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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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Space Tugboat Could Help Move Inexpensive Payloads in Orbit

Space Tugboat Could Help Move Inexpensive Payloads in Orbit | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A Seattle company has announced plans to build a new spacecraft that, like its Earth-bound counterparts, is all about moving other vehicles around. Spaceflight Inc. is designing what it’s calling the Sherpa to fulfill the need for an orbital tugboat that can move payloads, such as satellites, to different orbits around Earth.

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Commercial Spaceflight Plans Soar at Expo

Commercial Spaceflight Plans Soar at Expo | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Don't look now, but commercial space travel has morphed from pipe dream to growth industry.

 

"We're going to take up people, space tourists," said Andrew Nelson, chief operating officer of XCOR Aerospace. "Science missions, upper atmosphere research, even carrying experiments for kids from classrooms."

 

A mockup of XCOR’s Lynx reusable rocket ship was displayed this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Flight testing the Lynx is expected to begin by next January, and the first commercial flight could take off within 18 months.

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SpaceX teams up with Bigelow on space station marketing

SpaceX teams up with Bigelow on space station marketing | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace plan to meet with officials in Japan soon after this month's scheduled launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, to kick off an international marketing effort for private-sector space stations.

 

The plan, laid out today in a jointly issued news release, calls for clients to go into orbit inside the Dragon and link up with Bigelow's BA 330 inflatable space habitat.

 

"Together we will provide unique opportunities to entities — whether nations or corporations — wishing to have crewed access to the space environment for extended periods," said SpaceX's president, Gwynne Shotwell. "I'm looking forward to working with Bigelow Aerospace and engaging with international customers."

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Rohrabacher Statement in Support of Commercial Crew | Parabolic Arc

Rohrabacher Statement in Support of Commercial Crew | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“For the past few years there has been a lot of controversy around the idea of launching cargo and astronauts to space on commercially-developed, owned, and operated systems. The Bush Administration decided we should turn over this job to the private sector once we retired the space shuttles, rather than pursuing a traditional NASA-led approach. To their credit, the Obama Administration, guided by an advisory panel led by Norm Augustine, saw the wisdom in this and proposed to fund multiple competing private concepts for crew launch, eventually achieving a fly-off of two or more different systems to ensure that America would have safer, more robust, and much more affordable space access that doesn’t require paying Russia’s Space Agency half a billion dollars every year.

 

“NASA and this Administration have not been able to sell this basic idea. Congress has embraced a measured approach to this idea; too slowly and timidly from my point of view. It seems NASA is itself confused, or maybe suffers from internal conflicts over the specific goals and approaches. The agency has not told a clear and convincing story to win this initiative the funding and freedom of action it requires.

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Comments by Charles Bolden at the COMSTAC Advisory Committee Public Meeting | SpaceRef

Comments by Charles Bolden at the COMSTAC Advisory Committee Public Meeting | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The key to achieving our goal of facilitating a strong commercial space industry is adequate funding and good old-fashioned American competition. We are working hard to maintain both. NASA's 2013 request for commercial crew development is $830 million. Despite a bi-partisan agreement to ensure American astronauts are traveling into space on U.S. built spacecraft as soon as possible, some want to short-change this job-creating initiative and limit competition in the commercial space arena.

 

I think we all agree: competition is a basic tenet of American democracy and the very cornerstone of America's technological excellence. Competition promotes innovation. Competition enhances our ability to identify the absolute best commercial partners. Ending competition by down-selecting to a sole commercial space company could double the cost of developing a privately built human spaceflight system and it will leave us in the same position we find ourselves today - having only one option for getting our astronauts to the space station. We are hopeful we can work to resolve these issues and keep this important initiative on track.

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Liberty and the Pursuit of NASA | Space KSC

Liberty and the Pursuit of NASA | Space KSC | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Solid rocket booster manufacturer ATK held a press conference yesterday to unveil its Liberty commercial crew design, which includes a composite crew capsule from Lockheed Martin.

 

While attention has been focused on SpaceX, Boeing and the other funded commercial crew candidates, little has been heard about Liberty since ATK entered into an unfunded Space Act Agreement with NASA in September 2011.

 

The design, using existing Shuttle and Constellation hardware, would seem to appeal to Congressional lawmakers who have demanded that NASA end the commercial crew competition and simply select one vendor. Many space subcommittee members in recent Congressional hearings have stated that they don't care about innovation or competition.

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ATK and Astrium unveil a full-fledged Liberty transportation system | NewSpace Journal

ATK and Astrium unveil a full-fledged Liberty transportation system | NewSpace Journal | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Early last year Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and EADS Astrium unveiled a new launch vehicle called Liberty, using a five-segment solid rocket booster built by ATK for the lower stage and a modified Ariane 5 core stage built by Astrium for the upper stage. The companies hoped to win funds from NASA’s second-round Commercial Crew Development (CCDev-2) competition, primarily as as an alternative to the Atlas 5 for vehicles being proposed by companies other than SpaceX (which, of course, is using its own Falcon 9).

 

The companies didn’t win CCDev-2 funding but did get an unfunded Space Act Agreement to support continued study of the vehicle. Wednesday, though, in a briefing at the Spacecraft Technology Expo in Los Angeles, the companies announced their new plan: developing their own full-service crew transportation system, also called Liberty, using the previously-announced Liberty rocket and a crew capsule.

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Liberty rocket adds capsule; new jobs at KSC

Liberty rocket adds capsule; new jobs at KSC | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL — ATK unveiled a rocket-and-spacecraft system Wednesday that could be ready to launch U.S. astronauts on round trips to the International Space Station by 2016.

 

A first flight test of the U.S.-European Liberty system is targeted for launch from KSC in 2014, with an initial piloted flight with company test pilots targeted for 2015. Commercial transportation services for U.S. astronauts and other customers would follow the next year if ATK won the NASA contract. The work could bring 150 to 200 jobs to Kennedy Space Center.

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One man's path to space goes through Seattle's Space Needle

One man's path to space goes through Seattle's Space Needle | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

University of Arizona law student Gregory Schneider is getting ready for graduation this weekend, for the birth of his third child later this year — and now he'll have to get ready for a spaceflight as well.

 

Schneider accepted his prize during a Seattle Space Needle ceremony today from none other than 82-year-old Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to walk on the moon in 1969. The suborbital trip into space, aboard a craft that's yet to go into operation, was the first prize in a "Space Race 2012" contest organized to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.

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Republican Space Socialism Update

Republican Space Socialism Update | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

There are currently at least four (and possibly a fifth, though not funded) candidates to provide crew delivery services to the International Space Station. NASA has repeatedly stated its desire to eventually have at least two providers, both because they want to maintain competition to keep prices down, and so that there is a backup if one of them has a problem (i.e., they don’t want to repeat the mistake of the Shuttle, in which each time there was a problem with it, the agency had no access to orbit for its astronauts for a period of over two years). On Tuesday, the NASA personnel responsible for the program said that Chairman Wolf’s proposal wouldn’t save money, but instead would double the costs:

 

“We need competition as long as possible. The price to go with one [provider] starting today, and then all the way through certification and into services, is at least twice what it would be if you had competition at least as long as possible.”

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Shuttle Rocket, NASA Capsule Paired for New Space Taxi | Discovery News

Shuttle Rocket, NASA Capsule Paired for New Space Taxi | Discovery News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Take a space shuttle booster rocket and make it bigger. Add a capsule NASA originally developed as a potential alternative to its deep-space Orion spaceship. What do you have?

 

Well, ATK, the company that built the space shuttles' solid rocket boosters, calls it Liberty and has offered the system to NASA as a potential space taxi to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

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Liberty Rocket Announcement

ATK announces some exciting new developments regarding its Liberty Launch System; another contender in NASA's Commercial Crew Development Program.

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Space veterans offer NASA their Liberty launch system

Space veterans offer NASA their Liberty launch system | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — At a time when NASA’s human-spaceflight budget is frozen and likely facing cutbacks, the company that built the space shuttle’s solid rocket boosters says it has developed a complete astronaut transportation system using America’s existing launch facilities.

 

If NASA lends its support to the system, known as Liberty, the project could end America’s dependence on the Russians to fly its astronauts in as little as three years.

 

Virginia-based Alliant Techsystems, also known as ATK, says Liberty would be a complete commercial crew transportation system, including the spacecraft as well as ground and mission operations. All of its elements would meet NASA’s requirements for carrying humans, ATK says.

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SpaceX to Offer Trips to Private Space Stations

SpaceX to Offer Trips to Private Space Stations | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceX has made a name for itself by promising to open the corridors of space to the general public at high-end consumer prices. But the real dream for many who envision traveling into space involves the opportunity to actually spend some time, no matter how brief, in a microgravity living environment, rather than participate in simple fly-by sub-orbital flights such as those offered by Virgin Galactic. Now SpaceX has teamed up with Bigelow Aerospace to offer just such an experience.

 

The two companies plan to kick off an international initiative to explore interest in the space experience that will allow consumers to travel into space in SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft and then spend time in Bigelow Aerospace's BA 330 habitat (pictured).

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A United Vision for Space | Moonandback

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

 It’s been a couple of months 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.

 

We have a space agency desperately in need of purpose, whose employees and capabilities have been wasted for decades on make-work projects and dead-end PowerPoint pioneering placebos designed to do nothing more than keep the billing high. An agency that if challenged and given clear orders and the right job as the leading edge of a new wave of human exploration beyond low Earth orbit could and would rise to the heights of its capabilities.

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Dream Chaser tests hint at suborbital possibilities

Dream Chaser tests hint at suborbital possibilities | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

... A suborbital Dream Chaser might also serve as a backup for Sierra Nevada’s business plans, if NASA chooses not to continue its support of the orbital program under the Commercial Crew Development (CCDEV) program. That outcomes seems to be a likely possibility at the moment, since Congressmen in both the House and Senate are currently pressuring NASA to reduce the number of CCDEV competitors to a sole selection.

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The Legacy of the Space Shuttle

NASA had a plan, called Constellation, to take us back to the Moon and then on to Mars. However, this plan was far too expensive and would have taken far too long. Thus, no president or congress ever called for it to be funded, and it was eventually canceled. In the face of great adversity though, NASA has figured out a great solution. By relying on commercial solutions for "routine" human launch capability, just like they already do for most satellite and interplanetary probe launches, they can cut the cost of basic access to the space station and other work in low earth orbit by something on the order of 10 fold or more! This means that NASA can now focus its budget and innovation on taking humanity farther into the solar system!

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Cool Images From the Spacecraft Technology Expo at Parabolic Arc

Cool Images From the Spacecraft Technology Expo at Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The Spacecraft Technology Expo in Los Angeles this week featured some really cool mockups in the exhibit hall, including a full-scale versions of XCOR’s Lynx space plane and its cockpit (above). There were also mockups of the Dragon spacecraft and the Red Bull Stratos capsule that Felix Baumgarter will jump from in an attempt to break the world’s skydiving record.

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SpaceX and Bigelow Join Forces

SpaceX announced today that it is joining forces with Bigelow Aerospace to market opportunities for people to fly into space on SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon crew space transportation system to inflatable space stations built by Bigelow Aerospace.

 

Bigelow Aerospace already has launched two small inflatable space station demonstrators, Genesis I and Genesis II, using Russian rockets in 2006 and 2007 respectively. It is now working on the BA 330 module that it says could accommodate six people.

 

Key to its space station operations is a transportation system to get people up and back. Bigelow has been working with Boeing, which is developing the CST-100 spacecraft that would be launched on a U.S. Atlas V rocket.

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SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace Join Forces to Offer Crewed Missions to Private Space Stations | SpaceRef

SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace Join Forces to Offer Crewed Missions to Private Space Stations | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Bigelow Aerospace (BA) have agreed to conduct a joint marketing effort focused on international customers. The two companies will offer rides on SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, using the Falcon launch vehicle to carry passengers to Bigelow habitats orbiting the earth.

 

According to Bigelow Aerospace's President and Founder, Robert T. Bigelow, "We're very excited to be working with our colleagues at SpaceX to present the unique services that our two companies can offer to international clientele. We're eager to join them overseas to discuss the substantial benefits that BA 330 leasing can offer in combination with SpaceX transportation capabilities."

 

The BA 330 is a habitat that will provide roughly 330 cubic meters of usable volume and can support a crew of up to six. Bigelow Aerospace plans to connect two or more BA 330s in orbit to provide national space agencies, companies, and universities with unparalleled access to the microgravity environment.

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Space Needle Space Race 2012 - Sub-orbital Space Flight

We're proud to be partnered with Space Adventures for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of sub-orbital space flight. This video gives you an overview of what the experience will be like, and what one lucky person will win in the Space Needle's Space Race 2012.

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Billionaires back ambitious space projects

Billionaires back ambitious space projects | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"We're now seeing a new generation of (hundred) millionaires and billionaires who are interested in space," says space entrepreneur Peter Diamandis. "This is smart money investing in one of the largest commercial opportunities ever: going to space to gain resources for the benefit of humanity."

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Lunar lander options

Lunar lander options | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Under the Bush Vision of Space Exploration, NASA was planning to spend around $10 billion to development the Altair lunar lander. That’s certainly a significant amount of money – several times what SpaceX expects to spend to develop both the Falcon rocket and the Dragon capsule – but NASA was proposing (not unexpectedly) to build the mother of all lunar landers, rather than a minimal cost system. Since we now know that’s unrealistic, what sort of lander options might be affordable, either for NASA or private industry?

 

Surprisingly, there are a number of possibilities which, if not quite off-the-shelf, are fairly close.

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ATK adds crew capsule to Liberty rocket proposal | Spaceflight Now

ATK adds crew capsule to Liberty rocket proposal | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Joining a growing list of aerospace companies competing to build a commercial crew taxi for NASA, rocket contractor ATK announced Wednesday it could launch astronauts into orbit by 2015 aboard the firm's Liberty rocket and a composite module derived from existing programs.

 

A proposal for the Liberty rocket and spacecraft was submitted to NASA in March. The space agency expects to announce in August awards of between $300 million and $500 million to at least two companies over a 21-month period.

 

ATK is vying for NASA awards with SpaceX, Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corp., and other companies working on commercial crew transportation vehicles. Unlike other companies, ATK's Liberty program is currently operating entirely on private funding.

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Liberty: Space Transportation System for Tomorrow's Astronauts

"Liberty is the safest, most reliable, most economical commercial space transportation service ever developed. It includes the spacecraft, abort system, launch vehicle, and ground and mission operations."

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