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Valorie Burr

By Keith Cowing on January 29, 2015 9:10 AM.

Valorie Burr (NASA GSFC)

"Valorie A. Burr, 61, a resident of Odenton, MD, passed away at her home on January 21, 2015."

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Remembrance

By Keith Cowing on January 28, 2015 10:30 AM.

NASA Administrator Message: Day of Remembrance - Jan. 28, 2015

"Today we remember and give thanks for the lives and contributions of those who gave all trying to push the boundaries of human achievement. On this solemn occasion, we pause in our normal routines and remember the STS-107 Columbia crew; the STS-51L Challenger crew; the Apollo 1 crew; Mike Adams, the first in-flight fatality of the space program as he piloted the X-15 No. 3 on a research flight; and those lost in test flights and aeronautics research throughout our history."

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Denise Stewart

By Keith Cowing on January 28, 2015 10:28 AM.

Keith's note: Denise J. Stewart has passed away. She worked at NASA Headquarters for a number of years.

Update: Memorial details are below:

Continue reading: Denise Stewart.

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New Falcon Heavy Animation

By Marc Boucher on January 27, 2015 2:15 PM.

SpaceX Releases New Animation of Falcon Heavy and Booster Recovery, SpaceRef Business

"SpaceX has released a new animation depicting the launch of a Falcon Heavy from famed Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) with the controlled recovery of both boosters and the first stage."

Marc's note: From animation to reality in a few years? Yeah, we like that. Why can't other companies do this?

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A View of the 2015 Blizzard

By Marc Boucher on January 27, 2015 11:53 AM.

NASA: Night Time View of the Blizzard of 2015, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

"A combination of the day-night band and high resolution infrared imagery from the Suomi NPP satellite shows the historic blizzard near peak intensity as it moves over the New York through Boston Metropolitan areas at 06:45Z (1:45 am EST) on January 27, 2015. The night time lights of the region are blurred by the high cloud tops associated with the most intense parts of the storm."

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First Commercial Crew Test Flights in 2017

By Marc Boucher on January 26, 2015 3:34 PM.

NASA News Conference: Update on the Commercial Crew Program, SpaceRef Business

"NASA, Boeing and SpaceX will held a news briefing on NASA Television at the agency's Johnson Space Center in Houston on Jan. 26, to highlight key development activities, test plans and objectives for achieving certification of two American crew transportation systems."

Marc's note: Missed the news conference? Watch it from the link above.

Continue reading: First Commercial Crew Test Flights in 2017.

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Negative Progress Towards Putting Humans on Mars

By Keith Cowing on January 26, 2015 12:26 PM.

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Everyone Wins at Google Lunar X Prize

By Keith Cowing on January 26, 2015 10:56 AM.

Google Lunar XPrize Makes $5.25 Million in Awards, Google Lunar XPrize

"The deadline for the Google Lunar XPRIZE was officially extended until December 31, 2016. As part of this revised timeline, at least one team must provide documentation of a scheduled launch by December 31, 2015 for all teams to move forward in the competition."

Join us for an exclusive live chat with Google Lunar XPrize teams!, CNet

"These five Milestone teams, with representatives from all over the world, will be gathered in San Francisco on Monday, January 26, for a glitzy awards ceremony."

Keith's note: 5 teams were competing for these milestone prizes. The same 5 teams won these milestone prizes. Has there ever actually been any real competition?

Continue reading: Everyone Wins at Google Lunar X Prize.

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Please Consider Supporting "Fight for Space"

By Keith Cowing on January 25, 2015 7:44 AM.

Fight for Space: NASA & Space Exploration Documentary, Kickstarter

"Fight for Space" is a feature length documentary film that explores the economic and cultural benefits of human space exploration, and examines the historical and political events that have led to the decline of human space exploration. "Fight for Space" presents viewpoints from Astronauts, politicians and staff, scientists, former NASA officials, commercial space entrepreneurs, and many other individuals in the space community. A complete list of interviewees is available at the bottom of this page."

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USAF Blinks and SpaceX Wins EELV Concessions

By Keith Cowing on January 23, 2015 6:45 PM.

United States and SpaceX Agree to Settlement, SpaceX

"The Air Force and SpaceX have reached agreement on a path forward for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program that improves the competitive landscape and achieves mission assurance for national security space launches. Under the agreement, the Air Force will work collaboratively with SpaceX to complete the certification process in an efficient and expedient manner."

Elon Musk: Guest-Starring on The Simpsons Was 'Kind of Trippy', BloombergBusinessWeek

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Mike Gazarik Is Leaving NASA

By Keith Cowing on January 23, 2015 4:19 PM.

Ball Aerospace Names Michael Gazarik as Technology Director

"Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has hired Michael Gazarik as Director for its Office of Technology on the Boulder campus effective March 2. Dr. Gazarik will lead the alignment of Ball's technology development resources with business development and growth strategies."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Statement: "Mike's experienced leadership and commitment has been critical to building the strong foundation upon which our Space Technology Mission Directorate now stands," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "Through his hard work and vision, he's developed an innovative, cross-cutting organization that creates the new knowledge and capabilities needed to enable our future missions. Mike's proven that technology drives exploration and is a critical component of our journey to Mars. His tireless work and dedication to fostering innovation at NASA will be sorely missed."

NASA Associate Administrator for Space Technology Michael Gazarik Statement: "It's been a great honor to lead a team that has, for the first time in more than a decade, created a robust, relevant and innovative space technology program at NASA. As my family and I embark on a new chapter in our lives and I accept an aerospace industry position, I depart knowing that the NASA team is well on its way to achieving important space technology milestones that will enable our journey to Mars and beyond."

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MoonEx To Us SLC-36

By Keith Cowing on January 22, 2015 1:50 PM.

Cape Canaveral SLC-36 Is Central to Moon Express' Commercial Efforts to Reach the Moon

"Moon Express and Space Florida have signed an agreement that will lead to Moon Express spacecraft development and flight test operations at SLC-36 starting early this year. The agreement allows Moon Express and the state of Florida to make investments into the refurbishment of SLC-36, leading to a revitalized range and the immediate creation of 25-50 new jobs and potentially hundreds of direct and indirect new jobs over the next 5 years."

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Asteroid Abduction

By Keith Cowing on January 21, 2015 11:54 AM.

The Space Program - A Modest Proposal, Paul Spudis

"I'm at a loss to explain why one aspect of the ARM mission hasn't been discussed in the media: seeing that advocates of the ARM think nothing about re-arranging the architecture of the Solar System for their convenience, environmental activists might object to the very idea behind the mission. We can't get to a near-Earth asteroid with the Orion spacecraft and the Space Launch System (SLS), so let's just drag the asteroid to us! Imagine a defenseless rock, innocently tumbling its way through space, only to be snagged, bagged, and defiled appropriated and exploited by arrogant, human interlopers. There ought to be a law!"

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NASA and State of the Union Speech (Updated with quotes)

By Keith Cowing on January 20, 2015 8:52 PM.

Bolden: Keep Moving the Ball Forward, Don't Get Discouraged, SpacePolicyOnline

"Stressing that he was not suggesting President Obama would say anything about space exploration in tonight's State of the Union address, Bolden said the President could say "for the first time in human history we may be going inside the 20-years-to-Mars." Sending humans to Mars still is "without a doubt" at least 20 years away, he clarified, but "we're about to slip under that 20-year threshold."

Report of the Space Task Group, 1969, NASA

"We conclude that NASA has the demonstrated organizational competence and technology base, by virtue of the Apollo success and other achievements, to carry out a successful program to land man on Mars within 15 years."

Keith's update: When I was growing up in the mid-60s I seem to recall NASA talking about going to Mars by 1981. That was less than 20 years, Charlie. Indeed, NASA has been talking about going to Mars "in 20 years" or "within 15 years" for the past 40-50 years. Seems like negative progress to me. Not sure what you are bragging about.

President Obama's State of the Union Address - Remarks As Prepared for Delivery, Medium.com

"I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain and make sure to Instagram it."

"I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists; that we don't have enough information to act. Well, I'm not a scientist, either. But you know whatI know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it."

Continue reading: NASA and State of the Union Speech (Updated with quotes).


Google and Fidelity Invest $1 Billion in SpaceX

By Marc Boucher on January 20, 2015 8:36 PM.

It's Early Days in 2015 But SpaceX is Starting at Light Speed with a Satellite Constellation and Possible Google Investment [Updated], SpaceRef Business

Marc's note: Updating my story from yesterday, SpaceX this evening issued the following statement.

"Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has raised a billion dollars in a financing round with two new investors, Google and Fidelity. They join existing investors Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn. Google and Fidelity will collectively own just under 10% of the company.

SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft. This funding will be used to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing."

With this new investment, SpaceX is now valued at over $10 billion. A nice way to start the year even if their Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship suffered some damage from that spectacular crash landing earlier this month by the Falcon 9 first stage recovery attempt.

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More stories for January.

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NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 January 2015

NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 January 2015 Video in Story

Today: Advanced Plant Experiment (APEX) 03-1: Wilmore prepared the Maintenance Work Area (MWA), gathered the APEX hardware, and configured the Advanced Biological Research System (ABRS) photo grid.

More updates...

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