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NASA and Commercial Partners Review Summer of Advancements


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – NASA’s spaceflight experts in the Commercial Crew Program (CCP) met throughout July with aerospace partners to review increasingly advanced designs, elements and systems of the spacecraft and launch vehicles under development as part of the space agency’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) and Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) initiatives.

Blue Origin, The Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX are partners with NASA in these initiatives to develop a new generation of safe, reliable, and cost-effective crew space transportation systems to low-Earth orbit.

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Boeing Completes Final Two Commercial Crew Milestones

Commercial interior of the Boeing Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) next-generation manned space capsule, (Credit: Boeing)

Commercial interior of the Boeing Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) next-generation manned space capsule, (Credit: Boeing)

HOUSTON, Aug. 21, 2014 (Boeing PR) –  Boeing [NYSE: BA] recently completed the Phase Two Spacecraft Safety Review of its Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft and the Critical Design Review (CDR) of its integrated systems, meeting all of the company’s Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) milestones on time and on budget.

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Swiss Space Systems Seeking Investors

SOAR spaceplane atop an A-300. (Credit: S3)

SOAR spaceplane atop an A-300. (Credit: S3)

PAYERNE, Switzerland, August 20, 2014 (S3 PR) -- Swiss aerospace company Swiss Space Systems – S3 aims to become the world leader in the small satellite launch segment, a market bound for impressive growth estimated at over $ 240 billion by 2020, with over 200 satellites expected to be launched to orbit every year. S3 is now officially announcing ongoing and upcoming discussions with prospective financial and strategic investors to further strengthen its position of European leader in this booming market.

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Space Travel Alliance to Offer Variety of Services


space_travel_allianceKIRUNA, Sweden (STA PR) — Space Travel Alliance (STA) is a new Swedish venture aiming to make the dream of space discovery a reality to mankind with the vision to become the premier European space travel company. Operating from Spaceport Sweden, STA will offer commercial suborbital spaceflights for tourism, research, development and education, astronaut training and space adventures.

“We are at the dawn of a new space era and with Space Travel Alliance we seek to leverage Sweden’s rich space heritage and launch not only spaceships but also new careers and contribute to regional development”, says Karin Nilsdotter, CEO of Space Travel Alliance.

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DSI Opens Lab in Silicon Valley


dsi_logoMOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) – Deep Space last month opened a lab and office at the NASA Ames Research Park at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley, and expanded its staff. The new facility provides space to begin assembly of the company’s initial spacecraft for an exciting project to be announced next month, with room to expand. The new location enhances the visibility of Deep Space with the NASA-Ames leadership for partnering and contracting. Ames is NASA’s lead center for small spacecraft and hosts a number of agency experts in commercial space. The new facility is in close proximity to technology-savvy investors, partners and a skilled technology workforce.

Deep Space also is growing its team with several new hires and research collaborators. Colorado-based Rhonda Stevenson is now Chief Sales and Promotions Officer, starting with the revamp of the Deep Space By Design retail web site and also covering games, apps, and retail product licensing.

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Brevard County Primary Election Could Affect Economic Development


Brevard_County_SealA political update from the Florida Space Development Council.

Space Coast Economic Development Efforts at Risk in Election

August 14, 2014 – State-level support for economic development is important, but it is only part of the story when it comes to inducing companies to relocate or expand in the state. Local governments are essential providers of financial incentives, and can be key players for the state’s outreach and marketing to targeted industries. Florida’s Space Coast has been among the state’s most aggressive and successful communities for economic development, as evidenced by the vibrant aerospace/defense industry in the Melbourne area.

So, the Aug. 26 Primary election of Brevard County commissioners is of concern to economic development advocates who hope the county will step up its efforts to attract new space and aerospace businesses in the wake of SpaceX’s decision to move its commercial launch operations to Texas. Some commission candidates, if elected, are expected to seek deep cuts to the county’s economic development budget, a prospect that should worry residents eager for space industry expansion.

Some 15 candidates are competing for two open commission seats. Click here for a series of interviews with many of them. FSDC will not endorse any candidates, but we do urge everyone to pay attention, learn about the candidates, and vote on Aug. 26 (or before with early voting.

Khrunichev Overhaul to Cost Mega Rubles

Holy shi'ski! The go KABOOMSKI! (Credit: Tsenki TV)

A Khrunichev Poton booster launches a satellite into the ground at Baikonur Cosmodrome, (Credit: Tsenki TV)

So, just how bad off are things at accident prone Khrunichev? Try 30 billion rubes ($825 million) worth of bad off.

That’s how much Russian officials estimate it will cost to overhaul the venerable rocket producer, which has been responsible for a series of Proton launch failures over the past four years.

And that’s just a preliminary estimate. Who knows what else will crop up as officials delve deeper into the innards of the troubled company.

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Firefly Teams with ANSYS, Texas Advanced Computing Center


firefly_space_systems_logoHAWTHORNE, Calif., August 20, 2014 (Firefly PR) -- FIREFLY SPACE SYSTEMS, ANSYS, Inc. and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin, home to the Stampede supercomputer, team up in the design of next-generation of rockets.

Firefly Space Systems is building the world’s lowest-cost, small satellite delivery system. Announced today, Firefly’s initiative with ANSYS and TACC will enable Firefly to accurately and rapidly progress through its engineering development process as it moves closer to its first launch.

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Results of the NASA is Not Nominal Poll


NASA_Not_Nominal_Reasons_PollIn a recent poll, Parabolic Arc’s readers had very strong opinions about why the U.S. space program is not nominal.

Congress: ‘enuf said topped the list with 121 votes. Although readers were not give the opportunity to explain why they thought the venerable was doing a bad job, it’s most likely that it has repeated refused to fully fund requests for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Voters were not quite as critical of the Lack of White House leadership in space, which nonetheless came in third with 83 votes.

Just above that was Space Launch System: Deep Space Money Hole, with 89 votes.

Orion: a vehicle to nowhere garnered 56 votes or 31 percent of the total, indicating less criticism of that program than the rocket that will carry it into deep space.

NASA’s Lame ass Asteroid Retrieval Mission and No focus on return to the moon were tied for fifth place with 47 votes each, which represented 26 percent of the total vote.

Too many projects, too little money came in just below those two reasons with 46 votes.

Only eight voters believed that commercial crew is a dead end.

A big thank you to all those who voted. If you haven’t already done so, please vote in our current poll about Elon Musk’s fear of the upcoming Robocalypse.

Remember: Vote early! Vote often! Just vote, dammit! Vote!

Space Florida Sets Boeing Commercial Crew Rent

High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

High Bay of KSC facility used to manufacture Boeing CST-100 spacecraft.

Florida Today reports that Space Florida will charge Boeing up to $1 million per year in rent for facilities at the Kennedy Space Center where the company would assemble commercial crew vehicles.

The agreement is contingent upon Boeing winning a contract under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to build the CST-100 spacecraft, which would transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. NASA is expected to announce the next round of program funding soon.

The 10-year lease, which would begin on Jan. 1, 2015, would include a former space shuttle processing facility, an engine shop and offices. Space Florida would spend up to $20 million to renovate the facilities.

Boeing has said the NASA contract would allow it to base more than 500 jobs in Florida. However, the company is not expected to continue with CST-100 development if it does receive additional funds from the space agency.

Boeing is in competition with SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation, which also are developing vehicles under the program. NASA expects to announce the next round of funding shortly. It is likely that at least one of the competitors will be eliminated.