Rocket piloting: as exciting as operating elevators?

A session of the Space Access ’08 conference last night dealt with “paths to rocket piloting”: how can people who are interested in piloting a number of the new suborbital vehicles under development prepare for getting those jobs. Some companies have turned to test pilots and/or former astronauts, but if this industry does grow, the [...]

Next step for Spaceport Sweden

Last January Sweden announced plans to study the development of a commercial spaceport in Kiruna, a site in the northern part of the country home to a sounding rocket range, with Virgin Galactic as the potential first tenant. An announcement about the “next step” for Spaceport Sweden is now planned for Tuesday, April 1. According [...]

A few notes from the XCOR Lynx press conference

Here are a few items of interest I picked up from listening to the webcase of the XCOR press conference yesterday in LA:

Lynx is designed to fly up to four times a day, which allows a single vehicle to carry as many passengers in a day as a larger vehicle (like a Rocketplane XP, [...]

Other Lynx notes

Some other items about XCOR’s new suborbital vehicle plans from media reports published this morning:

According to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required), development of Lynx will cost abut $10 million with per-ticket prices of about $100,000, which the WSJ dubs “economy fare”, but adds that “the low-fare carrier to the heavens would hardly be [...]

XCOR announces Lynx

Credit: Mike Massee/XCOR

XCOR Aerospace announced today its plans to develop Lynx, a suborbital rocketplane. Lynx is similar in concept to XCOR’s earlier suborbital vehicle project, Xerus: a two-seat winged vehicle that takes off from a runway under rocket power, ascends to altitude, and glides back for a runway landing. Lynx, described as “roughly the [...]

Virgin Galactic making a profit

Flightglobal.com, in a feature article about Virgin Galactic turns up one mildly surprising point: the company, while still in the development stage, is profitable, if only by a modest amount. The article notes that in the company’s first publicly available financial reports since it was formally incorporated in the UK in mid-2006, the company had [...]

Rocketplane developments

Rocketplane Global, the suborbital vehicle developer, issued a pair of press releases last week (curiously not available on their web site) announcing some personnel changes. David Faulkner, who has been the program manager for the Rocketplane XP vehicle project, is now the company’s CTO. Paul Metz, a veteran test pilot who had been the chief [...]

Private human lunar missions in 20 years?

An article in Tuesday’s issue of the London (Ontario) Free Press reports that NASA Ames director Pete Worden believes that “Private flights to the moon may be available to non-scientists ‘by the end of the 2020s.’” Worden, speaking at the University of Western Ontario, played up the potential for private activity on the Moon, and [...]

Anousheh Ansari in DC

If you’re going to be in Washington, DC next week, you may want to consider attending a brekafast with Anousheh Ansari, to be held Wednesday morning, March 26, at the Library of Congress. The event is organized by Women in Aerospace, with registration fees ranging from $50-85 (not exactly cheap, but you are getting breakfast [...]

Space Adventures acquires Zero-G

Space Adventures announced today that it has acquired a 100% stake in Zero Gravity Corporation, the company that provides parabolic flights that simulate weightlessness. Space Adventures already had a stake in the company (of undisclosed size, but said to be “one of the largest investors” in Zero-G); terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. “Our [...]