Science 

SpaceX launch: Will Virgin Galactic take on Elon Musk in space race?

The rivalry between two of the world’s richest businessmen is shaping up to be an intergalactic battle of the billionaires. Virgin boss Richard Branson, 67, has admitted he wants to “upstage” space rival Elon Musk, 46, after the SpaceX founder and CEO sent his cherry red Tesla Roadster hurtling into the solar orbit from the Kennedy Space Center last week to great acclaim. The successful expedition was watched by millions worldwide – and Mr Musk is already getting ready for his next venture tomorrow, sending internet satellites into space as…

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Space 

FCC chairman urges approval for SpaceX’s satellite internet constellation

WASHINGTON — Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants his agency approve SpaceX’s 15-month-old application to serve the U.S. with its proposed megaconstellation. In a statement released just days before SpaceX launches its first two prototype satellites, Pai urged support of the company’s application within the FCC, saying Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX can help reach rural and isolated parts of the country with high-speed Internet. “To bridge America’s digital divide, we’ll have to use innovative technologies. SpaceX’s application — along with those of other satellite companies seeking licenses or access to the U.S.…

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Top Stories World 

Russia launches International Space Station HOLIDAYS – but it will cost each guest £70m

Tourists could potentially venture out of the ISS and carry out their very own spacewalk.  But would-be astronauts will need deep pockets as well as a head for heights as the dream voyage carries an astronomical £70 million price-tag.  Vladimir Solntsev, the head of Russian space company Energia, said: “We are discussing the possibility of sending tourists on spacewalks. “Market analysts have confirmed this: wealthy people are ready to pay money for this.” He said the cost of such a trip could be around £70 million, but “possibly less for…

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Space 

ISRO launches PSLV return to flight mission with 31 satellites

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully returned to flight Thursday night. The PSLV lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 10:59 p.m. Eastern and placed into orbit a Cartosat 2 imaging satellite and 30 secondary payloads. Among the secondary payloads were four Dove cubesats for Planet, four Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire, a prototype broadband smallsat for Telesat and the first synthetic aperture radar smallsat for Finnish company Iceye. The launch was the first for the PSLV since an August mission that failed when the rocket’s payload fairing did…

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Science 

Space tourism in MONTHS: Virgin Galactic completes groundbreaking test flight

Virgin Galactic has completes another successful glide test flight of its VSS Unity plane in the Mojave Desert yesterday.  The test saw the Unity craft safely manoeuvre to the ground from an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,000m). Each test competed is a dry run for rocket-powered test flights and yesterday’s test was VSS Unity seventh successful glide flight. The craft was taken up to an altitude of 50,000 feet by its from mothership VMS Eve before being released into a sharp descent. Unity accelerated to Mach 0.9 and at around…

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Space 

SpaceShipTwo performs glide flight in advance of powered tests

WASHINGTON — Virgin Galactic conducted its first test flight of its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle in more than five months Jan. 11 as the company prepares to begin powered test flights of the vehicle. The glide flight, conducted in the skies above the Mojave Air and Space Port in California, was the seventh for the second SpaceShipTwo, named VSS Unity, dating back to December 2016. Pilots Mark Stucky and Michael Masucci landed the vehicle at the airport after a successful flight. The glide flight was the first for SpaceShipTwo since one…

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Space 

NASA willing to consider flying researchers on commercial suborbital vehicles

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — As commercial suborbital vehicles capable of carrying both payloads and people prepare to enter service, NASA officials say they’re willing to consider allowing agency-funded researchers to fly on those vehicles. In an interview after a speech at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference here Dec. 19, Steve Jurczyk, NASA associate administrator for space technology, said the agency would be open to allowing researchers funded by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program to fly on suborbital spacecraft to carry out their experiments. “As principal investigators propose, both internal to NASA and…

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Science 

Boeing and Lockheed Have a New Rival in Space

No one sells more goods and services to the government than Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Boeing (NYSE: BA). These two aerospace giants are the Nos. 1 and 2 biggest contractors to the federal government, respectively — and to the Pentagon and NASA — according to a 2016 report by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). And yet, when it comes to space contracting, these two behemoths now have a new rival. No, I’m not talking about SpaceX. I’m talking about Virgin Orbit. Cosmic Girl Boeing 747 carrying a LauncherOne rocket. More VOX…

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Space 

Swedish company to acquire cubesat manufacturer Clyde Space

SANTA FE, N.M. — Swedish space company ÅAC Microtec announced Dec. 22 it plans to acquire Scottish cubesat manufacturer Clyde Space, creating what the companies believe will be a dominant force in a growing sector of the industry. Under the deal, ÅAC Microtec will purchase Clyde Space for nearly 30.5 million shares and £2 million ($2.7 million) in cash, for a total value of $35.3 million. The purchase is scheduled to close in late January, after a vote by ÅAC Microtec’s shareholders. The acquisition will create a company with more…

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Technology 

This is the Tesla that Elon Musk will launch to orbit Mars – CNET

Two days ago, SpaceX CEO and Tesla founder Elon Musk unveiled plans to launch his “midnight cherry Tesla Roadster” into space as part of the maiden voyage of the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket in January.  The planned trajectory: a “billion year elliptic Mars orbit“. The soundtrack: David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” On Friday, Musk revealed the setup in a photo slideshow posted to Instagram. The Roadster appears bright red in the center of SpaceX’s slate grey rocket, called Falcon Heavy. Musk’s SpaceX venture, alongside Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic enterprise and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, is one…

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