Separating space tourism from ballooning

While the "bloon" from zero2infinity will take people to altitudes of up to 36 kilometers, it shouldn't be confused with space tourism. (credit: zero2infinity)

“Space tourism doesn’t have to be rocket science,” reads the subheading of a New Scientist article about a proposed high-altitude passenger balloon concept that would take people to the edge [...]

Stratolaunch: a contrarian view

Tuesday’s announcement of the plans by startup Stratolaunch Systems to develop an air launch system attracted considerable attention and excitement, and understandably so. The world’s biggest airplane! A “dream team” that reunited Paul Allen and Burt Rutan for the first time since SpaceShipOne! An industry team that includes Scaled Composites and SpaceX! A board [...]

Paul Allen to unveil Stratolaunch Systems today

Late last week members of the media received a notice of a press conference at 2 pm EST (1900 GMT) Tuesday about a new space travel venture backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen. No other details were provided until a short time ago, when Allen announced via Twitter that “I have an exciting [...]

No bull: Orbital rebrands the Taurus 2 the Antares

Illustration of Orbital's Antares (formerly Taurus 2) rocket lifting off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) in Virginia. (Credit: OSC)

Orbital Sciences Corporation announced Monday that it has renamed the Taurus 2 rocket it’s been developing as part of its commercial cargo system. Henceforth, the rocket will now be called Antares. “We are transitioning [...]

SpaceX finally gets a launch date

Exactly 366 days—one year and one day—after SpaceX flew its first Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration mission, NASA announced it had agreed to a date for the second flight. Speaking at the NASA Future Forum in Seattle Friday, NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver announced that NASA had agreed to a launch date of February [...]