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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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Spaceport Infrastructure Still an Unknown Frontier

Spaceport Infrastructure Still an Unknown Frontier | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — Spaceports are popping up all over the United States, as both existing airports and brand-new facilities position themselves to profit from a new age of commercial space travel and transport, but the industry is still in its infancy and faces significant challenges.

 

 

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Landmark Moments in Private Space Exploration

The test launch of the Blue Origin escape capsule on October 22, 2012 marked the most recent attempt by a private company to enter the space race. WSJ takes a look at a few of the more notable attempts.

 

 

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See Inside the Private Lynx Space Plane (Photos)

See Inside the Private Lynx Space Plane (Photos) | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The builders of a new private space plane designed to launch a pilot and passenger on suborbital spaceflights offered a glimpse inside the novel rocket ship last week during an annual gathering of commercial spaceflight companies and experts.

 

A full-scale mockup of a new suborbital spacecraft, called the Lynx, was on display by the Mojave, Calif.-based commercial spaceflight firm XCOR Aerospace during the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in New Mexico. The vehicle is designed to carry one pilot and one passenger on brief rides to space for $95,000 a ticket.

 

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Rocket explosion raises worries over space debris | Spaceflight Now

Rocket explosion raises worries over space debris | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A Russian Breeze M rocket stage, left with loaded fuel tanks after an August launch failure, exploded in orbit Oct. 16, raising concerns of the U.S. military, NASA and global satellite operators on the lookout for collision threats from hundreds of new space debris fragments.

 

The Breeze M stage violently disintegrated some time Oct. 16, dispersing debris in an arc around Earth encompassing orbital zones populated by the International Space Station and numerous communications, scientific, and military satellites.

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Strap In! What It's Like to Fly on SpaceShipTwo | Discovery News

Strap In! What It's Like to Fly on SpaceShipTwo | Discovery News | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

While SpaceShipTwo builder Scaled Composites prepares the commercial spaceship for its first rocket-powered test flight, owner Virgin Galactic has been thinking about all the armchair astronauts lining up to finally test their space legs.

 

Their fliers won't go far -- just 65 miles or so above the southern New Mexico launch site -- and they won't be gone long. The supersonic sprint beyond the atmosphere will last only a few minutes.

 

But Virgin Galactic is betting that the ride, albeit short, is sweet enough to warrant its $200,000 fare. As of last week, 545 people had put down deposits or paid the full fee to find out for themselves.

 

 

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VLOGGING FROM A SPACEPLANE!

Having fun inside the cockpit of a Lynx Mockop by XCOR Aerospace, the real one will fly in the coming years. Recorded on October 18th, 2012 at the ISPCS Conference in Las Cruces , New Mexico.

 

 

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Stratolaunch Opens Production Facility in Mojave | Parabolic Arc

MOJAVE, CALIF., October 10, 2012 - The Stratolaunch Systems Corporation, a Paul G. Allen project, announced the opening of their production facility at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

 

The energy efficient 88,000 square foot facility will be used to construct the composite sections of the wing and fuselage sections which will be assembled into the carrier aircraft. The carrier aircraft will be used to position the rocket to its launch point.

 

This facility paves the way forward for Stratolaunch to commence manufacturing of the numerous wing and fuselage assemblies within the calendar year. This is one of two facilities that will be built in Mojave to construct the carrier aircraft. The other facility, currently under construction, will house the carrier aircraft during assembly and test.

 

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Reaching for the stars in Mojave

Reaching for the stars in Mojave | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Stratolaunch Systems, a Paul Allen project, has officially opened its production facility - an 88,000 square foot site that will be used to build the enormous composite wing and fuselage sections of its proposed carrier aircraft. Not far away another large hangar building that will house the 385-ft span launcher aircraft is also nearing completion.

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Fading skepticism of commercial spaceflight? | The Space Review

Fading skepticism of commercial spaceflight? | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

For many years, as entrepreneurs and enthusiasts promised a bright future for commercial spaceflight, both orbital and suborbital, there’s been a significant amount of healthy—and, perhaps, unhealthy as well—skepticism about the industry. People noted the failed promises of past commercial space efforts, slipped schedules, unproven technologies and business cases, and so on, and wondered if the new crop of companies promising low-cost access to space for applications from space tourism to International Space Station resupply could really carry out their plans.

 

That skepticism was, in many cases, both understandable and even warranted, given that many NewSpace companies struggled to deliver on their promises. However, as companies start to finally deliver on their promises, or at least offer concrete evidence of doing, some of that past skepticism of commercial spaceflight shows signs of fading away.

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Blue Origin - Capsule pad escape test - Oct.22.12

A video released by Blue Origin of a test carried out at their West Texas site of the pad escape system for their crew capsule module.

 

Video courtesy of Blue Origin (www.blueorigin.com)

 

 

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Blue Origin capsule successfully pad aborts via pusher-escape system | NASASpaceFlight.com

Blue Origin capsule successfully pad aborts via pusher-escape system | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Although no longer a leading contender to fly NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), Blue Origin are successfully concluding their Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev-2) milestones, marked by a firing of their BE-3 engine and the visually dramatic sight of their capsule conducting a pad abort test via their unique pusher-escape motor system.

 

At the center of Blue Origin’s human space flight ambitions is their biconic-shape capsule, which was initially targeted to launch with the Atlas V launch vehicle, prior to hitching a lift uphill via its own Reusable Booster System (RBS).

 

The vehicle is capable of carrying seven passengers – with an ability for cargo runs – to the ISS, and will be available for independent commercial flights for science, adventure and trips to other orbital destinations.

 

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The Challenges of a Lunar Mission

The Challenges of a Lunar Mission | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

We learned that getting to the Moon is not simple process, but the challenges do not end once we reach the surface. One of the main challenges associated with the Google Lunar X PRIZE is surface mobility, but there are also other challenges to consider that must be understood and overcome in order to complete any mission successfully. Out of the many difficulties associated with space travel and particularly lunar missions, we will look at five of the more important problems to solve: power, temperature, radiation, dust mitigation, and communications.

 

 

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NASA Commercial Crew Partner Blue Origin Completes Pad Escape Test | SpaceRef

NASA Commercial Crew Partner Blue Origin Completes Pad Escape Test | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

VAN HORN, Texas -- NASA's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) partner Blue Origin conducted a successful pad escape test Friday at the company's West Texas launch site, firing its pusher-escape motor and launching a full-scale suborbital crew capsule from a simulated propulsion module.

 

The test was part of Blue Origin's work supporting its funded Space Act Agreement with NASA during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2). Through initiatives like CCDev2, NASA is fostering the development of a U.S. commercial crew space transportation capability with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. After the capability is matured and available to the government and other customers, NASA could contract to purchase commercial services to meet its station crew transportation needs.

 

 

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Kevin Myrick - Synergy Moon | EpicFutureSpace Interview

The test launch of the Blue Origin escape capsule on October 22, 2012 marked the most recent attempt by a private company to enter the space race. WSJ takes a look at a few of the more notable attempts.

 

 

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Branson: I’ve Stopped Counting the Days to Commercial SpaceShipTwo Flights | Parabolic Arc

Branson: I’ve Stopped Counting the Days to Commercial SpaceShipTwo Flights | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Eight years after launching the SpaceShipTwo program, Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson is beginning to sound a bit impatient with progress even as the first powered tests of the 8-person space plane appear imminent.

 

He says it will be at least another 12 or 18 months before the Virgin Galactic venture can offer paid space travel to adventurers….

 

Asked about Virgin Galactic, Branson said he has “stopped counting” days to the launch because it gets delayed “to the next year, to the next year.”

 

Virgin officials say they are planning to begin powered test flights of SpaceShipTwo at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California by the end of this year. The tests will begin with a “starter” motor, which will be a smaller version of the ship’s hybrid engine. Plans call for a series of flights with larger motors and longer burns throughout next year as well as licensing by the Federal Aviation Administration.

 

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Hypersonic Plane Could Revolutionize Commercial Flight

Hypersonic Plane Could Revolutionize Commercial Flight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Outer space just seems a bit closer these days.

 

Just weeks after Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner awed the world with a stratospheric skydive, a California aerospace firm is hoping to send even more people to the edge of space with a hypersonic aircraft capable of cruising at 3.5 times the speed of sound.

 

Mojave-based XCOR is currently busy constructing the “Lynx,” a two-seater commercial craft supposedly capable of cruising 62 miles above the Earth’s surface at speeds of more than 2,500 miles per hour.

 

“I’m excited as hell,” XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson told ABC News. “It’s going to be the most exciting suborbital space flight you will ever take.”

 

 

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Lunar Landing Sites

Lunar Landing Sites | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Although many of the teams are making big announcements, it's still anybody's game, and 15 teams have let us know where they plan on landing when they finally make it to the moon. Here is a chart I put together to illustrate who plans on landing where and, from the looks of it, we've got just about the whole moon covered! It's great to see such a variety of goals but even more exciting is the fact that a chart like this even exists. Sites vary for a number of reasons from landing near different Apollo heritage sites (some for photos and some for interaction) to landing near the north pole to search for water ice! So much science to do...

 

 

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Lunar Roundup: Hopping, Running, and Rolling

Lunar Roundup: Hopping, Running, and Rolling | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Welcome to this week’s Lunar Roundup! A power rankings-style look at who & what’s been “awesome!” over the last seven days of the Lunar X PRIZE.

 

Omega Envoy scored yet another big partner, while Moon Express talked about the importance of competition; TechNewsDaily took a good look at Hopper technology; JURBAN made an entertaining video; and our own Nathan Wong tackled the challenges of the lunar surface.

 

The top five highlights of October 16th-October 22nd:

 

 

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Penn State Lunar Lion research team shooting for the moon | CentreDaily.com

Michael Paul believes a group of Penn State students, faculty and researchers are poised to change space exploration as we know it.

 

It may seem like a lofty goal, but Paul is used to aiming for the sky. Actually, much higher.

 

The director of the Penn State Lunar Lion team, Paul has his sights set on landing a university-designed spacecraft on the moon by 2015 — and for “just” $50 million.

 

“For us to land a spacecraft on the moon for $50 million, we’ll literally change the way space in done,” he said.

 

 

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SwRI to Build Solar Observatory to Fly on XCOR’s Lynx | Parabolic Arc

SwRI to Build Solar Observatory to Fly on XCOR’s Lynx | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Boulder, Colo., Oct. 22, 2012 (SWRI PR) — Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has received funding from NASA to build a miniature, portable solar observatory for developing and testing innovative instrumentation in suborbital flight.

 

The SwRI Solar Instrument Pointing Platform (SSIPP) will fly on new, commercial manned suborbital craft, such as XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft, to enable spaceborne science and instrument development at a fraction of the cost of unmanned sounding rockets.

 

SSIPP is a self-contained unit that is bolted in place of a passenger seat on the Lynx. In flight, it optically locks onto the Sun, providing steering feedback to the pilot and delivering a clean, stabilized view of the Sun to a small instrument mounted on an optical workbench inside the unit.

 

 

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Start-up space firm tests pusher escape system | Spaceflight Now

Start-up space firm tests pusher escape system | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Blue Origin completed a launch pad abort demonstration of its pusher escape system last week, notching the final milestone in a cost-sharing development agreement with NASA's commercial crew program, the company announced Monday.

 

Designed to facilitate full reusability of Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard spacecraft, the pusher-type abort system lifted a full-scale crew capsule to an altitude of 2,307 feet in a simulated escape from a launch pad emergency.

 

The capsule parachuted to a soft landing 1,630 feet away from the launch site, according to Blue Origin, the start-up space firm established by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.

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Expensive, difficult, and dangerous | The Space Review

Expensive, difficult, and dangerous | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Most people, when asked their opinion about moving into space, may say the money and effort spent on that could better be spent dealing with Earthly concerns. At least that seems to be the prevailing assumption of the governing classes of America. People will often say going into space is not only too expensive, but also too difficult and too dangerous. Of course, the American people, according to polls and other indicators, have always viewed NASA and the space program favorably, but the truth is also that space policy has never played a major role in American elections, which is probably why the most politicians tend to ignore it.

 

That could change quickly if companies like Planetary Resources begin to succeed in bringing extraterrestrial resources into the human economy. Then, governments around the world will feel the need to regulate and control the spanking new wealth—and no doubt claim a part of it in the name of their people.

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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin spaceship company aces pad-escape test

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin spaceship company aces pad-escape test | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin rocket venture notched a blazing success last week when it tested a NASA-backed launch pad escape system for its crew capsule.

 

The Oct. 19 demonstration flight at Blue Origin's West Texas spaceport marked the final milestone for NASA's $22 million agreement with Blue Origin, which was aimed at promoting the development of next-generation spaceships capable of resupplying the International Space Station. Blue Origin, which is based in Kent, Wash., decided not to compete for the next phase of NASA's orbital program — but in a news release issued today, Bezos said his company would make use of the "pusher" pad escape system in its suborbital spaceship.

 

"The first test of our suborbital Crew Capsule is a big step on the way to safe, affordable space travel," he said. "This wouldn’t have been possible without NASA’s help, and the Blue Origin team worked hard and smart to design this system, build it, and pull off this test. Lots of smiles around here today. Gradatim Ferociter!"

 

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Blue Origin Wraps Up Commercial Crew Work with Crew Escape System Test | SpaceNews.com

WASHIGNTON — Blue Origin, the Kent, Wash.-based aerospace startup founded by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, tested an emergency crew escape system Oct. 19 at its launch site near Van Horn, Texas, the company said.

 

In the test, the pusher-style abort system launched Blue Origin’s suborbital crew capsule, one part of the reusable New Shepard suborbital system the company is working on, to an altitude of about 703 meters. The craft then deployed its parachute to come in for a soft landing about 497 meters away from its launch pad, the company said in an Oct. 22 press release.

 

The pusher escape system is designed to send the crew capsule into a safe, controlled flight in the event of an off-nominal launch event, according to Blue Origin’s press release.

 

 

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Photos and Video: Blue Origin Suborbital Crew Capsule Escape System Test | SpaceRef

Photos and Video: Blue Origin Suborbital Crew Capsule Escape System Test | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

KENT, Wash. - Blue Origin conducted a successful Pad Escape test last week at its West Texas launch site, firing its pusher escape motor and launching a full-scale suborbital Crew Capsule from a launch vehicle simulator. The Crew Capsule traveled to an altitude of 2,307 feet under active thrust vector control before descending safely by parachute to a soft landing 1,630 feet downrange.

 

Blue Origin's novel pusher escape system has been designed and developed to allow full-envelope crew escape in the event of an emergency on ascent for its suborbital New Shepard system. As part of an incremental development program, the results of this test will inform the design of the escape system for its orbital Space Vehicle. Traditional tractor escape systems are not compatible with reuse. Blue Origin's pusher escape system is a key enabler of full-vehicle reusability, as well as improving the safety of human access to space.

 

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