Space Adventures’ partner Boeing, secured a $460 million award as part of NASA’s CCiCap program to design and develop the next generation of U.S. human spaceflight capabilities, enabling a launch of government astronauts from U.S. soil in the next five years. Through Space Adventures, Boeing will also make flights to space available to private citizens on their CST-100 vehicle.
The other two award recipients are:
More at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/news/releases/2012/release-20120803.html.
Watch the YouTube Space Lab winning experiments launch to the ISS tonight -
Japan’s HTV-3 is due to launch the YouTube SpaceLab winning experiments to the ISS at 10.06pm EDT tonight from the Tanegashima Space Center. Watch live on NASA TV.
Awesome shot of the Soyuz TMA-05M launch taken by Carla Cioffi/NASA. This launch carried Yuri Malenchenko, Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide to the International Space Station on Sunday July 15, 2012.
Exactly 37 years ago today, American and Russian spacecraft docked in space for the first time as part of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. The auspicious event symbolized a new era for what had long been competitive rivalry – The Space Race. Today, the American and Russian space industries are closely integrated. With the end of NASA’s space shuttle program last July, American astronauts now rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft for transport to the International Space Station. Likewise, all private citizens who have traveled to space through Space Adventures (an American company) did so on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
Manned spaceflight has now reached another level of competitiveness. While government space agencies deepen their collaboration, a new private space race has started. As private companies race to provide spaceflight opportunities to NASA and private citizens on orbital and suborbital vehicles, many ask who will the winner be. The winner undoubtedly will be any person who has a dream of flying to space in their lifetime. The astronauts of the Apollo Soyuz era only had one way of achieving their dream, and through a mix of incredible skill and good fortune were able to achieve it. Dreamers of today will have a wide array of choice on how to best achieve their own dream.
The voyage into space once seemed like something out of a science fiction novel. Luckily, it’s now becoming a reality, and is approaching at lightning speeds. With many private space firms evolving rapidly, and at a staggering pace, our future involving the final frontier is heading towards that of a booming industry in space tourism. By turning the idea of space travel away from primarily government based missions, and towards independent and private companies, we are enabling a broader audience to be reached and impacted.
The first achievement of its kind, in Private Spaceflight, took place when Space Adventures arranged the flight of Dennis Tito to the International Space Station in 2001. Dennis became the first private citizen to pay their own way into space, and with it coined the term Space Tourist. Dennis has since been followed by no less than six other private citizens who have completed seven private missions to space.
A next great achievement took place in May this year when SpaceX’s Dragon debuted its abilities, and became the first privately developed spacecraft ever to dock with the International Space Station, and later return to Earth. Causing a great stir, the competition in Private Spaceflight has been rising quickly, as the pressure continues to intensify.
SpaceX is joined by Boeing (partnered with Space Adventures), Sierra Nevada, and Blue Origin in the race to commercial service to Earth orbit, while Virgin Galactic, XCOR and Armadillo Aerospace (partnered with Space Adventures) are racing to take fare paying passengers on brief trips into suborbital space. All of these companies, and more, are showing great promise in the future of space tourism. By continuing to encourage friendly rivalry, we not only push ourselves closer to our goal, but also help each other as a whole in conquering our shared dreams. By continuing to progress, we can hope that someday the majority of people can participate in Space Exploration. One day, in the not too distant future, planning a trip to the Final Frontier will be looked at as casually as planning a trip to the Bahamas.
An amazing photo of the Venus transit of the Sun as taken by Astronaut Don Petit from on-board the International Space Station.
One of an amazing set of photos published by The Atlantic, looking at the Russian space program. This one was taken by US astronaut Don Petit from on board the International Space Station.