Tag: space tourism

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.

House Science Committee Gives Industry What It Wants

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Capitol Building
The commercial space industry had a great day on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, with the Republican-controlled House Science Committee giving it most of what it wanted while swatting away proposed changes from the minority Democrats.

Among the goodies approved by the committee: a decade-long extension of the moratorium on regulating commercial human spaceflight;  a nine-year extension of industry-government cost sharing for damages caused by launch accidents; and an act that would give companies property rights to materials they mine from asteroids.

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Sarah Brightman Drops Out of Space Tourism Flight to ISS

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Satoshi_Takamatsu and Sarah Brightman (far right) meet the media. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Satoshi_Takamatsu and Sarah Brightman (far right) meet the media. (Credit: Roscosmos)

British soprano Sarah Brightman has dropped out of a planned trip this fall to the International Space Station citing ” for personal family reasons.” A post on the singer’s website did not elaborate on those reasons.

The announcement comes only weeks after press reports said Brightman would be replaced by her backup, Japanese businessman Satoshi Takamatsu, because she would not be ready in time for the flight. Those reports were denied at the time.

Brightman’s announcement describes the decision as a postponement, indicating that she could fly at a future time aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. Because the Soyuz is the only transport system serving the six-person station, there will probably not be another opportunity until 2017 or 2018 when U.S. commercial providers Boeing and SpaceX begin transporting astronauts to ISS.

A Soyuz seat is open this year because a U.S. astronaut and Russian cosmonaut are spending almost one year aboard the station instead of returning to Earth after five to six months. Each three-seat Soyuz spacecraft must be rotated off the ISS every six months.

XCOR Aerospace Announces Strakes Bonded to Lynx Mark I Spacecraft

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

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

Mojave, CA, May 08, 2015 (XCOR PR) — XCOR Aerospace, Inc. announced today that it has bonded the XCOR Lynx Mark I strakes to the Lynx spacecraft fuselage. Lynx Mark I is currently being assembled at XCOR’s Hangar 61 in Mojave, California.

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Cruz Puts Forth Measure to Extend Commercial Spaceflight Learning Period

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Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Against the wishes of federal regulators, the commercial spaceflight industry would get another five years to learn lessons — and, hopefully, actually fly someone into space — under a bill being sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

That’s the word from SpaceNews, which says it has obtained a draft of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act set for markup on May 20 by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. The measure would extend restrictions on the Federal Aviation Administration’s authority to regulate the still nascent industry until 2020.

The limits were first put in place in 2004, then extended for three years in 2012. They are due to expire on Sept. 30.

George Nield, who heads up the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, said six months before the fatal SpaceShipTwo crash last year that he wants the quasi-moratorium to end in September. He said that there are safety regulations that can be formulated based on 50 years of human spaceflight. He added that without some basic regulations, irresponsible companies with poor safety practices can enter the industry.

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SpaceShipTwo Test Flights in Late 2016?

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The second SpaceShipTwo under construction. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

The second SpaceShipTwo under construction. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Immediately after the fatal crash of SpaceShipTwo last October, Virgin Galactic vowed to have a second spacecraft ready for testing within about six months.  As the six month anniversary of Mike Alsbury’s was marked last week, it is clear it will take a while before flights resume. In fact, one Virgin Galactic official indicated flight tests might not occur until late 2016.

The company marked the anniversary of the fatal flight with an update on its website.
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Spaceport America Spending Criticized

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Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

KRQE News has looked into how the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) is spending money on Spaceport America — and it’s not pretty.

The authority is paying $2.9 million annually to a company to provide state-of-the-art fire protection to the largely empty spaceport — which is used for the occasional sounding rocket launch and television commercial.

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NTSB Looks at Human Factors as Virgin Expresses Confidence in Engine

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WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo on the tarmac on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo on the tarmac on July 23, 2014. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Over at The Space Review, Jeff Foust has an excellent update on Antares and SpaceShipTwo six months after they both crashed within days of each other at the end of October. There are a couple of interesting things worth pointing out on the SpaceShipTwo failure.

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Virgin Galactic Could Change SpaceShipTwo Engine Again

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Nitrous nylon engine test on Jan. 16, 2014. (Credit: Ken Brown)

Nitrous nylon engine test on Jan. 16, 2014. (Credit: Ken Brown)

Here in Phoenix at the Space Access 15 Conference. Virgin Galactic Vice President Will Pomerantz spoke earlier today, revealing that after nearly 11 years of development the company still hasn’t figured out what type of engine it will use to power SpaceShipTwo.

This was a rather startling development because the matter had supposedly been settled last year. However, it does match what Parabolic Arc has been hearing for months about parallel engine development.

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Virgin Galactic Video on Employee Wellbeing

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Video Caption: What does employee wellbeing look like in the space exploration industry? We take a look behind the scenes at Virgin Galactic to get some answers…

Jim Vanderploeg is the chief medical officer at the world’s first commercial spaceline and is charged with looking after not just future astronauts but the team at Virgin Galactic. With years of experience at orgainsations such as NASA, what does Jim view as the key to ensuring that a team which is preparing for space is happy and healthy?