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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, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tether Challenge Teams

Twenty teams are going to try their hand at Beam Power Challenge and Tether Challenge on October 19-21.

Beoing Wins Ares 1 Contract

Boeing has won the contract to design and build the upper stage of the Ares 1 rocket. The contract is valued at $1.8 Billion. I should bring hundreds of jobs to Huntsville, AL.


Virgin Galactic Business Not Affected by Accident

The Scaled Composites explosion has had no effect on Virgin Galactic's business. According to Whil Whithorn, four new people have signed up for a suborbital flight. Accidents are tragic, but they are going to happen and it is good to know the dream will continue despite them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rovers Keep on Roving

The Mars Rovers, Opportunity and Spirit, have weathered a dust storm and are moving again. I wish my DVD player was that resilient.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Burt Rutan Speaks at Alabama

Jeff Foust has a summary of Burt Rutan's speech at the University of Alabama last Saturday.

XPrize Cup is Coming with Nine Teams

Nine teams are gearing up to compete for $2 million in the Lunar Lander Challenge at this years XPrize Cup. The cup will be held Oct. 27-28, at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, N.M.

SpaceDev Receives Contract for Lunar Lander

SpaceDev has received a contract to prototype a lunar lander vehicle for the International Lunar Observatory Association.

SpaceX to Hire 150-200 More People

SpaceX plans to hire 150 to 200 more people by the end 2008, bringing their total workforce to 600. This is after Elon Musk reported that SpaceX would be cash flow positive this year.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Carnival of Space #17

Emily Lakdawalla is hosting this week's
Carnival of Space at:

SpaceX Update

SpaceX has a new update. Main points are:

  • They have hired 350 more people to support COTS
  • All COTS material has been provided to NASA
  • Cash Flow Positive in 2007
  • Moved Falcon 1 to Merlin 1C engine
  • Photos of the Falcon 9 Tank are up
  • Falcon 9 Tank delivered to Texas to begin stationary testing on a stand
  • Falcon 9 will launch from Launch Complex 40in Cape Canaveral, as well as Vandenberg and Kwajalein
  • Falcon 9 demo in 2008 (6 flights on the launch manifest including 3 COTS Demos)
  • New building in Hawthorne can fit two Falcon 9's or five Falcon 1's
  • They are still hiring

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rocketeers on Book TV

I did some checking and Michael Belfiore will be shown talking about "Rocketeers" on August 25, 2007 at 10:45 am EST(a week from Saturday) at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

Carnival of Space #16 is Up

Carnival of Space #16 is up at Brian Wang's advanced nanotechnology blog.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NASA is Dropping the Delta 2

NASA is loosing the Delta 2 and lining up with the Air Force on Delta IV and Atlas V.

More on Bigelow's Sunchaser

Alan Boyle has an article called NEXT UP ... A NEW SPACE STATION? on Bigelow's plan to launch the Sunchaser, a human habitable station, next.

Fire Someone

Neil Cavuto of Fox News thinks whoever built the shuttle tiles should be fired for incompetence. Sadly it is hard to argue with his logic.

Monday, August 13, 2007

SpaceDev Revenue Increases 12%

SpaceDev's six month revenue increased 12% (ending June 30, 2007) from 2006. Revenue was $17.7 million in 2007 vs. $15.9 million in 2006. They also had income of $156,00 for the same period.

Bigelow Aerospace Moves up Sundancer Schedule

I just received from Bigelow that due to high launch costs andn success they are dropping the Galaxy and moving straight to the Sundancer. No word on when it will be up but we will let you know.

From Bigelow:

First, I would like to thank all of you who have written, called and otherwise expressed congratulations to myself and our team on the successful launch of Genesis II. The energy, enthusiasm and encouragement that we receive both here in the U.S. and abroad are an inspiration to us and part of the reason that we believe so strongly in the dream of entrepreneurial space development. I would like to take this opportunity to honor the interest and support that we’ve received from the general public by providing you with this update in regard to our future plans.

As anyone associated with the aerospace industry is aware, global launch costs have been rising rapidly over the course of the past few years. These price hikes have been most acute in Russia due to a number of factors including inflation, previously artificially low launch costs and the falling value of the U.S. dollar. What this now means for Bigelow Aerospace is that to conduct another subscale demonstrator mission would cost two to three times what it has in the past.

This dramatic rise in launch costs has forced us to rethink our strategy with Galaxy. Due to the fact that a high percentage of the systems Galaxy was meant to test can be effectively validated on a terrestrial basis, the technical value of launching the spacecraft — particularly after the successful launch of both Genesis I and II — is somewhat marginal. Therefore, we have decided to expedite our schedule yet again, and are now planning to move ahead directly with Bigelow Aerospace’s first human habitable spacecraft, the Sundancer.

We still intend to construct and test the Galaxy spacecraft and/or various parts of it in order to gain familiarity and experience with critical subsystems. However, by eliminating the launch of Galaxy, we believe that BA can move more expeditiously to our next step by focusing exclusively on the challenging and exciting task presented by the Sundancer program.

With this decision made, the future of entrepreneurial, private sector-driven space habitats and complexes could be arriving much earlier than any of us had previously anticipated. While recognizing the inherent difficulty, all of us at BA are eager to begin work on an actual human spaceflight program, which is the reason that I and others began this effort in the first place.

In the meantime, we now have two spacecraft in orbit — both of which we hope will produce invaluable data for years to come. It’s upon this solid foundation that we will be constructing our most ambitious spacecraft yet, the Sundancer. I will continue to keep you all apprised of our progress, and promise that every effort will be made at BA to ensure that this bold next step into human spaceflight will be a successful one.

— Robert T. Bigelow

About Bigelow Aerospace:
The mission of Bigelow Aerospace is to open the frontier of space to all of humanity by dramatically reducing the cost of conducting human spaceflight activities. The Las Vegas-based firm’s affordable and flexible space complex architecture can be adapted for virtually any crewed or autonomous mission requiring a large pressurized volume. For more information, go to or call (702) 688-6600.

New Space Review

Space Review is out:

Space: the search for a political consensus
While President Bush unveiled the Vision for Space Exploration three and a half years ago, some believe it has suffered to some degree from a lack of high-level attention since then. Frank Sietzen explains why the creation of a broad political consensus, necessary for the Vision to survive, required educating the public on the benefits of space activities.Monday, August 13, 2007

Fifty years of US space policy: the more things change…
Just after the Space Age began the Eisenhower administration published a document outlining why the US should go into space. Taylor Dinerman examines the document and finds its reasons are still at the core of US space policy today.Monday, August 13, 2007

A renaissance for space solar power?
Space solar power has been an intriguing concept for decades, but one that has failed to gain traction because of its high costs and cheaper terrestrial alternatives for energy. Jeff Foust reports that, thanks to a series of event and a new champion for the concept within the US government, space solar power is getting a new look.Monday, August 13, 2007

Chinese intentions and American preparedness
Many people in the West have tried to speculate about China’s military space plans in the wake of its ASAT test early this year. Christopher Stone argues that there’s enough information publicly available today to draw conclusions that should be a cause for concern in the US.Monday, August 13, 2007

A space nerd responds
Louis Friedman of The Planetary Society responds to a recent essay about space advocacy groups, arguing that it’s unwise to pigeonhole his or other groups as being simply “pro-science” or “pro-human”.Monday, August 13, 2007

Review: Rocketeers
Just who are the people at the leading edge of the entrepreneurial space movement, and what motivates them? Jeff Foust reviews a new book that takes the reader on a tour of some of the leading NewSpace companies and people to help answer those questions.Monday, August 13, 2007

Endeavour Crack

Endeavour has a crack in it. NASA is debating about how to fix it.

New Lunar Program Director at NASA

Richard "Rick" Gilbrech has taken over the exploration systems mission directorate which is in charge of the lunar program.

Space Hotel from Spain

A Spanish company wants to build a space hotel. I don't know who plausible it is. Stay tuned for more information.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Space Things to do on Earth

Alan Boyle has some space related activities you can do without leaving the ground.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Some People Still Don't Know about the VSE

Apparently some people are still unaware we are planning on going to the Moon. Sad, isn't it.

Michael Belfiore Is Working on a New Book

Michael Belfiore reports he has a deal to write a book on DARPA, the Pentagons R&D branch.

Future Moon Base Architecture

New Scientist has an article on the future Lunar Base architecture. Seems like they could talk with Bigelow are using inflatables instead of building their own program.

Robert Bigelow Comments on Genesis II

Robert Bigelow has written comments on the orbiting Genesis II module and the use of its project system (which is pretty cool if you haven't seen it.)

New Space on NPR

NPR has an piece on Elon Musk and SpaceX.

STS-118 Flight is "Textbook"

NASA's shuttle Endeavour was a textbook launch according to NASA officials. STS-118 finally allowed a "teacher astronaut" to go into outer space after the ill-fated Challenger disaster with Christa McAuliffe aboard.

"The launch operation doesn't get any better than this, it really can't," NASA chief Michael Griffin said of the latest launch of the Shuttle Endeavour.

STS-120 will lift off in October. The Shuttle will be retired in 201o at the completion of the ISS.

NASA Space Shuttle Program.

China Wants to Map the Entire Moon

According to China's chief space scientist, Ouyang Ziyuan, says they want to map "every inch of the Moon's surface."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Book Review: Rocketeers

Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots Is Boldly Privatizing Space
by Michael Belfiore
Harper Collins , 2007
ISBN-10: 0061149020

To cut to the chase, if you want to buy a book on the private space industry this year, buy Rocketeers by Michael Belfiore. It is a brilliant look at the recent history of private companies trying to get into space and make a dollar by someone who was at ground zero. It is an easy read for anyone regardless of technical background.

For those of you who interested in more detail, Rocketeers starts out at the second X-Prize flight of SpaceShipOne, as Mr. Belfiore takes us from the VIP section at Mojave back through the Apollo era at NASA and its effect on him. I identified with his excitement and later disappointment at where NASA took us in space.

He follows the history of the X-Prize starting with Peter Diamandis’ ingénues idea to have a prize for going to space. All this leads up to a word picture of what it felt like to see Brian Binnie break the 62-mile invisible wall into space. This marks the beginning of the modern private space age.

Rocketeers takes us to an in-depth peek into most of the major private space companies. He talks with the visionaries and engineers (and even passengers) from the most successful businesses, such as SpaceX, to ill-fated endeavors, like the da Vinci Project and everyone in-between including Bigelow Aerospace, RocketPlane, the Rocket Racing League, and Virgin Galactic. Moreover, he looks at each of these without judgment on their chance of success or importance. He simply reports what they are doing and why and lets the reader decide who is worth watching.

Before you accuse me of taking bribes from Harper Collins or Mr. Belfiore, there are some less than perfect parts of the book. First, the flow-of-consciousness science fiction style Mr. Belfiore uses, while working very well for a first pass through, makes it a little difficult to go back and find some tidbit of info to impress your friends.

I would highly recommend Rocketeers for anyone interested where the next 50 years of space travel is going.

4 1/2 Stars

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

NASA Seeks Help on COTS Phase 2

NASA is seeking help deciding what to do with COTS Phase 2 (Post 2010).

STS-118 Is Up

Endeavour is up and away. Good luck astronauts.

STS-118 Close to Launch

STS-118 Space Shuttle Endeavour is set to launch at 5:36 pm CST. It should be a sight, as always.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Endeavour Launch Wednesday

The Endeavour Launch tomorrow should be pretty interesting to watch with all the new bells and whistles.

SpaceX Launch Photos

Kimbel Musk has some beautiful photos from SpaceX Demo 2 flight earlier this year.

Apparently Some Russian's Would like to See Space Too

Some wealthy Russians are applying to fly to space as tourists.

SpaceDev has Overhauled their Website

Check it out:

62 Mile Club

I received this note from the 62 mile club this weekend.


62 Mile Club is producing a a teleconference on August 15 as well as a live event in Bel Air on October 4th. Save the date if this interests you.

Warm Regards,

Robert Jacobson

62 Mile Club

Teleconference Info

Do you want to hear an update on the current and future state of space tourism and commercial space enterprise? Listen and participate in a free teleconference hosted by 62 Mile Club on August 15th at 8:30 PM EST/5:30 PM PST.

John Spencer, space architect, and founder of the Space Tourism Society (, will give a behind-the-scenes vantage point of what is taking place in this new industry.
Whether you are part of the ‘old guard’ in the space community or don't know what space tourism is really about, you stand to benefit from what will be an intriguing and engaging teleconference.
There will be an opportunity for some callers to ask questions.

To register for this free teleconference, go to

It is our hope that callers will become excited about the future opportunities in commercial space enterprise and will want to know more about how they can become involved.

62 Mile Club’s mission ( ) is to promote the commercial space industry to future customers, investors, and the general high-end demographic.

October Event Info

Our group’s mission, 62 Mile Club is to promote the commercial space industry to future customers, investors, and the general high-end demographic. We believe your organization could benefit from a potential affiliation with an event we are hosting on Thursday, October 4, 2007 in Bel Air at the Luxe Hotel.

This kick-off event will help promote commercial space enterprise and 62 Mile Club's role in promoting the space experience. In addition, this date also marks the 50th anniversary of the Sputnik launch as well as the 3rd anniversary of the Ansari X Prize winning flight of Spaceship One. We are inviting high net worth individuals who could be the future customers and investors in commercial space enterprise. They will hear from the ‘movers and shakers’ about the status of the industry and how it could influence their future. At this time, we are working with several options for featured speaker candidates.

Rick Citron (Citron and Deutsch) and Gwynne Shotwell (Space X) will each give a concise presentation about the state of the space industry and where it is going. The goal of the event is to convert the uninitiated and provide an awareness of what this industry is about to a high caliber demographic. We will have strategic high end corporate sponsors (not necessarily space companies) that share the same customer base

The goal of the event is to convert the uninitiated and promote an awareness of what this industry is about to a high caliber demographic.

The evening will consist with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres followed by a featured presentation, and then networking. It is our hope that people go home excited about commercial space and will want to know more about how they can become involved. Industries that stand to benefit from synergies with the commercial space industry include tourism, marketing, adventure travel, finance, and many others.

Event Details
Location: Hotel Luxe, Bel Air,California
Date: October 4th, 2007
Time: 6:30- 9pm

Friday, August 03, 2007

UAH Scholarship for Glen May

A Scholarship in Aerospace Engineering is being established at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (where I am currently getting my PhD) in Glen May's name.

I received this on giving to it:

Make the Checks payable to the UAH Foundation
In the Memo: In Memory of Glen May

University Development Office
Shelbie King Hall, Room 311
Huntsville, AL 35899 - Online Gift - for credit card gift, Note: In memory of Glen May

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Jessica Bumbalough
Executive Secretary- University Development
Shelbie King Hall 311
phone: (256) 824-4438
fax: (256) 824-6462

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Rocketplane/Kistler Misses July Funding

Rp/K missed their July 31 deadline to get funding. They are submitting a closure plan by tomorrow.

Accidents and New Space

Michael Belfiore (whose book I promise to write the review to by tonight) has an article in Wired about how the Scaled Composites accident with affect the private space industry.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Space Shuttle Leak

They have found a leak in Endeavour. This could postpone next week's launch.

Space Talk, Memorial, and Calendars at 7pm on Thursday, August 2, 2007

Received this from our local NSS chapter. If you are in the area, come on down.


Dear HAL5 and local NSS members,

The Huntsville Alabama L5 Society, our local chapter of the National
Space Society, is hosting a Program Night on Thursday, August 2,
featuring a talk on "Living off the Land in Space". The guest
speaker is the book's author, Les Johnson, engineer and now
manager at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.


Before the program, we will have a short memorial service and a
moment of silence for our lost comrade Glenn May, who died last week
while working at Scaled Composites. Please read the kind words of
Greg Allison below. We will be taking up a collection for a UAH
Scholarship Fund in Glen's name.


This meeting will also debut the new Space Settlement 2009 Calendar,
a product of our National Space Society and our first professional
calendar. This was the result of the hard work of leader Jim Plaxco
of the Chicago Space Studies chapter, with help from many others
including three HAL5/NSS members: Bart Leahy, Yohon Lo, and myself.
NSS site:
Art work:

The list price of this great 14x11 wall calendar is $14.95 and can be
purchased at the HAL5 meeting or via the Turner Publishing Web site.
Turner adds $1.95 shipping and $2 handling for a total of $18.90, so
buying the calendar directly from HAL5 saves you $4. In addition,
HAL5 will give a $2 discount if you are a current paid member of HAL5
*OR* if you are a current paid member of NSS -- and a $4 discount if
you are BOTH -- for a total savings of $8 versus buying over the Web.

Bart will be leading the 2009 calendar effort, and Yohon and I have
already offered our support. If you are interested in helping out,
please see Bart at the meeting or contact us via email.


The HAL5 program will be held 7:00 to 8:30 PM in the main auditorium
of the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library, 915 Monroe Street,
downtown Huntsville, Alabama. Here are links to map images and
general contact information:

There is free admission, and the program is open to everyone.
Please attend, and bring a friend if you are able.

After the meeting, we will have our usual post-meeting dinner/dessert
social event at the nearby Denny's restaurant at 9 PM. Join us if you
are able, and get to know members of your local NSS chapter.