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February 2013

The Next Step

NASA has awarded Bigelow Aerospace $17.8 million to put one of their Bigelow Expandable Activity Modules on the International Space Station. Bigelow will be able to demonstrate the benefits of their space habitat technology for future exploration and commercial space endeavors. Release at NASA


Axe Apollo Space Academy

XCOR Aerospace's Lynx vehicle has been selected by Axe (the body spray) to launch 22 lucky guys or gals into space. Axe has teamed up with Buzz Aldrin to create the "Axe Apollo Space Academy" which will be used to select people for the ride to space. As part of the deal, XCOR was featured in one of last night's Super-Bowl commercials, which gave unprecedented exposure to both XCOR and the NewSpace industry as a whole. Press Release at Axe



After an impressive 2012, the Commercial Crew Program has some serious momentum coming into the New Year. Thanks to Doug Messier at Parabolic Arc, we can see that Sierra Nevada, Boeing, and SpaceX have ambitious plans for 2013. Additionally, Sierra Nevada has decided to expand their Dream Chaser program, hiring Lockheed Martin to conduct certification and manufacturing work. Press Release at Sierra Nevada and Doug Messier at Parabolic Arc


The Ups And Downs

In Washington, the commercial liability extension passed Congress and the two new leaders have been chosen for the House Subcommittee on Space. In New Mexico, a consensus was reached in the informed consent dispute. On a more depressing (but not surprising) note, the NASA Safety Advisory Panel has reported that chronic underfunding of commercial crew is resulting in unacceptable safety compromises. Press Release at CSF, Doug Messier at PArabolic Arc, Video at YouTube, and Report at NASA


Better Late Than Never

Orbital Sciences Corp. has been plagued with delays in their Commercial Orbital Transportation System(COTS) demonstration flight for over a year, but it seems that they are now making some solid progress. Aerojet has completed a hot fire test of the AJ26 engine and Orbital is prepping for a hot fire test of Antares. Orbital has also released their COTS and CRS milestone schedule, which indicates their COTS demo flight will be sometime in May or June this year. News at Antares Project Site


Deep Space Industries

A new asteroid prospecting company, named Deep Space Industries (DSI), has been announced. The company plans to use "FireFly" spacecraft that will utilize low-cost cubesat components and get discounted delivery to space by ride-sharing on the launches of larger communication satellites. DSI will be led by Chairman Rick Tumlinson and CEO David Gump. Press Release at DSI


Moving Along

The Google Lunar XPrize is continuing to move along nicely. ARCA tested their parachute for the ExoMars landing, Earthrise Space scheduled a benefit event in Florida, and White Label Space has replaced their leader and consolidated in Japan. Press Releases at Earthrise Space and White Label Space, and Doug Messier at Parabolic Arc


Playing With Balloons. For Science.

NASA has selected 13 experimental commercial reusable flight payloads to fly as a part of the Flight Opportunities Program. Near Space Corporation has already launched the first balloon flight for the program. Press Releases at NASA and NSC


The Newbies

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation has added several new members. They are adding The Boeing Company and Paragon Space Development Corporation as Executive Members, and Firestar Technologies, Golden Spike Company, and Spaceflight Services as Associate Members. Press Release at CSF


Hit The Ground Running

Golden Spike is wasting no time developing their hardware. They have already commissioned Northrop Grumman for their lunar lander design, bringing a long heritage of lunar engineering expertise to the Golden Spike team. Press Release at Golden Spike


Paradigm Shift

Andrews Space has landed a contract with the U.S. Army to develop an Earth-imaging nanosat as a part of the Army's Kestrel Eye program. The spacecraft embodies a paradigm shift to lower-cost, higher persistence overhead reconnaissance capabilities. Press Release at Andrews Space


The Space Show

Lt. Col. Paul Damphousse, Jim Muncy, and Doug Messier share their respective NewSpace initiatives with Dr. David Livingston on The Space Show.

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Space Frontier Foundation
James Tumber
NSN Editor
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