Category Archive: Suborbital

Jan 18 2016

Count me in…

From Spaceweather.com. They don’t provide links, so I’ll quote the article in its entirety: SOLAR ECLIPSE BALLOON NETWORK: Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have developed a balloon payload that can photograph solar eclipses from the stratosphere. This sets the stage for a one-of-a-kind photography experiment: On August 21, 2017, the Moon …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2016/01/18/10355/

Dec 24 2015

My return stage is bigger than yours

Regarding the pissing match between Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (SpaceX), I think they’re both being ridiculous. Both the New Shepherd’s landing and the Falcon 9 first stage landing were impressive, and both advance their respective company’s business case, and neither business case is in direct competition with each other. New Shepherd is …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/24/my-return-stage-is-bigger-than-yours/

Dec 15 2015

XCOM takes a step toward Lynx reusability

XCOR claims major breakthrough with its engine technology. This propulsion system is an essential part of the Lynx “instant reusability” because it allows the vehicle to be flown multiple times per day without costly servicing of components. In addition, XCOR engine technology could be used to benefit other rocket-propelled vehicles in the same way. So …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/12/15/xcom-takes-a-step-toward-lynx-reusability/

Nov 08 2015

UP Aerospace demonstrates new launch ability

Spaceport America’s 24th Launch – an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft Rocket Demonstrated the Capability to Eject Separate Payloads Requiring Independent Re-entry. They also set an altitude record for their rockets: 75 miles. Both payloads re-entered and were recovered successfully, which bodes well for UP’s capabilities in this niche market. They can now support two customers per …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/08/up-aerospace-demonstrates-new-launch-ability/

Aug 03 2015

XCOR says to buy your tickets now for Lynx

XCOR to Raise Ticket Prices for Suborbital Space Plane Flights. Ticket prices are $100,00 now, but they’ll go up to $150k after 1 January 2016. They’ve sold 300 tickets so far. I dunno — awful pricey from a suborbital flight, but that’s just me. It’s still about $100K less than Virgin Galactic’s cost for a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/08/03/xcor-says-to-buy-your-tickets-now-for-lynx/

Apr 10 2015

New Shepherd rocket to be test flown this year

Blue Origin to Launch Private Spaceship Test Flights This Year. The New Shepherd rocket will eventually take up to three passengers to sub-orbital space and return back to its launch pad. Blue Origin isn’t releasing a launch date, but they say it will be later this year. The article also says that tests of their …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/04/10/new-shepherd-rocket-to-be-test-flown-this-year/

Mar 30 2015

Testing extremophile bacteria in Mars-like conditions

SpaceWeather.com is carrying a report on Earth To Sky Calculus’ experiments with halobacteria on-board high-altitude balloons. They’ve already proven that the bacteria can survive flights up to 110,000 feet: During the flight, onboard sensors registered temperatures as low as -60 C, air pressures of 1% sea level, and cosmic radiation levels 40 times Earth-normal. Those …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/03/30/testing-extremophile-bacteria-in-mars-like-conditions/

Mar 01 2015

BRILLIANT marketing idea from XCOR

The Arete STEM Project is a kickstarter campaign which allows for students and student teams K-12 to launch their experiment into suborbital space onboard Lynx. This is a brilliant idea on so many levels. It helps develop a manifest for Lynx, and stokes the imagination of STEM students. I personally believe that the cost ($300) …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/03/01/brilliant-marketing-idea-from-xcor/

Feb 25 2015

World View sets new record for altitude

Parafoil reaches 102,200 feet. That’s the height they intend to take passengers to, starting in 2016, for $75K. While this test didn’t carry humans, it did carry two university science experiments — one to detect ozone, and one to test HD video technology at high altitudes.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/02/25/world-view-sets-new-record-for-altitude/

Feb 23 2015

But…2019 is 4 years away

Europe’s Newly-Tested Space Plane Aims for Next Launch in 2019. Which is long enough to completely rebuild and revamp the IXV. They’re trying to best decide how to have the IXV touch down on land (landing gear vs glide chute) and will use data from this month’s IXV launch and landing to make a final …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/02/23/but-2019-is-4-years-away/

Feb 18 2015

This long, unsatisfying article at least had a little gold at the end

The stratosphere and suborbit: shirtsleeves or pressure suits? It’s WAY long (over 2200 words — longer than any single chapter in Ships & Stones), and it’s unsatisfying because the author doesn’t come to an conclusion or recommendation at the end of the wall of text. Click on the article if you must, but you’ve been …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/02/18/this-long-unsatisfying-article-at-least-had-a-little-gold-at-the-end/

Jan 27 2015

Virgin Galactic names new test pilot

Congrats to Mark Stucky, who starts working for Virgin Galactic on 2 Feb. Here is his CV: An accomplished military and government test pilot, Stucky has flown flight tests for the US Marine Corp, US Navy, US Air Force, NASA and international partners. He has logged over 9,000 flight hours in over 170 different models …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/01/27/virgin-galactic-names-new-test-pilot/

Jan 02 2015

Project PoSSUM: Manned polar suborbital research

Commercial suborbital research program to qualify scientist-astronauts. Interesting…they’ll use a combination of sub-orbital vehicles and balloons over the Earth’s poles to study noctilucent clouds. Here’s their web site. They are looking for scientist/astronaut candidates as I type. I think I’ll go ahead and throw my hat into the ring — nothing to lose by entering, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/01/02/project-possum-manned-polar-suborbital-research/

Dec 19 2014

Beautiful view from 100,000 ft

From the World View Enterprises high altitude balloon test flight. Tickets start at $75K.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/12/19/beautiful-view-from-100000-ft/

Dec 10 2014

The advantages of balloons over suborbital rockets

There seems to be a revolution brewing in the high-altitude balloon industry. I admit that I don’t pay close enough attention to this, ’cause riding a high-altitude balloon ain’t going to get me to space. Still, balloons are becoming more and more important to the suborbital science market, so here ya go. The article lists …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/12/10/the-advantages-of-balloons-over-suborbital-rockets/

Dec 01 2014

Speaking of Wild Rides

Swiss Space Systems Will Begin to Offer Commercial Zero Gravity Flights in 2015. They’ll start operations within the US and Europe by the end of 2015, and then offer flights world-wide by the end of 2016. %000 Euro’s per passenger ($6250), but still pretty inexpensive as these things go. If anyone’s looking to give me …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/12/01/speaking-of-wild-rides/

Nov 10 2014

Good news for Virgin Galactic

Could be conducting new test flights within 6 months. The NTSB has allowed Virgin Galactic to continue testing while the crash investigation continues. The article also states that Virgin Galactic was already 65% complete on a second SpaceShipTwo. No doubt its completion will get a high priority.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/10/good-news-for-virgin-galactic/

Nov 10 2014

SNC touts Dream Chaser’s network of public airport landing options

Basically, any runway made of concrete over 8000 ft long. The Shuttle required a 12,000 ft runway. Concrete is a requirement because of Dream Chaser’s nose landing-skid equipment. However, there is still a maze of regulations that SNC has to navigate: despite the large amount of evaluations that have already taken place, negotiations will be …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/10/snc-touts-dream-chasers-network-of-public-airport-landing-options/

Nov 05 2014

Win a free suborbital trip to space

Buy a movie ticket to “Interstellar” via Fandango before 1 December, and you’re entered. One ticket will be drawn at random to fly on a future flight of XCOR’s Lynx. According to the Lynx development web page, test flights for the Lynx begin next year.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/05/win-a-free-suborbital-trip-to-space/

Nov 04 2014

NTSB not sure which pilot unlocked SpaceShipTwo’s feathering system

It was the pilot in the right seat, but it’s unclear who was sitting where. The article reports the timeline of events: 10:07:19 — SS2 released from the WhiteKnightTwo mothership 10:07:21 — SS2 engine start 10:07:29 — Mach 0.94 10:07:31 — Mach 1.02.  In that 2 second period, telemetry shows lock/unlock lever moved to unlock position.  …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/04/ntsb-not-sure-which-pilot-unlocked-spaceshiptwos-feathering-system/

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