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Friday, June 29, 2007

President of India Calls for Hypersonic Transport Revolution

President A PJ Abdul Kalam of India called this week for international cooperation to develop a hypersonic, reusable spacecraft with high efficency and low cost use.

President Kalam says he wants to ensure a revolution in the space transportation industry.

"There is a need for all countries to work together to develop a single-stage-to-orbit, fully re-usable launch vehicles which can bring down the cost of the launch from the present USD 20,000 per kg of payload to USD 200 per kg," he said.

Kalam was speaking after inaugurating a two-day international conference on `high speed trans-atmospheric air and space transportation' in Hyderabad, India.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bigelow's Genesis 2 Space Station Successful

Bigelow Aerospace has established contact with its second pathfinder spacecraft, Genesis II l launched earlier Thursday from Yasny, Russia.

Mission Control in North Las Vegas, Nev., made first contact at 5:20 p.m. EDT. Genesis II’s made contact in its first orbital over the ground station in Fairfax, Va.

Genesis II is the second experimental pathfinder spacecraft designed to test and confirm systems for future manned commercial space modules planned by Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace

The privately-funded space station module was launched atop a Dnepr rocket at 11:02 a.m. EDT from the ISC Kosmotras Yasny Cosmodrome, located in the Orenburg region of Russia, and was inserted into orbit at 11:16 a.m. EDT at an inclination of 64 degrees.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Europeans Looking to Next Generation Launcher for 2020

The Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP) aims to have a Next Generation Launcher (NGL) operational around 2020.

Monday, June 25, 2007

XTreme Space Sports

Popular Science has a serious story about the works of Orbital Outfitters, Ltd. this month. The artices describes the effort to enable space diving and recovery from space vehicles in distress. The story is worth the read on the web or at news stands across the US.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

2008 Private Space Access Symposium to be Held in France

The International Academy of Astronautics will host the IAA Symposium on Private Manned Access to Space, to be held in Arcachon, near Bordeaux , France on May 28 to 30, 2008.

The Symposium aims at addressing all topics related to the "Space Transportation of Passengers on a commercial basis"; the overall Goal is to identify and quantify the key topics associated to Private Manned Access to Space for both Orbital and Sub-orbital missions:

- The Symposium will deal with the major technical features of the conceivable solutions, providing the participants with a good understanding of the technical credibility of the currently on-going proposals;

- The Symposium will address the legal and regulatory aspects, on both certification and safety aspects of commercial manned space flight; current limitations will be identified and future actions will be proposed;

- The Symposium will deal with the financial aspects associated to the development of Private Access to Space, mainly in terms of overall evaluation of development cost, the operational costs, associated business plans and financing schemes;

- The Symposium will identify the motivations of the potential customers in order to consolidate the foreseen market, and associated customers requirements linked to this new branch of Access to Space;

- The Symposium will deal with the constraints associated to manned flights in the frame of commercial initiatives, mainly the physiological aspects, psychological ones, and ergonomic constraints;

- The Symposium will deal with ground infrastructures, future spaceports, space tourism bases together with associated services such as side activities, entertainment.

Monday, June 18, 2007

New NASA COTS Space Act Information Agreements Inked

The Associated Press is reporting today that NASA has signed new unfunded Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act information sharing agreements with three companies interested in commercial space travel --- SpaceDev Inc. of Poway, Calif., Houston-based Spacehab Inc. and Constellation Services International of Laguna Woods, California.

NASA will share information to help the companies understand projected requirements for International Space Station crew and cargo transportation launch vehicles, spacecraft and human rating criteria. NASA's goal is to aid U.S. industry's development of access to low Earth orbit, and to create a commercial space transportation services market for government and private customers.

Last January NASA signed similar unfunded COTS Space Act agreements with Reston, Virginia based Transformational Space Corp. [t/Space] and PlanetSpace Inc. of Chicago, and last year inked funded deals with Space Exploration Technologies [SpaceX] of El Segundo, Calif., and Oklahoma City-based Rocketplane Kistler [RpK].

Sunday, June 17, 2007

V-Prize P2P Suborbital Competition Being Organized

SpaceShipOne in 2004 suborbital flight above California.
The V-Prize is now being organized to establish a competition for point-to-point hypersonic suborbital spaceflight from Virginia to Europe in the next decade. The detailed rules and prize amount will be forthcoming in late 2007 or early 2008.

A TransAtlantic space flight from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore using the assets of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is the first requirement of the V-Prize. Organizers are building upon the Virginia Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act effective July 1st of this year.

No deadline rule has yet to be set but the Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Act expires July 1, 2013 unless extended by the Virginia state legislature. A European landing site has not been selected as of yet.

Attorney and space policy advocate Jack Kennedy of Wise, Va.; SFF Teacher in Space Advocate Megan Seals of Reston, Va.; Washington, D.C. aerospace attorney James Dunstan; and Steve Miner, PhD, in Accomac, Va. are leading the corporate sponsorship V-Prize organizing effort.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Space Shuttle GO!

The STS-117 Space Shuttle [vid] Atlantis lifted-off from the Kennedy Space Center in a picture perfect [video] launch sequence into a blue early evening Florida sky. Linked is a private video shot from the viewing stands at the space center and another view from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) with car alarms going off from the rocket engine vibration. THUNDER!

STS-118 Space Shuttle Endeavor is slated to launch on August 7 [video preview].

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Neon Saturn Glow

Flying over the unlit side of Saturn's rings, the Cassini spacecraft captures Saturn's glow, represented in brilliant shades of electric blue, sapphire and mint green, while the planet's shadow casts a wide net on the rings. This striking false-color mosaic was created from 25 images taken by Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer over a period of 13 hours, and captures Saturn in nighttime and daytime conditions.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Countdown at the Cape a 'GO!'

STS-117 Atlantis was given a 'GO' for a Friday, June 8th, 7:38 p.m. EDT launch-to-orbit. Space Shuttle Atlantis sits on Launch Pad 39A. Photo Credit: NASA/Ken Thornsley.