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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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Space Investing

Jeff Foust has an article in today's Space Review reporting on the space investment meeting held in New York this month.

Scotty's Ashes Went up Saturday

Last Saturday, April 28, 2007, James Doohan's (Scotty) ashes went up on UP Aerospace's launch from the New Mexico Spaceport. It was UP Aerospace and New Mexico's first launch from the new spaceport.

Shuttle Launches Moved Around Again

While STS-117 is still set for June 8, NASA has moved around shuttle launches for the rest of the program. It requires STS-117, STS-118, STS-120 and STS-122 to launch with no delays [cough].

What did NASA have to do with Stephen Hawking's Flight?

NASA seems to be grabbing the coattails of Stephen Hawking's Zero-G flight last week. Zero-G is a private company and as far as I know, NASA had nothing to do with Dr. Hawking's flight. Alan Stern, NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington said:

"Stephen Hawking's flight to experience zero gravity is exciting. I can say from flying hundreds of parabolas aboard NASA KC-135s myself that the experience is eye-opening, exhilarating and personally fulfilling. My own experiences primarily were participating in research in space motion sickness and later, low-gravity accretion. But it's the 21st century now, and I expect more and more scientists to be conducting research in zero gravity, and even in space, as new vehicles and venues for such research open."

This wasn't a research flight. Dr. Hawking did it for the experience. Space isn't just about science. And please God don't let it become another Antarctica:

"Space is as much a place for scientists, I believe, as the arctic, Antarctic, and the deep ocean. And Dr. Hawking is showing the way."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

See Gliese C Up Close

Astroblog has a Celestia add-on that shows the Gliese 581 solar system up close. It is pretty good.

If you don't know Celestia is a free downloadable planetarium program.

Gliese 581 c Needs a Name

The best vacation destination outside of Sol need a better name than Gliese 581 c. Any takers?

How about Caprica?

[update May 17, 7:59AM CST]
Here is the tally so far

Caprica 2
Krypton 1
Bob 1
Metaluna 1

Friday, April 27, 2007

X-Prize to Expand This Year

The X-Prize Cup expects to host up to eight teams trying to win the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. They are also getting read for up to 100,000 visitors. Good luck guys!

Scientists to Hunt for ET Next

Swiss scientist Michel Mayor, who was head of the team that revealed the Super-Earth Gliese 581 c, says his next goal is to find signs of extraterrestrial life.

Space Adventures Receives 200 Applicants

Space Adventures has said they have received over 200 applications for their coming sub-orbital flights.

Spacex Approved for Cape Canaveral

SpaceX has been approved to launch from Cape Canaveral.

Comments on Stephen Hawking to take a Zero-G

Taylow Dinerman discusses Stephen Hawking's Zero-G flight yesterday in the Wall Street Journal' editorial page.

On Earth, taking care of someone with Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), requires constantly moving the person into and out of a wheelchair. Simple bathroom functions are a major chore for both the patient and caregiver. Deep-tissue massage is needed every day. All of these functions could be handled more easily and with greater dignity for all involved if gravity were not a factor.

I hope you had a blast, Dr. Hawking.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Space Carnival is Up

The Space Carnival is up and running.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gliese 581 Location

Here is the sky chart location of Gliese 581 the system with the new habitable planet. I used (you need to search object TYC 5594-1093-1 to find it).

Stephen Hawking to take a Zero-G Flight Tommorrow

Stephen Hawking's Zero-G flight is tomorrow. All the best!

Earth Like Extrasolar Planet Found

Scientists have discovered a planet, Gliese 581 c, orbiting a red dwarf 20.5 light-years away from the Earth. The planet has five times the mass of Earth and is the smallest extrasolar planet found so far.

The orbit gives the planet a likely surface temperature of 0 and 40 degrees Celsius (32F to 104F) making it the most habitable planet yet.

European astronomers made the discovery at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

With this news, I think it needs a better name...

[update 11:08 AM CST] The Motley Fool talks about sunbathing opportunities on "c" as scientist seem to be calling it. Note that Gliese 581 is one of the closest 100 stars. Hopefully planets like this are everywhere.

[update 11:40 AM CST] has an article stating that models predict Gliese 581 C is either a rocky planet like Earth or a waterworld covered entirely by oceans. They also have a photo of the parent star Gliese 581.

Should We Weaponize Space

David R. Butcher discusses the recently space weapon activity since China's destruction of a weather satellite with an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) in January.

I think weapons in space are a forgone conclusion. I don't see that as a bad thing, however. If we are ever to expand humanity to places other than Earth, we have to see space as just another destination.

There is nothing inherently special about space. As long as we see space as this pristine environment where no evil should fall, real people won't be able to live there.

People are people. We have selfishness, selflessness, hate, love and yes wars (for both good and bad reasons). If people are to break out into the solar system, so will weapons.

Space Tourism Immunity

The Personal Spaceflight Federation wants the immunity given to the new industry in Virgina expanded across the country.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

IS COTS part of Constellation?

According to ESMD it is:

"The Constellation Program work is being performed at a variety of NASA Centers, Prime Contractors and Subcontractors located around the country. This work includes the Orion Crew Vehicle and Ares I Launch Vehicle and the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Partners."

That is interesting...

New Moon Exploartion Video

ESMD has put out a rather good promotional video of the Moon exploration program.

You can also see it on You-Tube.

NFIRE Satellite Launch Today

The US military is launching the Near Field Infrared Experiment, or NFIRE, satellite. The goal of NFIRE is designed to detect and characterize blast plumes from missile launches as part of a missile defense system.

NASA Watch has the You-Tube video of the launch.

Monday, April 23, 2007

NASA Shooter and Victim Identified

Police say 60-year old William Phillips kill one of the hostages, David Beverly in Friday's bizzare killing at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The other hostage, Fran Crenshaw, managed to escape.

India Offers Commercial Satellite Launches

I wonder if they will do better than other governments offering commercial satellite launches.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Carnival of Space

Henry Cate is starting a Carnival of Space.

SpaceX Completes the Falcon 9 First Stage Propellant Tank.

Space has completed the first stage propellant tank of the Falcon 9. has pictures.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Investing in Space

Elon Musk, Alex Tai, and Robert Bigelow discuss investing in the space business.

NASA Goes Open Source for Missions

NASA has an interesting idea to allow the open source community to help code space missions using CosmoCode.

The Shuttle Launch has Been Moved to June

NASA has pushed back the Atlantis launch until early June.

India Looking at a Mars Mission

The Indian Space Research Organization is looking at a Mars mission in the next five years.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More on Bigelow's Business Plan

Leonard David has more on Bigelow's orbital business plan.

Russia is looking to Industrialize the Moon

Russia is ready to industrialize the Moon according to the head of the Russian space company RKK Energia, Nikolai Sevastianov. He says "it is time to do this given the limits to natural reserves on Earth and the pace of civilization's progress. Nor can we dismiss the idea of outsourcing harmful industries into space."

They believe they can begin setting up the moon for industry with the Soyuz and move on to a Kliper/Parom transport system RKK Energia will develop.

Bill Gates May Go Into Space

There are rumors flying based upon the comments of a Russian Cosmonaut that Bill Gates will be going up to the ISS soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

New Mexico Spaceport Vote is Approved

Well the tax is in place and the New Mexico spaceport is on it's way.

Tourist Blasted Off

The latest space tourist launched to the ISS on Saturday, if you didn't know.

SpaceDev to Luanch DreamChaser on Atlas V

SpaceDev and the ULA have a MOU on using the Atlas V to launch the DreamChaser vehicle into orbit.

They hope to launch NASA astronauts to the ISS. NASA does not have an agreement with SpaceDev but they welcomes SpaceDev.

Bigelow Aerospace News

Lots coming out of Bigelow this week:

Channel 8 News in Las Vegas has a summary of Bigelow's past and future getting ready for the launch of Genesis 2.

Bigelow has released his business plan and in 2012 four weeks in orbit will cost $14.9 million. This includes transportation and represents a significant price decrease from the $20 million space tourists has reportedly paid Space Adventures for stays on the ISS.

Aviation Week has more details on his business plan to build three orbital stations to lease out to governments, private companies, or whoever.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rocketplane/Kistler Redesigns K-1 for ISS Delivery

Rocketplane/Kistler is redesigning their K-1 cargo module to support ISS delivery for COTS.

Venture Capital Firms Looking to Invest in New Space

Venture Capitalist are looking to invest in new space start-ups, trying to out-angel the angle investors. Go guys!

US to Share Missile Defense with Russia

To ease tensions over missile defense with Russia, the US is proposing to share the shield with Moscow.

New Mexico Spaceport Vote is Done

The resents of Dona Ana County voted on a gross receipts tax to support the proposed Spaceport America in New Mexico. With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results from the county’s bureau of elections showed 51.5 percent of voters in favor of the tax increase and 48.5 percent against it.

New Space 2007

New Space 2007 is coming to Washington, D.C. this July.

Vietnam Creates Space Technology Insitute

Vietnam has created a Space Technology Institute to develop satellite technologies, equipment, remote sensing technology and application, and space dynamics.

Next ISS Tourist about to Go

Charles Simonyi will blast off in the 3rd seat of the Expedition 15 crew to the International Space Station this Saturday, April 7. He is the 4th space tourist sent up by Virginia based Space Adventures. Good luck Charles!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Clark Lindsey Questions the Odds-makers at NASA

Clark Lindsey has some issues with the "risk" that is COTS and the "sure thing" that is Ares/Orion. He makes good points, although I think Griffin was talking about whether the COTS vehicles are going to make it at all.

Truth be told, I don't think Mike Griffin doubts that COTS is a better program, but he is in a situation where he is trying to get NASA as far as he can without getting fired for stepping on some toes making too many changes.

I still agree with Clark, though, when it comes right down to it.

China Develops Moon Rover

China has developed a nuclear powered rover for it's first unmanned Moon mission in 2012.

Scotty's Ashes Going Up

UP Aerospace is set to launch Scotty (James Doohan) into space from New Mexico later this month.

"I can't give you any more captain." May you go were no man has gone before.

NASA Reduces Astronaut Height Limits

With the move toward the Orion capsule, NASA is reducing the size of astronauts for the coming years. The limits haven't been settled yet, but the previous limits were 4 feet, 10½ to 6 feet, 4 inches.

SpaceDev Releases Earnings Report

Earnings Report:

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, SpaceDev's revenue was approximately $32.6 million, an increase of 250%, compared to approximately $9.0 million for 2005. The increase in revenue was due primarily to the acquisition of Starsys in January 2006; Starsys generated revenues from February 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006 of approximately $21.4 million, excluding approximately $300,000 of inter-company sales.

SpaceDevs posted a lost of $0.05 a share, down from a gain of $0.01 a share last year. However, revenue growth is continuing to rise with the acquisition of the Starsys Research Corporation.

NASA and the ESA Sign an Agreement to Provide Network Support

NASA and the ESA have signed a "Network and Operations Cross-support" agreement to supply each other with various operation support, including satellite tracking, spacecraft navigation, and mission operations.

I hope some kind of communication standards come out of it.

ESA to Simulate Mars Mission

The ESA is sending a crew of six to Russia to study the effects of a long term Mars mission.

Monday, April 02, 2007

NPR's View on Spaceport America

Here is an NPR report on the vote on a tax hike for Spaceport America in New Mexico. It has their usual "unbiased view." (that's sarcasm if you didn't know. -djs)

Close Call with 1 Mile Asteroid

A 1 mile asteroid is making a flyby of Earth Friday night at about 2 million miles. That is thankfully farther out than the Moon. 2006 VV2, is about 2 kilometers wide but has no chance of hitting the Earth.

Open Source Satellite OS

The ESA is developing an open source operating systems for satellites called the "Space Craft Operating System" or SCOS-2000