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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.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Virgin Galactic wants to Branch Out

Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn says that space tourism is just the beginning. He sees Virgin Galactic moving into space science, servicing space server farms and replacing long-haul flights.

Peter Diamandis at Arizona Science Center

If you are in Phoenix next month...

PHOENIX, AZ -- 05/06/09 -- The MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Enterprise Forum of Phoenix will host an extraordinary event, Rewarding Breakthrough Innovation, on June 4, 2009, at the Arizona Science Center where Arizona business leaders and community members will meet the key figure in the development of the personal spaceflight industry, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. He will be sharing his experiences, vision and passion for having created many space-related businesses and organizations including the X PRIZE Foundation, the Rocket Racing League, Zero Gravity Corporation, Singularity University and Space Adventures, Ltd.

The evening experience includes a direct conversation with Dr. Diamandis exploring how Arizona can participate and contribute on a global scale by advancing opportunity through science, education, technology and entrepreneurism. The presentation by Dr. Diamandis will highlight the X PRIZE Foundation, where money is rewarded to directly fund research in areas of exploration in space and underwater, life sciences, energy and environment, education and global development to benefit humanity. He will share how to get involved and even compete for the million dollar prizes like the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE awarded in 2004 to Mojave Aerospace Ventures for the world's first private spaceflight on SpaceShipOne.

He will also incorporate highlights of his vision and role as the Vice Chancellor and Chairman of Singularity University, a revolutionary education program that focuses on inspiring leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity's grand challenges. Registration is required.

"The exciting event is part of the continuing series presented by the MIT Club of Phoenix, now the newly formed MIT Enterprise Forum of Phoenix, with a mission of fostering entrepreneurship and exploring innovation with unique access to leaders and pioneers in areas of business, technology and science," said Armando Viteri, chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum Phoenix. "We are privileged to have Dr. Peter Diamandis share his experiences and encourage us to use imagination and change the way we see ourselves on this planet."

Seating is limited and registration is required. Attendees will have a chance to personally greet Dr. Diamandis in an open networking session beginning at 5:00 PM. Hors d'oeuvres will be served. The live presentation will start at 6:00 PM and opportunities for question and answer will be 7:30 to 8:00 PM.

To register for the event, visit or call 602-640-9005. Members of the MIT Enterprise Forum, MIT Club of Phoenix, Arizona Science Center and All-Ivy Council of Phoenix members pay $50 by pre-registering and all other pre-registrants pay $60 to attend. If seating is available, the cost on the day of the event is $75. MIT students and their parents attend for $40. Arizona Science Center is located at 600 East Washington Street Phoenix at Heritage and Science Park in Copper Square. Registration for the event is open through midnight June 2, 2009. Corporate sponsors include Osborn Maledon, Stearns Financial Services, Arizona Science Center and Advisory Board Architects.

MIT Enterprise Forum of Phoenix -- The MIT Enterprise Forum of Phoenix is a chapter for the MIT Enterprise Forum, The Global Entrepreneurial Network. Formerly the MIT Club of Phoenix, a chapter of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Alumni Association, the new MIT Enterprise Forum of Phoenix is dedicated helping technology entrepreneurs with direct access to experienced and successful CEOs through a series of coaching panel events of local business experts. MIT Enterprise Forum of Phoenix brings together local, national and even global leaders and entrepreneurs from real companies discussing real issues, providing everyone a front row seat to behind-the-scenes success. The organization has the mission to enhance the value of the MIT degree, build community, and celebrate shared experiences.

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Jamie Glass
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2010 NASA Budget Request Released

The 2010 NASA Budget Request has been released. For more information check out NASA's budget site. RLV and Space Transport News has comments specific to COTS.

White House Statement on NASA Review

The White House has released a statement on the study they are currently undergoing on the Ares program.

Masten Space B-750 Engine Test Video

Masten Space has released a video of their B-750 engine test. Enjoy!

May 11 Shuttle Launch in HD

NASA will begin broadcasting in high definition (HD) from the Kennedy Space Center Friday at Noon (EDT). It will continue through the weekend. On Monday, at 8:30 AM EDT, it will begin launch coverage. The Shuttle Atlantis should liftoff at 2:01pm EDT.

NASA streaming and schedules are at:

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Hybrid Rockets May Never be Cheap

Virgin Galactic President, Will Whitehorn, says that while SpaceShip2 prices may get down to $100,000 a person, they will likely never reach $10,000.

RLV and Space Transport News argues that liquid reusable transports are the way to get to space on the cheap.

Obama Studying Ares Program

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Obama administration is studying whether the Ares program is the best way for NASA to move forward. With cost overruns moving the expected cost from $25 billion to $44 billion and reducing the number of crew seats from six to four, many are questing whether Ares is a good idea.

Former NASA Chief Michael Griffin said "I don't agree that there is a better approach for the money, but if there were, so what? Any proposed approach would need to be enormously better to justify wiping out four years worth of solid progress."

I am reminded of a Turkish proverb: "No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back."

Florida Today has more information on the study. RLV and Space Transport News questions whether the former CEO of Lockheed Martin should be leading the study.

Astronauts Get It

In an interview with Jeffrey Hoffman, MIT professor and former space shuttle, MIT News ask him about the shuttle retirement. He said he thinks it is time to retire the shuttle and get on with exploration. With respect to the private space industry, he said:

The only thing we need a spaceship for during the next few years is to get up to the space station, but the Russians will do that for us, and maybe even Elon Musk [founder of SpaceX, which is building the privately-funded Falcon 9 rocket] will do that for us. In fact, I'd love to see private industry take over maintaining the low-Earth orbit infrastructure. If private industry could support that on the basis of tourist travel and however else they can make money, then NASA could buy their services at the marginal cost of doing business instead of maintaining the whole infrastructure. I mean, NASA spends a third of its budget just supporting a transportation infrastructure, and if that could be obtained from the private sector, NASA would save a lot of money, which could be used for exploration, which is what I think NASA's real goal should be in the future, not running a transportation system.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Hubble Mission Cleared for May 11

The final Hubble Space Telescope mission has been cleared by NASA. The Space Shuttle Atlantis will carry seven astronauts to the venerable telescope on May 11 at 2:01pm EST.

Space Review May 4th, 2009

The newest Space Review is out:

Doing more for less (or the same) in space science
While NASA may be getting a modest budget increase overall in 2010, its space science program has a challenge of doing increasingly complex missions within a relatively constrained budget. Jeff Foust reports on what some NASA officials say are the best ways for NASA to balance cost, performance, and risk for its ambitious slate of science missions.Monday, May 4, 2009

Unilateral orbital cleanup
The removal of orbital debris accumulating around the Earth is often described to be an international problem. Taylor Dinerman discusses how it might be more expedient for the United States to start on this on its own rather than wait for a multinational effort to form.Monday, May 4, 2009

The vital need for America to develop space solar power
While there has been considerable discussion about how to develop space-based solar power, there has been less examination of why it’s needed. Mike Snead explains why solar power from space might be the only way to meet the world’s growing demands for energy in the next century.Monday, May 4, 2009

Review: License to Orbit
Capturing the dynamic nature of the entrepreneurial aspect of the space business can be difficult for the author of a book. Jeff Foust reviews one book that falls short of accurately describing the state of the space tourism industry even when keeping that difficulty in mind.Monday, May 4, 2009

Rocket Boy Loves SpaceX

Homer H. Hickam Jr., author of Rocket Boys, is spoke in Waco, TX last night. He was also given a tour of the Space test site and said "[Space X is] one of the great hopes for the American space program.”

ITAR May Prevent Non-US Space Tourist

According to Aviation Week, current ITAR rules currently prevent non-us passengers from flying to space with US companies. Apparently just riding on a space vehicle is enough to learn dangerous secrets about rockets.

I am not sure how this affects Virgin Galactic, which is a British company flying US built space ships. ITAR really needs an overhaul.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

NASA Backing off of Moon Base

After years of planning a permanent base on the Moon under President Bush, NASA in a now backing off of that promise. In a hearing with the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, acting NASA director Scolese admitted that building a permanent colony on the moon would be "expensive" and that we would most likely have something "less than an outpost."

SpaceX Launch Postponed

SpaceX has postponed the launch of a Malaysian satellite due to concerns about vibration. The flight was scheduled for Monday. The exact date of the new launch has not been set, but according to the Malaysian government, it will take about six weeks.

The satellite, RazakSat, is designed for Earth imagining.

White Knight 2 Video

Wire has a video of the White Knight 2 in Flight.

ESA to Launch Two Space Telescopes

The European Space Agency (ESA) is planning to launch two space telescopes, Herschel and Planck, on May 14 aboard an Ariane 5. Planck is already loaded on the rocket awaiting its partner .

ESa to Launch Two Space Telescopes


NASA Begins Layouts

As the retirement of the shuttle approaches, NASA began its first round of layoffs Friday. According to NASA officials, 160 jobs were eliminated on Friday with 900 more to come. The jobs were mostly in manufacturing external tanks and boosters for the space shuttle.

Orion Engines Tested

Aerojet has finished testing the engines for the Orion crew capsule. The engines are 160lb mono-propellant. The test involved vibration and hot fire test over a variety of altitudes.

Three Indian Students win NASA Trip

Jay Patrikar, Shantanu Manke and Madhur Bhalkar, three Indian students, won a competition for the space settlement design contest. The prize was sponsored by NASA and NSS. The three students will present their design at the ISDC 2009 in Orlando, FL.

Virgin Galatic in "Advanced Discussions" with UAE on Spaceport

Virgin Galactic, the space tourism wing of Virgin Group, is in what the company describes as "advanced discussions" with the United Arab Emirates to build a spaceport in Dubai. While the company is also in talks with Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, they discussions with the UAE is the farthest along. Virgin Galactic wants a port in the middle east to support people with the means and desire to go into space, but who want a local supplier. UAE is also interested in using the port for scientific research.