Jeff Foust has an article in today's Space Review reporting on the space investment meeting held in New York this month.
prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Last Saturday, April 28, 2007, James Doohan's (Scotty) ashes went up on UP Aerospace's launch from the New Mexico Spaceport. It was UP Aerospace and New Mexico's first launch from the new spaceport.
NASA seems to be grabbing the coattails of Stephen Hawking's Zero-G flight last week. Zero-G is a private company and as far as I know, NASA had nothing to do with Dr. Hawking's flight. Alan Stern, NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at Headquarters in Washington said:
"Stephen Hawking's flight to experience zero gravity is exciting. I can say from flying hundreds of parabolas aboard NASA KC-135s myself that the experience is eye-opening, exhilarating and personally fulfilling. My own experiences primarily were participating in research in space motion sickness and later, low-gravity accretion. But it's the 21st century now, and I expect more and more scientists to be conducting research in zero gravity, and even in space, as new vehicles and venues for such research open."
This wasn't a research flight. Dr. Hawking did it for the experience. Space isn't just about science. And please God don't let it become another Antarctica:
"Space is as much a place for scientists, I believe, as the arctic, Antarctic, and the deep ocean. And Dr. Hawking is showing the way."
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
Taylow Dinerman discusses Stephen Hawking's Zero-G flight yesterday in the Wall Street Journal' editorial page.
On Earth, taking care of someone with Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), requires constantly moving the person into and out of a wheelchair. Simple bathroom functions are a major chore for both the patient and caregiver. Deep-tissue massage is needed every day. All of these functions could be handled more easily and with greater dignity for all involved if gravity were not a factor.
I hope you had a blast, Dr. Hawking.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Scientists have discovered a planet, Gliese 581 c, orbiting a red dwarf 20.5 light-years away from the Earth. The planet has five times the mass of Earth and is the smallest extrasolar planet found so far.
The orbit gives the planet a likely surface temperature of 0 and 40 degrees Celsius (32F to 104F) making it the most habitable planet yet.
European astronomers made the discovery at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.
With this news, I think it needs a better name...
[update 11:08 AM CST] The Motley Fool talks about sunbathing opportunities on "c" as scientist seem to be calling it. Note that Gliese 581 is one of the closest 100 stars. Hopefully planets like this are everywhere.
[update 11:40 AM CST] Space.com has an article stating that models predict Gliese 581 C is either a rocky planet like Earth or a waterworld covered entirely by oceans. They also have a photo of the parent star Gliese 581.
David R. Butcher discusses the recently space weapon activity since China's destruction of a weather satellite with an anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) in January.
I think weapons in space are a forgone conclusion. I don't see that as a bad thing, however. If we are ever to expand humanity to places other than Earth, we have to see space as just another destination.
There is nothing inherently special about space. As long as we see space as this pristine environment where no evil should fall, real people won't be able to live there.
People are people. We have selfishness, selflessness, hate, love and yes wars (for both good and bad reasons). If people are to break out into the solar system, so will weapons.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
According to ESMD it is:
"The Constellation Program work is being performed at a variety of NASA Centers, Prime Contractors and Subcontractors located around the country. This work includes the Orion Crew Vehicle and Ares I Launch Vehicle and the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Partners."
That is interesting...
The US military is launching the Near Field Infrared Experiment, or NFIRE, satellite. The goal of NFIRE is designed to detect and characterize blast plumes from missile launches as part of a missile defense system.
NASA Watch has the You-Tube video of the launch.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Space has completed the first stage propellant tank of the Falcon 9. FlightGlobal.com has pictures.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Russia is ready to industrialize the Moon according to the head of the Russian space company RKK Energia, Nikolai Sevastianov. He says "it is time to do this given the limits to natural reserves on Earth and the pace of civilization's progress. Nor can we dismiss the idea of outsourcing harmful industries into space."
They believe they can begin setting up the moon for industry with the Soyuz and move on to a Kliper/Parom transport system RKK Energia will develop.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
SpaceDev and the ULA have a MOU on using the Atlas V to launch the DreamChaser vehicle into orbit.
They hope to launch NASA astronauts to the ISS. NASA does not have an agreement with SpaceDev but they welcomes SpaceDev.
Lots coming out of Bigelow this week:
Channel 8 News in Las Vegas has a summary of Bigelow's past and future getting ready for the launch of Genesis 2.
Bigelow has released his business plan and in 2012 four weeks in orbit will cost $14.9 million. This includes transportation and represents a significant price decrease from the $20 million space tourists has reportedly paid Space Adventures for stays on the ISS.
Aviation Week has more details on his business plan to build three orbital stations to lease out to governments, private companies, or whoever.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Venture Capitalist are looking to invest in new space start-ups, trying to out-angel the angle investors. Go guys!
The resents of Dona Ana County voted on a gross receipts tax to support the proposed Spaceport America in New Mexico. With nearly 90 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results from the county’s bureau of elections showed 51.5 percent of voters in favor of the tax increase and 48.5 percent against it.
Charles Simonyi will blast off in the 3rd seat of the Expedition 15 crew to the International Space Station this Saturday, April 7. He is the 4th space tourist sent up by Virginia based Space Adventures. Good luck Charles!
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Clark Lindsey has some issues with the "risk" that is COTS and the "sure thing" that is Ares/Orion. He makes good points, although I think Griffin was talking about whether the COTS vehicles are going to make it at all.
Truth be told, I don't think Mike Griffin doubts that COTS is a better program, but he is in a situation where he is trying to get NASA as far as he can without getting fired for stepping on some toes making too many changes.
I still agree with Clark, though, when it comes right down to it.
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006, SpaceDev's revenue was approximately $32.6 million, an increase of 250%, compared to approximately $9.0 million for 2005. The increase in revenue was due primarily to the acquisition of Starsys in January 2006; Starsys generated revenues from February 1, 2006 through December 31, 2006 of approximately $21.4 million, excluding approximately $300,000 of inter-company sales.
SpaceDevs posted a lost of $0.05 a share, down from a gain of $0.01 a share last year. However, revenue growth is continuing to rise with the acquisition of the Starsys Research Corporation.
NASA and the ESA have signed a "Network and Operations Cross-support" agreement to supply each other with various operation support, including satellite tracking, spacecraft navigation, and mission operations.
I hope some kind of communication standards come out of it.
Monday, April 02, 2007
A 1 mile asteroid is making a flyby of Earth Friday night at about 2 million miles. That is thankfully farther out than the Moon. 2006 VV2, is about 2 kilometers wide but has no chance of hitting the Earth.