“It’s almost too easy”

The first SpaceX Dragon spacecraft descends to a splashdown on Wednesday. (credit: SpaceX)

OK… First I’ll access the secret military spy satellite that is in geosynchronous orbit over the midwest. Then I’ll ID the limo by the vanity plate “MR. BIGGG” and get his approximate position. Then I’ll reposition the transmission dish on [...]

Falcon 9 launch postponed; examining reactions

If all had gone well, the Falcon 9 would be launching this morning to test the Dragon spacecraft. However, SpaceX announced Monday afternoon that the launch would be postponed because of cracks in the nozzle of the rocket’s second-stage engine. Specifically, SpaceX is examining two small cracks in the aft end of the nozzle expansion [...]

Year-end space tourism wrapup

A few odds and ends from the last week of 2007:

The Washington Times reported on Richard Garriott’s planned flight to the ISS in 2008 in an article published on Christmas Day. In addition to Garriott’s plans to perform commercial experiments on his flight, the article notes that “companies are invited to develop advertising campaigns [...]

Suborbital spaceflight and the emissions myth

Saturday’s issue of the Nashua (N.H.) Telegraph has an editorial raising questions about the environmental impact of suborbital spaceflight. The article is based on a recent AP article about the growth of the suborbital space tourism field, specifically mentioning the recent investment in XCOR Aerospace. (You can tell that the editorial is not going to [...]

A contrarian view of NewSpace

Given all the hype and hoopla surrounding many new commercial space ventures these days, it’s easy to overlook the fact that there are people out there not convinced that these companies, or the industry in general, are that real. A case in point: on the web site for Earth & Sky, a science radio show, [...]

Desert skepticism

While Virgin Galactic got a lot of publicity in the Middle East last week when it announced its first customer from the UAE, not everyone is impressed. In an article in ArabianBusiness.com, Anil Bhoyrul sees the announcement, and Virgin Galactic itself, as little more than a publicity stunt designed to further the overall Virgin brand. [...]

Simonyi backlash

When Dennis Tito flew six years ago, the question was whether or not a private fare-paying citizen could visit the International Space Station. By last year that controversy had disappeared and had been replaced by more mundane ones: was Anousheh Ansari the first female space tourist or not? So far, Charles Simonyi’s flight to the [...]

What is common was once elite

The web site of Smithsonian magazine includes a brief interview with Joe Sutter, author of a new book about the 747. There’s a brief but interesting exchange in the interview of relevance here:

If you were a young aerospace engineer just starting out today, what area would you be most interested in? The private space [...]

X Prize 2nd anniversary

Today marks the second anniversary of SpaceShipOne’s capture of the $10-million Ansari X Prize with its second suborbital spaceflight in under a week. (Of course, they didn’t officially get the check until a ceremony in St. Louis the following month; details, details.) MSNBC’s Alan Boyle reflects on the anniversary and asks, in essence: dude, where’s [...]

Virginia is for space tourists?

That’s the suggestion of Jack Kennedy, a Virginia attorney, in an op-ed in the Roanoke Times this week. Looking at the boom in commercial spaceports in the US and elsewhere, he believes that the state is missing an opportunity to get involved by using an existing spaceport, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), co-located with the [...]