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Posts Tagged "commercial spaceflight"

Guest Blog

How the Ansari X Prize Altered the Trajectory of Human Spaceflight

SpaceShipOne in her new home in the National Air and Space Museum. (Credit: Ad Meskens via Wikimedia Commons)

Looking up into the bright Mojave sky in 2004, I strained to keep my eyes on the tiny spaceship 50,000 feet up. “Three, two, one… release, release, release!” came the call over the loudspeakers. I held my breath as I watched the rocket motor ignite and the spaceship ascend on a plume of fire with [...]

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Observations

While NASA Idles, Commercial Space Revs Up

SpaceShipTwo test flight

NASA may have lost the urgency of its 1960s moon race years, but today’s commercial space sector looks to be recapturing some of that fervor. The various players in America’s private space race were out in force at an event on Friday, May 2 at New York City’s historic Explorer’s Club, each one promising major [...]

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Observations

Commercial Spaceflight Industry Drifts Back to Earth

SpaceX launch of Dragon 9

As the brash, stylish new kid on the block, SpaceX was sure to win its share of admirers. But last week’s launch hiccup showed that the private space operator, helmed by Elon Musk, has a few issues to work out, just like stodgy old NASA. Don’t get me wrong: SpaceX has done unbelievably impressive things. [...]

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Observations

SpaceX Trying Again Early Tuesday to Reach International Space Station

Falcon 9 rocket on the launchpad

SpaceX’s history-making mission to the International Space Station is on hold, following a valve malfunction Saturday morning that caused a last-minute launch abort. But the California company says its rocket is now good to go and will be ready to launch in the early hours of Tuesday, May 22. If all goes as planned, SpaceX’s [...]

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Observations

Planetary Resources’ Crazy Plan to Mine an Asteroid May Not Be So Crazy

Vesta, asteroid, Dawn, space

In a widely anticipated announcement today, the new company Planetary Resources revealed their plans for near-Earth asteroid domination. The group has mapped out a multi-stage process to map, observe, capture, tow and eventually mine asteroids for valuables. “A single 500-meter platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the platinum group metals mined in history,” reads [...]

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Observations

NASA Figures Show That Commercial Rocket Costs Less Than Half as Much as Government-Run Effort Would

SpaceX

SpaceX has been the darling in the past few years of the so-called NewSpace movement—private companies aspiring to do the spacefaring work that was once limited to the space programs of the world’s superpowers. The California-based company, headed by Paypal co-founder Elon Musk, has already completed successful demonstrations of its Falcon 9 rocket and its [...]

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Observations

NASA dishes out $270 million to speed U.S. return to orbit after space shuttle retirement

Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser

The space shuttle program has just two launches remaining on the calendar, one April 29 and one in June. After that, no one knows what the next U.S.-based rocket to take astronauts to orbit will look like, when it will launch, or who will have built it. But all indications are that the rocket won’t [...]

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