Bigger prizes to come?

The entrepreneurial space industry has been big supporters—and beneficiaries—of prizes, from the Ansari X PRIZE and the Google Lunar X PRIZE to NASA’s Centennial Challenges prize program. Now it looks the latter is going to get a lot more robust. After several years of not getting any funding, Centennial Challenges got $4 million in NASA [...]

Other conference announcements

Besides the developments by several vehicle operators, there have been a number of other announcements by various organizations at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. The biggest, in the plenary speech by NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver, is that NASA has requested $15 million for the Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) program in its FY11 budget. [...]

Suborbital vehicle development updates

In yesterday’s sessions at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Boulder, Colorado, four major developers of suborbital vehicles presented updates on their efforts. Here’s a summary of what they revealed:

Virgin Galactic: Stephen Attenborough provided considerable details about their plans to flight test SpaceShipTwo (SS2). Ground testing will continue until the end of this quarter, [...]

Blue Origin proposes orbital vehicle

Illustration of Blue Origin’s orbital crew vehicle, designed to be launched on an Atlas 5, as shown on a NASA slide at an FAA conference last week.

One of the most intriguing NewSpace companies is Blue Origin, perhaps because they’re also one of the most secretive. Backed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos—and thus without [...]