Miscellaneous notes

A roundup of a few items going on in the field not associated with the Space Access conference:

Charles Simonyi announced that he will speak with high school students in the US from the ISS during his trip to the station, using the amateur radio link on the ISS. The Scotsman reviews a new book […]

Blue Origin successful test flight

During her presentation at the Space Access ’07 conference this afternoon, Michelle Murray of FAA/AST mentioned that Blue Origin had a successful* test flight yesterday (March 22), their second under their experimental permit and the first since their initial flight in November. No other information about the flight is available, but I’ll update this as […]

Bigelow/Rocketplane agreement

At the Space Access ’07 conference this morning, George French III of Rocketplane Inc. announced that the company has signed a letter of intent with Bigelow Aerospace regarding transportation to Bigelow’s orbital habitats. French provided only a few details about the agreement, which basically states that once Rocketplane’s K-1 is ready to carry passengers, and […]

Latest New Mexico spaceport developments

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the state is close to a final lease agreement with Virgin Galactic for the spaceport, although state officials wouldn’t set a timetable for the completion of the agreement. That agreement was one of three conditions that officials in Doña Ana County set on the upcoming local tax referendum. Earlier […]

13 for the price of 11

As Charles Simonyi prepares for his launch to the ISS early next month, SPACE.com reports that he will get a bit of a bonus: He will spend 13 days in space instead of the previously-planned 11, in order to ensure that the the landing of the Soyuz flight at the end of the taxi mission […]

X Prize Cup changes in the works

At the Space Access ’07 conference earlier this afternoon, Nicole Jordan and Will Pomerantz of X Prize discussed the 2006 X Prize Cup and plans for the 2007 event. The biggest news from their presentation is that, while an official final decision hasn’t been made, it is almost certain that the 2007 event will be […]

The happiest launch failure ever?

A lot has already been said about the Falcon 1 launch earlier this week, so rather than recap and reanalyze the launch from a technical standpoint, I’ll make this observation. It was initially a little surprising to hear that SpaceX people were celebrating, having champagne toasts, and, in general, calling the flight mostly a success. […]

Heading off to Space Access ’07

I’ll be arriving in Phoenix later today to attend the Space Access ’07 conference, the annual conference that attracts a large fraction of the entrepreneurial space industry, including a number of companies in or planning to enter the space tourism market. I will not be liveblogging the conference per se, but will post from time […]

Fine dining in orbit

Space Adventures announced yesterday that space tourist Charles Simonyi will take a gourmet meal to the ISS next month to share with the crew. The six-course meal includes quail roasted in Madrian wine, duck breast ‘confit’ with capers, shredded chicken parmentier, apple fondant pieces, rice pudding with candied fruit, and semolina cake with dried apricots. […]

Scaling back Spaceport America

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the New Mexico Spaceport Authority has endorsed a lower price tag for Spaceport America, the new commercial spaceport the state plans to build in southern New Mexico. The facility, previously estimated to cost $225 million, is now expected to cost “only” $198 million. The primary factor in the reduced […]