Commercialization: November 2009 Archives

Leonard Nimoy to Headline Space Foundation Space Technology Hall of Fame Dinner April 15, Space Foundation

"Since 1988, the Space Technology Hall of Fame, in cooperation with NASA, has honored those who transform technology originally developed for space exploration into products and services that help improve the quality of life here on Earth."

Keith's note: I wonder what Mr. Nimoy's speaking fee is? I'll bet that the Space Foundation could assist several needy college students with it. Add in the cost of fireworks, entertainment, and other pointless perks at this meeting and something af real value could be done with this money. Why not have a nationwide essay contest and pick a few winners and put that money out in the real world? NASA's logo is on the Hall of Fame page so I guess they are cool with all of this expensive back-slapping - I mean, they support it year after year by sending people to attend it, right?

Blue Origin Update on Opportunities for Research

"Blue Origin has selected three unmanned research payloads to fly on the New Shepard suborbital vehicle as a part of Phase 1 of the New Shepard Research Flight Demonstration Program. These payloads were selected from an excellent field of submitted proposals."

Former Shuttle Astronaut-Astronomer, Sam Durrance, Joins the CSF Suborbital Researchers Group

"Former NASA astronaut Samuel T. Durrance, a PhD astronomer and veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, has been selected as the latest addition to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation's Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG). "We are very happy to have Sam aboard SARG to contribute his expertise as a two-time NASA payload specialist on the Space Shuttle," said Dr. S. Alan Stern, Chairman of SARG and a space scientist who previously served as head of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. "Sam also broadens our educator and astronomy experience base, and we are looking forward to his many contributions to the growth of the suborbital research and education markets."

Keith's 15 Nov. note: The Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation is meeting in Washington, DC today. Follow on Twitter at @Suborbi_Science and at #SARG. Among the topics discussed - the addition of former astronaut Sam Durrance to the SARG and interest in a reality TV show focusing on suborbital payload specialists as they train for certification.

Space Tourism is a Hoax, editorial, Fredrick Engstrom and Heinz Pfeffer, Space News

"Some proponents of suborbital spaceflight will say that their device prepares for orbital space tourism. From the above it should be clear that doing a hop into space, suborbitally, is not a precursor to orbital flight and has nothing to do with reaching orbital speed and then decelerating to return to Earth. To conclude, commercially balanced space tourism is neither for today, nor tomorrow, nor the day after tomorrow."

Keith's note: It is quite clear that ESA's Launcher Office is very good at breeding arrogant, anti-commercial space defeatists.

NewSpace Is Under Attack, Space Frontier Foundation

"NewSpace is under attack; and, we urgently need your help to fight back! Two weeks ago former astronaut and associate administrator, Scott "Doc" Horowitz, apparently taking a page from Dan Brown's DECEPTION POINT, seemed to find a hidden political conspiracy by "a few people in the administration who want to kill Ares I and put all the money in commercial". It's entirely a coincidence that Horowitz used to work for ATK, maker of the Ares solid rocket motors. Last week, when Time magazine declared Ares "The Best Invention of the Year," we seized the offered hook to strike back and do a little truth-saying, congratulating NASA on its propaganda triumph, adding to our earlier insistence that Ares needs a death panel."

One-Off Rockets, earlier post
More Infighting Among The Faithful, earlier post

A Wet Moon Is Hot Once Again

Keith's 14 Nov note: Word has it that NASA JSC has a stealth "Project M" underway whereby it would place a lander on the Moon in 1,000 days - once approved.

Meanwhile, word has it that NASA is now looking to match Google's $30 million pledge to the Google Lunar X Prize - and that Google may up their ante as well. Conversations are being held directly between X Prize and the 9th floor. IPP is not in the loop. Stay tuned.

A Rainbow on the Moon, Paul Spudis, Air & Space

"If you don't know where you're going, any path will get you there. The Moon has the resources needed to bootstrap a sustained, permanent human presence. It is the place where we can learn how to live and work productively in space. The Moon has put out a welcome mat. What are we waiting for?"

NASA JSC Advanced Planning Office Blog: Creating the Future: One Giant Leap at a time

"... Or is it too farfetched to create a prize for a non-rocket vehicle for access to LEO? While Commercial Space companies are investing in low cost access to Low Earth Orbit using rocket's should NASA partner up to create a prize that will look at the physics for the next LEAP forward in access to space?

OK, I have to say it... I'll even settle for a WARP drive X Prize."

A Bad Example of "One NASA"

New Accessories for a Retiring Shuttle Fleet, earlier post

"NASA In a partnership that exemplifies One NASA, engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. teamed up with engineers at NASA's Johnson and Kennedy Space Centers to design, build, and test five new ExPRESS Logistics Carriers, or ELCs, which will be delivered to the International Space Station. "ExPRESS" stands for Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station."

Keith's note: Ah, but in true One NASA spirit, MSFC is not mentioned - that is because they were left out. Instead of using easily modified, existing hardware at MSFC which could have worked on the ISS truss, NASA decided to spend a lot of money on new hardware at GSFC, much of which will be used on the shuttle only once.

Accessories for a Retiring Shuttle Fleet, earlier post
New Accessories for a Retiring Shuttle Fleet, earlier post

Environmental Tectonics Corporation's NASTAR Center Announces International Student Patch Design Contest for New NASTAR Suborbital Scientist Training Program

"Environmental Tectonics Corporation's The National AeroSpace Research and Training (NASTAR) Center announced today an international contest for students to design a patch that will commemorate NASTAR Center's newest training program for suborbital scientist-astronauts who will fly aboard commercial suborbital spaceflights. The winning design will become the Official Patch for NASTAR's Suborbital Scientist Training Program. The NASTAR Center will accept student artwork submissions through December 16, 2009 on its website. This contest is open to full-time students from the elementary to University levels. The winning artist and patch design will be announced January 11, 2010. The winning patch will be worn on the flight suits of all Suborbital Scientist Trainees. In addition, a cash award of $500 dollars will be granted to the winning artist along with a certificate and NASTAR gift pack."

Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC2010)

Abstract Deadline: November 12, 2009, 5:00 p.m. CST.

"A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line beginning in 2010. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space. Fields that will potentially benefit include atmospheric science, solar physics, microgravity science, planetary science, space life science, space physics, and education and public outreach (EPO). NSRC2010 will provide a forum to learn about the research and EPO capabilities of these new systems, along with their experiment and EPO integration processes, and to provide input on vehicle design requirements for science and education. The meeting will be held from 18-20 February 2010 in Boulder, Colorado."

Jing Li, a physical scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., along with other researchers working under the Cell-All program in the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate, developed a proof of concept of new technology that would bring compact, low-cost, low-power, high-speed nanosensor-based chemical sensing capabilities to cell phones.

The device Li developed is about the size of a postage stamp and is designed to be plugged in to an iPhone to collect, process and transmit sensor data. The new device is able to detect and identify low concentrations of airborne ammonia, chlorine gas and methane. The device senses chemicals in the air using a "sample jet" and a multiple-channel silicon-based sensing chip, which consists of 16 nanosensors, and sends detection data to another phone or a computer via telephone communication network or Wi-Fi.

More information and high resolution photos here.

NASA and Spaceward Foundation Award Prize Money for Successful Wireless Power Demonstration

"NASA has awarded $900,000 in prize money to a Seattle company that successfully demonstrated new wireless energy beaming technology which could one day be used to help power a "space elevator." LaserMotive of Seattle was awarded the money after its performance in the Power Beaming Challenge competition, which was a demonstration of wireless power transmission that enabled a robotic device to climb a vertical cable."

Investment in Commercial Spaceflight Grows to $1.46 Billion, Updated Industry Study Reveals, Commercial Spaceflight Federation

"Total investment in the commercial human spaceflight sector has risen by 20% since January 2008, reaching a cumulative total of $1.46 billion, according to a new extensive study performed by the Tauri Group and commissioned by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Revenues and deposits for commercial human spaceflight services, hardware, and support services has also grown, reaching a total of $261 million for the year 2008. The analytic study, performed by the Tauri Group of Alexandria, Virginia, was based on aggregated data from a comprehensive survey of 22 companies engaged in commercial human spaceflight activities, including most Commercial Spaceflight Federation members."

Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Notice of Availability of a Record of Decision (ROD) for Streamlining the Processing of Experimental Permit Applications

"... the FAA is announcing the availability of the ROD for streamlining the environmental review of experimental permit applications for the launch and/or reentry of reusable suborbital rockets. The Federal action selected in the ROD is the FAA's issuance of experimental permits for the launch and reentry of reusable suborbital rockets from both FAA-licensed and non-licensed launch sites using the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Streamlining the Processing of Experimental Permit Applications (PEIS), to the maximum extent feasible, as the basis for determining the environmental consequences of issuing the permits."

X PRIZE Foundation and NASA Award $2 Million in Prizes to Masten Space Systems and Armadillo Aerospace

"Today, the X PRIZE Foundation along with NASA hosted an awards ceremony to culminate the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge (NGLLXPC). Masten Space Systems, led by David Masten, was awarded the top $1 million prize, while Armadillo Aerospace, led by id Software founder John Carmack, took home the second place prize of $500,000. The NGLLXPC was a partnership with NASA funding the $2 million in prize money as part of their Centennial Challenges program while the X PRIZE Foundation managed the competition which began in 2006."

NASA shuttle contractor cancels merit raises for all employees, Orlando Sentinel

"United Space Alliance, NASA's main shuttle contractor, told employees today that it will be cancelingmerit payraisesacross the company next year in order to keep costs down as it tries to win new businessaftertheagencymothballs the orbiter fleet in 2011. "The annual merit pay increases for 2010 for performance and things like that, we made the decision not to do that," said company spokesman Jeff Carr. "This really about protecting our rates to be competitive for future follow on work."

NASA JSC Solicitation: Hardware and Software Supporting the Maker Project

"The Crew and Thermal Systems Division, EVA Tools Branch (EC7) at the Johnson Space Center seeks to acquire contract support for a software/hardware development project for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. The project supported is entitled "MAKER" and is pursuing an advanced manufacturing concept being developed and evaluated for deployment in future space exploration architectures requiring manufacturing capability in the spaceflight/mission environment."

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Marc's note: NASA's Centennial Challenge for Power Beaming AKA the Space Elevator Games is now broadcasting live. Three teams are competing for up to $2 million in prize money. It is believed that one or more of the teams will win at least level one and perhaps level two prize money. The Spaceward Foundation organized and manages the event for NASA.

Marc's Update: The KC Space Pirates did not qualify in the morning window for either of the prizes. However Lasermotive of Seattle has officially qualified for the level 1 prize of $900,000 in their first window of the competition this afternoon. They are currently attempting another climb trying to qualify for the level 2 prize of $1.1 million. Other teams will have an opportunity to share in the prize money. To get a share of level 1 teams have to climb the 1 kilometer tether at an average of 2 meters per second and 5 meters per second for the level two prize.

Marc's Update: Competition is done for the day with Lasermotive having qualified for level 1 prize money of $900,000. The competition continues tomorrow through Friday.

Lasermotive Wins Share of the NASA Sponsored Power Beaming Challenge, The Space Elevator Reference (with video)

"The NASA sponsored Power Beaming Challenge, also known as the Space Elevator Games, is guaranteed to give out some prize money this year after a stellar performance by Team Lasermotive in the first day of the competition."

NASA Ames Scientist to Demonstrate Cell Phone Chemical Sensor

"News media are invited to see a demonstration of first-generation laboratory prototypes of new technology that would bring chemical sensing capabilities to cell phones on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009. Jing Li has developed a device, designed to be plugged in to an iPhone, which collects sensor data and sends it to another phone or a computer via telephone communication network or Wi-Fi."

Keith's 29 October note: Well, it has been two days and I have not seen any stories on this. When I sent several requests to ARC PAO requesting the press release one would normally expect to follow-up such a media advisory - as well as images and video from the demonstration - I got nothing. Why put a media advisory out about something sexy and cool like this if you are not willing to do the work to follow up media interest?

Keith's 3 Nov note: I made multiple requests of NASA ARC for copies of standard 300 dpi copies images that show this new ARC device - the sort that you'd reguarly get with press releases (which of course ARC did not issue either). These are the sort of images used to make the large images common on many blogs today. At first ARC PAO did not reply. Then they told me that these little images [1][2] were the highest resolution ones they had (3.1 inches at 72 dpi). Then they said that the images had to be re-shot because this was the best that the scientist's camera could do. Really? For a PAO operation located in the middle of Silicon Valley, ARC PAO seems to be clueless as to how high tech media works just outside the ARC security gate. If you come up with a new gadget, people want to SEE the gadget - not teeny tiny images with no details. Indeed, some media may actually want to print these images.

This is the sort of image, at legible resolution, that NASA ARC PAO should be putting out - given that I only had a little low-res image, this is the best that I can do. This article at Gizmodo is the sort that someone could have written about this iPhone sensor 1. If ARC PAO actually put a press release out and 2. provided suitable media for publishers to use.

Another lost opportunity.

NASA and X Prize Announce Winners of Lunar Lander Challenge, NASA

X PRIZE Foundation and NASA Cap Amazing Lunar Lander Competition and Award $2 Million in Prizes, X PRIZE Foundation

"The race for the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X PRIZE Challenge (NGLLXPC) incentivized prize purse, funded by NASA and presented by the X PRIZE Foundation, has come to an exciting finish. Masten Space Systems, led by David Masten, will be awarded the top $1 million prize on Nov. 5 in Washington D.C. at the Rayburn House Office Building. This is the largest incentivized prize awarded by the X PRIZE Foundation since the 2004 Ansari X PRIZE competition."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Commercialization category from November 2009.

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