7 Nations Join U.S. in Signing the Artemis Accords

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — International cooperation on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program is taking a step forward today with the signing of the Artemis Accords between NASA and several partner countries. The Artemis Accords establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in the agency’s 21st century lunar exploration plans.

“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “With today’s signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy.”


UK Push for Landmark UN Resolution to Agree Responsible Behaviour in Space

LONDON (UK Government PR) — A global discussion to avoid conflict in space has been launched today, under a new initiative driven by the UK.

The UK’s proposed UN resolution aims to broker an international consensus on responsible behaviour in space – agreed by countries around the world at the UN – and is the only initiative of its kind in the world.

The global economy and systems that we use every day – including mobile phones, online banking and GPS – depend on safe and secure space systems. However, as space becomes increasingly congested and competed over, the risk of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculations between nations is escalating.


Britain Goes Ga Ga Over Spaceport Proposal — But Why?

The normally staid Daily Mail has gone all ga ga over a recent proposal to build a spaceport in the United Kingdom.  For some odd reason, the sober-minded newspaper seems particularly excited by visions of Britain becoming a mecca for glamorous celebrities flying into space aboard Sir Richard Branson’s SpaceShipTwo.

It’s an alluring vision for the future — one that has already captivated people in numerous places in the United States and elsewhere, who all want spaceports of their own. As with many alluring visions, however, reality is not nearly as attractive.


Spaceport News From New Mexico, Texas and Britain

Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.
Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

A quick roundup of spaceport news around the globe:

Las Cruces, NM: With commercial Virgin Galactic flights from Spaceport America delayed until at least August 2014, New Mexico taxpayers will have to spend an extra $6.9 million to pay for the paving of a southern road to the remote site. That amount has been diverted from the road budget to cover operations.

Albuquerque, NM: Viewing increased spaceport competition from other states, the editors of the Albuquerque Journal fear their state could lose its advantages.

“In down-to-earth terms, New Mexico has impressive natural and man-made leads in this next space race, the editors write. “So it is vital not to squander them. Because not only do New Mexico taxpayers have hundreds of millions at stake in Spaceport America’s success, but plenty of other states want to enter that orbit.”

Brownsville, Texas: Cameron County commissioners met in closed session to discuss economic incentives designed to develop a commercial spaceport for SpaceX. The California company is leaning toward the Texas site, but it is awaiting the results of a review by the Federal Aviation Administration.

London, England: An English think tank believes that the nation should establish spaceports to serve the suborbital market and develop the capabilities to do microgravity research aboard these ships.

Speaking at the International Space Commerce Summit in London today, Dan Lewis, Energy Policy Adviser at the Institute of Directors, said…the UK should seize the opportunity brought about by companies such as Virgin Galactic, XCOR or Blue Origin.

“We should capitalise on the deep local research culture,” Lewis said. “The progress in sub-orbital vehicle technology is moving faster than previously foreseen and can change the current dynamics of the space industry. We need to start thinking seriously about these opportunities,” he said, suggesting that in addition to the existing telecommunications and satellite research centres, UK universities should consider establishing dedicated sub-orbital technology research centres.

UK Space Industry Humming Along with 7.5 Percent Growth

LONDON (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency last week revealed the figures from its latest report on the ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Sector’. The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, announced at the Farnborough International Airshow that the total contribution of the space sector to the UK economy was £9.1B for 2010/2011. With an average annual growth rate of 7.5%, the continued contribution of space to the economy is a remarkable success in the current conditions.

Government and industry representatives have met today in the Space Zone of the UK’s flagship aerospace trade show to discuss the ongoing growth of the sector in the face of economic constraints.


UK Space Industry Soars Despite Recession

Nov. 11, 2010

The British space industry has grown by nearly eight per cent through the recession and is now worth over £7.5 billion to the economy, a UK Space Agency report revealed today.

The report, ‘The Size and Health of the UK Space Industry,’ is the latest update of a biennial survey of British companies involved in the sector. It shows the space industry has grown by more than 10 per cent on average over the last two years.


Report Lays Out Ambitious Plan for British Space Sector


Today, the Space Innovation and Growth Team (Space IGT), a joint collaboration between industry, Government, and academia, set out a 20 year vision for the UK to grow its share of the quickly expanding global space market from 6% to 10%. The majority of investment required for what will be a six-fold increase in the size of the UK’s space sector will come from industry, but Government must also play a full part in this by doubling its spend on space.


UK Looks to Become Hub of Space Tourism


UK to lead commercial space travel
The Engineer

The UK could be a world leader in space technology and commercial suborbital flights in 20 years, according to the British space industry’s secretary-general.

Paul Flanagan of UKspace told The Engineer Online that the UK is already a base for many leading satellite manufacturers, such as EADS Astrium and Surrey Satellites, and it could, one day, be a hub for commercial space travel.


UK Launches Ambitious Review of Space Policy


Government and industry team to look at opportunities in, and barriers to, innovation and growth in the UK Space sector

The future challenges and opportunities for the UK Space industry will be assessed by a new expert group charged with producing a report for Government, Science Minister Lord Drayson announced today.


Parabolas: ISS, India, China and More

Some updates on human spaceflight from around the web (and the world)….

ISS to Double Crew Size: Aviation Week

“NASA and its partners on the International Space Station (ISS) are in final preparations for the shift from a full-time crew of three to a crew of six on the orbiting laboratory, beginning with the STS-124 space shuttle mission upcoming in June.”

ISRO To Seek Human Spaceflight Funding: Aviation Week

“The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) soon will ask the Indian government to approve a human spaceflight mission by 2014-15 at a projected cost of $2.5 billion.”

Rube Goldberg Was a Piker: Rocketsandsuch Blog

This insider blog reports on the NASA’s latest plan to deal with oscillations in its Ares rocket. Is “hare-brained” a compliment?

China Checks Out Relay Satellite: Aviation Week

“China is beginning the geosynchronous orbit checkout of its first relay satellite to increase communications coverage for manned Shenzhou spacecraft.”

British Perspectives on Human Spaceflight: The Space Review

The British once ruled the seven seas, presiding over an empire upon which the sun never set. Now, it doesn’t even send humans into space. Jeff Foust examines whether that will soon change.

Thales Alenia Space’s Answer to EADS Astrium’s Space Jet: Hyperbola Blog

Rob Coppinger looks at an Italian lifting body concept that could send astronauts and tourists into space. It’s got a really cool para-glider landing system.

Point-to-point suborbital transportation: sounds good on paper, but…: The Space Review

David Hoerr takes a look at the feasibility of taking a shortcut through space in order to fly from London to Sydney. Anyone remember the flying car?