Last Week in the Dmitrys: Roscosmos, Glavkosmos Bosses Talk SpaceX, Tourism and More

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The International Astronautical Congress wrapped up last week in Dubai. Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin and Glavkosmos boss Dmitry Loskutov held forth during the conference on SpaceX, space tourism and other topics.

Roscosmos is the state-owned corporation that runs Russia’s space program. Glavkosmos is Roscosmos’ commercial arm.

Cosmonauts to fly on Crew Dragon: Rogozin said SpaceX’s Crew Dragon now has enough flights under its belt for Russian cosmonauts to fly aboard it. Crew Dragon has flown three crews to the International Space Station (ISS) and a group of amateur astronauts on a three-day orbital flight. Roscosmos and NASA will pursue a barter agreement that will allow U.S. astronauts to fly on Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Before Crew Dragon began flights, NASA was paying Roscosmos $90 million per seat to fly its astronauts to ISS.

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Cosmonaut Says “Challenge” Mission Risky, Amateur Space Travelers Need More Training

Actress Yulia Peresild, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and film director Klim Shipenko. (Credit: Roscosmos)

RT interviewed veteran cosmonaut Aleksey Ovchinin about the risks involved in the commercial mission launched to the International Space Station (ISS) last week. On Oct. 5, the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft flew to the station with professional cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and two amateur cosmonauts, actress Yulia Peresild and director Klim Shipenko, who are filming a movie titled “Challenge” there.

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Russia Switches to Year-Long Space Station Missions, Doubles Up on Tourist Flights as NASA Gravy Train Ends

This image shows the planned configuration of six iROSA solar arrays intended to augment power on the International Space Station. The roll-up arrays arrive on the SpaceX-22 resupply mission. (Credits: NASA/Johnson Space Center/Boeing)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin has said that Russia will extend cosmonaut mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from six to 12 months in order to gather data needed for missions to the moon and Mars.

“We are talking about stable operations that will be carried out as part of yearly expeditions. Now this will be placed on a systemic basis with the corresponding system of biomedical researches. Year-long expeditions are what we need,” Rogozin said.

Well, that sounds good. Far sighted, even visionary. That’s what makes it so odd; these are not words normally associated with the Roscosmos boss. Something else seems to be going on here.

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A Look Back at Space Tourism Version 1.0 as New Gaggle of Millionauts Prepares to Fly

The first space tourist, Dennis Tito, poses with Soyuz TM-32 crew mates Talgat Musabayev, and Yuri Baturin in 2001. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For eight years, they thundered aloft in cramped Russian spacecraft from a former Soviet spaceport in Kazakhstan, battling bureaucracy and gravity to blaze a trail across the heavens and redefine what it meant to be a space traveler. No longer would access to orbit be limited to highly trained astronauts chosen on merit and working on behalf of their nations; instead, space would be open to any sufficiently healthy people with enough money and moxie to qualify.

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Number of Billionaires Investing in Space Projects Grows

Forbes has published its annual list of the planet’s billionaires. A small but growing number of them are either directly supporting major space projects or doing so through the companies that they run.

FORBES RANKNAMEAGE
2015 NET WORTH (BILLIONS)
SOURCE(S) OF WEALTH
SPACE INVESTMENT(S)
 15Jeff Bezos51 $34.8Amazon.comBlue Origin
16Mark Zuckerberg30
 $33.4FacebookGlobal satellite network
19Larry Page41$29.7 GoogleSpaceX, Planetary Resources, Planetary Ventures, Google Lunar X Prize, Skybox
20Sergey Brin 41 $29.2GoogleSpaceX, Planetary Ventures, Google Lunar X Prize, Skybox
43Charles Ergen62$19.8DISH NetworkDISH Network
51Paul Allen62 $17.5 Microsoft, investmentsStratolaunch Systems, SETI, Mojave Aerospace Ventures (SpaceShipOne)
100Elon Musk43$12PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, SolarCitySpaceX
137Eric Schmidt59$9.1GoogleSpaceX, Google Lunar X Prize, Planetary Ventures, Skybox
330Richard Branson
64$4.8Virgin GroupVirgin Galactic, Planetary Resources, OneWeb
1006Kavitark Ram Shriram58$1.9Google, venture capitalPlanetary Resources
1105H. Ross Perot, Jr.56$1.8 Computer services, real estatePlanetary Resources
1324Charles Simonyi 67$1.4MicrosoftPlanetary Resources
1415Peter Sperling55$1.3University of PhoenixEcliptic Enterprises

I’ve added Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook to the list this year. His company is reportedly working on a global broadband network that would involve satellites, although details of the plan have not been made public.

I’ve left off Cirque du Soleil’s Guy Laliberte, who came in at number 1006 with a net worth of $1.9 billion. Although he once took a trip to the International Space Station, he is not known to be funding any major space projects at the moment.

Update: I’ve added Charles Ergen and Peter Sperling to the list. Big shout out to Rex Ridenoure over at Ecliptic Enterprises.











Planetary Resources Unveils Asteroid Mining Plan

Seattle, Wash. – Planetary Resources PRApril 24, 2012  – Planetary Resources, Inc. announced today its plan to mine Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) for raw materials, ranging from water to precious metals. Through the development of cost-effective exploration technologies, the company is poised to initiate prospecting missions targeting resource-rich asteroids that are easily accessible.

Resource extraction from asteroids will deliver multiple benefits to humanity and grow to be valued at tens of billions of dollars annually. The effort will tap into the high concentration of precious metals found on asteroids and provide a sustainable supply to the ever-growing population on Earth.

A single 500-meter platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the Platinum Group Metals mined in history.

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New Study Says Asteroid Retrieval and Mining Feasible With Existing and Near-Term Technologies

Illustration of an asteroid retrieval spacecraft in the process of capturing a 7-m, 500-ton asteroid. (Image Credit: Rick Sternbach / KISS)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

A new study sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) has concluded that it would be possible to return an asteroid weighing approximately 500 metric tons to high lunar orbit where it would be mined for resources by 2025.

The Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study, published on April 2, was prepared for KISS, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Co-leaders of the study included John Brophy of NASA JPL/Caltech, Fred Culick of Caltech, and Louis Friedman of The Planetary Society and participants included representatives of other NASA centers, various universities, institutes and private companies.

The report may provide a preview of what a new company named Planetary Resources spearheaded by the X PRIZE Foundation’s Peter Diamandis will unveil during a press conference in Seattle next Tuesday. Two of the 34 study participants were Planetary Resources President and Chief Engineer Chris Lewicki and former astronaut Tom Jones, who is an adviser to the company. The start-up – which is backed by Google billionaires Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Microsoft mogul Charles Simonyi, filmmaker James Cameron, and Ross Perot, Jr. – says it will “overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources’.”

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Diamandis, Anderson and Simonyi to Launch Extraterrestrial Mining Company

MEDIA ALERT

Join visionary Peter H. Diamandis, M.D.; leading commercial space entrepreneur Eric Anderson; former NASA Mars mission manager Chris Lewicki; and planetary scientist & veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones, Ph.D. on Tuesday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. PDT in Seattle, or via webcast, as they unveil a new space venture with a mission to help ensure humanity’s prosperity.

Supported by an impressive investor and advisor group, including Google’s Larry Page & Eric Schmidt, Ph.D.; film maker & explorer James Cameron; Chairman of Intentional Software Corporation and Microsoft’s former Chief Software Architect Charles Simonyi, Ph.D.; Founder of Sherpalo and Google Board of Directors founding member K. Ram Shriram; and Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group Ross Perot, Jr., the company will overlay two critical sectors – space exploration and natural resources – to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of ‘natural resources’.

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Space Adventures’ Eric Anderson Joins Charles Simonyi at Intentional Software Corp.

Charles Simonyi

BELLEVUE, Wash.–Intentional Softwareâ„¢ Corporation today announced that Eric Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures, Inc., has joined Intentional Software as president of the company working with Intentional founder and chairman, Charles Simonyi. Anderson, an experienced entrepreneur who pioneered and was the first to monetize the business of human spaceflight, has responsibility for bringing Intentional’s transformative technology to the worldwide marketplace.

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Retired Mega-Millionaut Simonyi Finally Free to Spend Time With Hot Young Wife

Love ends career of astronaut tourist
Russia Today

Charles Simoni is reported to have signed a contract promising his wife, 28-year-old model Lisa Persdotter, that he would never go into space again.

“I have not spent much time with my wife, unfortunately. We have many, many plans together and I’ll always be interested in space, as I have been, but not as actively as going on a flight,” confessed space tourist Simonyi during a media briefing at Star City in the Moscow region.

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Billionaut Lands Safely After 13-Day Working Vacation

Russian Spacecraft Carrying Billionaire Space Tourist Lands Safely
Space.com

A billionaire space tourist and two professional astronauts returned safely to Earth Wednesday aboard a Russian spacecraft, bringing a successful end to their respective missions to the International Space Station.

American space tourist Charles Simonyi and the station’s returning Expedition 18 crew touched down on the Central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan at 3:16 a.m. EDT (0716 GMT), their Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft parachuting to a pinpoint landing.

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Mega-Millionaut Space Tourist Simonyi Arrives at ISS

PRESS RELEASE

Space Adventures, Ltd., the only company that provides human space missions to the world marketplace, announced today that its orbital client Charles Simonyi and his crew successfully arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) after launching onboard the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 26.

The spacecraft docked to the ISS at 9:05 a.m. (EDT) with Dr. Simonyi and Expedition 19 crewmembers Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and NASA astronaut Michael Barratt. They were greeted at approximately 12:30 p.m. (EDT) by the Expedition 18 crew, which includes NASA astronaut Michael Fincke, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, when the hatch to the space station opened.

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Tech Entrepreneurs Fuel Space Tourism With Fortunes

Next Stop For Tech Entrepreneurs: Space Travel
Information Week

The most interesting high tech entrepreneur may also be the most secretive. Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon has been building his Blue Origin operation in a remote area of Texas. Blue Origin’s vertical-takeoff vertical-landing rocket ship is being designed to take paying customers on sub orbital space rides. Blue Origin’s timetable has called for commercial trips to get underway next year.

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Charles Simonyi: The Last Billionaut – at Least for a While

Is American Billionaire the Last Space Tourist?
Space.com

American billionaire Charles Simonyi lifted off toward the International Space Station (ISS) this morning on a Russian rocket, after paying the Russian Federal Space Agency $35 million through Space Adventures. The trip is Simonyi’s second – he previously flew to the ISS in 2007 – but could be the firm’s last for a couple years.

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