Will Pomerantz TEDx Talk: Why We Go to Space

Video Caption: William Pomerantz is the Vice President for Special Projects at Virgin Galactic. William’s thrilling answer to the question, “Why is it worth it to explore outer space?” leaves every audience member with a zero-gravity buzz.

Will is a graduate from Harvard University, the NASA academy, and the International Space University. Some of the ‘Special Projects’ Will has worked on are the LauncherOne small satellite launch vehicle and the use of SpaceShipTwo as a research platform, among others. Will is a Trustee of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), the world’s largest student space organization. He is also a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Operations & Support Technical Committee. From 2005 – 2011, he worked at the X Prize Foundation, the world-leading incentive prize organization. As Senior Director of Space Prizes, he served as the primary author and manager of the $30 million Google Lunar Prize and the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander X CHALLENGE. Will has also worked at Harvard and Brown Universities, the Futron Corporation, and the United Nations.

NASA Creates New Virtual Solar System Exploration Institute

NASA_SSERVI-LOGONASA has selected nine research teams from seven states for a new institute that will bring researchers together in a collaborative virtual setting to focus on questions concerning space science and human space exploration.

The teams participating in the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) will address scientific questions about the moon, near-Earth asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and their near space environments, in cooperation with international partners.


NASA, Bigelow to Discuss Private Sector Space Exploration Effort

Artist's conception of a Bigelow lunar habitat. (Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)
Artist’s conception of a Bigelow lunar habitat. (Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas are holding a media availability at 1:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday, May 23, to discuss the agency’s Space Act Agreement with the company for its insight on collaborating with commercial industry on exploration beyond Earth orbit. Journalists can participate in-person or by teleconference.


ISPCS: Bob Bigelow on the Competition With China

Robert Bigelow

Bob Bigelow — I’ll be somewhat controversial today — that got applause…

Space business is about to change….a new gunslinger in town, he’s not American, and he’s aiming at Solar System monopoly….he’s started to play the game, but we’re not even aware it’s happening…

In about 15 years, that game will end…

America has become weaker, not stronger, over the last 20 years….we will spend the next five years trying to recover from the recession…Are we weaker than we were in 1969, how close are we to being relegated to the number 2 position in the world across the board…

Who will be in the charge as the dominant force? China

Permanent problems

  • enormous cost of entitlements
  • overly generous retirement system
  • poor results of education program
  • pathetic lack of skills, honesty and ability in our government
  • NASA is a shadow of what it used to be in 1960’s


“What’s Next?” in Space Exploration Video Contest Launched

CSE PR — During this historic time of change within the space industry, the Coalition for Space Exploration (Coalition) wants to hear from the American public about what they envision for the future of space exploration. The Coalition is launching a contest based on a simple question, “What’s Next?” Participants are encouraged to share their ideas for the future direction of America’s space program in a video. The creator of the winning video entry wins an iPad2.

Entries must be submitted by Oct. 17. From there, the public will vote on the best videos. The top five videos will become semi-finalists and a panel of judges from the Coalition will crown the winner. Entries will be housed on the Coalition website, with the winner’s entry moving on to Washington, DC to be shared with national leaders.

Entrants are encouraged to share their vision for the future of space exploration, keeping in mind a few key facts:

  •  We are poised to utilize our tremendous experience and expertise gained from a successful Space Shuttle program.
  • The International Space Station is breaking through technological and research barriers, making extraordinary science available to the general public.
  • The space industry is burgeoning with forward-thinking entrepreneurs who are about to change the way we access and travel to space.

As the industry evolves, clear, exciting goals and challenging timelines are needed to foster the exploration and development of space. The Coalition wants citizens to speak out about what they feel should be next for space exploration with a 1-2 minute video entry. Written ideas are also welcome as posts on the “What’s Next?” blog.

To read the competition rules and submit a video visit:  http://spacecoalition.com/benefits-of-space/whats-next.

Space: The Frontier of the Future – and Always Will Be?

The cramped Russian Soyuz is a far cry from the sleek Pan Am shuttle imagined in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

SPACE FLIGHT: Business of space fails to blast off as expected

The Washington Post

“It’s 2009, and we thought we’d be going to the moon on PanAm by now,” said John Pike, an analyst who follows the industry at the think tank GlobalSecurity.org. “We thought the number of rockets that would be launched each year would be more and more and it would get cheaper and cheaper, but it didn’t happen that way.”


NASA Official Touts One-Way Trips to Space


Space exploration volunteers wanted (The catch? It’s a one-way ticket)
The Guardian

The next generation of astronauts may hurtle through the cosmos for years or decades on a mission to explore distant planets and stars – and never return.

A senior Nasa official has told the Guardian that the world’s space agencies, or the commercial firms that may eventually succeed them, could issue one-way tickets to space, with the travellers accepting that they would not come back.


Experts: Space Spending Crucial to Economy, Competitiveness

Space shuttle launch
Space shuttle launch


The Space Economy Symposium, an initiative of George Mason University in collaboration with Phillips & Company and hosted by the Space Enterprise Council of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, provided a forum for a robust discussion on the contributions of space to the nation’s economic growth and the role of space in enabling greater national competitiveness in a global economy.


Russia Planetary Exploration Program Faltering

Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft
Russia's Phobos-Grunt spacecraft

Russian lunar and Mars missions face delays

The planned revival by Russia of its once mighty lunar and planetary robotic exploration program is beginning to falter due to Russian budget and spacecraft problems.

The difficulties are threatening to delay Russia’s first mission to the Moon in 33 years. A Russian roundtrip mission to the Martian moon Phobos is also in trouble.


Space 2.0 Promises Broader Benefits to Society

Night with a Futurist Explores Space 2.0
Rocky Radar

Monday’s Night with a Futurist provided thoughts on “The Business of Space 2.0” and an overview of the 8th Continent Project designed to support this business. Burke Fort and John Metzger gave the presentation, with Fort opening by walking the audience through the four evolutionary stages of space-related business: Space 1.0, Space 1.5, New Space and Space 2.0.


Anderson: Humanity Needs a Second Home

Space the final tourism frontier
The National

Humanity must explore space not only to capitalise on huge economic opportunities, said Eric Anderson, the chief executive of Space Adventures. Our innate desire to explore means we should do it anyway.

“Decades from now, we will need to bring the resources of the solar system into our economic sphere of influence,” he told delegates to the Global Space Technology Forum being held in Abu Dhabi this week. “We need to colonise other planets.”

And Earth’s history, marked by catastrophic events that have reshaped the path of life itself, makes space exploration an even more pressing necessity. “These events will happen again,” Mr Anderson said, “and it is a prime reason why we as humans need to become a multi-planet species. To ensure our long-term survival, humans need to have more than one home.”

Planetary Society to Moon: Drop Dead! Oh, Right…Sorry…

With a new administration about to take charge in Washington, The Planetary Society outlined a new roadmap for America’s exploration of space. In brief, it pretty much comes down to:

Mars – In
Asteroids – In
Moon – Booo-rrring!

That’s basically it, really. The press release follows after the break if you’re interested. If not, that may be as much as you need to know. Oh yeah, they’re also in favor of more climate research.


Scientists Consider Landers, Balloons and Subs to Explore Jupiter, Saturn

Titan Balloon
A Flagship class Titan explorer balloon. Credit: Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Space.com‘s Leonard David reports that NASA and ESA planetary scientists are working out the details on possible flagship-class missions to Jupiter and Saturn that include landers, balloons and a mini-submarine.

“We have the outer planet flagship mission in the [NASA] budget … I do believe it will happen,” said Dr. Fran Bagenal, who heads up the chair of the Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG). “I couldn’t have said that four years ago … now I have great confidence that this will happen.”

One mission under review involves two orbiters to study Jupiter and its frozen moon Europa, which scientists believe possesses a subsurface ocean. Russia has proposed a Europa lander for the flight.

The Saturn mission would involve a main spacecraft that would orbit the gas giant and a smaller one to explore its satellite Titan. The Titan vehicle could deploy an atmospheric balloon, surface probes, or a mini-submarine to explore the moon’s methane lakes.

Japan Views China’s Space Development as Possible Threat

China’s growing expertise in space and rocket development is causing concern among its neighbors. A review by the National Institute for Defence Studies, a Japanese think tank, says that China’s program is “a vital means of achieving military competitiveness against the United States.”

“The organisations engaged in China’s space development have strong ties to the People’s Liberation Army and a considerable number of its satellites are presumably intended for military purposes,” the review states.