Richardson: no tax, no spaceport

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson visited Las Cruces Thursday, less than a week before voters there go to the polls to vote on a tax to help fund development of Spaceport America, and his message was blunt: if voters don’t approve the tax, the spaceport won’t be built. “It’s dead,” Richard said if Tuesday’s referendum [...]

Spaceport America lease and funding details

As has been widely reported, the state of New Mexico and Virgin Galactic signed a lease agreement Monday afternoon for Spaceport America. Technically, the agreement is not a full-fledged lease but instead a memorandum of understanding between the two regarding the terms of the real lease agreement, which will be worked out over the next [...]

Simonyi updates

A few minor updates about Charles Simonyi’s upcoming trip to the ISS:

Simonyi will perform a series of tests for the Japanese space agency JAXA during his stay on the station. He will test several high-definition camcorders currently on the station to see how radiation exposure has degraded the performance of their CCD sensors. Simonyi [...]

Space tourism regulations talk

Apologies for the late notice, but tomorrow morning the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington will be hosting a presentation on “Space Tourism Regulations”, featuring Patti Grace Smith of the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). From my understanding it will be a fairly high-level discussion of the topic for those [...]

Spaceport America makes the Post

Today’s Washington Post has a front-page story about Spaceport America and the upcoming tax referendum in three southern New Mexico counties. The article is a straightforward overview of the spaceport project and those who both support and oppose the local tax. Most regular readers won’t find many new insights in the article, but it is [...]

Masten and its parts source

At Space Access yesterday Dave Masten of Masten Space Systems provided a brief update on his company’s vehicle development efforts. He noted that when they decided not to participate in the Lunar Lander Challenge last fall, they thought they were two weeks away from flight. “We are still two weeks away from flight,” he said, [...]

Blue Origin “merchandise” on Amazon.com

You can buy a lot of things on Amazon.com, from books and DVDs to clothes and jewelry. Did you know that you can also buy a full-scale replica of Goddard, the Blue Origin spacecraft? It’ll only cost you $9,999,999.00 (on sale from $11,999,999.00!). The product description: “A full sized replica of Goddard. This is a [...]

Shatner still does not want to vomit in space (or anywhere else)

We’ve pretty much established here already that, despite various media reports, William Shatner is not one of the celebrities who have signed up for suborbital spaceflights with Virgin Galactic. Still, this explanation from Shatner in an article from The Times of London is a bit humorous:

“One little tile burns and you drop to your [...]

Turning R&D into a profit center

Jeff Greason of XCOR Aerospace gave an overview of his company’s work at Space Access this morning. He noted that the company actually turned a profit last year, with revenues of approximately $3.8 million; the profit was an artifact of the timing of the contracts it was working on, and he said he doesn’t anticipate [...]

Armadillo’s modular approach

John Carmack gave an extensive status report on Armadillo Aerospace at the Space Access conference yesterday. Armadillo’s near-term emphasis is on preparing for the 2007 Lunar Lander Challenge, having made some upgrades to Pixel and Texel, such as stronger landing legs. They are also working on their modular vehicle approach: putting together progressively more capable [...]