 9 a.m. PDT (12 p.m. EDT; 1600 GMT) at the opening of a three-hour launch window.

 

The weather forecast is favorable, with an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions Sunday morning. The only concern is with the altitude of the cloud bases over Vandenberg.

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Orbital’s Cygnus successfully berthed on the ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com

Orbital’s Cygnus successfully berthed on the ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft made its second attempt to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday morning, resulting in a successful capture and berthing by the Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS). A week has passed since a discrepancy in the GPS data between the ISS and Cygnus resulted in the need to delay rendezvous and berthing, allowing Orbital controllers to uplink a line of code into the spacecraft’s software.

 

 

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Commercial Cygnus spacecraft makes first arrival at space station | collectSPACE

Commercial Cygnus spacecraft makes first arrival at space station | collectSPACE | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

September 29, 2013 — A private cargo spacecraft made a delayed but successful arrival at the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday (Sep. 29), becoming the first of a new type of commercial spaceship to rendezvous with the orbiting laboratory.

Orbital Sciences' inaugural Cygnus unmanned spacecraft approached the station from below, autonomously flying to within 40 feet (12 meters) of the sprawling complex before being grappled by the station's robot arm at 6:00 a.m. CDT (1100 GMT).

"Cygnus capture complete," said European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano, who was at the controls of the station's robotic arm when the Cygnus was captured.

 

 

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Pad 39-A Dispute Gets Personal | Parabolic Arc

Pad 39-A Dispute Gets Personal | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A cranky Elon Musk has lashed out at Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin and ULA for getting in the way of his plans to lease Pad 39-A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

 

In an email to Space News, the SpaceX CEO accused Bezos of using a “phony blocking tactic” in a rival bid to control the former space shuttle launch complex.

 

Blue Origin, which is backed by ULA, wants to convert the pad into a multi-use complex that can accommodate multiple launch vehicles while SpaceX wants the facility for its own use but has agreed to share it if Blue Origin can come up with an actual rocket to launch from it.

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Falcon Launch Report | Falcon 9 at Vandenberg | Spaceflight Now

Falcon Launch Report | Falcon 9 at Vandenberg | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX erected its upgraded 224-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket Friday on the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Featuring more powerful engines and larger fuel tanks than its predecessor, the Falcon 9 v1.1 will deliver Canada's Cassiope space weather research satellite to orbit. But the mission's primary objective is to demonstrate the upgraded Falcon 9 rocket, which will power resupply missions to the space station, launch commercial satellites, and ultimately deliver astronauts to orbit, SpaceX says.

The launch is scheduled for 9 a.m. PDT (1600 GMT; 12 p.m. EDT) Sunday from Space Launch Complex 4-East at the opening of a three-hour launch window.

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Where in the world is XCOR? | XCOR Aerospace blog

Where in the world is XCOR? | XCOR Aerospace blog | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In October XCOR will be back on the road at the following locations:

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Falcon 9 Launch Set for Sunday Morning | Parabolic Arc

Falcon 9 Launch Set for Sunday Morning | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"After burnout and separation, the first stage will fire three of its engines in an effort to make a controlled descent toward the Pacific Ocean. Prior to reaching the water, one engine will fire so the stage will 'impact the water with minimal velocity.'

 

"SpaceX eventually hopes to recover both Falcon 9 stages for multiple re-use. The company says if it succeeds, it will be able to radically reduce the cost of getting into orbit."

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'I'VE SAID TOO MUCH' – Richard Branson Let's It Slip That He's About To Announce Plans For 'Very Cheap' Space Travel

'I'VE SAID TOO MUCH' – Richard Branson Let's It Slip That He's About To Announce Plans For 'Very Cheap' Space Travel | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

When do we get to go to space?


Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic, was in New York earlier this week, promoting a do-gooders-in-business organization called The B-Team.

 

We used the opportunity to ask Branson about space travel for the 99%. Watch to see what he told us:

 

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Green light for Cygnus to re-approach ISS for Sunday berthing | NASASpaceFlight.com

Green light for Cygnus to re-approach ISS for Sunday berthing | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA managers have approved Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft for a second attempt to rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station. Cygnus required one line of code to be updated to its software, following a GPS discrepancy between the spacecraft and the Station. The successful action resulted in approval to press ahead with berthing on Sunday morning.

 

Following its successful launch on Orbital’s Antares rocket on September 18, Cygnus ably pressed through its opening COTS milestones designated to its ORB-D mission.

 

Closing in on the ISS from behind and below, the spacecraft continued towards the orbital outpost with no technical issues until a discrepancy in the GPS readings between the Cygnus and the ISS was noted.

 

 

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Private Cygnus Spacecraft's 1st Space Station Arrival Set for Sunday After Delay

Private Cygnus Spacecraft's 1st Space Station Arrival Set for Sunday After Delay | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A commercial cargo vessel's historic first arrival at the International Space Station is now set for Sunday (Sept. 29), one week later than originally planned, NASA officials say.

 

The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft, built by Virginia-based company Orbital Sciences, is expected to be grabbed by the orbiting lab's huge robotic arm at 7:15 a.m. EDT (1115 GMT) on Sunday, with docking operations beginning two hours later. You can watch all the action live at SPACE.com, courtesy of NASA TV; coverage begins at 4:30 a.m. EDT.

 

 

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More on Virgin’s Mojave event, and Branson’s “cheap” space plans | NewSpace Journal

More on Virgin’s Mojave event, and Branson’s “cheap” space plans | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“We do have another idea, which we’re going to announce in about four months’ time,” he said, “which will enable people to travel up to space very cheaply—not everybody, but quite a few people who never expected to go to space. We’re going to unveil that in about four months’ time.” Pressed for details, Branson demurred. “I always say too much. I’ve already said too much.”

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NASA Partner Orbital Sciences Completes First Flight to Space Station as Astronauts Capture Cygnus Spacecraft | SpaceRef

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) used a robotic arm to capture and attach a Cygnus cargo resupply spacecraft Sunday, marking several spaceflight firsts for NASA and its partner, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.

 

The station's Expedition 37 crew reported the spacecraft -- loaded with about 1,300 pounds (589 kilograms) of cargo -- berthed at 8:44 a.m. EDT, following an 11-day journey to the orbiting laboratory.

 

 

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The Rockets and Spaceships of SpaceX (Photos)

The Rockets and Spaceships of SpaceX (Photos) | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

 

See photos of Dragon, Grasshopper and other SpaceX rockets taken since the company was founded in 2002.

 

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SpaceX set to debut Falcon 9 v1.1 with Cassiope launch | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX set to debut Falcon 9 v1.1 with Cassiope launch | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX will launch the first flight of its new Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket Sunday, carrying an array of payloads including Canada’s CASSIOPE technology demonstration satellite. Liftoff will take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base during a three-hour window which opens at 09:00 local time (16:00 UTC).


The Falcon 9 v1.1 is a replacement for the original Falcon 9 – retrospectively called the v1.0.

 

It features stretched first and second stages, with a new engine arrangement on the first stage. Nine Merlin-1D engines, arranged in an octagonal pattern replace the square pattern of Merlin-1C engines flown on earlier missions. The launch is the eleventh flight of a Falcon rocket, the sixth Falcon 9 launch, and the maiden flight of the v1.1 configuration.

 

 

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Orbital's Cygnus Capsule Reaches Space Station | DNews

Orbital's Cygnus Capsule Reaches Space Station | DNews | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo ship reached the International Space Station on Sunday, the second commercial spacecraft to fly to the orbital outpost.

 

Cygnus’ 7 a.m. EDT arrival came a week later than originally planned, delayed first by a software glitch and then by the higher priority docking of a Russian Soyuz capsule with three new station crewmembers.

 

 

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Cygnus captured by the ISS | NewSpace Journal

Cygnus captured by the ISS | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

While it was a week later than planned, Sunday morning’s arrival of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s first Cygnus spacecraft went even better than planned. The spacecraft smoothly passed through a series of demonstrations as it maneuvered ever closer to the station. In fact, the arrival of Cygnus went so smoothly the capture of the spacecraft by the station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm took place 15 minutes ahead of schedule, at 7:00 am EDT (1100 GMT). There was one drawback to that efficiency: the capture took place during a gap in live video coverage, which meant early risers in North America who got up to watch the capture on NASA TV instead saw a computer animation driven by telemetry until video came back a couple minutes later.

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Orbital’s Cygnus making second attempt to berth with ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com

Orbital’s Cygnus making second attempt to berth with ISS | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft will make a second attempt to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) on Sunday morning. A week has passed since a discrepancy in the GPS data between the ISS and Cygnus resulted in the need to delay rendezvous and berthing, allowing Orbital controllers to uplink a line of code into the spacecraft’s software.

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SpaceX ready to test-fly new Falcon rocket

(Reuters) - Privately owned Space Exploration Technologies plans to test an upgraded Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday from a site in California as part of its push into the satellite launch market.

 

Previous versions of the Falcon 9 have flown five times from the company's launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

 

If the new rocket's debut goes well, SpaceX plans to return to Florida for the Falcon 9's first commercial mission, an SES World Skies communications satellite, later this year.

 

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Industry, FAA Look To Stay One Step Ahead of Congress with Draft Safety Document | SpaceNews.com

Industry, FAA Look To Stay One Step Ahead of Congress with Draft Safety Document | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In an attempt to forestall congressional direction of the process, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation has produced a 50-page list of safety practices that could serve as the cornerstone for future commercial human spaceflight safety regulations.

 

Formally known as “Draft Established Practices for Human Space Flight Occupant Safety,” the document is the result of information gathering that began last year when FAA officials started sitting in on monthly conference calls with the agency’s industry-led Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC). On these calls, representatives of commercial spaceflight companies discussed areas of their businesses that would be ripe for regulation, once the FAA is allowed to begin rulemaking in about two years.

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Virgin Galactic Now Aiming for Spaceflight in February | Parabolic Arc

Virgin Galactic Now Aiming for Spaceflight in February | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Virgin Galactic is now hoping to get SpaceShipTwo into space on a test flight in February, according to multiple sources who attended the company’s gathering of future astronauts in Mojave on Wednesday.

 

Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson told about 300 future passengers that February is the new target date for having the six-passenger spacecraft fly above the Karmen line located at an altitude of 100 km (62 miles).

 

One attendee said that Branson didn’t project a lot of confidence about the February date. Overall, the British billionaire seemed rather subdued during in his opening remarks to attendees, lacking some of the enthusiasm he had shown at previous Virgin Galactic events, sources said.

 

Others who are familiar with the troubled development of SpaceShipTwo’s hybrid engine were less confident in Branson’s prediction. A flight in February is possible, they said, but it might not occur in 2014.

 

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SpaceX to Launch Space Weather Satellite for Canada Sunday

A new space-weather satellite could help better protect Earth's infrastructure from damaging solar storms, officials from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) say.

 

The CSA's Cascade Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE for short) will keep an eye on the effects of solar particles when they hit the Earth's atmosphere. If all goes well, the CASSIOPE space weather mission should bring a wealth of scientific data, the mission's backers say.

 

CASSIOPE is expected to launch to a low-Earth orbit Sept. 29 riding atop the first flight of the private spaceflight company SpaceX's next-generation Falcon 9 rocket. The rocket will launch from SpaceX's launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, with the launch window opening at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). The satellite has a primary mission of 18 months; however, investigators hope to get five years of research completed before the satellite falls back through Earth's atmosphere.

 

 

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Cygnus Now Set for Sunday Berthing at ISS | SpaceNews.com

Cygnus Now Set for Sunday Berthing at ISS | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — Orbital Sciences Corp.’s supply-laden Cygnus tug is now scheduled to make its first delivery to the international space station (ISS) early Sunday morning (Sept. 29), several hours before rival cargo-delivery contractor Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) conducts an important but unrelated demonstration mission of its own. 

 

Cygnus, which launched Sept. 18 on its first and only NASA-sponsored demonstration mission, originally was scheduled to arrive last Sunday (Sept. 22) at the ISS but a miscommunication between the spacecraft and the station forced flight controllers to abort the rendezvous. After initially planning to try again Tuesday (Sept. 24), NASA and Orbital Sciences decided to stand down for the Wednesday (Sept. 25) launch and arrival of a Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three fresh crew members to the ISS and target a Cygnus rendezvous instead for no earlier than Saturday (Sept. 28).

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Busy Sunday on Tap for Space Aficionados: Cygnus, Falcon 9 v1.1 and Proton M

Sunday is shaping up to be a busy day in the space business with two significant launches -- one U.S., one Russian -- and a commercial cargo demonstration on tap.  All are subject to change, of course, but here's the line-up at the moment. 

 

Fortunately for the U.S. missions, Sunday is still FY2013 so they will not be affected by the gridlock over FY2014 funding.

 

 

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