Category Archives: Future space

Proposals, speculation, etc regarding the future of space and humanity’s place in it.

Space Adventures to fly private citizens on SpaceX Crew Dragon

Space Adventures and SpaceX announced today plans to fly four private citizens on a Crew Dragon flight. The Dragon would not go to the ISS but would be a “free flyer” mission in which the citizen astronauts would enjoy microgravity and views of Earth in the spacecraft. The spacecraft would go to 2-3 times the altitude of the ISS. The first launch is aimed for the late 2021 to mid-2022 time frame. The mission would last up to five days.

Space Adventures Announces Agreement with SpaceX
to Launch Private Citizens on the Crew Dragon Spacecraft

Mission profile provides opportunity to break a world record

February 18, 2020 – Vienna, Va. — Building on the success of Crew Dragon’s first demonstration mission to the International Space Station in March 2019 and the recent successful test of the spacecraft’s launch escape system, Space Adventures, Inc. has entered into an agreement with SpaceX to fly private citizens on the first Crew Dragon free-flyer mission. This will provide up to four individuals with the opportunity to break the world altitude record for private citizen spaceflight and see planet Earth the way no one has since the Gemini program.

The Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 on Pad 39A before the launch on March 2, 2019 of the uncrewed vehicle for a test mission  to the ISS.

If interested parties are secured, this mission will be the first orbital space tourism experience provided entirely with American technology. Private citizens will fly aboard SpaceX’s fully autonomous Crew Dragon spacecraft launched by the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, the same spacecraft and launch vehicle that SpaceX will use to transport NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

“This historic mission will forge a path to making spaceflight possible for all people who dream of it, and we are pleased to work with the  Space Adventures’ team on the mission,”

said Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX.

“Creating unique and previously impossible opportunities for private citizens to experience space is why Space Adventures exists. From 2001-2009 our clients made history by flying over 36 million miles in space on eight separate missions to the ISS. Since its maiden mission in 2010, no engineering achievement has consistently impressed the industry more than the Dragon/Falcon 9 reusable system. Honoring our combined histories, this Dragon mission will be a special experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity – capable of reaching twice the altitude of any prior civilian astronaut mission or space station visitor,”

said Eric Anderson, Chairman, Space Adventures.

A view of the Crew Dragon during the uncrewed test flight in March 2019. The vehicle here was on it’s way back to earth after departing the ISS. Credits: NASA TV.

About Space Adventures: Space Adventures, the company that organized the flights for the world’s first private space explorers, is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metro area. It offers a variety of programs available today, including spaceflight missions to the International Space Station, around the Moon, record-breaking orbital missions, and various training and spaceflight qualification programs. The company’s orbital spaceflight clients include Dennis Tito, Mark Shuttleworth, Greg Olsen, Anousheh Ansari, Charles Simonyi, Richard Garriott, and Guy Laliberté. For more information, please visit www.spaceadventures.com.

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See also

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See You In Orbit?:
Our Dream Of Spaceflight

“Frozen Orbit” – A new space novel by Patrick Chiles

Patrick Chiles has released the new novel, Frozen Orbit:

The Beginning of Life Awaits at the End of the Solar System

Frozen Orbit by Patrick Chiles

When a tiny space probe hurtled past Pluto in 2015, no one could know that its most amazing discovery would remain hidden for years. Only when a long-lost Soyuz is destroyed in the skies above Siberia does the truth begin to emerge.

About to embark on NASA’s first expedition to the outer planets, the crew of the spacecraft Magellan learns someone else has beaten them by a few decades: a top-secret Soviet project codenamed Arkangel. It was a mission that began before most of them were even born, and the Kremlin believes it drove their most trusted crew mad.

During their long race to the Kuiper Belt, astronauts Jack Templeton and Traci Keene unwind a decades-old mystery buried in the pages of a dead cosmonaut’s journal. Challenging their own beliefs about the nature of humanity, they will soon confront the question of existence itself.

Check out also Patrick’s other novels, Farside and Perigee.

[ Update: Some comments from Patrick about the new book: What Were You Thinking? – The Chiles Files.]

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Frozen Orbit

Note: The Amazon links here result in commissions for HobbySpace if click-throughs lead to purchases.

2019 NIAC Symposium presentations

Check out the presentations on leading edge space technologies given this week at the 2019 NIAC Symposium via the videos on Livestream. The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program provides modest amounts of funding to projects that are too close to (or too over) the leading edge for the usual SBIR type of research grants.

Here is the symposium’s agenda (pdf):

Below is a video of this morning’s session with the following speakers:

  • Phase I Fellow Joel Sercel, Lunar-Polar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO): Affordable Exploration and Industrialization, TransAstra Corporation
  • 2019 Phase I Fellow John Slough, Crosscutting High Apogee Refueling Orbital Navigator (CHARON) for Active Debris Removal, MSNW LLC
  • 2019 Phase I Fellow George Sowers, Thermal Mining of Ices on Cold Solar System Bodies, Colorado School of Mines
  • 2019 Phase I Fellow Robert Staehle, Low-Cost SmallSats to Explore to Our Solar System’s Boundaries, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Moon Rush: The New Space Race

Xplore and Arch Mission Foundation to fly knowledge archives to space destinations

An announcement from the Arch Mission Foundation and Xplore:

Xplore and the Arch Mission Foundation partner to fly Arch™ Libraries
to the Moon, Mars, Venus and Asteroids
Arch™ Libraries will fly on Xplore missions beginning in 2021
to cislunar and interplanetary destinations.

June 11, 2019, Seattle, WA – Xplore and the Arch Mission Foundation today announced that Xplore spacecraft will host specially designed Arch Libraries on its planned missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus and Near-Earth Asteroids starting in 2021.

“Our civilization’s knowledge is precious. Helping distribute Arch™ Libraries in space is an important way to secure this valuable data. The Xplore team is proud to host the Lunar Library™ payload on our missions,”

said Jeff Rich, CEO of Xplore.

“These archives provide a personal connection to space,” said Jeff Rich. As an Arch Strategic Advisor, Mr. Rich’s image was etched into nickel and included on the Arch™ Lunar Library in 2019. “It is humbling to know my image is likely intact on the Moon’s surface. Soon we will enable everyone to bring their life into space as millions of individuals can include photos and stories in the Arch™ Libraries.”

[ Nova Spivack, Co-founder and CEO of the Arch Mission Foundation, said,]

“We are thrilled to work with Xplore, and join their mission to expand human knowledge through scientific space explorations,” […] “Partnering with Xplore enables us to continue expanding our Lunar Library™, and establish new Arch Libraries throughout our solar system as part of our Billion Year Archive. We are thankful to generous partners like Xplore who believe in our mission and are willing to help us achieve it.”

The Billion Year Archive™ is a solar system-wide collection of Arch Libraries that can preserve, connect, and share humanity’s knowledge for billions of years, and serve as a backup of planet Earth. Xplore and the Arch Mission Foundation are enabling new demonstration missions that expand the Billion Year Archive™ throughout the solar system. Together they will develop technologies that ensure the Arch Library’s 30 million pages of contents are detectable and functioning after extended time periods in deep space.

Xplore XCRAFT
Sketch of an Xplore XCRAFT.

About Xplore: Xplore is a privately-funded commercial space company focused on the scientific exploration of our solar system. The mission of Xplore is to expand human knowledge beyond Earth via continuous commercial Xpedition™ missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, and Near-Earth Asteroids. Xplore has been building its strategy, team and spacecraft since 2017 and is planning missions beginning in 2021.

Xplore provides hosted payload Xpedition™ services for scientific instruments, branding, technology demonstrations, tributes, memorials, art and custom payloads, opening up interplanetary space to national space agencies, researchers, companies, non-profit organizations and individuals. Visit: www.xplore.com

About The Arch Mission Foundation: Co-founded by Nova Spivack and Nick Slavin, the Arch Mission Foundation is a non-profit organization that maintains a backup of planet Earth, designed to continuously preserve and disseminate humanity’s most important knowledge across time and space. Visit: www.archmission.org

NanoFIche
“Nanofiche can also store up to 2,000 analog pages of text at 150 dpi, per square centimeter. For example a 20 x 20 mm nickel Nanofiche sheet can hold up to 8,000 pages of text rendered at 150 dpi. At this resolution, a letter size page of Nanofiche would hold up to 1.2 million analog images and pages of text!” – Arch Mission

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Note that one archive of the Arch Lunar Library™ made it to the Moon this year, hopefully in one piece: The Lunar Library: Genesis — Arch Mission Foundation

The Arch Lunar Library™ represents the first in a series of lunar archives from the Arch Mission Foundation, designed to preserve the records of our civilization for up to billions of years. It is installed in the SpaceIL “Beresheet” lunar lander, which crashed on the Moon in April of 2019.

Currently it is believed that the Lunar Library survived the crash of Beresheet and is intact on the Moon according to our team of scientific advisors based on imagery data provided by NASA’s LRO.

The Lunar Library contains a 30 million page archive of human history and civilization, covering all subjects, cultures, nations, languages, genres, and time periods.

Another archive is on a Tesla that travels between Mars and Earth.

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The Case for Space:
How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up
a Future of Limitless Possibility

Spaceflight roundup – Jan.2.2019

A sampling of items about the state of space development in the past year and in the coming year(s):

** Bob Zimmerman reviews the global rocket launch pace in 2018 and discusses the outlook for the new year: The 2018 global launch race plus predictions for 2019 | Behind The Black.

The most significant achievement in 2018 is clearly China’s rise as a space power. That nation had predicted it would complete 40 launches in 2018. That prediction turned out to be largely accurate. China completed 38 successful rocket launches, almost doubling its previous yearly launch record. It also fixed the issues with their biggest rocket, the Long March 5, laying the groundwork for the launch of their own space station. In addition, they launched Chang’e-4 to the Moon, aimed at being the first spacecraft to land softly on the Moon’s far side. While this is not their first lunar lander/rover, it likely initiates a much more aggressive and fast-paced planetary program for the coming years.

** Indian has set a goal of putting three astronauts into orbit by 2022: India is Going to be Sending Three People to Space in Three Years – Universe Today

During a cabinet-level meeting that took place on Friday, Dec. 25th, the government of India announced that the Indian Space Research Organization‘s (ISRO) first crewed mission to space will consist of a three-astronaut team being sent to orbit. The government also announced that they had a approved a budget of $1.4 billion to fund the development of the requisite technology and infrastructure for the program.

The decisions to send astronauts to space was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15th, during India’s Independence Day celebrations. At that time, Modi directed the ISRO to conduct a crewed mission to orbit by 2022, which would coincide with the 75th anniversary of India gaining its independence.

More about the Indian human spaceflight program:

** Tim “The Everyday Astronaut” Dodd reviews the space highlights of 2018:

** A review of the past year at TMRO.tv: 2018 Cosmic Wrapup – Orbit 11.50 – TMRO

** Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society, “takes us on a tour of the spacecraft currently exploring from within our solar system. All planets and spacecraft locations are shown at their location for January 1st, 2019.”

** Virgin Orbit, one of many companies around the world developing small rockets to orbit small satellites,  highlights developments in 2018 that will lead to their first orbital flights in 2019:

** Writer Michael Belfiore‘s TEDx talk addresses the question, “Why Space Matters?”

 

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Telescopes and Binoculars at Amazon</p