With most frequent flier programs, participants get free flights, access to airport lounges, and free upgrades on their rental cars. But Virgin Airlines just announced that whoever accumulates the most frequent flier points over the next year will get a free trip to space.
Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic, which has been planning sub-orbital flights to space since 2004, appears to be ready to start taking space tourists just outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
See on www.usnews.com
Republican Platform Lauds Big Government in Space, Ignores Private Enterprise — Space Frontier Foundation
NASA seems to be one Big Government program many Republicans love. The GOP platform criticizes the federal government as “bloated, antiquated and unresponsive to taxpayers” but has nothing but hackneyed praise for NASA, and doesn’t even mention the increasing role of the private sector. The authors of this platform must imagine they still live in the Cold War of the 1960s, when only governments launched payloads and people into space.
The platform committee declares it “isn’t enough to merely downsize government, having a smaller version of the same failed systems,” that we need to “do things in a dramatically different way”—yet says nothing about the need to reform NASA or to streamline regulation of the emerging NewSpace sector. Republicans call themselves the Great Opportunity Party. Yet their Platform presumes “space” is a (government) program, instead of a frontier to be opened to the American people–the greatest “opportunity” since the West was settled.
See on spacefrontier.org
Is the ISS set to get its own phantom?
Reports are swirling that diva of London’s West End Sarah Brightman, whose angelic voice lofted her to stardom in the original stage cast of Phantom of the Opera, is to begin training to become the next space tourist to visit the International Space Station.
But before Brightman can make the music of the night in orbit, US and Russian space agencies will have to find a way to clear a seat on the Soyuz capsule, right now the only way for humans to reach the ISS.
See on www.newscientist.com
The FAA might not be prepared to craft safety regulations with the burgeoning commercial space industry, but it is reaching out to industry leaders for their views.
The regulatory agency’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee recently held the first of three teleconferences with industry representatives on the topic.
See on www.aviationweek.com
With the two of the three Commercial Crew integrated Capability (CCiCap) funding initiatives awarded to vehicles that will ride on the Atlas V rocket, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) are preparing to return to human launch activities, with a focus on utilizing the mission safety they already provide for their launches of multi-million dollar spacecraft.
The Atlas V first flew in August 2002, under the operation of International Launch Services, carrying a payload for Eutelsat’s Hot Bird 6 satellite (which has since been renamed Hot Bird 13A).
However, the vehicle has a rich history ranging back to the early days of US space flight. It was an Atlas booster that launched John Glenn into space inside Friendship 7 in 1962, sending the first American into orbit around the planet.
See on www.nasaspaceflight.com
The Boeing Company recently completed a jettison test of its forward heat shield, which will protect the parachutes of the company’s CST-100 spacecraft during future missions to and from low Earth orbit. The forward heat shield jettison will start the parachute deployment sequence and provide a safe landing for the capsule and its crew members. The test was part of Boeing’s work supporting its funded Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) during Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2).
See on www.nasa.gov
Stratolaunch’s second hangar has been taking shape on the east side of the Mojave Air and Space Port. The massive structure needs to be large enough to house an aircraft with a wingspan of 385 feet (117 meters).
See on www.parabolicarc.com