Video Caption: Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, is the world’s leading space entrepreneur. Hear how Musk plans to send millions of people to colonize Mars, as Michelle Fields talks to the tech innovator about the future of space exploration, scientific innovation and doing business in California during a recession.
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Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana gave a spirited defense of NASA’s turn toward commercial space operations earlier this week, saying the space agency would not block a proposed commercial launch complex on land it controls at the Shiloh site:
“If it works out that that’s the right thing to do, we’ll make sure that the land is available for them to do that,” he said.
Asked if NASA was an advocate for the proposed Shiloh launch complex, Cabana said it was a state initiative.
The plan includes launching Dscovr (Deep Space Climate Observatory) aboard a Falcon 9 in late 2014 to the Sun-Earth Lagrange point L1, which is located 930,000 miles from Earth. SpaceX will also launch the Air Force’s Space Test Program (STP-2) mission — which consists of two satellites — aboard a Falcon Heavy in mid-2015.
“SpaceX says that in addition to preparing for the two OSP-3 missions and additional flights of the Falcon 9 and Heavy variants, it must undergo extensive audits of its spacecraft control and operations software along with reviews of launch site operations prior to certification,” Aviation Week reports.
Once the launch vehicles are certified, SpaceX will be able to compete with United Launch Alliance for defense missions.
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The bills, all sponsored by State Rep. John Davis (R-Houston), include:
- HB 545, which would enable municipalities to establish their own spaceport development corporations;
- HB 1791, which would align space flight activities in Texas with federal regulations;
- HB 417, which would require one member of the state’s Aviation Advisory Committee to come from the commercial spaceflight industry.
HB 545 and HB 1791 have been approved by the House and are now before the Senate Economic Development Committee. HB 417 is before the House Transportation Committee for review.
The Texas State Senate Committee on Administration has approved a measure that would allow officials to close Boca Chica Beach to allow for SpaceX to launch Falcon rockets from a proposed launch complex near Brownsville. The approval paves the way for a vote in the full Senate, where approval is expected.
The measure had been held up for two days after John Whitmire, D-Houston, raised concerns about setting a precedent by closing a public beach for a private company. Whitmire’s concerns were addressed and he now supports the legislation, according to media reports.
The Brownsville Herald reports that more than 500 people attended a public hearing last night to hear the results of the FAA’s preliminary environmental impact statement on SpaceX’s proposed launch facility:
Of those gathered at the International Technology, Education and Commerce Center Tuesday night, dozens shared their views on the project, which showed a general consensus of cautious optimism that the project — which aims to construct a vertical rocket launch site at the eastern end of State Highway 4 — will bring jobs while making a minimal impact on the environment.
Santa Fe, N.M. (NMSA PR) – Governor Susana Martinez today announced that Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, or SpaceX, has signed a three-year agreement to lease land and facilities at Spaceport America to conduct the next phase of flight testing for its reusable rocket program. The company will be a new tenant at Spaceport America, the state-owned commercial launch site located in southern New Mexico.
Made in Space will fly the first 3D printer in space next year aboard a SpaceX Dragon freighter, which will deliver it for use by astronauts aboard the International Space Station, CTO Jason Dunn announced on Saturday.
Dunn told attendees at the Space Hacker Workshop in Mountain View, Calif., that this will be the first time that humans will conduct manufacturing operations off the Earth. The 3-D machine will allow astronauts to print parts and components on orbit instead of having to ship them up from Earth.
The company, which is based at the NASA Ames Research Park at Moffett Field, Calif., has been working for three years to perfect 3D printers capable of working in microgravity gravity. Dunn said the Made in Space has flown more than 400 microgravity parabolas to test out printers.
Made in Space was formed in 2010 by alumni of the Singularity University, which runs a summer program at NASA Ames in California.
By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor
On Sunday, I dropped by Bob’s Army Navy Store in Mojave, hoping to pick up a pair of good binoculars for the SpaceShipTwo flight scheduled for the next day. Although my search was in vain, I did visit the area on the west side of the building where there are a variety of rocks for sale.
There were rocks of every kind: large rocks and small rocks, crystals, rocks with scaly lizards scurrying underneath to escape from someone who was equally afraid of them. I was fascinated. I had no idea there were that many types of rocks. Or that people would want to buy such things in large numbers. What would they use them for? I was stumped.
What really caught my interest, though, was the petrified wood.
Video Caption: SpaceX’s Grasshopper flies 820 feet, more than tripling its March 7th leap.
Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle that SpaceX has designed to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact. While most rockets are designed to burn up in the atmosphere during reentry, SpaceX’s rockets are being designed to return to the launch pad for a vertical landing.