Space Florida, NanoRacks Partner for ISS Research Competition

Space Florida PR — Space Florida, the State’s spaceport authority and aerospace economic development organization, and NanoRacks, LLC, have announced a partnership to host the Space Florida International Space Station (ISS) Research Competition. As part of this program, NanoRacks will provide up to eight Payload Box Units (NanoLabs) that will fly payloads to the ISS, with scientific research that will be conducted on board the U.S. National Lab. Space Florida will cover the costs of research payload transportation to the ISS for the eight winning applicants.


Mitt Invokes Neil Armstrong in Acceptance Speech, Ignores Space Policy

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Last night was a rather eventful one in Tampa, Florida. Clint Eastwood spent about 11 minutes berating an empty chair, startling everyone watching in the arena and on TV. There were two questions on everyone’s minds: what had that poor chair had done to deserve that,and why had Eastwood spent 82 years hiding his brilliant improvisational skills. (Clint, hit the comedy clubs! Or do a Rat Pack style show with Mickey Rooney, Jerry Seinfeld and Betty White. That would be such an awesome train wreck!)

Clint is always hard act to follow, no more so than on Thursday night. But, Mitt Romney gave it the old boarding school try. In his acceptance speech last night, the Republican Presidential nominee paid tribute to Neil Armstrong and America’s can-do spirit:

I was born in the middle of the century in the middle of the country, a classic baby boomer. It was a time when Americans were returning from war and eager to work. To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. When President Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon, the question wasn’t whether we’d get there, it was only when we’d get there.


NASA Administrator Bolden’s Statement on Neil Armstrong’s Memorial Service

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Today, we pay tribute to a pioneering American; an explorer, a patriot and an individual who, with ‘one small step,’ achieved an impossible dream. Family, friends and colleagues of Neil’s gathered to reflect on his extraordinary life and career, and offer thanks for the many blessings he shared with us along the way.

His remarkable achievements will be forever remembered, and his grace and humility will always be admired. As we take the next giant leap forward in human exploration of our vast universe, we stand on the shoulders of this brave, reluctant hero. Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon paved the way for others to be the ‘first’ to step foot on another planet. We have an obligation to carry on this uniquely American legacy.

A grateful nation offers praise and salutes a humble servant who answered the call and dared to dream.

Godspeed: Images From Neil Armstrong’s Memorial Service

Apollo 11 Astronauts Michael Collins, left, and Buzz Aldrin talk at a private memorial service celebrating the life of Neil Armstrong, Aug. 31, 2012, at the Camargo Club in Cincinnati. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, died Saturday, Aug. 25. He was 82. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Carol Armstrong, wife of Neil Armstrong, and Piper Van Wagenen, one of 10 grandchildren, are seen during a memorial service celebrating the life of Neil Armstrong, Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, at the Camargo Club in Cincinnati. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Piper Van Wagenen, one of Neil Armstrong’s 10 grandchildren, is seen during preparation of a memorial service celebrating the life of Neil Armstrong, Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, at the Camargo Club in Cincinnati. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)


Longer ISS Stays to Open Up Space Tourism Seats on Soyuz

International Space Station

Jim Oberg reports that NASA is preparing to approve year-long stays aboard the International Space Station, a move that would open up tourism seats aboard Soyuz transport vehicles:

NASA will shortly announce plans to double the mission duration of some astronaut expeditions to the International Space Station, NBC News has learned. Beginning as early as 2015, some of the astronauts and cosmonauts sent into orbit will remain there not the usual six months, but for a full year.


Armstrong Service Will be Private, National Service Being Planned for Washington

Neil Armstrong’s family has released information about the memorial service on Friday morning in Cincinnati.

  • A private service will begin at 11 a.m. EDT
  • No media will be allowed inside
  • Still photos will be taken during the service by NASA photographer Bill Ingalls and posted later at
  • Attendees will include NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and former Apollo 8 lunar module pilot Bill Anders
  • Plans are underway to conduct a national service in Washington in the next two weeks.

AIAA Scholarship Fund Honors Neil Armstrong

The family of Neil Armstrong has added the AIAA’s Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund to the list of charitable funds to which donors can contribute in honor of the late Apollo 11 commander, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 82.

The full list is below.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund
AIAA Foundation
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Suite 500
Reston, VA  20191

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Neil Armstrong New Frontiers Initiative
PO Box 5202
Cincinnati, OH 45201-5202

Telluride Foundation
Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund
620 E. Colorado, Suite 106
PO Box 4222
Telluride, CO 81435

Boeing Tests CST-100 Parachute Protector

The Boeing Company performs a jettison test of its forward heat shield, which will protect the parachutes of the company’s CST-100 spacecraft during trips to and from low Earth orbit. (Credit: Boeing)

Kennedy Space Center, Fl. (NASA PR) —
The Boeing Company recently completed a jettison test of its forward heat shield, which will protect the parachutes of the company’s CST-100 spacecraft during future missions to and from low Earth orbit. The forward heat shield jettison will start the parachute deployment sequence and provide a safe landing for the capsule and its crew members. The test was part of Boeing’s work supporting its funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2).

Khrunichev Struggles With Upper Stage Quality

Following the failure of a Proton rocket earlier this month, Khrunichev published figures on its launches and success rate for the past five years to correct what it saw as erroneous information circulating in the media.

The data and analysis below is based on that information. I have added success rate percentages, rewritten Khrunichev’s information to make it more readable, and added my own analysis.

The overall picture is one of a company struggling with quality control on its own upper stages, with the resulting loss of about 10 percent of its launches.


NASA Completes Maximum Parachute Test For Orion Spacecraft

A dart-shaped test vehicle that is used to simulate Orion’s parachute compartment descends above the skies of the U.S. Yuma Army Proving Ground in Arizona. Engineers were testing the maximum pressure Orion’s chutes might face when returning from exploration missions. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — NASA Tuesday successfully completed another parachute test of its Orion spacecraft high above the skies of the U.S. Yuma Army Proving Ground in southwestern Arizona. The test examined the maximum pressure Orion’s parachutes might face when returning from exploration missions.

Orion will be the most advanced spacecraft ever designed and carry astronauts farther into space than ever before. It will provide emergency abort capability, sustain astronauts during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space.


Space Frontier Foundation: Republicans the Party of Big Government Space

NYACK, N.Y. (SFF PR) — Today, the Republican Party released its 2012 platform, which included a provision entitled “America’s Future in Space: Continuing This Quest.” The non-partisan Space Frontier Foundation issued the following statement in response:

NASA seems to be one Big Government program many Republicans love. The GOP platform criticizes the federal government as “bloated, antiquated and unresponsive to taxpayers” but has nothing but hackneyed praise for NASA, and doesn’t even mention the increasing role of the private sector.  The authors of this platform must imagine they still live in the Cold War of the 1960s, when only governments launched payloads and people into space.


Republican Party Space Policy Focuses on NASA

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

The Republican Platform — a document that lays out what the party stands for in the upcoming Presidential election — includes a brief passage on the nation’s space program. The section is largely focused on NASA and the need to maintain American leadership in this area for the purposes of competitiveness, technological progress, and national security. There is no mention of commercial space nor any specific proposals on programs and initiatives. Nor does it contain any criticism of the Obama Administration.

This vagueness is largely in line with Mitt Romney’s approach to space, which has been to attack the Obama Administration as disastrous while offering no specifics on what he would change.

Read the space section below.


Armstrong Honored on Digital Billboards

NEW YORK (Clear Channel Outdoor PR) — Starting today, Clear Channel Outdoor will honor one of our nation’s greatest heroes and a man who lived a humble, yet heroic life, with a memorial on every one of the company’s 963 digital billboards in 37 different metropolitan areas – including Columbus and Cleveland in Mr. Armstrong’s home state of Ohio.

Neil Armstrong passed away on Saturday at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio. The memorial honors him using his most famous quote when he first stepped onto the moon; “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The memorial makes one small edit to honor Mr. Armstrong, “That’s one small step for a hero, one giant leap for mankind.”

“Neil Armstrong was a true American hero who inspired an entire generation to strive for great things and to be the best we can be,” said Rocky Sisson, Chief Revenue Officer for Clear Channel Outdoor. “We hope this small gesture to remember Neil Armstrong will help celebrate the remarkable life of this man and help inspire even more young people to reach for the stars.”

Video: A Closer Look at AdamsWorks

A closer look at AdamsWorks, a Colorado company that is building the cockpit for XCOR’s Lynx space plane and the fuselage for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser shuttle.

XCOR Selects AdamsWorks to Build Lynx Cockpit

Mojave, California and Centennial, Colorado, August 28, 2012 (XCOR PR)
XCOR Aerospace announced today that the Lynx Mark I suborbital reusable launch vehicle (RLV) carbon fiber cockpit will be manufactured by AdamWorks of Centennial, Colorado.

The Lynx Mark I is the prototype of the Lynx family of suborbital RLVs from XCOR Aerospace. The Lynx suborbital vehicles will seat an astronaut pilot and a spaceflight participant, or an astronaut pilot and large scientific payload. A production model of the Lynx, designated “Lynx Mark II” is designed to fly to space up to four times per day with similar payload and significantly improved performance.