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NASA Agrees to Revamp NEO Program in Wake of Critical OIG Report

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Asteroid Eros

Asteroid Eros

Somewhere out there in the cosmos, there’s a giant rock with Earth’s name on it. Despite the danger, NASA’s effort to identify potentially dangerous near Earth objects and figure out what to do about them is disorganized and poorly managed, an internal audit has found.

“NASA has organized its NEO Program under a single Program Executive who manages a loosely structured conglomerate of research activities that are not well integrated and lack overarching Program oversight, objectives, and established milestones to track progress,” according to an audit issued Monday by NASA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

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CSF, Space Florida Praise ULA/Blue Origin Engine Venture

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csf_logo_newestThe Commercial Spaceflight Federation Applauds  Blue Origin/ULA Engine Development Partnership

Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates Blue Origin on their partnership with United Launch Alliance to jointly fund the development of their new BE-4 rocket engine. The agreement includes a four-year development process with full scale testing in 2016 and first flight in 2019.

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FAA Releases Recommended Practices for Human Spaceflight Safety

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faa_logoWASHINGTON (FAA PR) — After working closely with NASA, industry, and other key stakeholders, the FAA has issued its “Recommended Practices for Human Space Flight Occupant Safety.”

This document is the culmination of a 3-year effort which involved researching existing human space flight standards, conducting a series of public teleconferences to gather recommendations, and soliciting feedback from the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC).

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Sierra Nevada Statement on Commercial Crew Awards

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Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada Corporation has issued the following statement concerning the Commercial Crew Program awards to Boeing and SpaceX:

“Sierra Nevada Corporation recognizes that NASA has made a selection of an alternative provider(s) in the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability Contract (CCtCap) competition. SNC is planning to have a debrief session with NASA soon to obtain the source selection statement and decision rationale. When this process is complete and after a thorough evaluation, SNC will elaborate further on its future options regarding the NASA Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contract decision and the Dream Chaser program. Due to this pending activity SNC will have no further public statement at this time. We will be providing further information at a later date.

“While SNC is disappointed NASA did not select its Dream Chaser® Space System for the CCtCap contract, SNC commends NASA for initiating the effort and is privileged to have been part of returning human space flight to the United States through our awarded contracts in all other phases of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program over the past four years.”

A Few Thoughts on Commercial Crew….

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Launch_America_Commercial_Crew
It’s been two days since NASA announced commercial crew awards to Boeing and SpaceX. Now that the blogosphere and Twitterati have had their say, let’s step back and take a closer look at the most misunderstood aspect of NASA’s decision.

Much has been made about the disparity in award amounts, with Boeing receiving $4.2 billion and SpaceX “only” $2.6 billion. The difference has been variously attributed to SpaceX’s lean operations, Boeing’s high costs and overhead, and Boeing’s political influence on Capitol Hill. Some people believe NASA shafted SpaceX, giving far less funding to a superior company.

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Space Florida-Israel Innovation Program Announces Awards

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space_florida_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., September 17, 2014 (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida and MATIMOP (Israel’s Industrial Center for Research and Development), on behalf of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) in the Israeli Ministry of Economy, are pleased to announce the first-round winners of industrial research and development funding tied to the Space Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program.

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NASA Seeks Partnerships on Reusable Suborbital Vehicles, Smallsat Launchers

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NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking potential partnerships with U.S. space companies that are maturing suborbital reusable launch vehicles as well as companies pursuing development of small spacecraft orbital launch systems.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, managed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards, California, recently issued a request for information for the commercial space industry to build partnerships that would advance the growth of space technologies and services with these companies.

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Next Dragon Mission to ISS Set for Sept. 20

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Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

Dragon berthed at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) – The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch Saturday, Sept. 20, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one-day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and was coordinated with the station’s partners and managers.

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Blue Origin/ULA Partnership FAQs

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Blue_Origin_ULA_logosFREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
UNITED LAUNCH ALLIANCE (ULA) AND BLUE ORIGIN PARTNERSHIP

Q. What exactly does this partnership entail?

A. ULA and Blue Origin have established a long-term partnership and teaming arrangement. The initial purpose is to jointly fund the development of an engine compatible with ULA’s future launch vehicle needs, as well as future Blue Origin space systems. Other joint projects are also being considered.

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Blue Origin BE-4 Rocket Engine Fact Sheet

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Blue_Origin_BE-4_CharacteristicsBE-4 Rocket Engine — Fact Sheet
From Blue Origin

American Boost Propulsion System

The BE-4 is an American-made liquid rocket engine currently under development by Blue Origin for orbital launch vehicle boost applications. The BE-4 uses liquid oxygen (LOx) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) – a commercially available form of methane – to produce 550,000-lbf thrust at sea level.

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