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OpEd: Dan Schrimpsher
Reporter: Dan Schrimpsher
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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.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dateline June 29, 2006: Space News from the Internet


Private Space

  • t/Space announced the additions to their team: " Ball Aerospace will design and produce the avionics for the space vehicle. Near Earth LLC has been engaged as the company's investment banker. In addition, Lon Levin, the cofounder of XM Satellite Radio, has joined senior management to focus on capital and corporate strategies. "
  • A fight broke out between two women at a presentation for NASA by Jim Benson of Spacedev. All that aside he has somprettyty optimistic views on space tourism. ""I believe the cost (for a suborbital trip) will be down to $50,000, maybe as low as $15,000, in seven to 10 years," Benson told the NASA crowd."
International Space

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dateline June 28, 2006: Space News from the Internet



Private Space News

International Space News

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dateline June 27, 2006: Space News from the Internet



Private Space

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bigelow's Web Site Continues to Update

Bigelow is adding stuff to their website gradually. Check out the desktop wallpaper. There are a few more jobs up too.

Dateline June 19, 2006: Space News from the Internet

I doubt I will be posting much this week, as I am having surgery tomorrow. See everyone when I heal - djs.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Discovery Shuttle Launch Date July 1, 2006

NASA has released the launch date of Discovery as July 1, 2006. Good luck, guys!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Dateline June 16, 2006: Space News from the Internet

Private Space News


  • A special report from one of the students whose experiment went into space recently. Pretty good reading.
  • Discussion about NASA's science budget and why it isn't the crisis some make it out to be.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Announcement: Telerobotic Construction Challenge

Just received this from Marc Schwager of the Spaceward Foundation:

Spaceward Foundation Partners with NASA on Telerobotic Challenge
NASA to provide $250,000 prize purse

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA, June 16, 2006 - Following the success of the 2005 Space Elevator competition held at NASA’s Ames Research Center, the Spaceward Foundation today announced the Telerobotic Construction Challenge, a new competition with $250,000 in prize purses that has the potential to significantly impact the nation.s space exploration program by developing technologies enabling semiautonomous robots to perform complex construction tasks with minimal human intervention.

The Telerobotic Construction Challenge will be conducted in an arena containing structural building blocks scattered about. The task will be to assemble the structure using multiple robotic agents controlled remotely by humans who can only see and talk to the robots through communications equipment that simulates an Earth-Mars time delay and restrictions. To be successful, the robots will have to be smart enough to work together with only intermittent human direction.

A detailed set of rules for the competition is now available for public comment at

The Telerobotic Challenge may directly affect how exploration is conducted on the moon,. said NASA's Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Dr. Scott Horowitz. "If the Telerobotic Construction Challenge can successfully demonstrate the remote assembly of simple and complex structures, many aspects of exploration in general will be affected for the better."

"The Telerobotic Construction Challenge is directly linked to NASA.s current focus on lunar exploration," said Brant Sponberg, NASA’s Centennial Challenges program manager. "Spaceward has shown their capability to conduct a successful prize competition, and we look to them again to help advance a new technology, telerobotic construction in this case."
"Spaceward is pleased to expand on our prior collaboration with NASA to conduct the entennial Challenges Telerobotic Construction Competition," said Spaceward President, Metzada Shelef. "Because of the high degree of student interest in robotics, it is a great fit with our mission to advance space science and technology in education." she added.

About NASA's Centennial Challenges:
NASA’s Centennial Challenges promotes technical innovation through a novel program of prize competitions. It is designed to tap the nation’s ingenuity to make revolutionary advances to support the Vision for Space Exploration and NASA goals. NASA.s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate manages the program.

About Spaceward:
The Spaceward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to furthering the cause of space access in educational curriculums and the public. For more information on the Spaceward Foundation, visit

Spaceward Foundation, Mountain View, Calif.
For an HTML version of this release see:
Media contacts:
Marc Schwager,
Ben Shelef,

Dateline June 15, 2006: Space News from the Internet

Busy day, so just the highlights:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dateline June 14, 2006: Space News from the Internet

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My New Blog

I have a Agile/Scrum/ Software Development blog out, for those of you who are interested in such things.

Scrum in the Army.

Dateline June 13, 2006: Space News from the Internet


Private Space News

International Space News


Friday, June 09, 2006

Dateline June 9, 2006: Space News from the Internet

Note: I stand corrected. The Lunar Lander Challenge is not postponed. Lunar Lander Challenge blogger Robin said:

"Dan, the Lunar Lander Challenge isn't postponed, but the deadline for teams to enter has been eXtended because the rules haven't been finalized yet. The Suborbital Payload/Non-Toxic Reusable Rocket/Rapid Re-Flight Challenge (or whatever it will be called) has been postponed until 2007. "

Just to clear that up. -djs


Private Space News

International Space News
  • A metorite struck Norway with the force of an atomic bomb Wednesday morning. Time to start spreading our civilization out, don't you think?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Killed

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most brutal Al Qaeda terrorist in Iraq, is dead.

The Christian in me morns a lost soul who never chose to believe in Jesus,
while the American in me wants to roast marshmallows on his brimstone
burning butt.

Back to your regularly scheduled space news.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Dateline June 7, 2006: Space News from the Internet


New Space News

  • Bigelow's Orbital test flight has been delayed to at least July. “We have just been informed that there will be a three- to four-week delay of our first launch,” Chris Reed, publicist for the Las Vegas-based company, said in an e-mail advisory. “We are told that if there are no other delays, our new launch time frame will be between July 4th and July 14th.”
  • The Lunar Lander challenge has been postponed due to the rules not being finalized.
  • Lucky Bastards get to pilot spaceship2.
  • NSS's Space Blitz is in Washington.
  • Carmack updates the Armadillo status.

International Space News


Monday, June 05, 2006

Why Space Enthusiasts Make Bad Businessmen

I have finally figured it out. First some background. In 1995, the CEO of a company in Texas that had developed some AutoCad program that make a fortune came and spoke at Auburn’s ACM meeting. He said when he started out he hired a bunch of Harvard MBA’s to manage his engineering teams. However, he found that he MBA’s had a hard time grasping the specific nature of the software industry. He later found that sending his engineers to multi-week business training programs created much better managers.

About a year ago, I asked Michael Mealling why it seems in the private space industry, engineers make lousy businessmen. Michael blames it on the sci-fi tradition that existed many years before the industry. People had been dreaming of interstellar travel and were happy with LEO.

I think he is partially right. After reading space-cynic and the article in The Space Review today about the Segway, I think I have come to the real conclusion.

Space enthusiasts want to go to space.

“Duh!” you may be saying to yourself after that profound statement I just made, but bare with me a few moments more.

Entrepreneurs, at least successful ones, tend to look into the world and see what problems there are. Once they find a problem they believe they can fix, they set out to fix it. Products that don’t solve a problem, don’t sell. A truly successful entrepreneur sells a solution not a gadget.

Professor Theodore Levitt of the Harvard Business School changed the world of marketing when he said: “Customers do not want a quarter-inch drill; they need a quarter-inch hole.” (taken from Bob Clarebrough’s article According to Plan)

What does all this have to do with space? Most private space engineers I have met really want to go to space. They are working on the “killer-app” to create a market that will allow them to go. Now I understand their point-of-view, since I have the same one. But, they are not interested in solving a problem other than their own.

Engineers at the Texas software company were only interested in making their product better, so business training was just one more part of their job. They didn’t have as much emotional capital in the project.

I think many space advocates get so caught up in the coolness of space, they forget that people spend their money to make their life easier and more enjoyable. A lot of people don’t care about space.

The question that will spark the kind of industry we all want is “What can we do with space to really help someone who doesn’t care about space?” If you answer that question affordably, you have your industry.

Dateline June 5, 2006: Space News from the Internet


International News
New Space News

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My Opinion of Bigelow's Web Site

Since Bigelow Aerospace went to all the trouble of emailing me, I thought I would write my thoughts on the new web site and services.

First the alien mouse icon is a little over the top, but I can let that go, since this is Robert Bigelow and there has to be an alien somewhere. (If you don't understand this, read here). I actually like the layout with the planets, but I am not so sure about some of the names. For instance, multiverse takes you to the vision and history of the company.

Unlike some, I don't have a big problem with the life systems, although I am not sure about what that means for sure. Bacteria, or the like, would be interesting to watch if a camera could magnify enough to see it in orbit. I would think they would be scared to put a larger mammal type created (cat, rat, etc...). One bad claw and the station/cameras/comm. system is hosed. I think bugs would work pretty well in a container of some kind.

The bingo sounds like great fun. My wife loves bingo (maybe more than me). We used to live in Las Vegas and it was hard to get her away from bingo. (The real question is why I didn't stay and get a job with Bigelow. Hey, um Mr. Bigelow, I am a embedded communications C/C++ developer with 10 years on DOD missiles and aircraft experience. You need anybody? :-)

Overall, the biggest improvement is the amount of content. This is really much more informative than the previous incarnations of the Bigelow Aerospace website. So I say good job and keep it up.

Note from Bigelow Aerospace

I just received this note from Bigelow's Publicist, Chris Reed:

Thank you for your comments to Bigelow Aerospace on Wed, May 31, 2006, and we very much appreciate the mention on your blog!

Along with Mr. Belfiore, also feel free to tell your readers that they
can reach us directly at

We have many exciting initiatives planned in the coming months and we hope to take you, your readers and the general public along for the ride!

Remember, BA's new website is up and running, so let them know what you think and if you have any ideas.

Dateline June 1, 2006: Space News from the Internet

Sorry for the light posting this week, I have been really really busy at that other job I have (the one that pays :) Should be getting better next week. -djs


International Space News
New Space News