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space (spās) n. 1. space beyond the atmosphere of the earth.

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

Friday, 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."