The three-day Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference began today in Colorado. Although I wasn’t able to attend, I have compiled highlights of a very newsworthy day via Twitter posts. (You can follow along with hashtag #nsrc2016.)
Below is a summary of news and updates provided by Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, World View Enterprises, Exos Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, Near Space Corporation, and NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.
BROOMFIELD, Colo., June 2, 2016 (World View PR) – World View, pioneers of the stratosphere, are collaborating with Ball Aerospace to explore World View’s Stratollite platform for remote sensing applications. Ball Aerospace and World View are working together to explore the feasibility of a commercial capability to perform persistent remote sensing from the Stratollite platform. The collaboration will culminate with World View performing a long-duration, persistent Stratollite flight to demonstrate remote sensing capabilities for commercial applications.
“Stratollite” flight platform signals the emergence of a new stratospheric economy
TUCSON, Ariz., April 27, 2016 (World View PR) — World View, the pioneers at the edge of space, today announced it has closed a $15M Series B round, with Canaan Partners as the lead investor. The round also includes participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Tencent, Moment Ventures, and Base Ventures. With the funding, World View plans to accelerate the development and commercial adoption of its “Stratollites” — high-tech balloons that operate in the stratosphere.
TUCSON, AZ, Jan. 19, 2015 (World view PR) – Arizona is poised to become a hub for the space tech industry, as World View – the commercial balloon spaceflight company – today announced that Tucson will become home to its global headquarters, conducting launches from Spaceport Tucson. The announcement follows today’s affirmative vote on a public-private partnership with World View and Pima County, working in collaboration with the City of Tucson, Sun Corridor, Inc. and the State of Arizona.
Pima County in Arizona is set to vote on Tuesday on an incentives package for near-space company World View Enterprises.
Tucson-based World View Enterprises plans to construct a 120,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility on Aerospace Parkway south of Raytheon Missile Systems and Tucson International Airport.
The company has about 25 workers but says it plans to expand to as many as 400 employees.
The incentive package before the board would have the county fund construction of the facility and spaceport launch site.
World View would pay back the county’s $14.5 million investment over 20 years of lease payments totaling more than $23.6 million.
World View would have the option to purchase a portion of the property after 10 years, excluding the spaceport.
Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is excited to announce the addition of two new Executive members and one Associate member.
“The commercial spaceflight industry is innovating and developing at an ever-increasing pace,” stated CSF President Eric Stallmer. “With the recent expansion of membership, our organization continues to grow with industry to represent the vibrant commercial spaceflight sector.”
TUCSON, Ariz., March 9, 2015 (World View PR) – World View, the commercial balloon spaceflight company, has completed their first commercial flight carrying research payloads as part of NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Flight Opportunities Program. This program gives students, researchers and educators the opportunity to fly their experiments and payloads with proven commercial flight companies.
“World View is committed to furthering stratospheric exploration and research,” said Taber MacCallum, World View’s Chief Technology Officer. “Our first flight as a NASA flight service provider marks the launch of our commercial efforts to aid research and education by providing a new way for NASA and others to access near-space.”
Tucson, AZ, Dec. 18, 2014 (World View PR) – World View Enterprises, the commercial balloon spaceflight company, is releasing actual footage from a recent flight of the awe-inspiring view Voyagers will experience during their journey to the edge of space. This footage depicts the sun rising over the curvature of the Earth as rays of light reflect off the cloud layer to create a majestic glow.
The Albuquerque Journalreports on negotiations between World View Enterprises and Spaceport America:
World View Enterprises Inc. of Tucson, Ariz., plans to send customers on balloon flights that climb 20 miles into the stratosphere, allowing passengers to view the earth’s curvature and the dark of space while wining and dining in a luxurious cabin with 360-degree views.
No decisions have been made, but the company is in negotiations with Spaceport executives to launch its balloons from southern New Mexico, starting in late 2016, said Chief Technology Officer Taber MacCallum.
“We hope to have a home base at the Spaceport,” MacCallum told the Journal. “It’s an amazing facility.”
The company expects to charge $75,000 for seats on a luxury capsule attached to a helium balloon. The capsule, which will carry six passengers and two pilots, will slowly ascend to 100,000 feet and then float in near space before returning to earth. The five-hour trip will include a meal and an open bar in the capsule, equipped with a lavatory and enough room for customers to walk around.
Roswell, NM – Oct. 24, 2014 – Following the record-breaking 135,908-foot space dive accomplished by Google’s Alan Eustace and the Paragon StratEx team, World View Enterprises, the commercial balloon spaceflight company, has acquired the technology from this history-making project. The acquisition will advance the company’s mission to pioneer a new frontier at the edge of space for travel and research.
ROSWELL, NM, Oct. 24, 2014 (Paragon PR) – Today, after 34 months of intense planning, development and training, Alan Eustace, supported by Paragon Space Development Corporation® (Paragon) and its Stratospheric Explorer (StratEx) team, made history with a near-space dive from a high-altitude balloon at approximately 135,000 feet. Eustace broke several records, including national record for highest exit altitude; world and national record for free fall under a drogue chute; national record for vertical speed. Additionally, he became the second person to break the sound barrier outside an aircraft.
San Francisco, CA, July 28, 2014 (World View PR) – World View Enterprises, the commercial spaceflight balloon company, has announced plans to fly research and education payloads during its balloon test flight phase as part of its newly launched Pathfinder program.
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.
LAS VEGAS, May 27, 2014 (World View PR) – For those who dream of space travel, now is the time to leave a mark on this burgeoning industry. World View, a transformative space travel experience, invites designers and fans to create the official emblem to represent its spaceflight passengers known as ‘Voyagers.’
Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce the addition of six new member organizations. Bigelow Aerospace and Orbital Outfitters have joined as new Executive Members and Moon Express has moved up from Associate to Executive Membership. ASRC Federal, Spaceport Sweden, and World View Enterprises have joined as Associate Members.
“The CSF membership is representative of all facets of space exploration,” said CSF President Michael Lopez-Alegria. “This diversity is indicative of a growing, thriving sector, with each company contributing to the overarching success of the commercial space exploration industry.”