Simonyi backlash

When Dennis Tito flew six years ago, the question was whether or not a private fare-paying citizen could visit the International Space Station. By last year that controversy had disappeared and had been replaced by more mundane ones: was Anousheh Ansari the first female space tourist or not? So far, Charles Simonyi’s flight to the […]

Simonyi is in space

Charles Simonyi is now officially the fifth commercial space tourist (or passenger, or whatever—let’s not start that debate again). The Soyuz TMA-10 carrying Simonyi and two Russian cosmonauts lifted off from Baikonur Saturday at 1:31 pm EDT and entered orbit nine minutes later. The Soyuz is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Monday afternoon. […]

Final tax tally

According to the final, still-unofficial tally of votes in Tuesday’s spaceport tax referendum in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, yes beat no by 270 votes, out of 17,770 votes cast. About 19 percent of registered voters in the county voted in the special election, with the spaceport tax being the only item on the ballot: […]

Bigelow’s plans leak out

On Tuesday Robert Bigelow plans to hold a press conference in Colorado Springs at the National Space Symposium to release more details about his business plan. Craig Covault of Aviation Week has already been briefed about those plans and provides some details in an article published online late Friday. The article discusses a step-by-step plan […]

Simonyi pre-launch news

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying fifth orbital space tourist Charles Simonyi is scheduled to lift off today at 1:31 pm EDT. The launch will be aired on NASA TV and possibly might be picked up by the cable news channels. There is not much news about the launch, expect for the usual coverage about Martha Stewart, […]

FAA releases experimental permit regulations

The FAA announced today that it has formally released regulations governing experimental permits for suborbital RLVs. Congress gave the FAA authority to grant such permits (analagous to experimental airworthiness certificates in aviation) in the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004. These regulations formally codify how such permits will be issued, although FAA has already […]

Spaceport tax approval followup

According to this morning’s Las Cruces Sun-News, the spaceport tax referendum in Doña Ana County, New Mexico officially has a 265-vote lead with 108 ballots to be reviewed. The “yes” lead initially was somewhat slimmer than earlier reported—173 instead of 204 votes—but the lead grew as the provisional ballots were reviewed and added to the […]

Spaceport tax supporters declare victory

It appears that a spaceport tax referendum in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, has been approved. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the lead in “yes” votes now is greater than the number of remaining provisional ballots to be counted, meaning that the tax would pass even if all of the remaining ballots were against […]

Waiting on the final vote tally

Election officials in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, are expected to begin verifying and tallying today the 541 provisional ballots cast in Tuesday’s spaceport tax referendum. Some of the ballots were thrown out yesterday, although officials didn’t disclose to the Las Cruces Sun-News how many were disqualified, and why. The review of the remaining provisional […]

Spaceport tax has narrow lead

The final outcome of Tuesday’s spaceport tax referendum in Donña Ana County, New Mexico, won’t be known until Thursday, although the tax had a narrow lead late Tuesday night after all official ballots were counted. In the simple yes/no vote, there were 204 more yes votes than no out of over 17,000 ballots cast, with […]