Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

A New Era In Space Exploration

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Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Makes Major Move for U.S. Return to Human Space Flight

In an operation at Kennedy Space Center involving minute movements and precise placement, the pieces of the first CST-100 Starliner test article became a capsule. The test article will help verify the manufacturing method, the materials, and the parts being created by Boeing and the project’s suppliers and help study the design of the Starliner.

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Airbus Wants a Slice of the Space Business

Airbus is working on developing a launcher to send mini satellites into orbit, people familiar with the project said, a move that would pit it against the likes of Virgin Galactic and Rocket Lab.

The Toulouse, France-based company is working on a project to build a commercial launcher for satellites ranging from less than one kilo to a few dozen kilos — the so-called CubeSats and nano satellites — used for earth exploration, defense and security, weather forecasts and Internet connections, the people said, asking not to be named because the project is not public.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.bloomberg.com

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Boeing’s schedule for flying astronauts slips to 2018

A top Boeing executive said today that the company plans to start sending crews into orbit aboard its CST-100 Starliner space taxi in 2018, which represents a slight delay in NASA’s previous development schedule.

“We’re working toward our first unmanned flight in 2017, followed by a manned astronaut flight in 2018,” Leanne Caret, who is Boeing’s executive vice president as well as president and chief executive officer of Boeing’s defense, space and security division, said at a briefing for investors.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.geekwire.com

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MDC explores possibility of vertical-launch rocket facility

“We’re in the business of selling Midland to others.”

That’s how Midland Development Corp. Chairman Brent Hilliard described the type 4A sales tax-funded organization’s mission during a phone interview Tuesday.

And although MDC has invested in infrastructure and various businesses, its main focus for diversifying Midland’s economy is on the cutting-edge aerospace industry.

It has spent millions to lure upstart sub-orbital spaceplane company XCOR and spacesuit firm Orbital Outfitters, and its vision of turning the Tall City into a place all-things aerospace is growing. That growth, however, requires help.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.mrt.com

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Cargo-carrying Dragon spaceship returns to Earth | Spaceflight Now

SpaceX’s Dragon supply ship departed the International Space Station on Wednesday, fired rocket thrusters to brake out of orbit, and parachuted to a picture-perfect splashdown in the Pacific Ocean with approximately 3,461 pounds (1,570 kilograms) of experiment samples and equipment.

Concluding a 31-day stay at the outpost, the 12-foot-diameter (3.7-meter) spacecraft detached from the space station’s Harmony module early Wednesday in the grasp of the research lab’s Canadian-built robotic arm, which maneuvered the capsule to a release point about 30 feet, or 10 meters, beneath the complex.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: spaceflightnow.com

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SpaceX Dragon capsule lands safely at sea

A month after delivering an expandable prototype habitat and other goodies to the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean today  with tons of equipment and scientific samples.

Among the roughly 3,700 pounds of cargo are freezers containing blood, saliva, urine and stool samples from astronaut Scott Kelly, who served as an experimental subject during a nearly yearlong stint on the station. Those samples will be studied to see how long-term spaceflight affected Kelly’s metabolic functions, including the function of the gut bacteria in his bowels.

The results could affect how NASA plans for even longer journeys to Mars and other deep-space destinations.

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Critical NASA Science Returns to Earth aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

A SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 2:51 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 11, about 261 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, with more than 3,700 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.

The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA, and then be prepared for shipment to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.nasa.gov

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