A NASA contractor wants to go all Brett Favre on America's space shuttles, pulling them out of retirement past their prime to keep them going, even if it's to play for the other side.
United Space Alliance, which manages the shuttle program for NASA, wants to spend $1.5 billion annually to fly two missions a year from 2013 to 2017, using Endeavour and Atlantis.
Building a satellite and launching it into space was once a multi-million dollar proposition. But even though miniaturization and easy-to-adapt technology formats like the CubeSat have brought down the costs of building satellites, the cost of getting those satellites into space is still sky high. So while new commercial space carriers perfect their various heavy lift rockets, one emerging space company aims to send smaller payloads into space on the backs – or rather the bellies – of existing vehicles: decommissioned military jets.
The world’s first volunteer-built, not-for-profit passenger rocket funded purely by donations and sponsorships is preparing for launch next week, ticking off a milestone in human spaceflight history. The Danish rocket, known as the Tycho Brahe-1, is slated to launch from a seafaring launch platform in the middle of the Baltic Sea on August 31.
In an acknowledgement that the private space industry just might have something going for it, NASA is setting aside $30 million to buy information gleaned from future commercial missions to the moon. NASA believes it can learn from these missions and will pay up to $10 million per mission for data that could be useful for future robotic or manned missions of its own even though NASA has no lunar missions on the books.
After launching their smaller Falcon 1 last summer (the first privately-developed liquid-fuel rocket ever to reach orbit), SpaceX is now ready for the first test launch of its larger, more advanced Falcon 9 rocket today. A four-hour, weather-dependent launch window begins now, and you can watch the countdown live. Update: Looks like the test was successful.
With the space shuttle ceasing service next year and the Constellation program unprepared to launch before 2014, NASA will spend at least four years planted firmly on the ground. But NASA's hiatus is the private space industry's gain, and commercial space carrier Space Exploration Technologies -- or SpaceX, for brevity's sake -- plans to launch its Dragon spacecraft on her maiden voyage to the International Space Station between May and November of next year.
While the rocket races will have to wait a year, inventors showed off plenty of private space technology at this year's X Prize Cup showcase
By Michael BelfiorePosted 10.18.2005 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
The X Prize Cup, an annual rocket race and showcase set to touch down every October in Las Cruces, New Mexico, held its inaugural gathering on October 9. Founder Peter Diamandis, whose X Prize Foundation last year awarded $10 million for the first private manned spaceship, plans for the XP Cup to be a chance for space fans to meet the engineers and pilots of a new generation of commercial spaceships and to watch them compete in rocket races both in and out of the Earth's atmosphere.