New Mexico, NASA Plan Co-investment
Last week, an advisory committee for the New Mexico State Investment Council recommended investing in t/Space, a private company bidding on a contract to build a new, commercially run space transport system that will assume some of the Space Shuttle’s duties. (Illustrated in NASA’s diagram above.) If t/Space wins the contract, the Virgina-based firm intends to build its crew exploration vehicle at New Mexico’s spaceport.
Currently, NASA is conducting a competitive bid process, and nearly 100 private companies have expressed interest. The New Mexico SIC’s investment is contingent on t/Space winning the contract. Nevertheless, many companies in the running are interested in building and testing their spacecraft in New Mexico.
Fly Me to the Moon
Those X Prize guys are at it again. This time it's the $2 million prize for the Lunar Lander Challenge. To win, a team must demonstrate a spacecraft capable of vertical takeoff and vertical landing. The contest is expected to take place at the October X Prize Cup in Las Cruces. Read the contest rules at: http://www.xprizefoundation.com/news/LunarLanding.asp
Fade to Black
Television star James Doohan, who portrayed Montogmery Scott on Star Trek, will make his first bonafide journey to space in March. Doohan, or rather his ashes (he died in July 2005), will be blasted into space, courtesy of Space Services of Houston, Texas. More than 100 others have signed up for the service as well. Read more on USAToday.com: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/space/2006-02-20-space-remains_x.htm
Space Adventures in Singapore
Commercial Space travel is officially a global phenomenon. First, Britian’s Richard Branson announced his plans to make New Mexico, USA, the world headquarters for Virgin Galactic. Now, U.S. entrepreneurs at Space Adventures in Arlington, VA, have made public their plans for spaceports in the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Today, the Singapore announcment makes headlines with more than 30 news organizations worldwide, among them, London’s Financial Times, the Washington Business Journal, Cnn.com, and ChinaView.cn . Read for yourself: Financial Timeshttp://news.ft.com/cms/s/35f4cdda-a24a-11da-9096-0000779e2340.htmlWashington Business Journalhttp://www.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2006/02/20/daily1.html?from_rss=1CNNhttp://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/space/02/20/space.tourism.ap/China Viewhttp://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-02/20/content_4204632.htm
Commercial Space Travel--The Thought Heard Round the World
The New York Times reports that soon, New Mexico’s proposed spaceport won’t be the only one on the planet. Space Adventures, along with entrepreneurs Hamid, Anousheh and Amir Ansari (as in Ansari X Prize), have announced plans to build a spaceport in the United Arab Emirates. An anonymous Russian design firm is building vehicles for Space Adventures while buzz thickens over a yet-to-be unveiled spaceport in Singapore. Read the full story: http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/02/18/science/18space.html
All Systems Go
It’s official: New Mexico lawmakers have approved legislation to finance the proposed spaceport—the first step in making this vision a reality. The Legislature authorized $100 million in capital outlay funds through 2009. MSNBC and Space.com are on the story. Read it here: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/11407719/
Entrepreneur Elon Musk is another player in the New Space Race, reported The New York Times last Sunday. The millionaire inventor of Pay Pal is ready to take on behemoths Lockeed Martin and Boeing to cash in on the $4 billion satellite launch business. He also thinks his Falcon 1, the Volkswagon of rockets, can undercut competitors in Russia, the Ukraine, and France. No word yet—rumors or otherwise—about him relocating from California to New Mexico.
Read the full story: http://http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/05/business/yourmoney/05rocket.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
Rocket Racing League Announces First Team
Yesterday, the Rocket Racing League announced its first team, and news outlets like Outside and Wired magazine are on the story. “The promise of that kind of flying excitement is what attracted Don "Dagger" Grantham and Robert "Bobaloo" Rickard to sign on as members of the RRL's first team. . ." wrote Michael Belfiore on Wired.com. “Both men are F-16 fighter pilots as well as entrepreneurs, and they see rocket racing as the next great flying experience.”Outside reports that Rocket Racing should be a dynamic spectator experience as well. “Fans on the ground will see the virtual track superimposed over the action on giant TV screens as well as on specially developed handheld units.” Rocket Racing League's headquarters are in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Read the Wired story: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70140-0.html?tw=wn_technology_4Read the Outside story: http://outside.away.com/outside/news/20060201_1.html