Studying Spaceport Sheboygan

This week’s issue of The Space Review features a report on plans to establish a spaceport in the unlikely locale of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. There’s been some confusion about the effort since initial activities have been focused on creating an educational center in the town, but spaceport proponents tell Eric Hedman that they are serious about [...]

What to give the rocker who has everything

According to British media reports, Liam Gallagher, lead singer of the British rock band Oasis, gave his older brother Noel, the band’s lead guitarist, a flight into space on Virgin Galactic for his 40th birthday. Apparently Noel Gallagher won’t be one of the first 100 “Founders” on Virgin: the report said that his flight won’t [...]

More on the new Dream Chaser

Jim Benson used his appearance on a panel at the ISDC on Friday afternoon to announce his company’s revised suborbital spaceship. Benson said that the new design came together after SpaceDev completed a five-month study of the viability of using the original Dream Chaser design—a lifting body based on the HL-20—for suborbital flights. The blunt [...]

Virgin and Rocketplane notes

A few short items from presentations at the ISDC by Alex Tai of Virgin Galactic and Chuck Lauer of Rocketplane on Friday:

Tai said that Virgin was “toying with the idea of ‘space attendants’” on its SpaceShipTwo flights. The attendants would help passengers back into their seats at the end of the zero-g phase of [...]

The next orbital space tourist…

…has been selected, but hasn’t been announced yet, Eric Anderson, CEO of Space Adventures, said during a luncheon speech at the ISDC Friday. “The next [tourist] flight is next year,” he said. “We have the person who is going to go but we haven’t yet disclosed their name. But it will be another exciting one, [...]

New Benson Space vehicle design

Ad Astra/SPACE.com reports that Benson Space Company and SpaceDev plan to release a new design for their Dream Chaser suborbital spacecraft during the ISDC this weekend here in Dallas. The design drops the HL-20-based lifting body approach for the vehicle in favor of a more conventional rocketplane approach that bears similarities to the X-15, albeit [...]

Russian space tourism update

An RIA Novosti article today reports that “more than 10 people” are interested in buying seats on Soyuz flights, following in the footsteps of the five orbital space tourists to date. “We are holding preliminary consultations with them, and there are no Russians among them,” said Roskosmos spokesman Igor Panarin. He also confirmed past reports [...]

Do we need another acronym?

Yesterday’s Space Venture Finance Symposium didn’t devote much attention to space tourism itself, focusing instead on the state of financing (from angels through VCs to private equity and corporate deals) in the entrepreneurial space industry. One item did catch my eye: German consultant Joerg Kreisel described several types of space ventures. There was space-to-space (S2S) [...]

Bad college journalism

Earlier this week I ran across an article titled “Space tourism still distant” in The Daily Bruin, the student newspaper of UCLA. Reading this, you’d think the prospects for space tourism were pretty dim indeed, based on these misconceptions included in the article:

A suborbital spaceflight “has a price tag of about $20 million”; Orbital [...]

Space tourism at ISDC

I’m in Dallas right now for this year’s International Space Development Conference, which gets underway today with the Space Venture Finance Symposium, featuring a number of companies in the personal spaceflight or related fields. Some highlights from the rest of the conference, which runs through Monday morning:

Alex Tai of Virgin Galactic will speak during [...]