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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, December 31, 2007

Rand Simberg Reviews Rocketeers

Rand Simberg has a review of Rocketeers by Michael Belfiore in The New Atlantis.

NASA's 2008 Budget

Jeff Foust has a review of NASA's 2008 budget.

No More Room for Space Tourists

In 2009, if all goes as planned with the Japan and Europe's science modules, a full 6 member crew will fill the ISS and leave no room for future space tourists.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas and a happy new year, from Space Pragmatism.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

New Exoplanet CoRoT-Exo-2 b Found

CoRoT-Exo-2 b was found on December 20, 2008. It is mass is 3.53 Jupiters. It is likely a very hot Jupiter since its orbital period is only 1.743 days.

Friday, December 21, 2007

UP Aerospace reaches 2500ft

UP Aerospace sent a test launch of its cargo launch system from Spaceport America in New Mexico. The test reached it target height of 2500ft.

Lockheed Martin to Build NASA GRAIL Spacecraft

Lockheed Martin is going to build and operate the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission to create a high resolution gravity map of the Moon.

Congress Puts a Hold on COTS Money

Congresses' omnibus bill tells NASA not to award the COTS money set for Rocketplane/Kistler to anyone else yet. Apparently Rp/K is suing NASA because they couldn't met the milestones set for them and somehow this is NASA's fault. Congress thinks NASA should hold off on awarding the $175 million until the whining, um I mean the lawsuit, is over.

SpaceDev Completes Prototype Lunar Lander

Using the hybrid rocket engine technology used for SpaceShipOne, SpaceDev has completed development and a test flight on a prototype Lunar Lander. A video of the flight is here. The prototype was funded by the International Lunar Observatory Association who hope to land a spacecraft on the south pole of the Moon.

Planet GD 66 b Discovered

The newest planet, discovered just 6 days ago, is GD 66 b. It is a large, Jupiter like planet, at 2.11 Jupiter masses. It sits at an average of 2.356 AU (astronomical units) from its white dwarf star, GD 66.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

SpaceX Successfully Completes NASA Systems Requirements Review for Dragon Spacecraft Demonstration

HAWTHORNE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has completed the Systems Requirements Review (SRR) for what will be the third Falcon 9 / Dragon demonstration under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. NASA representatives attended the event, held on the first day of regular business operations at SpaceX’s new headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

Under COTS, SpaceX will conduct three Falcon 9 / Dragon flights, demonstrating the ability to approach, berth, and ultimately deliver cargo to the $100 billion International Space Station (ISS), and return cargo to Earth. On this third demonstration, the Dragon spacecraft will approach the ISS and hold its position nearby. Then, according to the SpaceX plan, a robotic arm on the station will capture Dragon and guide it to a berthing port on the Harmony module.

“When the hatch opens, a new era in space transportation will begin,” said Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. “By providing commercial delivery services to orbit, SpaceX will transform the way the government and private entities access space. The Falcon 9 / Dragon system will ensure that there is no gap in US space transportation capabilities following retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2010.”

During the meeting, all comments and questions raised by NASA’s experts were addressed by the SpaceX design team. “Because we connect to the ISS on this mission, NASA applied significant additional scrutiny to ensure the safety of the station and its crew,” said Max Vozoff, SpaceX Mission Manager. By receiving NASA approval for this review, SpaceX continues its record of successfully meeting all COTS milestones on schedule.

Although these demonstrations are for cargo re-supply, SpaceX designed the Dragon spacecraft to transport up to seven astronauts to Earth orbit and back.

About SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation. With its Falcon launch vehicles, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any inclination and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions.

Europe ATV Ready for Launch

Europe's first human rated launch vehicle, dubbed the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), is ready for launch in February 22. The ship's name is Jules Verne and will launch from Kourou, French Guiana.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Scientific American Announces SciAm 50 Awards

Scientific American has announced the winners of this years’ SciAm 50.
The SciAm 50 is the magazine’s annual award celebrating the work of visionaries from the worlds of research, science, technology, industry and politics.

The XPrize was the winner of Policy Leader of the Year award.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Red Chip Announces SpaceDev Managing Director Television Interview Available Online

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 13, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- RedChip Companies Inc. today announced that Scott Tibbitts, Managing Director of SpaceDev, Inc. (OTCBB:SPDV), a developer of space technology systems and products facilitating space exploration, was interviewed on RedChip TV, a business oriented television interview program. The interview highlighted the company's expertise as a developer of new technologies in small satellites, deployable structures, hybrid propulsion systems and advanced space vehicles. The full interview is available at:

The interview was conducted Nov. 3, 2007, in conjunction with the company's presentation at RedChip's Small-Cap Investor Conference in Orlando, Fla. SpaceDev's entire presentation to the analysts and brokers and individual investors at the conference -- including PowerPoint slides -- can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

About SpaceDev, Inc.
SpaceDev, Inc. is a space technology/aerospace company that creates and sells affordable and innovative space products and mission solutions that enable space exploration. The company's products range from spacecraft actuators that power the Mars rovers, to hybrid rocket technologies that powered the first commercial astronaut to space, and from microsatellites controlled by the Internet to Dream Chaser(tm), a winged and piloted orbital commercial spacecraft. For more information, visit and

About RedChip Companies, Inc.
RedChip Companies is an international small-cap research and financial public relations firm with offices in Beijing and Orlando and affiliates in New York and San Diego. RedChip delivers measurable results for its clients through its extensive international market expertise as well as its comprehensive platform of products: RedChip Research(tm), Traditional Investor Relations, Digital Investor Relations, Institutional and Retail Conferences held throughout the United States, and RedChip Radio(tm). To learn more about RedChip's products and services please visit:
"Discovering Tomorrow's Blue Chips Today"(tm)

Any opinions expressed herein are subject to change. SpaceDev is a client of the RedChip Companies, Inc. and has contracted the RedChip Companies to increase investor awareness of SPDV to the small-cap equity community. These services may include investor conferences and digital print distribution of SPVD investor related materials. In the purview of Section 17(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 and in the interest of full disclosure, we call the reader's attention to the fact that RedChip Companies, Inc. is an investor relations firm hired by the Company. SPDV paid RedChip Visibility $30,000 for the RedChip Visibility Research Program.


RedChip Companies
Jon Cunningham
(800) RED-CHIP (733-2447) ext. 107

SpaceDev Investor Relations
Investor Contact:
Richard Slansky
Jessica Gerstenkorn
Media Contact:
Mark Sirangelo
(858) 375-2026

Goodyear to Build Moon Tires

Goodyear is ready to work on NASA tire needs for the next Moon missions, as they did for Apollo.

NASA Pushed STS-122 Back Again

NASA has postponed STS-122 back until at least January 10, 2008. The Shuttle Atlantis is set to launch the ESA ISS component, Columbus.

Andrews Space Reveals Cargo Vehicle Design Work

SEATTLE, Dec. 12, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Andrews Space today disclosed details of its Andrews Cargo Module, a cargo logistics system capable of addressing NASA's International Space Station (ISS) cargo logistics requirements, as well as the needs of emerging customers like Bigelow Aerospace and the Department of Defense.

The Andrews Cargo Module is a reusable spacecraft capable of delivering 3.7 metric tons of cargo to and from the ISS. It is comprised of a common Service Module, a Pressurized (PCM) or Unpressurized Cargo Module (UCM), and a Recovery Module. This modular approach allows the system to cost-effectively address a wide range of mission requirements and customers.

The Cargo Module incorporates design features and system elements from previous efforts into a low-risk cargo module design. Andrews previously worked on crew and cargo logistics systems under contract to NASA as part of the Alternate Access to Station (AAS) and Concept Exploration and Refinement efforts. In 2005, Andrews developed a full-scale mockup of its design for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to verify internal packaging for both crew and cargo transport. This mockup was transferred to NASA Johnson Space Center and has been used by NASA to conduct Orion design studies.

"One of the lessons learned from AAS is that the launch vehicle cost drives the life cycle cost of the system," said Jason Andrews, President of Andrews Space. "While our cargo module can be launched on an EELV, we've developed a low-cost launch system to make the system affordable and enable new markets."

The Cargo Module will be launched by Andrews' Hercules family of launch vehicles. Hercules is a medium- to intermediate-lift system, built around a LOX/RP core stage, capable of launching payloads between 5,000 and 25,000 lb to LEO. The Hercules launch vehicle provides commercial and U.S. Government customers with a responsive, cost-effective replacement for the Delta II, and will reduce the life cycle cost of cargo logistics services when compared to using EELVs.

In November, Andrews submitted a proposal to NASA as part of the COTS recompete. Partners in the COTS proposal include MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Reynolds Smith and Hills (RS&H), Draper Laboratory, Odyssey Space Research, Aerojet, Irvin Aerospace, and ILC Dover.

During the past year, a team of engineers has been engaged in developing the system design and maturing subsystems. In October, Andrews acquired an avionics and guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) company that will provide the fault-tolerant avionics and power subsystems. Andrews has several other funded research and development efforts that are demonstrating critical cargo module subsystems and technologies.

To further verify system performance, the Andrews team constructed a full-scale mockup of the PCM to assess cargo packaging and crew interfaces. Specific focus areas included early and late cargo access, ground operations, crew lighting, and on-orbit operations. These efforts have validated the system requirements, configuration, and performance in support of a System Requirements Review in early 2008.

Andrews' strong and diverse revenue base incorporates customers in business areas including systems development and integration, subsystem and component development, technology development, and engineering services. Customers and programs include SE&I support of NASA's Ares I and Orion programs, Department of Defense technology and vehicle development programs, and commercial hardware development, including hardware currently flying on Bigelow's Genesis II spacecraft.

About the Company

Andrews Space, Inc. (Andrews) is a privately-held business founded in 1999 to be a catalyst in the commercialization and development of space. The company is an affordable integrator of aerospace systems and developer of advanced space technologies. Andrews' customers include NASA and the Department of Defense, as well as aerospace prime contractors. Andrews is currently engaged in several launch vehicle and spacecraft development efforts in both the prime and subcontractor role. To learn more, please visit

Due to the competition on the NASA COTS program, no further announcements or details will be discussed until after the award of COTS.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bigelow Aerospace Updates Web Site

Bigelow Aerospace has updated their website with a new layout and some new information.

An example is the general specs of the Genesis II. Check it out.

ATK And XCOR Successfully Complete Test Series for NASA's 7,500 lbf Thrust LOX/Methane Workhorse Engine

MOJAVE, Calif., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- XCOR Aerospace and Alliant Techsystems completed tests on a methane-burning rocket engine for NASA. This engine could help return America to the Moon and allow astronauts to tap extra-terrestrial sources of fuel. The engine work was funded by NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program at Langley, as part of the Propulsion and Cryogenics Advanced Development Project based at Glenn Research Center.

(Source: XCOR)

The 7,500 lbf thrust liquid oxygen (LOX)/liquid methane (LCH4) Workhorse Engine is being used to develop and refine methane rocket technology for possible use on lunar expeditions. Methane offers higher performance relative to other storable propellants, is less expensive to handle because of its lower toxicity, and is easier to store long-term than liquid hydrogen.

An additional factor that makes this propellant combination unique is the possibility that Oxygen and Methane can be obtained or manufactured from In-Situ Resources on the moon and other planets.

"XCOR is pleased to be working with ATK in the development of this new propulsion capability for NASA. Tests to date have shown very reliable and repeatable ignition characteristics and extremely stable operation," said Jeff Greason, CEO for XCOR. The ATK/XCOR team went from program inception to the first test firing in only six months. The tests delivered critical data for NASA to assess the practicality of this new propellant combination that is intended to provide a viable option for future in-space propulsion. The regeneratively cooled design of this engine makes maximum use of the energy in the propellants and offers the highest performance potential. This test series provided data on engine ignition, startup, shutdown, nominal operation, off-nominal operation, and dynamic combustion stability.

To date, tests on the LOX/Methane rocket ignition have been performed at close to sea level static conditions at XCOR's test facility located in Mojave, CA. Because the methane engine is projected for use in space, ATK will be conducting an additional test program at its vacuum test facility in Ronkonkoma, NY. These tests will allow evaluation of various igniter concepts and demonstrate repeatable ignition characteristics in a vacuum which simulates space conditions.

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket engines, rocket propulsion systems, and rocket powered vehicles. News and information can be found at its website:

ATK is an advanced weapon and space systems company with annual revenues in excess of $4.1 billion that employs approximately 17,000 people in 21 states. News and information can be found on the Internet at

Boeing Wins Ares Guidance System Contract

NASA has given Boeing the $799.5 million contract to develop the guidance, navigation and control system of the Ares rocket. The work will be done in the Houston-based space exploration division of Boeing. Ares is set to take men aboard the Orion moon capsule back to the Moon in the next decade.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chinese President on Space Exploration

Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a speech today, "China's space exploration should be used to help build the nation's social, economic and technological strength." He went on to talk about how "peaceful" their exploration plan is (cough, cough). Finally he heaped praise on the scientist behind Chang'e 1, currently orbiting the Moon.

NASA Says On Track for Moon in 2020

NASA Officials say the are "on track" for a 2020 return to the Moon and the building of a base.

Spirit to Rest for Winter

The Mars Rover, Spirit, is moving towards a wintering spot to rest and build up batter reserves. It must get there by Christmas or risk dying forever.

U.S. Army Selects Andrews Space to Enhance Urban Battlespace Capabilities

Seattle, WA – December 11, 2007 – Andrews Space, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Phase I contract by the U.S. Army through the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR). Phase I of the contract is valued at $70K over six (6) months, with an optional Phase II at $50K over four (4) months. The Army selected Andrews’ proposed approach in a competitive procurement out of hundreds of other SBAs.

Urban warfare poses unique challenges for the Future Combat System (FCS) and other Army systems that require high-fidelity terrain information. The shape of the terrain is an important component, and dense networks of elevation data are needed to represent the complex shape of an urban landscape. Applications like line-of-sight or drive-through in an urban area also need high-resolution terrain data.

Currently, transmission of terrain data is done via hand-carried external hard drives. Under the terms of the contract, Andrews will develop a new approach that helps the military reduce the burden required to manage data.

Andrews will use two approaches to reduce the size of elevation data files to be stored and transmitted. The first approach is to develop a better compression algorithm that works well on discontinuous data, which will provide high fidelity urban elevation data with a minimum file size. The second approach is to develop an innovative way to transmit the data that will dramatically reduce the amount of data that needs to be transmitted to, and stored by, a soldier or vehicle in the field.

“Andrews’ solution to this problem will provide our armed forces with a significant advantage in the urban warfare environment”, said Jason Andrews, President of Andrews Space. “By speeding up the availability of this terrain data, our troops will be able to respond much more quickly to combat threats and other battlefield challenges.”

Commercial applications of this technology include computer scene generation, mapping software such as Google Earth/Maps, Microsoft Live Search/Terra-Server, and MapQuest. It will allow them to more efficiently store 3D buildings for larger portions of major cities and then transmit and reconstruct the information for users. This will also allow enhanced capabilities for GPS and car navigation, and GPS capable cell phones.

About SBIR
The SBIR program is a highly competitive, three-phase award system. It provides qualified small businesses - including women-owned and disadvantaged firms - with opportunities to propose unique ideas that meet specific research and development needs of the federal government.

About Andrews Space
Andrews Space, Inc. (Andrews) is a privately-held business founded in 1999 to be a catalyst in the commercialization and development of space. The company is an affordable integrator of aerospace systems and a developer of advanced space technologies. Andrews' customers include NASA and the Department of Defense, as well as commercial aerospace prime contractors. Andrews is currently engaged in several launch vehicle and spacecraft development efforts in both the prime and subcontractor role. To learn more, please visit

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

China Publishes Four new Moon Photos

China has published four new moon photos taken by their Chang'e-1 lunar probe currently in orbit around the Moon.

New Zealander to Draw Space

Mr. Scott, an artist of New Zealand, has complete his training to fly on SpaceShip2 with Virgin Galactic. He will draw what he sees in orbit. Mr. Scott will be the first professional artist in space. We look forward to his work.

Sir Richard Branson has also completed his space training.

NASA Delays STS-122 Until January

NASA has delayed Atlantis, STS-122, until at least January while it works on a fuel sensor malfunction. The earliest launch would be January 2, 2008.

New NASA Mission to Reveal Moon's Internal Structure and Evolution

Press Release:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 -- At a Monday meeting of the American Geophysical Union, NASA's Associate Administrator for Science Alan Stern announced the selection of a new mission that will peer deep inside the moon to reveal its anatomy and history.

The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission is a part of NASA's Discovery Program. It will cost $375 million and is scheduled to launch in 2011. GRAIL will fly twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth's moon and provide scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed.

"GRAIL's revolutionary capabilities stood out in this Discovery mission competition owing to its unsurpassed combination of high scientific value and low technical and programmatic risk," Stern said. "GRAIL also offers to bring innovative Earth studies techniques to the moon as a precursor to their possible later use at Mars and other planets."

Scientists will use the gravity field information from the two satellites to X-ray the moon from crust to core to reveal the moon's subsurface structures and, indirectly, its thermal history.

The study technique GRAIL will use was pioneered by the joint U.S.-German Earth observing Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, mission launched in 2002. The GRACE satellites measure gravity changes related to the movement of mass within the Earth, such as the melting of ice at the poles and changes in ocean circulation. As with GRACE, both GRAIL spacecraft will be launched on a single launch vehicle.

GRAIL's principal investigator is Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zuber's team of expert scientists and engineers includes former NASA astronaut Sally Ride, who will lead the mission's public outreach efforts. A camera aboard each spacecraft will allow students and the public to interact with observations from the satellites. Each GRAIL spacecraft will carry the cameras to documents their views from lunar orbits.

GRAIL will support NASA's exploration goals as the agency returns humans to the moon by 2020. In 2008, the agency will launch the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, to circle the moon for at least a year and take measurements to identify future robotic and human landing sites. The orbiter also will look for potential lunar resources and document aspects of the lunar radiation environment. After a 30-year hiatus, LRO represents NASA's first step toward returning humans to the moon. The orbiter will be accompanied by another spacecraft, called the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission, which will impact the lunar south pole to search for evidence of polar water frost.

"As NASA moves forward with exploration endeavors, our lunar science missions will be the light buoy leading the path for future human activities," said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Division, Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Created in 1992, NASA's Discovery Program sponsors a series of scientist-led, cost-capped solar system exploration missions with highly focused scientific goals. The GRAIL proposal was selected from 24 submissions in response to a 2006 Announcement of Opportunity for the program. Proposals were evaluated for scientific merit, science implementation merit, and technical, management and cost feasibility.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will manage the GRAIL mission. The spacecraft will be built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

For more information about NASA's Discovery Program, visit:


Evidence for Past Life on Mars

The overachieving rovers have done it again. Spirit, while working on a plateau called Home Plate, has discovered a patch of almost pure silica (i.e. glass). The current thinking is that the patch came from hot springs coming up from underground or a fumarole where acidic steam comes. On Earth, these hot springs are always covered in microbial life.

Not conclusive but all the evidence seem to point toward life.

Our Solar System is Dented

Our solar system has a dent in it. Science base this conclusion on Voyager 2 reaching the termination shock a billion miles closer than Voyager 1. Apparently the dent is caused by a large magnetic field created by a super-nova 10 to 20 million years ago in the Scorpius-Centaurus Association region of the Milky Way.

The termination shock caused Voyager 2 to slow to 350,000 miles/hour and it will reach interstellar space in 7 to 10 more years. The transmitters will continue to work until 2020, thanks to its radioactive fuel.

Monday, December 10, 2007

SpaceX Update

Elon has a new update for SpaceX.


  • Fully Integrated Falcon 9 first stage firing (only 1 Merlin engine)
  • Merlin C is done and ready for final testing
  • Pad at the Cape begun
  • NASA COTS CDR Approval of the Dragon capsule
  • There are lot of details of the Dragon capsule including a simulation of the Dragon hooking up to ISS.

X-Prize Foundation News

From the X-Prize Foundation:

The X PRIZE Foundation welcomes Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, and his wife Anne Wojcicki Brin to the Vision Circle. We would also like to acknowledge Board members Elon Musk of Space Exploration Technologies, Jeffrey Shames of the MIT Sloan School of Management, Ray Sydney of Big George Ventures, and Erik Lindbergh, President of Lindbergh Woodworks and Director of the Lindbergh Foundation for their generous support of the X PRIZE Foundation.

Two new members have joined the X PRIZE Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Arianna Huffington and Will Wright. Huffington is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post, a leading news and blog source on the Internet as well as the author of 11 books. Wright is a globally recognized visionary in interactive entertainment and EA’s chief designer behind the block-buster game franchises “SimCity™,” “The Sims™” and the soon-to-be-released universe simulator “Spore™.”

Odyssey Moon Announced as First Official Competitor in the Google Lunar X PRIZE

The first official team has completed registration for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. Odyssey Moon, from the Isle of Man, announced its contention for the prize on December 6th at the Space Investment Summit in San Jose, CA. The brainchild of Robert Richards, one of the founders of the International Space University, Odyssey Moon views the Google Lunar X PRIZE as a short term goal. Long term, they will work toward lowering the cost of going to the Moon by an order of magnitude and eventually to the peaceful development of the Moon. In all, the Google Lunar X PRIZE has received 350 requests for information from more than 40 countries, 11 of which have started or completed Letters of Intent.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Carnival of Space #32 is Up

Carnival of Space #32 is up at the Robot Guy's blog.

STS-122 Postponed

STS-122 which was schedule to launch today, was scrubbed due to a fuel sensor malfunction. It will be at least 24 hours before the launch.

Astrobotic and Ratheon Team on the Google Lunar X-Prize

Astrobotic Technology, Inc. has selected Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN - News) as its supplier for development of a next-generation of high-precision, propellant-efficient lunar landing technologies.

On Sept. 13, 2007, Dr. William L. "Red" Whittaker, Astrobotic's Chief Technology Officer and Lunar Mission Commander declared his intention to pursue the recently announced Google Lunar X Prize. Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is the commercial organization through which Dr. Whittaker plans to carry out the lunar mission as well as engage in potential commercial orbital transfer services and potential cis-lunar services that may be best enabled by leading-edge robotics.

"We have great confidence in Raytheon's ability to co-develop a spacecraft that can land on a dime," said Whittaker.

Raytheon has undertaken initial design and planning activities on the project. Possible roles for Raytheon include engineering management, lander design, and high bandwidth telecommunications. A common goal is for Raytheon to develop key technologies for advanced thrust controlled descent, ascent and movement, including automated topographic scene matching.

"We are delighted to work with Dr. Whittaker on this extraordinary lunar project," said Mike Booen, Raytheon vice president of Advanced Missile Defense & Directed Energy. "Development of a lunar lander is a natural extension for the company's space-proven technologies."

Astrobotic is planning for Raytheon to begin work on a contract basis with the scope of Raytheon's work to be expanded upon completion of certain financing goals by Astrobotic. It is anticipated that 15 or more professional engineers from Raytheon will be devoted to the Astrobotic lunar program.

Dr. Whittaker is the Fredkin Professor of Robotics, Director of the Field Robotics Center, and founder of the National Robotics Engineering Consortium, all at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a world-famous scientist and engineer, renowned for managing the research, development, operation, and scientific discoveries associated with several dozen exploratory robots. Most recently, Dr. Whittaker led CMU's "Tartan Racing Team" to victory in the November 2007 Urban Challenge sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Raytheon has a legacy of experience in space missions that dates back to the Apollo era, when Raytheon provided solutions for the Saturn launch vehicle, lunar modules, and space suits. Raytheon has deployed more than 100 unique control systems for military and commercial satellites as well as 75 GPS systems for the Department of Defense, civil, commercial and national markets ranging in scope from navigation, transportation, surveying and rescue operations.

Raytheon Company, with 2006 sales of $20.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 73,000 people worldwide.

Astrobotic Technology, Inc. ( is a privately held seed-stage company formed by Carnegie Mellon University professor William "Red" Whittaker and his colleagues in November 2007.

Media Contact:
Mitchell London
President and CEO
(425) 462-7428

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "expect," "estimate," "project," "budget," "forecast," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "may," "will," "could," "should," "believes," "predicts," "potential," "continue," and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements.

Astrobotic and Raytheon undertake no obligation and do not intend to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after this press release. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Law in the Columbus Module

The European Union has decided that crimes aboard their module Columbus will be in the jurisdiction of the criminal's country. Columbus is set to launch to the ISS tomorrow.

Just to play devils advocate, what if we don't know who the criminal is? A sort of Nancy Drew mystery? Which country will conduct the investigation?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

SpaceX to go Public in 2 Years

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the company hopes to go public with an IPO in late 2009.

STS-122 Set to Launch Thursday, Dec 6

STS-122 is set to launch the Columbus Lab to the ISS this Thursday.

NASA Web Site Update

NASA has updated their website to be more "personal."

China Probe to Mars in 2009

China is set to launch a probe to Mars in October 2009.

Russian Convicted of Spying for China

The head of TsNIIMASH-Export in Russia was convicted of leaking rocket information to China. He will serve 11 1/2 years in prison.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Space Settlement 2009 Art Contest

The National Space Society is sponsoring an art contest in which artists are to create visions of a spacefaring future - a future of space settlement, be they on the Moon, on Mars, on asteroids, or orbiting independently in space. Twelve winning entries will be chosen to illustrate the NSS 2009 Space Settlement Calendar. Judges include space artists Don Davis and David Robinson. Artists may submit multiple works and submissions will be accepted until December 31, 2007.

The Grand Prize winner will have their artwork featured on the calendar cover and as one of the monthly images; $200 cash; three graphics packages from DAZ Software (Carrara 6, Hexagon 2.1, and Bryce 6.1, retail values totaling $500); signed copies of 50 Years in Space (2006) by David Hardy and Sir Patrick Moore as well as Space Art: How to Draw and Paint Planets, Moons, and Landscapes of Alien Worlds (2007) by Michael Carroll; Starry Night Pro Plus 6.0 - the world's most realistic astronomy software ($250 value); the two-volume book Astronautics or a choice of any one-volume space book from Apogee Books; complimentary admission to the 2008 International Space Development Conference in Washington, DC. The Grand Prize winner also receives one-year complimentary memberships in the International Association of Astronomical Artists and the National Space Society, including a subscription to Ad Astra magazine, and 5 complimentary copies of the calendar.

There will be four First Prize winners in the categories of Best Lunar Settlement, Best Mars Settlement, Best Asteroid Settlement, and Best Orbiting Settlement. In addition to being published in the calendar, each of the four First Prizes winners will receive $100 cash; a Carrara 6 graphics software from DAZ Software (retail value $250); the artist's choice of any one-volume space book from Apogee Books; one-year complimentary memberships in the International Association of Astronomical Artists and the National Space Society, including a subscription to Ad Astra magazine; and 2 complimentary copies of the calendar. In addition, one random First Prize Winner will receive a copy of the Starry Night Complete Space & Astronomy Pack desktop planetarium software ($50 value).

The remaining seven winning entries will each appear in the calendar and the artists will each receive a copy of the Project Constellation Pocket Space Guide from Apogee Books; a Bryce 6.1 software package from DAZ Software (retail value $100); a 1 year complimentary membership in the National Space Society, which includes a subscription to Ad Astra magazine; and a complimentary copy of the calendar.

For all the contest details go to

Carnival of Space #31

Carnival of Space #31 i at:

Also, the Best of the Moon 2007 is at: