Recently in the Commercial Space Category


Historically, spaceflight has been reserved for the very healthy. Astronauts are selected for their ability to meet the highest physical and psychological standards to prepare them for any unknown challenges.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched today carrying the six telecommunication satellites for commercial provider ORBCOMM.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft launched today on its 3rd Commercial Resupply Mission (CRS-3) to the International Space Station for NASA.

Remarkable images from on-board cameras provide a detailed "ride-along" view of Arianespace's Flight VS07, which orbited Europe's Sentinel-1A from the Spaceport in French Guiana.

ESA's Large Space Simulator

This is the engineer's entrance to ESA's Large Space Simulator, Europe's largest vacuum chamber. Entire satellites requiring testing in simulated space conditions are lowered down into the 15 m-high and 10 m-diameter chamber through a hatch on top.

Readying ESA's 'Garbage Truck'

Robin Biesbroek runs system-level activities for Clean Space, meaning that he takes care of studies focused on the design of a mission for space remediation - part of Clean Space Branch 4: Technologies for Space Debris Remediation.

SpaceX successfully launched its upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket today on its maiden flight from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in what appeared to be a picture perfect launch.

In what can only be described as a bizarre news conference today, PayPal President David Marcus introduced PayPal Galactic. What is PayPal Galactic? According to Marcus, it's a visionary program being spearheaded by PayPal to bring together the leaders in the space industry to work on the "big questions" related to the commercialization of space.

"SpaceGAMBIT is pleased to announce the first round of funding activity with an Open Call For Projects. We are looking for community-space built, open-source projects in line with our mission to receive $5000-$20,000USD for a 3-4 month development. Our overall mission is to promote humanity's long term survivability and expansion into space. Themes for this round of projects are Education, Habitats and Near-Space Economy. Submissions will be accepted from the date of announcment (2013/02/06) through April 19, 2013." More

"Do you know of a small company developing a medical product that could be adapted to solve a health or human performance challenge in space? Have you developed a biomedical product for the space program that could also improve health on Earth? The National Space Biomedical Research Institute's Industry Forum is soliciting applications for the Space Medicine and Related Technologies Commercialization Assistance Program (SMARTCAP) award that provides support in moving a selected product toward commercialization. The 2013 SMARTCAP award will be for a maximum of $250,000 for a one-year period. The deadline for submitting Stage-1 applications for this competitive two-stage proposal process is Nov. 5, 2012." More

"Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) today announced a worldwide innovation contest with cash awards totaling $50,000. The "Innovate the Future" contest creates a global forum for interested participants to share their ideas on how innovation can enable a more secure future for the planet. Participants are invited to submit their thoughts on a range of topics facing the world community, including the need for sustainable energy, cyber security, and healthcare. "Lockheed Martin has 100-year legacy of discovery, innovation, and breakthroughs that have made lasting impacts on society, from human's first attempts at flight, to systems for controlling the world's air traffic, to our earliest exploration of space," said Dr. Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Lockheed Martin. "An important lesson from this legacy is that good ideas can come from anywhere. Through this contest, we are creating an online environment that helps people with diverse backgrounds and experiences share their ideas," continued Johnson." More

"The competition judges have awarded Space Ground Amalgam, LLC first place in the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition and the $100,000 prize was presented by competition Project Manager, Tom Olson. Digital Solid State Propulsion, LLC earned second place in the competition, along with a $10,000 prize. In a last minute addition, Honorable Mention is given to Terapio Corporation for providing an unusually commendable technology that will address one of the inherent risks of space settlement. The hosting organization, the Space Frontier Foundation, and judges congratulate the winners and thank all the finalists for their participation. The awards were presented on July 28th at the NewSpace Awards Gala, the culminating event of the NewSpace 2012 Conference." More

The Arctic's 24/7 banking ship, We Make Money Not Art

"The event takes place in the early 2040s, when an ex-Soviet Arktika class, one of the nuclear powered icebreakers traditionally used for clearing shipping lanes north of Siberia as well as for scientific and recreational expeditions to the Arctic, is recommissioned to host a barely legal experiment in global finance. The icebreaker would be entirely refitted to welcome highly qualified traders on board and would circle at 88.7 degrees latitude - the heart of the arctic sea. By circumnavigating the world in twenty-four hours, the ship would thus stay in constant contact with trading zones throughout the world."

Stories From The First Transnational Traders, Tobias Revell

Keith's note:To be certain this has a couple of big questions such as does it make any sense? Why not just pay people to stay up all night and stay home. But stop and ponder for a moment: what happens when commerce, finance, industry, and consumption all actually begin to move off of Earth into space to locations that may not necessarily have a national designation - or have many, simultaneously. What is the time zone for outer space? Day and night happen multiple times a day in LEO. On the Moon takes 2 weeks. In deep space there really is no day/night cycle.

ESA Investment Forum

Fund space spin-off at ESA Investment Forum

"Investors will meet with start-up companies using space tech in terrestrial systems to discuss business prospects and partnerships at the seventh ESA Investment Forum on 16 October in Toulouse, France. The Forum is an exceptional platform for exploring investment opportunities and business potential. The selected companies have all built a significant portion of their growth and competitive advantage on the utilisation of technologies and expertise originating from Europe's space programmes. They will discuss their business ideas and products with the investors."

Ohio Workshop Seeks Ideas For Manufacturing Innovation Network

"NASA and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) are sponsoring the second in a series of regional public workshops to gather ideas and suggestions on the design of the proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The workshop will be held July 9 at the Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. "Designing for Impact II: Workshop on Building the NNMI" is a partnership between the interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office in Gaithersburg, Md., and local Cleveland organizations that include NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cuyahoga Community College and Case Western Reserve University. Confirmed workshop speakers are NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, NIST Director Patrick Gallagher and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. Invited speakers include congressional, state and local leaders."

Dragon Lands On Earth

This morning, at approximately 8:42 AM Pacific/11:42 AM Eastern, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) completed its historic mission when the Dragon spacecraft splashed down safely in the Pacific. The vehicle will now be recovered by boats and start the trip back to land.

Contrary to what has been reported by various news outlets NASA is not doing anti-wrinkle research. Nor is the University of Utah.

XCOR Aerospace Hits Route 66 With Experimental Motorcycle

"XCOR's innovative piston pump technology took a ride from Roswell, NM to Mojave, CA in April 2012. "We debated how best to put many hours of wear time on the critical bearing components of our rocket propellant piston pump, that are subject to significant wear and tear," said Dan DeLong, XCOR Chief Engineer. "This particular motorcycle, the Triumph Street Triple, develops about the same horsepower and has the same cylinder arrangement as the liquid oxygen and kerosene fuel pumps for the Lynx suborbital spacecraft. That makes it ideal for a long-life pump test platform. The bike is much less expensive to operate than the full up rocket pump test stand. We're adding hours of run time each ride, not just minutes."

DARPA's Plans To Reuse Satellites

DARPA Opens International Dialog on Satellite Servicing

"Current satellites are not designed to be serviced in space. When a communication satellite in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) fails 36,000 kilometers above the earth, typically, it is moved into a "graveyard" orbit where it remains indefinitely. Many of the satellites which are obsolete or have failed still have usable antennas, solar arrays and other components which are expected to last much longer than the life of the satellite, but currently there is no way to re-use them."

Asteroid Retrieval Feasibility Study

This report describes the results of a study sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) to investigate the feasibility of identifying, robotically capturing, and returning an entire Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) to the vicinity of the Earth by the middle of the next decade.

Last year an internal NASA study that cited the advantages of fuel depots instead of using the Space Launch System emerged from inside NASA. Congress seized on the study - and NASA's Administrator said that internal studies showed that there were no technical or cost advantages. Well, another study completed late last year has emerged from NASA that contradicts that statement.

Planetary Resources, Inc. will overlay two critical sectors - space exploration and natural resources - to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP. This innovative start-up will create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources'.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will provide an additional year of support for the STPSat-2 spacecraft, following completion of the initial experimental mission requirements that ended successfully on Jan. 31, 2012.

Boeing announced today that the U.S. Air Force accepted control of the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) military communications satellite on April 11, after the spacecraft passed several weeks of rigorous on-orbit tests.

Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC (SST-US) is soliciting ancillary payloads for its upcoming OTB mission that will be launched in Q1 2015, offering both government and commercial organizations a low risk, cost effective opportunity for the flight and operation of payloads, subsystems and equipments in low earth orbit.

Space Systems/Loral today announced that it is teaming with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to host a laser communications relay demonstration (LCRD) on a commercial satellite to be launched in 2016. NASA 's Space Technology Program selected Goddard's mission proposal to use the SS/L satellite platform to help enable the next era of space communications.

Source: FAA: The FAA is preparing an EIS to analyze the potential environmental impacts of SpaceX's proposal to launch orbital and suborbital launch vehicles from a private site in Cameron County in southern Texas. The EIS will consider the potential environmental impacts of the Proposed Action and reasonable alternatives, including the No Action Alternative. The successful completion of the environmental review process does not guarantee that the FAA would issue launch licenses and/or experimental permits to SpaceX. The project must also meet all FAA safety, risk, and indemnification requirements.

NASA Announcement of Flight Opportunities #4 Now Open

"NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) seeks to mature towards flight readiness status crosscutting technologies that perform relevant environment testing and advance multiple future space missions. To facilitate this goal, NASA is providing access to certain flight opportunities available to the Agency, on a no-exchange-of funds basis, to entities that have technology payloads meeting specified criteria. They may be exposed to a near-zero or reduced gravity environment by flying on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on sRLVs that are potentially capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km. For flight tests that do not require microgravity, but do require the temperature, pressure and atmospheric conditions of high altitudes, balloon flights are available."

A new report commissioned by AIA demonstrates the irreplaceable impact the aerospace and defense (A/D) industry has on America's economic and national security. Addressing the current economic crisis, the report emphasizes the industry's support of more than three million American workers.

"As a result of undue and onerous political pressures exerted over the almost six months of existence of CASIS, business operations have been difficult in standing up this brand new organization."

Clyde Space Wins Support of UK Government

Clyde Space wins UK Space Agency support for innovative space tech

"Clyde Space has been awarded funding for two advanced space technology development projects. The projects are joint developments; the first with the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory at University of Strathclyde and the second with Mars Space Ltd in Southampton. These projects are part of the UK Space Agency's National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) where twenty-nine projects are receiving grant funding to develop commercial products and services using space technology or space-derived data and are part of the pace for Growth' competition lasting between 6 and 9 months."

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation welcomes Congress's passage today of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which includes a key provision granting regulatory stability to the commercial spaceflight industry.

SGAC-EIC Space Entrepreneurship Paper Competition

"The Space Generation Advisory Council is pleased to announce its partnership with the International Astronautical Federation's Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee (EIC) to organise and run the 2012 IAF-EIC/SGAC Emerging Commercial Space Paper Competition for Students and Young Professionals - $pace is Business! The competition challenges students and young professionals worldwide to develop new ideas and perspectives on opportunities and challenges facing space entrepreneurs and investors today. SGAC invites paper submissions addressing and engaging themes of interest to the Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee of the International Astronautical Federation."

Houston Space Business Incubator

Johnson Space Center and Houston Technology Center Partner for Entrepreneurs

"NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the Houston Technology Center (HTC) have formed a strategic partnership to further expand HTC's mission of accelerating the growth of emerging technology companies in the Houston region and to further develop the insights required to support NASA's long-term goals of increasing private and public collaboration."

NASA Johnson Space Center Partners With Texas' Largest Tech Incubator and Accelerator

"The Houston Technology Center (HTC) and NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) have formed a strategic partnership to further expand HTC's mission of accelerating the growth of emerging technology companies in the Houston region and to develop the insights required to support NASA's long-term goals of increasing private/public collaboration. NRG Energy - a strong supporter of Houston 's business community and diversified energy company - stepped up to support the effort with a $25,000 donation."

NASA Selects 300 Small Business Research and Technology Projects

"NASA's partnerships with small businesses and universities through these programs brings space technologies to the marketplace, helping start-ups and small businesses create new jobs and grow our economy while meeting NASA's current and future mission needs," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology. "Breakthroughs in technology for space exploration create the foundation for new industries. We're excited to work with these new partners and look forward to seeing their technologies mature into commercially viable products."

Designing Moon Droids in Autodesk

Moon Express Designs and Engineers Lunar Mission with Autodesk Software

"Taking the main stage before more than 8,000 attendees at Autodesk University 2011, Edwin "EJ" Sabathia of the "Moon Express Robotics Lab for Innovation" (MERLIN) unveiled lunar micro-rovers designed with Autodesk software. EJ was one of eight student robotics engineers hired by Moon Express in September from a team of the nations' brightest engineering students. MERLIN is utilizing Autodesk design software for developing robotic technology supporting the company's lunar exploration missions."

Video: Masten Xombie Pad-to-Pad Flight

"Here's a video from a camera on Xombie looking down at the ground during a pad-to-pad flight that you might recognize as almost identical to the flight path flown during the Lunar Lander Challenge. In this case, we had about 60 lbs of payload at the top of the vehicle and she handled it with ease!"

Elon Musk Named Innovator of the Year

Elon Musk Named Innovator of the Year Award in Technology by WSJ. Magazine

"WSJ. Magazine's first annual Innovator of the Year Awards honors the most creative, disruptive, and influential individuals in the world today. Musk was recognized for revolutionizing three of the biggest industries in the world -- automobiles, energy and space exploration -- simultaneously. Artist Tom Sachs, whose recent work is based on the imagery of space, presented the award to Musk."

Shooting for the Stars, Wall Street Journal

"Musk launched SpaceX in 2002 and built and designed his own engines from scratch. "I'm head engineer and chief designer as well as CEO, so I don't have to cave to some money guy," he says. He launched his rocket with a team of eight in the control room, instead of dozens. The result: He's offering to send a 10,000-pound payload to geosynchronous orbit for $60 million (compared to an industry standard many tens of millions higher).

Stick Your Head Inside Merkur

Excalibur Almaz to showcase flown spacecraft to area students

"Excalibur Almaz USA (EA USA), a commercial aerospace company working to provide cargo and human transportation services, will showcase its space flown Reusable Return Vehicle (RRV) to area students on September 23 beginning at 8:30 a.m.T he RRV is one of the elements in EA USA's family of space systems that will serve as the transport vehicle to and from the EA Salyut-type space stations on orbit."

We need your vote! The annual Spirit of Innovation Awards is kicking off a two-week People's Choice competition (http://www.conradawards.org/competition) that challenges high school students to solve real-world problems by creating commercially viable science and technology based products. 27 teams of high school students have created unique inventions in the categories of aerospace exploration, clean energy, and cyber security. From Space Sleeping Pods to Solar Wind Power Generators to Parabolic Stoves and mobile apps that signal for help during times of duress, the 2011 Spirit of Innovation Awards high school student competitors have risen to the challenge and need your vote.

Image: Astronaut Scott Parazynski in May 2009 using a Jaz spectroradiometer from Ocean Optics at Everest Base Camp to measure solar irradiance [See "Using a Tricorder on Mount Everest"]

"A five-time astronaut, [Scott] Parazynski said he's especially eager to tackle projects in the fields of minimally invasive surgery and nanomedicine, with its potential to use targeted drugs to destroy tumors and plaques in arteries. Some inspiration, he admits, comes from Star Trek. "I'm hoping to leverage my background to create the next generation of minimally invasive surgery and diagnostic tools," Parazynski said. "As a physician growing up and watching Star Trek, we all wanted a medical tricorder. So one of the things I'd love to do is think big and push the envelope on what is possible." For those who don't grok Spock, a "tricorder "is a fictional device that can scan a person and immediately diagnose a disease or injury." More at Ultimate Clear Lake

At the commencement of the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) being held in Orlando, Florida, XCOR Aerospace announced its initial team of suborbital payload integration specialists who will begin taking orders and facilitating experiment development and integration for commercial, educational and government suborbital research missions aboard XCOR's Lynx reusable suborbital launch vehicle. Capable of up to four flights per day, the Lynx is expected to provide three to four minutes of micro-gravity and/or exposure to the harsh environment of space and the opportunity to investigate largely unknown regions of our upper atmosphere critical to environmental studies.

The Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) will be held February 28 - March 2, 2011, at The University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida. A new generation of space vehicles capable of economically delivering payloads and researchers is coming on line. These vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing frequent, low-cost access to space and the capability to carry research and education crew members. They will also carry experiments for technology demonstrations, for scientist in-the-loop research, and for educational/public outreach demonstrations. More info.

"Garver toured the facilities of Sierra Nevada Corporation, a company with wide involvement in developing technologies for space exploration. The company's Dream Chaser vehicle is under development with support from NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Program to provide crew transportation to and from low Earth orbit." More

"NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver visited Las Vegas today to meet with Nevada entrepreneurs and discuss innovations in space exploration and technology development critical to America's future in space. Garver toured the facilities of Bigelow Aerospace, a company that has been developing expandable space habitats. NASA is evaluating Bigelow's concept for an expandable module for the International Space Station. If approved, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, could be launched to the station using a commercial cargo flight and robotically attached to the orbiting laboratory." More

Spaceflight Services (Spaceflight) and Innovative Space Logistics BV (ISILaunch) announced today that they have teamed to create a global spaceflight services provider for small and secondary payloads. Spaceflight and ISILaunch currently offer spaceflight services on a variety of orbital and suborbital vehicles for small and secondary payloads, with operations centered in the United States (US) and Europe respectively. Under this joint marketing agreement Spaceflight and ISILaunch will provide a global spaceflight service for the launch of small and secondary payloads by jointly marketing a combined set of products and services to prospective customers.


NASA has issued a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) to purchase specific data resulting from industry efforts to test and verify vehicle capabilities through demonstrations of small robotic landers. The purpose is to inform the development of future human and robotic lander vehicles. The Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) BAA will result in multiple small firm-fixed price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts with a total value up to $30.1 million through 2012. Multiple awards are possible with a minimum government purchase of $10,000 for each selected contractor. A minimum order will be funded using FY10 dollars. Orders above the minimum would be competed among the successful offerors dependent on future budget availability. The deadline for submitting proposals is Sept. 8.

According to Intelsat: "As the world's largest commercial fixed satellite services operator, Intelsat typically procures 2 to 3 spacecraft per year and currently has 6 satellites - each designed for an operational life of 15+ years - in various stages of procurement and build. Intelsat's spacecraft have many commercial customers who depend upon the timely delivery of satellite capacity and delaying procurement and/or launches could result in unacceptable contention on existing resources across the global fleet."

The Boeing Company today announced that Intelsat Ltd., the world's leading provider of fixed satellite services, has selected Boeing to build four telecommunication satellites that will refresh and add new capacity to Intelsat's global satellite fleet.
A study performed by the Futron Corporation predicts that companies such as those competing for the Google Lunar X PRIZE will be able to address a market in excess of $1 billion over the course of the next decade.
Google Lunar X PRIZE contender Odyssey Moon Limited announced today that top industry leaders Near Earth LLC, WPP Group, Aon and Milbank have joined its corporate team.