Suborbital Testing Puts Moon-Bound Computing System Through its Paces

With a float duration of about four hours, a 2019 high-altitude balloon flight with World View Enterprises enabled the MSU team to evaluate RadPC’s tolerance to radiation over a longer period of time. (Credits: World View Enterprises)

By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

EDWARDS, Calif. — As you read this article, you don’t need to worry that cosmic radiation might destroy the computer displaying it. That’s because the Earth’s atmosphere provides protection against such radiation. However, for astronauts relying on computing systems in space, cosmic radiation is a real concern. This is why NASA is supporting tests of radiation-tolerant computing systems on suborbital vehicles – and eventually on the Moon.


World View Enters Space Tourism and Exploration Market to Take Passengers to the Edge of Space

High-altitude crew capsule. (Credit: World View Enterprises)

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) — World View, the leading stratospheric ballooning company, today announced an expansion of services that includes the global launch of the first-of-its-kind, edge-of-space experience. The World View space tourism experience is the most affordable, longest duration and most accessible space experience on Earth. As a purpose-first company, World View is focused on inspiring, creating and exploring new perspectives, offering participants more accessibility to space tourism experiences than ever before. World View’s mission is to bring as many people as possible to the edge of space so that at 100,000 feet, they’ll see a world without borders or species and come back driven to make the world a better place. The company believes that by reaching a critical mass of people experiencing what has been labeled the Overview Effect that humanity will be able to markedly improve the future of our fragile Earth.


NASA Selects 31 Promising Space Technologies for Commercial Flight Tests

by Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program

NASA has selected 31 promising space technologies for testing aboard parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital rocket-powered systems. By exposing the innovations to many of the rigors and characteristics of spaceflight – without the expense of an orbital flight – NASA can help ensure these technologies work correctly when they are deployed on future missions.

“By supporting suborbital flight testing, our Flight Opportunities  program aims to help ensure that these innovations are well-positioned to address challenges and enable NASA to achieve its lunar ambitions, while also contributing to a growing and vibrant commercial space industry,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The Flight Opportunities program is part of STMD.


How do we get There from Here? With Suborbital Flight Testing

Image shows Trona Pinnacles near California’s NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center during Jan. 31 Super Blue Blood Moon. Trona Pinnacles is an unusual geological feature of the state’s Desert National Conservation. (Credits: NASA / Lauren Hughes)

EDWARDS, Calif. (NASA PR) — Standing here on Earth, on a clear night we can look to the sky and see the destination for NASA’s Artemis program: the Moon. Seemingly close, but still quite far. Yet the space between us and that source of fascination is ripe with possibilities for helping mature the technologies we will need to get there, stay there, and venture beyond to Mars.


Video: An Update on World View Enterprises

Video Caption: Jane Poynter is CEO of World View Enterprises, a flight technology company which transports things to the stratosphere and back using high altitude balloons. One day soon, she’d like to send us all up there too.

Chicken Sandwich Flight Rescheduled for Thursday After Fowl Weather

KFC Zinger Stratollite (Credit: KFC)

For anyone who’s been wondering about Operation StratoChicken, it’s been rescheduled for Thursday morning. Here’s the latest update from World View CEO Jane Poynter on the KSC Zinger chicken sandwich promotion.

Hi everyone,

Another quick update for those interested in watching the live broadcast of our upcoming Stratollite launch. Weather conditions have created a nice launch window opening tomorrow and spanning the next few days, so we are officially a GO for a launch attempt early tomorrow morning (Thursday, 6/29).

Our friends at KFC are still preparing to operate the live broadcast feed and narration, so this should be interesting and fun. Again, enjoy it and take the commentary with a grain of salt! It’s a great opportunity for you to witness our launch operation.

The final timing for launch is TBD, but KFC’s live broadcast of the event will start at 5:00am PT 8:00am ET.) Keep an eye on our facebook and twitter pages for real-time updates on launch timing.

And, once again, here’s the URL where KFC will be hosting the live broadcast feed:


– Jane Poynter
CEO, World View

Pima County Votes to Appeal World View Court Ruling

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to appeal a court ruling that its build/lease deal with high-altitude balloon company World View violated state law.

County officials called the lawsuit “job killing” and noted that the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute “ignored” similar economic development deals in Maricopa County.

A judge ruled last Thursday that Pima County violated state laws in not having its lease with the company appraised before signing an agreement to construct a facility. Judge Catherine Woods ruled in favor of a lawsuit by the right-wing Goldwater Institute to block the lease. The building was completed at the end of December.

The supervisors voted after conferring with lawyers in a closed-door session during a meeting Tuesday. During a public comment period, a parade of local business leaders encouraged the supervisors to pursue the appeal.

Against the appeal were Republicans Ally Miller, who also voted against approving the initial economic development deal last year, and Steve Christy, a newcomer to the Board who said he’d rather the county attempt to work out a deal with the plaintiffs before appealing.

Read the full story.

Judge Voids World View Contract With Pima County

World View headquarters in Pima County. (Credit: World View Enterprises)

Some bad news for World View Enterprises: a judge has voided a contract between the high-altitude balloon company and Pima County in Arizona.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods said Pima County was obligated to appraise the land and hold a public auction before agreeing to a $15 million incentives package for World View Enterprise last year.

Woods wrote the Legislature “intended to protect public resources from being used wastefully, or with fraud or favoritism.”

Goldwater Institute filed the lawsuit in April, months after the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved an incentives package for World View Enterprise that included building a 120,000-aquare-foot headquarters facility, 15,000-square-foot mezzanine and a launch pad.

World View would pay to lease the building and own it after 20 years of payments. The space exploration company develops high-altitude balloons for commercial, government and research purposes.

World View recently sent out press invitations for a grand opening on Feb. 28.


World View Headquarters Completed in Tucson

Crewed high altitude capsule. (Credit: World View)
Crewed high altitude capsule. (Credit: World View)

An update on near-space balloon company World View Enterprises from the Arizona Daily Star:

Pima County and World View Enterprises on Thursday marked the completion of Spaceport Tucson and the headquarters and manufacturing plant the company will lease from the county.

The county entered into an economic development agreement with World View in January to keep the company in Tucson.

World View plans to use its space to manufacture its new, high-altitude balloon flight vehicles, known as Stratollites, and offer unmanned flights to the stratosphere for commercial and research purposes.

The balloon vehicles can loiter over an area as a low-cost alternative to geostationary satellites for applications including communications, remote sensing, weather, and research.

Eventually, the company hopes to offer people the chance to ride to the edge of space for a fee.


World View Completes Successful NASA Flight Mission

Credit: World View
Credit: World View

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View has successfully completed a high-altitude balloon mission for the Southwest Research Institute, a flight funded by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program (FOP) office.


Judge Allows World View Lawsuit to Continue

World View headquarters in Pima County. (Credit: World View Enterprises)
World View headquarters in Pima County. (Credit: World View Enterprises)

A judge is allowing a lawsuit challenging the $15 million deal between World View Enterprises and Pima County, Arizona to continue.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods denied the county’s attempt to have three of four counts in a suit brought by the conservative Goldwater Institute dismissed. Woods said she would rule on the remaining count, which alleges that the county violated the Arizona constitution’s gift clause, later.

That clause bars state government entities from giving their “credit in the aid of … any company or corporation,” among other prohibitions.

Pima County has agreed to build a headquarters and manufacturing facility for World View near the Tuscon airport. The company, which will continue high-altitude balloon flights, would pay back the amount via a 20-year lease.

NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests

Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.
Made in Space employees on a Zero G research flight.

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has selected 13 space technology payloads to flight test on parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate new technologies. The selections were made through the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) in Washington.


FAA Oversight of Commercial Space Transportation Hearing Video

The House Subcommittee on Aviation held its first hearing in seven years on the FAA’s oversight of commercial space last month. Members heard from a heavily industry-centric panel of experts who largely praised the moratorium on regulations that is in place until 2023.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s scathing criticism of the FAA’s oversight role on SpaceShipTwo prior to the accident was briefly discussed on a couple of occasions, as were the potential conflicts between FAA’s dual roles of oversight and promotion.

Taber MacCallum of World View Enterprises dismissed the criticism of FAA Associate Administrator George Nield and the FAA’s performance prior to the crash as Monday morning quarterbacking. He also called for a permanent extension of the moratorium on regulations.

Michael López-Alegría also claimed that the FAA had done its job properly. He dismissed the idea that regulating the industry would make it any safer.

Witness List:

  • Dr. George C. Nield, Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration | Written Testimony
  • Dr. Gerald L. Dillingham, Director of Civil Aviation Issues, Government Accountability Office | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Michael Gold, Chair, Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Michael López-Alegría, Vice Chair, Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Taber MacCallum, Chief Technology Officer, World View Enterprises | Written Testimony


Entrepreneurial Lingo Lesson: The Pivot

twist_chubby1_disrupt copy
First in an irregular series on entrepreneurial buzz words

Come on let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

Do you remember when,
ROI was really hummin’,
Yeaaaah, let’s pivot again,
Pivotin’ time is here!

Heeee, and round and round til IPO we go!
Oh, baby, make those investors love us so!

Let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

There comes a time in the existence of many startups when there an urgent need to change direction. You set up the company to pursue a goal, but for one reason or several — a lack of a market, shortage of investment, regulatory hurdles, a flawed concept — you have to direct all that talent, technology and enthusiasm toward a new objective that will keep the company in operation.


NSRC Day 2 Summary

SNC technicians inspect the Dream Chaser ETA. (Credit: SNC)
SNC technicians inspect the Dream Chaser ETA. (Credit: SNC)

The second day of the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference took place in Colorado on Friday. Although I wasn’t able to attend, I have compiled highlights via Twitter posts. (You can follow along with hashtag #nsrc2016.)

Below is a summary of updates that cover Sierra Nevada Corporation, Cecil Airport, Spaceport Colorado, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, World View Enterprises, NASA Flight Opportunities Program.

There was a presentation by Charles Walker, who was the first person to perform commercial experiments in space as a payload specialist on three space shuttle missions.

A separate panel discussion on human-tended space research reached the unsurprising consensus that government should lift its ban on sending scientists into space with their experiments.