Insert starry-eyed/out-of-this-world metaphors here

It’s Valentine’s Day, and what better way for the personal spaceflight enthusiast to celebrate it by paying a visit to Space Love. (Actually, I’m sure there are a lot of better ways to mark the day, but bear with me here.) The site was created by Loretta and George Whitesides, the newlyweds who previously announced […]

Aloha, Rocketplane?

An AP article yesterday reports that Rocketplane Kistler is considering setting up suborbital flight operations in Hawaii. The flights by the XP spaceplane could start as early as 2010; in one approach mentioned in the article, the vehicle would take off from Honolulu but land at the Kona Airport on the big island. The flights, […]

Ansari’s book, Simonyi’s web site

A couple of announcements by recent and prospective space tourists yesterday:

Anousheh Ansari announced that she will collaborate with noted author Homer Hickam to write her memoirs. The book will recount Ansari’s journey from teenaged immigrant from Iran to her business successes to her flight to the ISS last fall. Proceeds from the book, which […]

The loss of a spaceport pioneer

Lonnie Sumpter, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, passed away Tuesday after a brief illness, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports. Sumpter had been involved with efforts to establish a spaceport in New Mexico since the early 1990s, and got to see his efforts finally realized with the development of Spaceport America, which hosted—albeit […]

Big-elow announcement

Bigelow Aerospace made a cryptic announcement late Monday, stating that the company “will be making a very important and exciting announcement” at the National Space Symposium on April 10. About what? “For the first time, we will be presenting our business plans that we have kept to ourselves until now. This information that we plan […]

Rutan vs. Benson

Speaking of the Journal, the front page of today’s issue has an article about the lingering beef between Burt Rutan and Jim Benson. (Yes, subscription required. Blame the Journal, not me.) As many readers are already aware. SpaceDev, founded by Benson, built the hybrid rocket motor used by Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, but the two had a […]

An expensive bit of candy

An article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about the spike in sales of space memorabilia in the wake of the Lisa Nowak case mentioned in passing one other sale of interest to personal spaceflight enthusiasts:

Demand for memorabilia has spiked ever since billionaires started dabbling in private space travel and the Chinese government […]

Vanishing Point contest winner

Microsoft and AMD, the sponsors of the “Vanishing Point” contest conducted online last month, announced Monday the winner of the grand prize, William Temple of Sacramento. Temple will get a suborbital spaceflight provided by Rocketplane Kistler; the date of his flight wasn’t announced although RpK is planning to begin commercial flights of the XP vehicle […]

Battlestar (Virgin) Galactica

An article in the British newspaper The Independent last week about Richard Branson’s new climate prize mentioned that Branson risks being branded a hypocrite because his ownership of a fossil fuel-burning airline and “for setting up a company, Virgin Galactica, that intends to use the aircraft technology that won the X-prize to build up a […]

A second chance

When I saw Jim Benson at the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference in the DC area on Tuesday, he said his company, Benson Space Company (BSC), would have an announcement to make on Wednesday. What would it be about? “You heard about the person recently who had to give up the flight he won?” he […]