Another celebrity space tourist rumor debunked

Kate Winslet at the reception following the dedication of the Virgin Galactic terminal building at Spaceport America in October 2011. Despite her presence there, and one tabloid’s claims, she’s not going to space. (credit: J. Foust)

Over the last several years there’s been a minor cottage industry of rumors regarding celebrities who may or [...]

Grasshopper hops ever higher

SpaceX has been quietly working on Grasshopper, their reusable launch vehicle (RLV) technology demonstrator, as part of a long-term effort to develop a reusable version of their Falcon 9 rocket. Last week, some people noticed a new entry on the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation’s list of launches carried out under experimental permits: [...]

SpaceShipTwo edges closer to powered flight

SpaceShipTwo during a glide test on December 19, its first in a “powered flight” configuration, with its engine installed. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

A long-awaited major milestone for a leading suborbital vehicle developer—the first powered flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo—is a little bit closer to taking place after a test flight Wednesday. Virgin Galactic reported [...]

SpaceX concluding investigation into Falcon 9 engine shutdown

An investigation into a problem on the most recent Falcon 9 launch that caused one of the rocket’s engines to shut down is wrapping up with a “most probable cause” of the problem identified, the president of SpaceX said Tuesday.

“We’re just wrapping that up,” Gwynne Shotwell said in response to a question about the [...]

Revisiting the Golden Spike questions

Illustration of a Golden Spike lunar lander. (Credit: Golden Spike)

This morning I posted some things to look for in today’s unveiling of Golden Spike, the company planning commercial human lunar missions as early as 2020. With the company’s Washington press conference now complete, let’s quickly revisit those topics:

Technology: As expected, the company [...]

What to look for in today’s Golden Spike announcement

Over the last several weeks there’s been growing rumors that a new commercial space venture with an audacious goal—human missions to the lunar surface—was under development. In mid-November, NASASpaceFlight.com reported that there would be “a ‘game-changing’ announcement as early as December that a new commercial space company intends to send commercial astronauts to the moon [...]