Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

Archive for January, 2012

The Space Review: Campaign lunacy

Via Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily

Political campaigns, presidential or otherwise, can be unpredictable affairs. Controversies can suddenly rise up, and nearly as quickly disappear. Momentum can swing from one candidate to another in a matter of days thanks to a speech or a debate performance or a series of ads. In the last several months, a series of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination became frontrunners, only to flame out or self-destruct.   With Florida holding one of the early primaries in the GOP presidential nomination campaign, one would expect that space would get some mention during the run-up to tomorrow’s election, given the strong association with space the state in general, and the “Space Coast” region in particular, has. Four years ago, several candidates made appearances on the Space Coast, talking about space policy in at least general terms. Few, though, would have predicted just a week ago that the news about the campaign would be dominated, if only briefly, about talk of Moon bases and even lunar statehood. (Yes, lunar statehood.) Yet, that’s exactly what happened, as the two frontrunners for the nomination, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, offered very different visions of what they would do in space if elected president this November. One offered a bold vision, but with few details, while the other focused less on a vision than a description of how he would develop a new mission for NASA.
Via www.thespacereview.com


Not evolution—revolution | The Space Review

Via Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily

his week, Newt Gingrich gave a speech on space that was visionary. Gingrich may be winning supporters among people who consider space policy an important election issue. There is evidence of this in an online poll about space policy where the Gingrich policy is favored over the Romney policy two-to-one. Yet Gingrich may lose far more supporters than he wins. Mitt Romney has been portraying Gingrich’s moon base as unaffordable and Gingrich as lunatic for wanting one. In the two days after Gingrich’s speech, which included a debate where the space issue came up again, the probability of Romney winning in Florida shot up from 40% to 90% according to the political prediction market intrade.com.   Ironically, Gingrich, Romney, and Barack Obama are not advocating that much difference in policy and not that much difference from George Bush’s policy as implemented. The Obama policy as articulated by the Augustine Committee continued a policy of gently encouraging domestic commercial alternatives to NASA self-supplying vehicles or obtaining them from Russia. Obama’s policy of go as you pay and building capabilities is the result of a meta-policy similar to Romney’s: appoint a panel of experts and do what they say. In Obama’s case, the composition of the panel resulted in a pro-commercial, decentralized policy that is in many ways a polar opposite of the administration’s health care and energy policies. The Obama space agenda ran into difficulty in Congress and the resulting compromise provides only limited reform.
Via www.thespacereview.com


Popular Mechanics Visit Mojave’s Burgeoning Private Spaceport

Via Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily

The sign at the entrance to the Mojave Air and Space Port says “imagination flies here.” The motto fits this collection of World War II–era hangars and outbuildings with two control towers and four airstrips in the middle of the California Desert.   In 2004, the airport became a spaceport when a three-seat rocket-powered airplane built by a company called Scaled Composites and designed by its founder and CEO Burt Rutan became the first civilian-built craft to leave Earth’s atmosphere. But Rutan and his ilk put themselves on the aerospace map long before SpaceShipOne took flight, and now they’re trying to make Mojave one of the most important points in the growing commercial space industry.
Via www.popularmechanics.com


Cosmic Log – To the moon? It’s not that loony

Via Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily

GOP hopeful Mitt Romney says that he’d fire anyone who suggested spending hundreds of billions of dollars to build a moon colony — but what about tens of billions of dollars? A former NASA adviser says he and others at the space agency drew up an approach that could put astronauts on the moon for $40 billion, as a “Plan B” for future exploration.   “We figured out at NASA how to do it in about 10 years for $40 billion,” said Charles Miller, who recently left his position as NASA Headquarters’ senior adviser for commercial space and is now president of NextGen Space. “The question is, would Mitt Romney fire me for a proposal to return to the moon for $40 billion?”
Via cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com


Tea Party space group backs Gingrich | The Flame Trench: space news and analysis

Via Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily

On the eve of Florida’s Republican presidential primary, a Tea Party-affiliated space organization has endorsed Newt Gingrich.   “Mr. Gingrich is the only candidate who consistently articulates a bright vision for future American space exploration and settlement,” says a statement from Tea Party in Space. “Mr. Gingrich’s unique approach of utilizing the government and private sector is exactly what NASA needs.”  
Via space.flatoday.net


Gingrich’s Manned Moon Base by 2020: Can It Be Done? | Space.com

Via Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily

GOP presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich has promised a manned moon base by 2020 if he is elected, yet such a plan will face some serious budgetary and practical hurdles, experts say.   Gingrich is in Florida competing for that state’s nomination for the Republican candidacy against Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Ambitious plans for America’s space program are likely to generate enthusiasm among those in Florida’s space industry, hard-hit by the retirement of the space shuttle last year.   “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it will be American,” Gingrich promised during a speech in the city of Cocoa, on Florida’s Space Coast, Jan. 25.   Yet experts question whether a plan to send people to live on the moon can so quickly be achieved.
Via www.space.com


NASA to Solicit Private Space Taxi Proposals Feb. 7 | Space.com

Via Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily

WASHINGTON — NASA plans to solicit proposals Feb. 7 for the third round of its commercial crew program and award at least two funded Space Act Agreements this summer that will run through 2014 and prepare competing astronaut transportation concepts for production.   NASA has rebranded this initiative as the “Commercial Crew integrated Capability” program, according to a procurement notice posted online Jan. 23. It was formerly known as the Commercial Crew Integrated Design Contract.   Continuing a drumbeat it has sounded since last summer, NASA cautioned that the next round of awards will depend heavily on funding availability. “NASA intends to select a portfolio of multiple [commercial crew concepts] that best meet the [program’s] goals within the available funding,” the procurement notice says.
Via www.space.com