NASA Launches Call for Space Taxis to Fly to International Space Station

It takes a lot of energy to launch a spacecraft into orbit – the Space Shuttle, for example, used over one million pounds of solid propellant to power its rocket boosters. As you can imagine, over the last 28 years of shuttle service it has been responsible for over 42,000 tonnes of pollutants in the […]
It takes a lot of energy to launch a spacecraft into orbit – the Space Shuttle, for example, used over one million pounds of solid propellant to power its rocket boosters. As you can imagine, over the last 28 years of shuttle service it has been responsible for over 42,000 tonnes of pollutants in the atmosphere. However we still need rockets to get supplies and astronauts to and from the International Space Station. This, as well as the growth of the space tourism industry, has seen NASA lay down a challenge for US engineering firms to design and build ‘space taxis‘ able to take at least four people into space. As part of the scheme, NASA is planning on investing between $300 million and $500 million in two firms that have been selected under new 21-month partnership agreements. It is hoped that the program will also build upon previous NASA investments in companies that have designed commercial passenger spaceships. Ever since the US shuttle fleet was retired, the space industry has been led by two countries – Russia and China. Russia is heading the monopoly by charging NASA about $60 million per person for rides to the International Space Station station, so it is no surprise that NASA is looking for a cheaper option. The design firms have until May 2014 to complete the initial designs, and test flights are scheduled to commence by the middle of the decade. In order to be selected, they must be able to reach an altitude of 230 miles, maneuver in space, and stay in orbit for three days. 2001: A Space Odyssey showed that mankind should have had these 11 years ago – it’s time for NASA to catch up with science-fiction. Speaking of which, engineers have just three years to create a working (according to Back to the Future Pt. 2)


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Should the world leaders go into space?

“Yes, they should”- says astronaut Scott Parazynski.   There have been about 515 human beings that have seen their planet from space and every single one of them states that the experience changes your life forever.  With NASA Shuttle Program closing the future of human space travel has been turned over to the private companies.  The […]
“Yes, they should”- says astronaut Scott Parazynski.   There have been about 515 human beings that have seen their planet from space and every single one of them states that the experience changes your life forever.  With NASA Shuttle Program closing the future of human space travel has been turned over to the private companies.  The most prominent of them are SpaceX, Blue Origin, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Boeing.  This makes a possibility of going up in space quite attainable for everybody.  As a matter of fact, there is a contest that was announced in celebration of Seattle’s Space Needle that one can enter and win a chance to go into suborbit.  Space Adventures Company will be responsible for designing a vehicle to take the winner of the Space Needle contest into space.  The estimated price of the vehicle is $110,000.  You can find the details on how to register here. More importantly, if you were one of the lucky few, what would you see? You can see on planet Earth is the sunrise or sunset which happens 16 times a day when you’re going around the Earth at 17,500 miles an hour, one orbit every 90 minutes, so half of that time you’re in sunlight and half you’re in darkness. You see the sun rise from behind the earth and the full spectrum of light. You come to realize that we are much closer to both our friends and those we call enemies than we think we are and humanity might be better served if we realized that, in the end, we’re all neighbors and perhaps, more importantly, members of the same human family. While romantic phrases like the endless oceans sound nice on paper, the Earth is a very finite and relatively small world and the things we do have the power to affect it profoundly. You can find more info here. What do you think?  Please comment below…
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Do you want to win a trip to space? Here is your chance.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Seatle’s  Space Needle, it was announced that the formal contest will be held with the final winner going up to suborbit, with about 6 minutes of zero gravity.  This is once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Earth from space.  Many astronauts call this a truly life changing […]
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Seatle’s  Space Needle, it was announced that the formal contest will be held with the final winner going up to suborbit, with about 6 minutes of zero gravity.  This is once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Earth from space.  Many astronauts call this a truly life changing experience. Since the final landing of the space shuttle the field of human space travel has been turned over to the private companies, one of which, Space Adventures, will be responsible for designing a vehicle to take the winner of the Space Needle contest into space.  The estimated price of the grand prize is $110,000. What do you need to do to enter?
  1. Sign up to enter at the Space Needle’s website
  2. Be lucky to be the randomly selected 1,000 finalists
  3. Create a 1 minute video that shows why you are the best candidate
  4. Be the lucky one chosen by the public
  5. Pass the fitness aptitude test
  6. Go up in space

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NASA Space Shuttle Ends Its Era – Commercial Space To Take The Future Load

NASA’s Space Shuttle Era officially ended today at 5:57AM with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis. NASA’s Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System(STS), was the United States government’s manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011. The STS-135 crew consisted of Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex […]
NASA’s Space Shuttle Era officially ended today at 5:57AM with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis. NASA’s Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System(STS), was the United States government’s manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011. The STS-135 crew consisted of Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim. They delivered more than 9,400 pounds of spare parts, spare equipment and other supplies in the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module – including 2,677 pounds of food – that will sustain space station operations for the next year. The 21-foot long, 15-foot diameter Raffaello brought back nearly 5,700 pounds of unneeded materials from the station. There is a lot of debate on whether or not the program was a success but from now the future of the human space travel will belong to the private companies. Who are they? In late May 2011 NASA announced that it awarded $269,3 million to the following companies in order to accelerate human spaceflight capability and commercial crew transportation. The companies were selected for the second round of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2). Blue Origin is a privately-funded aerospace company set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The company was awarded $3.7 million in funding in 2009 by NASA via a Space Act Agreement under the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program for development of concepts and technologies to support future human spaceflight operations. The company’s innovative ‘pusher’ Launch Abort System (LAS) was one of the technologies that was of particular interest to NASA. To date abort systems have been of the tractor variety, which pulls a crew vehicle to safety in case of an emergency. Initially focused on sub-orbital spaceflight, the company has built and flown a testbed of its New Shepard spacecraft design at their Culberson County, Texas facility. According to company statements, it initially planned on placing the New Shepard in commercial suborbital tourist service in 2010 with flights about once a week. However, the most recently publicized timetable states that Blue Origin will fly unmanned in 2011, and manned in 2012.   Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is an electronic systems provider and systems integrator specializing in microsatellites, energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, and commercial orbital transportation services. The company contracts with the US military, NASA and private spaceflight companies. The company is headquartered in Sparks, Nevada. SNC employs over 2000 people. SNC has six different business areas, and 35 locations in 16 states along with numerous customer support sites located throughout the world. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American space transport company founded by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, both of which are built with a goal of being reusable launch vehicles. SpaceX is also developing the Dragon spacecraft to be carried to orbit by Falcon 9 launch vehicles. SpaceX designs, tests and fabricates the majority of their components in-house, including the Merlin, Kestrel, and Draco rocket engines. In December 2010, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (a Dragon). Originally based in El Segundo, SpaceX now operates out of Hawthorne, California, USA.   The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois[2] since 2001. Boeing is made up of multiple business units, which are Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA); Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS); Engineering, Operations & Technology; Boeing Capital; and Boeing Shared Services Group.           There is a viable program that does test flights in 2014 and will be ready to carry crew in 2015.  
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Who Will Carry US Astronauts To International Space Station?

The retirement of the Space Shuttle Program and lack of its readily available replacement stirred a whirl of criticism of Obama administration’s decision to shut down the program. The main question on everyone’s mind is “How will US astronauts get to Earth’s low orbit and mainly International Space Station?” The only options seemed to be […]
The retirement of the Space Shuttle Program and lack of its readily available replacement stirred a whirl of criticism of Obama administration’s decision to shut down the program. The main question on everyone’s mind is “How will US astronauts get to Earth’s low orbit and mainly International Space Station?” The only options seemed to be to rent the seats on Russian Soyuz spacecrafts that travel to ISS regularly. However, NASA does have a few cards up its sleeve. In late May 2011 NASA announced that it awarded $269,3 million to the following companies in order to accelerate human spaceflight capability and commercial crew transportation.  The companies were selected for the second round of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2). Blue Origin is a privately-funded aerospace company set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The company was awarded $3.7 million in funding in 2009 by NASA via a Space Act Agreement under the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program for development of concepts and technologies to support future human spaceflight operations. The company’s innovative ‘pusher’ Launch Abort System (LAS) was one of the technologies that was of particular interest to NASA. To date abort systems have been of the tractor variety, which pulls a crew vehicle to safety in case of an emergency. Initially focused on sub-orbital spaceflight, the company has built and flown a testbed of its New Shepard spacecraft design at their Culberson County, Texas facility. According to company statements, it initially planned on placing the New Shepard in commercial suborbital tourist service in 2010 with flights about once a week. However, the most recently publicized timetable states that Blue Origin will fly unmanned in 2011, and manned in 2012.   Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is an electronic systems provider and systems integrator specializing in microsatellites, energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, and commercial orbital transportation services. The company contracts with the US military, NASA and private spaceflight companies. The company is headquartered in Sparks, Nevada. SNC employs over 2000 people. SNC has six different business areas, and 35 locations in 16 states along with numerous customer support sites located throughout the world. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American space transport company founded by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, both of which are built with a goal of being reusable launch vehicles. SpaceX is also developing the Dragon spacecraft to be carried to orbit by Falcon 9 launch vehicles. SpaceX designs, tests and fabricates the majority of their components in-house, including the Merlin, Kestrel, and Draco rocket engines. In December 2010, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (a Dragon). Originally based in El Segundo, SpaceX now operates out of Hawthorne, California, USA.   The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois[2] since 2001. Boeing is made up of multiple business units, which are Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA); Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS); Engineering, Operations & Technology; Boeing Capital; and Boeing Shared Services Group.           There is a  viable program that does test flights in 2014 and will be ready to carry crew in 2015.  
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Will NASA Have To Buy Seats On The Russian Soyuz Rocket To Carry Its Astronauts Into Orbit?

The answer is “Yes” according to a lot of experts. The Obama administration has instructed Nasa to hand over to private companies the job of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. That is supposed to free NASA to focus on more ambitious goals, ultimately to take crews beyond the realm of low […]
The answer is “Yes” according to a lot of experts. The Obama administration has instructed Nasa to hand over to private companies the job of ferrying astronauts to and from the International Space Station. That is supposed to free NASA to focus on more ambitious goals, ultimately to take crews beyond the realm of low Earth orbit. So the thinking goes, anyway… However, it is obvious that the transition will not be swift and the replacement of the shuttle is many years off. So, if NASA still wants to carry its astronauts into orbit, there is only one way to do that: they must buy seats on the Russian Soyuz rocket. What do we know about Soyuz and how does it compare to NASA’s Space Shuttle program?
Soyuz docked to International Space Station
Soyuz (Сою́з) is a series of spacecraft designed for the Soviet space program by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s.  The Soyuz spacecraft family is still in service today. Soyuz spacecraft were used to carry personnel to and from Salyut and later Mir Soviet space stations, and are now used for transport to and from the International Space Station. The International Space Station maintains a docked Soyuz spacecraft at all times to be used as escape craft in the event of an emergency. How do the costs compare? According to the industry experts, the Soyuz represents the triumph of a low-cost approach to human space exploration. The Russian capsules are launched on massive expendable rockets, carrying astronauts in a kind of guided cannonball to and from orbit. By contrast, the U.S. built its space program around the most complex flying machine ever, the reusable space shuttle. While the U.S. has spent $209.1 billion on the space shuttle since its inception, the entire Russian space program currently costs just $2 billion a year. Do YOU think that reusable ships are not economically justified? Please comment below.
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Last Scheduled Flight of Space Shuttle Endeavour

ATI Courses teaches a multitude of Space & Satellite related courses. We think that the news below would be of interest to our readers. NASA announced recently that the last flight of space shuttle Endeavour will take place on April 29, 2011. The flight’s commander will be Capt. Mark E. Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle […]

ATI Courses teaches a multitude of Space & Satellite related courses. We think that the news below would be of interest to our readers.

NASA announced recently that the last flight of space shuttle Endeavour will take place on April 29, 2011. The flight’s commander will be Capt. Mark E. Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman severely injured in the mass shooting in Tucson in January.

After the flight the shuttle will be displayed in California Science Center.

Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of two currently operational orbiters in the Space Shuttle fleet of NASA, the space agency of the United States. (The other is Atlantis.) Endeavour is the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and was scheduled for decommissioning in 2010. Before its decommissioning, NASA expects to use Endeavour for the STS-134 mission. Her STS-134 mission was originally thought as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, however, the proposed STS-135 mission was approved, and now Atlantis will be the final Space Shuttle to fly.


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