"On Tuesday, December 2, XCOR Aerospace, builder of the 2-seat Lynx rocket-powered suborbital launch vehicle, is introducing its General Sales Agent for ticket sales and will announce a price that is substantially lower than prices quoted by leading competitors. XCOR will introduce its new partner, a well-known and established travel entrepreneur with extensive experience in high-end adventure travel, who will outline the total Lynx flight experience, from initial screening, to training, and finally, the flight itself."
Commercialization: November 2008 Archives
"Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) successfully conducted a full mission-length firing of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle's first stage at its McGregor Test Facility in Texas, on November 22. For the static test firing, the first stage remains firmly secured to the massive vertical test stand, where it fired for 178 seconds or nearly three minutes - simulating the climb of the giant rocket from the surface of the Earth towards orbit."
Massive rocket test in McGregor rattles Central Texas, Waco Tribune
"The orange glow seen over McGregor late Saturday night wasnt a bomb explosion or a Martian invasion. Around 10:30 p.m., SpaceX, a private space exploration technologies company, tested its nine-engine Falcon 9 rocket at the McGregor Airport."
Editor's note: Google Lunar X Prize is looking to get 500 Twitter followers. Why not help them out!
"We found that by consolidating category 1 IT purchases, NASA could achieve efficiencies and associated benefits including cost effectiveness, through value-added services included in the cost of an IT purchase made through ODIN. We determined that for category 3 IT purchases, in some instances, ODIN's prices for specific items were higher than prices advertised by IT suppliers dealing through the Internet. During our review, we also found that NASA does not have formalized procedures for negotiating price modifications from ODIN and does not provide instructions for employees on how to seek and identify lower costs than ODIN's for category 3 IT purchases. Providing price negotiation procedures and instructions could provide NASA cost savings for category 3 IT purchases in the future."
"NASA/ARC is hereby soliciting information about potential sources for the construction of a Collaborative Support Facility, Building N232. NASA Ames Research Center plans to construct a new building to be located on the existing Bush Circle at Moffett Field, California. The building and the on-site work shall be constructed as sustainable entities. The project is being designed with a goal to achieve LEED-NC v2.2 Platinum Certification. The requirements for sustainable construction will be contained throughout the contract documents."
"DragonLab provides a platform for in-space experimentation, including recovery of pressurized and some unpressurized payloads, as well as deployment of small spacecraft. As a complete system, DragonLab provides for all aspects of operation: propulsion, power, thermal control, environmental control, avionics, communications, thermal protection, flight software, guidance, navigation and control, entry, descent and landing and recovery. SpaceX will host a DragonLab Users Workshop on November 6, 2008."
"We are delighted that exclusive rights to our patents were sold at auction. Not only does this sale maximize the value of the award-winning HHT technology by transferring it to a commercialization partner, it also benefits the U.S. taxpayers and the domestic economy," said Nona Cheeks, chief of NASA Goddard's Innovative Partnerships Program Office. "This is a great start and validation of our partnership with Ocean Tomo to commercialize NASA-funded technologies. There were several institutional hurdles to overcome to allow us to participate in the auction and given the many challenges, we've found the dedication of the Ocean Tomo team to be truly impressive."
"The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recognizes the advancement of the commercial suborbital spaceflight industry and requests information on potential human-tended flight experiments enabled by this capability. NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is in the formulation phase of a possible new program to fly government-sponsored payloads and researchers on commercial suborbital systems with the intent of advancing SMD's goals and objectives. Responses to this RFI will be used to inform NASA's program planning."
Editor's note: These twin RFIs were initially issued on 28 Feb 2008 with responses due on 28 March 2008. Some time after Alan Stern quit his job at NASA as SMD AA, his replacement, Ed Weiler, decided that he was uninterested in this program and pulled back from it. Weiler rewrote the RFI such that it was now just a study and extended the due date to 5 December 2008. Weiler then took the money that had been set aside for it and moved it elsewhere. When asked, SMD told the Administrator's office that this funding was still there when in fact it was not. When eventually caught in this contradiction, Weiler said that he'd put the money back - but he then dragged his feet and was caught a second time without having restored the funding.
The original intent of this program was to utilize the growing potential of the emerging U.S. suborbital space access industry. Not only would NASA get access to frequent, meaningful, and cheap microgravity, it would also help to support this growing market sector. Alas, it would seem that Ed Weiler's interests are elsewhere - on non-human spaceflight. Backward thinking at a time when NASA should be looking forward.