Recently, some cool new space efforts are lining up to deliver people and payloads into orbit. For example, SpaceX shipped some supplies to the International Space Station, and it’s on track to providing a rocket system for ferrying astronauts to the ISS as well. More and more commercial space ventures are competing with government space programs, and this new space race will hopefully continue and create even more inspiring space technologies over the next decade and beyond. Here are just a few other interesting developments along the way.
- NASA and the FAA have reached a tentative agreement to provide better guidelines for regulating all kinds of space launches. Virgin Galactic has been granted a license, but it might be interesting to see if all those amateur weather balloons and sub-orbital rocket projects will run into any regulatory problems. [url]
- Excalibur Almaz is a commercial space transportation company with roots in the former Soviet Union’s military space program. For about $100 million, you can hitch a ride on one of these older (but very reliable!) Soviet-era spacecraft that have been extensively tested — possibly all the way to the moon. [url]
- Citizen scientists are putting together an ArduSat — an open source satellite — that could be included on a free launch via a NASA or ESA ride-along program. There ain’t no such thing as a free launch? [url]
- China has recently become the third nation to successfully dock a manned space capsule with another space vessel. Three people (including China’s first female astronaut/taikonaut) on the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft joined up with the Tiangong 1 space module in orbit. [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post.