"This notice issued by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC), Edwards, CA is a Request for Information (RFI) for Microgravity Flight Services or MFS. The intent of this notice is to obtain information on commercial capabilities to provide brief periods of near zero, partial gravity, and hyper-gravity conditions, collectively referred to here as microgravity, and associated capabilities for payload integration, safety, and airworthiness for various Government research, technology development, and training missions."
Recently in suborbital Category
"NASA has selected four companies to integrate and fly technology payloads on commercial suborbital reusable platforms that carry payloads near the boundary of space. The selection is part of NASA's continuing effort to foster a viable market for American commercial reusable suborbital platforms that allow testing of new space technologies within Earth's atmosphere."
"Today, Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi's aabar Investments PJS, successfully completed the third rocket-powered supersonic flight of its passenger carrying reusable space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2). In command on the flight deck of SS2 for the first time under rocket power was Virgin Galactic's Chief Pilot Dave Mackay."
Iran hails voyage of Fargam the space monkey, Telegraph
"Iran said on Saturday that it had safely returned a monkey to Earth after blasting it into space in the second such launch this year in its controversial ballistic programme.
President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the scientists involved in the mission, in a message carried by the official IRNA news agency. The report added that the rocket reached a height of 120 kilometres (75 miles)."
Keith's note: I am not at all certain what the point of flying this monkey was. When the U.S. and U.S.S.R. first did it in the 50s and 60s it was because no one knew exactly what would happen. Well, they found out and all of that research has been in the public sphere for half a century. The Iranians could have easily availed themselves of that research and avoided scaring they daylights out of this poor monkey.
"NASA/DFRC plans to issue a Competitive Request for Proposal (RFP)/Solicitation for the following Commercial item/services: ... The anticipated release date of the Draft RFP/Solicitation NND14480735R is on or about Dec 11, 2013. The final RFP/Solicitation is expected to be released on or about Feb 12, 2014 with an anticipated Proposal due date of on or about 28 March 2014. All responsible sources may submit a proposal which shall be considered by the agency."
"NASA has selected for possible flight demonstration 10 proposals from six U.S. states for reusable, suborbital technology payloads and vehicle capability enhancements with the potential to revolutionize future space missions.
After the concepts are developed, NASA may choose to fly the technologies to the edge of space and back on U.S. commercial suborbital vehicles and platforms. These types of flights provide opportunities for testing in microgravity before the vehicles are sent into the harsh environment of space."
"A Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital rocket carrying experiments developed by university students nationwide in the RockSat-X program was successfully launched at 6 a.m. EDT, August 13, from NASA's launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia."
"A reusable suborbital rocket launched by UP Aerospace soared aloft from Spaceport America in New Mexico, carrying multiple technology payloads for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate's Flight Opportunities Program. The SpaceLoft 7 suborbital flight June 21 provided about four minutes of micro gravity for testing of seven technology experiments in a space-relevant environment."
"News media representatives are invited to witness the first research flight on a suborbital rocket funded by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program when UP Aerospace Inc.'s SpaceLoft 7 vehicle lifts off June 21, 2013, at Spaceport America near Las Cruces, New Mexico. Liftoff is scheduled to occur between 6 and 9 a.m. PDT.
NASA has funded the flight for seven space-technology experiments to be flown in a space-relevant environment aboard the UP Aerospace sounding rocket. The sub-orbital flight is expected to provide up to four minutes of weightlessness for testing of the experiments. The flight is expected to last about 15 minutes and reach an altitude of 74 miles, with landing targeted about 320 miles downrange on the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range."
Suborbital Research Enters a Time of Transition, The Space Review
"Several years ago, the idea of using the new generation of suborbital reusable launch vehicles under development, like Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo and XCOR Aerospace's Lynx, for research applications was not widely accepted. These and other vehicles were seen primarily as serving the space tourism market."
"Scientists, vehicle developers, and others did come to that NSRC, and the three that followed, including the one last week in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado. With a community of researchers now sold on the potential benefits of using suborbital reusable launch vehicles--low cost, high flight rates, and in some cases human-tended payloads--versus sounding rockets or orbital platforms, the challenge apparent at last week's meeting was keeping the timelines for developing experiments and the vehicles that will fly them in sync."
For those who did not attend and are interested NASA has provided in one PDF file their presentations from this years 2013 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference.
"NASA has selected 21 space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, balloons, and a commercial parabolic aircraft.
This latest selection represents the sixth cycle of NASA's continuing call for payloads through an announcement of opportunity. More than 100 technologies with test flights now have been facilitated through NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate's Flight Opportunities Program."
"The introduction of new commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles (SRVs) in the private sector has enabled the emergence of new markets. A number of these new companies are already testing their vehicles and plan to initiate commercial operations within a few years. This hearing will examine the potential launch markets and applications for SRVs, the unique benefits that SRVs offer the scientific community for research, and the regulatory uncertainties that currently have the most impact on the emerging commercial SRV industry."
Keith's note: There will be a hearing on Wednesday at 2:00 pm EDT titled "Emerging Commercial Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle Market". The hearing was announced several weeks ago. Yet the Commercial Spaceflight Federation has not issued a heads up or media advisory for this hearing. Nor is anything posted on their website. Not only are three of its members testifying, a representative of the CSF's Suborbital Applications Researchers Group is testifying as well. One has to wonder just what it is that the CSF does when it seems to go out of its way to not promote things of obvious importance to its members, the media, and the commercial space industry as a whole.
"Space Florida - the State of Florida's spaceport authority and aerospace economic development agency - and the Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space (FAA-AST) - partnered in November 2011 to commission a study prepared by The Tauri Group, on the forecast 10-year demand for suborbital reusable vehicles."
Keith's update: This report has been issued by Space Florida (a CSF member) and was conducted by a company that will be testifying today. CSF has made no mention of this report.
"Keith Cowing, editor of NASAWatch.com, said Copenhagen Suborbitals has yet to convince anyone that they've built something safe to fly in. Spine-severing vibration, blackout-inducing acceleration and catastrophic hardware failures could each doom a would-be passenger. "But the fact that I'm not making fun of this and worrying about detailed technical aspects is fascinating. We don't giggle at it anymore," said Cowing, a former biologist who did payload integration for NASA and has completed suborbital scientist astronaut training. "In the past few years, it's no longer considered lunacy to try and build a rocket ship that you or someone could get into and take you to edge of space," he said. "I think we're watching something that may be bigger than we realize it is. Copenhagen Suborbitals is an extreme example."
"The Morpheus vertical test bed successfully executed a 16th tether test on June 11, 2012. This was the first flight after the team integrated ALHAT (Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology) into the vehicle."
"Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian BASE jumper aiming to break the world freefall record by jumping from 120,000ft above the earth's surface, moved a step closer to achieving his dream today after the successful completion of a test flight from 71,581 ft. (21,818 metres). Still-to-be-confirmed figures indicate that at 09:40am MT after an ascent lasting about 1 hour and 30 minutes at a rate reaching speeds of 1,200 ft. per minute, the Red Bull Stratos capsule and a modified version of the balloon reached its top manned altitude of 71,581 ft. above the earth's surface."
"Funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling in the Alfven resonator (MICA) mission sent a 40-foot Terrier-Black Brant rocket arcing through aurora 186 miles above Earth. The rocket sent a stream of real-time data back before landing some 200 miles downrange shortly after the launch."
Rocket Launched into Northern Lights To Illuminate GPS Effects, Cornell University
"A NASA-funded collaborative research team led by Steven Powell, Cornell senior engineer in electrical and computer engineering, launched a sounding rocket from Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8:41 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012 at 12:41 a.m. EST) to collect data straight from the heart of the aurora."
Keith's 20 Feb note: While these two universities are obviously excited about this launch, NASA certainy isn't. All that was announced by Poker Flat (on their webpage only) was a long launch window. No press release, media advisory before or after the launch. Nothing whatsoever from NASA or any of its field centers either. According to the Poker Flat website "Poker Flat Research Range is the world's only scientific rocket launching facility owned by a university. Poker Flat is located approximately 30 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska and is operated by the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute under contract to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, which is part of the Goddard Space Flight Center."
Ah, that should explain the situation: Wallops is apparently mentoring Poker Flats on PR. Not a good sign since NASA Wallops PAO is barely capable of even the most rudimentary launch event public awareness itself.
Keith's 21 Feb update: CNN just spent 30 seconds showing this pretty picture. Too bad NASA doesn't seem to think enough to post it.
Keith's 22 Feb update: NASA is still ignoring this NASA rocket launch. Very odd.
Boing Boing: "Chris sez, "My name is Chris Peterson. I run web communications for MIT Admissions and have been a loyal BB reader for years. For the last several years we have been sending our admitted students their acceptance letters in cardboard tubes. First because we sent a poster, but now it's its own thing. 2012 is the anniversary of an old MIT balloon hack, so we put a letter in all of the Early Action admit tubes telling them we wanted them to hack the tubes somehow. Lots of them are great, but this one, from Erin King (MIT '16) in Georgia, is the best."
Keith's note: I sent my old NASA badge to the summit of Mt. Everest [image], so ... I totally understand.
"The Space Florida Sub-Orbital Flight Incentive Program will provide a partial reimbursement for customers to fly research payloads from Florida, equal to one-third of the published list price of an approved flight provider, up to a maximum of $10,000. Space Florida will provide this incentive in order to increase the volume of commercial and academic research payloads that fly from Florida. All flight research considered for the program should have either a terrestrial or space application."
"Session topics range from planetary science, atmospheric science, microgravity sciences (fundamental biology and physics), earth science, and astro/solar physics applications to talks on integration, launch and funding for scientific payloads."
"NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Innovative Partnership Program (IPP) and Earth Science Division will be hosting a Commercial Suborbital Vehicles Workshop at the GSFC on September 7, 2011. The purpose of the proposed workshop is to provide information for Earth and Space scientists about these vehicles capabilities, and to examine and discuss science topics that might be conducted from these platforms."
Keith's 31 Aug note: On 14 August I sent several requests to NASA GSFC PAO asking for information on this meeting including media access. A representative replied "The detailed agenda is still being worked out but it is our intent to invite reporters to the event. The only factor I know of that might prevent reporters from attending the full meeting would be if some part of the presentation or discussion involves information that is of a sensitive/proprietary nature. I expect a media advisory will be issued sometime around the end of this month with full details of the agenda and how media can register."
It has been 2 weeks and I have not received any further information on this event. The event is less than a week away with a long weekend in between. For those people who have not read about this on NASA Watch, this lack of advance notice from NASA is going to decrease the number of people in attendance. I know the reps from these companies - and I have heard them all make their pitches before - and I would be astonished if one company was going to talk about their sensitive/proprietary stuff in front of their competitors. No mention of this meeting is made on the GSFC IPP website, the NASA HQ OCT website, the NASA SMD website, or NASA.gov. Given the recent Progress failure and the increased focus on commercial alternatives for ISS access I simply cannot see how NASA can afford to not make this as open as possible given that COTS and WFF launch facilities are on the agenda.
Keith's 1 Sep update: GSFC PAO finally tells me this morning that a media advisory will be out later today. Hmm, let's see - NASA is going to issue the first public mention of this event on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend - and the event is less than a week later. Talk about a perfect time to quietly announce something that no one will notice - and that many people will skip due to the cost of last minute airline tickets. It is blatantly obvious that GSFC and SMD are not interested in outside scrutiny with regard to this event.
Keith's second 1 Sep update: NASA GSFC PAO finally got around to issuing a media advisory "Media Invited to Commercial Suborbital Vehicle Workshop". But unless I missed something, they never issued a press release or announcement inviting scientists, engineers, and commercial representatives to this meeting - which is the whole point of this event to begin with. All that was issued was an email sent to a small group of individuals several weeks ago - not to the suborbital community as a whole. There is still no mention of this event on any NASA websites. How are the people involved in this area of research supposed to know about this meeting? No public information has been provided so as to allow these people to register and attend. Baffling.
"Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been selected to provide payload flight integration services as part of three suborbital flight provider contracts recently announced by NASA to Virgin Galactic, XCOR and Masten Space Systems. These contracts are an important step forward for the NASA Flight Opportunities Program, funded by NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist and managed by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif., and affirm the need for commercial space access for a range of research and educational applications."
Keith's 24 Aug note: According to a FAA NOTAM (Notice To Airmen): "FDC 1/3552 ZAB TX.. TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS VAN HORN, TX. EFFECTIVE 1108241200 UTC UNTIL 1108241700 UTC. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 91.143 TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT DUE TO ROCKET LAUNCH ACTIVITY WITHIN A 17 NM RADIUS OF 312706N/1044546W OR THE SALT FLAT /SFL/ VORTAC 125 DEGREE RADIAL AT 24.3 NAUTICAL MILES SFC TO 18000 MSL. BLUE ORIGIN LLC, TELEPHONE 253-347-2821, IS IN CHARGE OF THE OPERATION. ALBUQUERQUE /ZAB/ ARTCC, 505-856-4500, IS THE FAA COORDINATION FACILITY."
Keith's 25 Aug update: Well, nothing was apparently launched - and if you go to the FAA NOTAM webpage the request from Blue Origin has mysteriously disappeared.
Reusable Suborbital Market Characterization, Prepared by The Tauri Group for Space Florida March 2011, (PDF) Commercial Space WIki
"Purpose: Define and characterize the markets reusable suborbital vehicles will address
- Define market categories
- Identify market drivers
- Characterize current activities
- Provide basis for future market forecasting (Note that this study is not a forecast)
- Shared understanding improves quality and productivity of industry discourse
- A consistent taxonomy enables communications across the community, with Congress, press, and investors
- Accessible information helps industry participants assess opportunities, plan and coordinate activities, seek funding, and budget"
"NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Innovative Partnership Program (IPP) and Earth Science Division will be hosting a Commercial Suborbital Vehicles Workshop at the GSFC on September 7, 2011. The purpose of the proposed workshop is to provide information for Earth and Space scientists about these vehicles capabilities, and to examine and discuss science topics that might be conducted from these platforms. Suborbital reusable launch vehicles could enable researchers to directly access the mesosphere, lower thermosphere (MLT) region of the atmosphere (50-140 km altitude), repeatedly, many times per day, at low-cost, and at very low velocities in many different environmental locations around the planet (no hypersonic shock)."
The Next Space Race, Newsweek
"To get a peek at how commercial space will prepare its people, I signed up for private astronaut training, a three-day NASTAR certificate course for suborbital researchers. Founded in 2006, NASTAR began as a showcase for its parent company, Environmental Tectonics Corp., a leading maker of flight simulators. In 2010 it won Federal Aviation Administration approval for private space training, the first company to do so. The course remains optional, but regulators may require it as part of a company's license. "We're basically leaving it up to the companies," says George Nield, associate administrator for the FAA's office of commercial space transportation."
Strapping On A Centrifuge: Suborbital Scientist Training, earlier post
"The launch of a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital rocket was successfully conducted at 7:16 a.m. EDT today from NASAs Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch was to test several new rocket and spacecraft technologies."
"Representatives from FAA AST, Washington, DC, conducted the audit. The audit consisted of a review of conformance to the terms of the Safety Approval as well as a review of the STS-400, including operating and safety procedures, operation and maintenance manuals, and inspection and maintenance documentation. Additionally, the use of the STS-400 in the NASTAR Center space training programs was reviewed and several training profiles were observed."
"Payloads selected under this announcement will fly on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs) that are capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km, providing exposure to reduced gravity and near-zero gravity environments. In exchange for the opportunity to fly, the proposer will provide data, designs, processes, and other relevant information to help NASA accomplish its mission."
"F-104 jet fighters just like the ones astronauts trained in for decades will become a more regular part of the skyscape above NASA's Kennedy Space Center as a private company expands its fleet of jets with plans to conduct more research flights, launch very small satellites into space and even take paying passengers into the stratosphere. The developments come four years after the company made its first flight from the Shuttle Landing Facility, or SLF, at Kennedy in April 2007."
"This notice is issued by the NASA/DFRC to post a draft RFP via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties. This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition."
Zero Gravity Corporation Awarded Safety Approval from the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation
"The Safety Approval, granted on April 20, 2011 and in effect for five years, allows ZERO-G to offer reduced gravity parabolic flight profiles to prospective suborbital launch operators to meet the applicable components of the crew qualification and training requirements outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (14 C.F.R. S 460.5). These regulations require crew members to complete training on how to carry out their roles on board or on the ground and to demonstrate the ability to withstand the stresses of spaceflight, which may include high acceleration or deceleration, microgravity, and vibration."
"Masten Space Systems and Space Florida announced today the signing of a $400,000 contract under which Masten will perform a series of demonstration flights of a Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) reusable suborbital launch vehicle from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Under the contract, Masten will complete multiple flights. These operations will serve as a pathfinder to assist Space Florida in developing operational requirements for VTVL vehicles, recommending the optimum operational scenario, and determining the program schedule to achieve launch capability as soon as possible."
"NASA has selected 16 payloads for flights on the commercial Zero-G parabolic aircraft and two suborbital reusable launch vehicles as part of the agency's Flight Opportunities Program. The flights provide opportunities for space technologies to be demonstrated and validated in relevant environments. In addition, these flights foster the development of the nation's commercial reusable suborbital transportation industry. The payloads and teams from ten states and the District of Columbia were selected from applications received in response to a NASA call issued last December. Of the payloads, 12 will ride on parabolic aircraft flights; two on suborbital reusable launch vehicle test flights; and two on both platforms."
"Three days after Discovery 's launch ... two planetary scientists are talking with a group of fellow researchers about what should come next. Sipping his drink, Daniel Durda laments that after half a century, only about 500 people have flown in space. Access to humanity's final frontier is still restricted to people employed by a handful of powerful governments and corporations, plus the occasional joyriding mega-millionaire. "I'd prefer for anyone to be able to go, for any reason they choose," says Durda, of the Boulder, Colorado, branch of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)."
- Video: First Suborbital Scientist Class Trains at NASTAR Center, earlier post
- Videos: Flying SpaceShipTwo in a Centrifuge, earlier post
Keith's note: I will be spending the next three days at the NASTAR Center ( http://www.nastarcenter.com ) undergoing suborbital scientist training. The NASTAR Center is the first FAA accredited facility able to meet the training requirements for commercial human spaceflight, both suborbital and orbital. This training involves classroom activities, altitude chamber sessions, and multiple rides in a centrifuge up to 6Gs simulating a ride aboard Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two. I will be posting updates here and tweeting about this at http://twitter.com/nasawatch We hope to live stream some of us riding a full 6G Virgin Galactic flight on Wednesday. Stay tuned.
"This notice is issued by the NASA/DFRC to post a draft RFP via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties. This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition."
Our views: An emerging market, editorial, Florida Today
"Suborbital flights that would carry passengers, experiments and satellites from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, launching a new job-creation industry here. The potential was the focus of attention Monday at a University of Central Florida conference that brought together industry leaders to discuss ways to advance the initiative. It's a smart move and one that Space Florida, the state's space-development agency, is correctly pressing as part of its strategy to diversify the space industry with the shuttle's retirement imminent."
2011's Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2011), will be held in Orlando, Florida 28 February through 2 March.
"The meeting will also include invited talks by experts in diverse fields that include microgravity sciences, atmospheric science, space life sciences, planetary science, education, and crew training. NSRC-2011 is the place to be to learn how to marry your research, education, or business interests to next-generation suborbital spaceflight. For more information go to http://nsrc.swri.org/"
Space Tourism: One Giant Leap for Researchers, New York Times
"Reflecting the interest in the science community, more than 300 people are registered to attend a conference this week at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, organized by Dr. Stern, to discuss suborbital research. Researchers, Dr. Stern said, "vote with their feet. They go to these meetings."
There will be live updates on NSRC posted on Twitter at @NASAWatch
"At the commencement of the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) being held in Orlando, Florida, XCOR Aerospace announced its initial team of suborbital payload integration specialists who will begin taking orders and facilitating experiment development and integration for commercial, educational and government suborbital research missions aboard XCOR's Lynx reusable suborbital launch vehicle. Capable of up to four flights per day, the Lynx is expected to provide three to four minutes of micro-gravity and/or exposure to the harsh environment of space and the opportunity to investigate largely unknown regions of our upper atmosphere critical to environmental studies."
"The Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) will be held February 28 - March 2, 2011, at The University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space and the capability to carry research and education crew members. They will also carry experiments for technology demonstrations, for scientist in-the-loop research, and for educational/public outreach demonstrations."
More information nsrc.swri.org
Keith's note: Electronic registration closes on Friday (<2 days left)
"A reminder that the Early Bird Registration Deadline is THIS FRIDAY, Jan 21! The conference [DRAFT program] will be held at University of Central Florida Feb 28 - Mar 2, 2011 in the Student Union, Pegasus Ballroom (located in the center of campus). When making your travel plans, please note that the conference begins at 8 am on Mon Feb 28, and concludes early evening Wed Mar 2."
"NASA is seeking proposals from researchers interested in testing new technologies during suborbital flights. The agency also is requesting information from commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicle providers and commercial payload integrators about carrying the technology payloads. The selected payloads will fly on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on suborbital reusable launch vehicles capable of flying to altitudes above 62 miles. The flights will expose the payloads to reduced gravity and near-zero gravity environments."
"As part of their suborbital spaceflight training, Southwest Research Institute researchers and suborbital payload specialists Dr. Alan Stern and Dr. Dan Durda have continued their spaceflight training with a new series of jet fighter flights in F-104 aircraft operated by Starfighters Inc. at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. This new round of SwRI Starfighter flights and ground training took place Nov. 16."
"The Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) will be held February 28 - March 2, 2011, at The University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.. A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space and the capability to carry research and education crew members. They will also carry experiments for technology demonstrations, for scientist in-the-loop research, and for educational/public outreach demonstrations."
Registration for the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2011) is open, and the deadline for abstract submission (23 Nov) is tomorrow. Researchers, educators, and technologists-- reserve your slot to speak by submitting an abstract at nsrc.swri.org
"The Space Studies Board (SSB) was requested by NASA to conduct a review of the suborbital mission capabilities of NASA in the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 (Section 505). The act expresses the sense of Congress that suborbital flight activities, including the use of sounding rockets, aircraft, and high-altitude balloons, and suborbital reusable launch vehicles, offer valuable opportunities to advance science, train the next generation of scientists and engineers, and provide opportunities for participants in the programs to acquire skills in systems engineering and systems integration that are critical to maintaining the nation's leadership in space programs. Further, the act finds it in the national interest to expand the size of NASA's suborbital research program and to consider it for increased funding."
"To my friends in the Press... Since the WSJ chose to cherry-pick and miss-quote my comments to Cong Wolf and since the blogs have taken that to further mischaracterized my comments, I am forwarding the Wolf memo in its entirety, in the hopes that some of this gets corrected."
Space Pioneer Burt Rutan Blasts NASA Plan, WS Journal
"Commercial space pioneer Burt Rutan has sharply criticized Obama administration proposals to outsource key portions of NASA's manned space program to private firms."
The NASTAR Suborbital Scientist Training Program provides space flight physiology training for prospective 'Suborbital Scientist-Astronauts' interested in understanding how to take advantage of emerging low-cost, frequent suborbital 'human-in-the-loop' experiments and Research & Education Mission (REM) opportunities.
ESA and JAXA Present ISS Utilization Plans to NRC Committee, SpacePolicyOnline.com
"The Decadal Survey's task is to identify and prioritize fundamental and applied research to be conducted in microgravity and partial gravity. Determining what facilities are available for that research is an important component of the study. The steering committee heard from Alan Stern, Southwest Research Institute, and Erika Wagner, MIT, on new and emerging launch companies that are marketing suborbital flights for scientific research and education. The companies include Virgin Galactic, Blue Origins, Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR, and Masten Space Systems."