New report tamps down “hype” about 3-D printing in space

Made In Space printer

Made In Space employees test a 3-D printer on a parabolic aircraft flight in 2013, prior to its launch to the ISS later this year. A new report concludes that the near-term benefits of 3-D printing in space have been exaggerated. (credit: Made In Space)

As NASA prepares to launch the first 3-D printer [...]

SPG seeks to demonstrate a new approach to hybrid rocket motors

An earlier test of a 10-inch hybrid rocket motor by SPG. The company plans to test a larger 22-inch motor on Friday. (credit: SPG)

When you think of hybrid engines, what typically comes to mind is the hybrid rocket motor developed for SpaceShipOne that powered it to the $10-million Ansari X PRIZE in 2004, [...]

In-flight suborbital Internet access? Maybe not.

One of the nice things about flying on Virgin America (among some other airlines) is having access to the Internet in flight. On one of those long transcontinental flights, it’s great to make the time productive by having access to the web, email, and the like. But what if you’re making a quick trip into [...]

SA10: Commercial RLV Technology Roadmap update

[The first in a series of posts from the Space Access ’10 conference this week in Phoenix.]

Dan Rasky of NASA Ames presented on the status of their Commercial RLV Technology Roadmap Study, seeking to identify what technologies needed for such vehicles (both suborbital and orbital) are of most interest to industry. The full details [...]

The wide world of space tourism

A roundup of space tourism news from across the globe:

Our first stop is Davos, Switzerland, where Space Adventures’ Eric Anderson says “business is good” for the space tourism company. Anderson, attending the World Economic Forum, said he’s looking for additional customers, but potential clients “should not expect any bargains because of the global financial [...]

A jet engine for White Knight 2

Pratt & Whitney Canada announced today that Virgin Galactic has picked its PW308 engine for use on the White Knight 2 aircraft that will be the carrier aircraft for SpaceShipTwo. The engine, which generated up to 30,700 newtons (6,900 pounds) of thrust, has been used on a number of bizjets; the press release doesn’t indicate [...]

Benson’s low-G reentry plan

In his speech at the ISDC in May, Jim Benson said that the reentry forces that his company’s redesigned suborbital spacecraft would be less than the 6 Gs that SpaceShipTwo will experience. He wasn’t more specific then, but this week the company announced that their vehicle will subject passengers to no more than 3 Gs [...]

For composites experts only

The trade publication High-Performance Composites offers this news about the development of SpaceShipTwo:

Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor, Derbyshire, U.K.) will supply a new generation of out-of-autoclave prepregs for the project, featuring MTM45-1, a variable-cure temperature, high-performance, toughened epoxy matrix developed for resin film infusion and prepreg processing. It was designed for low-pressure vacuum [...]

An ultralight approach to orbital space tourism

In an article in this week’s issue of The Space Review, Richard Speck of Micro-Space Inc. proposed a radical approach to human orbital spaceflight: to keep launch costs low, make the spacecraft as simple and as lightweight as possible. He proposes a spacecraft that is little more than a spacesuited astronaut strapped into a heat [...]