December 2007


See source, Flight

(Source: CSA)
Rep. Brad Sherman (Democrat, CA) introduced legislation that would mitigate and/or elilminate unintended consequences of current ITAR export control and international technology transfer laws, regulations, and policies. The legislation (H.R. 4246) was introduced on Nov. 15 and has three original co-sponsors.

For a copy of the bill, visit http://thomas.loc.gov and enter the bill number.

(Source: Flight International)
The year ahead is set to either be a record breaker or will see major programs unravel, with the European Space Agency, NASA, California based-Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and UK space tourism company Virgin Galactic all facing key tests. ESA’s ATV, Virgin Galactic and Falcon have already been delayed from 2007 and it will not be long into 2008 before its known whether these programs face more delays. Click here to view the article.

(Source: KRIS)
A company from Indiana plans to offer what it calls an “experience of a lifetime” vacation package that includes a bird’s eye view of North America from space. Space Access founder Steve Wurst said he worked with President Bush when he was governor and with and Gov. Rick Perry to make the dream of a space community a reality in Texas. Wurst has been in talks with the Kennedy Memorial Foundation for about a decade to build a spaceport and city of the future on Kennedy Ranch. Developers would build an economically-friendly community on roughly 25,000 acres of land there something similar to Disney’s celebration in Central Florida.

“But instead of amusement related to animated characters,” Wurst said, “the main draw would be the space tourism theme.” Wurst said the community would help support a spaceport on Kennedy Ranch, where up to 15 sub-orbital flights would be offered daily starting in 2011. After eight minutes of space travel, Wurst said, travelers would fly over South Florida coast where Space Access looks to build another space port. The company plans to offer one-way or round-trip packages back to Corpus Christi at a cost comparable to an ocean cruise. The space port project on Kennedy Ranch is being unveiled during an expo in Key Largo, Fla., on Jan. 6.

(Source: Space Access)
Space Access, a Miami-based company, will host a limited number of guests for “SpaceGateWay Experiences” at an exclusive private resort in Key Largo, Florida. The company will expose the guests to its advanced enabling technologies for commercial space flight. In 2011, suborbital flights are planned to take customers to the edge of space, from spaceports in Texas and South Florida. Space Access will begin development of an even more capable vehicle designed to carry passengers all the way to orbit by 2014. Visit http://www.spaceaccess.com for information.

(Source: LA Times)
Peter Diamandis, leader of a new generation of rocketeers determined to turn space into a paying business, opened the Space Investment Summit that drew scores of rocket entrepreneurs. It was one of the first business events in the budding field of private commercial space travel. Attendees pitched such equipment as new spacesuits, inflatable launch vehicles and NASCAR-styled rocket racers to an admittedly modest — and skeptical — group of venture capitalists. The rocketeers were confident their Sputnik Moment was near, believing it’s just a matter of time before venture capital billionaires realize that space is not just a place, but also a cash register. “For the first time ever the ability to build and operate space systems is in the hands of small companies,” said Diamandis. Judging by the grim looks on the faces of investors at the event, the Sputnik Moment is still a long way off.

There was no shortage of ideas. Digital Solid State Propulsion pitched its concept of electrically controllable rocket propellant. Orbital Outfitters pitched a safety suit for suborbital passengers. Managed Energy Technologies was seeking support for a network of space-based solar power satellites that could supply consumers on Earth. Such blue-sky imaginings drove investor Shubber Ali crazy. “They’re smoking crack,” he said. He mentioned one popular idea in the space community, to mine an asteroid for its resources, specifically platinum. Even if it could be done, “when you increase supply, the price drops through the floor,” Ali said. “There’s no such thing as a trillion-dollar asteroid.” Those who talked about building cheaper rockets to launch satellites were likewise off-base. Satellite factories are already underutilized, he said.

Even though Virgin Galactic has collected millions of dollars from tourists wanting to fly into space aboard their SpaceShipTwo, the big-money guys want to know if it’s only a “one-shot deal,” said another investor. “They want to see billions of dollars in revenue.” Remigius Shatas, a partner in RNR Ventures, said he had invested as much as $10 million in the space business and had yet to make money. “Maybe the killer app hasn’t been invented yet,” he said.

Visit http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-fi-space10dec10,1,3346935.story?page=2&coll=la-news-science to view the article.

(Source: Reuters)

Space Exploration Technologies Corp, a startup aiming to slash the cost of launching people and cargo into space, may go public within the next two years, according to founder Elon Musk. Musk said he aims to put payloads into space for one-quarter to one-third of what his domestic competitors charge. He said he could beat by one-half the cost of international competitors including China, which he called the biggest potential competitor. A spokeswoman for the rocket joint venture between Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, did not return a request for comment. “I think going public might be some time in late 2009 … something on that order,” he said. But Musk said he was in no rush, did not need funds and was keen to get at least two successful launches of the Falcon 9 rocket under his belt before an initial public offering.

(Source: Tampa Tribune)
Norm Bobczynski of SpaceX drives a gray Honda minivan up to a dormant rocket launch pad at Cape Canaveral and scans his eyes across worn concrete roads and rusting steel towers. “This is our baby now, and it will be a lot of work,” he says. So far, a series of U.S. and European companies have hired SpaceX to heave their satellites into orbit – a job typically done by huge military contractors and government agencies. “The whole idea is to make space flights more like an airport,” Bobczynski said. The government might own the port, but private companies would use it to launch rockets regularly, cheaply and quickly. This sort of entrepreneurial get-up-and-go attitude may represent the best hope of solving a set of thorny problems for Florida and NASA.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk decided to develop rockets that are simpler, with common parts, faster and cheaper – more like building Toyota Camrys than NASA shuttles. Each of several SpaceX rockets uses the same Merlin engine, in combinations from one to nine units, allowing the company to mass-produce them for less cost. The good news for Florida is SpaceX plans many of its launches from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The bad news for the local job market is the company’s whole business model aims to do things faster, cheaper and with lower costs – meaning fewer employees.

At a minimum, Brevard officials say the area could lose 2,500 jobs as the shuttle retires. SpaceX officials said the company could top out at a few hundred employees at most at Cape Canaveral. “These are well-paying jobs, and the entire community is working together to ensure affected workers are able to transition smoothly and continue to work in Brevard County,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.

(Source: SiliconValley.com)
Largely the domain of governments and big corporations, space is about to open for business. But investors serious about making money off-planet should probably focus on ideas a little closer to earth, speakers at the SpaceInvestment Summit this week in San Jose told those in attendance. Ideas such as space tourism, launching private rockets and even mining the moon for minerals certainly capture the imagination, the conference made clear. But because such endeavors are inherently risky, costly and challenging, investors have few opportunities to invest in them – and shouldn’t expect to see a return anytime soon if they do, said several investment experts who attended the conference.

By contrast, there are plenty of investment opportunities related to space, if not exactly focused on leaving the planet, they say. Such space-related opportunities include solar power generation, special construction materials and even Web 2.0 programs along the lines of Google Earth. “It comes down to your definition of space,” said Burton Lee, who recently co-founded Space Angels Network to pair so-called angel investors who are interested in space with entrepreneurs. Visit http://www.siliconvalley.com/news/ci_7669430?nclick_check=1 to view the article.

(Source: The Space Review)

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1002/1

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