Odds and ends

A roundup of a few space tourism-related items from the last several days:

Wyle Labs Inc. is creating a new business unit “focusing on providing human spaceflight services to the emerging commercial ‘space tourist’ industry”. The Commercial Human Spaceflight Services unit, led by Vernon McDonald, will offer a variety of medical, training, and operations support [...]

NewSpace photos

For the curious who weren’t there (or were there but didn’t bring a camera), I’ve uploaded some images of the NewSpace 2006 conference to Flickr. It is primarily shots of speakers and panels, but also one of the more interesting items from the auction, as well as a zero-g wedding dress.

X Prize Cup site online

The new web site for the upcoming X Prize Cup is now online, a few days (or few weeks) later than planned. The site has information about what events are planned for the two days of the event (October 20-21), as well as travel information for those who plan to attend and webcast information for [...]

Good timing

It was ironic that Bigelow Aerospace released photos of the Dnepr launch of Genesis 1 on the same day that another Dnepr lifted off from Baikonur. Unfortunately, that launch was a failure: the rocket crashed to earth shortly after liftoff, apparently when its first-stage engines shut down. Had Bigelow’s luck been a little different, it [...]

No blues for Blue Origin

Last night the FAA held a hearing in Van Horn, Texas on the draft environmental assessment of the proposed private spaceport being developed in west Texas by Blue Origin. Alan Boyle of MSNBC offers an account of a event where not much happened. About half of the 40 people who attended actually came from out [...]

Branson: thinking of humans

Business 2.0 magazine has a brief interview with Richard Branson that touches on a number of subjects, including why he got involved in space tourism:

And why space travel now?

NASA has always looked at it as a government-run research program – never thinking of it as human beings, individuals wanting to go into space. [...]

Genesis 1 internal images released

Bigelow Aerospace released yesterday some images from the interior of the Genesis 1 module, including some objects, like photos and playing cards, floating inside. (Some of these objects are blurred, which the company attributes to the low-res imagery returned to date; future missions will have more and better cameras and more high-bandwidth communications.) These photos [...]

Blue Origin hearing today

The AP and the British newspaper The Independent both published articles in recent days about Blue Origin’s plans for a suborbital vehicle that will fly from the company’s facilities in West Texas. The articles are based on details previously disclosed in the company’s draft environmental assessment report, which will be the subject of a public [...]

More on Bigelow

For this week’s issue of The Space Review, I wrote an extended article about Bigelow Aerospace based on Robert Bigelow’s speech at the NewSpace 2006 conference Friday, a media tour of the Bigelow Aerospace factory in North Las Vegas the previous day, and the interview I had with Bigelow last week as well. The intent [...]

Prince Harry, space tourist?

He may be, so long as you believe the British press. According to the brief report, Prince Harry has discussed fly on Virgin Galactic with Richard Branson’s son, Sam, who is a close friend of Harry’s older brother, Prince William. A Virgin Galactic spokesman quoted in the report would only say that the company is [...]