Flybys: commercial space conference, TSC factory groundbreaking, SpaceX rescheduling

Special Aerospace Services, a Colorado aerospace company, announced Monday they would host the first Commercial Human Spaceflight Technical Forum in Boulder this coming January. The one-and-a-half-day conference is designed to give attendees “insight to techniques that will be required to successfully achieve NASA human rating certification and FAA commercial spaceflight licensing”, according to the conference web site. Featured speakers include former shuttle program manager Wayne Hale and former astronaut Jeffrey Ashby.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for Tuesday in Mojave for a new production facility for WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. The 68,000-square-foot (6,300-square-meter) factory for The Spaceship Company (a joint venture of Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites) is slated for completion in September 2011. The formal name of the facility, according to a Tehachapi News article, is the Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar, which, yes, has the acronym FAITH.

SpaceX has rescheduled its next Falcon 9 launch for no earlier than December 7, citing both delays of other launches at Cape Canaveral as well as a desire to run more tests. The launch will be the first of three planned test flights of the Dragon spacecraft under its COTS agreement with NASA. The delay will also give SpaceX additional time to secure a first-ever reentry license for the Dragon from the FAA.

Some people dream their whole lives about flying in space. For Marc and Sharon Hagle, they sort of stumbled across the opportunity, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The two were taking a Zero-G flight along with, as it turned out, a number of Virgin Galactic sales agents, and as the article notes, “It didn’t take much to sell the Hagles on the chance for some real space travel.”

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