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SNC Abandons Own Hybrid Motors on Dream Chaser

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Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Dream Chaser Main Propulsion System Test. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

Sierra Nevada Corporation won’t be using its own hybrid rockets for its Dream Chaser space shuttle, making it the second company in recent months after Virgin Galactic to dump the nitrous oxide-rubber motors.

Kathy Lueders, program manager for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), revealed the change in an update during the third quarterly meeting of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) on July 24.

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SpaceX Denies It is Raising More Investment Funding

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Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

Dragon Version 2. (Credit: SpaceX)

UPDATE: SpaceX has denied the report. “SpaceX is not currently raising any funding nor has any external valuation of that magnitude or higher been done. The source in this report is mistaken,” spokesman John Taylor said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News.

SpaceX is raising another round of funding based on a valuation “somewhere south of $10 billion, Tech Crunch reports:

The latest capital infusion includes a large secondary investment, which appears to be somewhere in the region of $200 million. This confirms some of the details published in April this year by Quartz, which cited a source reporting that the company might be raising between $50 million and $200 million.

TechCrunch understands that among those investing in SpaceX are international financiers making secondary investments, but also investment firms in the U.S. such as Draper Fisher Jurvetson. DFJ has been a past investor and it also noted, in May, that it is making an investment in SpaceX out of its latest $470 million fund; Blumberg Capital is another name that TechCrunch has heard in connection with SpaceX financing….

According to Crunchbase, SpaceX has raised $245.5 million in private backing, with the last round disclosed in December 2012. In its first 10 years of operation, SpaceX generated $4 billion in contracts (that includes funding from NASA of between $400 million and $500 million). The manifest for upcoming launches lists just under 40 missions planned between now and 2018.

Read the full story.

Uwingu Launches Beam Me to Mars Program

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Beam_Me_Mars_LogoBOULDER, Colo., Aug. 19, 2014 (Uwingu PR) — Space company Uwingu announced today the launch of a project allowing anyone, anywhere to be a part of a global “shout-­out” of messages from the people of Earth to Mars on November 28th. The project is called “Beam Me to Mars.”

Beam Me to Mars (hashtag #BeamMe2Mars) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the start of humankind’s exploration of Mars with the launch of NASA’s Mariner 4 — the first successful Mars mission — on November 28th, 1964.

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Space Angels Network Partners with Swedish Space Accelerator, Space Travel Alliance

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LONDON, United Kingdom, August 19, 2014 (Space Angels PR) – Space Angels Network, a global network of seed‐ and early‐stage investors focused on aerospace‐related ventures, and Space Travel Alliance, the region’s first space accelerator, today announced the beginning of a collaborative partnership. Through this partnership both organizations will work together to support early-stage space ventures, connect them with investment capital, and accelerate the growth of the global commercial space industry.

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Orbital Completes 3rd Cygnus Mission to ISS

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Cygnus and ISS robotic arm (Credit: NASA)

Cygnus and ISS robotic arm (Credit: NASA)

DULLES, Virg. August 18, 2014 (Orbital PR) – Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced the successful completion of its third cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station in the past 10 months, including the initial demonstration flight completed in October 2013 and the first two operational missions under the company’s $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.  The company also noted that it is nearing the launch of its third CRS mission of 2014, which is currently scheduled to take place in mid-October.

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Alan Stern to Drop By The Space Show This Week

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This week on The Space Show with David Livingston:

1. Monday, August 18, 2014: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome JEREMY STRAUB and DR. RONALD MARSH from UND Dept. of Computer Science regarding Open Orbiter, a student led effort that is developing the full spectrum of systems required to develop, launch, and manage a CubeSat space mission with the goal to create a system that is very affordable ($5000).

2. Tuesday, August 19, 2014:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome back both DR. VADIM RYGALOV & DR. JOHN JURIST regarding their research and work on High Altitude Free Fall, Astronaut Escape from altitude , the risks and problems associated with such jumps and escapes. Check The Space Show blog Monday evening as I will upload their recent Power Point presentation give at the recent ICESs conference.

3. Friday, August 22, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12;30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome NASA astronaut Dr. Rick Linnehan to the program. Dr. Linnehan is a veterinarian and we will continuing our discussion about animals and their place in space on both experimental and possibly in support of long duration human spaceflight missions. .

4. Sunday, August 24, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). We welcome back DR. ALAN STERN for New Horizons to Pluto updates and a new Uwingu program.

UrtheCast Reports Revenues

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urthecast-logoVANCOUVER (UrtheCast PR) — UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”), a technology company that is developing the world’s first Ultra HD video feed of Earth from space, today announces financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2014.The Company reported a comprehensive loss of $4.1 million in the quarter as compared to $10.5 million in the comparative quarter in 2013 and $3.9 million in the previous quarter. Our year-to-date comprehensive loss was $8.0 million as compared to $11.8 million in the comparable period of the previous year.

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Branson Reiterates Plan to Fly By End of Year

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Sir Richard Branson "high tens" with SpaceShip2 test pilot Mark Stuckey following the successful first powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. At left is Mark Stuckey's wife Cheryl and at right is Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides..  The spacecraft was dropped rom its "mothership", WhiteKnight2 over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Sir Richard Branson “high tens” with SpaceShip2 test pilot Mark Stuckey following the successful first powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. At left is Mark Stuckey’s wife Cheryl and at right is Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides.. The spacecraft was dropped rom its “mothership”, WhiteKnight2 over the Mojave, CA area, April 29, 2013 at high altitude before firing its hybrid power motor. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Maria Bartiromo talks to Richard Branson about a number of subjects, including Virgin Galactic.

Q: You mentioned Virgin Galactic — what is your timing in terms of this program taking off?

A: I’ll be bitterly disappointed if I’m not into space by the end of the year. The rockets have now tested successfully. We’ve got three more rocket tests and then we should be up, up and away by the end of the year. That should be the start of the program. The space port’s ready. We are now in the last few weeks before finally embarking on the space program.

The “three more rocket tests” are likely the “handful” of additional powered flights that Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides has mentioned in recent months.

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NASA Commercial Crew Decision Expected Soon

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Charles Lurio of The Lurio Reports that NASA is likely to announce contracts for the next round of the Commercial Crew Program on either Aug. 22 or Aug. 29. Sources have told him that the space agency is likely to make two full awards for partners to build and flight test their crew vehicles.

If he is correct, that would leave one of three competitors — Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation or SpaceX — without a seat at the table. Sierra Nevada and SpaceX have said they would continue with vehicle development if they are not chosen for this round. Boeing has said it would be difficult for the company to close the business case for its CST-100 spacecraft without additional NASA funding.

NASA’s goal is to have commercial crew transport to the International Space Station (ISS) by the end of 2017. SpaceX has said that it believes it can begin service about a year prior to that deadline with its Dragon V2 spacecraft, which is an upgraded version of the Dragon cargo vehicle that has already flown to and returned from ISS four times. Boeing and Sierra Nevada have said they are on track to meet the 2017 deadline.

Robotic Refueling Mission Enters New Phase With New Tech Delivery to ISS

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The Robotic Refueling Mission, or RRM, investigation (center, on platform) uses the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and the Canadian Dextre robot (right) to demonstrate satellite-servicing tasks. (Credit: NASA/CSA)

The Robotic Refueling Mission, or RRM, investigation (center, on platform) uses the International Space Station’s Canadarm2 and the Canadian Dextre robot (right) to demonstrate satellite-servicing tasks. (Credit: NASA/CSA)

GREENBELT, MD, August 13, 2014 (NASA PR) – Who doesn’t love an upgrade? Newer, better and oh so shiny is great, but what’s really fantastic is when a change unlocks new possibilities.

That’s the case with NASA’s fix-it investigation on the International Space Station, the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM). The award-winning endeavor moved one step closer to its 2.0 update with the delivery of new RRM hardware aboard the European Automated Transfer Vehicle-5, which docked with the space station today.

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