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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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Upstart Company Wants to Deliver Your Stuff to the Moon | Wired.com

Upstart Company Wants to Deliver Your Stuff to the Moon | Wired.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“I believe the first trillionaires will come from space,” said entrepreneur Bob Richards, clutching a small plastic model of the moon he was given as a gift.

 

Richards, the founder and CEO of a small startup company called Moon Express, isn’t predicting a race of super-wealthy aliens descending to Earth. Rather, he’s looking to space as a place of vast and potentially lucrative opportunity. His company wants to make money offering governments, institutions, or anyone else who can pay, the opportunity to send their stuff to the moon.

 

But Moon Express’ ultimate goal isn’t just to become an interplanetary FedEx. The company is playing a long game: They hope to one day mine resources from the moon, kickstarting the industrialization of space and perhaps beginning the process of moving people off this world.

 

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NASA selects small businesses to build nanosatellite launchers

NASA has selected small businesses to receive up to $38.7 million in grants for innovative technology developments, including a number of technologies relating to nanosatellite launch vehicles.

 

One grantee intends to mature a vehicle currently used for suborbital launches to a full-size nanosatellite launch vehicle, the Garvey 10/250, which would - as the name suggests - launch a 10kg (22lb) payload into a 250km (155mi) low Earth orbit. A further planned development would increase the launch vehicle's capabilities to 20kg and 450km.

 

 

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Garvey Nanosat Launcher Selected for NASA SBIR Funding | Parabolic Arc

Garvey Nanosat Launcher Selected for NASA SBIR Funding | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA has selected Garvey Spacecraft of Long Beach, Calif., for a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) award for work on the development of a nanosat launch vehicle capable of lifting up to 20 kg into low Earth orbit. The maximum amount available under the space agency’s six-month SBIR Select Phase I award program is $200,000.

 

Garvey plans to use the award for “the continued functional evolution and concept refinement of an incremental series of test vehicles” to serve the nano- and micro-sat launch markets. Initial versions of the launch vehicle will be capable of delivering 10 kg payloads into a 250 km orbit. The ultimate goal is to place satellites weighing up to 20 kg into a 450 km orbit.

 

 

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Space Mines: The Billionaire's Private Playground: Video

Space Mines: The Billionaire's Private Playground: Video | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

 

On this week's "Innovators," Bloomberg's Sheila Dharmarajan visits astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson at his home away from home, the Hayden Planetarium, to discuss how space exploration may be our ticket out of the current economic doldrums.

 

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SpaceShipTwo glides past the moon

SpaceShipTwo glides past the moon | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

"This is the second of three planned glide flights with the engine configuration installed, prior to the start of powered flights later," Parabolic Arc's Doug Messier reported. During powered test flights, SpaceShipTwo will light up its hybrid rocket engine after WhiteKnightTwo sets it loose.

 

"We'll burn it for longer and longer on each test to go faster and higher until we do a space shot," George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic's president and CEO, told the Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal last month. "We hope to get there before the end of the year, if not before."

 

 

Stratocumulus's insight:

What an image.

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SpaceShipTwo Completes Second Glide Flight in Mojave | Parabolic Arc

SpaceShipTwo Completes Second Glide Flight in Mojave | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SpaceShipTwo had a successful glide flight this morning at the Mojave Air and Space Port. The suborbital space vehicle took off at 7:18 a.m. PDT underneath its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft. It landed on runway 30 at 8:40 a.m. PDT after a brief glide flight.

 

 

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New Mexico governor signs liability bill; Texas makes progress on space bills | Space Politics

After many months of drama, the end was rather anticlimactic. On Tuesday, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signed into law the New Mexico Expanded Space Flight Informed Consent Act in a ceremony at Spaceport America in the southern part of the state. The bill extends the state’s existing commercial spaceflight liability indemnification to suppliers of companies who operate such vehicles. After a previous effort to extend that protection died in the legislature last year, Virgin Galactic, the anchor tenant for Spaceport America, suggested it might move elsewhere if the liability law wasn’t updated. Spaceport supporters and the state’s trial lawyers association, who had previously opposed such legislation, worked out a compromise that breezed through the state legislature.

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SkyLab II, Inspiration Mars and Promoting SLS

SkyLab II, Inspiration Mars and Promoting SLS | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Keith Cowing reported on March 28th, that the Inspiration Mars Foundation is being heavily pressured by elements at JSC and MSFC to base its plans for a 2018 circumnavigation of Mars on a single launch of the agency’s yet to be flown Space Launch System.  Although  Cowing did not reveal the source of his information, given NASAWatch’s role in bringing other issues, such as a buried fuel depot study into the light of day,  there is every reason to believe the basis of the story is accurate.

 

Although there would appear to be multiple issues with the concept itself, beginning with the fact that the first, unmanned launch of SLS is only scheduled for 2017 and could easily slip,  it seems difficult, if  not impossible to believe that the agency could have a second vehicle ready within a year, and for a mission which depends on a hitting a launch window, this might be the most risky element of the entire plan.  Inspiration Mars will be making a presentation to the Future In Space Operations Working Group (FISO) on Wednesday, and the complete presentation with charts and audio will be available to the public at this site on Thursday, so it seem likely that some questions regarding the potential use of the SLS may be answered this week.

 

 

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Martinez Signs Strengthened Spaceflight Informed Consent Legislation | Parabolic Arc

Martinez Signs Strengthened Spaceflight Informed Consent Legislation | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SPACEPORT AMERICA (Susana Martinez PR) –Following unanimous passage by the state’s legislature, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation today expanding existing liability protections for spaceflight operators to spaceflight manufacturers and suppliers. The New Mexico Expanded Space Flight Informed Consent Act prevents lawsuit abuse and addresses the inherent risks of space flight and is written to ensure New Mexico’s Spaceport America remains at the forefront of a nationally-competitive and rapidly-growing commercial space industry.

 

“We are not only reaffirming the major commitment New Mexicans have made to Spaceport America but we now have an even stronger opportunity to grow the number of commercial space jobs at the spaceport and across our state,” said Governor Susana Martinez. “This legislation will prevent lawsuit abuse and make it easier for businesses related to the space travel industry to thrive and succeed right here in New Mexico. After calling for this legislation in 2012 and again in my State of the State address this year, I’m pleased to be able to sign this bill into law today.”

 

 

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Launch Competition Key To Reduced USAF Satellite Cost

Launch Competition Key To Reduced USAF Satellite Cost | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Pressure to reduce defense spending and potential growth in the medium-class launch vehicle market could provide the catalyst that will finally allow the Pentagon to reduce the size of its massive, expensive satellites and, eventually, reduce the high cost of operating in space.

 

For decades, the cost of launch has driven the Pentagon to build large satellites, as engineers effectively crammed as much capability as possible on each rocket.

 

“Because of the cost of launch and the capacity that we have with the launch vehicles, it has made the model more economical to make bigger satellites,” says Dave Madden, executive director of the Space and Missile Systems Center, which oversees procurement of satellites and boosters for the Air Force. “It is kind of like a death spiral, [but] competition in the medium [class] will enable us to build smaller spacecraft and launch them for much less money and, fundamentally, change that model.”

 

 

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Space Startup Weekend Set for Silicon Valley | Parabolic Arc

Space Startup Weekend Set for Silicon Valley | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It’s been a little over half a century since people started promising the “space age” was just around the corner. “Startup Weekend: Space” is about bringing some of today’s brightest hackers, hipsters and hustlers together to find ways to deliver on that promise. Judges, Speakers, and (of course) prizes to be announced.

 

Startup Weekend attendees’ backgrounds are roughly 50% technical (developers, coders, designers) and 50% business (marketing, finance, law). What unites all attendees is a common interest in entrepreneurship: whether a serial entrepreneur or new to the startup scene, every attendee is interested in working with a like-minded, motivated and skilled team to develop a product or business in one weekend. If this sounds like you, this is the event for you!

 

 

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Lunarcy: is the idea of lunar settlement crazy? | The Space Review

Lunarcy: is the idea of lunar settlement crazy? | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

When does advocacy transition into zealotry? How do you get broader audiences to take your ideas seriously when they’re likely to laugh them off, while at the same time not encouraging those ideas that are, well, flaky (or, at least, flakier)? Those are challenges that space enthusiasts and advocates have faced for years, trying to win attention and support for their space exploration and settlement concepts among policymakers and the general public, while avoiding getting mixed up with those who are promoting ideas a bit too outlandish. There’s less a fine line between the respectable and the laughable than a broad gray area whose dimensions can shift over time: after all, 15 years ago space tourism was usually greeted with a laugh, and now hundreds of people are signing up and spending millions of dollars.

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Xombie Rocket flies higher than the Empire State Building, lands vertically 1000 feet away

"Masten Space Systems' Xombie space-access technology demonstrator recently flew its highest and longest flight to date, guided by Draper Lab's GENIE navigation and control system that is designed to replicate the speed and angle of a planetary approach. Xombie Ascended more than 1,600 feet above ground and flew almost 1,000 feet laterally before making a pin-point vertical landing on another pad." -- http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Movi...

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NASA Selects Arkyd for SBIR Phase I Award | Parabolic Arc

NASA Selects Arkyd for SBIR Phase I Award | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA has selected Arkyd Astronautics, the fully-owned subsidiary of the asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources,  for a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I contract for work on advanced software to better guide robotic spacecraft in their exploration of and sample return missions from near Earth objects.

 

“A real-time convex optimizer named COARSE (Convex Optimizer for Asteroid Rendezvous and Sampling Return) is proposed in order to efficiently guide path planning operations as well as spacecraft guidance and control,” according to the proposal summary. “COARSE consists of a series of high level goals with specific set of execution steps, rather than complex interaction with ground control. This proposal plans to develop and simulate a basic optimizer for the purpose of a robotic spacecraft in proximity operations to an asteroid for a sample return mission, and implement in a spacecraft avionics software environment.”

 

No dollar amount for the award is given as negotiations between NASA and Arkyd are pending. SBIR awards in this category are worth up to $125,000 and last six months.

 

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Antares Rollout Scheduled as Cygnus Integration Advances at Wallops | Parabolic Arc

Antares Rollout Scheduled as Cygnus Integration Advances at Wallops | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Orbital Sciences Corporation will roll out its Antares launch vehicle at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Saturday in advance of its maiden launch scheduled for between April 17 and 19. Meanwhile, technicians have successfully mated the first Cygnus pressurized cargo vehicle with its service module for launch on a subsequent flight.

 

The rollout of Antares at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) will begin at approximately 4:45 a.m. EDT. Operators will begin to raise the rocket to a vertical position on Pad-0A beginning at 6 a.m. That procedure will take two to three hours to complete.

 

 

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NASA Selects Astrobotic to Demonstrate Asteroid and Moon Landing Technology

NASA Selects Astrobotic to Demonstrate Asteroid and Moon Landing Technology | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

PITTSBURGH, PA - APR 4, 2013 - Last week Astrobotic successfully flew a sensor package designed to guide spacecraft safely to the surface of asteroids, moons, planets, and beyond.  The flight occurred on an unmanned helicopter operated by a pilot on the ground.  The flights are preparation for demonstration of this capability on a propulsive lander similar to Astrobotic's Griffin.  Astrobotic was selected by NASA for flight opportunities on a propulsive lander which culminate in a fully autonomous landing demonstration with hazard detection, trajectory planning, and closed-loop control. “This flight opportunity represents a major milestone not just for us, but for spacecraft in general.  We’ll be the first to demonstrate a GPS-denied propulsive landing from high altitude that can re-plan its route after discovering its targeted landing area is unsafe to land,” said Kevin Peterson, Director of Guidance, Navigation, and Control for Astrobotic.

Stratocumulus's insight:

Astrobotic is one of the top contenders for the Google Lunar X-Prize (GLXP).

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SpaceShipTwo another step closer to powered flight | NewSpace Journal

SpaceShipTwo completed a glide flight yesterday at the Mojave Air and Space Port, bringing the suborbital vehicle ever closer to its first powered test flight. Details about the flight have not shown up yet on the official test log, but it appears to have been a successful flight.

 

The glide flight was the first for SpaceShipTwo since December 19, when it made its first such flight in “powered flight” configuration, with its rocket motor installed. At that time Virgin Galactic said they planned a “minimum” of two more glide flights before beginning powered flights, suggesting that, after yesterday’s flight, there may be just one more glide test before SpaceShipTwo ignites its rocket motor in flight. Virgin has also been publicizing a series of static fire tests of the rocket motor, the most recent of which took place on March 30, according to its test logs. Those engine tests are a “short series of final tests” before SpaceShipTwo’s first powered flight, according to the company.

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Virgin Galactic’s Plans Advance in New Mexico | Parabolic Arc

Virgin Galactic’s Plans Advance in New Mexico | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

As engineers in Mojave prepared SpaceShipTwo for a glide flight this week, things were coming together at the suborbital vehicle’s future home in New Mexico.

 

On Tuesday, Gov. Susana Martinez visited Spaceport America to sign legislation that strengthens legal protections for Virgin Galactic, the company that will build and operate SpaceShipTwo vehicles from the $209 million desert facility near Truth or Consequences.

 

Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) appear to have resolved outstanding issues relating to the completion of construction work at the Spaceport.

 

 

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The Moon Is A Natural Platform For Asteroid Mining, Detection, And Deflection

The Moon Is A Natural Platform For Asteroid Mining, Detection, And Deflection | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

There has been much talk in the media about what to do since February's astronomically unlikely double asteroid attack. Noble efforts to detect asteroid threats such as those of the B612 Foundation have received much deserved attention. Ironically, a United Nations committee was in conference over this very question while the dramas unfolded.

 

Many people are asking, “What is the government doing about this?” Well, the answer, sadly, is not much. NASA and other space agencies have had a few on-again off-again attempts to search and catalog asteroid threats, but there is no active government program to identify threats, and absolutely no programs to try to protect us from them. Contrary to Hollywood imaginations, the hard truth is, if we detected a large asteroid on a collision course for Earth, we couldn’t do a thing about it.

 

But there is hope. In the near future we could have technology to not only watch out for asteroid threats, but to deflect these planet killers and harvest their vast resources. We can turn swords into ploughshares on a cosmic scale. In fact, Earth has a natural ally in this effort – the Moon.

 

 

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Kill The Space Launch System To Save Human Spaceflight

Kill The Space Launch System To Save Human Spaceflight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Simply put, the SLS program should be canceled now to free up approximately $10 billion programmed for this decade. This money could then be redirected to continue the planned flight tests of the Orion spacecraft with the much lower-cost Falcon Heavy booster while making a robust investment in a first-generation space station in the vicinity of the Moon. An investment in such a cislunar station would provide—by the early 2020s—a multifunctional platform to act as a fuel depot, a workstation for robotic operations on the Moon and a habitat to protect against the more intense radiation environment outside of the Earth's magnetic field. This station could even be used as a habitat during longer-duration human missions to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.

 

Such a revised program would give NASA a real mid-2020s destination along with a rationale to help mobilize and sustain public, congressional and multilateral political and budgetary support during a period of federal fiscal austerity.

 

 

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The Commercial Spaceflight Federation Commends the Passage of New Mexico Spaceflight Liability Bill | Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Washington D.C. – New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez signed into law today a bill that will extend liability protections beyond spacecraft operators.  Through informed consent, spaceflight participants are accepting the risks associated with spaceflight. Should they incur any injury while participating in spaceflight activities, this bill will provide the necessary liability protection from lawsuits against the vehicle operator, manufacturer, and suppliers.

 

“Spacecraft manufacturers and their suppliers are entitled to the same liability protection given to the operators, particularly in the critical first few years of routine flight operations,” stated Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Michael Lopez-Alegria. “This bill acknowledges that spaceflight is an inherently risky activity and provides the necessary protections for all the companies involved while still holding them accountable. With this legislation in place, Spaceport America will continue to become one of our nation’s hubs for commercial spaceflight. I applaud the efforts of New Mexico Governor Martinez on this issue and that of the State Legislature for getting the bill to the Governor’s desk. This is a great success for the commercial spaceflight industry not only in New Mexico but the nation.”

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A Thin Red Line Line to Protect Mars Explorers | Commercial Space

A Thin Red Line Line to Protect Mars Explorers | Commercial Space | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Thin Red Line Aerospace, a privately-held firm in Chilliwack, B.C is expected to help build an inflatable habitat for a 2018 trip to Mars planned by the Inspiration Mars Foundation. The proposed 501-day trip would send a middle-aged couple to orbit Mars without landing.

Thin Red Line founder and President Max de Jong believes that even the most loving partners could find their relationship tried by a year and a half aboard a cramped spacecraft drinking their own recycled bodily fluids. De Jong sees an inflatable habitat (with its much larger space) as a means of helping them cope. Made of ultra-strong fabrics like Kevlar, the inflatable habitat would be launched on a rocket, inflated in Earth orbit, and then attached to the spacecraft.

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Training for Fear: the Creation of Inner Space Training

Training for Fear: the Creation of Inner Space Training | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Everyone is familiar with astronaut training procedures from practicing EVAs under water to studying diagrams of the spacecraft they will fly and spinning around in centrifuges to experience the rigors of g-forces. But all this physical, physiological, and intellectual preparation doesn’t address the psychological and emotional responses of future spacefarers. What of an astronaut’s fear, for instance, when faced with an unexpected challenge in an unfamiliar environment?

 

That’s the question that Astronauts4Hire flight member Dr. Mindy Howard started asking when she realized that soon a lot of people would get access to space without sufficient preparation. Howard attended a National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center for Suborbital Scientist Training Program, which provides specific training for prospective “Suborbital Scientist-Astronauts” wishing to fly experiments on upcoming suborbital space missions. While there, she had an epiphany:

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The great state space race | The Space Review

The great state space race | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

It’s not uncommon for states to compete against one another to attract a company’s newest factory or offices, or to lure a company to move from one state to another. Tax breaks, sweetheart deals on land or buildings, or other incentives are all standard tools of the trade to win factories, distribution centers, and office complexes. Local and state agencies work every day to attract various businesses, willing to absorb costs in the near term for promised long-term economic benefits.

 

It’s a sign of the maturation of the commercial space industry, though, that cities and states are making more of an effort to attract such companies. There’s been some activity in the last year, as XCOR Aerospace agreed on a deal to move its headquarters to Midland, Texas (see “Texas warms to NewSpace”, The Space Review, July 16, 2012) while signing a separate deal to later establish in Florida a manufacturing and operations base. Florida also lured a smaller suborbital vehicle company, Rocket Crafters, to set up operations in Titusville. But even bigger deals—and possibly fiercer competition—are on the horizon.

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Space settlement and future of space law | The Space Review

Space settlement and future of space law | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Where explorers go, lawyers follow. In the case of outer space, though, the lawyers are likely well behind the advances of exploration and other efforts in our solar system. While the goal for many in space is spreading human civilization beyond the boundaries of our planet, the legal problem is that international lawyers are still bound to the legal frameworks that often don’t satisfy future or even current implications of space exploration. This is particularly true when it comes to plans for human settlement of outer space, in terms of jurisdiction, commercialization, and governance.

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