by Edward Ellegood
Florida Space Report
October 14, 2017


Musk is Aiming to Land Spaceships on Mars in 2022

Elon Musk just unveiled more of his grand plan for colonizing Mars. The hard-charging tech mogul said his rocket company, SpaceX, aims to land at least two cargo ships on the Red Planet in 2022 in order to place power, mining and life support systems there for future flights. That’s just five years from now. “That’s not a typo — although it is aspirational,” Musk said Friday during a presentation at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia. Ships carrying crews would arrive in 2024, he added. To hit those deadlines, SpaceX plans to start building the first spaceship by the middle of next year, he said. — CNN

Musk’s vision for building a self-sustaining city on Mars will require full rocket reusability, refueling the spacecraft in orbit and propellant production on the Red Planet. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg


Blue Origin CEO: We’re Taking Tourists to Space Within 18 Months

Bob Smith, the CEO of the space outfit founded by Amazon mastermind Jeff Bezos, mentioned the new timeline during the first meeting of the newly revamped National Space Council on Thursday. That’s a later date than Blue Origin had touted in the past. Just a year ago, the company’s president, Rob Meyerson, said the first launch with passengers would be sometime in 2018. In an emailed statement on Thursday, Blue Origin insisted its “internal dates have not shifted,” but added, “we will fly humans when we’re ready, and not a moment sooner.” — CNN

A Blue Origin rocket could take tourists to space by April 2019.


Lockheed Martin and NASA Team to Send Humans to Mars in 10 Years

The race to Mars is on. Lockheed Martin and NASA have teamed up. Together, the 2 companies aim to build Mars Base Camp, the first Mars space station. It’s scheduled to send a 6-person crew to orbit Mars by 2028 and scout a site for the first human landing by the early 2030s. From orbit, it’ll be easier to control robots on Mars. Astronauts may also leave the base to explore Mars’ two moons firsthand. Eventually, the base could be a haven for future landing missions. Astronauts could take a lander from the base to the surface and back. Surface missions could last 2 weeks and safely abort at any time. NASA and Lockheed plan to start building the base in 2021. The SLS rocket will launch pieces of the base into Earth’s orbit, where it will be fully assembled before launching to Mars. — Business Insider


NASA’s First Mission to Visit an Asteroid

On September 22, a spaceship visited Earth—NASA can confirm that it wasn’t alien property. It was NASA’s own OSIRIS-REx probe, swinging by Earth in a gravitational “slingshot” maneuver designed to fling it toward a 2018 rendezvous with an asteroid named Bennu. The spacecraft will become NASA’s first mission ever to visit an asteroid, collect samples of its ancient materials, and return them to Earth for laboratory analysis. — KQED


Blue Origin and Virgin Orbit on the Launch Range

SpaceX is not the only company pursuing reusable launch vehicles. Antoine Meunier discusses updates Blue Origin and Virgin Orbit offered at a recent conference about their partially reusable, but very different, launch systems under development. — Space Review

New Glenn will use a reusable first stage for launching payloads like large communication satellites. (credit: Blue Origin)


That Makes Three: SpaceX Launches Another Satellite with a Used Rocket, Then Lands

SpaceX is really putting its reusable-rockets vision into action. A two-stage Falcon 9 booster with a pre-flown first stage successfully launched the EchoStar 105/SES-11 communications satellite to orbit today (Oct. 11), marking the third time SpaceX has pulled off such a used-rocket feat. —


Trump’s New Space Council Vows America ‘Will Hold the High Ground Again’

The White House is making a leap toward the final frontier, and they are doing it right. Thursday marks the inaugural meeting of the National Space Council, and as far as power and policy goes, this is a star-studded, innovative event with potential. President Trump’s critics would be wise not to squawk about it; the public remains fascinated, receptive and even patriotic toward space exploration, and this effort emphasizes a trio of unapologetically noble themes: “We will lead again, we will inspire again, we will hold the high ground again.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who is council chairman, will captain the big doings. “We will return NASA astronauts to the moon—not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond,” Pence said. Also present: Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson; Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross; Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao; Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke; Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney; National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats; Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot; Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan; Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. Michael Kratsios; and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Paul J. Selva. — Washington Times

Vice President Pence: America will send astronauts to the moon again.


Luxembourg Space Resources Act: Paving the Legal Road to Space

“Art.1. Space resources are capable of being owned.” By recognizing this legal principle through the adoption on 20 July 2017 of the Act on the Exploration and Use of Space Resources (the Space Resources Act), Luxembourg has drawn significant international attention. It is the first adopter in Europe of a legal and regulatory framework for the space mining industry, describing in particular the authorization and supervision procedures for missions aiming to explore and use natural resources in space. These procedures have been largely inspired by those applicable to the financial sector.2 While the Space Resources Act also recognizes – at least implicitly – the rights that companies acquire during their space missions, the question of ownership in space will need additional clarification, as the domestic legislation will ultimately have to be complemented by international accords and cooperation. — JD Supra


One Amazing Week in Our New Golden Age of Space Exploration

If there was ever any doubt that we are living in a new golden age of space discovery, then this week should dispel all misgivings. The world is currently engaged in a spate of frenetic exploration the like of which has not been seen since the era of the Apollo Missions during the late 1960s and early 70s. From advanced satellite launches and space walks, to plans for a mission to Mars and the study of asteroids heading near Earth, the sky above our planet haver never been so full of human activity. — Herald Scotland


Groundbreaking Work in UK on Hypersonic Flight

Groundbreaking work in hypersonic flight is now going on in Britain, years after we quit the first space race. (Hypersonic flight is considered to start at Mach 5 – that’s five times the speed of sound. For comparison, the F-35B Lightning II fighter jets ordered for the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – one of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world – will have a top speed of around Mach 1.6.)

Oxfordshire-based Reaction Engines has spent years perfecting the technology to one day take its Skylon spaceplane to the International Space Station and back. And it’s the revolutionary Sabre (which stands for Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) propelling the Skylon that has got investors excited.

One of the key problems with traveling at hypersonic speeds is the extremely high temperature at which the air enters the engines. At Mach 5, this air is heated to around 1,000º. But thanks to thousands of thin-walled coolant-filled tubes within Sabre, the air is cooled to –150º in 1/100th of a second. — Money Week

The Sabre engine – 20 years in the making – could revolutionize air travel.


Space Travel the Next Frontier for Boeing’s Muilenburg

Commercial space travel, hypersonic aircraft and the ability to be anywhere in the world within two hours are among the technologies Boeing Co. expects to develop in the next few decades, the aerospace giant’s top executive said this week. Dennis Muilenburg, speaking during the Washington Ideas conference in the nation’s capital, said the company that currently builds 787 Dreamliners in North Charleston is investing billions of dollars in a new generation of technology that will help bring to life inventions that were once the stuff of science fiction novels. “Over the next decades, you’ll see airplanes become more efficient, environmentally friendly and with better passenger comforts, but also higher-speed travel,” said Muilenburg, Boeing’s chairman, president, and CEO. “The idea of hypersonic flight, six times the speed of sound or faster — think about it, a mile a second.” — Post & Courier


Lockheed Martin Unveils its ‘Mars Base Camp’ Initiative

While NASA is working toward its Journey to Mars, contractors working with the space agency have started announcing their own plans. SpaceX was also slated to make its own announcement about Mars. Now, Lockheed Martin has thrown its hat into the Martian ring. During the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2017, held in Adelaide, Australia, Lockheed Martin announced its new Mars Base Camp initiative. Announced on Sep. 28, the Mars Base Camp statement covered how the proposal could be used with NASA’s proposed lunar Deep Space Gateway (which is currently slated to be deployed sometime in the early 2020s), as well as a debut of a crewed Mars lander concept. While that sounds great, what does the process entail? The proposal states that the architecture unveiled on Thursday would involve sending crews to Mars but with the focus on “an orbital outpost where scientist-astronauts can perform unprecedented, real-time scientific exploration of the Red Planet.” — SpaceFlight Insider

Lockheed Martin’s Mars surface lander, called the Mars Ascent/Descent Vehicle (MADV), is a single-stage system that uses Orion systems as the command deck. (Click to enlarge) Image Credit: Lockheed Martin


World View Balloon Flight From Tucson Successful After Five Days

Tucson-based World View Enterprises says its first stratospheric balloon mission from Tucson ended successfully Friday, with a controlled landing near the Grand Canyon. The five-day flight was the longest yet and met all customer requirements and technical objectives after launching Oct. 1 from Spaceport Tucson, south of Tucson International Airport, the company said. Among other things, the company’s remotely controlled, unmanned “Stratollite” carried a communications payload for the U.S. Southern Command, a multi-branch military agency that is exploring the use of the balloon vehicle to help combat human and drug trafficking and maritime piracy, World View said. — Arizona Daily Star

World View’s Stratollite high-altitude balloon is readied for launch from Spaceport Tucson on Oct. 1. The balloon landed successfully near the Grand Canyon.
Steven Meckler / World View


NASA – Space Solar Power

Harnessing the sun’s energy with orbital space power stations and beaming the power to Earth has been a science fiction dream ever since Isaac Asimov wrote a 1941 short story called “Reason.” But the idea has never quite gotten off the ground despite decades of intermittent interest and research for the United States and other countries. NASA hopes to keep the idea going by funding a one-year study of how much it would cost to make commercially viable space-based solar power into a reality. The new space solar power study by the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado is one of five research projects chosen by NASA to examine new opportunities for commercial development in space. In this case, the research will consider the government regulations and private investments needed to establish space solar power stations that could beam power to Earth-based collecting stations. But it will also examine how space solar power could support robotic mining operations on the Mars or asteroids–a stepping stone toward enabling long-term human space exploration and possible colonization of the solar system beyond Earth. — Discover


Three Billionaires Will Make Your Space Travel a Reality Soon 

Traveling to space is a dream dreamt by youngsters for ages, but none could have the opportunity to live the ‘dream-come-true’ moment. With time man has been able to mold technology as per his needs and has strived to travel to space, riding on technology. Now, entrepreneurs have started cashing in on people’s fascination with space travel and are trying to build a sustainable business model in the commercial sector.

Billionaires like Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos are leading the race to space with their specially designed programs, which promise to make the voyage affordable for commoners. Technology has actually helped a lot in bringing down the prices. Entrepreneur India has listed three billionaires, who are making space exploration less expensive. — Entrepreneur India


Tarantula Nebula Unfurls Like a Cosmic Spider in Stunning Hubble Telescope Image

A stunning image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the glimmering Tarantula Nebulathat sits within one of the Milky Way’s closest neighbors, a small satellite galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud. The image was released recently in a statement from NASA. —

Click Image to Enlarge
The spidery tendrils that gave the Tarantula Nebula its name glow against the darkness of space. The cells of the Honeycomb Nebula (lower left) were likely formed by dying stars that exploded in supernova blasts.
Credit: : ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgements: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)


Asteroids: Fun Facts and Information About Asteroids

Asteroids are rocky worlds revolving around the sun that are too small to be called planets. They are also known as planetoids or minor planets. There are millions of asteroids, ranging in size from hundreds of miles to several feet across. In total, the mass of all the asteroids is less than that of Earth’s moon. —

OSIRIS clear filter image taken during the flyby of the Rosetta spacecraft at asteroid Lutetia on July 10, 2010.