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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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Space News Roundup November 12, 2008

The Mars Rovers, which have been searching the Mars surface since 2004, have been hit by a dust storm and there power levels have dropped to "dangerously low levels."

STS-126 is set to launch Friday at 6:55 pm CST. The shuttle Endeavour is carrying a module to the ISS to increase its capacity to six members from the current three.

The Mars Phoenix mission has been closed after failing to communicate for a week. Phoenix discovered ice on Mars consistent with sea water.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

SpaceX Introduces DragonLabTM -- a Free-Flying, Reusable Spacecraft Offering Fast Track to Orbital Flight for Pressurized and Unpressurized Payloads

SpaceX to Host (Invitation-only) Users Workshop on November 6
Hawthorne, CA - November 3, 2008 – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is introducing a new commercial product called DragonLab™, a free-flying, reusable spacecraft capable of hosting pressurized and unpressurized payloads to and from space. DragonLab will launch to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

DragonLab provides a platform for in-space experimentation, including recovery of pressurized and some unpressurized payloads, as well as deployment of small spacecraft. As a complete system, DragonLab provides for all aspects of operation: propulsion, power, thermal control, environmental control, avionics, communications, thermal protection, flight software, guidance, navigation and control, entry, descent and landing and recovery.

SpaceX will host a DragonLab Users Workshop on November 6, 2008. This workshop will be an opportunity for potential customers to fully explore DragonLab's capabilities, as well as present customer-specific interests and requirements. The workshop agenda includes an overview of the Dragon spacecraft, concept of operations, payload accommodations and cost parameters.

"Just as importantly," said Max Vozoff, Product Manager for Dragon and DragonLab and host of the Users Workshop, "we will hear from potential users about their applications, requirements, and concerns, as well as discuss contracting mechanisms. We will also include a tour of our 550,000 square foot SpaceX manufacturing facility where we design and build all major systems for SpaceX launch vehicles and spacecraft."

SpaceX is currently manufacturing the Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 launch vehicle to provide the U.S. with cargo services to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) competition. The maiden flight of Dragon/Falcon 9 is currently scheduled for June 2009 from SpaceX's Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Two subsequent flights will be completed by 2010, culminating with Dragon berthing with the ISS.
Contact to request further information or an invitation to attend. All participants must register in advance to attend this workshop.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, powered by internally-developed Merlin engines, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any altitude and inclination, from low-Earth to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions.

On September 28, 2008, Falcon 1, designed and manufactured from the ground up by SpaceX, became the first privately-developed liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth.

As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition (COTS), SpaceX is in a position to help fill the gap in American spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) when the Space Shuttle retires in 2010. Under the existing Agreement, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA, culminating in Dragon berthing with the ISS. SpaceX is the only COTS contender with the capability to return cargo to Earth and demonstrate the capability to carry crew to and from the ISS.

Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers over 550, located primarily in Hawthorne, California, with four additional locations: SpaceX's Texas Test Facility in McGregor near Waco; offices in Washington DC; and launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.

Photo Caption: SpaceX DragonLab™ - a free-flying, fully-recoverable, reusable spacecraft capable of hosting pressurized and unpressurized payloads.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Falcon 1 Launch Number 3 Live Blogging

[update 10:39 CDT] The rocket is off and supersonic.

[update 10:26 CDT] We are at T-10 and counting.

[update 10:23 CDT] The turbopump purge pressure was off by 0.5 psi. They are resuming countdown at T-10 minutes shortly.

[update 10:19 CDT] There was an abort at T-0 seconds. They are deciding whether or not to recycle and launch tonight or not. They have 50 minutes in the launch window.

[update 10:00 CDT] The rockete didn't take off. Not sure what happened yet.

[update 9:56 CDT] 5 minutes to go. The arms are open. All is a go!!!!!

[update 9:51 CDT] T-10 minutes and counting.

[update 9:44 CDT] Everything looks good for a 10pm CDT launch.

[update 9:16 CDT] The fuel is being reloaded and they have restarted T-55. They are currently at T-44 and expect to launch about 10pm CDT.

[update 8:06 CDT] Webcast has been put on hold until 8:30 CDT. The helium tanks need more cooling.

[update 7:59 CDT] They have left the hosts and we are now hearing the ground crew talking.

[update 7:53 CDT] According to Kimbal, the hold is due to the Hold is due to extended time needed to cryochill the helium.

[update 7:41 CST] There is another hold at T-16 minutes. Hopefully it is nothing big.

[update 7:40 CDT]They are currently showing a video of Elon Musk giving a tour of the Hawthorne, CA SpaceX facility. The webcast will be posted at after the flight if you miss it.

[update 7:25 CDT] The countdown has continued. They are topping off the LOX. Launch expected at 7:55 CDT.

[update 6:37 CDT] LOX loading is complete. They are still on hold but there are two people giving an overview about what we are going to see. Hosts are Max Vozoff and Emily Shanklin.

[update 6:28 CDT] The first stage is full of LOx, the second stage is 50% full. They are on a hold at T-55 minutes.

[update 6:06] They have begun loading the liquid oxygen.

[update 6:03 CDT] There is currently about 1 hour until launch time.

I will be blogging as the night goes on about SpaceX's third launch of the Falcon 1 rocket. You can view the webcast here.

SpaceX Sets August 2 for Falcon 1 launch

Hawthorne CA – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has scheduled the launch of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 mission for Saturday, August 2nd. The launch window will open at 4:00 p.m. (PDT) / 7:00 p.m. (EDT) / 23:00 (UTC) and remain open for five hours. Webcast will begin approximately 30 minutes before launch. If launch is delayed for any reason, SpaceX has range availability to resume countdown through August 5.

Lift-off of the vehicle will occur from SpaceX’s Falcon 1 launch site at the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2500 miles southwest of Hawaii. Falcon 1 launch facilities are situated on Omelek Island, part of the Reagan Test Site (RTS) at United States Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) in the Central Pacific.

Designed from the ground up by SpaceX at headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif., Falcon 1 is a two-stage, liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene powered launch vehicle. The first stage is powered by a single SpaceX Merlin 1C Regenerative engine – flying for the first time on this Flight 3 mission. A “hold before liftoff” system enhances reliability by permitting all systems to be verified as functioning nominally before launch is initiated. The Falcon 1 second stage is
powered by a single SpaceX Kestrel engine.

Falcon 1 is the first new orbital rocket in more than a decade. Merlin is the first new American hydrocarbon engine for an orbital booster to be flown in more than 40 years and only the second new American engine of any kind in more than a quarter century. After achieving orbit, Falcon 1 will be the first privately developed, liquid fuel rocket to orbit the Earth.
The primary customers for the Falcon 1 launch are the Department of Defense, Government of Malaysia and NASA. Falcon 1 is carrying a payload stack of three separating satellites that will orbit at an inclination of 9 degrees:

The Trailblazer satellite was developed by SpaceDev of Poway, Calif., for the Jumpstart Program of DoD’s Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office, as a test platform to validate the hardware, software and processes of an accelerated microsatellite launch. Trailblazer is deployed from the Falcon 1 second stage shortly after the shut-down of the second stage engine, about 10 minutes into flight.

Deploying four to eight minutes later will be two NASA small satellites: PRESat, a micro laboratory from NASA’s Ames Research Center, and then NanoSail-D, which will unfurl an ultra-thin solar sail, developed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center.

The three separating satellites attach to the Falcon 1 second stage via the Secondary Payload Adaptor and Separation System, (SPASS), developed by ATSB, a company owned by the Government of Malaysia that develops and commercializes space technology. The SPASS was engineered by Space Access Technologies of Ashburn, Va.

SpaceX will provide live coverage of the Falcon 1 Flight 3 mission via webcast at: . The webcast will begin 30 minutes prior to launch and will include mission briefings, live feeds and launch coverage from the launch site at the Kawjalein Atoll, as well as a special video tour of SpaceX facilities by Elon Musk, CEO and CTO.

Post-launch, high resolution B-roll video footage and photos will be available for download by contacting: .

About SpaceX
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, powered by internally-developed Merlin engines, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any altitude and inclination, from low-Earth to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions. SpaceX currently has 12 missions on its manifest, excluding the two previous Falcon 1 demonstration flights, plus indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts with NASA and the US Air Force.
As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition (COTS), SpaceX is in a position to help fill the gap in American spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) when the Space Shuttle retires in 2010. Under the existing Agreement, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA, culminating in Dragon berthing with the ISS. NASA also has an option to demonstrate crew services to the ISS using the Falcon 9 / Dragon system. SpaceX is the only COTS contender that has the capability to return pressurized cargo and crew to Earth. The first Falcon 9 will arrive at the SpaceX launch site (complex 40) at Cape Canaveral by the end of 2008 in preparation for its maiden flight.
Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers over 500, located primarily in Hawthorne, California, with four additional locations: SpaceX's Texas Test Facility in McGregor near Waco; offices in Washington DC; and launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.

SpaceX Conducts Full Thrust Firing of Falcon 9 Rocket

McGregor TX – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) conducted the first nine engine firing of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle at its Texas Test Facility outside McGregor on July 31st. A second firing on August 1st completed a major NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) milestone almost two months early.

At full power, the nine engines consumed 3,200 lbs of fuel and liquid oxygen per second, and generated 832,000 pounds of force (lbf) – four times the maximum thrust of a 747 aircraft. This marks the first firing of a Falcon 9 first stage with its full complement of nine Merlin 1C engines . Once a near term Merlin 1C fuel pump upgrade is complete, the sea level thrust will increase to 950,000 lbf, making Falcon 9 the most powerful single core vehicle in the United States.

"This was the most difficult milestone in development of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle and it also constitutes a significant achievement in US space vehicle development. Not since the final flight of the Saturn 1B rocket in 1975, has a rocket had the ability to lose any engine or motor and still successfully complete its mission,” said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. “Much like a commercial airliner, our multi-engine design has the potential to provide significantly higher reliability than single engine competitors."

"We made a major advancement from the previous five engine test by adding four new Merlin engines at once," said Tom Mueller, Vice President of Propulsion for SpaceX. "All phases of integration went smoothly and we were elated to see all nine engines working perfectly in concert."

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, powered by internally-developed Merlin engines, SpaceX offers light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any altitude and inclination, from low-Earth orbit to geosynchronous to planetary missions. SpaceX currently has 12 missions on its manifest, excluding the two previous Falcon 1 demonstration flights, plus indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts with NASA and the US Air Force.

As a winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition (COTS), SpaceX is in a position to help fill the gap in American spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) when the Space Shuttle retires in 2010. Under the existing Agreement, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA, culminating in Dragon berthing with the ISS. SpaceX is the only COTS contender that has the capability to return cargo and crew to Earth. NASA also has an option to demonstrate crew services to the ISS using the Falcon 9 / Dragon system. SpaceX is the only COTS contender that has the capability to return pressurized cargo and crew to Earth. The first Falcon 9 will arrive at the SpaceX launch site (complex 40) at Cape Canaveral by the end of 2008 in preparation for its maiden flight.

Founded in 2002, the SpaceX team now numbers more than 500 full time employees, primarily located in Hawthorne, California, with four additional locations: SpaceX's Texas Test Facility in McGregor near Waco; offices in Washington DC; and launch facilities at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the Marshall Islands in the Central Pacific.

Friday, July 11, 2008

National Geographic Space Photos

From National Geographic:

On Wednesday launched a new Photo of the Week Gallery dedicated to the vast universe that is Space. This is for people who just can’t get enough space news, events and imagery. This week’s gallery features a photo taken from 500 miles above California’s wildfire-ridden terrain, a gumball-looking supernova and more! Every Wednesday, will unveil a new set of photos and stories.

Check out this week’s gallery at:
National Geographic Space Photos

Take a look around and make sure to check out the awesome updated content every week.

New Zealand Gets the Space Bug

Peter Beck, a New Zealander, said today that his rocket lab is building their first rocket for unmanned commercial suborbital flights launched from kiwi country.

Spaceport America Rolls Out New Website

New Mexico's Spaceport America has a new website. The launch-pad for private spaceflights is scheduled to be completed in 2010.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SpaceX Dragon to be Completed this Year

SpaceX will be finished with their first Dragon capsule by the end of the year. SpaceX is one of two COTS finalists for NASA, which will begin purchasing private for cargo to the ISS in 2010. The Dragon capulse will be paired with SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.

Why NASA is Building the Ares Rockets

Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides has an article in Wired on why NASA is building the Ares Rockets instead of using the Atlas or Delta rockets that are already built. Her arguments are basically:

  • The Orion Capsule is to big
  • Man rated capsules need triple redundancy and it would be to hard to retrofit those rockets

With all due respect, this is a good example of "begging the question". They design the Orion around the capability the wanted the rockets to have, so of course it is to big. We could have used a smaller capsule and done multiple launches (which they will have to do anyway for a Mars or Asteroid mission). And nobody is upset that we are building a more capable rocket, but that we are building a new rocket. It cost a fortune. You can't tell me that retrofitting an existing, working rocket is more expensive than building two new rockets from scratch.

There is the other point that Deltas and Atlases would provide access to space during the "gap" planned after the shuttle retires in 2010. The Ares 1 will not be ready until 2015 (if then).

Now whether we have come to far to turn around I don't know, but there is an Turkish saying:

"No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back."

Scientists Find Water in Moon Glass

Volcanic glass brought back from the Moon during Apollo has revelled a hidden secret. Using techniques that were not available during Apollo, scientists have found water inside the tiny pebbles of glass. It was longed believed the Moon was a completely dry desert, so this is an amazing discovery.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Is NASA Worth It?

Joe Sundra has a writeup in the Atlantic City Press about why NASA is worth the tiny amount of money we give them. I really like the first reader comment:

Of course NASA was worth the investment. People just fail to see the ancillary effects, and think that dinosaurs like welfare were better uses of government money. Science is the ultimate expression of "teaching a man to fish". Welfare is the worst example of just giving a man a fish. The world is bettered for generations from our learning, it is bettered for just a couple days by putting a welfare check in the mail.

NASA Sets the Final Flight of the Space Shuttle

NASA has set the launch date for the final flight of the space shuttle. May 31, 2010 will mark the end of an era (thankfully).

Spaceflight Now has the full list of the remaining space shutle flights.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Voyager 2 Reaches the End of the Solar System

NASA said that the Voyager 2 space probe has reach the end of the solar system. The aging probe was launched 30 years ago and is the second farthest object humans have ever launched (after Voyager 1).

China Claims Breakthrough on Long March V

China said this week that they have make a breakthrough in there next generation rocket, the Long March V.

NASA to Update Hubble this Fall

NASA still plans to send one last servicing mission to Hubble this fall. The mission will fix the know problems with the telescope and add the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

PlanetSpace to go for ISS Resupply Contract

Even though PlanetSpace lost the COTS competition to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, they still plan to compete for the ISS resupply contract, estimated at $3.1 billion. They submitted the first proposal for it on Monday.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

France Wants More Military in Europe's Space Policy

France said today that the European Union should have more military elements in their space policy to counteract security threats. France has specifically asked for European spy satellites to augment the Galileo GPS like system. France takes over leadership of the European Union today.

France has also said they want a "revolution in space" to keep from falling behind the Japan, China, and India. Their plans include missions to the Moon and Mars.

Web 2.0 Meet Space 2.0

introNetworks is launching (sorry for the pun) a social network for Virgin Galactic and their customers.

SpaceX to Carry NASA Solar Sail

When SpaceX launches their small Falcon 1 rocket in July, a 10 meter NASA solar sail will be piggybacking on board. NASA seems to be doing a good job with commercial rocket providers lately.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Space Review, June 30, 2008

A skeptic’s guide to space exploration
What drives humans to pursue space exploration? Jeff Foust reports on a recent speech by Neil deGrasse Tyson where the astrophysicist took on that question, as well as some widely-held beliefs of space advocates.Monday, June 30, 2008

Cry havoc
Is NASA a “fascist” organization? And what exactly does that mean? Dwayne Day critiques some of the more extreme rhetoric about the space agency that has emerged from the blogosphere.Monday, June 30, 2008

How to know when an engineering project is failing
Glitches in the development of the Orion spacecraft and Ares 1 problem have raised questions in some quarters about whether there are more serious problems with those efforts. Eric Hedman says that open and frequent communications for any major project are key to both their progress and their perception by outsiders.Monday, June 30, 2008

Review: Space on the Mall
This week NASA is taking part in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, while another exhibit on the future of space exploration finds a temporary home at the National Air and Space Museum. Jeff Foust offers a review of both.Monday, June 30, 2008

Astronaut Barbara Morgan to Leave NASA

( - HOUSTON -- Veteran space shuttle astronaut Barbara R. Morgan will leave NASA in August to become an educator at Idaho's Boise State University.

NASA's first educator astronaut, Morgan logged more than 305 hours in space aboard shuttle Endeavour's STS-118 assembly mission to the International Space Station in August 2007. She operated the shuttle and station robotic arms to install hardware, inspect the orbiter and support spacewalks. Morgan also served as loadmaster for the transfer of supplies between the shuttle and station, taught lessons from space to schoolchildren on Earth and served on the flight deck during re-entry and landing.

"Barbara has served NASA and the Astronaut Office with distinction over the course of her career," Astronaut Office chief Steve Lindsey said. "From the Teacher in Space Program to her current position as a fully qualified astronaut, she has set a superb example and been a consistent role model for both teachers and students. She will be missed."

Morgan previously served as the backup to payload specialist Christa McAuliffe in the Teacher in Space Program. McAuliffe and six fellow astronauts lost their lives in the Challenger accident on Jan. 28, 1986. Morgan, who was an elementary schoolteacher in McCall, Idaho, before being selected as McAuliffe's backup, returned to teaching after the accident. She was selected to train as a mission specialist in 1998 and named to the STS-118 crew in 2002.

"It is really tough to leave NASA," Morgan said. "It is a great organization with great people doing great things. We're going back to the moon and on to Mars. I'm especially proud that we have three other teachers who are astronauts, and there will be others in the future. I'm very excited to go to work for Boise State University. I like everything about it, and it's going to be wonderful helping exploration by working full time for education."

Three other educator mission specialists, Richard Arnold, Joseph Acaba and Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, are training for future spaceflights. Arnold and Acaba are assigned to fly on the STS-119 space shuttle mission to the station in 2009.

Morgan will serve as Distinguished Educator in Residence at Boise State, providing vision and leadership to the state of Idaho on science, technology, engineering and math education.

Highlights of Morgan's NASA career will be available on NASA Television's video file. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit:

For more biographical information about Morgan, visit:

For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Canada to Monitor Neart Earth Asteroids

Canada is launch the Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) in 2010. Its job is to monitor asteroids that could impact the Earth and kill us all.

Good luck, aye!

Mars Soil Can Support Plant Life

According to NASA scientists, Phoenix has finished its first soil sample shows Mars' soil could grow vegetables, like a asparagus. Samuel Kounaves, the project's lead chemist said, "The soil you have there is the type of soil you have in your backyard[.]"

With CO2, ice, and good soil, does some form of plant life exists on Mars presently? I am of the opinion that life is resilient and will continue if there is any way possible. Seems to be a way possible to me...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Over 8000 Apply for New ESA Astronaut Corp

Over 8,000 European Union citizens, including 850 Brits, have applied for the newly opened positions in the European Space Agency Astronaut Corp.

Mars has the Largest Impact Crater in the Solar System

Apparently the entire northern basis of Mars (about 40% of Mars' surface) is a single impact crater. I wonder what effect a massive blast like that had on Mars' evolution?

NASA Beefs Up Ares V

NASA revelled yesterday that the Ares V would be bigger and more powerful than originally planned. The rocket will carry 15,600 lbs more payload than was first thought.

You know what, paper is paper, show me the rocket. The Ares V work won't actually begin until 2010 when the shuttle is retired.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Senate Recommends More Money for the Moon

The Senate has recommend $2.6 billion for NASA in 2009 to accelerate the planned return to the Moon. They also want to keep the shuttle flying until 2015, just in case. However, NASA is not allowed to use the Moon money to fund the shuttle.

Chinese Space Agency Joins CCSDS

The Chinese National Space Agency has joined Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS). The CCSDS is an international group pushing for common data interfaces and communications in space.

STS-125 Slip Moves all NASA Shuttle Launches Out

The slip of STS-125 to October reported in April will apparently cause a delay in all future shuttle launches through 2010.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Former NFL Player Ken Harvey Teams Up With Challenger Center and Richard Garriott

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Can you play sports in space? Challenger Center and Richard Garriott, the next civilian to fly into space, teams up with former NFL player and four time pro bowler, Ken Harvey and his company JAKA Consulting group to promote a series of fitness activities that students can do here on earth. Students can then send in a YouTube video with a prediction about what will happen when Richard Garriott performs them in space. Richard, son of Dr. Owen Garriott, a NASA <> astronaut who flew on the Skylab in the 1970's, plans to record a series of educational videos for students while on orbit to help demonstrate some of the basic physics that help astronauts live and work in the weightlessness of space. Ken Harvey has recorded a series of video clips for the Challenger Center's national website <> to show kids some basic moves like throwing, catching, blocking, jumping and kicking that Richard will replicate on orbit this October aboard the International Space Station.

Harvey stated, "With this activity, that we call, Space Sportilization, we hope to combine sports and space together to help students learn what science principles are at work when we play sports. Kids will help me work on a set of football drills that we will give to Richard Garriott to practice as he travels among the stars." Challenger Center for Space Science Education has developed a series of science <> challenges that serve as a launch pad to learning around the upcoming Garriott mission to the International Space station. Before, during and after Richard's flight, students can learn the science behind common sports activities as they are played on Earth and then predict what will happen when Richard plays sports in space! Punt, pass and click your way to the Garriott Science Challenge at

The Challenger Center for Space Science Education was founded in 1986 by the families of the astronauts of the space shuttle Challenger 51-L mission. Challenger Center programs raise student's expectations of success by fostering a long-term interest in science, mathematics, technology <> and engineering, motivating them to pursue a career in these fields. The network of 50 Challenger Learning Centers across the U.S. train more than 25,000 teachers annually to incorporate project-based learning and use the theme of space exploration to engage students in critical thinking, decision-making, communication and teamwork. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit: <>.

JAKA Consulting Group is minority-owned company offering a strategic process that incorporates sports to accomplish business goals for its partners. JAKA engages the client and their constituencies through integrating athletes, events and other sports platforms into the company's strategic plans and business goals. This process is called Sportilization. For more information about JAKA Consulting group please visit: .

Military Moves SpaceX Falcon Launch Back

The US Military has informed SpaceX that the necessary support will not be available for the launch of a Falcon 1 flight until early August.

It All Comes Full Circle

Irony of ironies, with Russia backing away from space tourism, wealthy Russians are buying tickets on Virgin Galactic.

China's Upcoming Spacewalk

Leonard David has an in-dept look at China's upcoming spacewalk in October and how they got there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Geologist and IAU Disagree on What is a Planet

Apparently, geologists have their own (better, in my opinion) definition of a planet.

They define a "planet" as a natural object in space that is massive enough for gravity to make it approximately spherical, but not so massive that it has generated energy by internal nuclear fusion.

One problem they have with the IAU's definition of planets, dwarf planets, and plutoids, is that if Earth was beyond Neptune, it would not be a planet, since it is two small to sweep out the Kepler objects around it.

I would also ask, if we found a planet the size of Mars floating by itself in space, would it be a planet?

Definitions based on solar system geography and a bias towards eight planets, along with condescending comments made by IAU officials do not a planet make.

Direct 2.0 Rocket

Robert Block talks about Direct 2.0, or Jupiter 120 rocket, that on paper out performed Ares and why NASA stop the study.

Russia Dropped the Ball with Space Tourism

Russian commentator, Andrei Kislyakov, thinks that Russia should have done more with space tourism when it was the only game in town. Now with the ISS crew going to six and Virgin Galactic booking thousands of people for (relatively) cheap sub-orbital flights, space tourism is moving towards the western world.

"Much to our regret, mass space tourism is leaving Russia. We could have kept it if Roskosmos had supported a project of the Myasishchev design bureau to develop a tourist spaceship on the basis of the high-altitude M-55 aircraft. But it remained on paper."

Space Review June 23, 2008

The Space Review is out for this week:

Long waves and space development
The early, hyperactive years of the Space Age benefited from the superpower competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, Nader Elhefnawy argues, long-term economic cycles also played a role, and can also explain the sluggish progress since then.Monday, June 23, 2008

Paper dragon: the Pentagon’s unreliable statements on the Chinese space program
For years the US Defense Department has issued annual reports on China’s military efforts, some of which have included claims about space weapons technology of dubious validity. Dwayne Day reviews those claims and suggests that these are signs that the Pentagon does not put a high priority on producing these reports.Monday, June 23, 2008

Financial risk analysis and the space industry revisited
Entrepreneurial space companies offer the potential for tremendous payoffs if their innovative technologies achieve a market breakthrough, but also carry high risks of failure. Taylor Dinerman examines how the challenge of assessing financial risks of these companies may be as difficult as the technology itself.Monday, June 23, 2008

In defense of the knights
Stephen Ashworth responds to a recent essay critical of space solar power, arguing that developments in areas like low-cost space access will make the technology economically feasible in time.Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

SpaceShipOne Turns Four

It is hard to believe it has been four years since SpaceShipOne's first trip to space. June 21, 2004, Burt Rutan sent Mike Melvill rocketing into space and history. Congratulations to everyone involved and we hope you continue to amaze us in the next four years.

Sneek Peak at SpaceShipTwo

Flight Global has, what appears to be, the cockpit section of SpaceShipTwo at Scaled Composites in Mojave, California.

Phoenix has Offically Found Water Ice Below the Surface of Mars

NASA's newest Mars lander, Phoenix, has found conclusive evidence of water-ice below the surface of Mars. This is the first direct evidence of water on Mars.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Three New Super Earths Found

Science have found three new "super Earths." The new planets have been discovered HARPS instrument on the European Southern Observatory's 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile. The star HD 40307, contains all three. The smallest of the trio weighs in at 4.2 Earth masses and orbits HD 40307 every 4.3 Earth days, while the largest, with a mass 9.4 times that of Earth, has a 20.4-day orbit. The middleweight is 6.7 Earth masses and has a 9.6-day trek around the star.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Phoenix Finds Ice

The Phoenix Mars lander has scrapped the soil it landed on and found a young layer of ice (less than 100,000 years).

Space Review This Week

This weeks Space Review is out:

The Vision for Space Exploration and the retirement of the Baby Boomers (part 3)
Everyone agrees on the importance of low-cost space access, but previous efforts to achieve it, from the space shuttle to the X-33, have failed. Charles Miller and Jeff Foust argue that the right approach is to focus on the broader industry, not a specific program.Monday, June 16, 2008

Financial risk analysis for the space industry
Parts of the space industry are mature enough that investors and insurers know what they’re getting into. However, as Taylor Dinerman notes, new ventures and new markets are much harder to understand, requiring a different kind of risk mindset.Monday, June 16, 2008

University students prove they are up to the challenge
Earlier this month several teams of college students descended on a remote region of Utah to test their designs for Mars rovers. Kevin Sloan and Alex Kirk report on how the teams and their rovers fared.Monday, June 16, 2008

Nothing ever happens on the Moon
While some space-related sci-fi series strive for realism, they can fall short in areas like plot and characters. Dwayne Day encounters this in his review of the latest installments of the Japanese anime series Moonlight Mile.Monday, June 16, 2008

Review: SpaceShipOne: An Illustrated History
Four years ago this week, SpaceShipOne soared into the history books as the first non-governmental manned spacecraft to reach space. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers new details about the development and testing of this vehicle.Monday, June 16, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Carnival of space #58

Fraser Cain at Universe Today hosts the latest Carnival of Space

JPL Gets Mars Funding

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies gave NASA and specifically JPL $75 million more than the President requested for 2009. The programs that got help are:

  • $78.1 million for exoplanet research for the proposed 2010 Space Interferometry Mission
  • Continue funding Rovers Spirit and Opportunity for 4 1/2 more years
  • $101.1 million would go to NASA's Outer Planets Program

Thursday, June 12, 2008

IAU Continues Stupidity on Pluto

In an effort to try to make everyone happy (and therefore make no one happy), the IAU has decided to call all spherical objects beyond Pluto "plutiods". This of course has no physical meaning and could not be easily expanded to other solar systems. And spherical objects inside of Neptune, such as Ceres, are still called "dwarf planets."

Would somebody please create a planet definition that makes sense? Geography of the solar system doesn't cut it for me. And the current definition doesn't include Jupiter as far as I can tell.

The official definition of a plutoid is

A body that has sufficient mass for their self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium (near-spherical) shape, and that have not cleared [their orbits of debris]. [Outside of Neptune that is -dsj]

The definition of a planet is:

  • is in orbit around the Sun,
  • has sufficient mass so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape,
  • has "cleared the neighbourhood" around its orbit.

I am not sure what "cleared the neighbourhood" means, but Jupiter has two large bodies of asteroids in its orbits. So is it a planet?

I don't mind having 13 or 14 planets, but I do mind these asinine definitions the IAU seems to be constructing.

Be scientists please.

China's Next Manned Flight in October

According to Chinese officials, the next manned mission for China will launch in October. This flight will have three taikonauts and will include one space walk.

Discovery Readies To Come Home as Gamma Ray Telesscope Launches

Space Shuttle Discovery undocked from the ISS in order to prepare to come home on Saturday. At the same time, NASA's Gamma Ray Telescope, known as GLAST, launched yesterday to begin its research into massive black holes as well as neutron stars.

New Virgin Credit Card Can Take You to Space!

SOUTH NORWALK, Conn., June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Virgin Atlantic Airways,
one of the leading long-haul airlines, today launched a new credit card,
the Virgin Atlantic American Express Card(R) from Bank of America, which
not only enables Cardmembers to earn 3 miles for every $1 spent on Virgin
Atlantic purchases -- one of the most rewarding major international airline
Credit Cards in the market today -- but also offers Cardmembers the
opportunity to redeem points for exclusive rewards such as a trip into

Chris Rossi, Senior Vice President of North America, Virgin Atlantic,
stated, "The new Virgin Atlantic Card offers a way to earn Flying Club
miles, can get you into space and earns access to the award-winning Virgin
Atlantic products and services both in the air and on the ground. This
hat-trick of generous miles and benefits is like no other."

There are two versions of the new Virgin Atlantic American Express
Card(R) by Bank of America -- black and white. The Virgin Atlantic White
Card, which has a lower fee, offers one mile for every dollar in purchases.
The Virgin Atlantic Black Card enables Cardmembers to earn more miles by
offering 1.5 miles per dollar spent in purchases and more opportunities to
earn bonus miles.

Competitive Benefits and Features of Virgin Atlantic Black Card:

-- Fly more with Virgin Atlantic? Earn 3 Flying Club miles for every
dollar spent on purchases directly with Virgin Atlantic
-- Enjoy your morning cup of coffee? Earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent
on everyday purchases
-- Bonus miles, you ask? Earn 20,000 bonus miles after first purchase,
plus up to 15,000 annual bonus miles when you spend $25,000 and up to
5,000 bonus miles for additional cards
-- Interested in Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold Member status? Earn one
tier point for every $2,500 in purchases and additional tier points
when flying Virgin Atlantic toward Flying Club status
-- Hop the pond in style? Earn 10 percent off published Virgin Atlantic
Premium Economy fares through December 31, 2008
-- Want more? Earn exclusive travel and lifestyle offers from
participating American Express merchants
-- Want even more? Earn VIP access to dining, hotels and events through
personal Bank of America concierge service

Cardmember rewards include travel on Virgin Atlantic or one of our 14
airline partners that fly from and around the USA, cabin upgrades, car
rentals, hotels, or a trip into space on Virgin Galactic. In fact, from now
through the end of January 2009, for every $10,000 a Cardmember spends, he
or she is automatically entered for a chance to win a trip into space on
Virgin Galactic -- without cashing in any of their miles.

"The Virgin Atlantic American Express Card(R) from Bank of America
offers one of the richest rewards platforms in the U.S., with the
exceptional benefits and services customers have come to expect from these
three leading companies," said Janey Whiteside, Vice President and Group
General Manager, American Express Global Network Services. "By combining
Virgin Atlantic's superior onboard experience and amenities, Bank of
America's commitment to outstanding customer service, and the premium value
of American Express and its world-renowned travel services, we're
delivering a best in class product that's a first in this market."

James Sebo, Senior Vice President, Bank of America Card Services,
stated, "The Virgin Atlantic American Express Card(R) from Bank of America
combines the unique innovations of Virgin Atlantic Airways with the rich
American Express global presence and reputation for outstanding Cardmember

Feel the Earn:
The Virgin Atlantic American Express Card(R) from Bank of America is now
available at:

About Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic is one of the world's leading long-haul airlines,
currently operating over 240 flights a week from Heathrow to a range of
long-haul destinations worldwide. Founded in 1984, Virgin Atlantic Airways
now offers service from 10 U.S. cities to London. The airline operates long
haul services to 30 destinations worldwide from its main base in London
Heathrow and Gatwick with service as far apart as Las Vegas, Tokyo, Delhi,
Boston and Shanghai, with recent growth to Nairobi and Chicago. There are
38 aircraft in the Virgin Atlantic fleet, comprising 747-400s, A346 and
A343. Sir Richard Branson is the President of Virgin Atlantic; Steve
Ridgway is the Chief Executive. In 2007, Virgin Atlantic carried around 6
million passengers, and even with Virgin Atlantic's continued growth, the
service still remains customer driven with an emphasis on value for money,
quality, fun and innovation, ensuring flying Virgin Atlantic is always an

About Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions,
serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large
corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and
other financial and risk-management products and services. The company
provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 59
million consumer and small business relationships with more than 6,100
retail banking offices, nearly 18,500 ATMs and award-winning online banking
with nearly 25 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall
Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No.
1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients
in more than 150 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the
U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Bank
of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones
Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

About American Express

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial
and network services company, founded in 1850. It is a world leader in
charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, and business services.
Since 1996 American Express has been aggressively pursuing a strategy of
opening its merchant network and card product portfolio to third party
issuers around the world. By leveraging its global infrastructure and the
powerful appeal of the brand, American Express has gained even broader
reach for its network worldwide. American Express has now established more
than 115 card-issuing partnership arrangements in 125 markets.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Space Adventures to Buy Their Own Flights on Soyuz, Google Co-Founder in First Seat

Space Adventure has announced this morning at a news conference, that beginning in 2011, they will be buy their own rides aboard the Soyuz, instead of piggy backing on an ISS mission. That means they will get two of the three seats on the Rocket.

The first seat is going to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Virgin Galactic to Launch from UAE

In an interview this morning, Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn said they plans to build a spaceport in the UAE and launch from it two years after operations begin in New Mexico.

WhiteKnightTwo to Fly in September

I had reported earlier that WhiteKnightTwo would be unveiled next month, but now Virgin Galactic is saying that it will begin flying in September.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lunar Lander Challange Dates Updated

Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge website has the dates for the event this year.

What Does Mars Methane Mean

In Astrobiology Magazine, David Tenenbaum discusses what methane on Mars means.

The Space Review is Out

This weeks Space Review is out:

Knights in shining armor
Interest in space solar power has grown in the last year, in large part because of a study of the concept performed by a Defense Department office. Dwayne Day argues, however, that this enthusiasm is largely misplaced, given the lack of clout possessed by this office as well as the significant technical challenges space solar power still faces.Monday, June 9, 2008

Space policy questions and decisions facing a new administration
The next president will face a number of major issues related to space policy upon taking office next January. Eligar Sadeh examines those issues as discussed at a forum earlier this year.Monday, June 9, 2008

Senator Schumer and the European missile defense sites
How important are European missile defense sites given Iranian missile and weapons development? Taylor Dinerman draws historical analogies to the early Space Age to make his case.Monday, June 9, 2008

When we stayed at home to leave Earth
The Discovery Channel kicked off this week a six-hour documentary about the space program featuring “never before seen footage”. Robert Pearlman notes that while that description is not entirely accurate, “When We Left Earth” does offer footage like you’ve never seen before.Monday, June 9, 2008

Review: The Universe in a Mirror
The Hubble Space Telescope has survived a long series of technical and programmatic challenges to become perhaps the most revered telescope or spacecraft in history. Jeff Foust reviews a book that provides a new history of the space telescope and its place in astronomy.Monday, June 9, 2008

Russia Should Learn From NASA

RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Kislyakov, thinks that Russia should learn from the US on space funding.

However, the Russian space program revolves almost completely around the
ISS. According to Vitaly Lopota, CEO of the Rocket and Space Corporation
Energia, the project annually receives $600 million, or 50% of the national
space budget.

According to Kislyokov, while the US is planning long range manned space missions:
NASA, which receives 14-fold greater state funding than Roscosmos, is still
in no hurry to finance manned and interplanetary missions, preferring to
implement cost-effective projects instead. Consequently, we could learn
something from the experience of our U.S. partner.

What do I take from that? If Russia wants to be a space powerhouse again, they need to spend more money.

Shed Added to Kibo Space Lab

The newest addition to the ISS got a little bigger. Astronauts have added a "storage shed" to the outside of the Japanese Kibo Science Lab.

NASA is Looking for Lunar Science Proposals

NASA is requesting projects for the NASA Lunar Science Institute to perform on the Moon. NASA expects to make $8 million to $10 million available for the research, and anticipates making five to seven awards, including one focused on exploration objectives.

China to Luanch Satellite Tomorrow

China is set to launch a French built communications satellite today. The satellite is said to be for live broadcast television.

Mars Soil Not Recognized by Phoenix

Soil from Mars was dropped on the Phoenix instrument bay but was not registered. NASA thinks the soil may be to lumpy for the robot to process.

Space Adventures to Annouce New Orbital Opportunity

Space Adventures' CEO Eric Anderson, commercial space pioneer Peter H. Diamandis and spaceflight participant Richard Garriott to announce new orbital spaceflight opportunity, unveil identity of future orbital client and lay out a vision for the next decade. The announcement will take place at a press conference on June 11, 2008 (Wednesday) at 10:00pm EDT (9:00 CDT).

WhiteKnightTwo Roll-out at AirVenture 2008

The EAA has confirmed with The Aero-News Network that the roll-out of WhiteKnightTwo in July will be part of AirVenture 2008 both in real-time and throughout the week.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Scientist Discover Smallest Exoplanet Yet!

Scientist have discovered a new planet only 3.3 times the mass of Earth. MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb orbits the star MOA-2007-BLG-192L which is ~3000 light years from Earth. MOA-2007-BLG-192L is also the smallest star known to have a planet.

An atlas view of MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb.

WhiteKnightTwo to Be Unveiled in July

Virgin Galactic president, Will Whitehorn, said in an interview with that the carrier plane f0r the anticipated sub-orbital tourist spaceship, SpaceShipTwo, will be unveiled at Mojave Airport and Spaceport next month.

WhiteKnightTwo, as the plane is called, is, according to Whitehorn,

"the world's most advanced payload carrier. It has the best fuel efficiency of any aircraft ever built in history. It is the world's first 100 percent carbon composite aircraft"

Sadly, SpaceShipTwo will not be unveiled until early next year, when extensive flight testing begins. 254 people have already put their money down for a flight on the next big thing in tourism. According to Whitehorn, Virgin Galactic has $36 million in ticket sales already. The expect to fly 500 - 600 passengers in the first year of operation. Tickets are $200,000 (US).

Highest Resolution View Ever From Mars Comes From NASA Lander

TUCSON, Ariz. -- A microscope on NASA's Mars Phoenix Lander has taken images of dust and sand particles with the greatest resolution ever returned from another planet.

The mission's Optical Microscope observed particles that had fallen onto an exposed surface, revealing grains as small as one-tenth the diameter of a human hair.

"We have images showing the diversity of mineralogy on Mars at a scale that is unprecedented in planetary exploration," said Michael Hecht of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena. He is the lead scientist for Phoenix's Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA) instrument suite.

Meanwhile, Phoenix received commands Thursday to collect its first soil sample to be delivered to a laboratory instrument on the lander deck. Commands for that same activity sent on Wednesday did not reach Phoenix because the orbiter intended for relaying the transmission, NASA's Mars Odyssey, had put itself into a safe standby mode shortly before the commands would have reached Odyssey.

On Wednesday, the lander completed a back-up plan of activities that had been sent previously, reported JPL's Chris Lewicki, mission manager for Phoenix surface operations on the lander's 11th Martian day. That plan included weather monitoring and additional imaging for a high-resolution color panorama of the site.

The Optical Microscope images were taken June 3 of particles that had collected on a sticky surface exposed during the Phoenix landing and for five days after landing. "It's a first quick look," Hecht said. "This experiment was partly an insurance policy for something to observe with the microscope before getting a soil sample delivered by the arm, and partly a characterization of the Optical Microscope. All the tools are working well."

Some of the particles might have come from inside the spacecraft during the forceful events of landing, but many match expectations for Martian particles. "We will be using future observations of soil samples delivered by the Robotic Arm to confirm whether the types of particles in this dustfall sample are also seen in samples we can be certain are Martian in origin," Hecht said.

The particles show a range of shapes and colors.

"You can see the amount of variety there is in what appears otherwise to be just reddish brown soil," said Tom Pike, Phoenix science team member from Imperial College London. He noted that one translucent particle resembles a grain of salt, but that it is too early to say for sure.

Thursday's commands were relayed to Phoenix via NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The relay radio on that orbiter has been working well in recent days, after intermittently turning itself off last week. Phoenix will continue to do relays via Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter until Odyssey returns to full functioning, and then Phoenix will use both orbiters.

"We are currently bringing the Odyssey spacecraft back into nominal operations, and we will resume relay service with Odyssey in the next day or two," said JPL's Chad Edwards, chief telecommunications engineer for the JPL Mars Exploration Program.

"We think Odyssey went into safe mode because of a single event that affected computer memory," Edwards said. "Yesterday's safe mode event appears to be very similar to events that have caused Odyssey to go into safe mode two or three times earlier during its long operation around Mars." Odyssey has been orbiting Mars since 2001.

The Phoenix mission is led by Smith at the University of Arizona with project management at JPL and development partnership at Lockheed Martin, Denver. International contributions come from the Canadian Space Agency; the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Max Planck Institute, Germany; and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. For more about Phoenix, visit: and

McCain Supports Continuing the Shuttle Past 2010 And Men on Mars

John McCain, GOP presidential candidate, says he will support continuing the shuttle past 2010. He is concerned about "keeping the space program competitive with countries like Russia and China." You had to know this was coming, right?

[update] McCain also said to questions while in Florida that, "Yes, I'd be willing to spend more taxpayers dollars [on NASA]" and "I'm intrigued by a man on Mars. I think it would excite the imagination of the American people ... Americans would be very willing to do that."

Wrapup of ISDC 2008

Tulsa Today has a wrap-up of of the ISDC 2008, held annually by the National Space Society, from last month. I am still amazed that main stream America can talk about "emerging commercial space sector" with so little giggle factor. It is to the point that is it almost a given that private space is going to happen.

Makes me smile.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Space Carnival #57

Space Carnival #57 is up and is being hosted by Ken Murphy.

The Women of Our Space Future

Dr. Griffin Backs European Manned Spacecraft

NASA Chief, Dr. Michael Griffin, is supporting a plan by EADS to convert the ESA's ATV to a craft that would carry three crew members to the ISS. The ATV is an autonomous craft built by EADS that successfully docked with the ISS earlier this year.

His support is at least partially due to the retirement of the shuttle in 2010 when NASA will not have a manned craft able to access to the space station. ESA's manned ship could be a risk mitigation along with COTS and the Russian Soyuz.

Kibo is Up and Running

The Japanese science lab, Kibo, is connected and open for business on the ISS.

SpaceX to Work With NASA on Space-To-Space Communications

NASA and SpaceX have signed an agreement to work with "space-to-space communications directly between Dragon and ISS."

[hat tip to RLV and Space Transport News]

Video of the SpaceX Rocket Test

There are two videos of the recent SpaceX Engine:

The Falcon 9 should be delivered to Cape Canaveral and ready for flight the end of the year.

Space Business Forum: New York to Address Government Space Acquisition

Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 3, 2008) U.S. Government spending on space accounts for one-quarter of the $251 billion global space economy. Current and anticipated government spending on space will be the focus of a panel at the upcoming Space Business Forum: New York. “Government Acquisitions – Where Space Dollars are Flowing in Aerospace” will feature senior officials from across space sectors in a discussion about the existing and potential areas of investment in government space programs. The inaugural Space Business Forum: New York is designed for Wall Street analysts, investment bankers, institutional advisors, and high-risk insurers to engage in meaningful dialogue with industry leaders. This one-day, exclusive event is scheduled for Wednesday, June 18 at the Hilton New York Hotel in New York City.

Government Acquisitions panelists include Mr. Philip McAlister, acting director, studies and analysis, office of program assessment and evaluation, NASA; Mr. Gary E. Payton, deputy under secretary of the Air Force, United States Air Force Headquarters; and Mr. Damon Wells, senior policy analyst, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President. Mr. Elliot G. Pulham, president and chief executive officer, Space Foundation, will moderate the panel, which will take place at 11:25 a.m.

Other forum panels span the diverse financial and business aspects of the space industry including “Sector Performance, Trends, and Expectations: Space, Aerospace, Defense, and Defense Electronics;” “Hedgefunds and Private Equity;” “Climate Change and Green Energy: Meeting the Challenges with Space Technology;” “Converged Media – A Natural for Space;” and "On the Record - CEOs and CFOs Talk Business."

Recently confirmed panelists include Mr. C.J. Brucato, partner, ABRY Partners, LLC; Mr. Mike Cook, senior vice president, Hughes Network Systems; and Mr. Matthew M. O’Connell, chief executive officer, president, and director, GeoEye.

Featured speakers include The Honorable Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the United States House of Representatives and chairman of the Gingrich Group; Ms. Joanne M. Maguire, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company; Francois Auque, chief executive officer, EADS Astrium; Mr. Eric C. Anderson, president and chief executive officer, Space Adventures, Ltd; and Mr. David L. Ryan, sector vice president and general manager of the Civil Systems Division, Northrop Grumman Space Technology.

Forum underwriters include Corporate Underwriter Northrop Grumman and Underwriters Arianespace, Boeing, ISDR Consulting, SpaceVest, and Wyle. AVIATION WEEK, The BRIDGE Media Group, and The New York Times are the media sponsors. A full list of confirmed speakers, a preliminary agenda, and online registration are available at Note that seats are limited.

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983 and celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Space Foundation is an international nonprofit organization advancing space-related endeavors to inspire, enable,, and propel humanity. A leader in space awareness activities, major industry events, and educational enterprises that bring space into the classroom, the Space Foundation is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo. It conducts research and analysis and government affairs activities from its Washington, D.C., office, and has field representatives in Houston, Texas, and Cape Canaveral, Fla. Along with partnering organizations, the Space Foundation conducts Strategic Space and Defense 2008, from 6-8 October in Omaha, Neb. The 25th National Space Symposium, the premier annual gathering of the global space community, will take place March 30 – April 2, 2009, at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. For more information, visit

New President at Scaled Composites

Doug Shane is moving up from VP to President of Scaled Composites. Burt Rutan, famed plane and spaceship designer, is the new Chief Technology Officer and chairman emeritus so he can focus on talent development at the company.

Scaled Composites developed the X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne and is working on the SpaceShipTwo to carry passengers to space for Virgin Galactic next year.

China Could Beat Us Back to the Moon

NASA's associate administrator for exploration systems, Rick Gilbreth, said Wednesday that China is on a path that could beat the US back to the Moon by 2 or 3 years. NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2020, but based on current projections China could be there by 2017.

Of course the US has been there already and NASA is not looking for a long term base to be built, which contributes to the longer time frame.

Still, it is not a pleasant thought.

China vs. the US in Space

The Asian Times has a good history of the struggle for space superiority that the United States and China have found themselves in. It is definitely biased toward China, but the story is still an interesting read.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Launch Pad Damaged

When Discovery took off last Saturday, launch pad 39a, was damaged. It could cause delays to the Hubble repair mission in October, since both pads are needed in cause there needs to be a rescue mission.

Bigelow's Genesis 1 Passes 10,000 Orbits

Genesis 1, the inflatable module developed and launched by Bigelow Aerospace, has completed its 10,000 loop around the Earth. All in all, it has held up very well.

Venture Captial in Space Tourism

Glenn Reynolds reports on 2008 ISDC and the influx of new money into space tourism.

Venture Captial in Space

Monday, June 02, 2008

Discovery Astronauts Preparing to Deliver Japanese Module

Discovery astronauts are checking everything on the shuttle in preparation to deliver the Kibo space laboratory to the ISS. Kibo is the largest module to be integrated in to the ISS to date. Discovery took off from Florida on Saturday.

SpaceX Tests Rocket Engine

SpaceX tested 5 Merlin rocket for 15 seconds in Texas last Thursday. Everything appeared to go well.

Phoenix Arm is Up

The Mars lander Phoenix has completely released its arm and taken a panoramic picture of its surroundings.

It may also be on a layer of ice.

NSS to Select Space Ambassador to Fly on Virgin Galactic

The National Space Society (NSS) plans to select an ambassador who will get to fly on a Virgin Galactic suborbital flight. Candidates will need to demonstrate a passion for space and the ability to share it with the public. You can sign up at the NSS website.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rundown of Space Tourism has a rundown of the current state of space tourism. It is a good sign for the industry when non-space/non-science writers are talking up the product.

Aeroject to Build Propulsion for Bigelow Space Station

Las Vegas, NV, (Bigelow Aerospace) - Continuing development of the first commercial space habitat capable of supporting a human crew, Bigelow Aerospace, LLC has reached agreement with aerospace leader Aerojet to supply the propulsion system for the aft end of Sundancer.

Under the $23 million deal completed at the beginning of May, Aerojet, a GenCorp Inc. (NYSE: GY) company, will provide the system that will handle rendezvous and docking, as well as the end-of-life controlled deorbit of the module. The aft propulsion will also compliment the forward-end propulsion system provided by Orion Propulsion, Inc. towards attitude control and momentum-wheel desaturation.

“We’re looking forward to working closely with Aerojet on this exciting program,” says Bigelow Aerospace Program Manager Eric Haakonstad. “Sundancer is a great opportunity for fast paced private industry to team with a world leader in space propulsion to further Bigelow Aerospace’s goal of developing sustainable commercial space stations.”

The Aerojet system for Sundancer is of a monopropellant hydrazine design and consists of hardware that has been well-proven on numerous missions. A similar system was used on May 25 to help NASA’s Phoenix probe become the first spacecraft in more than 30 years to successfully land on Mars using rockets alone.

Sundancer, planned for launch early in the next decade, will be the first module built by Bigelow Aerospace capable of manned operation. It would support a crew of up to three for varying mission durations and eventually provide the backbone for the first commercial space station. It follows the successful and continuing missions of the unmanned Genesis I and Genesis II, which continue to test and verify systems for future commercial space habitats.

DOD/ORS Selects SpaceDev for Jumpstart Mission

Kirtland AFB, NM (Vocus/PRWEB ) May 29, 2008 -– The Department of Defense Operationally Responsive Space Office announced the selection of the SpaceDev, Inc. Trailblazer spacecraft bus as the primary payload to fly on its Jumpstart mission.
Jumpstart is a multi-pronged effort set to fly a responsive payload on the SpaceX Falcon 1 Flight 003 mission, currently scheduled for a late June 2008 launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The selection of Trailblazer was made after the Jumpstart Preshipment Review, conducted on 20 May 2008. The Trailblazer spacecraft bus was originally developed under a Missile Defense Agency contract. This bus serves as a risk reduction for a flexible, modular bus design using off the shelf components and could support a variety of future ORS missions.

Jumpstart illustrates the responsive capability combatant commanders want – spacecraft buildup to launch vehicle integration in just months. This mission demonstrates the first step of responsive launch with an end-to-end call up within seven months of funding availability and within four months following approval to proceed. In addition, Jumpstart demonstrates several key ORS enabling models: rapid call up of a mission to launch; rapid development, integration and checkout of spacecraft; a concept of operations that allows flexibility late in the payload processing flow to determine which mission will fly; efficiencies in processes and procedures to reduce payload integration timelines; and identification and assurance of payload technical readiness.

ORS Director, Dr. Peter Wegner, commended all three spacecraft teams under consideration for the Jumpstart mission for their excellence and dedication in preparing their spacecraft for this mission. “These teams performed in an outstanding manner,” said Wegner. “ORS is very interested in seeing all three of these spacecraft successfully complete their missions, and will work with the broader community to make that desire a reality.”

ISDC Live on C-SPAN Today

The National Space Society's ISDC 2008 is being broadcast live on CSPAN today from 11 - 6.

Some of these sessions include:

  • The Future of ISS
  • Election 2008 Space Panel with Miles O'Brien, CNN, Moderator
  • Space Medicine
  • New Direction of Exploration and Cooperation
  • Low Cost Access to Space

Check your local listings or watch online at

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Three New Extrasolar Planets in May

Three new extrasolar planets were confirmed in May. CoRoT-Exo-3b is a monster, coming in at 20.2 Jupiter Masses. CoRoT-Exo-5b is a relative baby at 0.86 Jupiter Masses and finally XO-5b is middle of the road at 1.15 Jupiter Masses. All are likely Gas Giants, but it continues to appear the universe abounds with planets.

Space Observation

Space monitoring is in the news today.

Electro Optic Systems (ASX: EOS) and OHB-System AG announced an agreement to develop new space surveillance technologies electro optical (EO) and radar technologies in orbit.

Boeing announced that they put a bid in on the Air Force's Self-Awareness Space Situational Awareness (SASSA) program. SASSA is a $30 million contract. Lockheed announced a bid earlier this month.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SpaceDev Lands on Mars with Phoenix

Apparently, SpaceDev had more than 30 devices on the Phoenix lander that touched down on Mars last Sunday. Way to go guys!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First Mars Images from Phoenix

The first images from the Phoenix Mars lander are here.

[update] The lander is ready to move it robotic arm out.

Russia and ESA to Build Manned Spacecraft

Russia the European Space Agency (ESA) have agreed to build a manned spacecraft together. They will work out the areas of responsibility later this month.

The craft will be for travel to Earth orbit and to the Moon.

Anatoly Perminov, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Space Agency said "flight tests of the joint craft were due to start in 2015, with the maiden launch to follow in 2018."

Sorry for the Vacation From Posting

Sorry to all my faithful readers. I changed jobs to a research company this month and I have been out of pocket getting up to speed and traveling. Normal news should be up from now on, though.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Phoenix Lands on Mars

The Mars probe Phoenix has successfully landed on the red planet's north pole and has sent back pictures.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

ESA Wants to Extend ISS Until 2020

The European Space Agency (ESA) is backing a proposal by Russia to extend the use of the ISS until 2020. The ISS was previously to be retired in 2015.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NASA Phoenix Lander to Touch Down Tomorrow

NASA's Phoenix lander will touch down on Mars tomorrow, May 25, after "seven minutes of terror."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


David Powell has an in depth article on plans for a communications satellite system around the Moon to support Lunar-Earth communications.

NASA Begins a Trade Study of Ares 1 Oscillation Solutions

NASA has begun a trade study of three possible solutions to the Ares 1 oscillation problem.

India Launches 10 Satellites at Once

India made history by launching ten satellites at one time. The launch took place on Monday, April 28, on India's polar rocket PSLV – C9.

ESA Uses Artificial Intelligence to Search ffor Martian Life

The European Space Agency (ESA) is using Artificial Intelligence to help with the search for life on Mars.

Army to Launch Satellite Constellation for Beyond Line of Site Comms

The Army is planning to launch a constellation of communication satellites for the first time in 50 years. An urgent need for beyond line of site communications is needed to support future Army systems. A pathfinder project of eight satellites should launch in nine months, according to Army officials. Orbital Science's Minotaur and SpaceX's Falcon 1 are the launch vehicles of choice.

Monday, April 28, 2008

ISDC 2008 starts May 29

Don't forget to register for ISDC 2008 beginning May 29 in Washington, DC. (Program)

This Weeks Space Review 4/28/2008

The Space Review is out:

A flower in the polar sky: the POPPY signals intelligence satellite and ocean surveillance

Notes on the state of the RLV industry in 2008 (part 1)

The satellite shootdown: the rest of the story

Review: Shuttle Launch Experience

Launch Complex 40 is Gone to Make Way for SpaceX

Launch Complex 40 in Cape Canaveral has been demolished. SpaceX will launch their COTS resupply rockets from this launch pad in the future.

Presidential Candidates Will Have to Deal with China in Space

An article in CNN points out correctly that none of the presidential candidates are talking about real space issues and China's growing expertise in the space realm. "the Chinese program will be on par with America's by the end of the next president's second term. Then, it will be a real race to Mars even if we want to join." Time to put away the fluff and deal with real issues that affect national security.

Friday, April 25, 2008

NASA Awards Launch Services Contract to SpaceX Press Release with Comments

WASHINGTON -- NASA has awarded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, a NASA Launch Services contract for the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles.

The NASA Launch Services contracts are multiple awards to multiple launch service providers. Twice per year, there is an opportunity for existing and emerging domestic launch service providers to submit proposals if their vehicles meet the minimum contract requirements.

The contract is an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract where NASA may order launch services through June 30, 2010, for launches to occur through December 2012. Under the NASA Launch Services IDIQ contracts, the potential total contract value is between $20,000 and $1 billion, depending on the number of missions awarded.

The contract seeks a launch capability for payloads weighing 551 pounds or heavier into a circular orbit of 124 miles at an orbital inclination of 28.5 degrees. Payloads would be launched to support three NASA mission directorates: Science, Space Operations and Exploration Systems.

Because an IDIQ contract has been awarded to SpaceX, it can compete for NASA missions using the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles as specified by the NASA Launch Services contract process.

NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for program management. This award to SpaceX adds to the stable of launch vehicles available to NASA under previously awarded contracts. The original request for proposal was issued in 1999.


Receiving the NASA Launch Services contract for the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 is a significant endorsement of SpaceX's products and of our plans for the future. In addition to the fourteen missions we've sold thus far, gaining NLS approval constitutes further validation of SpaceX's technology, and opens the doors for the wide variety of NASA spacecraft to fly aboard our launch vehicles. We look forward to working with NASA to send their payloads to Earth orbit, Geostationary orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.


Falcon 1 to Kwajalein

The SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket has been loaded on the boat for a June launch at Kwajalein.

Power From Space

Raji Patel thinks with all the talk about greenhouse gases, we need to seriously look at getting power from space.

NASA is Developing Nanosats for 5G Global Communications

NASA is working with Machine-to-Machine Intelligence Corp to develop nanosat constellations to provide 5th generation communications for phones, wireless, and video-on-demand around the world.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

General Dynamics Awarded $116 Million LandSat Contract

General Dynamics has won a $116 million contract with NASA to develop the space craft for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission.

Russians Still Don't Know Why Soyez Fell to Earth

The Soyez dropped "like a rock" to Earth on Saturday. Luckily no one was hurt, but Russian engineers still don't know why the dependable rocket didn't land properly. God help us if the Soyez is going to stop working.

Space Lifestyle Magazine Wins Award

Space Lifestyle Magazine has won a design award.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Space 2.0; the future of commercial spaceflight: a symposium in Haarlem, the Netherlands May 22 2008

If you are going to be in the Netherlands in May, Netherlands Association for Spaceflight and Space Horizons are given a symposium on May 22 in Haarlem. Check out the flier.

13:45 – 14:20: SpaceX (Gwynne Shotwell, Vice-President Business Development)
14:20 – 14:55: XCOR (Jeff Greason, CEO)
14:55 – 15:30: ESA (Wilhelm Kordulla)
15:45 – 16:20: Odyssey Moon (Bob Richards, CEO)
16:20 – 16:55: Your Galaxy (Ronald Heister, CEO, Accredited Space Agent Virgin Galactic)
16:55 – 17:30: Spaceport Partners (Joep de Jong, COO)

ESA Looking at a Cis-Lunar Space Station

The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking at building a cis-lunar space station to support NASA's return to the Moon.

Sierra County Voters Approve Spaceport Tax

T or C, NM – Today, history was made in Sierra County. The voters of Sierra County, New Mexico, have approved an increase in local gross receipts tax to support the construction of Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Sierra County can now join adjacent Doña Ana County in forming a Tax Development District (TDD) as required by the New Mexico State Legislature to fund the spaceport project.

New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) Executive Director Steve Landeene was enthusiastic about the election results, saying, “The people of Sierra County have made a commitment to improve the quality of life for themselves and their children. Spaceport America is real and it’s happening, right here in New Mexico.” The election, which will increase local gross receipts tax by one-quarter of one percent, drew a large turnout of voters, with 2,046 voting in favor of the spaceport and 1,066 voting against.

The formation of the tax district will allow funding for the construction of Spaceport America. In November, voters in adjacent Otero County will go to the polls to decide on a similar tax in that county. In the meantime, NMSA officials will continue to seek their site operator’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) along with a finalized agreement from Virgin Galactic as the spaceport’s anchor tenant, both of which conditions must be met prior to the project moving forward.

With continuing positive community support and ongoing commercial vertical launch activity, Spaceport America holds great promise for New Mexico’s economic future as the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

Hawkings Says We Need to Colonize the Moon and Mars

Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist, said in a speech at George Washington University on NASA's 50th anniversary that the Earth needs massive investment in establishing colonies on the Moon and Mars. He called for devoting 2.5% of our resources to the task.

NASA Signs Launch Agreement with SpaceX

SpaceX and NASA has signed an agreement to allow the low cost rocket provider to compete for science and exploration missions. The contract could be worth up to $1 billion.

Press Release:

WASHINGTON -- NASA has awarded Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, a NASA Launch Services contract for the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles.

The NASA Launch Services contracts are multiple awards to multiple launch service providers. Twice per year, there is an opportunity for existing and emerging domestic launch service providers to submit proposals if their vehicles meet the minimum contract requirements.
The contract is an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract where NASA may order launch services through June 30, 2010, for launches to occur through December 2012. Under the NASA Launch Services IDIQ contracts, the potential total contract value is between $20,000 and $1 billion, depending on the number of missions awarded.

The contract seeks a launch capability for payloads weighing 551 pounds or heavier into a circular orbit of 124 miles at an orbital inclination of 28.5 degrees. Payloads would be launched to support three NASA mission directorates: Science, Space Operations and Exploration Systems.
Because an IDIQ contract has been awarded to SpaceX, it can compete for NASA missions using the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles as specified by the NASA Launch Services contract process.

NASA's Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center is responsible for program management. This award to SpaceX adds to the stable of launch vehicles available to NASA under previously awarded contracts. The original request for proposal was issued in 1999.
For information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Burt Rutan to Receive Heinlein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Aerospace

Washington D.C., April 15, 2008 -- The National Space Society (NSS) announced today that famed aircraft and spacecraft designer Burt Rutan will receive the Heinlein award for lifetime achievement in aerospace. The award, which is given out every two years, will be bestowed upon Rutan by CNN correspondent Miles O'Brien at the Gala dinner of the 27th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) taking place at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. on Friday, May 30, 2008.

The Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award honors those individuals who have made significant, lifetime contributions to the creation of a free, spacefaring civilization. The award is named after author Robert A. Heinlein, in memory of him and of his many contributions to the pro-space movement. The award is given based on a vote of the entire NSS membership. The 2008 award will be the 12th Heinlein Award given.

"With this award, the members of NSS recognize Burt Rutan for his life's work in advancing the frontiers of air and space," said NSS Executive Director, George T. Whitesides.

NSS selected Rutan in recognition of the unique contribution that he has made in designing not just the innovative and re-usable vehicles: SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo, but just as important, the creation of aircraft specifically designed to launch spacecraft: WhiteKnightOne and WhiteKnightTwo. These designs point the way to future high speed air launch systems which could greatly reduce the cost of launch to orbit.

Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan was born June 17, 1943 in Estacada, Oregon and well known for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft.

He is most famous for his design of the record-breaking Voyager, which was the first plane to fly around the world without stopping or refueling, and the sub-orbital space plane SpaceShipOne, which won the $10M Ansari X PRIZE in 2004 for becoming the first privately funded spacecraft to fly to space twice within a two week period.

Rutan displayed an early interest in aircraft design. By the time he was eight years old he was designing and building model aircraft. His first solo flight in a full-scale plane was an Aeronca Champ in 1959, when he was sixteen. In 1965 he graduated third in his class from California Polytechnic University with an aeronautical engineering degree.

From 1965 to 1972 Rutan worked for the U.S. Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base as a flight test project engineer, working on nine separate projects including fighter spin tests and the LTV XC-142 VSTOL transport. Shortly after, he became director of the Bede Test Center for Bede Aircraft, in Newton, Kansas, a position he held until 1974.

Rutan struck out on his own in June of 1974 with the creation of the Rutan Aircraft Factory in the Mojave Desert, where he designed and developed prototypes for a number of aircraft, mostly homebuilt. His first design was the Rutan VariViggen, a two-seat pusher with a canard in front. The canard was later to become a standard feature in most Rutan designs. In April 1982, Burt Rutan founded Scaled Composites, LLC, which has become one of the world's pre-eminent aircraft design and prototyping facilities. Scaled Composites is headquartered in Mojave, California.

Amongst several honors, Rutan previously received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Ronald Reagan in December of 1986 and was named by TIME Magazine one of the "100 most influential people in the world" in April of 2005.

Previous Heinlein Award Winners include General Chuck Yeager (video of Yeager's acceptance speech), Capt. James Lovell, Neil Armstrong, Dr. Carl Sagan, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Dr. Robert H. Goddard, Gene Roddenberry, Dr. Wernher von Braun, Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill, Dr. Robert Zubrin, and Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

27th Annual International Space Development Conference

ISDC 2008 will bring the major players from all corners of the space world to the nation's capital for a symposium that will provide invaluable insight into the future of spaceflight and exploration.

On Wednesday May 28th, the conference will kick off with an exclusive pre-event, the 4th Space Investment Summit (SIS), bringing together the emerging commercial space industry with the established world of finance to exchange their goals, ideas and advice. On Thursday May 29th, up-and-coming entrepreneurial space companies will be on hand to share their latest advances. Friday May 30th will focus the discussion on NASA and its future. Saturday May 31 will be focused primarily on personal spaceflight and the final day of the conference will concentrate on the visionaries, scientists and entrepreneurs who look far in to the future at deep space settlements, ways to use and inhabit Mars and the methods used to protect our planet from near earth objects such as asteroids.

Featured speakers include Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn; SpaceX Founder Elon Musk; Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr. Anthony Tether; Hon. Nick Lampson (D-22nd District-TX), United States House of Representatives; Director of NASA Ames Research Center, Dr. Simon "Pete" Worden; Doug Cooke, Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA's exploration programs; X PRIZE Foundation Founder and Chairman Dr. Peter Diamandis; private space explorers Dr. Anousheh Ansari and Gregory Olsen and Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson.

NASA is the presenting sponsor of ISDC 2008 and Space News is the exclusive media sponsor. Space Florida is the presenting sponsor of SIS 4.

To register for the 27th Annual International Space Development Conference please visit: or call (202) 429-1600.