Recent Views from the Commercial Space Gateway

Scenes From a Spaceport

SpacePort America Runway Dedication: Source: M. Greenberg The tectonic shifts rolling through the American space program were there for all to see.   

Moon Capital: A Commercial Gateway to the Moon

On 21 September 2010, the Moon Capital Competition will accept entries for the architectural design of an international and commercial lunar habitation.  One category is "Let's Get Serious" and another is "Let's Have Fun". 

Do NASA and NewSpace Need Destinations and Deadlines?

International Space Station,  Source: NASA Do the new public and private sector partnerships in space infrastructure development require closer collaboration?    

Let's Stop Pretending We Can Establish Human Outposts Beyond Earth Orbit

Van Allen Belts,  Source: We're not ready!  It's time for ISS research on human life support, development and testing of commercial space transport, robotic technologies, and lunar rovers as pathfinders.    

We Need Cheaper Access to Space: Can It Be Done?

NASA Strategy Struggles,  Source: What's really behind Obama's revised strategy for NASA?  Why is Bolden solidly behind it and convinced that his team, with commercial space partners, can make it happen?    

“I’m From the Government and I’m Here to Help”

NASA: A Collaborative Customer, Source: Google Images NASA will be the ideal "Collaborative Customer" for Commercial Space Services as they become available. But what will it require for the Agency to assume that role?   

Dramatic Improvements Can Be Made in Spaceflight Safety

Aircraft Escape Cabin on Space Plane Horizontal launch vehicles can utilize aircraft style flight safety characteristics. But risks in these emerging vehicles, especially during development and flight testing, due to rocket propulsion, extreme speeds/altitudes, and aerodynamic heating, warrant a real escape system.   

Inside the Big Suborbital Research Tent

Big Flag Tent,  Source: NeoAvatara The emerging commercial suborbital research community contains an amazingly broad range of stakeholders who need to collaborate for lower-cost space access, resource leveraging, market building, and business success.    

So, Let's Talk About It: The NASA Resources Gap

Norm Augustine, Source: AP How can we lower costs for access to space, create a real space economy, and produce jobs for the future?  Let's talk about it.    


SpaceShipOne, Source: Huffington Post The community that gathered at the ISPCS Symposium confirms that personal and commercial spaceflight are truly coming.    

To Bold(en)ly Go Where NASA Has Gone Before?

The Change NASA Needs?, Source: Google Images When the Augustine Commission final report is acted upon, will political inertia to maintain the status quo over-power the political momentum for change?   

London Cabby Saves US/Soviet Space Mission

London Cab (1970s), Source: Google Images The Editor shares a personal story of near career disaster with salvation by a total stranger. Working on international cooperation and commercialization in space provides chance encounters that sometimes change our lives.     

Future Outposts Beyond LEO Require R&D Now

Lunar Life Support, Source: NASA The ability to preserve health is a prerequisite to successful planning for human space exploration in the new Space Age.   

NASA's Mission: Clear as Mud

Bolden & Garver, NASA Leaders, Source: NASA "NASA has no mandate to explore space" claims a recent Space Review article.  I agree and review some options for giving it one.    

"Privatization of Space Exploration": A Book Review

/SolomonBookLrg.jpgSolomon provides a very readable quick tour that demonstrates why the entrepreneurial commercial space sector is essential for space exploration.    

Spacefaring (2): Paths to Realization

/HABOT.lrg.jpgApollo was a "giant leap for mankind", but R&D that can support homesteading should proceed first via the International Space Station.    

Imagining the Future & Acting Now to Get There

"Lunar Colony in Dome" Source: CalPoly/Pomona Our interrelated national needs to mitigate climate change and develop a space economy infrastructure requires great imagination and actions now.  How to do it?       

Spacefaring: Our Real Prospects for Homesteading Off-Earth?

roundmoon.jpgHuman settlement beyond Earth depends on attaining acceptable risk levels for microgravity effects and radiation impacts.  James Logan, MD, a NASA JSC-based Diplomate in Aerospace Medicine says we have a long way to go.      

"Unpopular Science": Will it Impact Space Commerce?

The article "Unpopular Science" profiles the decline of professional science journalism and we assess the implications for space commerce.   

From Apollo To The Space Shuttle... Does NASA Inspire?

Recent high-level pronouncements suggest that NASA should be more "inspirational".   However, inspiration cannot be intentionally produced since it is a secondary result of actual accomplishments.        

Space Policy Updates?: Let's Build On Our Infrastructure!

WhiteHouseIt's space policy review time and we need to align utilization and rebuilding of our space infrastructure with national goals.  That strategy can enrich and inspire us all. 


Big Bet Made on Space Commerce in Vegas

Bob Bigelow is one of the mavericks of commercial space. He's no fan of government "operations" but his relationship with NASA has evolved into a collaboration, with potential benefits for both.    

July 20, 1969: What Does it All Mean?

earthriseThe 40th anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing is here and the media is searching for its significance.  Stories range from Michael Jackson's "moonwalk" to whether we will ever return.  What is Apollo's lasting impact and what opportunities in space should we now pursue and why?


Why Everyone's Talking Commercial Space

U.S. government space challenges include; major funding constraints, phase-out of old launch systems, new spacecraft development, increased international competition, and space infrastructure upgrades. This "killer" combo is driving private space sector participation for the first time.   

Branding of Space Commerce is Overdue

 earth-space branding A recent study identified a major "disconnect between the public’s perception of [NASA's] “promised value” and what is “delivered”. Commercial space has both a branding and a related communications challenge.   

Excitement Reigns at Spaceport America

 Space Port Event With New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Spaceport America officials and supporters of commercial space development in attendance, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport broke ground on June 19, 2009, in southern New Mexico. This event delivered on the promise of an exciting new age for space exploration and development, as well as a bright future for the people of New Mexico and their children.   

A Brief History Review for Sen. Richard Shelby

 Senator Richard Shelby "Sen. Richard Shelby (R. - Ala.) is unhappy because NASA Administrator Christopher Scolese intends to use $150 million of the $400 million NASA received as part of the stimulus package to support the development of commercial space transportation for delivering cargo and personnel to the space station."   

Lessons from Turkey for Global Commercial Space

 Us and Turkey presidents I was a presenter/panelist for a Turkish-American Business Conference on facilitation of bi-lateral business development, and profiled a joint CubeSat project ready for launch. Turkey wants to expand its capabilities in science, technology and innovation to produce new high-tech products. Options were identified to support bi-lateral collaboration relevant to commercial space.   

Commercial SubOrbital Science: A Game-Changer for Micro-g R&D

 Richard Mains_Commercial Suborbital Science - A Game-Changer for Micro-g Research Commercially-provided suborbital access can be part of a renewed NASA and other government agency commitment to advancing safe, innovative, affordable and sustainable micro-g research. It can also provide hands-on education/training for the next generation of students and space researchers.   

"Venturesome Consumption", Innovation & NewSpace

 Jeff-krukin_Venturesome Consumption_ Innovation_and_NewSpace "Venturesome Consumption", a term recently coined by Amarnath Bhidé, a Columbia University professor, is meant to address the degree to which a country's firms and consumers are willing to readily try out a new product or service. He suggests that this is what really matters in today's economy, not where an innovative idea comes from, and that the U.S. is especially good at this. This appears to be happening now in the NewSpace suborbital/orbital personal spaceflight market, where many solutions for opening spaceflight to the public are being developed.   

Space-Based Solar Power: Hope Gets Hyped?

Space-Based Solar Satellite article imagel If you haven't heard about the announced agreement between the Solaren company to provide space-based solar power to PG&E beginning about 2016, and the utility's guaranteed purchase of it for 15 years, you may have just returned from a trip deep in the Amazon. PG&E notes in a post on their new Next100 blog titled "Solaren: The Media and Pundits Weigh In" , that within two weeks of the announcement it was "reported, analyzed, debated, praised and ridiculed on more than 26,000 web sites". Now, that's buzz, but included in this tidal wave are some good insights into current developments very worth noting.   

The Google Lunar X Prize...What is the Value, Besides Prestige for the Winner?

 Jeff Krukin article imagel The Google Lunar X PRIZE is a $30 million international competition to safely land a robot on the Moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit images and data back to Earth. Unlike previous decades where space activity was largely government-funded, companies and organizations are responding to challenges like this and demonstrating that space exploration is no longer limited to multi-billion dollar programs. But what value other than prestige can be gained by participants in this competition? What's the bang for the big bucks?   

Virgin Galactic vs. XCOR: Who Will Be First?

 tortoise versus hare When SpaceShipOne captured the Ansari X PRIZE in 2004, optimism abounded that space tourism would the next big wave of adventure travel. SpaceShipOne’s builder, Scaled Composites, announced a deal with Richard Branson to bring space travel to the masses – or at least those with a few hundred thousand dollars to spare. Today, those visions remain distant dreams. Commercial flights could be two years away. Branson – long the favorite to begin commercial service first – has experienced setbacks and tragedy along the way and may be hearing the footsteps approaching of a rival company, XCOR.   

The French-California Connection – Innovation Clusters!

Franco-American Cooperation, Source: TBD The French government recently established several regional economic development clusters, one being the Aerospace Valley in SE France. It includes a wide range of enterprises, government R&D facilities, universities and research institutes broadly related to aerospace and often-associated “green technologies”. A large French delegation, hosted by the California Space Authority, came to California to discuss potential collaborations and tour relevant organizations and facilities across the State. Significant follow-on activities are proposed.   

Deepening Democracy and Space Policy 2.0

 kathleen connell A “perfect storm” of emerging trends with new constituents must converge as a “tipping point” in order to increase the civil space funding wedge. This synopsis explores three emerging structural shifts and how they could intersect to help create a consensus to provide more funds for innovative civil and commercial space initiatives. This revitalization of NASA is essential for developing and sustaining the space enterprise for the 21st century.   

New Space: A Stellar Opportunity for Cooperation on STEM Education

space port logo Spaceport authorities should appreciate that competition between them is situational. They will inevitably compete to win business from existing and emerging customers. But, spaceports need to cooperate when opportunities to “grow the pie” for all are obvious, and where challenges are beyond the resources of any single organization to address. Such factors clearly apply to the need to uplift STEM education throughout the United States.   

Personal Spaceflight: How Safe Need it Be?

kepler launch-NASA I was fascinated recently to learn about Robert Talmage, President of TAAS Company in Acworth, GA, and patent holder for an Aircraft Escape Cabin (AEC) designed to use on high-performance aircraft and space planes. His goal is to develop a practical and reliable escape system for such vehicles traveling at very high speeds and altitudes between about 225 meters and low Earth orbit.   

Solar Energy from Space? - Assessing the Commercial Space Gateway!

space-based solar power generators such as this SunTower Space-based Solar Power has been discussed for years within the space community but has become a hot topic of late in part because it potentially could be the big solution to Earth’s energy needs and its relationship to Earth-based solar energy capture systems that are being developed as an alternative to carbon-based fuels. We decided to test the Commercial Space Gateway system’s ability to provide a quick overview of activity in this area. See what we found.   

Kepler: Space Exploration vs Space Development?

kepler launch-NASA After 17 years, William Borucki, the science principal investigator of the Kepler mission, has reached a personal milestone equal to the spacecraft’s successful launch on March 6, 2009. Searching for potential “earths” orbiting around other sun-like stars (exoplanet exploration) in the universe was his dream; first published 25 years ago. His dogged determination is an example to us all in the commercial space community.   

"Planetary Skin" & Commercial Space: Shared Opportunities & Challenges

cisco inc logo The new public-private R&D collaboration between Cisco and NASA called “Planetary Skin”, and the emerging commercial space community share some similar challenges. They both confront major technical hurdles as they pursue their goals and also share major people and organizational challenges and the need to develop strong stakeholder communities, with good public support.   

Space Flight Simulation and Analogues

Provides an overview of various ground-based models for micro gravity research   

SpaceBio Special Topic: Biotechnology

The education focused content explores the unique influences of the space environment on living systems including implications for space commercialization.   

Moon Walking and Racing on Earth

Describes how a NASA-developed technology to protect astronauts from the effects of chronic microgravity in spaceflight has been put to commercial use on Earth for post-surgery or post-injury rehabilitation and super-human speed racing during athletic training.   

Microgravity Boosts Microbes' Virulence

Article covering Dr. Cheryl Nickerson’s NASA-sponsored research with Salmonella. She has demonstrated that the microgravity of spaceflight enhances the disease-causing potential of this common bacteria.   

Esther Dyson Talks About NewSpace

Ester Dyson, an early investor in such companies as Flickr and, several IT start-ups, and a recent investor in commercial space, explains the role that entrepreneurs now have in rapidly changing what has come to be called “NewSpace.”   

Space Cam Rocks!

RocketCam provides “telepresence” where and when it’s critical.   

Richard Garriott -- More Than Just a Tourist

Richard Garriott, an American space tourist, computer game entrepreneur, and son of former Astronaut Owen Garriott, is now living onboard the International Space Station for 10 days.