Future Looks (Mostly) Bright for Space Industry in DC


The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference is being held in Colorado through today. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but the following folks are there tweeting away:

  • Jeff Foust‏ @jeff_foust
  • Rand Simberg‏ @Rand_Simberg
  • Colorado Space News‏ @CO_Space_News
  • Laura Seward Forczyk @LauraForczyk

Below are updates based upon their tweets on what is happening in Washington, DC, from talks by officials from the FAA, NASA, and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
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Spaceport America, EXOS Aerospace Sign Partnership

Spaceport America EXOS LogoSPACEPORT AMERICA, N.M. and CADDO MILLS, Texas, April 5, 2016 (Spaceport America/EXOS PR) — Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, and EXOS Aerospace Systems & Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of suborbital reusable space launch vehicles based in Caddo Mills, Texas, announce a five year launch partnership for their Suborbital Active Rocket with GuidancE (SARGE) vehicle.

EXOS has taken the experience gained from more than a decade of practical lessons learned, millions of dollars worth of development, and flight experience of former Armadillo Aerospace, LLC (including having the key players as co-founders of EXOS), and moved into the commercial space race, ahead of the game. In fact, this team became the first FAA-licensed launch operator from Spaceport America in 2012. EXOS plans to target research, pharmaceutical and medical markets, as well as the NASA Flight Opportunities program for suborbital technology demonstration payloads. The company expects to host their first NASA payload in late 2016.

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Steve Heck Joins CSF’s SARG

Steve Heck
Steve Heck

Washington, D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is excited to announce that Steve Heck will be joining its Suborbital Applications Researcher’s Group. Steve served as a Command Pilot in the United States Air Force where he amassed over 2700 hours of jet flight time and holds two world flight records. Since 1996, Steve has taught middle and elementary school students. He is currently a 5th grade STEM teacher at the Milford Exempted Village School District. Steve was selected as an Astronaut Educator in the new Citizens in Space Program and awarded a NASA Endeavor Fellowship. In the summer of 2013, Steve completed NASTAR’s Suborbital Scientist Training Program.

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SARG is Bummed Out About Armadillo Hibernation Thing

Credit: Armadillo Aerospace
STIG rocket (Credit: Armadillo Aerospace)

Statement from SARG Chair Dr. Steven Collicott on Suborbital Research Needs
August 9, 2013

“The Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation notes John Carmack’s August 2, 2013 statement regarding the hibernation of rocket development at Armadillo Aerospace. The STIG rocket appeals to researchers by providing many of the advantages characteristic of next-generation suborbital vehicles including a gentle lift-off, pressurized payload bay, late payload access before launch, rapid payload access after landing, and a lower cost than traditional sounding rockets. Armadillo’s success to date, including domestic and international payloads lofted and safely recovered on several mission development flights and a flight to 95km memorably captured on video, highlights how close their hard work has brought them to achieving an important operational research capability eagerly awaited by many scientists. The researchers of SARG encourage Armadillo and all of the new suborbital companies in their pursuit of success with investors and vehicles.”

— Dr. Steven Collicott
SARG Chair

Dr. Steven Collicott and Dr. Makenzie Lystrup Named Chairman and Vice-Chair of SARG

csf_logo_newestWashington, D.C. (CSF PR) — Dr. Steven Collicott has been named the new chair of the Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) following Dr. Alan Stern, who has stepped down after the completion of his term as the founding chairman. In addition, Dr. Makenzie Lystrup has been named vice-chair of the committee. Dr. Collicott is an experimentalist in fluid dynamics, and is currently a professor at Purdue University in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Dr. Lystrup is a planetary astronomer, and the Space Sciences Business Development Manager at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

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Molecular Geneticist Join SARG

Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation welcomes Dr. Anna-Lisa Paul from the University of Florida to the Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG). Dr. Paul has an extensive background in molecular genetics with a specific interest in the applications of space-based research to study adaptive responses in an environment that is outside of the subject’s terrestrial norm. She is currently a Research Associate Professor in the University of Florida’s Genetics Institute.

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