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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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O’ROURKE: Moon base not so crazy

Newt Gingrich’s up and down campaign to be the GOP presidential nominee is likely to flame out today in Florida. After unexpectedly dominating the South Carolina primary, his political fortunes have wilted under an unrelenting barrage of attacks. In particular, Gingrich’s recent promise to build a permanent American base on the moon provoked many savage gibes. But a moon base is more than, say, an appealing exile for obnoxious politicians. Gingrich’s proposal is roughly aligned with what President Obama and many experts have been advocating for years.

 

There is little public appetite to relive NASA’s glory days through more quick jaunts to the moon. But people are always interested in profit, and what Gingrich and others are proposing is strictly business. An army of astronauts and robots would descend on the moon to mine resources that are not readily available on Earth. Once government programs demonstrate that doing so is possible and perhaps profitable, private industry will have strong incentive to take over, freeing NASA to continue pushing the envelope in other areas of space.

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Campaign lunacy | The Space Review:

Campaign lunacy | The Space Review: | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Political campaigns, presidential or otherwise, can be unpredictable affairs. Controversies can suddenly rise up, and nearly as quickly disappear. Momentum can swing from one candidate to another in a matter of days thanks to a speech or a debate performance or a series of ads. In the last several months, a series of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination became frontrunners, only to flame out or self-destruct.

 

With Florida holding one of the early primaries in the GOP presidential nomination campaign, one would expect that space would get some mention during the run-up to tomorrow’s election, given the strong association with space the state in general, and the “Space Coast” region in particular, has. Four years ago, several candidates made appearances on the Space Coast, talking about space policy in at least general terms. Few, though, would have predicted just a week ago that the news about the campaign would be dominated, if only briefly, about talk of Moon bases and even lunar statehood. (Yes, lunar statehood.) Yet, that’s exactly what happened, as the two frontrunners for the nomination, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, offered very different visions of what they would do in space if elected president this November. One offered a bold vision, but with few details, while the other focused less on a vision than a description of how he would develop a new mission for NASA.

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Popular Mechanics Visit Mojave's Burgeoning Private Spaceport

Popular Mechanics Visit Mojave's Burgeoning Private Spaceport | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The sign at the entrance to the Mojave Air and Space Port says "imagination flies here." The motto fits this collection of World War II–era hangars and outbuildings with two control towers and four airstrips in the middle of the California Desert.

 

In 2004, the airport became a spaceport when a three-seat rocket-powered airplane built by a company called Scaled Composites and designed by its founder and CEO Burt Rutan became the first civilian-built craft to leave Earth's atmosphere. But Rutan and his ilk put themselves on the aerospace map long before SpaceShipOne took flight, and now they're trying to make Mojave one of the most important points in the growing commercial space industry.

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Tea Party space group backs Gingrich | The Flame Trench: space news and analysis

Tea Party space group backs Gingrich | The Flame Trench: space news and analysis | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

On the eve of Florida's Republican presidential primary, a Tea Party-affiliated space organization has endorsed Newt Gingrich.

 

"Mr. Gingrich is the only candidate who consistently articulates a bright vision for future American space exploration and settlement," says a statement from Tea Party in Space. "Mr. Gingrich's unique approach of utilizing the government and private sector is exactly what NASA needs."

 

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NASA to Solicit Private Space Taxi Proposals Feb. 7 | Space.com

NASA to Solicit Private Space Taxi Proposals Feb. 7 | Space.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

WASHINGTON — NASA plans to solicit proposals Feb. 7 for the third round of its commercial crew program and award at least two funded Space Act Agreements this summer that will run through 2014 and prepare competing astronaut transportation concepts for production.

 

NASA has rebranded this initiative as the "Commercial Crew integrated Capability" program, according to a procurement notice posted online Jan. 23. It was formerly known as the Commercial Crew Integrated Design Contract.

 

Continuing a drumbeat it has sounded since last summer, NASA cautioned that the next round of awards will depend heavily on funding availability. "NASA intends to select a portfolio of multiple [commercial crew concepts] that best meet the [program's] goals within the available funding," the procurement notice says.

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Some Legal and Policy Ramifications of Newt Gingrich’s Plan to Colonize the Moon

Some Legal and Policy Ramifications of Newt Gingrich’s Plan to Colonize the Moon | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Speaking last week to an audience on Florida’s “space coast,” Republican Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich vowed to establish a colony on the Moon by the end of his “second term,” i.e., by the end of 2020. What’s more, Gingrich made clear that he wanted the lunar outpost to be a U.S. project, expressing openness to the possibility of statehood for the Moon colony upon its reaching the necessary minimum population.

 

Before succumbing to the temptation to mock Gingrich’s grandiosity—which he expressly embraced in the space coast speech, comparing himself to Lincoln, among others—it is worth asking whether there is anything to Gingrich’s plan. Although the particulars of the Gingrich Moon-colonization plan are flawed, the basic concept is worth discussing.

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Hey, why shouldn’t we go to the moon? | Nathalie Rothschild

Hey, why shouldn’t we go to the moon? | Nathalie Rothschild | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

A key reason why Gingrich would be unlikely to get approval for even a fraction of his plans is that the very idea that America should develop a bold space exploration programme is anathema to today’s anti-exploratory, risk-averse, measurable outcomes-obsessed climate. Even entertaining the thought of breaching new frontiers is seen as the height of lunacy. It’s regarded as the stuff of naive fiction and dead politicians.

 

Yet great advances in science, expansions of human knowledge and technological developments have always happened against the odds and these have inspired wonder precisely because nobody could have imagined experiencing them.

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Expensive NASA rocket draws skepticism

Depending on one's perspective, it's either the best of times or worst of times for NASA's human spaceflight program.

 

Citing gains made in 2011, agency Administrator Charles Bolden said the new year "truly marks the beginning of a new era in the human exploration of our solar system."

 

Contrast that with Paul Spudis, a scientist at Houston's Lunar and Planetary Institute, who described NASA's just-completed 2011 as an "annus horribilis."

 

At issue is whether, by choosing to build an expensive new rocket over the next decade, NASA is laying the groundwork for human exploration beyond the moon, or laying a gravestone for American human spaceflight.

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What are the near and long term advantages of a Permanent Moon Base

What are the advantages of a moon base ? It is a new beachhead for the initiation of space industrialization.

 

You can develop the billions of gallons of water that are on the moon and provide fuel for orbital and other space operations. (military and other wise). The fuel would be cheaper because it would be 36 times cheaper to bring it up from a gravity well that is one sixth the strength.

 

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The Truth About Mitt Romney's Space Advisor

Mitt Romney told a crowd of space enthusiasts that he wanted to surround himself with advisers, conduct more studies, and listen to what they told him before making any decisions. In short, Mitt Romney is no better than President Obama.

 

Mitt Romney has no plan other than to reboot the Augustine commission and find out that Constellation, Space Launch System, or whatever we call it next is still un-affordable. Listen to Mitt Romney's space adviser.

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Newt Gingrich is right: We need a permanent Moonbase

Newt Gingrich is right: We need a permanent Moonbase | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has promised us a permanent Moon base by 2020. Many people have been calling Newt's vow a publicity stunt, while others have chimed in by attacking the idea of a lunar base in and of itself, with assertions like "real scientists know [a Moon base] is fantasy."

 

We won't speak to Newt's political maneuverings, but we're sure as hell not going to sit idly by while people bash the feasibility or scientific potential of a lunar settlement. In fact, we've got 185 reasons we should set a course straight away.


Via Khannea Suntzu
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Video: Romney Talks Space and Says Nothing — Again | Parabolic Arc

Mitt Romney talks at a rally in Brevard County in Florida. And for the third time this week, he says nothing substantive about space policy.

 

Apparently, Mitt Romneybot (a.k.a., #Mittbot) has been running for President for at least five years and has no idea what he wants to do in space yet. Nor can he describe in any detail what is wrong with the current administration’s policies.

 

But, he’s brought in a bunch of experts to figure it all out. And he’ll get back to us with the details. At some point. That should warm the hearts of laid off workers on the Space Coast looking for some clues as to what might happen next year.

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Space Team Romney: Pace, Griffin, Cernan and Anderson | Parabolic Arc

Space Team Romney: Pace, Griffin, Cernan and Anderson | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In a move destined to anger NewSpace advocates, Mitt Romney has released a letter of support signed by eight space leaders, including prominent commercial space critics Mike Griffin, Scott Pace and Gene Cernan. Pace, in fact, is chairman of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group.

 

“We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission,” the signers wrote. “This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities. In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation.”

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The pros and cons of Moon Base Gingrich

The pros and cons of Moon Base Gingrich | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

AS VOTERS in space-mad Florida consider their options in tomorrow's Republican primary they may wonder if Newt Gingrich’s idea for a moon base is a shameless appeal to their parochial interests. But they'd be wrong to doubt his sincerity. For nearly three decades Mr Gingrich has been touting space colonisation; he co-founded the Congressional Aviation and Space Caucus and wrote a bookthat called for more space exploration. He is as space mad as the Floridians he hopes to win over. But that raises another question: how mad is this idea?

 

That depends. The idea for a moon base was a feature of George W. Bush’s space policy. But there is a world of difference between sending small groups of astronauts to a lunar base for months at a time, as Mr Bush envisioned, and having tens of thousands of people living permanently on the moon, as Mr Gingrich envisions.

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Not evolution—revolution | The Space Review

Not evolution—revolution | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

his week, Newt Gingrich gave a speech on space that was visionary. Gingrich may be winning supporters among people who consider space policy an important election issue. There is evidence of this in an online poll about space policy where the Gingrich policy is favored over the Romney policy two-to-one. Yet Gingrich may lose far more supporters than he wins. Mitt Romney has been portraying Gingrich’s moon base as unaffordable and Gingrich as lunatic for wanting one. In the two days after Gingrich’s speech, which included a debate where the space issue came up again, the probability of Romney winning in Florida shot up from 40% to 90% according to the political prediction market intrade.com.

 

Ironically, Gingrich, Romney, and Barack Obama are not advocating that much difference in policy and not that much difference from George Bush’s policy as implemented. The Obama policy as articulated by the Augustine Committee continued a policy of gently encouraging domestic commercial alternatives to NASA self-supplying vehicles or obtaining them from Russia. Obama’s policy of go as you pay and building capabilities is the result of a meta-policy similar to Romney’s: appoint a panel of experts and do what they say. In Obama’s case, the composition of the panel resulted in a pro-commercial, decentralized policy that is in many ways a polar opposite of the administration’s health care and energy policies. The Obama space agenda ran into difficulty in Congress and the resulting compromise provides only limited reform.

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Cosmic Log - To the moon? It's not that loony

Cosmic Log - To the moon? It's not that loony | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GOP hopeful Mitt Romney says that he’d fire anyone who suggested spending hundreds of billions of dollars to build a moon colony — but what about tens of billions of dollars? A former NASA adviser says he and others at the space agency drew up an approach that could put astronauts on the moon for $40 billion, as a “Plan B” for future exploration.

 

"We figured out at NASA how to do it in about 10 years for $40 billion," said Charles Miller, who recently left his position as NASA Headquarters' senior adviser for commercial space and is now president of NextGen Space. "The question is, would Mitt Romney fire me for a proposal to return to the moon for $40 billion?"

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Gingrich's Manned Moon Base by 2020: Can It Be Done? | Space.com

Gingrich's Manned Moon Base by 2020: Can It Be Done? | Space.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

GOP presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich has promised a manned moon base by 2020 if he is elected, yet such a plan will face some serious budgetary and practical hurdles, experts say.

 

Gingrich is in Florida competing for that state's nomination for the Republican candidacy against Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Ambitious plans for America's space program are likely to generate enthusiasm among those in Florida's space industry, hard-hit by the retirement of the space shuttle last year.

 

"By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American," Gingrich promised during a speech in the city of Cocoa, on Florida's Space Coast, Jan. 25.

 

Yet experts question whether a plan to send people to live on the moon can so quickly be achieved.

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TEA Party In Space Endorses Newt

TEA Party In Space Endorses Newt | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

(Titusville FL) — Tea Party in Space (TPIS) is excited to endorse Newt Gingrich for President of the United States. Mr. Gingrich is the only candidate who consistently articulates a bright vision for future American space exploration and settlement. Mr. Gingrich’s unique approach of utilizing the government and private sector is exactly what NASA needs.

 

“Newt Gingrich is the only credible candidate in this primary race in Florida who has any credibility when it comes to America’s future in space,” said Andrew Gasser, President and National Coordinator for TPIS. “Newt will not have to take a poll or rely on ‘advisors’ who have a history of poor history of delays and significant budget overruns. Instead, he wants to return NASA to the beaming example of American exceptionalism that it once was.”

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Gingrich says space exploration in US tradition, chides critics for lack of understanding

Gingrich says space exploration in US tradition, chides critics for lack of understanding | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

STUART, Fla. — Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich says critics of his call to ramp up U.S. space exploration don’t understand the power of science, technology and entrepreneurship to change the future.

 

Campaign rival Mitt Romney was referring to Gingrich earlier this week when he said that if any business executive recommended spending huge sums on colonizing the moon, he’d fire him.

 

But Gingrich said Abraham Lincoln recommended building a transcontinental railroad at a time necessary technology didn’t exist, and a decade later the job was done. And that when President Kennedy started a program to put a man on the moon in the early 1960s the same thing happened.

 

Gingrich spoke on the 26th anniversary of the explosion that destroyed the space shuttle Challenger 73 seconds into flight, killing all seven aboard.

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Mitt Romney's (Lack of) Space Vision

Mitt Romney's (Lack of) Space Vision | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Willard Mitt Romney is ignorant when it comes to space policy and it was on display for all to see at Thursday night's debate. There is no possible explanation we can offer as to why Mr. Romney commented and used the rhetoric he did, it just was incoherent. Mr. Romney was all over the place on the space issue showing he really has no cogent thoughts about space exploration, settlement, and policy. Watch the video of Mr. Romney addressing the space issue and then compare it to Mr. Gingrich. I wish I had more from Mitt Romney on space but this is all that could be found.

 

To understand where Mr. Romney is coming from on space policy, you need to look at his advisors. Mr. Romney likes to say he is a Washington outsider but in reality, he is relying on former BIG NASA officials as advisors who resided in Washington DC and would love positions in a Romney Administration. Take one look at the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group and it is no wonder why the governor believes he needs hundreds of billions of dollars to do any worthwhile human space exploration. Most notably on this list is Dr. Michael Griffin:

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Anderson: Romney would be “advocate” of commercial space | Space Politics

After Mitt Romney talked about space on Friday in Cape Canaveral, Florida, I had the opportunity to talk with Eric Anderson, who is one of the people who signed the open letter endorsing Romney on space also released Friday. He provided some insights into what Romney’s views are about space, particularly the commercial sector.

 

Anderson, in a phone interview, said he was contacted a few months ago by the Romney campaign to serve on a space working group, whose members are those who signed Friday’s letter; he added he’s met Romney several times and talked to him “one-on-one” on commercial space in particular. “He had not thought a lot about commercial space,” Anderson admitted, but in those personal conversations, Romney indicated to Anderson his enthusiasm for the private sector’s recent developments in human space flight capabilities. Anderson believes that if Romney won the presidency he would be an advocate of commercial space.

 

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New Space Policy Questions and Advice for Mitt

Interestingly, space policy has been much more discussed in this primary campaign than any other in recent history, largely because it is a topic about which one of the candidates, Newt Gingrich, is unusually enthusiastic and conversant. With the focus on Tuesday’s primary in Florida, a swing state in which space is an important issue to many on the Space Coast, it seems to have reached a peak in the last few days, though after Tuesday’s vote it is likely to recede into the background, with few remaining debates ahead, and none focusing on a space state.

 

On Wednesday, Gingrich gave an aspirational speech in Cocoa Beach laying out his vision for America in space, of a ten-billion-dollar prize for the first human on Mars, a lunar base by the end of his second term, and eventually a settlement of several thousand that might become a new U. S. state. As I noted here on Friday, this isn’t as crazy as it sounds to many, and Ken Chang at the New York Times wrote a similar story with the theme on Saturday that the primary barrier was politics, not technology or cost.

 

Nonetheless, Mitt Romney chose to ridicule it, continuing to come off (as he did in December) as a soulless, visionless technocrat. The last time he did this, I had some serious space policy questions for his campaign, to which he has (unsurprisingly) never responded:

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Next Crew Launch to ISS Delayed By Soyuz Flaw | Parabolic Arc

Next Crew Launch to ISS Delayed By Soyuz Flaw | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

More quality control problems with Russia’s human spaceflight program.

 

A planned March 30 launch of a new three-man crew to the International Space Station could be delayed about a month due to an air leak discovered during vacuum testing of the crew’s Soyuz capsule, RIA Novosti reports.

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For a Moon Colony, Technology Is the Easy Part

For a Moon Colony, Technology Is the Easy Part | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Could the United States establish a moon colony and develop a new propulsion system for going to Mars? All within eight years of a Newt Gingrich presidency, as Mr. Gingrich promised this week?

 

The answers seem to be technologically yes, economically iffy and politically very difficult.

 

A new NASA program similar to Constellation with brand new rockets would be expensive. But a recent NASA study concluded that the space agency could use smaller existing rockets, coupled with fueling stations in orbit, to reach the Moon within a decade.


Mr. Gingrich talked of overturning the status quo at NASA, pushing to work faster, to accept greater risks and let private companies take the lead role.

 

“It’s not something that should be mocked or should be seen as a remote possibility,” said Michael Gold, director of the Washington office of Bigelow Aerospace, a private space company. “The reason this is both possible and economically viable is that many of the systems and technology, if not all, already exist.”

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SFF to Romney: Fire Mike Griffin From Space Advisory Board | Parabolic Arc

SFF to Romney: Fire Mike Griffin From Space Advisory Board | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

SFF PR — Jacksonville, FL – During last night’s Republican presidential debate, Governor Mitt Romney stated that “a moonbase would be an enormous expense,” and later stated that if someone had come to him saying they had wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, he would’ve said “You’re fired.”

 

Today, it was revealed that former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin is member of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group. This is the same NASA Administrator who was the chief architect of an unaffordable and unsustainable plan to return humans to the Moon that would have cost about $200 Billion.

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