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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, October 26, 2007

Bigelow is Offering $760 Million for a Rocket

Bigelow Aerospace is offering a $760 million contract that can met their criteria for getting passengers to their inflatable orbital habitats.

Commentary on Private Space

Michael Belfiore has a commentary in the Financial Times about private spaceflight.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Discovery Lifts Off

It you didn't know Discovery lifted off for the ISS on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Visit to Bigelow Aerospace

Vince Beiser visited Bigelow Aerospace's headquarters in Vegas and the has a write up in Wired.

The also have a photos and a the launch plan.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New COTS Competition for Rp/K's Funding

Since Rocketplane/Kistler hasn't met NASA's milestones, they have started the competition for their replacement. I would imagine SpaceDev and t/Space are the favorites.

Space Business Plan Competition

Space 2.0 is have a Space Business Plan Competition for university students. There is a $100,000 prize, so get business you little budding entrepreneurs.

SpaceX Completes CDR for COTS

SpaceX has completed the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Critical Design Review (CDR) for its first Falcon 9 / Dragon mission as required by NASA.

SpaceX is one of my favorite new space companies. They don't talk a lot, but they just keep rolling along with rockets and cargo and passing whatever milestones are thrown at them.

Just for your information, this CDR required "480 design documents to NASA for detailed review by its experts. At the review, twenty six speakers gave thirty two presentations on over two dozen different topics including aerodynamics, propulsion, communication, ground processing, flight operations, recovery and more."

Good job to Mr. Musk and his team.

Carnival of Space #25 is Up

Carnival of Space #25, which has a link to our article on space based solar power.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Space Review 10/15/2007

It's out:

Back to the future: The Outer Space Treaty turns 40

The problem with Freedom

Letter: the weaponization of space

Review: The Star Wars Enigma

Review: Endless Universe

How Private Space is Getting Past Tragedy

Here is an article on how private space (or new space) is getting past the tragedy the Scaled Composites has with their new SpaceShipTwo earlier this year.

History of Rocket Work in McGregor, Texas

Here is a history of some the rocket work done in McGregor, TX where SpaceX has been test firing engines since 2003.

NASA is Leaning toward Oct 23 Launch

After a safety group has looked at Discovery's wings, NASA is leaning towards a simple fix and continuing with the planned launch on October 23.

Carnival of Space #24 is Up

This week's Carnival of Space is up atSpace for Commerce, by Brian Dunbar:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Space Based Solar Power Study Paper

If you haven't yet read the NSSO paper on space based solar power, you should. It is really really interesting. I think it could open some eyes.

[update 10/15/2007] The link I has been broken. Here is the (currently) correct link. I fixed the orginal one as well, so it should work now.

NASA to get Wi-Fi

This is just funny.

$220 Billion in Space Spending in 2006

According to the Space Foundation, space spending topped $220 billion in 2006. This represents a %16 increase in space spending. While the greatest growth was in GPS related products, $30 million was spent on commercial space transportation. $20 million was for Anousheh Ansari's trip to the ISS and $10 million in Virgin Galactic deposits.

Self-sufficient Space Habitat

An Australian group has created a habitat design they claim is "90 to 95 percent self-sufficient." Luna Gaia, as it is called, uses microbes, called Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative (or MELIiSSA), to recycle waste products, water, and carbon dioxide.

I wonder if Bigelow could use this?

Discovery may be Delayed due to Wing Problem

NASA is studying a problem with the thermal shielding on Discovery's wings that may delay the shuttle's launch. The original launch date was October 23.

Low Cost Missions to Near Earth Objects Workshop

NASA is hosting a workshop on missions to Near Earth Objects (NEOs) and how to keep the cost to a minimum.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lunar Photos

Japan's lunar orbiter, Kaguya, has returned its first pictures.

SpaceShipTwo on Hold

SpaceShipTwo is on hold until a California Occupational Safety and Health report is out. It is expected by 26 January. While Knight Two continues however.

Lunar Science Institue

NASA is forming a new Lunar Science Institute to be managed by Ames.

Space Solar Power Study

Here is the formal press release:

New Space Solar Power Organization Announced

The Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy
Will Pursue Recommendations of New NSSO-Led Study

Study Concludes Space Solar Power Could Deliver Clean, Renewable Energy for Planet,
But Requires a Coordinated National Program of Investment

Wednesday, October 10, 2007: The Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy (SSAFE), a new organization advocating investment in space-based solar power technologies to address the planet's future energy needs, was announced today at the National Press Club.

The coalition of thirteen leading research organizations and space advocacy groups focused their inaugural event on the announcement of a new study of space-based solar power led by the National Security Space Office (NSSO).

The study concludes that space-based solar power deserves substantial national investment as a path towards addressing America's future energy needs via a renewable energy source with no carbon emissions or hazardous waste. In the Space Solar Power concept, developed in the late nineteen-sixties by Dr. Peter Glaser, energy from sunlight is collected in space and transmitted wirelessly for use on Earth.

Mark Hopkins, Senior Vice President of the National Space Society, stated, "As the United States makes decisions now to answer the energy challenges of the next 50 years, space-based solar power must be a part of the answer. While the technical challenges are real, significant investment now can build Space Solar Power into the ultimate energy source: clean, green, renewable, and capable of providing the vast amounts of power that the world will need. Congress, federal agencies and the business community should begin that investment immediately."

The new Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy (SSAFE) will promote the findings of the NSSO-led study, and seek to communicate the benefits of the technology to business, government and the general public.

According to Air Force Colonel-Select M.V. 'Coyote' Smith, the leader of the study, "When we started this work I had my doubts about the technology. But as the facts poured in, it became obvious that my initial assessment was wrong. Not only is this possible, but space-based solar power is probably the greatest opportunity to develop a safe, clean source of energy that can readily be shared with all of humanity."

The founding members of SSAFE are the National Space Society, Space Frontier Foundation, Space Power Association, Aerospace Technology Working Group, Marshall Institute, Moon Society, ShareSpace Foundation, Space Studies Institute, Spaceward Foundation, AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee, ProSpace, Space Enterprise Council, and Space Generation Foundation.



Still images of a space solar power system created for today's announcement are available at:

Video animations in NTSC and HD are available upon request. Email:

The NSSO-led study will be made available at:

New National Space Society white paper on Space Solar Power:

The website of the new Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy is:

SSAFE Founding Organizations and Contacts:

National Space Society
Mark Hopkins, Senior Vice President

Space Studies Institute
Lee Valentine, Executive Vice President

Space Enterprise Council
David Logsdon, Executive Director

Aerospace Technology Working Group
Ken Cox

Space Frontier Foundation
Margo Deckard, Space Solar Power Project Manager

Marshall Institute
Jeff Kueter, President

Moon Society
Peter Kokh, President

Frank Johnson, President

Space Generation Foundation
Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides, President

Space Power Association
John Mankins, President

Spaceward Foundation
Ben Shelef, Co-founder

ShareSpace Foundation
Lisa Cannon

AIAA Space Colonization Technical Committee
Klaus Heiss, Chairman

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Interview with Burt Rutan

Dicover Magazine has an interview with creator of SpaceShipOne, Burt Rutan.

Here is a summary of his views on NASA:

No, no. NASA does hundreds of wonderful things. They send robots all over the solar system. They have scientists doing all kinds of stuff. Some of it is good work. The stuff that JPL [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California] does is fabulous work.

People think I’m a NASA critic. That’s not true. I’m just saying what they are doing on [the manned space program] is not looking for the breakthroughs that are needed. The breakthroughs are likely to come from folks who go out and try some new stuff.

But I have a tremendous amount of respect for what JPL does. NASA did some phenomenal research during the 1960s in response to [Yuri] Gagarin [the first cosmonaut], and very quickly we were driving cars and playing golf on the moon. That is something that made me very proud to be an American who sent taxpayer funds to that NASA.

Movie on Private Race to the Moon

Dreamworks is doing a movie on a private flight to the Moon.

(hat tip to Curmudgeons Corner)

New Space Review is Out

Our potential in space

Weaponization of space: who’s to blame?

Rebutting the regulatory myth

Galileo: is the symbol stumbling?

Review: Red Moon Rising

Profile on Space Adventures CEO

Eric Anderson's, CEO of the worlds first and currently only space tourism company, is profiled in USA Today's Executive Suite.

Rocketplane/Kistler President Resigns

William Byrd has resigned as Rp/K's President. They have seen some trouble lately with getting enough investment to stay in NASA's COTS program to provide orbital services.

[Update 8:32 PM CST] I can't ready. Randy Brinkley has resigned and William Byrd is the new president. Those of you who read English, already knew that :)

Space Age Products

CNN has a list of tools we use everyday that were help along by NASA.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Serenity 2?

Good God there may be a sequel to the best movie this Eon, Serenity. Keep your fingers crossed and keep buying the DVD (I may go buy another one just to keep up the fight :)

(thanks to Curmudgeons Corner)

NASTAR To Train Space Tourists

National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) will be training space tourist astronauts for Virgin Galactic in Philadelphia.

Pharmacy in Space

Thomas Pickens III, Chairman of SpaceHAB, wants to use the ISS for the drug industry.

NASA Gets More Money

Congress has given NASA $1 Billion extra dollars for 2008 to make up for money spent analysing the Columbia accident. This brings NASA's budget for 2008 to $18.5 billion.

New Astronauts

NASA is looking for 10-15 new astronauts to begin in 2009 and eventually go to the Moon. While I agree it is hard to go in knowing you won't fly for a long time (if ever), who among you would turn it down if NASA gave you a slot.

Separating Space & Science

Roger Pielke thinks space science should be moved to other agency's and NASA should focused on a vision of colonizing space. While I agree with him in principle, I don't think it solves the money problem for NASA, as the science money would go with the science. Certainly NASA would be more focused and that would gain some efficiency, I think the best plan is to have NASA support the efforts of private groups in colonizing space.

These types of efforts begin with small steps, such as space tourism and Bigelow's private space "hotels."

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Next Space Age

Alan Boyle views into the future of the Next Space Age.

X-Prize Cup

Leonard David has a preview of the X-Prize Cup October 27-28 which will feature such things as The SpaceX Dragon capsule on display. You don't want to miss this one at Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Carnival of Space #23

This week's Carnival of Space is up:

I think this is the first time we've had an
entry about pigs. The entry is related to space, it
is about pigs on Mars.

Bigelow Aerospace Update

Leonard David at has an overview of where Bigelow Aerospace is headed. Remember that Bigelow launched the space module Genesis 1 & 2 to test out the inflatable structure they plan to build private orbiting stations in a few years.

QUID, the First Space Currency

The Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, or QUID, has been developed by the Travelex to be the first currency in space.

The QUID has been designed to withstand the stresses of space travel and the extreme environment found in orbit around the Earth. It has also been created so that it can be purchased on earth in any one of the 176 currencies used around the globe.

Different colors and sizes are used to denote different values. They are valued from one to ten and by looking at todays rates one QUID would cost you $12.50, 6.25 Pounds, or 8.68 Euros.

Simberg Vs. Hickam

Rand Simberg and Homer Hickam have a running debate on the roll of NASA.

The 50th Anniversary of the Space Age

Today is the 50th anniversary of the space age when the world heard the beep beep of Sputnik.

Rocketplane/Kistler Hasn't Given Up

With the timeline to meet investment benchmarks approaching, Rp/K has not given up.

China May Beat us back to the Moon

Mike Griffin says that China may go to the Moon first.

Private Space Rundown

CNET has a current state of private space at Sputnik's 50th anniversary.

They also ask if we even need NASA anymore.

SpaceDev Receives Contract for Solar Thermal Propulsion

DARPA has given SpaceDev a $3.75 million contract to develop solar thermal propulsion and bus design for the High Delta-V satellite program.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Space TV

RLV and Space Transport News has links to the Celestial Mechanics channel at the video site has a big selection of NewSpace related videos.

Next Space Tourist

Richard Garriott, game designer and multimillionaire, is set to go to the ISS in October 2008. His father is former astronaut and Vice President of Space Programs at Teledyne Brown Engineering (where yours truly used to work) Owen Garriott.

Discovery Ready for October 23 Launch

Discovery is on the launch pad and ready for its October 23 launch to the ISS.

Michael Belfiore on Bloomberg

Bloomberg has an interview with Michael Belfiore on commercial space.

Space Review is Out

Check out today's Space Review:

Space myths

Miscalculations of Galileo: Europe’s answer to GPS is floundering

Beyond the Outer Space Treaty

Titan of the world

Review: A Ball, A Dog, and A Monkey