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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 Launch System is a threat to JSC Texas jobs Houston Chronicle | SpaceNews.com

Space Launch System is a threat to JSC Texas jobs Houston Chronicle | SpaceNews.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Former NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Director Chris Kraft doesn't mince words in an April 20 op-ed in the Houston Chronicle about the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket the U.S. space agency has been directed by Congress to build.

 

"SLS is killing JSC. SLS is killing Texas jobs. SLS is killing our national space agenda," Kraft and former NASA space station program manager Tom Moser assert.

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Interview with Paul E. Damphousse, part 1 - The NSS | Moonandback

Interview with Paul E. Damphousse, part 1 - The NSS | Moonandback | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Paul E. Damphousse, the new Executive Director of the NSS, talks with MM about the future of the organization and public outreach.

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SpaceX, NASA looking for new Falcon 9 launch date following slip | NASASpaceFlight.com

SpaceX, NASA looking for new Falcon 9 launch date following slip | NASASpaceFlight.com | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Following SpaceX’s announcement that their Falcon 9 launch date will be slipping from its April 30 target, evaluations are taking place – in cooperation with NASA – to ascertain when the Dragon spacecraft can make its debut attempt to berth with the International Space Station (ISS). With an unofficial NET date of May 7, Dragon may yet have to dodge an upcoming Soyuz mission.

 

Being ready to launch is always a challenge, regardless if one is launching sounding rockets out of Wallops or Space Shuttles out of KSC. As such, any slip prior to launch should not be seen as a negative, but as a necessity of ensuring no stone is left unturned ahead of a launch and its subsequent mission.

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Billionaire-backed asteroid mining venture starts with space telescopes

Billionaire-backed asteroid mining venture starts with space telescopes | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The venture known as Planetary Resources eventually plans to go asteroid mining — but the first step in the billionaire-backed business plan is to launch an orbital fleet of "personal space telescopes" capable of looking out into the heavens or back down on Earth.

 

Right now, the idea of sending robotic drilling operations to near-Earth asteroids, extracting water for powering interplanetary spaceships — and, by the way, turning that into a profitable business — sounds like pure science fiction. But to quote Planetary Resources' president and chief engineer, Chris Lewicki: "Everything is science fiction right up to the point that it's science fact."

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Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study | SpaceRef

Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study | SpaceRef | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

This report describes the results of a study sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) to investigate the feasibility of identifying, robotically capturing, and returning an entire Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) to the vicinity of the Earth by the middle of the next decade.

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In Pursuit of Riches, and Travelers’ Supplies, in the Asteroid Belt

In Pursuit of Riches, and Travelers’ Supplies, in the Asteroid Belt | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Perhaps it will be a platinum rush that finally opens up the final frontier.

 

On Tuesday, a new company called Planetary Resources Inc. will unveil its plans to mine asteroids that zip close by Earth, both to provide supplies for future interplanetary travelers and to bring back precious metals like platinum.

 

The venture may sound far-fetched — perhaps along the lines of Newt Gingrich’s campaign promise to colonize the moon — but it has already attracted some big-name investors, including Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google, as well as profitable technology development contracts.

 

“If you believe that resources in space are critical towards a space-faring future, you will inevitably come to the result that the asteroids — in fact, the near-Earth asteroids — are the steppingstones to the rest of the solar system,” Eric C. Anderson, one of the company’s co-founders, said in a telephone interview.

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Planetary's Plan to Mine an Asteroid

Planetary's Plan to Mine an Asteroid | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The riddle of the space asteroid start-up has been solved.

 

On Tuesday, Planetary Resources Inc., whose mission has been shrouded in secrecy, will outline in Seattle its plan to send an unmanned spacecraft to an asteroid and mine it for valuable metals and water that could be used in further space exploration or returned to earth.

 

The company, backed by several billionaires, is working to recruit engineering and mission-planning expertise and allow private companies to bid to help it launch the spacecraft, said John S. Lewis, a University of Arizona planetary-science professor who said he is an adviser to Planetary.

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Special Report: The Private Space Taxi Race

Special Report: The Private Space Taxi Race | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

In the wake of last year's space shuttle retirement, NASA is working with commercial space companies to develop private space taxis to carry cargo and astronauts to the International Space Station.

 

So far, two companies — Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Orbital Science Corp. — have won billions in funding to ferry food, supplies and scientific experiments to the space station on unmanned spacecraft. Those companies, as well as Blue Origin, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada Corp., are also working under contracts to develop manned vehicles capable of flying astronauts to and from the orbiting outpost.

 

Visit SPACE.com each day this week for a look at the major players in the race to build private spaceships for use by NASA and others:

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Hacking space | The Space Review

Hacking space | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Startups don’t always start up in garages: sometimes it starts in a spare bedroom or a living room or, as Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg individually demonstrated, a college dorm room. The idea is the same, though: even a giant company can have very humble origins, taking advantage of whatever space is available and using readily available resources to get a new company off the ground.

 

Space, though, doesn’t have the same creation mythology. Space companies are large and capital intensive because, as we are frequently reminded, getting to space is extraordinarily challenging, giving the energies involved in reaching orbit and the harsh environment beyond the atmosphere. While some small ventures have made advances, particularly with suborbital vehicles—Armadillo Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, and XCOR Aerospace all have made significant progress with small teams and modest facilities—space is still seen as the realm of large, well-capitalized companies.

 

That view may be changing.

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NASA’s Latest Commercial Crew Update | Parabolic Arc

NASA’s Latest Commercial Crew Update | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

NASA PR — Steady progress continues for industry partners in maturing their commercial crew transportation systems. Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) completed milestones over the past two months while SpaceX, Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Excalibur Almaz Incorporated prepared for future milestones to get them closer to fielding operational crew transportation systems. The recently completed milestones bring the total number of completed milestones to 38 of the 62 planned for Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) activities.

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Space Needle Announces Finalists in Space Race 2012 | SpaceRef

Eight months after announcing Space Race 2012, a program that celebrates its iconic history, the Space Needle has chosen five lucky finalists to compete in a variety of challenges for a chance to fulfill their dream of traveling into space. The contestants will gather in Seattle next month to kick-off the last leg of the competition, with the winner being announced on May 9.

 

After more than 50,000 applicants and over 80 Facebook video submissions, Gregory Schneider, John Herman, Lauren Ferguson, Savan Becker and Sara Cook are one step closer to the ultimate prize of space travel.

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The world is not enough for Google bosses

The world is not enough for Google bosses | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Having created one of the titans of cyberspace, which helps to run the lives of billions, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt may well regard themselves as masters of planet Earth. Google's mega-rich founders have built a global empire worth over £120bn by channelling unimaginable volumes of information to our cherished laptops, smartphones and tablets.

 

But it seems that, for Page and Schmidt, the world is no longer enough. The pair are now staking a claim for galactic domination by backing a plan to mine asteroids. Google's chief executive and executive chairman are named as key players in Planetary Resources Inc, which appears set to go boldly where no magnate has gone before.

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A Conversation with former Astronaut Dr. Leroy Chiao

SpaceRef had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Leroy Chiao at the 28th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. Dr. Chiao is a veteran of four flights into space and was the Expedition 10 commander and NASA science officer on his last mission to the International Space Station.

 

In our conversation with Dr. Chiao we discuss his latest, and one of many of his ongoing endeavours, including his new role as a Special Advisor - Human Spaceflight for the Space Foundation. We also discuss his experiences working in a collaborative environment with the partners of the International Space Station, education, biomedical research and the current state and future of space exploration.

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A Conversation with Jim Chilton and John Mulholland of Boeing

A conversation with Jim Chilton and John Mulholland of Boeing. Mr. Mulholland is Vice President and Program Manager - Commercial Programs, Space Exploration while Mr. Chilton is Vice President and Program Manager Exploration Launch Systems.

 

In our conversation we talk about NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), Commercial Crew Development Program (CCDev), Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap), space exploration including a return to the moon and more.

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Moon Express Delivers Lunar Mission Design Report to NASA Detailing technical plans toward mining the Moon for precious planetary resources

Moon Express Delivers Lunar Mission Design Report to NASA Detailing technical plans toward mining the Moon for precious planetary resources | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., April 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Moon Express, a Google Lunar X PRIZE contender, announced today that it has successfully delivered a mission design package to NASA under its Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data (ILDD) Program, providing NASA continuing data on the development of the company's commercial lunar missions and plans to mine the Moon for precious planetary resources. The newest task order in the $10M ILDD contract called for Moon Express to provide NASA with data about the company's progress through a Preliminary Design Checkpoint Technical Package that documents details of mission operations, spacecraft development, payload accommodations and Planetary Protection Plans.

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Additional software reviews will delay SpaceX demo flight | Spaceflight Now

Additional software reviews will delay SpaceX demo flight | Spaceflight Now | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Launch of SpaceX's commercial Dragon cargo freighter to the International Space Station will be delayed until at least early May to give engineers more time to wring out the craft's software, the company announced Monday.

 

The launch of Dragon, aiming to become the first commercial spacecraft to reach the space station, was scheduled from Cape Canaveral on April 30, following three days later by ship's planned approach and berthing with the orbiting laboratory.

 

A review of comprehensive testing of the spacecraft Monday prompted officials to order a delay in the flight by about one week. A potential launch opportunity is available as soon as May 7, according to a NASA source familiar with the mission.

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Planetary Resources Outlines Plan for Asteroid Mining | Parabolic Arc

Planetary Resources Outlines Plan for Asteroid Mining | Parabolic Arc | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

... The plan is to launch the first spacecraft — a small telescope to find small nearby asteroids — within the next two years. Next, the company would send out a batch of small explorers to visit some of them. Actual mining would begin after that, first targeting water and then platinum.

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Asteroid Mining Images: Planetary Resources' Plan to Tap Space Rock Riches

Asteroid Mining Images: Planetary Resources' Plan to Tap Space Rock Riches | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Planetary Resources will help sustain humanity’s future by accessing the vast resources of space, company officials say.

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SpaceX Billionaire Elon Musk On The Business And Future Of Space Travel | Forbes

SpaceX Billionaire Elon Musk On The Business And Future Of Space Travel | Forbes | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

“This is not the path to go to maximize riches,” Elon Musk told me when I asked him about the business of space travel. “It’s a terrible risk adjusted return. But it’s gotta happen. I think that for me and a lot of people, America is a nation of explorers. I’d like to see that we’re expanding the frontier and moving things forward. Space is the final frontier and we have to make progress.”

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New Delay for 1st Private Spaceship Launch to Space Station

New Delay for 1st Private Spaceship Launch to Space Station | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

The first private spaceship launch to the International Space Station has been delayed, possibly by at least a week, the vehicle's makers announced today (April 23).

 

The commercial spaceflight company SpaceX was set to launch its Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket April 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The unmanned spacecraft will fly a demonstration mission for future cargo deliveries to the space station under an agreement with NASA.

 

Now, that liftoff will likely not occur until May 3 at the earliest, and most likely around May 7.

 

"Am pushing launch back approx a week to do more testing on Dragon docking code," SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk wrote today on Twitter. "New date pending coordination with @NASA."

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The coming golden age | The Space Review

The coming golden age | The Space Review | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Space advocates often complain of how we abandoned deep space exploration after Apollo. I don’t see it that way any more. I see it as a period where we have set the stage for the next golden ages of human exploration. Since Apollo we have had a phenomenal string of successes with unmanned spacecraft, telling us much of what we need to know about these locations before humans follow. We have advanced many technologies that will be used in our next push outward. We have a greater understanding of the challenges facing people who will be doing the exploration. All of this will hopefully greatly improve the likelihood of success as we push back out to the Moon and beyond, this time to stay.

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Landing Is A Variable In NASA Commercial Crew Choice

Landing Is A Variable In NASA Commercial Crew Choice | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

COLORADO SPRINGS — NASA managers looking for at least two commercial vehicles to take crews to the International Space Station have a choice of techniques for returning astronauts to Earth, from parachute landings on land to a gliding touchdown on a runway.

 

As they consider system-level proposals for the third phase of the Commercial Crew Program, known as Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap), space agency evaluators are pondering the eventual use of propulsive vertical landing proposed by Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and perhaps the secretive Blue Origin LLC.

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Space Launch System is a threat to JSC, Texas jobs | Houston Chronicle

Space Launch System is a threat to JSC, Texas jobs | Houston Chronicle | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

By Christopher C. Kraft, former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center, former director of JSC Mission Control; and Thomas Moser, former director of JSC Engineering, former director of NASA's Space Station Program.

 

"Our nation has entered a time of severe fiscal constraints in the face of trillion-dollar-per-year federal deficits. While NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) is a well-intentioned program, we cannot afford to provide NASA with the extra $4 billion to $5 billion per year needed to make an SLS-based exploration strategy work. As a result, the human deep space exploration program is on the verge of collapse, which will have severe economic consequences for Texas as well as the nation.

 

"Unless something changes soon, the current situation will further degrade and could easily destroy critical human space exploration expertise at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) that we will never regain. Unless something changes soon, many thousands of high-wage Texas jobs will be lost forever."

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The Gap in U.S. Spaceflight

The Gap in U.S. Spaceflight | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

July 1979 was the busiest month for American spaceflight I could remember, and it was a mixed bag. On the one hand, Skylab fell from orbit, pelting Australia with debris. Where the heck was the Shuttle, which was supposed to have saved it? That was bad. On the other hand, Voyager 2 zipped through the Jupiter system, returning more breathtaking (and freaking weird) views of the planet’s intricate zones and bands and crazy moons. (Voyager 1 had flown by Jupiter earlier in the year, making new data from Voyager 2 eagerly anticipated.) That was terrific.

 

July 1979 also marked four years since Americans had flown in space, three years since Viking 1 had landed on Mars and found no recognizable life, and 10 years since the first men had walked on the moon. The Shuttle was late, I couldn’t get a date, and the first Star Trek movie wouldn’t be out until Christmas.

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Influential trio in space venture

Influential trio in space venture | The NewSpace Daily | Scoop.it

Microsoft billionaire Charles Simonyi, filmmaker James Cameron and Google founder Larry Page are joining forces in a space endeavor that will be unveiled in Seattle Tuesday — but until then, no one is saying exactly what all these heavy hitters are up to.

 

The secrecy hasn't kept tech commentators from speculating about the mission, which was no doubt the goal of last week's teasing media release from something called Planetary Resources.

 

The company describes itself as an innovative startup that will "overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP."

 

Several observers are guessing that translates into mining valuable minerals from asteroids.

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