News

NASA Releases NextSTEP Broad Agency Announcement

Comment

NextStep_logoWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In an effort to stimulate deep space capability development across the aerospace industry, NASA plans to release the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) Broad Agency Announcement.

» View the synopsis here

The BAA will seek proposals for concept studies and technology development projects in three key areas: advanced propulsion, habitation, and small satellites.

NASA has increasingly embraced public-private partnerships to expand the frontiers of knowledge, capability, and opportunities in space. The next step for human spaceflight is the development of deep space exploration capabilities to support more extensive missions in the proving ground — around and beyond cis-lunar space.

An important part of NASA’s strategy is to stimulate the commercial space industry while leveraging those same commercial capabilities through future contracts and public-private partnerships to deliver mission capabilities.

The BAA will be open to non-Government U.S. institutions (companies, universities, nonprofit organizations) and foreign institutions.

Anderson Outlines Plans for Spaceport America

Comments

Highlights of remarks byi New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Christine Anderson at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces.

New Mexico Legislators Look into Spaceport America Finances

Comments
WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

New Mexico legislators spent Monday down in Las Cruces reviewing the finances of Space America. Members of the New Mexico Finance Authority Oversight Committee discovered that more had stayed the same than had changed in recent months.

Here’s a summary of the key points:

  • Virgin Galactic will likely not begin flying paying passengers for at least another 8 months. It’s not really clear how realistic that goal is; much depends on how upcoming test flights using a brand new motor go in Mojave.
  • Local taxpayers are partially on the hook for helping to keep the $218.5 million, taxpayer-funded spaceport operational until Virgin Galactic begins commercial flights. Currently, the $218.5 million taxpayer-funded spaceport is being used to launch sounding rockets and shoot commercials for Land Rover.
  • Operations are being partially funded from excess tax revenues levied in Dona Ana and Sierra counties that could be otherwise spent paying off spaceport bonds or making infrastructure improvements such as paving a southern road to the spaceport.
  • The $14.5 million that authorities have put aside to pave the road isn’t remotely enough to do the do a full paving job.
  • Construction on the 24-mile road – which will provide more direct access from Las Cruces – is likely to begin next summer after the Bureau of Land Management completes its review of the project.
  • SpaceX is about five months from being able to conduct flight tests of its reusable Falcon 9 vehicle at the spaceport.
  • A new, unidentified tenant is expected to begin flights of whatever it flies sometime during fiscal year 2016.

Learn more below:

Judge Knocks Down SNC’s Motion for Commercial Crew Work Stoppage

12 Comments
Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

A Federal Court of Claims judge has rejected a motion by the Sierra Nevada Corporation to re-impose a stop-work order on NASA’s commercial crew program, according to press reports. It is not immediately clear why Judge Marian Blank Horn rejected the motion.

NASA has initially ordered Boeing and SpaceX to stop work on commercial crew contracts the agency awarded the two companies while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed an appeal by Sierra Nevada, which did not receive an award.

However, NASA later lifted the order, saying any delay would imperil efforts to keep the commercial crew program on schedule and meet its commitments for operating the International Space Station. Sierra Nevada subsequently appealed that decision.

The GAO has until Jan. 5 to rule on Sierra Nevada’s appeal of the commercial crew awards.

Virgin Galactic Now Has More Land Rovers Than Spaceships

Comments
First Discovery Sport rolls off the assembly line. (Cedit: Land Rover)

First Discovery Sport rolls off the assembly line. (Cedit: Land Rover)

Virgin Galactic has received the first production vehicle of Land Rover’s Discovery Sport vehicle after it rolled off the assembly line in Halewood, England last week. The vehicle was sent to Virgin Galactic headquarters in London, Land Rover announced.

This brings to at least six the number of Land Rover vehicles Virgin Galactic has received under a partnership and promotional deal between the two companies that was announced earlier this year. Five Land Rovers have been seen at Virgin Galactic’s production and test center in Mojave, Calif.

Continue reading ‘Virgin Galactic Now Has More Land Rovers Than Spaceships’

Fox Plans Billionaire Space Race TV Drama

Comments
Richard Branson chats with David Letterman (Credit: CBS Television)

Richard Branson chats with David Letterman (Credit: CBS Television)

This ought to be interesting:

Fox is going for a new take on space race with a drama from writer Eli Attie (The West Wing), Pete Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 and 20th Century Fox TV. The untitled project, from 20th Century Fox TV where Attie is under an overall deal, has received a script commitment with penalty. It falls under a deal Film 44 inked with the Fox network at the beginning of the summer. Written by Attie, the present-day drama us about a space race — but between people instead of nations, as two wildly ambitious egos with a long and ugly personal history battle to control the future of space exploration. Attie, Berg and Aubrey executive produce.

Gosh, I wonder who those guys could be based on? Branson….Bezos…Bigelow…or that other guy…what’s his name…. Elon Musk! Yeah, him.

Boeing Completes CDR on CST-100 Spacecraft

13 Comments
Artist concept of CST-100 and Atlas V on launch pad. (Credit: Boeing)

Artist concept of CST-100 and Atlas V on launch pad. (Credit: Boeing)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket.

Continue reading ‘Boeing Completes CDR on CST-100 Spacecraft’

This Week on The Space Show

Comments

spaceshowlogo
This week on The Space Show with David Livingston:

Monday, Oct. 20, , 2014: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. PAUL SPUDIS to discuss his recent postings on www.spudislunarresources.com/blog and http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon.

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): WAYNE WHIITE, space attorney, returns to discuss space property rights and his new proposal for creating them.

Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT):TBD. We welcome BRIAN ALTMEYER regarding his recent Space Review article, “The Strange Contagion Of a Dream.”

Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT) We. welcome space attorney MICHAEL LISTNER to the program to discuss the proposed NASA Air Traffic Control System for drones & much more.

Ball Aerospace Green Propellant Infusion Mission to Host 3 DOD Experiments

Comment
Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

Artist rendition of NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) that will demonstrate and test the capabilities of a high-performance, non-toxic, “green” fuel on orbit. (Credit: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.)

BOULDER, Colo (Ball Aerospace PR) – The NASA and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) will fly three Defense Department experimental hosted payloads when it launches in 2016. GPIM’s mission will validate a non-toxic fuel for future satellite missions, which could replace hydrazine and provide additional performance benefits.

The Department of Defense (DOD) Space Experiments Review Board (SERB) selected the three payloads to fly on GPIM. The SERB chooses experiments based on a high potential to provide new or enhanced warfighting capabilities for the DOD.

Continue reading ‘Ball Aerospace Green Propellant Infusion Mission to Host 3 DOD Experiments’

NASA Engineers Work to Perfect Aeroshell Technology

Comments
NASA researchers have tested an almost 20-foot inflatable spacecraft heat shield in wind tunnels and laboratories. (Credit:  NASA/Kathy Barnstorff)

NASA researchers have tested an almost 20-foot inflatable spacecraft heat shield in wind tunnels and laboratories. (Credit: NASA/Kathy Barnstorff)

HAMPTON, Virg. (NASA PR) — For most of us it’s hard to imagine that something that is inflated can survive the high heat and friction of space travel, especially atmospheric entry.

But a group of NASA engineers, primarily based at NASA’s Langley Research Center, have been working to develop inflatable spacecraft aeroshell technology for more than a decade.

Continue reading ‘NASA Engineers Work to Perfect Aeroshell Technology’