Friday, April 28, 2006
Wachmann 3's break-up. The HST has delivered astronomical results since 1990. But NASA chief Mike Griffin will decide the future of the space-based telescope following the July launch of the STS-121 . NASA Goddard scientist Dr. David Leckrone recently indicated that the $2 billion telescope could continue operating for years if it had human service missions to tend to its instrumentation.
Perhaps a space shuttle mission will be in its future. Hopefully, a SpaceX Falcon 9 Dragon human space capsule may be able to service HST again in 2010 to operate in tandem with the planned James Webb Telescope for years.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The legal issues reviewed are: 1] Where does airspace end and outer space begin? 2] What is the legal status of a spaceflight participant?
3] What are among the safety issues that must be regulated? 4] What legal impact does assumption of risk pose to tourists? 5] What obligations are there for third-party liability? 6] What financial responsibility is there to launch licensing? 7] What are the regulatory obligations of the spaceport? 8] What growing complexity does utilization of a foreign spaceport portend to the future?
The research explores the globalization of spaceports and why it is in the interest of foreign nations to back the construction of such facilities and provide support to Virgin Galactic, Space Adventures, Rocketplane, and other space flight participant vehicle launches. The White Paper was prepared by Jack Kennedy for the University of North Dakota Space Studies Department.
Support Challenger Center and the hundreds of thousands of young people who are experiencing the excitement of hands-on participation in a space mission at one of the more than fifty centers around the nation and the world. You, too, can "touch the future!"
Friday, April 21, 2006
The Foundation's Teachers In Space program was first announced several weeks ago at the National Science Teachers Association conference. Its goal is to send hundreds of teachers a year into space. The group is seeking private and government support for "scholarships" that can be used by teachers to buy rides on any proven vehicle. Although commercial flights will not be available for more than a year, the Foundation is developing this program now, so once the firms are flying and capable, the first teachers will be selected. As a first step, Teachers In Space is asking for selection criteria suggestions on its web site. Also see: MSNBC.com.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
On Friday, May 12, 2006, the X-Prize will host a grand opening open of an office at the Sugerman Space Grant Building at 3050 Knox Street on the campus of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Friday, May 12, 2006 between the hours of 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM. For details about the event, contact Joylynn Watkins of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium at 505-646-6414.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Space Adventures plan to launch a Russian-made "Explorer" suborbital vehicle from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Singapore in 2008. Virgin Galactic is also looking at a launch sites in Sweden and Scotland as well as its headquaters site in New Mexico in 2009.
The spirits of Dr. Robert Goddard and Dr. Wernher von Braun must be pleased with New Mexico heralding yet another era in space complete with a modern human spaceport.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Rocketplane won the so-called 'O-Prize' from the state of Oklahoma, a five-year tax credit valued at $17.25 million, for the first space firm to operate from the former Clinton-Sherman Airpark. Ex-NASA astronaut John Herrington is expected to pilot the first test flight next year.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Russia celebrates Cosmonauts Day on April 12 to mark the anniversary of the day in 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel into space and orbit the Earth on board the Vostok-1 spacecraft.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
The 2006 X-Prize Cup is set to open in the desert of Southern New MeXico October 20-21 with exciting new events. The kick-off will be a Personal Spaceflight CEO's Summit Thursday and Friday October 19-20 followed by the opening Friday of the X-Prize Cup Expo running through Sunday, October 22. VIP Tickets are $99; $10 general ticket admission per day. Over 20-powered rocket flights are planned.
The Personal Spaceflight CEO's Summit will include speakers Eric Anderson of Space Adventures, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic, Elon Musk of SpaceX, Bob Bigelow of Bigelow Aerospace, and several others. There is also discussion of a Space Law conference on Wednesday, October 18th being planned in Southern New MeXico.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Virgin's European space centre space will be built and in-operation in 2008 at Kiruna in the far north of Sweden. It is a place so close to the North Pole that it is near to the Northern Lights, said Will Whitehorn, the president of Virgin Galactic. The spaceport will also be near the famed Sweden Ice Hotel site of the James Bond movie, Die Another Day.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
"We want to fly many more teachers than the original NASA Teachers in Space program would have flown, and we want these teachers to return to the classroom within a few days to inspire thousands of students to pursue academic excellence and possibly space careers," said Space Frontier Foundation co-founder and space expert Rick Tumlinson.
Perhaps a high school science text book publisher will step-up and donate $200,000 to put the first teacher in suborbital space. Or, Sir Richard Branson may donate a seat to the Space Frontier Foundation's Teachers in Space.
The X-37 was lofted to 37,000 feet by the White Knight, the same vehicle that took SpaceshipOne spaceward in 2004. The X-37 is largely classified for national security but was viewed as a potential military space bomber. Friday's test flight is expected to be the first of several.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Diamandis got a chuckle from his business audience when he noted that aviators spent a total of $400,000 to pursue the $25,000 Orteig prize, won by Charles Lindbergh for his 1925 flight from New York to Paris. "Orteig didn't spend a penny on any of the losers; now, that's an efficient market," Diamandis said.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Immediately following the loss of Falcon 1 at the Kwajalein Atoll on the central Pacific Ocean launch site, Musk said "come hell or high water, we are going to make this work."
"This project needs bipartisan support and it's in Australia's long-term interest," Thomas, a past Mir Space Station crew member, said. "I think that's something that Australia needs to get on board with. One of the best places in the world to run commercial space flights is Woomera."
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Virgin Galactic has turned to Lloyd's of London and Hiscox Plc. for possible insuance to cover SpaceShipTwo and to protect Virgin against claims from people living nearby the launch site in case of pollution or a crash occurring over their homes in Southern New Mexico or in northern Sweden. Space passengers, however, may not be covered by insurance, at least initially, until a safety record for the flights is established. The $200,000 per ticket passengers may have to assume the risk of the suborbital flight.
In the near future extreme sports space divers may take a rocket fight to the edge of space, proceed to jump out, and while wearing a counter pressure suit, free fall to earth 50 miles (more or less) with the guaranteed thrill of a lifetime. A space board ride through the atmosphere add to the exciting possibilities!
The best book on the topic is entitled: The Pre-Astronauts published in 1995. Development of spacediving may enable greater safety for a stricken space vehicles in the future if the technology is perfected.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
concret is being poured, a rocket launch rail has arrived that upon being errected will be visable for miles around the Upham desert. A Launch Control Center, the Payload Assembly and Intergration Building, the mobileVehicle Assembly Building, and a Doppler Sonic Detection and Ranging Weather Station is either in-design or now under construction on the 70 square kilometer (27-acre) site.
"The first commercial space launch will happen this year from this launch pad that we're standing on," said Lonnie Sumpter, with the New Mexico Office for Space Commercialization.
"I have always dreamed of the wonder of spaceflight and the exploration of space has always inspired me. I consider my future flight to be a small part of an important trend to make space accessible to more people, not just to experts. I am very much in favor of commercial space travel which promises to advance technology just like commercial aviation did many years ago," 57-year old billionaire Simonyi said in the announcement.
Virgin Galactic is expanding its scope of possible spaceports to include not only the northernmost emirate Ras Al-Khaimah of the United Arab Emirates, in direct competition with Space Adventures, but also Sweden and Australia, reports FlightGlobal.com.
The seven-seat Virgin Galactic spacecraft SpaceShipTwo (SS2) is expcted to start construction of the commercial prototype this year. The spacecraft will be the size of a large-cabin Gulfstream IV business jet. "We have taken, for commercial reasons, the deliberate decision of not unveiling the design until early next year, " said Will Whitehorn.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Whitehorn did express concern with International Trafficing in Arms Regulations, more commonly known as "ITAR." The federal law regulates export of space technology and may be a barrier to entry for SpaceShipTwo to operate at proposed foreign spaceports. ITAR has been the imetus for formation of the Institute for Space Law and Policy.
The New MeXico Department of Economic Development has a web page with with information about the spaceport including a Business Plan and a Futron Economic Impact Study. The New Mexico government has even created a blog called Pulsar about the New Race to Space. The New Mexico "Space Trail" denotes a number of historic space sites too. One thing is for certain: Upham, New MeXico will never be the same! Soon it will have more visitors than it has had in population over the past 300 years along with well marked roads and highways to space.
Wisconsin aerospace entrepreneur George French, president of Rocketplane, LTD, says that the Spaceport Sheboygan may have a decade evolution to reality with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle on the verge of siging a bill to create the Wisconsin Aerospace Authority. French has said that Rocketplane will first launch from the Oklahoma Spaceport but the spacecraft his firm plans, or one like it, could one day launch from Sheboygan.
The Great Lakes Aerospace Science & Education Center at Spaceport Sheboygan, a $15-million venture, will oversee the development of the spaceport along a restricted airspace that runs along the coast of Lake Michigan from Port Washington to Manitowoc.
Rocketplane is now drawing a lot of business interest from Japan. The firm may be the first to place a tourist suborbital if it stays on its publicly announced track for a 2007 launch.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
"We are talking to people who are developing hotels for space. We are also talking to people who are developing launch craft to get hotels into space. People know that we can turn something that might seem a bit bizarre into a commercial reality. Personally, I think there's a demand for space hotels," Branson said while in Dubai last week discussing a new spaceport venture there.
Bigelow will launch a habitat prototype on a Dnepr booster from ISC Kosmotras, a Russian and Ukrainian rocket-for-hire company in 2007. Bigelow has hoped to launch with Elon Musk's less-than-perfect Falcon 1.
Space Adventures is among four space companies drawing attention to the construction of a new spaceport at Ras Al-Khaimah in the United Arab
Emirates. Eric Anderson, president of Space Adventures, has announced the first tourist to be launched from the site after forging a partnership with the UEA government and Texas-based firm Prodea owned by Ansari family last month.
Space Advetures is not alone in wanting a major slice of the Arab space market that is estimated could top $500-million with sponsorships. Lots of people in the Middle East have a disposable $200,000 for a suborbital space ride where the next spaceport is likely to be built.
Burns Flat, Okla.-based, Rocketplane Kistler, backed by American billionaire George French, is another major player in the space tourist business saying that they will launch the first commercial passangers by 2007. The third space firm deemed a serious player is Canadian Arrow backed by Canadian tycoon Geoff Sheerin, president and chief executive of Canada-based PlanetSpace and US businessman Chirinjeev Kathuria. The fourth and perhaps the frontrunner is New Mexico-based Virgin Galactic backed by Sir Richard Branson.
Some experts believe the space tourism industry has the potential to be worth billions of dollars globally within the decade.
Branson has reportedly purchased 142-acres of desert land on which to build the mansion. The first Virgin Galactic Spaceport is also to be an underground, eco-friendly facility designed by French artchitect Philippe Starck . The spaceport is expected to start Virgin space tourist passenger operations in 2008 along with a sister spaceport in Sweden.
Saturday, April 01, 2006
American entrepreneur Anousheh Ansari (founder of the the Ansari X-Prize) will serve as Enomoto's backup spaceflight participant. She may become the world's 1st female space tourist in 2007. Ansari's Texas-based firm Prodea has partnered with Space Adventures to build the spaceports being planned in the Middle East and Asia before the end of the decade. The Prodea firm is also investing in the Russian-made "Explorer" tourist spacecraft to launch from the new commercial spaceport facilities.
A Russian federal space official said that space tourists will only be enabled to go if they have a serious scentific inquiry to make while on-orbit. A Code of Conduct for spaceflight participants aboard the ISS were adopted some time ago.