Teasing a few clues out of Bezos and Blue Origin

Blue Origin’s PM2 suborbital experimental vehicle, shown here on a flight before being lost during a test flight in August 2011. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin has developed a reputation over the years as a notoriously secretive company, only grudgingly releasing information about the company and its plans. While other companies hold high-profile events [...]

Cygnus is on its way to the ISS

An Antares rocket, carrying a Cygnus cargo spacecraft, lifts off Wednesday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia, en route to the ISS. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft is now on its way to becoming the second commercial cargo vehicle to service the International Space Station. The Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus [...]

NASA seeks to buy a dedicated nanosatellite launch

After abandoning plans for a prize competition to develop a nanosatellite launch vehicle, NASA is making another attempt to stimulate development of such a launch system by offering to buy a launch—just one—from such a system.

NASA issued a request for proposals (RFP) on Wednesday, August 7, for the NASA Launch Services (NLS) Enabling eXploration [...]

NASA is shutting down its Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge (updated)

A NASA prize competition to support the development of very small launch vehicles appears to be aborted by the space agency before it can get off the launch pad. In an email Tuesday afternoon, Space Florida vice president Percy Luney announced that NASA had notified the agency of its plans to terminate the Space Act [...]

Fearing it’s falling behind, Boeing may ramp up commercial crew investment

In the latest round of awards in NASA’s commercial crew program, Boeing won the largest amount of money, $460 million, versus SpaceX’s $440 million and Sierra Nevada’s $212 million. NASA officials noted at the time that the dollar values in the awards were not intended to be a ranking of the companies, but it was [...]

Russian officials raise doubts about Brightman’s flight, and space tourism

Sarah Brightman attended to during tests that confirmed her fitness to fly to space as a space tourist in 2015. Some Russian officials have raised doubts that she will fly. (credit: sarahbrightman.com)

Last month, with considerable fanfare, Space Adventures and the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced at a press conference in Moscow that singer [...]

Sarah Brightman may be the next commercial visitor to the ISS

Space tourism company Space Adventures sent out a media advisory Wednesday morning about a press conference the company plans to hold in Moscow on October 10. “Sarah Brightman will be in Moscow to make a ‘groundbreaking’ announcement,” the advisory states, without offering details about that announcement. Brightman, an “international singing superstar” in the words of [...]

Virgin Galactic relaunches its smallsat launch business

Illustration of Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne igniting its first stage engine after being dropped from WhiteKnightTwo. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

On Wednesday at the Farnborough Airshow outside London, Virgin Galactic formally announced its smallsat launch vehicle concept, called LauncherOne. The system features a two-stage rocket carried aloft by Virgin’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft and released, much like Orbital [...]

ATK’s big Liberty push

An illustration of the cargo module capability for the ATK/EADS Astrium Liberty system announced earlier this week. (credit: ATK)

Some people noted earlier this week an article by Talking Points Memo (TPM) reporting that NASA plans to make selections in the next round of its commercial crew effort, the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) [...]

NASA plans to announce commercial crew awards next month

The administrator of NASA said Monday he expects the space agency to announce multiple awards for the next round of its commercial crew development effort by the middle of next month.

Speaking in a media telecon Monday morning, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said he expected the awards to be announced “no later than, say, mid-July [...]