NASA Awards $50 Million to 5 Companies for Commercial Crew Work


NASA has awarded $50 million through funded agreements to further the commercial sector’s capability to support transport of crew to and from low Earth orbit. This step is the first taken by NASA consistent with the president’s direction to foster commercial human spaceflight capabilities.


Blue Origin Moves Forward

blue_originBezos’ space flight project Blue Origin shows signs of life

Blue Origin recently selected three scientific projects — from Purdue University, the University of Central Florida and Louisiana University — for future test flights, though it didn’t specify when the flights would take place. The company will likely respond to a Dec. 4 NASA request for suborbital space flight companies interested in working with the agency on research programs, said Alan Stern, a planetary scientist and former NASA official now consulting for Blue Origin.


New Shepard Experiment to Study Fluid Behavior in Low Gravity

blue_originBy Emil Venere
Purdue University News Service

Purdue University researchers are designing and building an experiment that will operate during a test flight of a new type of reusable rocket to be launched by aerospace company Blue Origin LLC.

The experiment will be used to study how fluids behave in low gravity, providing information that could help engineers design better components for a variety of technologies used both on the Earth and in space, said Steven Collicott, a professor in Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.


Blue Origin to Begin Flights in 2011-12

blue_originSomething I didn’t see last week when looking at Blue Origin’s plans to begin flying experiments, although it is on the website:

Blue Origin expects the first opportunities for experiments requiring an accompanying researcher astronaut to be available in 2012. Flight opportunities in 2011 may be available for autonomous or remotely-controlled experiments on an uncrewed flight test.


Blue Origin: Have Payloads, But When Will It Fly?


My friend Clark Lindsey at Hobby Space found this notice on the Blue Origin page:

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.


Tech Entrepreneurs Fuel Space Tourism With Fortunes

Next Stop For Tech Entrepreneurs: Space Travel
Information Week

The most interesting high tech entrepreneur may also be the most secretive. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon has been building his Blue Origin operation in a remote area of Texas. Blue Origin’s vertical-takeoff vertical-landing rocket ship is being designed to take paying customers on sub orbital space rides. Blue Origin’s timetable has called for commercial trips to get underway next year.


Jeff Bezos on The Daily Show CEO and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos was on The Daily Show With John Stewart on Monday. He was promoting’s new Kindle 2 reader that retails for $359. He didn’t say anything about space, but it was interesting to see him speak in public given the secretive nature of his space project. I mean, Elon and Sir Richard….you can’t get them to shut up.

Watch the full interview.

Alan Stern, Blue Origin Man

In addition to working as Odyssey Moon’s chief scientist and his part-time gig critiquing NASA, Alan Stern seems to have picked up yet another job: evaluating research and education mssions for Jeff Bezos’ secretive Blue Origin company.

The forner NASA science chief is now listed as Blue Origin’s “independent representative for research and education missions” on its website. The company is seeking proposals for its New Shepard suborbital vehicle, which it is currently testing in Texas. (Thanks to Clark Lindsey of Hobby Space for finding this page.)