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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.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Dateline March 31, 2006, News from the Internet

  • After all the initial support between suborbital companies, the competition is beginning. Richard Branson pointed out yesterday that "Virgin is the only company in the world that has actually achieved [test flights in space]." I take that to mean real money is about to be made. It is all well and good to play nice and pat each other on the back in the preseason, but the gloves come on when the games start to count. (How many metaphors is that? --djs)

    Virgin Galactic says it has received $13.1 million in deposits from more than 150 people while 45,000 people have an interest in the trip. That is 100 times as many people as have current gone into space in almost 50 years. That is a potential revenue (assuming a price drop to $100,000 after the first 150) of $4.5 billion dollars. That assumes no increased demand due to price drop and no repeat trips.

    In other news, Virgin pilots are getting first shot at piloting the new space ships.

  • NASA has released it new communications policy after the George Deutsch debacle.

  • Allan Boyle reports that Blue Origin's new test facility in Kent, Washington and in Van Horn, Texas are moving quickly. Larry Simpson, the Editor at the Van Horn Advocate who broke the story of the test site in Texas, said "It's amazing how fast you can move when the government's not involved," Simpson said. (That is just funny -djs).

  • Australia has successfully launched the Supersonic Combustion Ramjet which travels at 5,000 m/hr (Mach 10). The SCR project is in cooperation with JAXA.

  • Business 2.0 has another article on the emerging space tourism market. (I may have to subscribe the that magazine -djs). The March issue on The Entrepreneur's Guide to the Galaxy is still available.

  • Allison Bateman's hair is going to the ISS with Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov. But my favorite was this quote by her father
    "By then," Daniel Bateman said, "we could fly the whole family up there for vacation since tourism will be there."
    From your mouth to reality.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dateline March 30, 2006, News from the Internet

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Dateline March 29, 2006, News from the Internet

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Dateline March 28, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Nasa has extended the CEV phase I contract. In other words they are putting off selecting a contractor for the CEV until August 31.
  • Morris Jones talks about China's plans in space.
  • NASA has a web site to view the total solar eclipse during the early hours of March 29. The video stream begins at 5am EST (4am CST). Totality should be at 5:55am EST.
  • A Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) component the proximity communications link (PCE), had a successful communications downlink from the ISS this month.
  • Apparently there are about 90,000 - 130,000 millionaires (based on the Zogby/Futron study of 2002) that would be willing to pay $200,000 for a suborbital flight.
  • The 2006 Space Journalism prize is up for grabs again.
  • NASA has restarted two canceled asteroid missions. Jeff Foust wonders where the money will come from.
  • Greg Olsen talks with Forbes about his trip to the ISS and possibly going on the Russian/Space Adventures trip around the Moon for $100 million. (warning this is a video not for the bandwidth limited.)
  • Ben Bova (noted Scifi writer) says scientist who are against the VSE are missing the point. (Thanks to Out of the Cradle for this one)
  • In a press release yesterday, Space Adventures announced the first UAE citizen in space.
    Adnan Al Maimani will be the first national from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch from the future commercial spaceport to be located at the Ras Al-Khaimah International Airport.

    "I am honored to represent the UAE as the first national to fly to space, but even more thrilling is that I’ll launch from Ras Al-Khaimah," said Adnan Al Maimani. "I have been interested in space exploration as long as I can remember. Space Adventures is providing the opportunity to experience what I never thought could be possible in my lifetime. If I could fly today, I would!"

    Apparently we as humanity are united in the love of cool ass rockets and launching into space.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Dateline March 27 2006, News from the Internet

Friday, March 24, 2006

SpaceX Launch Today

I have had a family medical emergency this week, so sorry for no news updates. Next week should be back to normal. -djs

SpaceX is set to lanch the Falcon I today at 1:00pm PST (3:00pm CST). The static fire went off witout a hitch and we are go for launch. Out of the Cradle is once again live blogging the launch.

Static Fire Video

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Dateline March 15, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Time magazine (finally) has an article on NASA's return to the moon. As my political science professor used to say, Time for people who don't like to think and People for people who don't like to read.

  • Michael Belfiore has a review of "Riding Rockets" by Mike Mullane.

  • NASA is finally officially moving the shuttle launch to July. The new window is July 1 - 19.

  • Dick Stafford has started a Frapper group for Future Space Access. No, I didn't know that that was either, but it appears to be a map of where everyone is, companies, individuals, and launch sites. It's pretty neat.

  • John Nance's interview on Good Morning America is online.

  • NASA is looking for someone to lease the Shuttle's runway after it gets shutdown.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dateline March 14, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Russia says the Clipper design is completed. "We are planning to put the Clipper into use by 2015." said Nikolai Sevastyanov, the head of Russia's Energiya Rocket and Space Corporation. Clipper is Russia's long-planed, reusable space plane. I am not sure where they are getting their funding, but we will see.

  • Jeffrey Williams is ready to hit a golf ball out of this world. He is set to lift off March 30 to the ISS with this golf clubs in tow.

  • NASA has found high temperature materials in a comet. Scientists are not sure how these particles got into the comets.

  • Russia has approved eight Brazilian experiments to go up to the ISS on March 30.

  • John Nance discusses space tourism and will be featured on Good Morning America this morning on ABC. - ed Thanks to John Ahrens for the spelling correction of Mr. Nance's name.

  • More on space tourism with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

  • A Swedish professor Dr. Niklas Järvstråt is planning a self-sustaining moon colony

  • So three teams are competing for NASA COTS program. T/Space, SpaceX, and SPACEHAB. That's a pretty good way to split $500 million. Check out NASA's offical COTS page.

  • Using tethers to adjust the orbit of the ISS.

  • Astronomers has found a cold super-earth. The planet is about 13 time the size of Earth, and while rocky, it is the coldest planet found outside of our solar system. It orbits a red dwarf star 9000 light years from Sol. The finding has far reaching implications "suggesting that large rock-ice worlds might outnumber gas giants like Jupiter."

  • Updates on the CEV wind-tunnel testing

  • RLV and Space Transport News has a link to videoof Rick Tumlinson's talk at the Lunar Commerce Roundtable last October.

  • has more information on the Rocketplane Limited, Inc and Kristler merger. Apparently they are going to create a development team called Rocketplane Kristler.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Dateline March 13, 2006, News from the Internet

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dateline March 9, 2006, News from the Internet

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dateline March 7, 2006, News from the Internet

  • MSNBC has more on the Dragon capsule from SpaceX.

  • A problem with an ECO sensor may delay the Shuttle launch from May to July

  • C&Space, a Korean company, is testing a gas generator for a methane engine

  • Beyond Space Enterprises is offering to launch your stuff into sub-orbit for $39.95

  • Space Adventures has another tourtist approved. Japanese businessman Daisuke "Dice-K" Enomoto has won Russian approval to begin cosmonaut training in preparation for a trip to the International Space Station in September.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dateline March 6, 2006, News from the Internet

BTW, I got mentioned in the Santa Fe Reporter on February 15 about the proposed New Mexico spaceport. That's cool! -djs

  • The big news in the world of new space: The Space-X Dragon, a manned orbital spacecraft privately developed by Space Exploration Technologies. The Dragon can carry 7 passengers and/or cargo to and from orbit (COTS anyone?). The Dragon is designed to be launched on the soon to be built Falcon 9. The Dragon has been under development for years now, roped off in the El Segundo facility away from visitors. Hot damn! Space News also has an article. Flame Trench has one also.

    Some quotes from Elon:
    "What COTS really allows us to do is dramatically accelerate our plans for manned spaceflight and make sure it is something that meets NASA's requirements for crew and cargo service to the station," Musk said.

    "I feel very confident about being able to offer NASA an ISS-servicing capability by 2009 and am prepared to back that up with my own funding," Musk said.

    Musk indicated that he sees no problems meeting the aggressive timelines NASA has established under the COTS program.

  • Michael Belfiore has more information on his upcoming book, The The Entreprenauts
  • According to AW&ST, the pentagon funded a Orbital Space Plane in the 1990s. I have my doubts.
  • NASA plans to speed up the delivery of modules to the Space Station. With what?
  • China has delayed the Shenzhou-7 to 2008.
  • Pulsar has cute article on New Mexico's new bill build the spaceport in southern New Mexico.
  • fixed that article about ProSpace. Here is the letter from ProSpace to Wired.
  • The San Francisco Gate has an article on new space companies and satellites.
  • What do we really know about Moon water?

  • The Space Review is out:

  • Spaceport Sheboygan is at it's final hurtles in the political process.

  • This is what is wrong with aerospace contractors. And I hate to tell the author, but I worked at LM and it isn’t much better. ed- scroll down to Why I hope LM Wins CEV article

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Just for reference, here is the Bob Zubrin comment in question:

it has typically been the case that such nations have felt the need to compete with each other to establish prominence, a tendency that has often had very negative consequences. However the emerging US-Chinese race for space offers a different prospect, that of a competition more in the spirit of the Olympics, where nations compete for honors, not empires; where the goal is not to take anything from anyone, but to see who can do the most to advance the frontiers of human achievement and human possibilities
After my resent rant on Robert Zubrin's trip to China, Mark Whittington replied that:
Dan, I think Bob might be thinking of wars as a negative consequence of competition. They did occur from time to time, during the last Age of Exploration. Alsom[sic] if the Chinese win, that would be a real negative consequence.
I am not sure in the grand scheme of things wars are a negative consequence. They are, sometimes, the act of nations competing. War is a form of competition (albeit a deadly one). I agree it would be a negative outcome if China won the next stage of our expansion. But that is not a product of competition, but in having the evil side win. If we chose not to compete, that doesn't take about the possibility for China to spread their values to the solar system, rather than us.

My point was, Zubrin is (IMHO) saying competition between nations as something to be avoided. I believe, on the other hand, it is a fact of existence. If you choose not to compete, you may (and likely will) still find yourself on the loosing side. As Rush said in "Free Will"
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
I say we embrace real competition. Not this honor/Olympic nonsense Zubrin is pushing. Real contests have rewards at the end. If China and the US (whether public or private) go into space, one of our value systems will influence the future more than the other. The prize is furthering freedom or inhumanities. No agreements or treaties will change that.

Dateline March 2, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Robert Zubrin has been invited to speak at the Chinese Beihang University. Not sure how I feel about this. I gotta admit, all this touchy feely crap about cooperation leaves me cold. And what does this mean:
    it has typically been the case that such nations have felt the need to compete with each other to establish prominence, a tendency that has often had very negative consequences. However the emerging US-Chinese race for space offers a different prospect, that of a competition more in the spirit of the Olympics, where nations compete for honors, not empires; where the goal is not to take anything from anyone, but to see who can do the most to advance the frontiers of human achievement and human possibilities
    Excuse me? Competition has had negative consequences? You mean like the exploration and colonization of the world? And what is this Olympic honor thing? We, as Americans (public and private), want to be colonize and spread our values in space. Frankly I don't think China is interested in human achievement unless it props up their evil, inhumane, government.

  • New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed into law the plan to fund a private spaceport in Upham, New Mexico.
  • ARABSAT 4A may be saved by slinging it around the Moon.
  • New Voyage News has a contest designed to build up their Space Space Tourism Encyclopedia Wiki. I already posted some stuff on Space Adventures. Go have fun, win crap.
  • Update: The Space Frontier Foundation has released the March edition of the New Space News. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dateline March 1, 2006, News from the Internet

  • Update on the Falcon I launch in March.
  • The CEV Phase II Call for Improvements: Amendment 2 is out.
  • It looks like NASA has their Venture Capitalist advisor.
  • More about NASA's ambitious shuttle schedule.
  • Proton failed it's launch of ARABSAT 4A .
  • Another possible killer asteroid. It is currently a Torino Level 2. I know it will likely be dismissed later, but damn this makes me want to spread out just a little. It is harder to hit a moving target. Could God be lobbing these things at us to get us to move our fat butts? Worth considering. 2004 MN4 is the only Level 4 we have seen. It was later downgraded to a Level 1. (Of course it still may hit us).
  • Sometimes I think reporters are just stupid.
    This week is "March Storm," when 50 to 75 lobbyists will spend three days speaking with staffers from more than 250 offices on Capitol Hill. Some of the lobbyists represent the aerospace industry, but most have been hired by smaller space startups and entrepreneurs.
    They are volunteers, you dope! Jeff Faust also comments on this.
  • More on the RocketPlane, Limited and Kristler buyout.
  • Indias Chandrayaan-I mission to the moon appears to be on schedule.
  • Noel Hinners thinks we need a Mars sample return mission. Sounds good, I can carry five or six big rocks. How many can you guys carry? We are ready to go. :)