November 2007


(Source: SpaceDev)
SpaceDev recently completed its first milestone under the Space Act Agreement that it signed with NASA in June 2007. This significant first milestone is to define the outer mold line (OML) of the SpaceDev Dream Chaser™ space vehicle. The SpaceDev team generated a surface model that will be used for future analysis, subscale flight test modeling, and full scale tooling of the Dream Chaser flight vehicle. SpaceDev entered into the Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to facilitate its development of reliable, safe and affordable transportation of passengers and cargo to and from Earth orbit. As part of the agreement, NASA is providing support regarding commercial vehicle requirements for rendezvous and docking with the ISS as well as ongoing regularly scheduled technical exchange.

(Source: The Register)
In the airless vacuum of space, fashion choices are limited. But the California Space Authority – an industry body – was having none of that this week, as it hosted a fashion show at its annual conference. Many of the outfits modeled seemed more suitable for somewhere more hospitable than actual space, though perhaps quite warm. “We believe that the question ‘What do I wear in space?’ will be a very real issue in the extremely near future,” said show organizer Randa Milliron, CEO of a Mojave rocket company. The event was dubbed “Space Style 2007: A Giant Leap for Couture” and the Space Authority set the scene with a suitably torrid press release:

“Aerospace engineers and scientists in their suits, winged-tipped shoes and white lab coats mixed with fashion aficionados in their stylistic garments and pastel-colored hair. The punker-set with lip-piercings and black nail polish toasted cocktails with straight-laced rocket scientists in white-collared shirts. Young and old swayed to the psi-trance/industrial music that pulsated through the venue and together they gazed upon the colorfully lit runway flanked by big screens with flashing images of deep space and Mars-like terrains.”

(Source: Times Online)
Jeff Bezos has proved the doubters wrong and turned his online store into a booming business. So why does he want to invest the money he’s made into space travel? The founder of Amazon, a button-bright bald geek with a Gatling gun laugh and easy sense of humor, is virtually the last of the 1990s tech pioneers still at the helm of his ship and probably the funniest billionaire you could ever hang out with. He is one of the most successful businessmen on the planet, with an estimated personal wealth of $9 billion – so wealthy that he is pouring money into his own space project, Blue Origin, one of a number racing to take tourists further than they have ever been before.

“I am just very interested in it. You don’t choose your passions, they choose you, and I have been passionate about space since I was a five-year-old, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.” The company is building “a vertical take-off and landing suborbital vehicle” that will take passengers into space to experience weightlessness. Flights may begin in 2010. And then? Bezos is cagey about future plans, other than affirming that he has a “brilliant team of engineers.” How much money has he spent? “We don’t say.” Then he laughs, “Hey, you didn’t expect to catch me with that one. I’m not that jet-lagged, hahaha.” Rivals estimate Blue Origin has gobbled up at least $500m so far. And it may not all be about boyhood dreams. Getting satellites into space, and using satellites for a variety of purposes, is increasingly vital for business. Bezos may be in there early.

(Source: Space News)
The Sea Launch Odyssey launch platform and its command ship have left their Long Beach home port in preparation for a Nov. 13 launch of the 5,180-kilogram Thuraya-3 mobile communications satellite. The launch from Sea Launch’s Pacific Ocean site on the equator will be the first since the company’s January failure, which destroyed the SES New Skies NSS-8 telecommunications satellite.

Source: Space Frontier Foundation

According to the current program schedule, CNBC will air a feature segment titled “Rocket Men” this week within their Business Nation series.

SPACE.com correspondent and SFF advocate Dave Brody was interviewed for this show, which airs on Wednesday, November 7th at 9PM and 12AM ET. This segment is reported by CNBC’s Dylan Radigan.
CNBC’s Program Description:

“ROCKET MEN”
They are a new breed of “thrillionaires” — wealthy business tycoons like Richard Branson, Paul Allen, and Jeff Bezos who made their names in the dot-com arena, real estate, and other industries, and who are now risking their personal fortunes on the newly emerging field of private space exploration. Business Nation goes inside this new space race with two of these space cowboys, Robert Bigelow and Elon Musk, who are trying to strike gold a second time and are investing millions in these audacious ventures.

Business Nation followed Bigelow to a Russian military base near the Kazakhstan border to witness a test launch of his rocket, one he says will ferry a human habitat into space.

Business Nation (http://www.cnbc.com/id/16586545)

Source: Discover

1) Nearly every astronaut experiences some space sickness, caused by the wildly confusing information reaching their inner ears. In addition to nausea, symptoms include headaches and trouble locating your own limbs;

2) And those are the least of your worries. In weightlessness, fluids shift upward, causing nasal congestion and a puffy face; bones lose calcium, forming kidney stones; and muscles atrophy, slowing the bowels and shrinking the heart; 3) At least you’ll be tall: The decreased pressure on the spine in zero-g causes most space travelers to grow about two inches. Click here for full article.

Source: Technology Review
“Can the United States and partners enable the development and deployment of a space-based solar power system within the first half of the 21st Century such that if constructed could provide affordable, clean, safe, reliable, sustainable, and expandable energy for its consumers?” That’s the fundamental question the National Security Space Office (NSSO) asked in an online collaborative forum that included 170 academic, scientific, technical, legal, and business experts from around the world. The discussion took place over a five-month period, during which the NSSO gathered and organized information pertaining to the feasibility of space-based solar.

The study concluded “that while the business case for SBSP cannot be closed for construction to begin in 2007, the technical feasibility of the concept has never been better and all science and technology development vectors appear to indicate that there is credible potential for SBSP to be built within a strategically relevant period of time.”

Source: Alamagordo News
Officials estimated 85,000 guests attended events showcasing the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force and commemorating 50 years of space flight. The Air and Space Expo kicked off Friday with an Education Day offering students from southern New Mexico a chance to run experiments, participate in science competitions, listen to NASA astronauts talk about their experiences and meet with airmen who described their roles when deployed to places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Source: New Mexico Business Weekly

The space industry’s top movers and shakers say they are firmly committed to building the rockets and technology needed to ferry tourists and cargo to space. “We’re in a transition phase that could last about five years,” said Peter Diamandis, CEO of the X-Prize Foundation and co-founder of the Rocket Racing League. “It’s a critical time for us to push forward. There is business to be had in space. We’re not the year yet, but once we are, it will be unstoppable.”

Alex Tai, chief operating officer for Virgin Galactic, said his company is in the race for the long haul. That firm, headed by British tycoon Richard Branson, is working with California-based Scaled Composites to build a six-passenger spacecraft to fly tourists to suborbit. “We are absolutely determined to make this happen,” Tai said. “There will be setbacks along the way, but we’re determined to get there.” In fact, Virgin Galactic has pre-sold $31 million in tickets to passengers who paid $200,000 each to fly to space.