Jim Benson, RIP

SpaceDev announced today that its founder, Jim Benson, passed away this morning. Benson had been in ill health since last year, having been diagnosed with a brain tumor that was the cause of his death. That illness led to the dissolution of Benson Space Company, a space tourism venture that Benson founded in 2006 to [...]

ISPS Day 1 wrap-up

(The picture above doesn’t have anything to do directly with the conference, it’s just a nice view of the Moon rising around sunset Wednesday as seen from the conference site in Las Cruces.)

Yesterday’s sessions of the International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight didn’t have any groundbreaking revelations, but there were still some interesting developments [...]

New Benson Space vehicle design

Ad Astra/SPACE.com reports that Benson Space Company and SpaceDev plan to release a new design for their Dream Chaser suborbital spacecraft during the ISDC this weekend here in Dallas. The design drops the HL-20-based lifting body approach for the vehicle in favor of a more conventional rocketplane approach that bears similarities to the X-15, albeit [...]

Revisiting space sports and Benson Space

In an article in this week’s issue of The Space Review, Rocky Persaud reexamines the idea of “space sports” discussed last week in a Taylor Dinerman article. Persaud believes that zero-gravity sports (like the “Zero Gravity Football” his company, IPX Entertainment, is trying to develop) could spur public interest in spaceflight and space tourism. It’s [...]

Jim Benson’s new gig

The Wall Street Journal reported in this morning’s issue that Jim Benson, founder of SpaceDev, is creating a new space tourism-oriented startup, Benson Space Company (BSC). (The Journal requires a subscription, but you may be able to read the article for free here). Benson is stepping down as chairman and CTO of SpaceDev to start [...]

SpaceX, RpK win COTS awards

NASA announced this afternoon that, as many people suspected in the days leading up to this afternoon’s announcement, that SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler (RpK) won Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) awards to develop cargo and crew transportation vehicles to serve the ISS. SpaceX proposed the Dragon capsule, launched atop a Falcon 9, as described in [...]

Fighting to get to space

The Register, a British publication that normally specializes in IT news, offers an interesting account of a talk at NASA Ames this week by SpaceDev founder Jim Benson:

SpaceDev founder James Benson had plowed through the majority of his presentation on space tourism opportunities when the cackling broke out. “Will you sit down. I can’t [...]

Dream Chaser followup

The Denver Post and the Longmont (Colo.) Daily Times-Call provide coverage of yesterday’s SpaceDev event at Centennial Airport outside Denver, where the company unveiled a full-sized model of its Dream Chaser vehicle. The event was apparently a prelude to a two-day presentation today and tomorrow for visiting NASA officials as part of the COTS source [...]

Dream Chaser event Wednesday

SpaceDev is reportedly planning an event Wednesday to “unveil” its proposed orbital space plane, Dream Chaser, as part of its effort to win a COTS contract from NASA. The event will be held not at the company’s San Diego-area headquarters but instead in the Denver area, where SpaceDev now has a presence after its acquisition [...]

COTS and space tourism

By now you’ve probably heard that NASA has shortlisted a half-dozen companies (that we know about, at least) for further consideration in its Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program for ISS resupply. According to MSNBC and other sources, the six companies that got the nod from NASA are Andrews Space, Rocketplane Kistler, SpaceDev, SPACEHAB, SpaceX, [...]