NSRC 2012: Flight Providers Status Update

Panel Members

  • Bretton Alexander, Blue Origin
  • Neil Milburn, Armadillo Aerospace
  • Andrew Nelson, XCOR
  • William Pomerantz, Virgin Galactic
  • Joel Scotkin, Masten Space Systems

Bretton Alexander: Blue Origin

  • lost a vehicle last year in flight — this was a test vehicle that we expected to lose, not an operational vehicle
  • Blue Origin is focused on building a human spaceflight business first
  • Blue Origin orbital vehicle will eventually shift from Atlas V to company’s own resuable launch vehicle

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NASA Selects Technology Payloads For Reduced-Gravity Flights

SuperMod launch. (Credit: Armadillo Aerospace)

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA has selected nine proposals to demonstrate new technologies for the second set of payloads to fly on commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles and the Zero-G commercial parabolic aircraft. NASA is using commercially available vehicles to carry these technology demonstration payloads to help develop the U.S. commercial reusable suborbital transportation industry.

NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program provides test flights to demonstrate and validate space technologies on airborne platforms flying above 65,000 feet, the area known as “near space.” The program also supports parabolic flights that simulate brief periods of microgravity or weightlessness.

“We’re moving out with a set of payloads that can benefit from the proving ground of near space,” Mike Gazarik, director of NASA’s Space Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington said. “We’re looking forward to increasing the number of commercial flights and technology demonstration payloads flown, with companies providing a viable reusable flying science lab capability for researchers from all across America.”

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CRuSR Official: NASA Program Will Be Flexible, Forward Thinking

NASA Enlists Caddo Mills-Based Armadillo Aerospace For A Boost to Suborbital Space
Dallas Observer

Armadillo president John Carmack says the company has turned a profit in the last few years thanks to its contracts with NASA and with its pals at the Rocket Racing League. Most mentions of NASA among the Armadillo team, though, are laced with the hopeless sort of sighs you might hear from an Apple Store Genius on his smoke break. While they’re glad to take NASA’s money for any steps along the way to their space tourism future, they’re wary of NASA engineers whose ultimate responsibilities are to agency politics, not rockets….

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