Michael Belfiore has a piece in the MIT Technology Review about a May 1 event at the Explorers Club in New York where 13 commercial space companies showed off their plans. Several key players had updated schedules which anyone paying the slightest bit of attention will know to take with 1.7 metric tons of salt:
Virgin Galactic’s head of Astronaut Relations Lauren De Niro Pipher predicted that Richard Branson and his children would fly to space aboard SpaceShipTwo in November or December. Note, this was prior to the announcement of a change in the ship’s engine, which officials insist won’t have a major impact on the schedule.
XCOR hopes to fly the Lynx Mark I before the end of the year. The ship is now being assembled in Mojave, Calif.
Blue Origin said it would begin test flights of its first full-scale spacecraft within a year.
Space Adventures says it has signed up two unidentified customers willing to spend $150 million to fly a modified Soyuz spacecraft around the moon. The flight is set to launch in 2017 or 2018.
Penn State Lunar Lion plans to send a coffee-table sized spacecraft to land on the moon in an effort to win the Google Lunar X Prize.
Planetary Resources discussed plans to launch its first Arkyd spacecraft from the International Space Station by the end of this year.
World View Enterprises said the company would launch a small test vehicle of its high-altitude manned capsule in about a month, which would be right about now.
As part of its gathering of future spaceflight participants in Mojave on Sept. 25, Virgin Galactic also scheduled a series of space-related events and activities throughout the week for those coming in from the four corners of the globe. These included an after party at the Endeavour exhibit in Los Angeles, centrifuge training at NASTAR in Pennsylvania, tours of the Mount Wilson Observatory and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and microgravity parabolic rides aboard Zero Gravity Corporation’s G-FORCE ONE (above).
A press release from ZERO-G follows after the break.
Armadillo Aerospace and Space Adventures had grand plans for a suborbital tourism vehicle that seem quite distant now with John Carmack’s announcement that his rocket building company has run out of money. Here’s a bit of pre-hibernation nostalgia for those who remember those optimistic days. For others who are just joining us, here’s what the present was supposed to look like. More evidence, if anyone needed it, that the future just ain’t what it used to be.
Good news, everyone! It looks like soprano Sarah Brightman will be flying to the International Space Station after all. Just like they announced nine months ago.
Ending months of crackling suspense that had millions (or thousands, hundreds, or maybe just scores –hard to say) of people around the world on the edge of their seats, Russian officials have appeared to re-announced what they once again say are firm plans to have the British recording star travel to ISS aboard a Soyuz spacecraft.
“The sides will discuss in the near future the implementation of this project, including Sarah Brightman’s preparation for the flight and the program of her activities on board the orbital station,” the Russian space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.
Keeping all bases covered Miss Brightman, who has an estimated fortune of £30 million, already has a much cheaper ticket, just £125,000, for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic programme, which hopes to begin carrying commercial passengers into space next year. But the singer is said to be frustrated by the lack of any firm date….
With human flights beyond Earth orbit not expected to occur for at least eight years, the private sector is increasingly eying deep space for a series of ambitious robotic and human missions for both adventure and profit.
Nine programs are currently underway that include robotic and human landings of the moon, human flybys of the moon and Mars, the mining of the moon and asteroids, and even a settlement on Mars. Backers of these initiatives include the X Prize Foundation, Google and its executives, and the world’s first space tourist, Dennis Tito.
During recent public talks, Scaled Composites Founder Burt Rutan has bemoaned the lack of recent rocket development in the United States. After the initial burst of creativity in the 1950’s and 1960’s, decades went by with very few new rockets being developed. He has also pointed to Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipTwo, SpaceX’s Dragon and Stratolaunch Systems air-launch project (which he worked on for 20 years) as the only serious developments in the field at present.
My first thought was: Burt’s wrong. There’s a lot more going on than just that. Including developments just down the flight line in Mojave that he somehow fails to mention. And my second thought was: well, just how wrong is Burt, exactly?
Wednesday’s announcement that international recording superstar Sarah Brightman will be flying to the International Space Station marked at major milestone for the Virginia-based Space Adventures: the company had finally booked a genuine celebritynaut for one of its orbital trips.
It was a far cry from 11 years ago, when a largely unknown former NASA engineer turned investment manager named Dennis Tito climbed aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for an eight-day trip to the International Space Station.
And the announcement comes at time when the excitement over the prospects of an extremely wealthy person paying an increasingly absurd amount of money to float around in space like any other regular astronaut has largely faded.
Sarah Brightman announces intention to become first ever global recording artist to take spaceflight Space Adventures Press Release
Global recording artist and UNESCO Artist for Peace Ambassador, Sarah Brightman, announced today in Moscow her intention to launch on a future orbital spaceflight mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in partnership with Space Adventures, Ltd., the world’s leading space experiences company.
Brightman will be part of a three-person crew travelling to the ISS on board a Soyuz rocket. Once on the ISS, she will orbit the Earth 16 times daily and intends to become the first professional musician to sing from space. The final scheduling of her trip to the space station will be determined by Roscosmos and the ISS partners in the coming months.
It appears that British recording artist Sarah Brightman will become the world’s next millionaut space tourist.
Space Adventures has announced an Oct. 10 press conference with Brightman in Moscow where the soprano will make a “groundbreaking” announcement. Brightman has been in negotiations with the Virginia-based company for a trip into space.
Space Adventures has booked eight trips to the International Space Station for seven wealthy adventurers aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The company is also trying to fill a second seat for a circum-lunar flight, for which tickets costs $150 million apiece. The moon flight is set to take place by early 2017.
Details of the press conference follow after the break.
Some news on the ISS space tourism front, which has been largely silent since Guy Laliberte visited th station back in 2009:
British singer Sarah Brightman may be the next paying passenger to ride a Russian rocket to the International Space Station, sources familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday.
If the trip happens, Brightman, 52, would make the journey in 2015, the Interfax news agency reported, citing an unidentified official in the Russian space industry. A source familiar with Brightman’s side of the negotiations confirmed to NBC News that talks were under way, but stressed that they were at an early stage….
Brightman — who rose to fame starring in the original London and New York casts of “The Phantom of the Opera” — visited Russia about a month ago and received the approval of a medical commission to begin training at the Cosmonaut Training Center outside Moscow, the source added…
Sources have said the space station’s partners are considering a plan to send two space fliers into orbit in 2015 for almost a year, instead of the usual six months. The logistics involved in that experiment would open up an opportunity for two short-term visitors to the station — visitors who could include paying passengers such as Brightman.
Eric Anderson wants a national conversation about the future of space exploration. It’s an interesting plea because Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich started exactly that a few weeks ago by announcing plans for a moon base by 2021. Mitt Romney, the candidate whom Anderson is advising, mocked the idea while proposing no alternatives of his own. The end result of that conversation was a SNL sketch called, “Newt Gingrich: Moon President.” That was good for Mitt, although it painted Newt and the broader space community that supports the goal as, if you’ll excuse the phrase, loony.
So, Anderson now wants to start a new national conversation. That might be easier to do if Romney had a strategy. Instead, he has merely described a process by which he would figure out his policy, which involves forming an advisory board that includes Anderson, Mike Griffin, Scott Pace and Eugene Cernan. In other words, Top. Men. That’s not much on which to base a national conversation. Perhaps Anderson will go into more detail in future videos.
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.