Elon Musk’s Divorce Now on TV

SpacX Founder Elon Musk

CNBC’s new program, Divorce Wars, looks into the high-profile split of SpaceX Founder Elon Musk and his novelist wife, Justine. The show premiered on Tuesday but has later airings in the United States and around the world.

The Huffington Post reports that although Musk has already remarried, divorce wrangling is still ongoing:

Justine is challenging the validity of a post-nuptial agreement she signed six weeks after their wedding, which states that everything she and her ex-husband acquired before and during their marriage was separate property and would remain separate property in the event of divorce.

“At the time [I signed the agreement] I really trusted my husband, I trusted that he wouldn’t do anything that would put me in harm’s way,” Justine said.


United States
Sunday, April 3rd 11p ET

Saturday, April 2nd 10p SIN/HK
Sunday, April 3rd 2a | 9p SIN/HK
Monday, April 4th 4a SIN/HK

Australia / New Zealand
Saturday, April 2nd 10p AEDT
Sunday, April 3rd 6a | 1p | 9p AEDT
Monday, April 4th 7a AEDT

Seven Satellite Companies Create Hosted Payload Alliance

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Seven satellite industry companies have agreed to form an industry alliance to increase awareness of the benefits of hosted government payloads on commercial satellites.

The Hosted Payload Alliance (HPA) will serve as a bridge between government and private industry to foster open communication between potential users and providers of hosted payload capabilities.

HPA Steering Committee members are Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, Intelsat General Corporation, Iridium Communications Inc., Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Orbital Sciences Corporation, SES WORLD SKIES U.S. Government Solutions, and Space Systems/Loral.


SFF: Tell Congress to Back Off on Space Launch System

A note from Space Frontier Foundation Chairman Bob Werb urging NewSpace proponents to light up Congressional phone lines in opposition to Congress’s plans for NASA.

Please remind your Representative & Senators they are not rocket scientists!
Let NASA compete all the best ideas for a Space Launch System…
Don’t mandate an unaffordable/unsustainable “Senate Launch System”!

Six months into Fiscal Year 2011 the U.S. Congress is still trying to write a budget for a year that’s half over.  Down in the weeds of the final “continuing resolution” (CR) will be NASA’s budget for human space exploration.   The House-passed CR provides flexibility for NASA to choose the most affordable and sustainable approach.  The Senate’s draft CR, which didn’t even pass the Senate, told NASA to build a 130-ton heavy-lift launch vehicle right away… using current contractors and 1970s era technology.


Table: U.S. Launcher Comparison

Above is a comparison table showing American rockets that are in operation, in development, and proposed. Most of this information is taken from FAA documents. I have added information for Taurus II, which is set to debut in September, and the proposed Falcon 9 Heavy based on company documentation.

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Taurus II is a medium-launcher that is set to fill the market void is being left by the pending retirement of ULA’s Delta II rocket. The company has contracts to launch 8 resupply missions to the International Space Station. The figures for it are the maximum payload from Wallops Flight Facility using the most capable variant of the booster.

SpaceX’s proposed Falcon 9 Heavy would be the most powerful American booster if it is built, being able to lift almost 10 metric tons more than Delta IV Heavy. SpaceX is advertising the rocket at $95 million, which would be significantly lower than the largest version of the Delta IV.

California Space Authority Backs Export Reforms

The California Space Authority, an industry trade group, lobbied this week on behalf of President Barack Obama’s effort to reform restrictive export laws that industry officials are costing Americans jobs and destroying U.S. competitiveness in the lucrative high-tech markets, including satellites.


NASA’s Contribution to California’s Economy: $17.7 Billion

A P3 Navy aircraft with Hangar One at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. (Copyright 2008: Douglas Messier)

NASA contributes $3.6 billion in direct contracts and an additional $14.1 billion in in-direct jobs to the Golden State through its three field centers, according to the California Space Authority. The agency directly employs more than 7,100 with an annual payroll in excess of $900 million.


Video: Mars500 Crew’s Adventures on the Red Planet

The highlight of the Mars500 was landing to Mars. Diego and Romain are showing in this long video all what happened during exiting February at the Mars500 modules.

The Mars500 crew arrived virtually at Mars on 1 February and – as the mission description goes – docked there with a lander, found it full of cargo and transferred it to their spacecraft. After careful preparations three crewmembers (Diego Urbina, Alexandr Smoleevskiy and Wang Yue) entered the lander on 8 February and they ‘landed’ on Mars. Romain Charles, Alexey Sitev and Sukhrob Kamolov continued to ‘orbit’ Mars and followed their friends as they made three ‘Marswalks’, then rejoined them on 27 February after ‘docking’ with the orbital vehicle.

This video is a compilation of the material they recorded during this key period of the Mars500 isolation study.

Video: A Peek Inside SpaceShipTwo

A BBC reporter became the first journalist to have a look inside Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. With the vehicle still in glide tests, there’s not that much to see but it’s interesting nonetheless. I note that he puts the first commercial flights as being hopefully in 2013. If he’s right, it means Virgin Galactic is within its rolling 18-24 month window. Still.

California Space Industry Lobbies Congress for NASA, Export Reform and STEM Ed

The California Space Authority, a non-profit industry group, has been on Capitol Hill this week lobbying officials on behalf of the Golden State’s space industry, which makes up 22 percent of the global space market. CSA is pursuing a broad agenda that includes requested Congressional actions regarding NASA, DoD, export reform, hosted payloads, satellite procurement, and education.

A summary of CSA’s main lobbying goals, excerpted from the authority’s point papers, is shown after the break.


Congress to NASA: Thou Shalt Build Our Rocket

Two prominent Republican Congressmen slammed NASA for delays and violating the law in its approach to the 2012 budget by reducing funding for a heavy-lift vehicle and the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (Orion) at the expense of spending more money on commercial space options.

“The debate is over,” said Rep. Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “This act is the law. NASA has its direction. The administration needs to acknowledge this, and act accordingly….

“But as we have seen from the FY2012 budget request, the administration is trying to ignore the thrust of this act. We expect NASA to proceed with the uninterrupted development of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) that builds upon – and takes maximum advantage of – the significant work and capabilities that already exist,” Hall added.


CSA Abandons Effort to Locate Space Center at Vandenberg, Evaluates Alternate Site

CSA PR — SANTA MARIA, CALIF. — The Board of Directors for the California Space Authority (CSA), a statewide non-profit organization,  has voted to terminate the organization’s pursuit of a long-term lease at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB).  CSA began its pursuit of an Air Force lease for development of the California Space Center on VAFB in February 2004.

The CSA Board of Directors also voted to explore the possibility of moving the California Space Center to a site within the City of Lompoc.

The Space Review Looks at NASA, Cislunar Space

This week in The Space Review….

“We’ve got to move on”
As the 2011 fiscal year reaches the halfway mark this week, NASA still lacks a final budget for the fiscal year as well as a firm plan for its future human spaceflight plans. Jeff Foust reports on how the continued debate and lack of action has some in industry increasingly concerned.

Picking sides in cislunar space
Many space exploration architectures have identified the two Lagrange points near the moon, L1 and L2, as promising stepping stones for future human missions, but which one is better? Dan Lester examines the tradeoffs of going to one point versus the other, and the benefits of either.

The flight of the Big Bird (part 4)
Dwayne Day concludes his history of the KH-9 HEXAGON reconnaissance satellite program with a look at its ill-fated final flight and its overall contribution to the nation’s security.

India’s ABM test: a validated ASAT capability or a paper tiger?
Earlier this month India tested an ABM that officials claimed could also provide the country with an anti-satellite capability. Michael Listner explores how serious India may be in developing its own ASAT.

Review: Spacesuit
While essential to human spaceflight, the spacesuit hasn’t gotten the attention that people, rockets, and spacecraft have received over the decades. Jeff Foust reviews a new book that puts the development of the spacesuit, in particular the one used for the Apollo missions, into a technical and cultural perspective.

Feds Broaden Recruitment Effort for Laid Off Shuttle Workers

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

The Office of Personnel Management has directed federal chief human capital officers to broaden their recruitment efforts to include aerospace workers being put out of work by the end of the space shuttle. In essence, other federal agencies will make a greater effort to recruit workers with relevant skills.