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Tracking the progress of NASA's new Crew Exploration Vehicle.

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Recent Comments
Harold LaValley: SpaceShipOne's owners have not declared any furthe >>
Sammy: I don't think that's true, Harold. I think it will >>
Dogsbd: I imagine that will happen within a few months of >>
Harold LaValley: Until Paul G. Allen and Burt Rutan decide to sell >>
Torey: can u send me some stuuf about space and all that >>
Torey: Hurry up and get to mars already >>
Dogsbd: Good article. It also just so happens that the DOD >>
Harold LaValley: The problem is not so much the plan, the funding o >>
Harold LaValley: 2004 Workshop JUNE 15-16, WASHINGTON HILTON, WASH >>
Dex: Note that it is paradoxicaly Mr Garvin himself who >>

Recent Entries
Get STICKITPRO the selfie stick

Historic Space Launch Attempt for SpaceShipOne Scheduled for June 21

America’s RLV industry in 2004

China reiterates Moon mission plans

Private spaceships caught in political fog

Panel to Report on Moon-Mars Space Plan

NASA spells out Jupiter mission details

Backers: NASA's plans will withstand politics

The Mars Society - Join Us!

June 02, 2004

NASA names head of space exploration study

"The director of a Florida research center will lead a study to help NASA determine how to conduct future space exploration, including President Bush's initiative for manned flights to the moon and Mars.

Ken Ford will chair the $592,000, nine-month study, NASA said. Researchers will examine technologies and types of materials that could be used on future space missions, rocket propulsion and communications, said Ford."

+ Read News Release (AP)

Editor's Note: I'm not sure what this study will add that isn't being covered by the Moon-Mars commission and NASA's Office of Exploration; it would be nice for NASA to clarify that. Also, the amount of time & money allocated spawns questions; one could read it as both too high (do we need ANOTHER study, do we need to wait 9 months for it?) or too low (9 months & a somewhat small budget is all they need to determine future space tech?)

Historic Space Launch Attempt for SpaceShipOne Scheduled for June 21

"A privately-developed rocket plane will launch into history on June 21 on a mission to become the world's first commercial manned space vehicle. Investor and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and aviation legend Burt Rutan have teamed to create the program, which will attempt the first non-governmental flight to leave the earth's atmosphere."

+ Read News Release (Scaled.com)

June 01, 2004

America’s RLV industry in 2004

"The bad news is NASA is getting out of the RLV business. The good news is NASA is getting out of the RLV business. Whatever the reasons, the failed X-30, X-33, X-34, 2nd generation RLV, OSP, and NGLT programs indicate that there is little sustained interest in the NASA culture for building Earth-to-orbit vehicles. The best thing for everyone involved is for NASA, in the future, to stick to its own exploration knitting and leave rocket science to those who are really interested in it."

+ Read Article (The Space Review)

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China reiterates Moon mission plans

"A Chinese space official has refuted a Western press report from 10 days ago that alleged that financial considerations had forced China to abandon plans to land astronauts on the Moon. That Reuters report from Beijing was widely circulated in the West as evidence that new NASA plans for American astronauts to fly back to the Moon would not be justified as part of some new ‘Space Race’, this time between the U.S. and China."

+ Read Article (MSNBC)

Editor's Note: This is in the rumors category because I consider everything that Chinese officials say as rumor. (I'm also not a big fan of the self-serving Oberg.) The Chinese frequently contradict each other about the goals & timelines of their space program, as this story further evidences. Personally, I would never write anything off about the Chinese going back to the Moon and onto Mars, nor would I write off Russia, Japan, India, Brazil, or Europe. This is a new century with many nations full of dreams for the future, and if America is not able to maintain the current momentum of exploring the solar system, others will surely claim the lead.

May 31, 2004

Bush's pragmatic step-by-step guide to space

An editorial by Bush Science Advisor Dr. John Marburger which basically explains the thinking behind the president's vision. One excerpt:

"The second presidential goal ensures a means of human transport beyond low Earth orbit. The idea is not simply to repeat the Apollo exercises, but to ensure a human presence to establish and oversee what must eventually become complex operations at the lunar base, the third goal. This is not a question of "colonization" but of enabling the development of serious and sophisticated infrastructure in a hostile environment in order to support subsequent exploration to Mars and elsewhere."

+ Read Article (Houston Chronicle)

May 29, 2004

Private spaceships caught in political fog

"Almost three months ago, amid great fanfare, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a historic measure to open the door to private-sector spaceflight — a measure that would allow entrepreneurs to take passengers on suborbital space trips.

But since then, the bill — known as the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, or H.R. 3752 — has languished without Senate action. And some in the infant space travel industry are increasingly worried the measure might just fizzle out."

+ Read Article (MSNBC)

Panel to Report on Moon-Mars Space Plan

"A presidential panel tasked to flesh out America's post-shuttle human space program will report to the White House next week about how to accomplish missions to the moon and beyond without a huge increase in NASA's annual budget."

+ Read Article (Discovery News)

May 28, 2004

NASA spells out Jupiter mission details

"NASA has issued mission design requirements to three U.S. industry teams for a proposed mission to Jupiter and its three icy moons.

The requirements are also the first product formulated by NASA's new Office of Exploration Systems in Washington, the agency said Thursday."

+ Read Article (UPI)

May 26, 2004

A few words with Craig Steidle

Very positive interview with the director of NASA's Exploration Office. Talks about the feedback from congress and industry, the fact that they are looking at heavy-lift, the horizontal integration between the office and Space Science, Earth Science, and ISS programs.


+ Read Article (The Space Review)

Backers: NASA's plans will withstand politics

"As President Bush's approval rating has dipped to the lowest level since he took office, space enthusiasts insist that NASA's new challenge of sending astronauts to the moon and Mars will outlive the political future of the president who proposed it."

+ Read Article (Denver Post)

NASA Releases Mission Requirements for Proposed Jupiter Mission

"NASA has issued its mission design requirements to three industry teams for a proposed mission to Jupiter and its three icy moons. The requirements are also the first product formulated by NASA's new Office of Exploration Systems in Washington."

+ Read News Release (NASA/JPL)

May 25, 2004

Summer showdown for space plan

"A political showdown is looming this summer and fall over NASA's fiscal year 2005 budget request, which contains $866 million in new funding. Some $136 million of the proposed boost is earmarked to start President George W. Bush's new space exploration proposals. Neither house of Congress has acted on the plan yet, and though work has started on a bill to authorize both multi-year funding and a rationale for space exploration, most Hill staffers involved in the issue expect the authorization legislation to be left behind in the congressional rush to adjourn for the fall campaign."

+ Read Article (UPI)

May 24, 2004

Moon-Mars initiative: where do things stand now?

"The surprising resistance to the project inside the US House of Representatives, which is where all federal spending programs begin, would suggest that NASA will fail to get enough of an increase in its top line budget to start serious work. So far, they have not even gotten a go-ahead to spend $6 million on initial studies. If this is so, then NASA will probably have to delay or revise not only the Moon-Mars initiative but will probably have to radically revise the planned Shuttle return-to-flight and the Space Station assembly schedules."

+ Read Article (The Space Review)

May 21, 2004

One Small Step For A Space Plan

"A House-Senate conference committee has hammered out a budget resolution that endorses President Bush's visionary space plan, but how much money it ultimately will authorize to begin the project remains open to conjecture."

+ Read Article (SpaceDaily)

Moon missions could be step to Mars

"Astronauts could go to the moon for as long as 90 days in the first step toward reaching President Bush's goal of sending a man to Mars, NASA says.

The preliminary plans provide the first glimpse of the next possible moon mission and how NASA intends to prepare for a Mars expedition. Extended moon visits were proposed by Bush in January as a steppingstone for the more complex task of reaching Mars. "

+ Read Article

Editor's Note: I missed logging this story from earlier in the week. Apologies I have been busy helping a friend with his Amazon project to sell portable iphone chargers.

China's First Astronaut Meets Buzz Aldrin & Senator Bill Nelson

"Later during the visit, Nelson returned to the topic of U.S.-Chinese cooperation. “So when are China and the United States going to cooperate together in space exploration, Mr Ambassador?"

“I want us to go to Mars,” Nelson said, “and I think we ought to go to Mars together.”

+ Read Article (Space.com)

May 20, 2004

Senate Con.Res.95 on NASA Budget passes

"The conferees support the President's Vision for Exploration and believe the fiscal year 2005 funding for Function 250 should provide sufficient funding to initiate the process. Additionally, the bulk of the requested increase for fiscal year 2005 is for return to flight of the Space Shuttle and continued assembly and operations for the International Space Station. The Conferees hope that these two must-fund requirements will be taken into account during their consideration of the NASA appropriation."

+ Access Legislation Status

Editor's Note: There was a lot of debate on this and it sometimes appeared that NASA's budget (and thus the new vision) would be scaled back. Perhaps the new Space Exploration Alliance of advocacy groups had some sway over this?

Former Astronaut Don Peterson's Ideas for Future Human Flight Programs

Our MVP commenter Harold LaValley pointed us to this article and I wanted to be sure I logged it. As Harold said, it contains many of the ideas we've been talking about & commenting on for the last few months. Must Read!

+ Read Article (SpaceRef.com)