Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Brian Moran, the third Democratic candidate in the upcoming Democratic Party primary did not appear at the gubernatorial forum held on the campus of The University of Virginia's College at Wise. Neiether did would-be Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert McDonald.
Hopefully more questions will be posed to all the candidates prior to the primary and general election campaigns about Virginia commercial spaceport.
PlanetSpace is a private commercial rocket startup that contracted Lockheed Martin Space Systems and Boeing Co. to develop a cargo delivery vehicle that would dock with the ISS. The company contracted to launch the cargo aboard an Athena III rocket built by aerospace giant ATK, maker of space shuttle boosters.
The NASA contract award to Orbital Sciences Corporation was made December 23, 2008 and was protested by PlanetSpace on January 14, 2009 and denied April 22, 2009. Orbital will use the yet fully developed Taurus-2 booster to re-supply the space station with unmanned flights.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Big Stone Gap native and fifth grade teacher Megan Seals recently flew a ZeroGravity flight [video] and is working with the lodge and the Virginia Technology Alliance to raise funds for a teacher from Powell Valley primary, middle or high school to take a ZeroGravity flight. The flight costs $5,200 per seat, Masonic Past Master, current Senior Warden and Virginia Technology Alliance chairman Donald Purdie noted in the release.
Monday, April 20, 2009
"Imagine a rocket the size of a small skyscraper. Now imagine shooting it into the air with so much force that it goes from zero to a thousand miles an hour in less than a minute. What kind of engines can generate that much thrust? And why is that rocket built in stages? Take your students inside Marshall Space Flight Center to meet members of the Ares Rocket team who can answer those questions and more." Here is a LINK to the second of six parts of the series.
In addressing the suggested 5-year gap between space shuttle launches and the development of a new human-rated booster such as Ares-1, Holdren said: "I don't see any way we can do it before 2015, and if things go as they often do, it might be a little later than 2015. And what we'll have to do in that interim period is rely on our international partners, which means the Russians. It might also be the Chinese, depending on how our relationship develops."
ScienceInsider: "Do you have confidence in China's ability to launch our astronauts?"
Holdren: "I think it's possible in principle to develop the required degree of confidence in the Chinese. I put it out there only as speculation, but I don't think it should be ruled out."
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"The plan all along has been that we would follow the course that already had been laid out and resume a slow and methodical phasedown of the shuttle program," NASA spokesman Mike Curie said. "We have to do this to meet the budget allocations we have been given for this year and next year." More from The Wall Street Journal.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The setting of mining the Moon for He3 is becoming possible in the early part of the mid-21st Century. One of the leading advocates of lunar mining is former Apollo 17 astronaut/geolgist and former United States Senator Harrison "Jack" Schmitt [vid] in his book Return to the Moon.
Monday, April 13, 2009
The new round of spaceflight liability in Texas, New Mexico and California comes after a no change recommendation to the United States Congress of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act (CSLAA) - effectively removing the sunset clause of the federal act with respect to the informed consent principle. The principle underpins the CSLAA, which defines space tourists as "spaceflight participants" and states that they fly in an "environment of informed consent,"according to a recent report by Rod Coppinger at FlightGlobal. Coppinger provides an excellent underpinning as to why states are now on the move.*
Virginia's liability waiver law considered the CSLAA sunset provision and took a more conservative alternative of adding a July 1, 2013 sunset provision to the state's law. Virginia may now find the need to remove, extend, or allow to expire the state's liability waiver provision. The Florida law constains no such setset to mirror the former CSLAA sunset clause.
Commercial "spaceflight participants" advocates argue that the waivers may actually retard ticket purchase as would-be passengers shy away from waiver executions govered by such state laws. But commercial space launch competition among the states (especially those in the south and west) appear to be a variable driving legislation within the various legislatures this year and the two years past.
Friday, April 10, 2009
The ten regional technology councils and other public-interest civic groups are banding together to purchase as many as twenty ZeroGravity seats this year with the aspiration of flying more in the future boosting classroom science from one end of the state to the other! A press conference was held at the state capitol in Richmond this week to launch the program with State Senator William C. Wampler, Jr. and State Delegate Terry Kilgore.
Virginia Technology Alliance Chairman Donald Purdie indicated that his plan is to encourage each of the state's technology councils to hold public school teacher competitions for the pathfinder flight from Wallops Island, VA. Thereupon, the Virginia Technology Alliance will challenge every technology council in America to create a teacher-student ZeroGravity flight competition and fly a teacher or student with experiments.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Saturday, April 04, 2009
The mission had been scheduled to conclude with a touchdown on April 7 northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, but the landing zone has been moved to a backup site about 180 miles to the southeast, where conditions may be more favorable. Touchdown now is targeted for 3:15 a.m. EDT on April 8. The new landing zone is now set for an area northeast of Dzhezkazan, in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz TMA-14 will remain at the International Space Station awaiting the next crew exchange with Soyuz TMA-15.
"There is a possibility that one of Space Adventures' clients could launch on Soyuz TMA-16, which is currently scheduled for launch this September 30," Eric Anderson, CEO of Space Adventures, told reporters Friday. "We have learned from Roskosmos (the Russian space agency) that the third seat aboard Soyuz TMA-16 may not, in fact, be used by the cosmonaut from Kazakhstan, and if that seat is not used...Roskosmos is considering both the possibility of another spaceflight participant opportunity for Space Adventures or using the seat for a professional Russian cosmonaut."