ATK to get unfunded CCDev agreement?

Last Friday NASA announced that the space agency and ATK would announce an agreement this Tuesday “that could accelerate the availability of U.S. commercial crew transportation capabilities”. (The announcement was originally going to be only available to media calling into a telecon line, but NASA said Monday the announcement will be on NASA TV at […]

Boeing on test pilots, FAR-vs-SAA, and more

Last Thursday, as most expected, Boeing announced it had selected United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket to launch its CST-100 commercial crew vehicle, at least for a series of three test flights in 2015. (John Elbon, Boeing’s program manager for the CST-100, said that the company would recompete launches for the operational CST-100 missions, if […]

Updates on SpaceX and Orbital’s COTS progress

Much of the attention commercial spaceflight has been getting recently has been focused on NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, including, as noted here, concerns about contracting mechanisms for future phases of the program. But CCDev is very much based on the earlier Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program for developing commercial cargo transportation 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. […]

Orbital may wind down its commercial crew effort

Orbital Sciences was one of the companies that submitted CCDev-2 proposals but did not get funded, raising the question of whether they will stay involved in the larger commercial crew effort. On Thursday, company officials indicated they would likely not pursue further work in this area.

“It was disappointing that we weren’t selected” for a […]

Assessing the CCDev-2 losers

Monday afternoon NASA announced the award of nearly $270 million to four companies for the second round of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev-2) program. The four winners, and their awards, are:

Blue Origin: $22 million Boeing: $92.3 million Sierra Nevada Corporation: $80 million SpaceX: $75 million

Those companies will work on their vehicle concepts under […]

On CCDev-2’s eve, Boeing’s plans

Illustration of Boeing's proposed CST-100 commercial crew capsule.

NASA announced Monday morning that, later today, it will announce the awardees of its second round of Commercial Crew Development funding, aka CCDev-2. One of the leading contenders to get an award is Boeing: the company received a first-round CCDev award last year and has made […]

Space Adventures: Soyuz seats available

Space Adventures announced today that it has concluded an agreement with the Russian space agency Roskosmos and RSC Energia for additional Soyuz seats for future flights of space tourists, starting in 2013. Three seats will be made available as Energia increases production of Soyuz spacecraft from four to five a year; the additional Soyuz flight […]

Virgin joins forces with two companies on CCDev

At the Spaceport American runway dedication in October, Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson surprised some people when he said that the company “is going to put forward proposals” for NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program and “plan to start work on an orbital program quite quickly”. Today, Virgin confirmed its interest in orbital spaceflight, but those […]

“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 […]