Space Adventures to acquire Space Launch Corp.

Space Adventures announced Tuesday morning that it will acquire Space Launch Corporation, a company that was at one point developing a low-cost responsive launch system for DARPA. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed; Space Launch will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Space Adventures. Space Launch, founded in 1999, is best known as the [...]

The other benefits of winning the Heinlein Prize

As you may have already heard, the trustees of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust awarded the first Heinlein Prize to Peter Diamandis last week. The prize, designed to reward practical contributions to space commercialization, went to Diamandis for his role in establishing the X Prize, among other space-related accomplishments. (Pat Bahn identified [...]

CBS News covers the New Mexico spaceport

Wednesday night’s CBS News broadcast included a two-minute, 45-second segment on plans to develop a commercial spaceport in New Mexico. The report was even-handed, and even optimistic about the prospects for space tourism at the spaceport, which today is still just empty land save for a small launch pad built for UP Aerospace’s sounding rockets. [...]

Astronaut skepticism about space tourism

While many astronauts have spoken favorably of space tourism, a couple of current and former astronauts recently were more skeptical. In a speech this week in Pensacola, Florida, former astronaut Kathryn Sullivan turned “sarcastic”, noting the costs of orbital spaceflight:

When it came to space tourism, Sullivan’s tone turned sarcastic.

It costs $10,000 for each [...]

How desperate are we to learn about SS2?

So desperate, it seems, that we’ve turned to the movies for insight? In a LiveScience.com blog post, SPACE.com’s Tariq Malik notes that a new ad for the upcoming summer blockbuster Superman Returns features a spacecraft, presumably the Virgin Galactic spacecraft piloted by Richard Branson in his cameo appearance in the film. “But is it SpaceShipTwo [...]

Explorer delay?

MSNBC’s Cosmic Log cites a report by the Interfax-Military News Agency (not freely available online) with some news about Explorer, the suborbital space tourism vehicle under development in Russia for Space Adventures. According to the report, the vehicle, known is Russia as the AKS-55-5, will be ready to begin test flights “as early as 2009″. [...]

Cynical about space tourism coverage

On the aptly-named Space Cynic blog, Shubber Ali complained on Sunday about an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that gave what he felt was an overly rosy view of the emerging space tourism industry. As he put it: “‘Oh, no,’ i thought to myself. The Kool-Aid has made it to Australia.”

While the article [...]

Now that’s dedication

One New Zealander is really looking forward to taking a suborbital flight on Virgin Galactic. How much? The New Zealand newspaper The Press reports that he recently changed his name to “Mark Rocket”. Seriously. (Mr. Rocket would not disclose his previous name.) He is apparently one of Virgin Galactic’s “Founders”, the elite group of 100 [...]

Rocketplane Kistler and Alenia Spazio team up for COTS

Rocketplane Kistler announced late last week that it has teamed up with Alenia Spazio North America to work on cargo containers that could be used on commercial ISS resupply missions. (The Rocketplane press release about the agreement is not on either the Rocketplane or Kistler Aerospace; free registration is required to read the article in [...]

Spaceport Michigan?

The state of Michigan isn’t pursuing a spaceport, unlike next-door neaighbor Wisconsin (which may or may not be serious about a spaceport), but an editorial Friday in the Bay City Times suggests that the state should take the idea seriously. Why? Jobs and money, of course: “Don’t just think out of the box in trying [...]