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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, July 30, 2007

SpaceX Update

Elon Musk was on the Space Show. RLV and Space Transport News has the details of the interview.

Alan Boyle and Rocketeers

Alan Boyle talks about Michael Befoire's new book Rocketeers (out tomorrow) in the context of Scaled Composites tragedy.

Light Racers Registration Opens

Spaceward Foundation News Bulletin

Ted Semon
Spaceward Foundation, Mountain View, Calif.
(630) 240-4797

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA; JULY 30 2007 - The Spaceward Foundation opened registration today for the 2007 Great Light Racer Championship.

The Light Racers Championship, a space technology competition, challenges kids, young adults and grown ups to design, build, and race beam-powered lunar rovers that could help NASA get to the ice deposits located in the permanently shadowed craters of the lunar poles.

Total prize purse this year is $10,000, and registration has just opened. See for details.

"We are thrilled to have a competition designed specifically for kids - reaching out to the scientists and engineers of the future is the most important thing we can do" said Meekk Shelef, president of the Spaceward Foundation. “We already had a high-school team at the Space Elevator games, but this competition is all about the young students”.

The finals will be held together with Spaceward’s $4,000,000 Space Elevator games at the Davis County Event Center just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The qualifying rounds will start on October 15, and the event will be open to the public between October 19 and October 21. See for details.

“The Light Racers take the concept of power beaming, which is one of the cornerstones of the Space Elevator design, and illustrate how the same technology is useful on a much nearer-term project.” said Ben Shelef, CEO of the Spaceward Foundation. “It is impressive to see how many of the real-life consideration that will go into a beam-powered lunar rover design are tackled by the kids participating in the Light Racer project”.

The Light Racers are also being developed as a platform for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to middle and high school students.

For media resources and information visit, call (630) 240-4797, or email

The Spaceward Foundation is a public-funds, non-profit organization dedicated
to furthering space science and technology in the public mindshare and in educational curriculums. We believe that expanding mankind's habitat is essential to its survival, and that the most effective way to induce long-term change is through education.


Registration for the Great Light Racer Championship is now open – Finals to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 19 – October 21.


The Spaceward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit dedicated to furthering Space exploration in educational curriculums and the public mindshare -

Space Review is Out this Week

This weeks newest Space Review is up

Preparing for the worst

Last week’s tragic accident in Mojave provided a stark reminder of the risks inherent in spaceflight. Jeff Foust describes what the industry is doing to prepare for the day when a space tourist vehicle crashes.
Monday, July 30, 2007

On the loss of our good friend Glen May

Tim Pickens recalls the life of Glen May, one of the three people killed in the explosion Thursday in Mojave.
Monday, July 30, 2007

Jules Verne returns: Will space guns provide low-cost access to space?

Launching people into space using guns was popularized nearly 150 years ago by Jules Verne, but has to date remained in the realm of science fiction. Bart Leahy reports on one venture’s effort to develop a gun launch system that could put payloads into orbit for a fraction of the cost of conventional rockets.
Monday, July 30, 2007

Spacepower for warlords

Space technology and services can do wonders for developing nations, but they can also be used to destabilize vulnerable parts of the world, especially in Africa. Taylor Dinerman describes the problem and what companies and governments need to do to resolve it.
Monday, July 30, 2007

Can’t all space nerds get along?

The space advocacy movement has been best for years by internecine debates regarding the roles of humans versus robots and the government versus the private sector. Michael Huang argues it’s time to set those debates aside in favor of the greater good.
Monday, July 30, 2007

Scaled Family Support Fund

From the National Space Society:
To All NSS Members and Friends:

As many of you have heard, there was a serious accident last week at Scaled Composites, Burt Rutan's pioneering company. Three lives were lost, including Charles 'Glen' May, an NSS member who was a leader within NSS's Huntsville HAL5 Chapter. In addition, three employees suffered serious injuries.

Scaled has announced information on a fund for those wishing to support the families of the deceased as well as the injured and their families. The National Space Society urges all of its members to give generously to support these heroes.

Please send contributions to Scaled Family Support Fund, c/o Scaled Composites, 1624 Flight Line, Mojave, CA. 93501.
Acct # 04157-66832
Wire transfer ABA Routing #1220-0066-1

Please make checks payable to the account number or to the name of the fund.

NSS Statement on Accident at Scaled Composites: America was built on the courage of those who dared to explore new frontiers. From Lewis and Clark to the Apollo astronauts, great men and women have tested themselves against the frontiers of their age.

In the course of their efforts, these heroes may pay the ultimate cost, as they did yesterday in Mojave. When that happens, it is the highest duty of all of us to care for the injured, to mourn the departed, and to care for the families. An honest investigation must be conducted to learn what went wrong, and to fix the cause so that it does not happen again.

But when the investigation finished, our duty is to carry on the work of those heroes, to redouble our efforts to scale the peaks that they were climbing. That is what we learned from Apollo 1. That is what they would want.

The frontier of space is far from tamed. The men and women of Scaled Composites are engaged in one of the great efforts of our time: opening space for all humanity. That is a noble pursuit, perhaps the most noble of all, and we must all be thankful for their work, and for their sacrifice.

Let us not shirk from what happened yesterday. Professionals will find the cause. The program will continue. The effort to open space cannot be stopped. Now is the time to honor those men by honoring the cause that they were engaged in. Those of us who are part of this great endeavor, whether as participants or as supporters, let us carry forward this message of perseverance to our own communities, to our elected leaders and to the media. Now more than ever, the nation needs to hear your voices.

National Space Society
Katherine Brick
Phone: (202) 429-1600

STS-118 Countdown

STS-118's countdown will begin August 4 (next Saturday). Endeavour is set to launch at 7pm on August 7.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Tribute to Glenn May

I received permission to post this from Greg Allison of our local NSS chapter about Glenn May. Glenn died in the explosion at Mojave yesterday.


We lost one of our own yesterday. Glenn May was a member of HAL5, was a key player in our HALO program, and he worked for me at HARC on our BLRV and CATS Prize rockets. Though he lived in Memphis back then, he came to Huntsville frequently to help us work on our rockets. Glenn worked really hard at all of our test firings and launches too. Glenn built the first rocket bike. We all cheered as he blasted past us at our old test site on it.

I am devastated... Glenn May was a good guy and a good friend. He was the best hand on the launch boats when we went out to sea to launch our rockoons. When every one else was grumbling Glenn was all smiles and eager to work. His broad smile and easy manner are the things I will remember the most. He used to call me from time to time and talk about how he missed the trees out this way after he moved to the Mojave to work for Scaled Composites. He pondered moving to Huntsville. At one time he even thought about renting a room in my home.

The business is very risky, but also very worthy. I knew space tourism would take lives, but I had hoped it would not happen this soon. It is especially very hard when it happens to a friend. Glenn was a pioneer. Those of us that knew him will miss him dearly. This is very hard for all of us. I know Glenn would want us to press on. He died doing what he loved the most.

Glenn always wanted to go to space. Now he is up there with our creator.

God bless the families of those brave pioneers we lost yesterday.

Greg Allison

Explosion at Mojave Kills 3

An explosion at Mojave Airport in one of Scaled Composites' private test site. Burt Rutan told reporters that the blast occurred as the company was testing the propellant flow system for SpaceShip Two.

One of the men killed was Charles "Glen" May, who was a member of the Huntsville HAL5 and HALO project. He will be missed.

Ours prayers go to all the families.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Robert Heinlein's Legacy

Taylor Dinerman has an editorial in the Wall Street Journal about the life and legacy of Robert Heinlein, the greatest science fiction writer of the 20th century.

Space Law Probe Blog Flyby

Space Law Probe has a good roundup of what's going on in the blog'o'sphere.

Crew/Carg Missions Out

According to NASA Watch, the JSC has said that crew and cargo missions to the Moon are out. Cargo with have to fly on separate missions. I wonder if they would consider buying cargo flights to the Moon when the time comes? Like a lunar COTS. Just a thought.

Space Elevator Games

The 2007 Space Elevator Games have been set. The Spaceward Foundation announced today the event will be held outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Qualifying rounds will start on October 15, with the actual event between October 19 and October 21. Good luck to all the contestants.

Pentagon Uses Internet to Study Space Solar Power

The National Security Space Office, or NSSO, is using the Space Frontier Foundation's forums to get ideas for a space based solar power array to provide energy to the Earth.

Space Tourism Roundup

The Christen Science Monitor has a roundup of space tourism activities called: Space tourism industry is lifting off

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gillette's Hitch a Ride to Outer Space Contest

Gillette is offering a ride to space on a sub-orbital spaceship provided by Space Adventures. Only for Canadians, though.

Tour News: Rasmussen Is Fired!

Michael Rasmussen, the leader of the Tour de France and the winner of Stage 16, is out. He was fired by his team Rabobank for lying about his location during a pre-tour drug test. According to cycling ethics agreements, Rabobank has pulled out.

The good news is Alberto Contrador is the new leader. Go Team Discovery.

This is one crazy tour.

Intro to the Bigelow Galaxy

Bigelow Aerospace has an article about what to expect from the larger Galaxy module coming to an orbit near you.

Bigelow Aerospace Fly Your Stuff Photos Up

Bigelow's Fly Your Stuff is up.

They also have a video here.

Real time tracking of Genesis I & II

Doubts about COTS

Tommy Holloway, chair of the International Space Station (ISS) Safety Task Force and former ISS manager for NASA, doubts that COTS will work for the ISS supply gap between 2010 and 2014.

Of course he doesn't. Cause in NASA's world commercial development is a risk and government development is always successful (note the sarcasm). Hopefully that attitude is changing.

SpaceShipTwo at EAA AirVenture

Wil Whitehorn says SpaceShipTwo developed by Scaled Composites as the commercial successor to the famed SpaceShipOne may be at Wil Whitehorn EAA AirVenture in 2008. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Plug-n-Play Satellites

The Air Force is holding a meeting next month about plug-n-play satellites using USB ports and auto-discovery. This is part of the Operationally Responsive Space program.

Michael Belfiore "Rocketeers" Goings On

Michael Belfiore has a lot going on with the release of his book "Rocketeers" coming out soon.

He should be on Book TV soon. I hope to see it.

It is brilliant so far by the way. Review coming closer to the release date of July 31, 2007.

Apparently, he was just in my neck of the woods. To bad I didn't know. I would have loved to meet him.

Babe in the Universe was at the National Air & Space Museum at his book signing. Luck girl.

Tour News: Rasmussen Proves Himself

After being the best climber in the tour for what seems like forever, Michael Rasmussen of team Rabobank pulled away from both Discovery hopefuls, and extended his lead by winning Stage 16.


1 058 RASMUSSEN, Michael DEN RAB 76:15:15.000 00:00:00.000
2 112 CONTADOR, Alberto ESP DSC 76:18:25.000 00:03:10.000
3 041 EVANS, Cadel AUS PRL 76:20:18.000 00:05:03.000
4 111 LEIPHEIMER,Levi USA DSC 76:21:14.000 00:05:59.000
5 031 SASTRE, Carlos ESP CSC 76:24:27.000 00:09:12.000
6 071 ZUBELDIA, Haimar ESP EUS 76:24:54.000 00:09:39.000
7 018 VALVERDE, Alejandro ESP GCE 76:28:43.000 00:13:28.000
8 027 KIRCHEN, Kim LUX TMO 76:30:01.000 00:14:46.000
9 118 POPOVYCH, Yaroslav UKR DSC 76:31:15.000 00:16:00.000
10 219 SOLER HERNANDEZ, J COL BAR 76:31:56.000 00:16:41.000

I haven't given up on Discovery yet, though.

Back to space.

NASA Announces STS-120 Crew

NASA announced the crew for the October flight of Discover, STS-120. It boast the first female ISS commander,Peggy Whitson and a Malaysian orthopedic surgeon Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. The launch is planned for October 10 of this year. If all goes well, it will the be third launch of a shuttle this year.

China Sells Space Food

A Chinese company that provides food to taikonauts is getting ready to sell the food to the public. It should be on grocery store shelves in China by the end of the year.

Eyewitness: A View From Space

At the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, a panel spoke on the new space race. In their view this includes NASA, China, India, Russia, and private space firms.

Greg Olsen, the third tourist on the International Space Station said, "The Russians and the Americans were first, but it doesn't belong to us. It belongs to everybody."

It is interesting that they seem to believe that space exploration needs to be "planetary." I have never understood this belief. Everything else in our world gets better through competition. Why is space different?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Alexhandre Vinokourov Is Out

I know this has nothing to do with space, but Cycling is the greatest sport outside of Auburn football. If you don't care, please feel free to ignore -djs.

For all you Tour de France fans, Alexhandre Vinokourov has tested positive positive for doping. It is a sad day for cycling. Astana, the Swiss team, has pulled out. On the plus side, Alberto Contrador of Discovery is in 2nd overall.

1. Michael Rasmussen (DEN) RAB - 2,750.4km in 69h52'14" (39.359km/h)
2. Alberto Contador (ESP) DSC at 2'23"
3. Cadel Evans (AUS) PRL at 4'00"
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) DSC at 5'25"
5. Andreas Kloden (GER) AST at 5'34"
6. Carlos Sastre (ESP) CSC at 6'46"
7. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP) EUS at 7'27"
8. Andrey Kashechkin (KAZ) AST at 7'54"
9. Kim Kirchen (LUX) TMO at 8'24"
10. Mikel Astarloza (EUS) at 9'21"

I won't be terribly unhappy if Rasmussen pulls it off. He is a great mountain rider. I have watched him win the King of the Mountain a couple of times. Levi Leipheimer would be cool, since he is Discovery's leader, but I think Contador is the better rider this year.

TDF coverage

Okay back to space...

Carnival of Space #12

They just keep coming. It is getting hard to keep up.

Masten Space Update

Masten Space has an update on their rocket tests.

More on Northrup Grumman & Scaled Composites

Jeff Foust has more on Northrup Grumman's buyout of Scaled Composites. It sounds like very little is going to change.

News Day has more.

Selenian Boondocks discusses what this means. It think Jon makes a lot of good points.

Space Adventures Plans for the Future

Space Adventures has said what their future products will be. They include: private spacewalks, customer stopovers at commercial Earth orb outposts, and public flights to the Moon.

State of RLV 2007

Taylor Dinnerman wrote a summary of the state of RLVs in 2007 on the Space Review this week.

Phoenix Launch Media Event for Launch

The Phoenix Mars Lander is set to launch August 3. NASA has set up a press conference at Kennedy Space Center at 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

ISS as National

I go this from the Space Advocate this morning -djs.

From this story in Space News.

The International Space Station (ISS) should be used as a national laboratory to support scientific research and commercial business development. Congress supports this idea and NASA is now moving in the direction of helping to make the national lab concept a reality. This is good news for taxpayers wanting to ensure that America maximizes the value of its investment in space.

While NASA will continue to pursue research aboard the ISS that is specifically designed to support its long-term exploration goals, it will open up Station facilities for use by other government agencies -- such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Departments of Energy, Commerce and Agriculture -- as well as private firms eager to exploit the unique micro-gravity environment found on Station. Medical and health care breakthroughs alone that could improve the quality of life for all people would justify this expanded approach to using the ISS.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Northrop Grumman Buys Out Scaled Composites

Northrop Grumman has bought out Scaled Composites, the builder of the famed SpaceShipOne. Not sure what this means for Virgin Galactic yet. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

NewSpace 2007

NewSpace 2007 is going on as we speak. Clark Lindsey is blogging there.

Two Move Space Tourists

Space Adventures has booked two more seats for tourists on upcoming Russian trips to the ISS. No word on who they are yet, but reports are that they paid $30 million. It is not clear whether the price went up or they are going to do something special. Previous tourists reportedly paid $20 million.

[update: According to Eric Anderson the price increase is due to the dollar falling against the ruble.]

Brazil Gets Back in the Saddle

Brazil launched a sounding rocket to revive its stalled space program. A deadly accident in 2003 brought the South American space program to a halt. There appears to be hold, though, that they are back on track.

NASA Creates a Virtual Space Station

NASA has a ISS reference guide online that lets you see the space station up close and personal.

Rocketeers Has Arrived

I have just recieved my copy of Rocketeers. I shall have a review by early next week. I love blogging. Where else have a gotten to ready awesome books 11 days before they hit the stores. Based on first glance, it looks like a page turner.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What to do with the COTS Money

If RpK fails to meet their financial milestones, NASA will keep the money in COTS. Perhaps giving it to SpaceDev.

COTS Overview

Andrew C. Schneider has an overview of the purpose of NASA's COTS program.

Orion to Study Cheap Rocket for the Army

Orion was awarded a contract from the Army to study a rocket called Responder. It is designed to launch 22 pounds to low Earth orbit for under $1 million.

Scotland and England Battle of Space Tourists

Scotland and England are fighting over who gets to launch the first space tourist in Britain. (From RLV and Space Transport News).

NASA Awards Ares Engine Contract

NASA has awarded the contract for the J-2x engine for the upper stage of the Ares to Pratt and Whitney. The contract is valued at $1.2 billion.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bush Speaks on Space Policy

President Bush actually talked about space policy and NASA in Ohio recently.

World's Largest Telescope is Open for Business

The World's largest telescope, with a 34-foot wide mirror, got first light on a mountain top in Spain's Canary Islands on Saturday.

How a Rose on Mars Inspired SpaceX

Keith Cowings Devon Island Journal talks about how the idea of growing a rose on Mars led to SpaceX. It also has the happenings at the Mars simulated base.

Sorry for the Brief Interruption in Your News

I have been locked away testing tactical systems for two weeks. Now we continue with you regularly scheduled news.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Rocketplane/Kistler Funding by End of July

RpK plans to have their funding complete for the COTS program by the end of July. SpaceX finished their funding earlier this year.

Congress Trying to Give NASA More Money?

Wonder of wonders. The Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday approved legislation to increase NASA funding to $17.46 billion for fiscal year 2008. This is an increase of $1.2 billion.

Genesis II Images Released

New high-res images of the Genesis II have been released by Bigelow Aerospace.

More on XCOR's Investors

Forbes has more on the private investment firm, Boston Harbor Angels, and XCOR Aerospace.