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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dateline Feb 28, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Benard Foing has a thought experiment on using the moon as an "Ark."
  • NASA has decided on the names for their rockets. Altair, Artemis and Ares (I and V).
  • NASA is still trying to speed up the ESAS. You could still use the EELV's you have. They work now. Just a thought.
  • Pulsar, the blog of Tricia Ware the marketing writer for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, has news that "advisory committee for the New Mexico State Investment Council recommended investing in t/Space" if t/Space wins the COTS "contract" with NASA. (ed- I use "contract" as I don't really know what to call it at this point. Anybody know the technical term?)
  • The Russian rocket Proton is ready for launch. It is scheduled to lift-off at 20:10 UTC (3:10pm Eastern US) from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is carrying a Saudi Arabian communications satellite.
  • This is just neat. (Yeah that is the space station)
  • More SpaceX Falcon I articles.
  • Alan Boyle has some thoughts on the COTS program.
  • New Mexico's business community is happy with the spaceport.
  • Singapore is still excited.
  • RocketPlane, Limited's George French has bought Kristler. He hopes to able to use their ship for the COTS program.
  • ProSpace March Storm is getting underway.
  • Aero-News has an article on Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX.
  • Another article on UAE the Singapore spaceports.
  • An interview with the head of the Pluto mission, New Horizons.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Business 2.0 has a section on space

(From Selenian Boondocks)

Business 2.0 has a section on the new space business. I am happy business people are paying attention. The magazine is online, but it is not for the bandwidth limited. Got to page 68 for the special section.

Word Cloud

There is a company making word clouds of your blog and printing them on a t-shirt. You can do a preview here. (hat tip to Robot Guy).

Dateline Feb 27, 2006, News from the Internet

  • The Space Review is full of good stuff today:
    • Sam Dikin post a transcript/interview of his tour of the SpaceX facility.

    • Sam Dikin also gives a background of SpaceX as a company

    • Taylor Dinerman talks about a new branch of the military, the Space Force. (ed- I would join that branch in flat minute.)

    • Eric Hedman has a follow up to his article about private space companies about the mail he received and how he thinks access to space will evolve.

    • Matthew Hoey discusses the future of military space systems.

    • Finally, Jeff Foust reviews Unreal Estate, a new book about property ownership in space (an issues dear to my heart).

  • Apparently, NASA doesn't really have any idea when the next shuttle launch will happen.

  • Mike Griffin and Shana Dale will be speaking on NASA TV today at 12:30pm EST (11:30 CST)

  • NASA is finally using the ISS for commercial purposes :) I wonder it Tiger could hit the station? Maybe on a good day with strong winds...

  • Need a good laugh? Look at NASA launch manifest.

  • RLV News has a "back of the envelope" estimate of total investment (minus DARPA) in new space projects.

  • Denver has rocket envy.

  • US Space News has the STS-121 Flight Plan Walkthrough with Rational

Saturday, February 25, 2006

SpaceX Update February 25, 2006

This from Elon:

The tentative launch window for the maiden flight of Falcon 1 is March 20 through 25. The gating items are receiving a shipment of liquid oxygen (LOX) from Hawaii and switching out the 2nd stage tank. Obviously, long term operations on Kwaj will require that we install a state-of-the-art, high reliability LOX plant on island. In the meantime, we will get through first launch with LOX shipments from Hawaii and whatever output we can generate from the sad, old clunker of a LOX plant that we currently own.

We are also replacing the 2nd stage tank, following discovery of a small leak. Fortunately, a Falcon 2nd stage tank just barely fits through the door of a standard cargo airplane (no C-17 required), so the flight is relatively inexpensive and readily available. Fixing the leak in the tank being shipped back is not a huge task, but also not something easily done far away from the factory. Countdown procedures have been modified to prevent such leaks from developing in the future.

The static fire performed during the last countdown attempt was really helpful as a preflight systems checkout, so we will be doing one again three or four days before the next countdown (most likely March 17). In addition, we are doing another systems review with DARPA, AF and NASA in early March.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Dateline Feb 24, 2006, News from the Internet

ed: I passed 10,000 viewers last night. Thanks goes out to my readers.

  • China revealed that their third spaceflight and first space walk would occur in 2008 on the Shenzhou-7 mission. Shenzhou-8, with the mission of a space dock, will be launched around 2009 to 2011. It is not clear what they will be docking with, other than "a space capsule."

  • South Africa is revamping their Space Council. This council is suppose to coordinate all things space in the African nation. It has been ineffective since it's creation in 1993.

  • Scientist have witnessed a new type of cosmic explosion. It is like a gamma-ray burst, but more distant and more powerful than anything we have seen before.

  • California is trying to catch up with Florida in attracting CEV manufacturing and testing. Lockheed has committed to Florida if they win the contract to build the CEV. Florida has offered $45 million in incentives and offered 0% sales tax to space related ventures located in the state.

  • Florida is still trying to capture a private space port. Saying
    We'll continue to talk to anyone who is interested in horizontal launch throughout Florida whether it is Space Adventures or Virgin Galactic, or others," said Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings

  • An editorial in the TODAYonline (a Singapore newspaper) is very positive about the proposed spaceport.
    Now, in one stroke Singapore could be catapulted into the elite ranks of nations with a footprint in space.

  • Scaled Composites, the builder of the famous SpacesShipOne, is hiring spacecraft builders. Burt Rutan says he isn't looking for traditional aerospace engineers but people who like to "build things with their hands."

  • Some companies you may not have thought of are looking to make a profit off of man's expansion into space.

  • Lunar Lander Analog contest rules are out.

  • A panel of international perspectives on space exploration was held recently. Comments from Japan, China, & Europe about the VSE are recorded at Space Politics.

  • Ed Flinn has an article on dealing with moon dust and colonization in the latest issues of Ad Astra from the National Space Society (of which I am a member).

  • Apparently, Pluto has two more moons. I wonder how this will affect the Pluto planet or not debate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dateline Feb 22, 2006, News from the Internet

  • The Space Access Society's newsletter is out.

  • According to the Aerospace Industries Association, the aerospace industry is booming. The industry added 7,300 jobs in the final quarter alone, with $241 billion in orders, $175 billion in shipments, with a backlog now swelled to $281 billion - shattering old marks for orders and backlog, while also recording the largest number of shipments in history.

  • Japan launched their M-V launch vehicle.

  • Some amateur astronomers have viewed the possible 10th planet, Xena, at the Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatory.

  • Tariq Malik at has more information on the "Explorer" suborbital craft contracted by Space Adventures and designed by Russia’s Myasishchev Design Bureau. The article has a sketch of the Explorer launch system.

  • Florida is proposing lifting the sales tax for any space related research & development companies.

  • NASA is planning 8 shuttle launches in 15 months (May 2006 and September 2007). Yeah, I would like to see that.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dateline Feb 21, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Scotty (James Doohan) and Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper will be given a final trip into space on the SpaceX Falcon I in March from Vandenberg AFB.

  • Japan is launching it's third satellite in a month into orbit tomorrow (Wednesday February 22). Japan is building confidence in their space launch ability in light of some failures in the last few years and an expanding Chinese space program.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dateline Feb 20, 2006, News from the Internet

  • NASA is starting to plan the Shuttles retirement. When Atlantis comes up for refit in 2008, it will instead be set aside and used as a parts donor for Discovery and Endeavour.

  • NASA is starting to impress me. According to US Space News, NASA is going to give the Launch Abort System rocket double duty as final blast of thrust into orbit. Also, MSFC is using the previously aborted US Hab module to help develop the ECLSS for exploring the moon. Way to not waste those tax dollars for a change, guys.

  • Right after announcing the deal with both Russia and the Ansari family, Space Adventures and Ras Al-Khaimah, part of the United Arab Emirates, has announced the development of a Space Port from which to fly the C-21. His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Crown Prince of Ras Al-Khaimah is providing $30 million for the project which is estimated at $265 million. When asked where the rest of it would come from, Eric Anderson, CEO of Space Adventures, said "we would find out more next week." Can't wait Mr. Anderson. Space Pragmatism will have a special report on this story later today.

  • In other news, the anti-trust lawsuit SpaceX brought against the United Launch Alliance (a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed) has been dismissed by a judge. Basically the judge said you can't prove you have been hurt if you aren't in a position to compete now. No one is sure how a Falcon I launch would affect his case. SpaceX does has 20 days to file a second complaint. We will see. Space Law Probe has some commentary.

  • For all you cheap bastards and college students, Michael Belfiore's article on the Rocket Racing League in Popular Science is online now.

  • According to Aviation Now (subscription), NASA is opening up commericial opportunities all the way to the moon. Shannon Dale, NASA's deputy administrator, is quotes as saying:
    among commercial opportunities that come to mind are in-space fuel delivery; lunar resource prospecting; and the development and maintenance of lunar surface systems and infrastructure, including lunar habitats, power and science facilities, surface mobility units such as rovers, logistics and resupply, communications and navigation, and in situ resource utilization equipment.
    Keep it up Mike & Shannon.

  • Space Adventures has now announced an astronaut training center in Singapore. It will have suborbital flights as well. They are on the move.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Dateline Feb 17, 2006, News from the Internet

  • The US and India may enter into an agreement on space cooperation soon

  • Mike Griffin finished his hearing yesterday with the House Science Committee. For the most part he sympathized the congressmen worried about space science and aeronautic research, but I think he almost lost it once:
    'Why was it not considered cannibalizing when science was eating into the Human Space flight budget!' Griffin retorted.

    'No one complained,' was the response from lawmakers.

    'But I'm complaining! Griffin fired back. 'We've been struggling for 30 years. It needs to be fixed. We need the CEV ready no later than 2013 to 2014. (To go to the) Moon in 2018 (would require us to progress) without any slips.
    He also pointed out that science went from 25% of the NASA budget in 1992 to 32% today. "'We cannot afford everything wanted by the scientific community" he said. And neither can anyone else.

    Other articles about his testimony are at, New Scientist

  • Sea Launch had a sucessful launch of the EchoStar X into geosynchronous orbit on Wednesday. They two previous scrubs on Feb 8 and 12.

  • Rick Homans, head of economic development for the state of New Mexico, had a press conference yesterday Afternoon. According to Michael Belfiore, the New Mexico legislature yesterday morning voted to approve spending $100 million to build the nation's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Homans said "It's all systems go for the spaceport." RFP for the design will be coming out in March with construction beginning early 2007. Good luck New Mexico. See also and KTSM El Paso

  • Space Adventures and Prodea, the Ansari family's investment firm, have teamed up and made an agreement with the Russian Space Agency to build explorer suborbital craft. The craft would be purchased by Space Adventures and sold to operators around the globe. Explorer would take five people 62 miles into space. Space Adventures/Prodea said they will be making an announcement today and Monday about operators. Space Adventures has one advantage over all the other suborbital players, since they have actually put three space tourists in orbit aboard the ISS via the Russian Soyuz. The Ansari family provided the seed money for the famous Ansari X-Prize. Here is the press release. More as it is released.

    C-21 on which the Explorer is based.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dateline Feb 16, 2006, News from the Internet

  • New Scientist has a more detailed story on the LiftPort recent Space Elevator test.

  • Mike Griffin is testifying before the House Science Committee on the 2007 budget today between 10:00am and 12:00pm EST. You can watch it here. You can read what to expect before the testimony.

  • Work for the next shuttle launch (in May?) continue.

  • Space Adventures, the company that has put three tourists onto the space station, is planning a suborbital tourism base in Singapore. If the US doesn't stay friendly to the new space startups, more launches could be moved out of country. More details should be released next Monday, February 20.

  • Starchaser, in a dispute over financial records, has pulled away from talks with the Las Cruces to build a rocket assembly plant. They still want to remain in New Mexico and launch from the proposed New Mexico Spaceport.

  • Stephen Rogers is starting the Albireo Space & Aeronautics Fund to invest in space tourism, among other things. It is set to start April 1.

  • Red Herring has (essentially) a debate between John Pike and XCOR's Jeff Greason. While John Pike seems to think $10,000lb is as good as it is going to get (even though Russia does it cheaper then that now), Jeff has this comment close to my heart:
    However, Mr. Greason says the commercial space travel race has barely begun. “Because of the accomplishments of cost-no-object government programs, people think that this is a mature field,” he says. “But part of the excitement of this field—which makes it different from the semiconductor field—is that for 40 years some of the best brains have been thinking of solutions and almost none of them have been tried.
    Did you hear that people, it is not a mature field. Who knows where we might go. Did Charles Babbage and Alan Turing know that their ideas would one day allow someone to hear Barry Manilow's "Mandy" every time their cell phone rings? Makes you think...
    Just as an aside, I think John Pike may be the devil. I mean literally. Try to get these two quotes to mesh:
    Doubter though he may be, Mr. Pike, who is the director of Alexandria, Virginia-based consultancy, laments the apparent dearth of VC interest in the field. “These are not venture-grade investments, they are adventure-grade investments,” he says. “But if you can’t put five percent of your portfolio into an adventure-grade investment, then you are someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.”

    Mr. Pike scoffs [at Elon Musk]. “The best way to make a small fortune in space is to start with a large fortune,” he says. “The history of the space age is littered with people who wanted to start rocket companies. Most never actually fly anything, while the rest usually blow up one rocket and then go bankrupt. It’s been happening continuously for 25 years.”

    Yeah John, that should help bring out the investors.

  • Out of the cradle has an interview with Dr. Paul Spudis, Lunar expert extraordinaire

  • US Space News says the James Webb Space Telescope is about to slip 1-2 years to the right. What! NASA slips a schedule? You lie! (he-he) note the US Space News: Get permalinks please

  • Tricia Ware, the marketing writer for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, has a new blog on the New Mexico Spaceport.

  • The Mercury News has an article on the lunar armada of many different countries headed to the moon.

  • India plans on doubling their space business in the next two years.

  • The Ukraine is looking for ways to "develop the space industry". President Victor Yushchenko says "this industry was a synonym to the word “progress” all over the world." Well most of the world anyway...

  • [Update 8:55am] has an article on Public Space Travel: Building the Business Case. Good read.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I was thinking this morning, what is the thing that most differentiates modern NASA from Apollo NASA and new space companies, like T/Space or SpaceX? I was also thinking about the common issues between software engineering and space engineering (for lack of a better term). I think these two things are related.

What is NASA? They are currently a typical government agency. So what does that mean? Well it todays world, it means they are risk averse, slow to move, and hard to stop once they get some momentum.

"Hey that sounds like DOD contractors," you say. I know, I had the same thought. I have worked at large contractors like Raytheon and Lockheed. I have also worked at smaller, more streamlined contractors, like Applied Data Trends where I work now.

The main difference I have noticed is product. A Raytheon (just as a for instance) will spend months, if not years, setting up requirements, making thousands of pages of design, and setting up procedures. Without producing a single line of code for the product. At a smaller shop, we do all the the same stuff but we are writing code while we do it. Therefore, at least in my experience, a lot of low level stuff gets flushed out early and more testing gets done throughout the project.

"Your point?" you ask now. Well I noticed how surprised NASA was when T/Space actually went out and built a scale model of there CXV and did drop testing with the $20 million or so they gave them. It was my understanding that NASA was expecting a power point show. With Lockheed or Boeing, I suspect that is what they would have gotten. T/Space, like a small software shop, built a prototype. They got the same benefits as software prototyping from what I can tell. You work out the kinks in the real world, not on paper.

I think NASA used to be like this. In the 50s and 60s they built, or paid for, lots of new rocket families, such as Redstone, Atlas, Titan, and Saturn. They went out and built stuff. They were not afraid to fail. They had fun and tried ideas out.

I think, like computers, space engineering is a young field. It needs to play a little and stretch its boundaries. We can't process what we don't truly understand yet. Sure be safe, but let engineers be engineers. Get out the tinker toys and build something new.

Dateline Feb 15, 2006, News from the Internet

  • According to, NASA's future plans include scaling up the HLV to 300,000 lbs to LEO.

  • So is NASA Using LOX/methane or not? I don't think even they know.

  • NASA seems calm about 19 more shuttle flights by 2010. Mike Griffin says "the remaining manifest is in line with the average over the past 25 years of Shuttle operations." While it is true that over the last 25 years the shuttle has averaged 4.56 flights per year, In the last 3 years, they have averaged 0.33. What a waste. Just scrap the damn thing. If you are interested in a bit of trivia, a list of every shuttle flight is at The Space Place

  • Apparently NSS and the Planetary Society are taking different views on lobbying for NASA's 07 budget. Reminds me why I left the Planetary Society and joined NSS.

  • Congratulations to NASA's newest class of astronauts.

  • LiftPort Group has completed it's second round of testing with a platform and robotic climbers. The company website says LiftPort is "dedicated to building a mass transportation system to open up access to the inner solar system." Good luck!

  • Andrews Space has built a 5.4 meter mock-up of the CEV capsule. Looks more roomy than Apollo.

  • Oklahoma's environmnental impact assessment is out. Enjoy all 253 pages of it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Dateline Feb 13, 2006, News from the Internet

  • The new issue of The Space Review is out. Some neat stuff

    • Jeff Foust talks about what NASA's purpose is and should be

    • Taylor Dinerman talks about the good and bad of the COTS program

    • Michael Huang writes a Jonathan Swift like article on the pro-human humans vs anti-human robot debate.

    • Bill White talks about markets for Lunar platinum

    • Jeff Foust reviews Infinite Worlds, a book of speculative illustrations of extrasolar planets

    • A group of big names endorses Mr. James A. M. Muncy receiving the Heinlein Prize (no the NSS one)

  • NASA says the Glenn Research Center does have the management ability to handle a major role in the Vision.

  • Mike Griffin says that TPF and other science missions are simply being delayed, not canceled. He also says a Hubble servicing mission will happen within two years.

  • Starchaser says they will build sounding rockets first, to get the investors involved and build more complex ships later.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

XPrize and NASA Team up at the XCUP

Apparently, the X-Prize Foundation is partnering with NASA on the Lunar Lander Analog Challenge. This is a part of the new Centennial Challenges program. The first attempts at the $2 million prize should be at this years X-Prize Cup in New Mexico (where have I heard about that state recently?) According to Peter Diamandis, the official rules should be out early next week. Alan Boyle has more info.

Falcon I engine test a success

The engine test fire went very well yesterday. SpaceX has posted a video of it and says:

We were very happy to be able to execute a flight countdown all the way to lighting the engine. Although there wasn't a launch this time, we made a lot of progress refining the rocket and launch pad -- all work that needed to be done anyway. I will post a longer update next week, after we have enough time to finish forensics of recent events and formulate next steps.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dateline Feb 10, 2006, News from the Internet

  • The launch of the Falcon I was delayed again yesterday. Apparently, they have found the igniter problem and are doing a hold down firing today at 1:00pm PST (3:00pm CST)

  • Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says space tourism will be going strong in 2008. Here’s hoping...

  • SpaceHAB may be dropped from NASDAQ soon.

  • New Scientist comments on the draft of the newly released Centennial Challenges

  • Planetary Scientists have their panties in a wad again.

  • Spirit has finally arrived at "home plate" inside Gusev Crater. According to the report, scientists are debating over what to make of it.

  • Mike Griffin spoke at the National Space Club and reiterated NASA's commitment to the COTS program:
    Let me be clear to all venture capitalists and would-be commercial outfits vying for this opportunity: If you successfully demonstrate a cost-effective, commercial re-supply capability to the ISS, NASA will welcome that capability and use it. We plan to use Space Act Agreements to award one or more fixed price contracts for this demonstration. In response to various complaints from commercial ventures about NASA's administrative burden, we've actively worked to emulate best commercial practices and reduce unnecessary paperwork in this acquisition. We're taking a risk, but I believe that it is a worthwhile risk for the good of the government and commercial space business. If your commercial offering succeeds, then NASA can focus on the next steps in space exploration rather than what should by now be the mundane tasks of cargo delivery. While NASA must demonstrate that it is a good customer for commercial industry, industry must demonstrate they can actually deliver those goods. This is a necessary step to advance this vision, and we're approaching it with eyes wide open.

  • The Space Shuttle launch date has been set for May 3. According to US Space News:
    NASA will push to launch of the Space Shuttle
    Discovery on May 3rd, 2006. Look for a possible
    slip of 1 week if things don't improve over the next
    7-10 days (ET and related Shuttle issues).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dateline Feb 9, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Space.Com has more information on the new Centennial Challenges released as drafts yesterday. The prizes range from $500,000 to $5 million. So NASA is finally putting some real money into this prize thing

  • The new Ad Astral, the monthly magazine from the NSS, has an article on mining asteroids for various products, such as platinum group metals and water. The author, Mark Sonter, is a "consultant working in the Australian mining and metallurgical industries, providing advice on radiation protection, industrial hygiene, safety, and remediation of radioactively contaminated sites", so he might know something about mining...

  • The U.S. military is looking to increase their presence and organization in space. The are setting policy to decide exactly who is responsible for responding to commercial and military satellite attacks. Of course Reuters jumps all over the weapons in space angle.
  • More comments on NASA's 2007 budget with respect to the increase in the exploration budget

  • According to AVweb, Sir Richard Branson was quoted on UTV Online (whose web site I can't get to load) on Monday,
    Virgin Galactic is on track for taking passengers into space by the end of 2008, Richard Branson said on Monday. "It is going very well, we have 100 engineers working on it and we have had about 50,000 people who have put their names down to fly," he was quoted by UTV online. Branson was in Florida this week for the launch of the GlobalFlyer, and said that NASA has offered Virgin Galactic a base at the Kennedy Space Center. The offer is interesting, he said, but discussions are still preliminary. "I think we would find that it would bring a lot of people to the area who would watch the flight as well as those who were flying," he said. Test flights are expected to begin late next year for the fleet of five spaceships being built at Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif. Tourist flights are expected to begin in late 2008.

  • According to the Albuquerque Journal, the New Mexico House and Senate has passed a measure allowing local governments to impose a gross receipts tax to help finance the new spaceport. Not co complain, but the AP only interviews a state lawmaker who doesn't like the plan. What about he 42 who did?

  • Here's an article on the new space entrepreneurs, like Elon Musk, who's Falcon 1 should lift off tomorrow.

  • Kimbal Musk blog on SpaceX at Kwajalein is back up. Cool pictures. Enjoy.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Dateline Feb 8, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Jeff Foust has links to everyone's reaction to the NASA budget proposal. (Thanks to Mark at Curmudgeons Corner as I am lazy this morning)

  • Incidentally, Mark has an article on Associated Content today about Missions to the Moon and beyond.

  • NASA has decided to delay SIM Planet Quest and the Terrestrial Planet Finder in order to put more money towards manned space exploration. SIM Planet Quest has been moved from 2011 to 2015 and TPF has been delayed indefinitely.

  • Louis Friedman, the director of the Planetary Society, in an interview with Technology Review, says the new NASA budget is to heavy on the Shuttle and to light on science and exploration. I am not sure I disagree with him.

  • NASA released six new centennial challenges. They are as follows:
    Fuel Depot Demonstration Challenge
    Human Lunar All-Terrain Vehicle Challenge
    Low-Cost Space Pressure Suit Challenge
    Lunar Night Power Source Challenge
    Micro Reentry Vehicle Challenge
    Station-Keeping Solar Sail Challenge
    You can find out more info at NASA Centennial Challenges

  • SpaceX has times for their launch on Feb 10, "If no flight critical anomalies are detected, launch will take place on Friday, February 10. The launch window on Friday is 1- 7 p.m. (California time). "

  • The National Space Society, along with the Space Exploration Alliance, has launched a One Percent for Space campaign. They are asking for NASA to receive 1% of the federal budget in the coming years. NASA currently receives about 0.7%

  • [update 12:05pm CST] The Space Frontier Foundation has put out the February edtion of the Newspace News. Enojy!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

News From Around The Internet: Dateline Feb 7, 2006

Sorry for not posting for the last few days. My family moved into our new house over the weekend and the cable internet won't be installed until Thursday.

  • NASA is planning a investment vehicle called Red Planet Capital with the purpose of

    • To attract and motivate private sector innovators and investors who have not typically conducted business with NASA, including tapping more efficiently into the pool of small, leading-edge, organizations which are responsible for much of the innovative hi-tech thinking and research in the US;
    • To leverage existing external venture capital to encourage development of technologies and products likely to be of future use to NASA's mission;
    • To improve and expedite public/private partnership formation, through the redesign of administrative, management, and legal processes and procedures.

  • China is building a tokamak fusion reactor (well of course they are).

  • Jeff Foust reviews Return to the Moon. Check out my review.

  • Taylor Dinerman discusses Rocket Racing in the 21st Century

  • James Oberg talks about Russia's Moon Plans

  • SpaceX is trying again this week. From SpaceX "The new launch time is February 8 at 4:30 p.m. California time with Feb. 9 as a backup day". [update 10:00am CST]Oops, due to testing, the new lanch date is Feb 10.
  • .

  • Michael Belfiore reviews Moon Landings, an Eyewitness Account

  • NASA only gets a %1 budget increase for 2007, but the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate gets 30% to $938 million. NSF gets 7.9% increase (so the science weenies will hush up).

  • Richard Branson says Virgin Galactic is on schedule.

  • Bill Richardson defends the New Mexico Spaceport.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

News From Around The Internet: Dateline Feb 1, 2006

Sorry about missing yesterday. I was locked away in a lab with no access to the outside world. Might happen again Thursday.

  • President Bush's original vision is apparently not going to change. I do have to wonder at Griffin's comment
    "Our best guess at this point is that the shuttle will . . . execute something like 17, 18 flights between now and retirement," Griffin said while at KSC last month for the launch of a probe to Pluto.
    Doesn't this mean 3 to 4 launches a year? They will be lucky to launch one this year.

  • Today is the anniversary of the Columbia accident.

  • This is a little late, but I didn't get a chance to blog on it earlier. The Rocket Racing League has its first team. Two retired F-16 fighter pilots, Robert "Bobaloo" Rickard and Don "Dagger" Grantham, owners of Leading Edge Rocket Racing. There are nine more team slots open for about $1.2 million or if you are broke (like me) you can help name the racers.

  • According to Keith Cowling at, Jon Logsdon has been contracted by NASA to go around the world, trying to gain partners in the Vision.

  • Clark Lindsey muses at why the space crowd hasn't jumped on the Rocket Racing League bandwagon yet. Don't ask me, I am ready to start buying t-shirts and I don't even like NASCAR.

  • US Space News reports that NASA may be asking (i.e. paying) the ESA to develop an ATV to carry ISS components. This would ease the load on the Shuttle. Works for me.

  • A new space activist organization has been formed with Walter Koenig of Star Trek fame. The World Space Center wants to "connect the general public with the imminent beginning of the second space age". They have a timeline of what they call "newspace".