Briefly: Orbital Outfitters moves to Midland; Waypoint 2 Space gets FAA nod; SNC begins CDR

The quest by Midland, Texas, to become a hub of commercial space activity notched another victory recently. The Midland Development Corporation (MDC), the city’s economic development organization, announced that commercial spacesuit developer Orbital Outfitters will move to Midland in 2015. The deal covers the construction of a new building on about 2 acres (0.8 hectares) […]

New Branson bio examines delays and other problems with Virgin Galactic

Sir Richard Branson and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pose in front of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America in October 2010. A new biography of Branson takes a critical look at Virgin Galactic’s development of SpaceShipTwo (credit: J. Foust)

A new biography of Sir Richard Branson, being published in the United Kingdom this […]

For SpaceShipTwo, focus on the engine, not the license

SpaceShipTwo during its first powered test flight on April 29, 2013. It has made only two powered flight since then, something that may be a bigger concern than whether it has a launch license yet. (credit: Virgin Galactic/

Since the third powered SpaceShipTwo test flight early this month, the vehicle has flown again, although […]

On CCtCap deadline day, Sierra Nevada keeps chasing its dream

Illustration of the Dream Chaser spacecraft in orbit. Sierra Nevada Corporation is looking beyond NASA for both customers and technology to support its development. (credit: SNC)

Today is the deadline for proposals for the next phase of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, called the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability, or CCtCap. The three companies that have […]

SpaceShipTwo’s third powered flight begins a critical year for Virgin Galactic

SpaceShipTwo fires its hybrid rocket engine during its third powered test flight on January 10, 2014. The reflective material added to the inboard surfaces of the vehicle’s tail booms since the second powered flight in September is clearly visible in the image. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

After weather scrubbed a pre-holiday powered flight attempt last […]

Antares launch a success for Orbital, Planet Labs, and others

An Antares rocket lifts off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Virginia, on January 9, 2014. The rocket placed a Cygnus cargo spacecraft into orbit on the first of eight such missions Orbital is under contract to perform for NASA. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

On Thursday afternoon, Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully launched […]

SpaceX launches Thaicom 6

A Falcon 9 v1.1 lifts off from Cape Canaveral on January 6, 2014, carrying the Thaicom 6 satellite. (credit: SpaceX)

After the drama of the multiple scrubs in November with SpaceX’s first commercial GEO satellite launch, SES-8, yesterday’s launch went almost very smoothly—almost too smoothly. The Falcon 9 v1.1 lifted off on schedule at […]

Year in PReview: 2014 will be a crucial year for commercial crew

SNC’s Dream Chaser engineering test article (ETA) moments before landing at Edwards Air Force Base on October 26. The image is a still from a video released by the company on October 29; the video cuts off before the actual landing but the missing left main gear is evident in the video. (credit: SNC)


Shhh! SpaceX delays next, low-key Falcon 9 launch

Late yesterday, SpaceX delayed the next launch of its Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket, carrying the Thaicom 6 satellite. The launch had been scheduled for Friday afternoon from Cape Canaveral, but has been postponed until at least January 6, according to a brief post on the Facebook page of the 45th Space Wing, with additional launch […]

Year in PReview: startups take a new look at commercial remote sensing

An image of the Earth taken from Planet Labs’s Dove-2 satellite in April. The company announced plans in June to launch a fleet of smallsats to provide global, frequent coverage of the Earth for commercial and humanitarian purposes. (credit: Planet Labs)

The business of commercial remote sensing—taking images of the Earth from space for […]