Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Wednesday, June 3, 2009
  • NASA has announced the full lineup for an independent committee tasked with reviewing the space agency's plans to retire the shuttle fleet, build a new line of spaceships and return to the moon. The panel is headed by retired aerospace executive Norm Augustine, but its members also include a leading space entrepreneur, XCOR Aerospace CEO Jeff Greason. Today's official list also includes two former astronauts (Sally Ride, first American woman in space; and Leroy Chiao, former space station commander) as well as two former prospects for NASA's top post (retired Air Force Gen. Lester Lyles and Earth scientist Charles Kennel). The committee's first meeting is set for later this month.

  • The name of a Canadian entrepreneur who is due to fly as a paying passenger to the international space station in September will be announced simultaneously in Montreal and Moscow on Thursday, Virginia-based Space Adventures says. The seat opened up when Kazakhstan canceled its plans to send a trained cosmonaut on that flight, as reported by Reuters last month. The quoted rate for a reservation on Russia's Soyuz spaceship is $35 million, or maybe even more by now. The Itar-Tass news agency quoted Russian space chief Anatoly Perminov as saying that "this form of tourism will continue" - which was an expected reversal of his previous position that space millionaires would no longer be flown. So who's the Canadian space traveler? Let the guessing game begin. (I'll guess Stewart Blusson.)

Update for 12:15 p.m. June 2: NASA Watch seems to have a more informed guess: Cirque du Soleil founder and CEO Guy Laliberté.

  • California-based SpaceX says its next Falcon 1 launch, which would put Malaysia's RazakSat Earth-observing satellite into orbit, has been rescheduled for July 13 or 14.

  • Aviation Week delves more deeply into the SpaceShipTwo rocket motor tests that came to light last week. The rocket ship itself is due to roll out later this year.


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