AUSTIN, TX (Formation PR) — Austin-based communications consultancy Formation has announced the addition of a practice group dedicated to the commercial space industry. Formation helps launch and grow business and policy initiatives with a unique blend of strategic communications, design and entrepreneurial thinking.
“I have a great deal of personal interest in enabling growth in the commercial space industry,” says Shelby Stephens, Formation co-founder and strategy design director. “Combine our company’s strong strategic communications capabilities with a background in engineering and aerospace, and we’re in a good spot to help some commercial space companies get to the next level.”
The space practice group at Formation includes commercial space evangelist Rick Tumlinson as a strategic advisor. “Rick brings us decades of space advocacy experience and a deep knowledge of the industry,” Stephens adds. “And, he’s something of a renegade – certainly outside the box – and that seems to fit well with our culture.”
The American space program stands at a crossroads on how to most efficiently move forward while maintaining US leadership in space. Today, while space programs in Russia, China, India and other nations have embraced open markets and commercial practices, the U.S. is still unsure how to conduct itself in a suddenly new, robust space community. Commercial space pioneer Jeffrey Manber will use his current company NanoRacks as an example of the new relationship that is emerging between government and the space industry and offer suggestions on how the American space industry will evolve as we move beyond low-earth orbit.
Michael Kelly Chief Engineer, Office of Commercial Spaceflight Federal Aviation Administration “Commercial Human Spaceflight: The Coming Safety Challenge
Changes at FAA
AST split in several offices, including chief engineer’s offic
Former astronaut Pamela Ann Melroy has been added as senior adviser for human spaceflight — flew on STS-92, 112 and 120 — previously serve as Deputy Program Manager for Space Exploration Initiatives at Lockheed Martin after leaving the astronaut corps
reorganizing field offices
adding a second position at Mojave, new positions at Wallops and JSC
Planned tech center with 50 people at KSC will not happen
Moritorium on regulations has been expanded to Oct. 1, 2015 — although FAA can propose rules if there is an accident
Roscosmos and the Skolkovo Fund will work together on developing advanced space and telecommunications technologies as part of the space agency’s long-range development plan that extends out to 2030 and beyond, Russian media report.
SAFE PR — The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Orbital Commerce Project (OCP). The purpose of the agreement is “to promote safety in the Commercial Human Spaceflight industry through excellence in training and education.” The two organizations will team up on initiatives that include:
Working with the Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) to develop the framework for spaceflight educator certification
Developing recognized levels of achievement and spaceflight educator proficiency
Creating courses and teaching materials to advance spaceflight education
Promoting “safety through training” to the Commercial Human Spaceflight Industry
Developing unusual attitude and G-tolerance courses
Video Caption: Fully resuable spacecraft are the critical enabler for regular, low cost and safe access to space, and such access will enable space utilization in ways we’ve only dreamed about in the past. Much as the early ARPANET laid the foundation for a multi-trillion dollar enterprise revolving around the internet, early reusable spacecraft like the Lynx suborbital vehicle will establish the beginnings of a multi-trillion enterprise revolving around the Earth and our solar system. This talk will lay out a vision of a future space-based Trillion Dollar Enterprise based on a series of realistic and fun “What-ifs.”
SKOLKOVO PR — The Skolkovo Foundation and the International Space Transport Association will jointly develop the first international knowledge center for commercial suborbital spaceflight.
The Center is to be part of Moscow’s Science & Technology Park and will host three business units: (Eco) Tech, Mini Satellites & Telecommunications and Suborbital Space Flights. The Skolkovo Foundation, with President Dmitry Medvedev as Head of the Board of Trustees, offers a wide range of financial support possibilities for international businesses to flourish. Its set up follows a phased implementation process and will be developed in close cooperation with the International Space Transport Association. (more…)
Gen. William L. Shelton, Commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command, talks during the 15th FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference. There’s a nifty video at the beginning showing fictional space exploration along side vehicles now in development.
The full transcript is reproduced after the break.
The Observer has an update on Skolkovo, the Russian government’s attempt to replicate America’s Silicon Valley outside of Moscow:
“We have plans to further explore the moon and the planets,” said a pamphlet promoting Skolkovo’s space centre, one of five planned “clusters”, alongside IT, biomedical science, energy efficiency and nuclear technology.
Investors are being promised corporate and personal tax breaks – and the opportunity of meeting Anna Chapman, the former spy and underwear model, who has been given the task of attracting young talent to Skolkovo.
Jeff Foust over at Space Politics has interviewed Eric Anderson, the Space Adventures CEO and Commercial Spaceflight Federation chairman who is serving on Mitt Romney’s space advisory board. Anderson and seven other members of the group signed an open letter last week supporting Romney and harshly criticizing the Obama Administration’s space policy.
Anderson says he’s had several one-on-one conversations with the candidate, who has expressed his enthusiasm for private sector human spaceflight development. He also defended Romney’s lack of specific solutions while pointing to the candidate’s business background as evidence of his support of commercial space solutions.
“You must remember, Mitt Romney is a very experienced businessman. People in business of course believe in private industry! They know that if you can find goods and services in the private sector then clearly those would be preferable to the government recreating that capability,” he told Foust.
In a move destined to anger NewSpace advocates, Mitt Romney has released a letter of support signed by eight space leaders, including prominent commercial space critics Mike Griffin, Scott Pace and Gene Cernan. Pace, in fact, is chairman of the Romney Space Policy Advisory Group.
“We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission,” the signers wrote. “This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities. In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation.”
The crowd has not been very kind to the Shackleton Energy Company (SEC).
The lunar mining start-up’s attempt to get its business off the ground through crowd source funding via RocketHub.com fell a bit short of its goal. The Texas-based company had aimed to raise as much as $1.2 million in a campaign that began in November. When the effort finished at the end of December, the amount contributed was only $5,517 given by 53 contributors.
I’m not really surprised. The company didn’t seem to have a clear plan for how to publicize and promote their financing effort. And it seems to me that the timing — during the big holiday gift-giving season — might not have been ideal. But, $5,517 isn’t nothing.
SEC plans to launch a mission to moon’s South Pole by 2019 to mine water and other consumables that it would sell to governments and commercial companies doing business in space.
A Singaporean businessman, his wife and two children have paid $1 million to become the first Asian family to fly together on space-tourism airline Virgin Galactic, the company announced Monday.
“I had lunch yesterday with a guy who got in touch with us in Singapore, and over lunch he signed his contract for not just a seat, but for a whole flight,” Virgin Galactic commercial director Stephen Attenborough said.
Speaking at an international media and marketing conference in Singapore, Attenborough said the customer handed over a cheque for $1 million and asked to remain anonymous because “apparently he hasn’t told his wife yet.”
“So he is going to become, or he and his family will become, the first family from Asia to become astronauts together,” Attenborough said.
That will be an interesting conversation. “Hi, honey! I’m home. You’ll never guess what I just dropped a mill on…”