Russians Excelling at Killing Creatures in Space Lately

Foton M4 capsule after landing. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Foton M4 capsule after landing. (Credit: Roscosmos)

It can’t be easy being either a gecko or a deputy prime minister in Russia these days.

If you’re a gecko, the chances are that some idiot scientist is going to stick you in a capsule and launch you into space with a bunch of other geckos. They will stick a camera in there and film you having space sex.

If that’s not humiliating enough, the chances of you coming back alive from such a trip is roughly 50-50 because the engineering geniuses who designed the spacecraft don’t seem to know what the hell they’re doing.

Continue reading ‘Russians Excelling at Killing Creatures in Space Lately’

Video: Garrett Reisman’s Presentation on SpaceX Programs


Video Caption: On August 27, 2014, former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman participated in the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) teleconference. Now the DragonRider Program Manager for SpaceX, Reisman presented a slide show on SpaceX commercial spaceflight.

The slide show and teleconference audio recording are available for download at:…

In this video, I’ve matched the slides to the audio for your convenience.

Visit our web site at We’re on Twitter at @SpaceKSCBlog.

SpaceX Files Appeals to Blue Origin’s Patent to Land Rockets on Barges


Blue Origin Sea Landing 2
SpaceX has filed two appeals to Blue Origin’s patent on landing rockets on sea-going barges. The patent was granted earlier this year.

SpaceX, which plans to initially land the first stage of its reusable Falcon 9 rocket on a barge, says that the patent award should be overturned because the landing techniques described were already well known:

The reusable launch vehicle techniques described in Section IV above were known to persons of ordinary skill in the art by at least the late 1990s, but this fact went largely unnoticed by the patent owner during the original prosecution of the ‘321 patent. The Background portion of the ‘321 patent pays lip service to the existence of prior art reusable launch vehicles (RLVs), but does not describe them in any detail. Nor does the specification identify any specific drawback of existing RLVs that the alleged invention seeks to address.

The ‘321 patent instead attempts to lay claim over the technique described by Ishijima in 1998 of landing a reusable space launch vehicle on a “sea-going platform,” such as a “free-floating, ocean-going barge” or other vessel.

You can download the two appeals below:


Rogozin Celebrates Return of Dead Space Geckos


From the files of the Spoke Too Soon Department, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin celebrated the return of the Foton M4 capsule before waiting to find out whether its star passengers, five space geckos, were still alive.

Why exactly is this guy in charge of the Russian space industry?

Swiss Space Systems, SpacePharma to Develop Life Science Communications System


Swiss_Space_Systems_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., September 2, 2014 (S3 & SpacePharma PR) – S3 USA Operations (Florida), Inc., a division of Swiss aerospace company Swiss Space Systems – S3, and SpacePharma R&D Lts (Israel) a fully owned subsidiary of Swiss SpacePharma SA, which specializes in solutions for medical experiments in microgravity, announce today having been selected as winners in a prize awarded by Space Florida in the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership RFP for the development of a pioneering 2-way communications platform. This platform enables live data transfer between microgravity experiments onboard a Zero Gravity aircraft and a ground station.

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Canadian Aerospace Summit Boasts Strong Lineup


Ottawa, Ont. (AIAC PR) 
– NASA, the Pentagon, Boeing, and Bell Helicopter Textron Canada are among the top-tier industry and government leaders who will be speaking at the Canadian Aerospace Summit in Ottawa this November.

“Our lineup of speakers at this year’s Summit is very impressive,” said Jim Quick, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC), which hosts the annual event. “The Summit is focused on equipping aerospace executives and their teams from around the world to deliver results in a global market. We are very pleased to offer presenters with such a vast range of experience and expertise to our attendees.”

Continue reading ‘Canadian Aerospace Summit Boasts Strong Lineup’

This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Sept. 1, 2014: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): No show today due to Labor Day holiday. Have a great holiday everyone!

2. Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome JAMES (JIM) FAIST, Vice President, Military Aerospace for Schafer Corp. James has over 30 years of experience in the aerospace industry and has strong expertise in space systems, military combat aircraft, advanced radar systems, electronic warfare, air-air and air-ground weapons, communications, system engineering, and military operations. In his capacity as Vice President, Military Aerospace, James is responsible for the military space related programs across the company with an emphasis on missile defense systems, high energy laser/optics, and new small satellite and rocket innovations.

3. Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12;30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome back LORETTA HALL regarding her newest book, “Space Pioneers In Their Own Words.” .

4. Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). We welcome back LOUISE RIOFRIO to discuss her new book, “The Speed of Light.”

Russian Space Geckos Die in Space

Foton M4 capsule after landing. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Foton M4 capsule after landing. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Sad news to report from Russia after the Foton M4 capsule landed on Monday:

Every last one of Russia’s famed reptilian cosmonauts, known affectionately as the ”sex geckos” owing to the carnal nature of their space voyage, has died, the Federal Space Agency revealed Monday.

The geckos had been on a two-month mission launched to facilitate research on the effects of zero-gravity on reproductive systems.

Last week, Roscosmos announced abruptly that the mission had reached completion earlier than anticipated — after a mere 44 days…

“All the geckos, unfortunately, died,” the statement said, adding that the exact date, time and cause of death will be determined by specialists in Moscow, the Federal Space Agency said in a joint news release with the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute for Medical-Biological Problems on Monday.

In happier news, the gecko’s fellow space-travelers — a team of flies — survived the flight and reproduced successfully, the statement said.

Read the full story.

Heat Shield Installed on First Orion Spacecraft

Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians dressed in clean-room suits install a back shell tile panel onto the Orion crew module. (Credit:  NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

Inside the Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians dressed in clean-room suits install a back shell tile panel onto the Orion crew module. (Credit:NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The heat shield on NASA’s Orion spacecraft gets all the glory when it comes to protecting the spacecraft from the intense temperature of reentry. Although the blunt, ablative shield will see the highest temperatures – up to 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit on its first flight this December – the rest of the spacecraft is hardly left in the cold.

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August Space News Round Up


Below is a roundup of major space news for the month of August by category, company and space agency. The highlights include:

  • NASA’s commercial crew continued to make progress, with Boeing completing all of its milestones;
  • SpaceX made more news for what it blew up and got sued over than what it launched into orbit;
  • FAA granted approval for the construction of the first commercial spaceport by SpaceX in Texas;
  • Leadership changes came to United Launch Alliance, U.S. Air Force Space Command, and a wide swath of the Russian space industry;
  • Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites completed SpaceShipTwo’s 30th glide flight, promising powered tests soon;
  • Orbital Sciences Corporation completed its third Cygnus mission to the International Space Station;
  • Russians botched yet another launch, pissing off the European Commission this time;
  • International Launch Services and Sea Launch both retrenched in the face of competition and their own launch failures; and,
  • European Space Agency conducted the first ever rendezvous with a comet.

Continue reading ‘August Space News Round Up’