Year in PReview: going to the Red Planet requires a lot of green

Illustration of the Inspiration Mars Vehicle Stack, the spacecraft that would take two people on a Mars flyby mission, as revealed by the organization in November. It makes use of a modified Cygnus spacecraft as the habitat module and a Orion spacecraft with enhanced heat shield to return the crew to Earth. (credit: Inspiration [...]

Bigelow report calls for use of COTS model for cislunar transportation

Cutaway illustration of a BA 330-DS module included in the Bigelow Aerospace report to NASA. The company proposes to use this module to support commercial activities in cislunar space in partnership with NASA. (credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

A report prepared by Bigelow Aerospace for NASA concludes that the commercial approach that the space agency used [...]

Mars One updates figures, but actual number of applicants still unclear

The window for applying to Mars One to be one of its first one-way astronauts closes at the end of this month. On Wednesday, the organization issued a release with updated figures on the level of interest this has attracted. “With ten days left before the end of its online application program, Mars One has [...]

Mars One has 78,000 applicants so far—sort of

Mars One is planning a permanent human settlement on Mars within ten years, and plans to use a unique astronaut selection process open to the public. (credit: Mars One/Bryan Versteeg)

Mars One, the private venture with the audacious goal of sending humans to Mars—permanently—as early as 2023 made a splash earlier this week when [...]

New insights on that private (crewed?) Mars mission

Last night I wrote here about news of a proposed private Mars mission slated to be announced on February 27th, involving Dennis Tito and others. I was skeptical last night that this would be, as some have reported, a human mission, given the technical and financial challenges involved. That original speculation, though, might be wrong.

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A private Mars mission, but will it carry people?

On Wednesday, publicists for a new organization called Inspiration Mars Foundation sent out a media advisory for a press conference planned for next Wednesday, February 27. This new organization apparently has some audacious plans in store:

The Inspiration Mars Foundation, a newly formed nonprofit organization led by American space traveler and entrepreneur Dennis Tito, [...]

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 [...]

Planetary Resources seeks to mine asteroids—and develop propellant depots

Illustration of Planetary Resources Inc.'s initial spacecraft, the Arkyd-101 space telescope in Earth orbit. (credit: Planetary Resources, Inc.)

Science-fiction authors and space commercialization advocate alike have dreamed for decades of mining asteroids. So when Seattle-based Planetary Resources, Inc. announced last week it will unveil on Tuesday “a new space venture with a mission to [...]

Space Adventures optimistic about the next decade of space tourism

Illustration of a Soyuz spacecraft and habitation module en route to the Moon for a circumlunar flight Space Adventures has proposed.

A decade after the flight of Dennis Tito, widely if not universally acknowledged as the first space tourist, the company than brokered his flight sees a bright future ahead for commercial human spaceflight. [...]