06 Oct

Check out the Blue Origins test of their capsule escape system

This is pretty amazing. Not only can SpaceX get a booster to restart its engines and land, but Blue Origins can as well. Here they are showing their ability to launch a booster, land it again after restarting the engines, and also test the escape system that shoots the capsule away in an emergency.

I know Blue Origins hasn’t gone orbital, but this puts us close to having two very amazing launch systems available going forward.

20 Jun

SpaceX wants to beat NASA to Mars by 20 or so years

I just recently posted the graphic of NASA’s plans to put people on Mars in the 2040s. This article says 2030s, but 2040s sounds more like what’s coming out of the plans.

SpaceX has other ideas:

“Elon Musk, speaking to CNBC about how the future of humankind is rather closely tied to our ability to get off this planet, is ‘hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years’ — with SpaceX rockets and spacecraft, of course. This lines up with some of his previous comments about establishing a Mars colony in the 2020s. Meanwhile, NASA recently announced that it would try to put a human on Mars in 2035 — and only if it can secure the necessary funding and carry out a number of important milestone missions beforehand. Tantalizingly, Musk also spoke about SpaceX going public on the stock market — perhaps to raise the necessary funds to fly (and establish a colony?) on Mars.”

(Via SpaceX says it will put humans on Mars by 2026, almost 10 years ahead of NASA | ExtremeTech.)

The mention of SpaceX going public has me drooling. I was broke when Tesla went public, and I view it as too dear to trade now. Maybe I’ll have a little around when SpaceX goes public.

12 Jun

A look at the future of NASA & humans in space

Screen Shot 2014 06 10 at 5 49 04 PM 1024x631

“‘Assuming the ISS [International Space Station] is extended to 2028 and the HSF [human spaceflight] budget is increased up to 5 percent per year (two times the rate of inflation), the earliest a crewed surface mission to Mars is likely to occur will be approximately 2040 to 2050.”

(Via Ariel Waldman » The future of humans in space.)

This, along with many other interesting highlights about the recent and thorough look at the future of NASA manned spaceflight by one of the report’s authors are all at the link above.

Meaty reading, I only had a chance to skim.

17 Jun

NASA gets flack for giving Orbital Sciences COTS money despite lack of demonstration flights

Imagine if COTS didn’t exist and NASA had picked just Orbital… thanks goodness there are 3 COTS (2.5 really) participants. Looks like they really could have not paid Orbital and had 3.5 private programs going…

“NASA’s Office of the Inspector General has criticised NASA’s management in a report noting that it has apparently given funding to one of the commercial cargo operators before it has flown the required number of cargo demonstration missions.  Specifically it records that Orbital Sciences Corp has recevied ‘up to 70 percent of the funds associated with six of its eight CRS missions prior to having flown a demonstration flight, ‘

The report also notes that a ‘full demonstration flight required under the COTS Program most recently scheduled for June 2013 has slipped to August or September 2013.”

(Via NASA under fire for advancing Orbital Sciences commercial cargo cash – Hyperbola.)

29 Apr

SpaceshipTwo breaks sound barrier


“Today, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJC, completed the first rocket-powered flight of its space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2). The test, conducted by teams from Scaled Composites (Scaled) and Virgin Galactic, officially marks Virgin Galactic’s entrance into the final phase of vehicle testing prior to commercial service from Spaceport America in New Mexico.”


07 Apr

NASA is not going back to the moon

Current NASA head lays it out. Interesting:

“NASA has no plans to lead its own human return to the Moon under his watch. ‘NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission,’ he said. ‘NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime. And the reason is, we can only do so many things.’ Instead, he said the focus would remain on human missions to asteroids and to Mars. ‘We intend to do that, and we think it can be done.’

‘I don’t know how to say it any more plainly,’ he concluded. ‘NASA does not have a human lunar mission in its portfolio and we are not planning for one.’ He warned that if the next administration tries to change course again back to the Moon, ‘it means we are probably, in our lifetime, in the lifetime of everybody sitting in this room, we are probably never again going to see Americans on the Moon, on Mars, near an asteroid, or anywhere. We cannot continue to change the course of human exploration.’”

(Via Back to the Moon? Not any time soon, says Bolden « Space Politics.)

06 Apr

NASA mulls asteroid capture mission, manned missions

Don’t want to close my eyes
I don’t want to fall asleep
Cause I’d miss you asteroid
Flaming in to hit our world…

“NASA is working on plans to robotically capture and tow a small asteroid back to Earth’s vicinity by the end of the decade, setting the stage for manned visits to learn more about the threat asteroids pose, the resources they represent and to help perfect the technology needed for eventual flights to Mars.”

(Via NASA mulls asteroid capture mission, eventual manned visits – CBS News.)

04 Jan

A cogent point about Moonshot returns

From Jonny Nexus Online, a brief blog post that makes a very good point:

…But when a US Navy party led by Admiral George J. Dufek had landed at the Pole in a C-47 Skytrain aircraft on 31st October 1956, they were first people to stand at the Pole since Scott’s party, in 1912, forty-four years previously

He makes the point that the 37+ year hiatus we’ve had since returning to the moon is fairly comparable to the polar hiatus.

I think he makes a good point.