Commercialization: September 2007 Archives

Richard Garriott, 1st Second Generation Astronaut, Plans Flight to International Space Station

"Space Adventures, Ltd., the world's leading space experiences company, announced today that famed game developer Richard Garriott, son of former NASA astronaut Owen Garriott, has begun preparations for a "commercially active" mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Mr. Garriott's spaceflight, currently planned for October 2008, will be the first in a series of missions that will accommodate commercial activity aboard the ISS. Involvement from the private sector can include scientific and environmental research and educational outreach programming."

Reader note: A comment about news item "Richard Garriott, 1st Second Generation Astronaut": actually he will become the SECOND second generation astronaut. Sergey Volkov, who is the son of cosmonaut Aleksandr Volkov, is scheduled to fly in April 2008 (Soyuz TMA-12). This is half a year before Richard Garriott's flight.

NASA Means Business

NASA Means Business Student Competition 2008 Program Announcement, Texas Space Grant Consortium

"The NASA Means Business Student Competition program invites undergraduate and graduate students to employ their skills to help NASA articulate the contributions of space exploration to everyday life. This year's challenge is: Help NASA to increase the number of corporate researchers, university researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors who utilize the Nation's investment in spaceflight to grow their investments in knowledge and commerce."

White House Statement Regarding Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, White House

"Today, the President accepted the recommendation of the Department of Defense to end procurement of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites that have the capability to intentionally degrade the accuracy of civil signals. This decision reflects the United States strong commitment to users of GPS that this free global utility can be counted on to support peaceful civil activities around the world."

ULA's Take on COTS

United Launch Alliance Response to Request for Information for Commercial Space Transportation Services

"ULA is working closely with SpaceHab to investigate the compatibility of flying the DreamChaserTM on an Atlas. As a lifting body, the DreamChaserTM provides unique challenges to integrate on an existing launch vehicle, including loads, controllability, and performance, in addition to the human-rating considerations. Our initial studies have leveraged the considerable experience gained during NASA's Orbital Space Plane (OSP) Program that baselined EELVs for launch of numerous OSP configurations, including similar lifting body concepts. This provided an excellent baseline from which we conducted numerous Trade Studies focused on risk reduction and design integration to meet an ILC of 2011. The initial studies have indicated that the risks associated with integrating the DreamChaserTM on an Atlas are manageable and can be accomplished."

Weightless With My iPhone

Earth's First (Repeatedly) Weightless iPhone, SpaceRef [See video]

Editor's note: "iPhones experienced weightlessness almost as soon as the first clumsy consumer bought - and dropped - one. The other day I had a chance to take my iPhone aboard a Zero Gravity Corporation weightless flight sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Foundation. My iPhone experienced a dozen weightless episodes - and still works just fine. I decided to play the Apple iTunes TV advertisement featuring U2's "Vertigo" on my iphone." [See video]

I will have something a little more substantive about this experience online in a day or so.

NASA ARC Internal Memo; Aircraft Use at NASA Ames Moffett Airfield

"You may have seen stories recently in the news media regarding agreements between NASA Ames and the principals of Google to operate aircraft out of Moffett field. Here are the facts: ..."

Wanting To Have It Both Ways

NASA gives Google founders a coveted parking place for their private jet, IHT

"How did the two billionaires get such a coveted parking place? Officials at NASA Ames Research Center said the space agency signed an agreement signed last month that allowed it to place instruments and scientists on planes owned by principals of H211, which in addition to the Boeing 767-200 includes two Gulfstream Vs, to collect scientific data on some flights. In exchange, NASA will receive about $1.3 million in annual fees for being host to the plane at Moffett, said Steven Zornetzer, associate director for institutions and research at NASA Ames Research Center. "It was an opportunity for us to defray some of the fixed costs we have to maintain the airfield as well as to have flights of opportunity for our science missions," Zornetzer said. "It seemed like a win-win situation." NASA said it had already run one mission on one of the Gulfstream Vs to observe the Aurigid meteor shower Aug. 31."

Editor's note: Funny how the folks in Mountain View don't complain about free Google WiFi and all of the benefits (taxes, jobs) that come from having Google in their midst. Now Google and NASA (another big employeer) find a way to help defray the costs of keeping a local asset functioning and suddenly that's not good? You can't have it both ways folks.

NASA Ends RpK's COTS Hopes

NASA Cuts Funds for Private Space Venture, Wall Street Journal

"U.S. space officials, after several attempts to help resuscitate a private space venture led by closely held Rocketplane Kistler Inc., have issued a default letter effectively cutting off future federal assistance for the proposed $1 billion reusable rocket project, industry officials said."

RpK's COTS Contract Terminated, Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

"NASA has informed Congress it is terminating its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) because the company has failed to meet financial milestones. Aides said that after reviewing the company's performance, the space agency sent RpK formal notification Sept. 7 saying that additional activity under the agreement is "not in the best interest" of NASA."

Mega Space Prize

Largest Space Prize Ever to Be Announced at Wired's NextFest September 13th, Wired

"The X Prize Foundation (the people who brought you the $10 million dollar Ansari X Prize for the first private sub-orbital flights won by Scaled Composites' Burt Rutan) just sent out an invitation to the September 13th, 2007 announcement of their next, and largest ever, space prize. Did I say space prize? I did."

The following teaser video is on YouTube:

ILS Proton Fails

Proton Fails Just After Liftoff,

"Two minutes after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan tonight, a Russian heavy-lifting Proton rocket suffered a malfunction of its second stage, leading to apparent destruction of a Japanese satellite payload riding aboard the booster."

NASA MSFC Solicitation: P-POD Microsatellite Launcher With Supporting Technical Assistance

"NASA/MSFC has a requirement for spacecraft deployment and launch vehicle integration support. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is proposing to purchase a Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD). In order to accomplish CubeSail Mission level activities, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center intends to build and fly a 3U CubeSat called the CubeSail, on a USAF-STP Minotaur IV launch that is tentatively schedule for the third quarter of FY09."

Editor's note: Since when does MSFC do smallsats? Or are they just trying to take yet another project away from ARC? Who is paying for this?

Virgin Galactic Astronauts to Start Centrifuge Training, Wired

"The first 100 people to fly on Virgin Galactic's sub-orbital space flights will be headed to Philadelphia to get their first taste of the G-forces of space launch and re-entry. The first Founder Astronauts will begin their two day experience, hosted at the National Training and Aerospace Research Center (NASTAR) center, in September and Virgin Galactic expects to accommodate all of the participating Founders by mid-October."

Star Trek medical device uses ultrasound to seal punctured lungs, University of Washington

"Engineers at the University of Washington are working with Harborview doctors to create new emergency treatments right out of Star Trek: a tricorder type device using high-intensity focused ultrasound rays. This summer, researchers published the first experiment using ultrasound to seal punctured lungs. ... The research was funded the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute."

Spinoff Fact Checking Needed at StratComm, earlier post

"SMC Decision: The Administrator directed that the Office of Communications Planning thoroughly vet NASA claims that the Agency was responsible for the research that enabled technologies ultimately used by the general public (e.g., smoke detectors) with in-house experts before it can be included in Agency messages.

SMC Action: The Office of Communications Planning is to vet the current list of NASA "spinoff" technologies being used in the Office's message testing with in house experts, specifically the Innovative Partnership Program Director Doug Comstock, Howard Ross of PA&E, and, with specific regard to smoke detector technology, Aeronautics Research Associate Administrator Lisa Porter, due by the next meeting."

Editor's note: It would seem that while NASA StratComm staff are off checking to see if their unsubstantiated and antiquated claims about the proverbial "spinoffs" the agency seems to fling off (so they would suggest) at a furious pace, they missed this real spinoff alltogether - one that is indeed right out of Star Trek and funded by NASA's own NSBRI! The "communications" within NASA's "Strategic Communications" would seem to need an upgrade.



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