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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 launch of Dragon capsule to space station to put NASA strategy on display

SpaceX launch of Dragon capsule to space station to put NASA strategy on display | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In a refurbished Air Force hangar on Cape Canaveral, engineers from NASA and commercial space company SpaceXon Tuesday pored over data from a launchpad test of a gleaming white rocket poised to be the next step in U.S. space strategy.

 

The review may be the final hurdle before a much-delayed and highly anticipated launch — the first attempt to send a privately designed and built unmanned spacecraft to the international space station.

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Advent of the ‘Belters’

On the Trail of the Space Pirates was a 1953 adventure written by Carey Rockwell, a house pseudonym used by a Grosset & Dunlop writer who may or may not have been one Joseph Greene, an editor for the firm in that era. We don’t know for sure who ‘Carey Rockwell’ was and no one has come forward to claim the title, but see the Tom Corbett Space Cadet website for another possible clue to authorship. In any case, On the Trail of the Space Pirates took readers such as my grade school self out into the asteroid belt, where all manner of adventures occur and uranium prospectors ply their trade harassed by evil doers. The asteroids became a lively analogue to the American wild west.

 

Asteroid mining and the culture it spawns has a robust history in science fiction, but I couldn’t help recalling this particular book when I read about Planetary Resources and its ambitious plan to mine asteroids. The company’s intentions don’t extend all the way to the main belt, but focus on asteroids much closer to home, of which there are plenty, and out of which some 1500 may prove to be of high interest if mining is the intention. What caught me up in the spirit of the science fictional ‘belters’ was this pitch on the Planetary Resources website encouraging people to work for the company. It’s titled ‘We’re looking for a few good asteroid miners’:

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The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers* | The Once and Future Moon

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers* | The Once and Future Moon | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

There’s quite a buzz in space policy circles over the recent announcement of the creation of a new company that intends to survey, study and mine near Earth asteroids (NEAs). Given my previous advocacy regarding the desirability of learning how to extract and use off-planet resources, many people have asked me to weigh in with my opinion of their proposed business plan. I’d like to frame my remarks around Michael Listner’s recent piece on the possible legal issues involved in the plan as he has illuminated an interesting angle on the project.

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Interview with Gary Hudson, part 2 - Funding & Collaboration | Moonandback

Interview with Gary Hudson, part 2 - Funding & Collaboration | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Gary Hudson talks with MM about the funding and the design phases necessary to build the Space Studies Institute's Commercial Space Station.

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Interview with Gary Hudson, part 1 - Artificial G Space Station | Moonandback

Interview with Gary Hudson, part 1 - Artificial G Space Station | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Gary Hudson, The Space Studies Institute’s new President, talks about their plans to build a commercial artificial gravity space station in earth orbit.

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Hybrid Spaceplane Engine Could Change The Economics Of Space Travel | Forbes

Hybrid Spaceplane Engine Could Change The Economics Of Space Travel | Forbes | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Scientists are testing a new form of rocket technology that could lead to spaceplanes that launch satellites, carry passengers or fly anywhere in the world in four hours, all by taking off from a runway. Barring any regulatory or engineering hitches, the technology is being proposed for use with an aircraft named Skylon, which could be automated to fly into orbit.

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Falcon 9 engine hotfire test completed at Cape Canaveral | Spaceflight Now

Falcon 9 engine hotfire test completed at Cape Canaveral | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Nine kerosene-fueled engines mounted on the bottom of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket fired at full power for two seconds Monday, completing a key test on a Cape Canaveral launch pad before departing to the International Space Station as soon as May 7.

 

The engines ignited at 4:15 p.m. EDT (2015 GMT), firing for about three-and-a-half seconds and reaching full thrust for about two seconds. Called a static fire, or hotfire, the test verifies the engines, rocket and ground systems are ready for launch.

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SpaceX Testing - Falcon 9 Static Fire

On Monday, April 30, SpaceX webcast a static fire test of the Falcon 9 rocket's nine powerful Merlin engines in preparation for the company's upcoming launch. Engines ran for two seconds before a planned abort.

 

Visit: http://www.spacex.com/ for more information on SpaceX, Dragon, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, reusable rockets, grasshopper, Mars, upcoming rocket launch, or Elon Musk.

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SpaceX Conducts Falcon 9 Hot Fire Test | SpaceNews.com

SpaceX Conducts Falcon 9 Hot Fire Test | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — It took two tries, but Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully test-fired all nine engines comprising the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket April 30 in preparation for a scheduled May 7 demonstration flight in which the vehicle will launch the company’s Dragon cargo capsule toward the international space station.

 

“Engineers will now review data as we continue preparations for the upcoming launch,” SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Grantham said in a statement emailed to the press after the test was completed.

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Planetary Resources believes asteroid mining has come of age | The Space Review

Planetary Resources believes asteroid mining has come of age | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Asteroid mining has been a staple of both science fiction and space advocacy for decades. The interest is understandable: the millions of small bodies in the solar system contain resources that, in theory, are readily accessible thanks to their miniscule gravity and orbits that, in some cases, bring them relatively close to the Earth. Accessing these resources, proponents have long argued, could supply the Earth with precious metals that are increasingly scarce, while creating a sustainable foothold for humanity off Earth.

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Falcon 9 hot fire test today | NewSpace Journal

Falcon 9 hot fire test today | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX plans to carry out a “hot fire” test of its Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad today, one of the final tests leading up to next Monday’s scheduled launch of a Dragon spacecraft on a test flight to the International Space Station. SpaceX has scheduled the test, where the Falcon 9′s nine first-stage engines are briefly ignited, for 3 pm EDT (1900 GMT) today. The test will be webcast on the SpaceX web site starting at 2:30 pm EDT.

 

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All Modern American Rockets and Spaceships Compared

All Modern American Rockets and Spaceships Compared | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

This is a very neat graphic: all modern American rockets and spaceships compared, from XCOR's Lynx—a two-seat space transport vehicle—to NASA's next-generation Space Launch System. And of course, the classic Saturn V added for good measure.

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Is space mining really going to be reality soon?

If you are a fan of science fiction, as I have been over the years, you will recognize that a common theme of the genre is mining of precious metals and other materials on faraway planets.

 

Well, is fiction going to soon become nonfiction?

Mining has often been the genesis for movement into remote and unexplored areas, both in the past as was the case in our own area during the expansion into the West, and today when difficult and sometimes dangerous exploration takes place in the search for valuable resources.

 

But the idea of mining precious metals in space trumps even the most difficult ventures here on Earth.

 

Yet, that is what a consortium is proposing to do within a decade. Is it really possible?

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Elon Musk on Why SpaceX Has the Right Stuff to Win the Space Race

Elon Musk on Why SpaceX Has the Right Stuff to Win the Space Race | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A lot of people with a lot of money want to stake a claim in space. One guy is ahead of the pack, perhaps because he has chosen his partners well.

 

Elon Musk's SpaceX is scheduled to launch a rocket and space capsule filled with supplies bound for the International Space Station on May 7. If the launch is successful, it will be the first time a private company, not a government agency, has accomplished such a feat.

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Reusable Space Plane Idea Intrigues Europeans

Reusable Space Plane Idea Intrigues Europeans | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A unique space plane concept has the potential to evolve into a vital space science laboratory for European Space Agency microgravity research at the edge of space, SPACE.com has learned.

 

The new Vinci space plane is detailed in an ESA report obtained exclusively by SPACE.com. The report, titled "A Cryogenic Sub-orbital Spacecraft," says the plane would be a piloted vehicle with the appearance of a business jet and would be propelled by the Vinci rocket engine currently being developed for the upper stage of the European Ariane 5 rocket.

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SpaceX's 1st Private Capsule Launch to Space Station: How It Will Work

SpaceX's 1st Private Capsule Launch to Space Station: How It Will Work | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

On May 7, if all goes well, the private spaceflight company SpaceX will launch the first commercial spaceship ever to visit the International Space Station. But the mission will be like no other U.S. flight to the orbiting laboratory.

 

SpaceX's unmanned Dragon capsule is due to deliver food, supplies and science experiments to the outpost as a test mission for NASA. The space agency awarded the company a $1.6 billion contract for eight robotic resupply flights to fill the delivery needs left over by the space shuttle fleet's retirement last year.

 

SpaceX is one of two companies with NASA contracts for robotic cargo delivery flights (Virginia's Orbital Technologies Corp. is the other), but is the first to actually try a launch. And as the first American-built robotic cargo ship ever to visit the space station, there are some unique aspects of this mission NASA is hoping will succeed.

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NASA's commercial spaceflight strategy

NASA's commercial spaceflight strategy | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

(Sen) - As the space shuttles take their place in museums, having retired from service in 2011, what is NASA's strategy for the future of spaceflight?

 

NASA wants "routine access" for both cargo and crew to the space station, and has also set its sights on deep space exploration for the longer term.

 

To achieve these objectives NASA is outsourcing low-Earth orbit spaceflight to the commercial sector whilst developing its own capabilities for travel beyond low-Earth orbit.

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Falcon 9 engine test delights SpaceX

Falcon 9 engine test delights SpaceX | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

With a brief burst of flame Monday, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket engines appeared to show they were ready for a much longer burn next Monday that could boost a Dragon capsule toward the International Space Station.

 

“Woohoo, rocket hold down firing completed, and all looks good!!” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a Twitter message shortly after the 4:15 p.m. test firing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

 

The two-second, full-power firing of nine first-stage Merlin engines occurred on a second attempt that won’t be available next week.

 

The rocket must launch during a split-second window at 9:38 a.m., or wait at least several days for another try.

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Job openings at Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company | Rocketeers

Job openings at Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company | Rocketeers | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

MOJAVE, Calif. ― Officials with Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company today announced both companies are seeking to fill a combined 18 key positions with qualified engineers, systems designers and more.

 

Virgin Galactic is currently accepting applications for the following six positions: operations engineer, seat mechanism designer, design engineer, IT manager, regulatory compliance manager and embedded systems software developer. In addition, the company’s space systems development division seeks a mechanical designer, mechanical lead, guidance/navigation/control (GNC) lead and chief engineer.

 

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Blue-sky ambitions at Blue Origin

Blue-sky ambitions at Blue Origin | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Executives at Blue Origin, the rocket venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, have traditionally been reticent about discussing where they're going — but now that they're focusing in on development work for NASA, they're speaking out about their progress and their ambitions. And it turns out that those ambitions are ... well, pretty ambitious.

 

Like Armadillo Aerospace, Blue is developing a vertical-takeoff suborbital space vehicle for tourists and researchers. Like Sierra Nevada Corp., it's working on an aerodynamic spacecraft to carry NASA astronauts and other spacefliers into orbit. And like SpaceX, it's working on its own launch vehicles as well. The company may not provide many specifics about its timeline, but that doesn't mean the pace is lackadaisical.

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Blue Origin Developing Its Own Launch Vehicle

Blue Origin Developing Its Own Launch Vehicle | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Blue Origin, the secretive spaceflight startup endowed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, is at work on separate vehicles for two different flight profiles: a suborbital vertical-takeoff-and-landing spacecraft called New Shepard, and a seven-seat orbital capsule so far known only as Space Vehicle.

 

Brett Alexander, Blue Origin’s director of business development and strategy, lifted the curtain a little on the Kent, Wash.-based company in a brief interview April 27, revealing that while the Space Vehicle will fly to orbit on an Atlas V in early flights, the company plans to build its own partially reusable launch vehicle “several years in the future” for orbital flight.

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SpaceX Test Fires Private Rocket Bound for Space Station

SpaceX Test Fires Private Rocket Bound for Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The private spaceflight company SpaceX successfully test fired the rocket that will launch the first-ever commercial space capsule to the International Space Station today (April 30), after a slight delay that was caused by an apparent computer glitch.

 

SpaceX officials conducted the so-called "static fire test" of the firm's Falcon 9 rocket today on a second try at 4:15 p.m. EDT (2015 GMT) at Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Falcon 9 rocket is poised on the launch pad, ready to blast off toward the space station on May 7. SpaceX aired the engine test live via the company's website.

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Billionaire's Secretive Space Venture Reveals Rocket Plan

Billionaire's Secretive Space Venture Reveals Rocket Plan | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Blue Origin wants to fly under the radar all the way into space.

 

The secretive private spaceflight firm, which was established in 2000 by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, is developing systems to launch astronauts to both suborbital and orbital space. While Blue Origin releases details about its plans and progress sparingly, the company's basic business model has come out.

 

It all revolves around reusable rockets and spacecraft, developed in incremental steps.

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Abu Dhabi one competitor in the race to space | The National

Abu Dhabi one competitor in the race to space | The National | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"We need to make space accessible just like we conquered the air one century ago," says Abdul Nasser El Hakim, the minister of economic development for the Caribbean island nation of Curaçao, which hopes to have a spaceport by 2014.

 

Yet the task of launching a spacecraft remains a Herculean feat - and building a financially successful launchpad may be harder still.

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What would it take to become the Silicon Valley of Space?

What would it take to become the Silicon Valley of Space? | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

When Planetary Resources rolled out its ambitious plans last week, Paul Allen tweeted, "Asteroid mining is an audacious idea and we need more of these."

 

Allen's got cred. In 2004, the co-founder of Microsoft was the sole investor in SpaceShipOne, a suborbital craft that won the $10 million Ansari X Prize competition. He is also behind Stratolaunch, which wants to build a giant aircraft that would be a rocket-launch platform.

 

Like Allen and many of the company's billionaire backers, I am a child of the Space Age. We had no doubt that by now humans would be on Mars if not, as Star Trek's Capt. Kirk said, "on a thousand planets and spreading out."

 

Instead, we got two wars, the worst downturn since the Great Depression and the America's manned-flight program essentially shut down.

 

Planetary Resources, headquartered in Bellevue, is the most important effort to come from President Obama's call for greater private-sector involvement in space exploration. It's certainly more consequential than low-Earth-orbit "space" tourism.

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