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Land Rover SpaceShipTwo Promotional Video


Although Virgin Galactic has yet to fly anywhere close to space, it has managed to inspire any number of promotional videos about just how awesome the space tourism trips will be someday. Here’s the latest one from Land Rover, which was announced as a global sponsor earlier this week.

Sierra Nevada Ranked as One of “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space”

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser shuttle. (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev., April 15, 2014 (SNC PR) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) President, Eren Ozmen, proudly announced that Fast Company magazine ranked SNC as one of the “World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space.”

Fast Company recognized SNC for “resurrecting the spaceplane” calling SNC’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft the, “…biggest contribution to the nascent commercial spaceflight industry” and the “…smaller, and arguably smarter take on the defunct Space Shuttle.”

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An Overview of Blue Origin’s Commercial Crew Milestones

Blue Origin’s pusher escape system rockets the New Shepard crew capsule away from the launch pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin’s pusher escape system rockets the New Shepard crew capsule away from the launch pad. (Credit: Blue Origin)

As one of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program partners, Blue Origin doesn’t get as much attention as Boeing, Sierra Nevada Corporation and SpaceX. That’s partly by design; the secretive company tries to fly under the radar as much as possible.

The other reason is that while Blue Origin received $25.38 million in funding for its orbital vehicle during the first two phases of Commercial Crew, it was not selected for the third round. The company has been working with NASA on an unfunded Space Act Agreement under which the space agency is providing support but not any funding.

To date, Blue Origin has completed 19 of 20 milestones under the three agreements with NASA. There has been significant progress on the pressure vessel, engine and escape system. The table below shows the company’s milestones under the agreements.

Blue Origin Space Act Agreements Milestones
Award Period: 2010 – 2014
Milestones: 20
Milestones Completed: 19
Milestones Remaining: 1
Total Award: $25.38 million

A1 Project Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape system maturation plan. March 2010 Complete $835,000
A2 1-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 1-degree of freedom trust measurement stand. July 2010 Complete $835,000
A3 6-DOF TVC Plan. Conduct test firing of full-scale demonstration SRM integrated with TVC system on 6-degree of freedom trust measurement stand. October 2010 Complete $835,000
A4 Rocket Sled Test. Conduct non-separating test of full CC OML and mass simulator on rocket sled track. March 2011 Complete $0
B1 Composite Pressure Vessel Maturation Kickoff Meeting.
A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the implementation plan.
March 2010 Complete $290,000
B2 Test Article Composite Parts Received. Receive all parts necessary to complete assembly of one composite pressure vessel, closing supplier risk. May 2010 Complete $290,000
B3 Test Article Assembly Complete. Completion of the test article. August 2010 Complete $290,000
1.1 Space Vehicle Kickoff Meeting. A meeting at Blue Origin headquarters in Kent, WA to brief NASA personnel on the project implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $905,000
1.2 Space Vehicle Mission Concept Review. A review of the Space Vehicle Mission Concept.  September 2011 Complete $900,000
1.3 Space Vehicle Systems Requirements Review. A review of systems requirements for the Space Vehicle.  May 2012 Complete $900,000
2.1 Pusher Escape Kickoff Meeting. A meeting to brief NASA personnel on the pusher escape implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $2,000,000
2.2 Pusher Escape Vehicle #1 Shipment. Assembly of the first Pusher Escape Flight Test Vehicle is complete, except for installation of the pusher escape subsystem and separation mechanisms. Shipment to test range. December 2011 Complete $2,000,000
2.3 Pusher Escape Ground Firing.  Conduct an intial ground test of the pusher escape rocket motor and thrust vector control system to be used during the flight test campaign.  January 2012 Complete $3,000,000
2.6 Escape Pad Escape Test. Conduct a test of one of the fight test vehicles simulating an escape from a booster on the launch pad. April 2012 Complete $1,900,000
3.1 Engine Kickoff Meeting. Meeting to brief NASA personnel on engine risk reduction implementation plan. May 2011 Complete $3,400,000
3.2 Engine TCA and Test Plan Review. Meeting to review test article interface data, Interface Control Diagram (ICD) and test plan. September 2011 Complete $4,000,000
3.4 Engine TCA Test. Conduct pressure-fed test of the full-scale thrust chamber assembly (TCA). May 2012 Complete $3,000,000
3.6 BE-3 Engine Test. Conduct a test firing of the pump-fed engine simulating a sub-scale booster suborbital mission duty cycle (MDC). September 2013 Complete $0
3.7 Subscale Prop Tank Assembly Review. Conduct a review of the design, manufacture and assembly of a subscale booster propellant tank.  December 2013 Complete $0
1.4 Space Vehicle Subsystem Interim Design Review. Review space vehicle subsystem design progress with emphasis on power and actuation systems, in-space propulsion, multiplex avionics, flight mechanics and GN&C. March 2014 Pending May 2014 $0
 TOTAL:  $25,380,000

Discount Tickets Offered for NSS ISDC Conference


isdc2014-logoLOS ANGELES (Rush49 PR) — Online adventure deals site, Rush49, in association with the National Space Society will offer a series of exclusive admission tickets to attend the 33rd annual ISDC conference, one of which includes entrance to an awards presentation dinner, with recipient Elon Musk, CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla Motors on Friday, May 16th, 2014., a southern California-based online adventure and adrenaline deals site, in exclusive partnership with the National Space Society, is now expanding its repertoire of high-octane racing/driving experiences and themed outdoor events and excursions to include a foray into the final frontier—space.

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NASA Signs Agreement with SpaceX for Use of Historic Launch Pad


Discovery on Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the site from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began, is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site.

NASA signed a property agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., on Monday for use and occupancy of the seaside complex along Florida’s central east coast. It will serve as a platform for SpaceX to support their commercial launch activities.

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Virgin Australia Offers Space Class for SpaceShipTwo Flight


virgin_australia_logoIn a world first for a frequent flyer program, Velocity is offering members the ultimate upgrade to ‘Space Class’. This is an exclusive seat on board SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial spaceline with Virgin Galactic and certified astronaut status.

To be eligible*, simply register your Velocity membership number and tell us what you would do for an upgrade to Space Class between 14 April and 30 June 2014 (inclusive) and fly Virgin Australia between 1 May and 30 June (inclusive).

The eligible entrant with the most creative response to the question below will be awarded the Space Class Upgrade.

SpaceX Signs 20-Year Lease for Pad 39A

Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)

Launch Pad 39A with the space shuttle Endeavour. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX has signed a 20-year lease on Pad 39A, the former shuttle launch facility the company plans to use for its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy boosters.

“I promise everybody, we’re going to make great use of this pad,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and KSC Director Bob Cabana joined Shotwell at the pad to announce the agreement moments after they signed it, beginning the pad’s “new mission as a commercial launch site,” Bolden said.

SpaceX hopes to launch its first heavy-lift Falcon rocket from KSC in the first quarter of next year, a mission previously expected to launch from California.

And if later this year SpaceX wins a NASA contract to launch astronauts to the International Space Station, those missions also would depart from KSC by 2017….

Shotwell said SpaceX would install new instrumentation and some new plumbing at 39A.

More details are to come, but the overhaul likely won’t be as significant as at pad 39B, where NASA dismantled the fixed and rotating shuttle service towers.

Read more here.

Virgin Galactic Forms Partnership With Land Rover

Credit: Land Rover

Credit: Land Rover

NEW YORK (Land Rover PR) — Land Rover, the British brand synonymous with adventure, has revealed a long-term global partnership with Richard Branson’s pioneering commercial spaceline, Virgin Galactic.

Demonstrating their shared vision of pioneering spirit, technological innovation and sense of adventure, the ground breaking partnership was announced against the backdrop of SpaceShipTwo, the world’s first commercial passenger carrying spacecraft, together with Land Rover’s new Discovery Vision Concept vehicle.  The announcement illustrates the commitment that both brands share to iconic design and engineering excellence and a desire to push the boundaries of travel for the next generation.

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SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9 Launch

Falcon 9 with landing legs attached. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 with landing legs attached. (Credit: SpaceX)

UPDATE:  NASA’s statement on the scrub: “SpaceX’s launch to the International Space Station was scrubbed today due to a helium leak on the Falcon 9 first stage. The next launch opportunity would be Friday, April 18 at 3:25 p.m. EDT if the issue can be resolved.”

SpaceX has scrubbed the scheduled launch of ts Falcon 9 rocket due to an unspecified technical issue. The rocket is to send a Dragon freighter to the International Space Station. SpaceX also will attempt to bring the Falcon 9′s first stage to a controlled landing on the ocean.

The next launch window opens on Friday.

This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with David Livingston:

1. Monday, April 14, 2014, 2-3:30 PM PDT(5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome BRETT STROOZAS, the Director of Flight Operations for Elysium Space Burial Company. See

2. Tuesday, April 15, 2014:, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome back JOHN POWELL of JP Aerospace. See

3. SPECIAL TIME: Friday, April 18, 2014, 11:30 AM-1 PM PDT (2:30-4 PM EDT; 1:30 PM-3 PM CDT): We welcome authors DAVID MEERMAN AND RICHARD JUREK regarding their new book, “Marketing The Moon.” .

4. Sunday, April 20, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). No Show Due to Easter. Happy Easter to all.