Front Page


Editor: Veronica Pierce
OpEd: Dan Schrimpsher
Reporter: Dan Schrimpsher
Finance: Veronica Pierce
Contact Us Alternative Contact
space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

prag·ma·tism (prgm-tzm) n. A way of approaching situations or solving problems that emphasizes practical applications and consequences.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Space Access Conference Report

Rand Simberg has a report on the Space Access Conference.

Henry Cate has has blogged the entire conference.

This Weeks Space Review

This weeks Space Review is out:

One size may not fit all

The next battlestar

Killer birdie

Assessing the practicality of scramjet-powered, single-stage aerospaceplanes

Review: Beyond UFOs

Jules Vern Passes First Test

The ESA ATV, the Jules Vern, has passed its first test for docking with the ISS. The ESA has given a go for the second test. The full docking is scheduled for April 3.

The test on Saturday included flying within 11m of the ISS docking station and testing the comms link with the station.

Virgin Galactic Considering Australia

Sir Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group, and founder of Virgin Galactic, has his sights on Australia. While speaking to a ground of university students yesterday, Branson said that Australia "was on his radar" for building a launch site for his private space flights. The flights are expected to cost $200,000 and the ships are currently being built in Mojave, CA for test flights later this year or early next year.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Interview with NASA's New Science Chief

Brian Berger has an interview with NASA's new Science Chief, Ed Weiler. Someone needs to inform him about using private suborbital rockets for science.

(hat tip: RLV And Space Transport News)

[update] Jeff Foust has comments.

Behind the Scenes with SpaceShipTwo

Popular Mechanics has a behind the scenes look at Scale Composites building SpaceShip2. It has some good pictures.

STS-124 Delayed Until May 31

STS-124, Space Shuttle Discovery's next trip to the ISS, has been delayed until May 31. The previous launch date was May 25, but due to delays in shipping the shuttle's external tanks the date will not be before May 31.

XCOR Lynx on Popular Science

Michael Belfiore has the story of XCOR's Lynx suborbital craft at

Shuttle Endeavor Crew Reflects on Records

The crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor set more than a few records this month. At a press conference yesterday, they reflected on the trip.

Records Set Included:

  • Five (5) Space Walks
  • Longest Shuttle Mission to the ISS
  • Longest Dock with the ISS

The capped it off with a rare night landing in Florida.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Press Release: SpaceX Conducts First Three-Engine Firing of Falcon 9 Rocket

McGregor TX – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) conducted the first three-engine firing of its Falcon 9 medium to heavy lift rocket at its Texas Test Facility outside McGregor, on March 8, 2008. At full power the engines generated over 270,000 pounds of force, and consumed 1,050 lbs of fuel and liquid oxygen per second. This three-engine test again sets the record as the most powerful test yet on the towering 235-foot tall test stand. A total of nine Merlin 1C engines will power the Falcon 9 rocket.

The test series continues with the addition of two engines for a total of five, then finally the full compliment of nine engines. With all engines firing, the Falcon 9 can generate over one million pounds of thrust in vacuum - four times the maximum thrust of a 747 aircraft.

“The incremental approach to testing allows us to closely observe how each additional engine influences the entire system,” said Tom Mueller, Vice President of Propulsion for SpaceX. “This ensures that we obtain as much data, knowledge and experience as possible as we approach the full nine engine configuration. To date we have not encountered any unexpected interactions between the engines.”

The Merlin 1C next generation liquid fueled rocket booster engine is among the highest performing gas generator cycle kerosene engines ever built, exceeding the Boeing Delta II main engine, the Lockheed Atlas II main engine, and on par with the Saturn V F-1 engine. It is the first new American booster engine in a decade and only the second American booster engine since the development of the Space Shuttle Main Engine thirty years ago.

The first Falcon 9 remains on-schedule for delivery to the SpaceX launch site at Space Launch Complex 40, Cape Canaveral, Florida, by the end of 2008.

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 the internally developed Merlin engines, SpaceX is able to offer light, medium and heavy lift capabilities to deliver spacecraft into any inclination and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous orbit to planetary missions.
As winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services competition, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA. This will culminate in Dragon berthing with the International Space Station and returning safely to Earth. Falcon 9/Dragon will have the opportunity to provide crew and supply services to the Space Station, and fill the gap in US resupply capability when the Shuttle retires in 2010.
# # #

Test firing of three Merlin 1C engines at the SpaceX test facility in McGregor, Texas. A total of nine Merlin 1C engines will power the Falcon 9 rocket. (Click images to play streaming videos from these views in Windows Media Player.)

Interview with Virgin Galactic

Rob Coppinger has an interview with Virgin Galactic commercial director Stephen Attenborough.

XCOR Wins Contract For Operations Demonstrations With New Suborbital Vehicle

Mojave, CA, March 26, 2008 – The Air Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has awarded, pending successful contract negotiations and signature by the Government Contracting Officer, XCOR Aerospace a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract to develop and test operationally responsive features of one of the firm’s commercial vehicles. The suborbital space vehicle, named the Lynx, is designed to carry a pilot and a person or payload on suborbital flights.

The Lynx, which XCOR plans to be flying within two years, will take off and land horizontally like an airplane, and will be powered by liquid-fuel rockets. Its propellants will have low toxicity. As with all XCOR designs, the Lynx will be safe, reliable and fully reusable with low operating costs. The Lynx has been in development by XCOR for over three years and replaces the firm’s earlier Xerus suborbital vehicle configuration.

“Our company’s goal has always been to build rocket-powered vehicles that can be flown and operated like regular aircraft,” said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason.

Because the Lynx has been designed for commercial use, it will readily fulfill the goals of the new contract. “The same features that provide operational readiness are also demanded by the private market. XCOR looks forward to working with the AFRL on this project,” Greason said.

The Lynx builds on XCOR’s nine years’ experience developing rocket propulsion systems and rocket-powered vehicles. The firm moved from pressure-fed propulsion such as was used in its record-setting EZ-Rocket, to a pump-fed fuel system in its latest rocket-powered aircraft. This recently developed aircraft is now in flight tests.

For more information about the Lynx, please go to:

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket engines, rocket propulsion systems, and rocket powered vehicles.

Space Shuttle Endeavor has Landed

Space Shuttle Endeavor has landed in Florida after a small delay.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mars Rovers to Keep on Roving

NASA has said, officially, that the Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity will continue running despite budget cuts. It was reported earlier that Spirit may be put into hibernation mode to save money.

New Domain and New Email

If you haven't noticed, due to my own laziness in renewing my domain name, our web address has changed to Our email address has also changed to

Sorry for the inconvenience.

XCOR Announces Suborbital Lynx

XCOR Aerospace announced today the development of a suborbital vehicle called the Lynx. It is a two seat craft that will blast off from a runway to 61km where passengers will experience 4.5 minutes of weightlessness and land on a runway. XCOR expects the craft to take off in 2010.

[update] The Wall Street Journal is reporting the trip will cost $100,000, or half the cost of a Virgin Galactic Flight (while be admittedly shorter).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Mars Rovers Spirit May be Put to Sleep

Due to $4 million in budget cuts in NASA Mars exploration program, project leaders are thinking of putting one of the rovers in hibernation. NASA officials said, however, that it will not be necessary to and shutting down either Spirit or Opportunity is "not an option." The tough little rovers have gone way beyond their original mission of 90 days and have continued giving us amazing science for over four years.

NASA Awards Lunar Lander Study Contracts

NASA has awarded contracts to five companies worth $1.5 million to study "minimum functional" lunar missions.

The companies include: Andrews Space, Boeing, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Northrop Grumman and Odyssey Space Research.

Private Flights to the Moon in 2020s

Pete Wooden, director of the NASA Ames Research station in California, while speaking in London yesterday said NASA should get people back to the Moon by 2020. But he also said "I think (private interests ) are going to beat us to the lunar surface." Adding to that he said, "It's NASA's unstated policy that the moon is available for economic activity,"

From his mouth to our hands.

This Weeks Space Review

The Space Review for this week is out:

Too few or too many?

Messy battlefields

Planting a flag is only the beginning

Letters: wrapping up the USA 193 debate

SpaceDev Wins Seal Cover Study Contract

SpaceDev's subsidiary, Starsys, has won a six month contract to do studies on seal technologies for instrument covers on future NASA lunar missions.

ESA Jules Vern Ready for Practice Docking

The European Space Agency ATV, Jules Vern, is ready to do practice docking runs on the ISS with NASA support. The practice runs will begin on March 29 and the actual docking is scheduled for April 3.

Space Shuttle Getting Ready to Land on Wednesday

Space Shuttle Endeavor is in preparation for its landing on Wednesday. The next launch window starts May 25 when Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124 will transport the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module - Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System (JEM-RMS) to the International Space Station.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Evidence of Liquid Water and Ammoniaon Titan

Scientist have found evidence of an ocean of liquid water and ammonia on Titan. Dr. Lorenz’s used 19 passes of Cassini’s Synthetic Aperture Radar over Saturn's largest moon and analyzed the data. The ocean is believed to be 62 miles below Titan's atmosphere.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Who is Mike Griffin?

I am having a little trouble figuring out who Dr. Mike Griffin, Director of NASA, really is. In a speech he gave at the Lunar and Planetary Institutes's LPSC, he discussed the recent reduction in Mars missions and expansion of the outer solar system program. While I was not there, admittedly, both Ken Murphy and Pamela Gay have pretty good commentary on what went on.

As always, the speech was well done. It is during the Q&A phase that he seems to have a problem. He belittled and insulted questioners who wanted to pose comments on the impacts of the reduction to Mars with comments like

"Really – I don’t want comments. I’m the invited speaker. I’m the one invited to talk. Other people can make comments when they are invited to speak. I want questions – But I’ll try and address the question within your comments"


"Don’t specialize. Specializing is for bugs"

he made it obvious he didn't really want to hear other opinions.

With all due respect, Dr. Griffin, you are the director of the most powerful space agency in the world. If you can't handle comments from the people in the trenches how are you going to get America back to the Moon? I know he is a "Vulcan" and doesn't do "feelings" but Spock was nothing if no polite.

I know your job is stressful, but please get some manners, Dr. Griffin, or a least get a massage and out some your tension before you take it out on the people that are most likely to support your efforts.

Just my humble opinion.

Salt Found on Mars

NASA has found an ancient salt deposit in the southern highlands of Mars. Salt is an indicator of where water once flowed and could point to a good place to search for ancient life.

Space Aventures Buys Zero-G

Virginia based Space Adventures has purchased, for an undisclosed price, Zero-G. Space Adventures is famous for sending tourists to the ISS on Russian rockets. Zero-G is the commercial equivalent of NASA's "vomit comet" that allows people to experience simulated weightlessness aboard a parabolic jet. Dr. Peter Diamandis will remain as CEO of Zero-G and become a director at Space Adventures.

Dr. Peter Diamandis Speaks at the Women in Aviation International Conference

Aero-News Network has a report on a speech Dr. Peter Diamandis of X-Prize and more recently Google Lunar X-Prize fame, gave at the Women in Aviation International Conference. He discusses the X-Prize, Google Lunar X-Prize, and the Rocket Racing League, along with some other thoughts.

SpaceDev Wins Japanese HTV Contract

SpaceDev has won a contract with IHI-Aerospace in Japan to provided multiple flight ship-sets of precision space mechanisms for the H2 Transfer Vehicle, or HTV. The HTV is designed to provide resupply to the ISS. The contract requires the systems to be delivered over the next six years.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

AIAA-Houston Annual Technical Symposium 2008

AIAA Houston is calling for abstracts for presentations at the Annual Technical Symposium 2008 (ATS2008). The symposium is scheduled for May 9, 2008 at the Gilruth Center at the Johnson Space Center.

T-Minus 4 Years and Counting ... Until - America's Launch Americans in Orbit-50 Years Inc., Announces Astronaut Selection!

MADISON, Ala., March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans in Orbit-50 Years was founded to commemorate the first U.S. manned orbital space flight and to establish a national education outreach program. For decades, American universities had access to space in order to conduct space science experiments and allow future engineers valuable hands-on experience. This access to space has dwindled over the last few years to virtually zero.

Americans in Orbit-50 Years, is proceeding with plans to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Friendship 7 mission with "America's Launch". We plan to launch two astronauts, and up to 10,000 lbs. of space science experiments in Feb. 2012. After the initial launch, we plan to launch on a regular basis so engineering students will continue to have the opportunity to work on space science experiments and small satellites.

In partnership with the National Space Science Education Program, the project will not be limited to universities. There will also be programs for high school and elementary students. Craig Russell, President of Americans in Orbit-50 Years, stated, "The importance of maintaining our leadership in space exploration is directly related to our leadership in the world, and the surest way to accomplish this is to inspire and engage the youth of America to become a part of mankind's greatest challenge, the exploration of the universe."

Two (2) astronauts have now been selected as the primary crew for the mission: Dr. Howard Chipman (Commander) and Veronique Koken (Second-in-Command). Dr. Chipman, an experienced pilot, has participated in cosmonaut training in Russia. Co-Pilot Koken's background includes aeronautics, physics, and education. She is currently flight training with Commander Chipman in the L-39 jet.

As an affiliate of the National Space Society (NSS), Mr. Russell and the crew of Americans in Orbit-50 Years, plan to present the project at the next NSS Conference in Washington D.C. on May 29-June 1. This will be a great opportunity for those wishing to meet the astronauts and Mr. Russell.

Final decisions have been made on the construction of the spacecraft. A U.S. aerospace company will be selected to build both the manned capsule and the Space Science Module (SSM). The latest proven technology will be incorporated into the design to enhance safety.

Americans in Orbit-50 Years, is now accepting donations to the organization in order to proceed with their plans. Individuals and groups who wish to help with the program are urged to come forward at this time. All donations are tax-deductible and, depending on the amount of the donation, some donors will receive commemorative items. We will invite some of the larger donors to participate directly in planned commemoration activities. All donation information is located on the organization's website at

About Americans in Orbit-50 Years, Inc.

Americans in Orbit-50 Years is headquartered in Madison, Alabama, just outside Huntsville, Alabama. (home of Marshall Space Flight Center, U.S. Space and Rocket Center, and Space Camp) The mission is to develop and manage a program to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of NASA's Friendship 7 mission, create excitement, public awareness of space exploration, and promote the National Space Science Education Program (NSSEP). For more information, visit their website at


Barack Obama's Views on Space

Mark Whittington has a roundup everything Senator Obama has said about NASA and space flight. It doesn't sound any better to me than any of his other policies.

Orion Propulsion to Build Sundancer ACS for Bigelow Aerospace

Orion Propulsion, Inc. of Madison, AL, is pleased to announce our selection by Bigelow Aerospace to provide the forward attitude control system (ACS) for the Sundancer, the world’s first commercial human space habitat.

Orion Propulsion will provide the four ACS bi-propellant modules, which will be used for attitude control and desaturating momentum wheels. The modules utilize proven Orion Propulsion thrusters that operate on hydrogen and oxygen.

Orion Propulsion CEO Tim Pickens said, “We are very excited about the opportunity to support Bigelow Aerospace’s Sundancer program, which is placing the first commercial human rated space habitat in Earth orbit. This kind of trailblazing opportunity is in line with Orion’s commitment to commercial space efforts. Affordable thrusters and systems are centerpieces of Orion Propulsion’s product line.”

Jules Vern to Dock with ISS on April 3

The European Space Agency ATV, Jules Vern, is currently sitting in a parking orbit awaiting it chance to dock with the ISS on April 3. This is a the first flight of a ESA ATV that will be used to resupply the space station.

Extrasolar Planet Contains Methane

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology, using the Hubble Telescope, have detected the presence of methane in HD 189733b. While methane can signal life, HD 189733b is believed to be to close to its parent star to harbor life. However, this is the first time methane has been found on a planet outside the solar system and gives scientists hope of detecting life signs on other planets from Earth. HD 189733b was discovered in October 2005 and is about 1.15 Jupiter masses.

[update] Science Daily has more.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ares 1 Vibration Solutions

According to, NASA is considering a few possibilities proposed by a "core team" to solve the vibration problem the Ares 1 reportedly has.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

National Space Society Statement on Arthur C. Clarke's Legacy

The members and board of the National Space Society are saddened by the passing of Sir Arthur Clarke, a longtime member of the society's Board of Governors.

Clarke's legacy will live on in the decades to come, as humanity continues the great adventure of space travel and exploration.

"Sir Arthur's positive vision of the future excited generations about space exploration, and inspired millions to pursue scientific careers," said Buzz Aldrin, Apollo astronaut and fellow member of the NSS Board of Governors.

George Whitesides, NSS Executive Director, stated: "Arthur C. Clarke invented the concept of geostationary satellites in 1945, and the orbit of such satellites is named in his honor. It is highly fitting that future space explorers setting out for distant moons and planets will forever pass Clarke's Orbit on their way."

Fred Ordway, a member of the original board of the National Space Institute, worked closely with Clarke on the film, '2001 - A Space Odyssey': "I met Clarke in 1950 at the first International Congress on Astronautics in Paris. His passing represents the loss of a distinguished friend and one of the most important figures in space history."

The members and board of NSS express their appreciation to Clarke's staff in Sri Lanka, where he has lived since 1956, and recognize the efforts of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, founded to promote the work, life, and legacy of Sir Arthur.

Arthur C. Clark is Gone

Those of us at Space Pragmatism morn the loss of one of the greatest men in both science fiction and space advocacy.

Arthur C. Clark
Dec 16, 1917 - March 18 ,2008
It may be that the old astrologers had the truth exactly reversed, when they believed that the stars controlled the destinies of men. The time may come when men control the destinies of stars

National Space Society Announces Themes and Featured Speakers for the 2008 International Space Development Conference

Washington D.C. - March 17, 2008 – The National Space Society (NSS) announced today the themes and featured speakers for the 27th Annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC) taking place at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. from May 29, 2008 to June 1, 2008.

The primary theme for ISDC 2008 is The New Pace of Space.

"The purpose of ISDC is to provide a global forum for anyone with an interest in space to learn, interact and discuss the future with the leaders of space exploration, business and science," said NSS Executive Director, George T. Whitesides.

With the shuttle retirement looming on the horizon and the rapid advances of commercial space entrepreneurs like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, a paradigm shift is occurring within the space industry. This shift is having a profound effect on not only the traditional civil and military sectors of the space industry but peripheral industries such as life sciences and energy, as well. ISDC 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.

The National Space Society is also pleased to announce that Space News will act as the exclusive media sponsor for ISDC 2008. "ISDC is an ideal venue for the public to engage space leaders about the future of the industry," said Bill Klanke, Publisher of Space News. "Space News is delighted to be a sponsor of this important and valuable event."

On Wednesday May 28, 2008 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. Investors and established aerospace firms will hear business plans from some of the most exciting new companies in space-related business sectors, while expert panels discuss important issues like exit strategies for aerospace startups, as well as early and mid-stage financing.

On Thursday May 29, up-and-coming commercial launch providers will be on hand to show how they are working with NASA and the military to decrease the cost of access to space. In addition, the growing commercial sector is finding new customers in the life science and energy industries that are in need of a microgravity environment for experiments and payload transport to orbit respectively. Members from these communities will share their thoughts for the future of space-related industry. Featured speakers include Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk. A special luncheon will feature the Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Dr. Anthony Tether.

On Friday May 30, ISDC will focus the discussion on NASA and its future. NASA has announced it will return to the Moon and then begin to look towards Mars and beyond. The Shuttle retires in two years and the civil sector has been busier than ever, preparing for the next generation of space vehicles represented by Project Constellation and the Orion space exploration vehicle. Featured speakers include Hon. Nick Lampson (D-22nd District-TX), United States House of Representatives; Director of NASA Ames Research Center, Dr. Simon "Pete" Worden;Associate Administrator of the Science Mission Directorate of NASA, Dr. Alan Stern; and Doug Cooke, Deputy Associate Administrator of NASA's exploration programs

Saturday May 31 will be focused primarily on personal spaceflight. We have reached a time when anyone can purchase a ticket to ride on a spaceship and a handful of people have taken advantage of that opportunity. In a few years, smaller vehicles developed in the private sector will take someone to sub-orbit for around $200,000. Space Tourism is now a major part of commercial space and ISDC will bring together organizations, companies and individuals who will inform the public about how to get there and what it's like to be a private space explorer. Featured speakers include X PRIZE Foundation Founder and Chairman Dr. Peter Diamandis, Private Space Explorers Dr. Anousheh Ansari and Gregory Olsen and Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson.

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.

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

All media interested in attending the conference can do so by emailing Ian Murphy at or calling (310) 689-6397. Registered media will have their registration fee waived.

About the National Space SocietyThe National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also produces the annual International Space Development Conference. For more information on the society or the conference, please visit:

Stargate SG-1 Releases "Ark of Truth"

Stargate SG-1, the longest running sc-fi series in American history, has just released their first post-tv movie, the Ark of Truth, to DVD. Check it out (I already bought it).

This Weeks Space Review

The Space Review is out for this week:

ITAR’s failure

The end of the golden age of Mars exploration?

British space policy on life, the universe, and everything

Letter: hydrazine redux

Review: Human Missions to Mars

NASA to Focus on Outer Solar System

Speaking at the 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, NASA director, Dr. Michael Griffin, said they agency plans to hold back on Mars and focus more of its resources on the outer solar system.

NASA Awards Contracts for Design Study of Lunar Landing Craft

HOUSTON, March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's Constellation
Program has selected five space-related companies to receive contract
awards for a 210-day study to independently evaluate NASA's in-house design
concept for a lunar lander that will deliver four astronauts to the surface
of the moon by 2020.

The awards total approximately $1.5 million, with a maximum individual
award of $350,000. The study recommendations will be used to increase the
technical maturity of the existing design in preparation for the
development of vehicle requirements.

The Constellation Program is building NASA's next generation fleet of
spacecraft -- including the Ares I and Ares V rockets, the Orion crew
capsule and the Altair lunar lander -- to send humans beyond low Earth
orbit and back to the moon. NASA plans to establish a human outpost on the
moon through a successive series of lunar missions.

"These studies will provide valuable input for developing a sound set
of requirements for the Altair lunar lander," said Jeff Hanley, the
Constellation Program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
"Industry collaboration will provide insight for our planning and early
design efforts for the spacecraft."

The selected companies are Andrews Space of Seattle, The Boeing Co. of
Houston, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company of Denver, Northrop Grumman
Corporation of El Segundo, Calif., and Odyssey Space Research of Houston.

The companies will evaluate the current in-house design, propose safety
improvements and recommend industry-government partnering arrangements.

The Constellation Program is based at Johnson and manages the Altair
Project for NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, Washington.

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

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yet Another Extrasolar Planet Found

Researchers have found another planet, HAT-P-7 b, a 1.5 Jupiter mass planet roughly 1000 light years from Earth.

Bacteria on the Moon

NASA thinks cyanobacteria that lives in extreme environments can survive on the Moon.

Lottery Winner Heading to Space

An Auckland man who won a $5 (AUS) Million lottery wants to take a ride on Virgin Galactic.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bigelow Aerospace, Guess the Bright Spot

From Bigelow Aerospace:

We have added to our Web site a chance for the general public to participate in a little detective work.

A bright spot appears in new images beamed down from Genesis I, which is nearing the start of its third year in orbit. We are inviting members of the public to submit their guesses on what that spot might be.

The page is located at

ESA Looking for New Astronauts

If you are game, the European Space Agency is holding "tryouts" for new members of their astronaut core.

NASA to Test Safety of Orion Capsule

NASA is planning a 90 second flight of the Orion capsule in 12 months to test the safety systems built into the pod designed to contain astronauts going to the moon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Going to Alpha Centauri

Charles Q. Choi discusses how to get to Alpha Centauri. With new findings suggesting it may harbor rocky worlds, this could be a exciting trip.

NASA Inspects Heat Shields on Endeavour

Endeavour was apparently struck by an unknown piece of space debris. Astronauts are inspecting the heat shields for damage.

[update 9:43 am CST] It appears the shuttle is in tip-top shape.

Canada in Space

Ed Feuer thinks in Canada is going to assert its sovereignty in space, it must launch and control its own satellites. He is likely correct.

Earth's Space Fleet

The British paper, the Independent, has a roundup of all the crafts going into space over the coming year. It is an exciting time.

I hope they have all thought about common communications standards in case of an emergency. The CCSDS may have some ideas.

Propulsion a Go on Jules Vern

The ESA has fixed the propulsion problem with the ATV, Jules Vern, and it is set for an ISS dock on April 3.

4th Space Investment Summit to Provide Networking Forum for Investors & Entrepreneurs

Washington D.C., March 12, 2008 -- As part of Space Investment Summit 4 (SIS-4), entrepreneurs and investors will meet on May 28, 2008 at the Capital Hilton Hotel to engage in a frank dialogue about the best investment opportunities in new space-related ventures. The summit comes at an exciting time for space-related business, with space startups like Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk's SpaceX nearing commercial operations, while space-related ventures like Google Earth and Garmin expand to reach global markets.

"A massive shift is underway in the aerospace industry," stated Steve Kohler, President, Space Florida, "and it is clear that the future we are envisioning is possible, and it will arrive more rapidly than we expect."

Promoting innovation in space-related commerce worldwide, SIS-4 has much to offer leading seed and early stage investors, space-related entrepreneurs, established companies, government, academia, and non-profit organizations. The event provides a unique opportunity to expand networks, join peer-to-peer discussions, and assess pre-screened entrepreneurial business plans from companies with high growth potential.

Sponsored by Space Florida and a group of leading space-related companies, the summit is organized by the Space Investment Summit Coalition and hosted by the National Space Society (NSS). The event will be held immediately prior to the International Space Development Conference, the annual conference of NSS. Space News will act as the exclusive media sponsor of the Space Investment Summit and the 2008 International Space Development Conference. This conference is a global nexus of the most important developments in space and attended by leading space-related entrepreneurs, government managers and thought-leaders.

"The summit has been designed to help educate the investment community about opportunities in space-related commerce and to assist the space-related entrepreneurial community in better understanding the expectations of investors," said Paul Eckert, summit coordinator and Boeing international and commercial strategist. Each summit is held in a location that provides access to important investor communities, such as Silicon Valley and Wall Street, and the Washington DC location provides particularly easy access to investors along the East Coast. Eckert added the action packed one-day event will make excellent use of investors' and entrepreneurs' time, providing outstanding networking opportunities.

The summit series is designed to help investors gain knowledge that might guide future investment decisions. Entrepreneurs will gain from an increased investor interest in their efforts, but established companies may also benefit by promoting the development of new opportunities to partner with, invest in, be suppliers to, or do studies for entrepreneurial companies.

A fifth space-related investment summit is already being planned to take place in Los Angeles, California on October 15, 2008. Those interested in the May 28 summit will no doubt also want to mark their calendars for the fall event.

For more information on the summit, including how to register or exhibit, please visit:

Companies interested in presenting their business plans at the Summit should send an email message with company name and contact information to

About the Space Investment Summit Coalition
The Space Investment Summit Coalition is a dynamic international group of companies and nonprofit organizations, organizing Space Investment Summits to educate entrepreneurs regarding how to attract seed and early-stage investment, while simultaneously informing investors about space-related business opportunities. Through an incremental process of improvement in business plan quality and increased investor support, the Coalition is working to encourage development of new space-related markets.

About Space Florida
Space Florida was created by the Florida Legislature to sustain Florida's position as the global leader in space exploration and commerce, and is the principal organization charged with promoting and developing Florida's aerospace industry. Created as a unique special district, Space Florida serves as the single point of contact for aerospace with federal agencies, military, State agencies, universities, and the private sector. As part of its mission, Space Florida promotes aerospace economic development across Florida, and drives industry-related education and workforce development initiatives, expanded and upgraded spaceport operations, innovative research and development, and financing. If your future is in space, your next step is to contact Space Florida. For more information:

About the National Space Society
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and more than 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. For more information about NSS, visit

About Space News
Space News International, a division of Imaginova Corp., is a business media company covering all aspects of the space business - military, commercial and civil. Since 1989, Space News has delivered accurate, competitive and timely reporting that our readers have come to depend on. Space News products include: Space News weekly newspaper, Space News Digital;; Space News TV and the Space News Early Bird e-Newsletter. Space News is also a co-host for Strategic Space and Defense annual conference. For more information about the company visit

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Twenty Teams Register for the 2008 Regolith Challenge

Space Prizes is reporting 20 teams are registered for the 2008 Regolith Excavation Challenge.

Three New Extrasolar Planets

In case you missed it, (I did) three new extrasolar planets were discovered in February.
They are ksi Aql b (2.8 Jupiters) , HD 81688 b (2.7 Jupiters), and 18 Del b (10.3 Jupiters)

SpaceDev Wins OSR Satellite Contract

SpaceDev has on the won the contract to develop a satellite for the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office's (ORS) Jumpstart Mission. This satellite is planned to be ready in June 2008.

Hmm, so is SpacDev's satellite going on SpaceX rocket?

SpaceX Wins DOD/OSR Launch Contract

SpaceX, the new rocket company founded by Elon Musk, has received a contract to launch a currently undisclosed satellite in June 2008 on its Falcon 1 rocket. The launch is part of the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office.

ESA's Jules Vern is Up

The European Space Agency's new ATV, the Jules Vern, is in space after its first launch on Sunday from Africa.

Endeavour is Up, Up, and Away!

Space Shuttle Endeavour is up and on its way to the ISS. STS-123 launched at 2:28 a.m. EDT from Kennedy Space Center.

Broadway Media Releases Space Cruise News to Follow the Events Unfolding in the Race to Sub-Orbital Space and Space Tourism

March 11, 2008 -- In today's world of constant media frenzy, it's often difficult to separate credibility from clutter. To remedy the problem, Broadway Media has launched, a new Space news service that spotlights passenger related sub-orbital space developments like SpaceShipTwo and is available to the public on the World Wide Web.

In the past, it has been hard to pinpoint reliable information on space tourism and related topics. With our new site, we have consolidated the sources so that interested parties have one place to visit for all of the updates.

Ever since Scaled Composites success capturing the $10 Million Ansari X-Prize in October 2004 by flying safely into sub-orbital space, the reality of a viable commercial sub-orbital spaceflight experience has arrived and a number of companies have announced plans to begin their flights within the next several years. With the unveiling of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo in New York last month and the growing interest and awareness of space tourism, it seems that the dreams of many adventurers will soon be fulfilled. The final frontier of travel is no longer the realm of science-fiction, and well within reach, as several companies plan to have commercial flights in space as early as 2010.

With costs ranging from $98,000 to $300,000, hundreds of future space participants have already plunked down over $30 Million for service and over 80,000 have acknowledged an interest, as indicated from those companies, which include Virgin Galactic, Benson Space Company, Rocketplane, Space Adventures, Planet Space and others.

"It seems as though this will soon become the experience of a lifetime," said Broadway Media CEO Mitchell J. Schultz. "In the past, it has been hard to pinpoint reliable information on space tourism and related topics. With our new site, we have consolidated the sources so that interested parties have one place to visit for all of the updates." Broadway Media has developed several successful websites in the past, consolidating news, information and advertising for various topics, working with in-flight magazines and promoting Broadway shows. They are a diverse promotional media company. This is their first venture into the realm of space travel news.

For more information on space tourism, and updates on SpaceShipTwo developments, visit

About Broadway Media:

A 10 year old research and promotion firm, Broadway Media has established itself as a major reseller of in-flight magazine space and promoter of Broadway shows from the latter 1990s. Today, its primary focus is to provide cost effective media to desirable affluent consumers and to expand its reach by entering the space tourism passenger industry by providing valuable information, insights and updates as this industry further develops. For more information about Broadway Media, visit

Friday, March 07, 2008

Carnival of Space #44

Phil Plait is hosting the Carnival of Space #44.

Busy Week in Space

With the ESA's launch of their first ATV, the Jules Vern, set for March 9 and NASA launching Endeavour on March 11, the ISS docking station is going to be busy this week.

NASA to Show Off Full Scale Ares I-X "Element"

NASA is inviting press to see a full scale simulation of the Ares 1 upper stage. The test launch of the Ares 1-X upper stage is planned for next year.

COTS is NASA's Only Hope for Space Access

With the Shuttles retirement in 2010, NASA may be forced to rely on the Russians for access to the ISS. The Commercial Orbital Transportation Service may save their bacon, however. According to Elon Musk, founder of one of the COTS companies SpaceX , they may have a manned spacecraft capability by the end of 2011 if NASA exercises its option under a 2006 agreement to provide cargo service.

So private industry may provide the only option to buying Russian seats. Lets hope NASA makes the right choice when the time comes.

Pentagon is Worried about China's Growing Power in Space

The Pentagon has released a report on their concerns about China's growing ability to " limit or prevent the use of space-based assets by its potential adversaries during times of crisis or conflict."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

North Carolina and New Space

Jeff Krukin has an article in The News and Observer about how North Carolina, and specifically the triangle, could benefit from the New Space industry.

Space Frontier Foundation Launches "The Cosmos Review"

(March 4, 2008 - New York, NY) The Space Frontier Foundation today announced a new project, The Cosmos Review, an online literary magazine dedicated to space poetry.
The Cosmic Review features articles, discussion and a span of poetry set in spectacular images of the universe and space. With sweeping page transitions, under a beautiful animated banner and design, the publication categorizes Ancestors, Now and Progeny sections that archive poetry back to classic poems from the 8th century BC, all related in some way to space and human relationship to the cosmos.

A children's category provides classroom project suggestions for teachers who'd like to participate in inspiring tomorrow's leaders, complete with exercises in poetry and cosmos appreciation. Other features include collections of quotes about space and poetry, equipped with interactive "send-to-a-friend" and "add the quotes" options for websites or MySpace.
The magazine is managed by acclaimed author Vanna Bonta. As Editor-in-Chief, Bonta contributes a lifelong dedication to poetry. Bonta was awarded silver and gold medals for her poetry by the Florentine Camerata, a division of the Italian city's government founded in the 1500s by a group of humanists, poets and musicians that included Galileo's father, Vincenzio Galilei.

The New York-based Space Frontier Foundation is a space advocacy organization whose membership of scientists, engineers, media, political professionals, entrepreneurs and citizens are from all backgrounds and nations. Founded in 1988 by a group of space community leaders dedicated to rapidly opening the space frontier to human settlement, the organization has been a leader in developing the private sector of space opportunities, inspiring the previously government-owned bureaucratic program into a dynamic and inclusive frontier open to humanity. "There are fantastic opportunities awaiting us in the boundless space frontier," said Foundation co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Bob Werb. "Poetry has always been at the forefront of society's vision and inspiration, and the Foundation is proud to announce this new project."

Capturing a combined futuristic look juxtaposed with warm parchment, the zine's design parallels engineering and poetry, adding to innovative comparisons by Bonta who writes, "The cosmos is a poem."

The Cosmos Review is accepting poetry submissions and editorials. The magazine plans contests, projecting future issues will represent works from people of all ages and continents on Earth.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

ESA ATV Delayed 24 Hours

The launch of the European Space Agency's ATV, the Jules Vern, has been delayed 24 hours to March 9. The delay is because of "technical concerns." The launch is now scheduled for 0359 GMT on Sunday.

Monday, March 03, 2008

India to Develop Manned Space Flight

India is looking to be the next country to launch men into space.

NASA Awards SpaceDev Contract for Annular Hybrid Rocket Motors

NASA has awarded SpaceDev an R&D contract for annular hybrid rocket motors.

Debunking Ares 1 Myths

At NASA's third space exploration conference on 26 February in Denver, Ares programme manager Steve Cook spoke about what he called "myths" about Ares 1 performance problems.

Ares had a 2,200kg (4,400lb) performance margin over and above the lunar
mission's requirement and 1,360kg performance margin over Orion's maximum mass needs that the oscillation issue was well known and would be solved and that
after 4,200h of wind tunnel tests and the availability of heritage thrust vector
control technology Ares I would be controllable in flight.

NASA Becomes Popular in the Presidential Race

As the democratic candidates are fighting for Texas, all the candidates are apparently falling in love with NASA. What that means for their plans for the space agency remains to be seen.

China's Nest Rocket in 2014

China is planning to move to the Long March 5 in 2014. That is the same year the Ares 1 plans to go into service. The Long March 5 should have a payload of 25 tons.

Space Review: 3/3/2008

This week's Space Review is out:

China and the US: space race or miscommunication?

ATV, Cygnus, and Dragon

Sense, nonsense, and pretense about the destruction of USA 193

Letter: responding to satellite shootdown

Blitzing Capitol Hill

Raketen in Berlin

First SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle Remains on Schedule for Delivery to Cape Canaveral

Hawthorne, CA – March 3, 2008 – Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) today announced its newly revised mission manifest listing twelve flights of its Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles.

“We are on track to deliver our first Falcon 9 vehicle to Cape Canaveral by the end of 2008,” said Gwynne Shotwell, Vice President of Business Development for SpaceX. “In addition, we’re very pleased to have signed a significant new US government customer for our next Falcon 1 flight, and will be releasing details shortly.”

The full SpaceX mission manifest extends into 2011 and lists nine customers on twelve flights, including three demonstration flights of SpaceX’s new Dragon spacecraft for NASA as part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) competition.





US Government & ATSB

Q2 2008

Falcon 1


ATSB (Malaysia)

Q3 2008

Falcon 1


US Government

Q4 2008

Falcon 9

Cape Canaveral

MDA Corp. (Canada)


Falcon 9

Cape Canaveral

Avanti Communications (UK)


Falcon 9

Cape Canaveral

NASA COTS - Demo 1


Falcon 9

Cape Canaveral

NASA COTS - Demo 2


Falcon 9

Cape Canaveral



Falcon 1


NASA COTS - Demo 3


Falcon 9

Cape Canaveral

MDA Corp. (Canada)


Falcon 1


Swedish Space Corp. (Sweden)


Falcon 1


Bigelow Aerospace


Falcon 9

Cape Canaveral

Target date refers to delivery of the flight vehicle to the launch site. The actual launch date is dependent on a variety of factors, which may include regulatory approvals, launch range scheduling, weather, customer payload readiness and vehicle to launch pad integration.

About SpaceX

SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles intended to reduce the cost and increase the reliability of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With its Falcon line of launch vehicles, SpaceX is able to offer a light, medium and heavy lift capability, delivering spacecraft into any inclination and altitude, from low Earth orbit to geosynchronous transfer orbit to interplanetary missions.

As winner of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) competition, SpaceX will conduct three flights of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft for NASA. This will culminate in Dragon berthing with the International Space Station and returning safely to Earth. When the Shuttle retires in 2010, Falcon 9 / Dragon will have the opportunity to replace the Shuttle in providing both up and down transportation services to the Space Station.