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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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Luminox Watches to Fly on SXC Lynxs From Curacao | Parabolic Arc

Luminox Watches to Fly on SXC Lynxs From Curacao | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

BASEL, March 6, 2012 (SXC PR) – Luminox, the watch brand that pioneered the use of self-powered illumination in timepieces, is announcing a partnership with commercial spaceliner SXC during Baselworld, from March 8 to March 15, 2012.

 

Luminox watches have been requested and supplied to a long list of special forces that work in the SEA, AIR and LAND, and now adds a 4th dimension – SPACE. Luminox has been part of the Essential Gear by U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Air Force Stealth Pilots, SWAT teams, Police and rescue organizations around the world, and Underwater explorers, and now will be worn by the Astronauts (and passengers) of the SXC Spaceships as a new series of special timepieces are being developed that can withstand the incredible G-Forces and weightlessness encountered in spaceflights.

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Has suborbital’s time finally arrived? | The Space Review

Has suborbital’s time finally arrived? | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Those who have followed the emerging commercial reusable suborbital launch industry over the last several years have been stuck in a waiting game. The various companies that comprise the industry would talk about the progress they’re making and promise that, in a year or two, they’d be ready to fly to space. A year or two later, they’d say, well, something similar. The future was tantalizingly just out of reach, it seemed.

 

The feeling in the industry today, though, it a little different. Yes, companies still talk about the progress they’re making, and their plans for flights in the next year or two sound familiar. Those plans, though, seem firmer now, thanks to the technical and financial progress these companies have made. The future of low-cost suborbital spaceflight for tourism, research, and other applications might finally be just around the corner.

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NASA Awards Moon Express New Task in $10M Commercial Lunar Data Contract | SpaceRef

Moon Express, a Google Lunar X PRIZE contender, announced today that it has won an additional task order from NASA under its Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) Program contract. The newest task order in the $10M ILDD contract calls for Moon Express to provide NASA with data about the company's progress through a Preliminary Design Checkpoint Technical Package that documents details of mission operations, spacecraft development, payload accommodations and Planetary Protection Plans.

 

Silicon Valley-based Moon Express was one of only three U.S. companies awarded the first $500K Task Order under NASA's ILDD program. Successful completion of the newest task order will bring the company's ILDD awards to $610,000. Although an important substantiation of NASA's interest in commercial lunar providers, the ILDD contract represents a fraction of the investment needed to execute a commercial lunar mission. The majority of Moon Express funding is coming from private investors and is supplemented by revenues from payload customers.

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The Spaceship Company announces qualified aerostructure suppliers to build Virgin Galactic spaceships | SpaceRef

MOJAVE, Calif. The Spaceship Company (TSC), the aerospace production joint venture of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites, continues to make strides in making commercial space travel a reality with the qualification of three primary aerostructure suppliers. Each approved company is now officially qualified to fabricate structural composite components for the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo space tourism vehicles.

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Dear NASA: Split the Difference with Congress on Commercial Crew

Dear NASA: Split the Difference with Congress on Commercial Crew | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Dear Administrator Bolden:

 

On Wednesday, March 7, you go into the lion's den twice in one day, with hearings before both House and Senate committees. You're probably going to get beat up over the Commercial Crew program (CCDev) . Again. And there's mischief afoot to push a single “dream team” which sounds like code for “Boeing (News - Alert)/ULA continued launch monopoly.”

 

While I appreciate the thought that NASA would like to keep as many companies as possible in the next round of the Commercial Crew program, it is time for some more “tough choices.” Some vendors -- unfunded or not -- will have to be cut

 

Congress and the media need to hear three key points on March 7:

 

1) Near-term -- within 3-4 years -- U.S. manned launch capability to low earth orbit, weaning our access to the $100 billion International Space Station from dependency from a sole source, foreign supplier.

 

2) American hardware, American jobs, American manufacturing to insource the capability -- because we're the only country on the block that can do it.

 

3) Competition keeps vendors innovative and price sensitive. Moving to a single “dream team” -- whatever decodes to -- will end up removing any incentives vendors have to be price competitive.

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Interview with CEO of Sol-X, Blaze Sanders (Part 1)

Michael Clark (@OTmikhail) speaks with Blaze Sanders, the CEO of Sol-X and Lead project manager for the Jurban Team competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize.

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Huntsville debate includes NASA & commercial space | RLV and Space Transport News

Space policy in Congress is pretty much determined by a handful of senators and representatives from states and districts containing large NASA centers and contractors. As we've seen for the past couple of years, familiarity with local space activity, however, doesn't equate to even basic knowledge, much less expertise, on important space issues.

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Mars exploration versus commercial crew? | Space Politics

On Wednesday Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) director John Holdren appeared at a hearing of the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. The hearing was held in a location without webcasting capabilities, so there was limited coverage of the event. Those reports, though, suggest that a battle may be brewing in Congress between preserving the administration’s requested funding for NASA’s commercial crew program and restoring funding for the agency’s Mars exploration program.

 

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GLXP News: Team FREDNET Gets New Lunar Data Task Order From NASA | Parabolic Arc

GLXP News: Team FREDNET Gets New Lunar Data Task Order From NASA | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Huntsville, AL/Scotts Valley, CA (Team FREDNET PR) –NASA awarded Team FREDNET – The Open Space Society Inc. a new Task Order in its $10 million Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) contract. Under the ILDD program, NASA purchases information derived from the program development and subsequent robotic operations on the surface of the Moon. The $100,000 task order brings total funding under the ILDD contract thus far to $110,000.

 

Team FREDNET intends to launch its first earth-orbital and lunar landing mission to a lunar near-equatorial site before the end of 2015. The final landing sites under review provide excellent opportunities for tangential observation of past Apollo and Surveyor lunar surface sites, while providing excellent coverage for high bandwidth communications and ample solar power for their Mission’s anticipated 4-day operations. Team FREDNET’s first and subsequent commercial lunar missions offer valuable payload opportunities to qualified investors.

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Rocket Passes Big Test for 1st Private Launch to Space Station

Rocket Passes Big Test for 1st Private Launch to Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A private SpaceX rocket sailed through a dress rehearsal Thursday (March 1) for the launch of the robotic Dragon space capsule, which could blast off toward the International Space Station as early as next month.

 

The five-hour launch readiness test, held at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, went through full countdown procedures, including fueling, for the next Dragon test flight, which is slated for late April. It was designed to check out any potential issues with SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, Dragon and associated ground systems.

 

SpaceX officials were pleased with the results.

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Interorbital Systems To Lift SpaceDiver On Record Attempt | Moonandback

Interorbital Systems To Lift SpaceDiver On Record Attempt | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

MOJAVE, Calif. — German SkyDiver/FreeFlyer Olav Zipser will ride a specially modified Interorbital Systems rocket to 131,000 ft., then dive back to Earthin an attempt to break Joe Kittinger’s 102,800 ft. high-altitude jump record.

 

Olav will forego the previous balloon-lift method used by the current record-holder, and, instead, will jump from an Interorbital Systems’ SR 145 rocket. The launcher will propel Olav to an altitude of over 40 kilometers (about 25 miles)—higher than any manned balloon can possibly go—where he will eject from the launch vehicle and FreeFly back towards Earth. Zipser explained, “This initial record attempt will be the first of a whole program of increasingly higher dives, culminating with a FreeFly reentry from above the Karman line (100km), from a real space altitude. This is not a stunt. This is a research mission.”

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Dragon Mission Report | Falcon 9 rocket fueling test completed at Cape Canaveral | Spaceflight Now

Dragon Mission Report | Falcon 9 rocket fueling test completed at Cape Canaveral | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX loaded more than 75,000 gallons of liquid propellant into the Falcon 9 rocket Thursday for a pre-launch countdown test designed to wring out any issues with the launcher, ground systems and support teams before the mission blasts off to the International Space Station as soon as late April.

 

Thursday's countdown served as practice for SpaceX and an exercise of all the equipment needed on launch day. A brief ignition of the Falcon's nine first stage Merlin engines is scheduled a few days before liftoff.

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Peter Diamandis Talks to TED

Peter Diamandis Talks to TED | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

X PRIZE'S CEO, Peter Diamandis, gave a keynote TED talk yesterday about the abundance of the future via the accessibility of technology growing exponentially. He recently released his book "Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think", which hit number one on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and is using it as a platform to raise global awareness regarding the potential uses of technology to spread information and education to every able mind.

 

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: How Space Exploration Can Make America Great Again

Neil deGrasse Tyson: How Space Exploration Can Make America Great Again | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Neil deGrasse Tyson is not pleased with the plight of NASA. After the agency's decades-old space shuttle program was shuttered last year -- ending the kind of low-Earth orbit exploration that the astrophysicist and Hayden Planetarium director jokes "boldly went where man had gone hundreds of times before" -- Tyson believes America is at a critical moment for future space exploration.

 

Maybe that's why he originally wanted to call his new book Failure to Launch: The Dreams and Delusions of Space Enthusiasts. (After publishers balked at the depressing title, it was renamed Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.) Over the last few decades, Tyson writes, Americans deluded themselves into believing misconceptions about space travel, and, as a result, the purpose and necessities of a space program are now misunderstood.

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Space Chronicles | The Space Review: Review

Space Chronicles | The Space Review: Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Over the last several years Neil deGrasse Tyson has become arguably not just the best-known communicator of astronomy to the general public, but also of science overall. His essays and books, his work as the host of PBS’s NOVA scienceNow, and his various media appearances, have made him one of the leading voices of science to the American public today. His wit, intelligence, and media savvy demonstrate that he is the natural heir to the late Carl Sagan and the natural choice to host the remake of Sagan’s iconic Cosmos series that is currently under development.

 

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SpaceX on the launchpad of a new era in space transport

SpaceX on the launchpad of a new era in space transport | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

More than 50 years after the space age began, the final frontier is at last opening wide to private enterprise. And at the forefront of these new commercial operations is SpaceX, a company so ambitious that it is setting its sights as far as Mars.

 

Having successfully built and launched their own rocket designs into space, Space Exploration Technologies Corp, to give them their full name, have won NASA funding & contracts to develop and service future US transport to orbit.

 

A key test to come this year will be an unmanned flight by SpaceX's own spacecraft capsule, called Dragon, on a test run to the International Space Station (ISS).

 

If all continues to go well, other Dragons will later roar into space as America's regular shuttle replacement, carrying astronauts and supplies to the orbiting outpost.

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Project at Carnegie Mellon is to put a robot on moon

Project at Carnegie Mellon is to put a robot on moon | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

William "Red" Whittaker is still shooting for the moon.

 

But Whittaker, a Carnegie Mellon University robotics professor and CEO of Astrobotic Technology Inc., says his team has pushed back its plans to land a robot on the moon by a year — to May 2015 — to tailor a robot suited to the expedition's new destination: the lunar south pole.

 

The CMU/Astrobotic team is competing to claim a portion of a multimillion-dollar prize for landing a robot on the moon. The team's new plan calls for a robot prospector to drill for ice samples at the moon's south pole to try to confirm the existence of water there, a possibility lunar orbiters and a lunar penetrator have strongly suggested in recent years.

 

"It is high-risk and high-return," Whittaker said.

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Boeing CST-100, space minivan | Michael Belfiore

Boeing CST-100, space minivan | Michael Belfiore | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“When we looked at the requirement set from our customer [NASA], and they said ‘Well, we want something that’s safe and affordable, cost-effective, reliable,’ we knew these technologies already existed. We already knew the blunt capsule that we saw on Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, that the Russians use, are proven technologies. So we went with that to provide them what they want. They didn’t want a Cadillac, they really just wanted a minivan to get back and forth.”

 

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John Kelly: We should all cheer SpaceX success

SpaceX took another step this week toward flying the first-ever private spacecraft to the International Space Station.

 

The countdown rehearsal at the company’s launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was a big deal. It didn’t get a ton of news media attention. There was some buzz in the aerospace industry about it.

 

Every step toward the flights of the half-dozen or so new space transportation systems under development by private companies and NASA is a big deal. These are turning points in human space exploration.

 

Am I rooting for SpaceX to succeed in launching its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station? You bet and, honestly, the rest of the space industry ought to be, too. Yes, the companies that are working to develop these new systems in some ways ought to be competitive. That will drive innovation and the kinds of time and cost savings that will advance space travel.

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Space Exploration with Neil deGrasse Tyson

"The space program is not just about going into space; it is the tentpole of America's revitalization of science."

 

Editor Gideon Rose interviews author Neil deGrasse Tyson about the purpose of and reasons for funding the U.S. space program. Dr. Tyson, an astrophysicist, author, and director of the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium, explains how national aspirations for space exploration lead to concrete social and political benefits--economic growth, educational development, student engagement, innovation in other fields, and national security. Such accomplishments take time, so presidents and policymakers must make decisions affecting the space program with a much longer term in mind.

 

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A United Vision for Space

A United Vision for Space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It's been a couple of weeks since the NASA budget came out and fingers are still pointing as to who screwed up where, whose program ate what budget and why, and why is mine being singled out while yours is being kept alive? Meanwhile, in partial answer to that question, congressional staffers and their bosses are madly walking the halls, working to get this or that "must have for our national future in space" local jobs program funded or refunded, and the lobbyists are out in full force, fanning out to make sure their bosses make good money off our dreams.

 

Those convinced the administration of President Barack Obama is killing the space program as they knew it gather around opposition candidates in hopes they will get back into power, as NASA centers and directors keep their old Constellation, Ares and Orion brochures out and on display, awaiting the good ol' days when the idea of circumnavigating the Moon a la Apollo 8 some 50 years after it was done the first time was sufficient to keep the job force growing and cash flowing.

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SpaceX finishes crucial dress rehearsal before space station launch

SpaceX finishes crucial dress rehearsal before space station launch | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket due to launch the first commercial flight to the International Space Station (ISS) has passed a crucial launch simulation.

 

Called a 'wet dress rehearsal,' the simulation saw the rocket and its Dragon capsule rolled onto the launch pad and fuelled at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Launch operators then simulated a full countdown until the point at which the main engines would ignite.

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SwRI co-sponsored Next-Generation Suborbital Research Conference a success, breaks records | Southwest Research Institute

San Antonio — March 2, 2012 — The 2012 Next-Generation Suborbital Research Conference (NSRC-2012), held Feb. 27–29 in Palo Alto, Calif., set attendance and corporate sponsorship records that show an accelerating interest in the field by researchers, educators and commercial firms. NSRC was jointly organized by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and NASA's Ames Research Center.

 

"NSRC-2012 was the third annual NSRC conference we've held," said Dr. Alan Stern, the meeting convener and associate vice president of SwRI's Space Science and Engineering Division. "We had more than 400 people in attendance this year and 34 funding sponsors. Registrants came from 16 countries on six continents. Additionally, more than 120 oral and almost 20 poster presentations were made.

 

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Falcon 9's fueling test builds confidence

Falcon 9's fueling test builds confidence | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule will return to their Cape Canaveral hangar today after Thursday’s practice countdown for a possible late-April launch to the International Space Station.

 

“The test went well,” said SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Grantham. “Over the coming days, we will continue to review the data as we prepare for our upcoming mission.”

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Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future

http://www.ted.com Onstage at TED2012, Peter Diamandis makes a case for optimism -- that we'll invent, innovate and create ways to solve the challenges that loom over us. "I'm not saying we don't have our set of problems; we surely do. But ultimately, we knock them down."

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