"Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceShipOne designer, Burt Rutan, today pulled back the hangar doors on the new WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft that will ferry SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts, science packages and payload on the first stage of the Virgin Galactic suborbital space experience. The rollout represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic's quest to launch the world's first private, environmentally benign, space access system for people, payload and science. Christened "EVE" in honor of Sir Richard's mother, who performed the official naming ceremony, WK2 is both visually remarkable and represents groundbreaking aerospace technology."
Commercialization: July 2008 Archives
"[Shuttleworth] also shared his views about the future of the space program and the importance of reaching for the stars. Although he believes that manned research efforts in space are too costly and less efficient than more automated approaches, he contends that humanity's experience in space will be essential for shaping a future in which society extends beyond earth's sphere."
Dr. Paul Spudis Announced as Chief Scientist of Google Lunar X PRIZE Contender Odyssey Moon Limited
"Dr. Paul D. Spudis has been named Chief Scientist of Odyssey Moon Limited, the first official contender for the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE. Dr. Spudis is an outspoken advocate of the Moon as a focus of scientific exploration and human settlement and has served on numerous advisory committees, including the US Presidential Commission on the Implementation of United States Space Exploration Policy. The announcement was made during a NASA Lunar Science Institute conference at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California."
NASA eyes purchasing Japan's HTV spacecraft, Daily Yomiuri
"In April, NASA started a project to assist U.S. companies' development of a spacecraft to succeed the space shuttle. However, it is uncertain whether it will be possible for the successor vehicle to be developed in the two years left before the space shuttle is to be scrapped, prompting NASA to discuss buying foreign spacecraft. The U.S. Congress has a psychological resistance to buying Russian spacecraft, and the ATV's transport capacity is smaller than that of the HTV. NASA, therefore, is considering ordering HTVs."
Editor's note: If this is true, it is clear that Mike Griffin is going out of his way to undermine COTS and the American companies that seek to provide these services to the ISS. And where is the money going to come from to buy these flights? I guess we can just call this J-COTS from now on.
Editor's Update: NASA released the following statement;
"Contrary to news reports, NASA has not officially or unofficially been discussing the purchase of H-II Transfer Vehicles (HTV) -- uninhabited resupply cargo ships for the space station -- from the Japanese Space Agency, or JAXA."
"Adelstein, the potential deciding vote, told The Associated Press on Thursday that he would support Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.'s $3.1 billion buyout of XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. if the companies agree to a six-year price cap and make one-quarter of their satellite capacity available for public interest and minority programming, plus other conditions."
"Hamilton Sundstrand has protested NASA's selection of a Texas company to supply the space agency's next-generation space suit. The subsidiary of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. and a partner company filed the protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office on Monday. Company officials do not believe they got adequate information from NASA about why Hamilton Sundstrand lost out, the company said in a statement."
Hamilton Files Protest On NASA Spacesuit Decision, Wall Street Journal
Changing Horses, earlier post
"NASA's Innovative Partnerships Program has selected seven Small Business Innovation Research program, or SBIR, companies to participate in reduced-gravity test flights in early September. The companies will have the opportunity to test their newly developed hardware on an aircraft that simulates the weightless conditions of spaceflight. The fights will the first by NASA's Facilitated Access to the Space Environment for Technology Development and Training program, called FAST."
"Create the Future" and Win, NASA Tech Briefs
"The 2008 NASA Tech Briefs "Create the Future" Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp., opens for entries on July 7. The seventh annual contest welcomes innovative design ideas in the following categories: Machinery, Equipment, and Component Technology; Consumer Products; Medical; Safety and Security; Transportation; and Sustainable Technologies. The Create the Future contest awards a Grand Prize of $20,000 and six First Prizes (one for each category) of Hewlett-Packard workstations. All qualified entrants receive a Create the Future Design Contest T-shirt."
Editor's note: NASA allows this publishing company to use the NASA name and logo so as to tout NASA technology and its applications. Indeed, the "about" link says "NASA Tech Briefs is... An official publication of NASA." Yet NASA PAO never seems to pay any attention to what this magazine/website is doing - all while NASA's Strategic Communications folks try to make taxpayers see that the agency does things of clear value with their tax dollars - you know: "spinoffs". Go figure.
"We found that NASA's Upper Stage Engine (USE) Element Manager, located at Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, reviewed the J-2X rocket propulsion testing options and selected the A-3 test stand to be built at Stennis without the required formal reviews or recommendations of the NRPTA, or NASA's RPTMB. This occurred because NASA did not appropriately engage the NRPTA as required by the NRPTA Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The NRPTA MOA and the RPTMB Operating Procedures require member reviews and recommendations prior to major test facility investments or modifications. In addition, we found that the processes contained in the the NRPTA MOA and the RPTMB Operating Procedures are not included in either a NASA Policy Directive or NASA Procedural Requirements."
Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo Photos, Mojave Skies
"Virgin Galactic has released a series of photos for media use showing both the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo under construction at Scaled Composites.
Since it's now one month and counting until the formal roll-out of WK2, today's Mojave Skies entry will focus on this giant bird.
Virgin has two of these planes on order, and this first one will reportedly be named The Spirit of Steve Fossett."
"The Space Frontier Foundation's Annual NewSpace conference is the premier networking event for bringing together the movers and shakers of the space industry for the perfect mix of professional work and fun. A change in the White House administration presents a golden opportunity to fix problems in the nation's space program and push for further government support of entrepreneurial "NewSpace" ventures. The United States is reaching a crossroads in space development, with the opportunity to create an exciting new future rather than live in the past. The Space Frontier Foundation aims to help light that fire of change with NewSpace 2008."
NewSpace 2008: Creating the Future or Living in the Past?, Space Frontier Foundation
"A change in the White House administration presents a golden opportunity to fix problems in the nation's space program and push for further government support of entrepreneurial "NewSpace" ventures. The United States is reaching a crossroads in space development, with the opportunity to create an exciting new future rather than live in the past. The Space Frontier Foundation aims to help light that fire of change with NewSpace 2008", says William J. Watson Executive Director, Space Frontier Foundation.