Tag: asteroids

Planetary Resources Parties at Davos

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A confidential source in Davos reports that Planetary Resources threw one helluva party the other night during the World Economic Forum. The source says it was the same event that Business Insider reports ended early in the morning after the booze and the patience of a neighbor and Swiss police ran out. The website doesn’t identify the company, but my source says it was definitely the space miners from Seattle.

Held in a private apartment up in the mountains, overlooking the town of Davos in the valley below, it raged until two in the morning — and only shut down because a squad of Swiss police insisted.

To fuel the festivity — and one more, planned for tonight — the party-throwers company had flown in bartenders from England.

At around 1:30 a.m., a neighbor — who happened to be the CEO of multinational insurance company — complained to the party’s hosts.

This complaint was ignored.

But then, at 2:00 a.m., one of the bartenders approached the host and said: Not only have we run out of the liquor we planned to serve tonight, we’ve also run out of all the booze we had set aside for tomorrow.

Fortune also has an entertaining account of an encounter with Planetary Resources President Chris Lewicki, apparently at the same party. You’ll see the discussion at the bar went fine until the reporter started asking some probing questions.
After I asked a few more questions about his company—like “is there really a lot of demand right now for gas stations and bottle water in outer space?”—Lewiski told me to stop being a critic. Every industry, he said, has to start somewhere. Yes. Dream big. This is Davos, after all.
Yeah, you get a lot of that in NewSpace.

Planetary Resources Does Davos

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Fortune Magazine’s Stephen Gandel is over in Davos, Switzerland this week, hobnobbing with the rich, famous and brilliant attendees who meet to contemplate solutions to the planet’s many problems at the World Economic Forum.

He has an entertaining piece about bumping into Planetary Resources’ President (and Chief Asteroid Miner) Chris Lewicki at a wine bar. Apparently, their discussion didn’t go much deeper than a description of the company’s plans to mine water and other materials from the Solar System’s orbiting piles of rock.

After I asked a few more questions about his company—like “is there really a lot of demand right now for gas stations and bottle water in outer space?”—Lewiski told me to stop being a critic. Every industry, he said, has to start somewhere. Yes. Dream big. This is Davos, after all.

That’s funny. And pretty impressive. Most start-ups lack the funds and connections to attend such an exclusive gathering. But, if you’re backed by multiple billionaires that include Eric Schmidt and Larry Page from Google, that’s not really a problem.

A Video Look Dawn’s Innovative Ion Propulsion System

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Video Caption: Ion propulsion isn’t something found only in science fiction. JPL engineer Mike Meacham looks at how ion engines are being used to drive NASA’s Dawn spacecraft through the solar system. Dawn is approaching dwarf planet Ceres in the main asteroid belt with arrival expected in March 2015. Previously, Dawn orbited Vesta, the second-largest body in the asteroid belt. Learn how ion propulsion works and why it’s the reason Dawn will be the first spacecraft ever to orbit two solar system bodies beyond Earth. More about Dawn at: http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/

The Year Ahead in Space

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The BEAM module docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

The BEAM module docked at the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Update: Added Falcon Heavy flight test to the list.

A number of very cool space missions are set to unfold in the coming year. Here’s a brief rundown:

Jan. 6: Falcon 9 Barge Landing Attempt. SpaceX will attempt to land the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a barge. The goal is to recover the stage intact for later relaunch. Success could lead to significantly lower launch costs in the years ahead.

March 5: Dawn Arrives at Ceres. Having completed an exploration of the asteroid Vesta, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is due to arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres on March 5. The vehicle will enter orbit around the unexplored world, which is the largest object in the Asteroid Belt.

Continue reading ‘The Year Ahead in Space’

Worldwide Launches Hit 20-Year High in 2014

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Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)

Orion Exploration Flight Test launch. (Credit: NASA)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

It was a banner year for launches worldwide in 2014, with the total reaching a 20-year high as Russia and India debuted new launch vehicles, NASA tested its Orion crew spacecraft, China sent a capsule around the moon, and Japan launched a spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

There were a total of 92 orbital launches, the highest number since the 93 launches conducted in 1994. In addition, Russia and India conducted successful suborbital tests of new boosters.

Continue reading ‘Worldwide Launches Hit 20-Year High in 2014′

Interview With Hayabusa2 Program Manager

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Via JAXA

In June 2010, asteroid explorer Hayabusa completed a seven-year journey of about 6 billion kilometers, returning to Earth with dust particles from an asteroid. Its successor, Hayabusa2, was launched on an H-IIA Launch Vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center on December 3, 2014. Hayabusa2 will make its own journey to asteroid 1999 JU3, carrying our hopes into outer space. Just before launch, we asked Project Manager Hitoshi Kuninaka to talk about the mission.

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JAXA Testing Deep Space Microsat With Asteroid Flyby

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PROCYON (Credit: JAXA)

PROCYON (Credit: JAXA)

With all the attention that JAXA’s recently launched Hayabusa2 soil sample return mission has received, a secondary spacecraft sent into space along with it on Dec. 3 has been largely overlooked despite its ambitious objectives.

PROCYON, which stands for PRoximate Object Close flYby with Optical Navigation, is a 65-kg (143 lb.) spacecraft designed to demonstrate that micro-satellites can be used for deep-space exploration. In addition to testing out micro-sat systems in deep space, the spacecraft is to conduct a close flyby of an asteroid.

Continue reading ‘JAXA Testing Deep Space Microsat With Asteroid Flyby’

NASA Cooperating With JAXA on Hayabusa2 Science

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Hayabusa-2 (Credit: JAXA)

Hayabusa-2 (Credit: JAXA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and space agencies across the globe are opening up new possibilities for space exploration with missions to comets, asteroids, and other celestial bodies.

Following NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spacecraft observations of the close flyby of Mars by comet Siding Spring in October, and the successful November landing of ESA’s Philae lander on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched its Hayabusa2 mission on Dec. 3 to rendezvous with an asteroid, land a small probe plus three mini rovers on its surface, and then return samples to Earth.

Continue reading ‘NASA Cooperating With JAXA on Hayabusa2 Science’

Hayabusa2 on its Way to a Rendezvous With an Asteroid

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Hayabusa2 launch aboard a H-2A rocket (Credit: JAXA)

Hayabusa2 launch aboard a H-2A rocket (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) with the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2″ onboard at 1:22:04 p.m. on December 3, 2014 (Japan Standard Time, JST) from the Tanegashima Space Center.

The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately one hour, 47 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff, the separation of the Hayabusa2 to earth-escape trajectory was confirmed.

JAXA received signals from the Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2″ at 3:44 p.m. on December 3, 2014 (Japan Standard Time) at the NASA Goldstone Deep Space Communication Complex (in California) and confirmed that its initial sequence of operations including the solar array paddle deployment and sun acquisition control have been performed normally.

The explorer is now in a stable condition.

The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2″ is a successor to the “Hayabusa”, which verified various new exploration technologies and returned to Earth in June 2010. The “Hayabusa2″ is setting out on a journey to clarify the origin and evolution of the solar system as well as life matter. The “Hayabusa2″ will find out more about the world.

http://global.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/hayabusa2/index.html

With a launch success rate for H-IIA/B launch vehicles at 96.7%, this launch confirms the quality and reliability of the H-IIA/B.

We would like to express our profound appreciation for the cooperation and support of all related personnel and organizations that helped contribute to the successful launch of the H-IIA F26.

Webcast Schedule Set for Hayabusa2 Launch

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Hayabusa-2 (Credit: JAXA)

Hayabusa-2 (Credit: JAXA)

JAXA will broadcast the launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 with the Hayabusa2 onboard from the Tanegashima Space Center through the Internet. The report will cover launch events from the liftoff to the payload separation from the launch vehicle.

Launch Date & Time:

Wednesday, Dec. 3 — 1:22:04 p.m. JST
(Tuesday, Dec. 2 — 11:22:04 p.m. EST)

Broadcast Schedule

Part I [Prior and after liftoff of H-IIA F26/Hayabusa2]

Wednesday, Dec. 3 — 12:25 p.m. thru 1:40 p.m. JST (75 minutes)
(Tuesday, Dec. 2 — 10:25 p.m. thru 11:40 p.m. EST)

Part II [Prior to and after the Hayabusa2’s separation from the launch vehicle]

Wednesday, Dec. 3 — 2:55 p.m. to 3:25 p.m. JST (30 minutes)
(Wednesday, Dec. 3 — 12:55 a.m. to 1:25 a.m. EST)