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29 July 2012
Added "Space Debris and Its Mitigation" to the archive.
16 July 2012
Space Future has been on something of a hiatus of late. With the concept of Space Tourism steadily increasing in acceptance, and the advances of commercial space, much of our purpose could be said to be achieved. But this industry is still nascent, and there's much to do. So...watch this space.
9 December 2010
Updated "What the Growth of a Space Tourism Industry Could Contribute to Employment, Economic Growth, Environmental Protection, Education, Culture and World Peace" to the 2009 revision.
7 December 2008
"What the Growth of a Space Tourism Industry Could Contribute to Employment, Economic Growth, Environmental Protection, Education, Culture and World Peace" is now the top entry on Space Future's Key Documents list.
30 November 2008
Added Lynx to the Vehicle Designs page.
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21 July 1997 by Sam Coniglio
LunaCorp Closer to Goal of a Commercial Lunar Vehicle
A prototype lunar rover called Nomad successfully passed field trials on the Atacama Desert in Chile. Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute built the rover. Sponsored by NASA, the experiment tested the ability to safely maneuver over hazardous terrain without human intervention, and to transmit high resolution video data.
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21 July 1997 by
Major Investor Tom Clancy becomes Director
Company Press Release
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21 July 1997 by Sam Coniglio
Cheap Access to Space (CATS) Symposium in Washington D.C.

Rotary Rocket Company of Redwood Shores, California revealed its revised design for the Roton, a rocket-helicopter hybrid vehicle. Using a combination of oxygen and JP4 fuel, the Roton will take off using aerospike engines. It will deliver its payload to low earth orbit. Then it will return to Earth engine-first. At a certain altitude, propellers will extend from the nose of the Roton, and the vehicle will return to the launch site in a manner similar to helicopters. Landing gear will extend, and the vehicle will softly land.

Gary Hudson, President of Rotary Rockets, notes that the first Roton will be about the same size as McDonnell Douglas' Delta Clipper Experimental (DC-X) vehicle. The Gross Lift Off Weight ( GLOW) is about 225,000 pounds. It will carry 2-3 tons of payload, primarily communication satellites. They plan to scale future versions up to the 20 ton class. The first vehicle will be designed for 20-30 flights, while later versions will be able to fly hundreds of times. The company's goal is to build and operate these vehicles until such time as others buy and operate them.

The second public announcement came from Pioneer RocketPlane Company of Lakewood, Colorado. Charles Laurer, Vice President of Business Development, showed reporters and the public the new design for the Pathfinder rocket plane. In order to protect the two F-100 turbofan jet engines from the heat of reentry, they have been repositioned to the top and aft of the plane, where there is less heat. Pioneer just won a $2 million contract with NASA's Bantam Rocket Program, which is for promoting the development of small reusable launch technologies. Pioneer will be competing for another $30 million in contracts, to eventually reach their goal of $100 million in funding. They plan to fly in 1999.

Manned by a crew of two, the Pathfinder vehicle is designed to take off like a regular jet plane, using the 6000 foot runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base. At an altitude of 25,000 feet, the Pathfinder will rendezvous with a tanker plane and be fueled with liquid oxygen. After separating from the tanker, the Pathfinder will ignite its RD-120 rocket engine and zoom to a sub-orbital altitude of 80 miles. At this point, the Pathfinder's cargo bay will open up. A satellite boosted by a Thiokol Star engine will place it into proper orbit. The Pathfinder itself will close its cargo doors, and return to its launch site under power.

As well as the new vehicle design, Mr. Lauer announced that banker and former member of the US Air Force, Richard Freytag, has joined the Pioneer Team. Also announced was an agreement with Thiokol for building the Star booster motors.

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19 July 1997 by Peter Wainwright
Wildwings takes bookings for Zegrahm Space Voyages
A British travel agency, Wildwings, is offering holidaymakers a chance to take an extra-terrestrial sightseeing tour early in the next century. Widlwings is acting as an agent for Zegrahm Space Voyages, an American adventure holiday specialist based in Seattle. Zegrahm intends to announce details of departure dates, prices and excatly what craft will be used in October.
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14 July 1997 by Alan Breakstone
Space Tourism ranked by Technology Innovation Award
A number of emerging technologies have the potential to provide major benefits to the aerospace industry. Among those recently cited by the judges of Technology Innovation Award is Space Tourism : `Recent in-depth studies suggest that currently available technology could make a two-stage spaceplane a reality within a decade (see also AWST Apr 7, p 58)'
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14 July 1997 by Patrick Collins
NASA considering request by John Glenn to return to space

AWST reports that Sen. John Glenn (D.-Ohio), the first American to orbit the Earth (in 1961), has a "..burning desire to go back to space..." NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin is reported to be considering his request to fly again. Glenn is 76 years old, and he would become the oldest person to visit space.

It is very unlikely that there will be any health problems due to his age, provided that he's in normal health - since going to orbit and living in zero G is not stressful. However, NASA is not allowed to carry people other than professional staff related to the work of each mission on board the space shuttle, and it seems unlikely that US taxpayers will wish to pay for his trip. Now if some company was only offering tourist flights... -SFJ

News / Other (None)
6 July 1997 by
Asteroid Discoverer is First Benson Prize Winner

Company Press Release

Steamboat Springs, CO - SpaceDev chairman James William Benson today announced that Roy Tucker of Tucson, AZ became the first winner in the $5,000 "Benson Prize for the Amateur Discovery of Near Earth Asteroids" competition.

The Benson Prize was announced at the American Astronomical Society meeting June 10, and Mr. Tucker, using a camera-equipped 14-inch telescope in his backyard, became the second amateur to ever discover a near earth asteroid, and the first winner of one of the ten $500 Benson Prizes.

Mr. Tucker began looking for earth-approaching objects in May, and was pleased to find a near earth asteroid so quickly. Mr. Tucker plans to use the Benson Prize money to help buy a better camera for his telescope.

Mr. Tucker first spotted the object on June 28. Additional observations came from observers in the Czech Republic, Australia, Italy and the U.S. By the morning of July 2 the orbit computations were considered secure. The object was designated 1997 MW1. The discovery was confirmed by the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center on July 3.

SpaceDev, LLC is a commercial space exploration company, and will announce in September details of its premier venture, the first unmanned spacecraft to another planetary body. Mr. Benson, a geologist and native of Kansas City, sold his computer companies in McLean, VA in 1995, and founded SpaceDev early this year. For more information about the Benson Prize, and how to discover asteroids, contact Diane Murphy, 703.893.0740 or visit www.skypub.com/benson/prize.html.

News / Other (None)
10 June 1997 by Sam Coniglio
Space Development Corporation launches competition to discover near Earth asteriods
The Space Development Corporation LLC of Steamboat Springs, Colorado has established a prize to spur amateur discovery of near Earth asteroids. Named after the company's founder, James William Benson, the Benson Prize will award $500 for each discovery made by amateur astronomers of objects with perihelia less than the Earth's average distance from the sun.

Space Development Corp. is a private space exploration company that will announce in July a venture to build the first private spacecraft to go beyond Earth's orbit.

News / Other (None)
31 May 1997 by Sam Coniglio
Report on the Space Tourism Society General Meeting in Los Angeles
The Society is still going through its growing pains, but is starting to focus on workshops and publicity. Anyone who is interested in joining the Society, may contact Mr. John Spencer at 310-472-0846, or via email at jssdesign@aol.com. Over twenty members attended the brainstorming session and meeting. The following issues were discussed:
  • "High Society" Newsletter -- There will be three seperate documents: a high quality introduction brochure; bi-monthly UPDATE; a "High Society" magazine modeled after the National Geographic magazine
  • Space Tourism Workshop -- Mr. Charles Carr is the chair of a one day workshop for planning the 1998 Space Tourism Symposium. It will be held on December 13, 1997 on board the Queen Mary cruise ship, which is in permanent dock in Long Beach, California. Anyone who wants to participate, please contact Mr. John Spencer.
  • NASA/STA Space Tourism Workshop -- the report on the workshop will finally be published in mid-summer. STS will secure copies and distribute them to the membership.
  • "X Prize" Gala -- STS will participate in the September 27, 1997 event in St. Louis, Missouri. This event will be used to make the first national press announcement about STS. (September 26, 1997 will be the first anniversary of STS)
  • Annual Lifetime Membership Award -- Dr. David Webb was awarded an annual lifetime membership because of his outstanding efforts in promoting commercial space development. Some of you may remember his involvement with the National Commission on Space, and the book they published called "Pioneering the Space Frontier."
  • Corporate Sponsorship -- Three companies have requested corporate sponsorship materials. These materials are still under development.
  • Conferences -- STS has been invited to the "Humans to the Moon 2000" symposium on July 4 in Pasadena. They have also been invited to the Space Frontier Foundation Conference on November 7-9 in Los Angeles.
  • Media Coverage -- Several members have participated in several TV and radio programs, including "Strange Universe."
  • "Space Lottery" -- STS is working with "Buzz" Aldrin on his lottery concept since it means opening space to the average person.
  • MIR Space Station Commercialization -- STS also supports Mr. Derek Webber's efforts in privatizing MIR space station.
  • "Space Tourism Dinner Theater" -- Mr. Mark Reiff presented his ideas for a comical "Murder Mystery" dinner theater performance loosely based on an Arthur C. Clarke story.
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