Tag: human spaceflight

Virgin Galactic Lowers Second SpaceShipTwo Onto Landing Gear

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XCOR Featured on ABC World News Tonight

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Rick Searfoss of XCOR on ABC World News Tonight. (Credit: ABC News)

Rick Searfoss of XCOR on ABC World News Tonight. (Credit: ABC News)

XCOR was featured in the Made in America segment of ABC World News Tonight on Thursday.

XCOR Receives Funding From Chinese Venture Capital Firm

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Lynx Mark I with strakes bonded. (Credit: XCOR)

Lynx Mark I with strakes bonded. (Credit: XCOR)

XCOR hasn’t announced this yet, but Haiyin Capital’s investment is listed on the venture capital firm’s website and was mentioned in a story by Fortune:

The trip is organized by Chinese venture capital firm Haiyin Capital, which just finished dispersing its third fund of $50 million into mostly U.S. tech startups like energy storage startup LightSail Energy, based in the Bay Area, solar tech startup 1366 technologies, located just outside of Boston, private space flight company XCOR Aerospace, in Mojave, Calif., and crowdfunding company AngelList (distributed offices)….

Haiyin Capital founding managing partner Yuquan Wang (pronounced “Yee-chwan”) uniquely straddles the U.S. and Chinese tech worlds; he teamed up with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan early on in his career and as a consultant helped China Mobile grow from almost nothing to the mobile juggernaut it is today. He started investing in both Chinese and U.S. tech startups about a decade ago.

Wang told Fortune in an interview that there are many promising young startups in the U.S. that can make really complicated high tech products, but have a problem reaching mass production. When startups are small and only at the R&D stage, their valuation is small and the big capital they need to get to the next level can’t be raised, he says. But they often need a big investment to reach that large manufacturing scale and to reach a big global market, which will eventually lead to a much bigger valuation. “It’s like a chicken-and-egg problem,” says Wang.

House Appropriations Committee Releases NASA Budget Figures

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Capitol Building
The House Appropriations Committee has released updated numbers for the NASA FY 2016 budget. The highlights include:

  • $3.4 billion for Space Launch System, Orion and related ground systems, an increase of $546 million over the President’s request;
  • $1 billion for Commercial Crew, a reduction of $243 million from the request;
  • $625 million for space technology, a reduction of $100 million.
  • $1.56 billion for planetary exploration, an increase of $196 million;
  • $1.68 billion for Earth science, a reduction of $264 million;
  • $140 million to begin work on the Jupiter Europa clipper;
  • $19 million to maintain operations of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and $13.7 million for the Mars Opportunity Rover.

The table below has the full details.

NASA FY 2016 BUDGET
(In Millions of Dollars)
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION REQUEST
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
DIFFERENCE
Science $5,288.6 $5,237.5 -$51.1
Earth Science
$1,947.3 $1,682.9 -$264.2
Planetary Sciences $1,361.2  $1,557.0  $195.8
Astrophysics $709.1  $735.6  $26.5
James Webb Space Telescope
$620.0  $620.0  $0.0
Heliophysics $651.0 $642.0  -$9.0
Jupiter Europa Clipper $30.0 $140.0  $110.0
Space Exploration $4,505.9 $4,759.3 $253.4
Exploration Systems Development
$2,862.9 $3,409.3 $546.4
Space Launch System
$1,356.5 $1,850.0 $493.5
Orion
$1,096.3 $1,096.3 $0.0
Exploration Ground Systems
$410.1 $410.0 -$0.1
Program Integration
$53.0 $53.0
Commercial Spaceflight $1,243.8 $1,000.0 -$243.0
Research & Development $399.2 $350.0 -$49.2
Space Operations $4,003.7 $3,957.3
-$46.4
International Space Station $3,106.6 $3,075.6 -$31.0
Space & Flight Support
$898.1 $881.7 -$16.4
Space Technology $724.8 $625.0
-$99.8
Aeronautics $571.4 $600.0
$28.6
Education $88.9 $119.0
$30.1
Safety, Security and Mission Services $2,843.1 $2,768.6
-$74.5
Construction & Environmental Compliance & Restoration $465.3 $425.0
-$40.3
Inspector General $37.4 $37.4
$0.0
TOTALS: $18,529.1 $18,529.1 $0.0

Aitech to Provide Components, Services for Boeing’s CST-100 Spacecraft

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Chris Ferguson of The Boeing Company works through scenarios inside the cockpit simulator of the CST-100 under development. (Credit:  NASA/Bill Stafford)

Chris Ferguson of The Boeing Company works through scenarios inside the cockpit simulator of the CST-100 under development. (Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford)

CHATSWORTH, Calif. (Aitech PR) – Aitech Defense Systems Inc. was recently awarded a contract by The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] to provide space-grade products and services to support the Commercial Crew Transportation System (CCTS) and Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft, part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Aitech has been commissioned to develop and produce the crew interface system computer and displays used to physically control and maneuver the capsule.  The new subsystem, consisting of a display computer, pilot and copilot displays and keypads, gives the space crew reliable, precision control of the craft using the pilots’ rotational and translational hand controllers.

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SLS Begins Critical Design Review

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Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

Space Launch System in flight. (Credit: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Program kicked off its critical design review May 11 at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

This new rocket will be the most powerful launch vehicle ever built. It is designed to be sustainable and evolve to carry crew and cargo on deep space missions, including an asteroid and ultimately to Mars.

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New XCOR Video

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Video Caption: A Customer event by XCOR Space Expeditions, where ticket holders were invited to the Hangar in Mojave, to experience the build of Lynx and to meet its engineers and the founders behind this project.

America’s Impenetrable Congress Does It Again

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2001_monolith_astros_moon
There’s a great scene in “2010: The Year We Make Contact,” in which Dmitri Moiseyevich (Dana Elcar) asks Heywood Floyd (Roy Scheider) what scientists had learned about the monolith brought back from the moon.

“Nothing,” Floyd replies. “It’s impenetrable. We’ve tried lasers, nuclear detonators. Nothing worked.”

I reached that same conclusion about Congress this week. The institution seems impermeable to facts, reasoned arguments, and even potential threats to the lives of America’s brave astronauts.

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Partners Adjust ISS Launches in Wake of Progress Launch Failure

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iss_portrait3
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and its international partners agreed Tuesday to set a new schedule for spacecraft traffic to and from the International Space Station.

The partner agencies agreed to adjust the schedule after hearing the Russian Federal Space Agency’s (Roscosmos) preliminary findings on the recent loss of the Progress 59 cargo craft. The exact dates have not yet been established, but will be announced in the coming weeks. Roscosmos expects to provide an update about the Progress 59 investigation on Friday, May 22.

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Study: Astronauts on Mars Missions Could Go All Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs

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mccoy crazy
Well, this is not good news for advocates of missions to Mars:

What happens to an astronaut’s brain during a mission to Mars? Nothing good. It’s besieged by destructive particles that can forever impair cognition, according to a UC Irvine radiation oncology study appearing in the May 1 edition of Science Advances.

Charles Limoli and colleagues found that exposure to highly energetic charged particles – much like those found in the galactic cosmic rays that bombard astronauts during extended spaceflights – cause significant damage to the central nervous system, resulting in cognitive impairments.

“This is not positive news for astronauts deployed on a two- to three-year round trip to Mars,” said Limoli, a professor of radiation oncology in UCI’s School of Medicine. “Performance decrements, memory deficits, and loss of awareness and focus during spaceflight may affect mission-critical activities, and exposure to these particles may have long-term adverse consequences to cognition throughout life.”

For the study, rodents were subjected to charged particle irradiation (fully ionized oxygen and titanium) at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory at the Brookhaven National Laboratory before being sent back to Limoli’s Irvine lab.

Read more at http://phys.org/news/2015-05-long-term-galactic-cosmic-ray-exposure.html