RpK fights COTS termination

Last month, NASA issued a notice to Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) announcing its intent to terminate the $207-million COTS award the space agency made to the company last August. NASA cited RpK’s failure to meet its financing milestones in its agreement. That notice started a 30-day waiting period before NASA would take any action to terminate […]

When it rains, it pours

Yesterday came word that NASA has given Rocketplane Kistler notice of plans to terminate its COTS award because of RpK’s inability to raise $500 million in private funding despite several deadline extensions. The notice is not in and of itself the termination of the award, but instead provides 30 days’ notice of NASA’s termination plans, […]

Mixed messages about Rocketplane

Is Rocketplane Inc. in dire financial straits, or are they make progress on financing? Conflicting messages about the health of the company have been published this week. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) first reported Tuesday that the company had yet to close a $500-million financing round for the K-1 orbital vehicle that had been […]

Space tourism developments in Canada and India

Yesterday’s issue of The Globe and Mail, a national Canadian newspaper, profiles businessman John Criswick, one of four Canadians who have signed up with Virgin Galactic for suborbital spaceflights. Criswick, the CEO of a mobile software company, has had a long interest in space, and even applied to join the Canadian astronauts corps but didn’t […]

RpK’s missed milestone

The online edition of Space News reported late Wednesday that Rocketplane Kistler missed its May milestone in NASA’s COTS program (subscription required). That milestone required RpK to have completed a second round of private financing by the end of the month; it has yet to complete that round, according to a NASA spokesperson contacted by […]

Virgin and Rocketplane notes

A few short items from presentations at the ISDC by Alex Tai of Virgin Galactic and Chuck Lauer of Rocketplane on Friday:

Tai said that Virgin was “toying with the idea of ‘space attendants’” on its SpaceShipTwo flights. The attendants would help passengers back into their seats at the end of the zero-g phase of […]

Bigelow/Rocketplane agreement

At the Space Access ’07 conference this morning, George French III of Rocketplane Inc. announced that the company has signed a letter of intent with Bigelow Aerospace regarding transportation to Bigelow’s orbital habitats. French provided only a few details about the agreement, which basically states that once Rocketplane’s K-1 is ready to carry passengers, and […]

Aloha, Rocketplane?

An AP article yesterday reports that Rocketplane Kistler is considering setting up suborbital flight operations in Hawaii. The flights by the XP spaceplane could start as early as 2010; in one approach mentioned in the article, the vehicle would take off from Honolulu but land at the Kona Airport on the big island. The flights, […]

Vanishing Point contest winner

Microsoft and AMD, the sponsors of the “Vanishing Point” contest conducted online last month, announced Monday the winner of the grand prize, William Temple of Sacramento. Temple will get a suborbital spaceflight provided by Rocketplane Kistler; the date of his flight wasn’t announced although RpK is planning to begin commercial flights of the XP vehicle […]

Prizes, Hawking, and other news that’s not so new

You may have heard the news earlier this week that the grand prize for Vanishing Point, an online “puzzle challenge”, is a suborbital spaceflight provided by Rocketplane Kistler. (Microsoft, which is co-sponsoring the competition as a way to promote its new Vista operating system, cleverly calls the grand prize “a trip to see the ultimate […]