Tag: Boeing

Virgin Galactic to Help Train Astronauts for NASA

Article by Paul R. La Monica                          June 22, 2020                              (weny.com)

• On June 22nd, Virgin Galactic announced that it has signed a deal with NASA to train private astronauts and coordinate trips to the orbiting International Space Station. Virgin Galactic will develop a new private orbital astronaut readiness program to identify candidates who will pay for a trip to space, arrange for their transportation and provide ground and orbital resources.

• Virgin Galactic will probably use the services of SpaceX or Boeing to actually get astronauts to the space station. Boeing has invested $20 million in Virgin Galactic. The company’s own SpaceShipTwo is a suborbital spaceplane that is incapable of making it to the cislunar ISS. Virgin Galactic says it has already received about 600 reservations for suborbital flights at the approximate price of $250,000 per seat.

• Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic will continue to use SpaceShipTwo for suborbital training flights, ranging from private citizens to government-backed scientific and technological research missions, to allow passengers to become familiar with the environment in space, such as G-forces and zero-G.

• Enthusiasm for space commerce is apparent in the stock market. Virgin Galactic stock shares have soared, even though the company continues to lose money. There is even a publicly traded investment fund with a ‘UFO’ brand that invests in companies catering to the business of space travel and exploration, having Virgin Galactic at the top of the list. Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s ‘SpaceX’ and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ ‘Blue Origin’ also have space travel companies.

 

      Virgin Galactic’s ‘SpaceShip Two’

SpaceX won’t be the only private company bringing people to the International Space Station. Virgin Galactic announced Monday that it has signed a deal with NASA to train private astronauts and coordinate potential trips to the ISS.

Shares of Virgin Galactic soared more than 10% on the news. The stock has surged nearly 45% so far in 2020, largely due to optimism about demand for private space travel, even though it continues to lose money.

As part of Virgin Galactic’s deal with NASA, the company will “develop a new private orbital astronaut readiness program,” it said in a statement.

                   Sir Richard Branson

“This program will include identifying candidates interested in purchasing private astronaut missions to the ISS, the procurement of transportation to the ISS, on-orbit resources, and ground resources,” the company added.

Virgin Galactic will likely need the services of SpaceX or aerospace giant Boeing, which is developing the Starliner space capsule and has invested $20

million in Virgin Galactic, to actually get astronauts to the space station.

Virgin Galactic’s own SpaceShipTwo is a suborbital spaceplane that is incapable of making it to the ISS, and the company has only sent five people to space on two suborbital test flights. The company says it has already received about 600 reservations for suborbital flights at the approximate price of $250,000 per seat.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Space Law and the Galactic Economy

Article by Abdulla Abu Wasel                               June 8, 2020                            (entrepreneur.com)

• Fifty years ago, outer space was reserved for the most powerful of nations and the most dominant of governments. Today, it is private commercial industry that is inching us closer to the cosmos. There is a growing interdependence between what is happening in space and what is happening down below on Earth. The commercial space industry, with its multi-million-dollar rockets and satellites, is now worth about $400 billion. Space commerce is increasingly playing a part in our everyday lives.

• The International Civil Aviation Organization governs ‘air’ altitudes. So where does ‘space’ begin? The international community has not been able to agree on a common definition. Australia is the only country in the world that defines space as anything beyond 100 kilometers above the ground. While nations may own the ‘air’ over them, ‘space’ is for everybody. No nation can own property in space, and no nation can make any territorial claim in space. You need consent to fly over another country’s airspace. But if you are in ‘outer space’, you can fly over any country without consent, and even legally engage in espionage.

• With the establishment of the United States’ Space Force, we will likely see the rules of war extended into outer space. The language in the Outer Space Treaty about the use of outer space for exclusively peaceful purposes needs interpretation. ‘Peaceful purposes’ only prohibits the aggressive use of military force. So non-aggressive military force is okay? Has the establishment of the U.S. Space Force made the militarization of space perfectly legal?

• At the end of the day, the Space Force is about building political constituency for orbit, while investing in spacecraft that can defend and attack, if necessary. This represents a great deal of money for private companies, with almost half-a-dozen government defense agencies already pumping millions of dollars into space startups to build everything from radar networks to high-tech materials.

• The majority of the money to be made in space lies in satellite-provided services, and these services are likely to surge the space economy. The significant increase in satellites, far beyond the 2,300 operational satellites in space now, will bring a multitude of costs and benefits. We have seen venture capitalists directing millions of dollars towards small satellite companies with big aspirations, such as Spire, Capella Space, Hawkeye360, and Swarm.

• These space economy companies vary in their business models, from communicating with internet devices to tracking radio signals in order to gather radar data, and imaging every angle of the Earth. This all depends on the cost of building and operating the spacecraft needed to accomplish the work that they desire. SpaceX and Boeing are in the final phase of their private space transportation service in cooperation with NASA. Soon, both companies will have permission to start flying wealthy space tourists and corporate point men into space.

• On June 3rd, NASA launched astronauts into space from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011, and took them to the International Space Station via Falcon 9, a vehicle that was purchased from SpaceX. For $250,000, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic will take tourists to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere in space. But NASA’s aim is the Moon. Since ice water was discovered on the Moon, starry-eyed space seekers would like to see NASA establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon rather than hiring private companies to build rovers, landers, and spacecraft to carry scientific instruments to the Moon.

• But, as we have seen, the commercial economy benefits greatly from scientific advancements gleaned from space exploration, such as transistors, solar panels, and batteries. It has brought forth the smartphone revolution, the evolution of broadcast media, telecommunications, commerce, and the internet as a whole. The new era of space exploration may be one small step for man, but it is one giant leap for the private sector economy.

 

The commercial space industry is heating up– 50 years ago, outer space was reserved for the most powerful of nations and the most dominant governments, but today, there is a democratization of space. Commercial industry is inching us closer to the cosmos, and in the process, there is a growing interdependence between what is happening hundreds of miles up into space and down below on Earth. Currently, the space market is worth approximately US$400 billion, and the commercial space industry, using multi-million-dollar rockets and satellites, is increasingly playing a part in our everyday lives. Although you may have been hearing about this phenomenon in recent years, this launch into the new world has been ongoing for decades.

This brings about the question of property rights. Where does space begin, and if there is a dispute in space, who decides it? Australia is the only country in the world that defines where space begins; defining it as 100 kilometers up. However, where the air ends (and the air law regime, which is governed by the International Civil Aviation Organization), and where space begins is a matter that the international community have not been able to agree on. People either want to set limits- set a height based on kilometers like Australia has done, or they take the approach of the United States who look at it as a use, i.e. what did you use, are you launching a rocket that is intended to go into orbit, or are you just launching a plane that is going to go high into the air. This is important, because nations own the air over them. Right now, space is for everybody. No nation can own property in space, and no nation can make any territorial claim in space.

You need consent to fly over another country if you are in the airspace, but on the flip side of that, if you believe that you are in outer space, you can fly over any country without consent, and even engage in espionage legally. Espionage is one part of the political military contest, but how else is space dealt with from a military perspective? With the recent establishment of the United State’s Space Force, we will likely see the same rules of war extended into outer space. The language in the Outer Space Treaty about the use of outer space for exclusively peaceful purposes is beautifully aspirational language, but the devil is in the interpretation: what does it mean to use space for peaceful purposes? The way that this has been virtually explained is that peaceful purposes only prohibit the aggressive use of military force, and as long as you are not engaged in naked aggression, then you are peaceful in your use of outer space.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Space Force Considering NASA-Style Partnerships With Private Companies

Article by Sandra Erwin                           June 4, 2020                          (spacenews.com)

• The launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on May 30th that took NASA astronauts to the International Space Station was the “culmination of perhaps the most successful private-public partnership of all times,” said Colonel Eric Felt, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate. In a SpaceNews online event June 4th, Felt noted that Space Force will be far smaller than the other U.S. military services, so it plans to follow the NASA playbook and team up with the private sector. “The Space Force is going to be the most high tech of all of the services,” said Felt.

• Public-private partnerships, like deals with SpaceX and Boeing, have saved NASA billions of dollars. There are many commercial capabilities that can be used to meet military needs, with “hybrid architecture”. For example, commercial companies already have powerful sensors and data analytics systems to track and investigate space objects. The Space Force’s AFRL is looking into public-private deals to use these commercial satellites to enhance its “space domain awareness”, allowing Space Force to monitor every object in outer space. (see video below)

• Another application using private satellites in low Earth orbit is for the deployment of sensors for the Air Force’s ‘Advanced Battle Management System’, allowing the military to integrate and analyze data from space rather than from the more vulnerable command-and-control airplanes flying over enemy territory.

• Next year, AFRL plans to launch an experimental ‘cubesat’ satellite equipped with a ‘Link 16’ encrypted radio frequency data link, widely used on U.S. military and NATO aircraft and ground vehicles to share information, as a communications network relay in space. With “one of these Link 16 transponders (attached to) each of these low Earth orbit satellites, you would basically have Link 16 capability everywhere all the time,” said Felt.

• Private companies deploying broadband satellite constellations in low Earth orbit would be candidates for partnerships where these commercial satellites would also host government communications. The Defense Innovation Unit of the AFRL and the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center have been talking about setting up a ‘space commodities exchange’ where space services could be traded like commodities. “The space domain awareness data might be a great example of the kinds of things that the Space Force could purchase through a space commodities exchange,” said Felt.

 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force will be far smaller than the other military services but way more dependent on technology to do its job. While the Space Force will develop satellites and other technologies in-house, it also plans to follow the NASA playbook and team up with the private sector, said Col. Eric Felt, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate.

       Colonel Eric Felt

Speaking at a SpaceNews online event June 4, Felt said NASA’s commercial crew program is “super exciting” and one that the Space Force can learn from.

The launch of a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on May 30 that took NASA astronauts to the International Space Station was the “culmination of perhaps the most successful private-public partnership of all times,” said Felt.

The Space Vehicles Directorate, located at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, is one of the organizations that Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett agreed to transfer to the Space Force. Felt said his office will remain at its current location but approximately 700 people will be reassigned to the Space Force.

“The Space Force is going to be the most high tech of all of the services,” said Felt.

Public-private partnerships like NASA’s commercial crew deals with SpaceX and Boeing have saved NASA billions of dollars and serve as a “powerful model” that the Defense Department could adopt, said Felt.

1:02:30 video on military/corporate partnerships for Space Force (‘SpaceNewsInc’ YouTube)

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Copyright © 2019 Exopolitics Institute News Service. All Rights Reserved.