Billionaire aims to go higher and faster next time
Virgin Galactic still can’t get SpaceShipTwo all the way up (to Karman line)
FAA throws in the towel on deciding who is and who isn’t an astronaut
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Earlier this month, Richard Branson and two Virgin Galactic employees received commercial astronaut wings from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity flight test they took part in last July. The trio was the last group to receive the wings — FAA ended the program last year — and the honors came with a pretty big asterisk.
ROCKLIN, CA (Orbital Assembly Corporation PR) — Orbital Assembly Corporation (OAC), the only company advancing the development and operation of a commercially viable, space-based business park with gravity, has named Andre Bormanis, scientist, Star Trek TV series writer and television producer to its advisory board.
Bormanis has had a lifelong focus on space and science including as a writer, technical consultant, and producer on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Enterprise.
He is also co-author, with Dr. Logsdon, of “Emerging Policy Issues for Long-Term Human Space Exploration: Background Paper” and co-editor, also with John Logsdon, of Conference Proceedings: Emerging Policy Issues for Long-Term Human Space Exploration, by the Space Policy Institute. Bormanis has also written numerous articles on astronomy and space science.
The first three passenger flights of Blue Origin’s New Shepard have been long on symbolism. On the first one, Jeff Bezos invited Wally Funk, who in 1960 was one of 13 women who underwent the same medical checks as the Original Seven Mercury astronauts. NASA wasn’t accepting female pilots at the time, so Funk had to wait 51 years to reach space.
New Shepard’s second flight included starship Capt. James T. Kirk, or more precisely, the actor who played the “Star Trek” captain, William Shatner. The third flight had Laura Shepard Churchley, the daughter of America’s first astronaut to fly to space, who launched aboard a vehicle named after her father, Alan.
“Space Launch LIVE: Shatner in Space“Airing Live on Discovery and Science Channel, Wednesday, October 13, 8:30 -10:30 AM
Discovery and Science Channel brings viewers the highly-anticipated launch of Star Trek star William Shatner as he takes his first flight into space — at the age of 90, soon to be the oldest person to fly to space — on Blue Origin’s New Shepard, a cutting-edge suborbital rocket.
Scheduled for Wednesday after weather delays, the mission, known as NS-18, will launch from Blue Origin’s West Texas site. This will be the second-ever crewed spaceflight for Blue Origin after its inaugural crewed flight launched founder Jeff Bezos and three other passengers on a 10-minute trip to space and back in July.
KENT, Wash. (Blue Origin PR) — Today, Blue Origin announced actor William Shatner and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s Vice President of Mission & Flight Operations, will fly on board New Shepard NS-18. They will join crewmates Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries for the flight which lifts off from Launch Site One on October 12.
TMZ.comreports that Capt. James Tiberius Kirk — actor William Shatner, anyway — will be heading to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard suborbital launch system.
We’re told Shatner will be on board in October for the 15-minute civilian flight — similar to the last launch. What we don’t know — BUT WHAT WOULD BE AWESOME — is if he wears his Capt. Kirk getup.
Our sources say the mission will be filmed for a documentary. We’re told Shatner’s people were talking to Discovery about the special, but that didn’t materialize … but our sources say Shatner and Co. have taken the project elsewhere and are in negotiations.
The 90-year old actor would be part of the second crewed flight by Jeff Bezos’ company. He would be the oldest person ever to travel to space.
In 2013, the Daily Mailreported that Richard Branson had offered Shatner a seat aboard Virgin Galactric’s suborbital SpaceShipTwo vehicle. Branson said the actor declined for an unusual reason.
‘He actually said he’s frightened of airline travel – which is slightly disillusioning. Captain Kirk is scared of flying,’ the Sun quoted Sir Richard as saying.
However, Shatner said he turned down Branson’s offer two years earlier because he didn’t want to pay the $200,000 cost.
‘I said, “Well, that’s not much, how much do you guarantee to come back?” And he didn’t have a price on that,’ quipped Shatner.
‘He wanted me to go up and pay for it and I said: “Hey, you pay me and I’ll go up. I’ll risk my life for a large sum of money.” But he didn’t pick me up on my offer.’
That wasn’t the first time he had indicated his reluctance to be blasted into the unknown.
Five years earlier Shatner said: ‘I’m interested in man’s march into the unknown but to vomit in space is not my idea of a good time.Neither is a fiery crash with the vomit hovering over me.’
Whatever the case, there is sure to be massive worldwide interest if Shatner does boldly go where no Star Trek regular cast member has gone before.
For eight years, they thundered aloft in cramped Russian spacecraft from a former Soviet spaceport in Kazakhstan, battling bureaucracy and gravity to blaze a trail across the heavens and redefine what it meant to be a space traveler. No longer would access to orbit be limited to highly trained astronauts chosen on merit and working on behalf of their nations; instead, space would be open to any sufficiently healthy people with enough money and moxie to qualify.
Two new space shows – one a drama, the other a comedy — are now in development.
Ronald D. Moore – he of “Battlestar Galactic” and “Star Trek” fame – has gotten an order from Apple to produce a new drama series that imagines a world in which the global space race of the 1960’s never ended.
Yes, Apple has now gotten into producing TV series. No, I don’t know if this means we all have to buy one of their over priced devices to see the show.
Meanwhile, Bill Lawrence will write and executive produce “Spaced Out,” a multi-camera workplace ensemble comedy set in the world of commercial space travel. He is developing the series for CBS.
Lawrence had been executive producer of the project when it went to pilot at NBC as a single-camera show. The network did not pick the pilot up as a series.
Lawence created “Scrubs” and co-created “Spin City” and ‘Cougar Town.” He also served as an executive producer on “Undateable” and the upcoming CW series “Life Sentence.”
If Lawrence wanted to make the show as a dark comedy, he could set it at a company that’s perpetually 18 months away from flying people into space owned by a jet-setting, publicity-obsessed billionaire who is always giving the staff migraines with his wildly optimistic and perpetually inaccurate pronouncements.
LAS VEGAS (Zero-G PR) – Star Trek® fans rejoice! Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®) has partnered with Roddenberry Adventures to offer an extraordinary ZERO-G Experience® with William Shatner, beloved star of the iconic television series. For the first time, fans will have the chance to fly in zero gravity with the man who played Captain Kirk. A limited number of tickets for this exclusive flight on August 4 are now on sale to the general public.
LOS ANGELES (April 13, 2017) – XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, and the Qualcomm Foundation have awarded millions of dollars to the finalist teams of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, including a top prize of $2.6 million to the Pennsylvania-based team, Final Frontier Medical Devices, led by brothers Dr. Basil Harris, an emergency medicine physician, and George Harris, a network engineer. A second-place prize of $1 million was granted to Taiwan-based finalist, Dynamical Biomarkers Group, led by Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Chung-Kang Peng, Ph.D. and supported by HTC Research.
LOS ANGELES, December 13, 2016 (XPRIZE PR) – XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, today announced the launch of consumer testing in the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, in which two finalist teams’ devices will undergo consumer testing in the final phase of the competition. The global competition, sponsored by the Qualcomm Foundation, challenges teams to develop a consumer-focused, mobile diagnostic device based on the medical Tricorder of Star Trek® fame first shown to TV viewers 50 years ago. The devices are required to weigh less than five pounds, diagnose and interpret a set of 13 health conditions and continuously monitor five vital health metrics.
In the classic Star Trek episode titled, “The Doomsday Machine,” Capt. James Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise did battle with a monstrous, self-sustaining spacecraft that refueled itself by chopping up planets and anything else in its way.
A new scientific paper proposed the deployment of a much smaller spacecraft that would refuel itself by consuming debris in Earth orbit. The paper was written by Lei Lan, Jingyang Li and Hexi Baoyin of Tsinghua University in Beijing. (more…)