Space Tourism Hitting Its Stride

Space Tourism Hitting Its Stride

Twenty years after Dennis Tito became the first space “tourist” on the International Space Station (ISS), business is booming. Four confirmed orbital trips by private astronauts to ISS or simply into orbit are coming up in the next several months. A future mission will loop around the Moon. Suborbital space tourism also appears imminent. The future is finally here, raising questions of NASA’s role and whether current laws and regulations for private space travel are sufficient.

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Senate Commerce Committee Again Approves SPACE Act

Senate Commerce Committee Again Approves SPACE Act

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved Sen. Roger Wicker’s SPACE Act again today.  Like the version that cleared the committee last year, it formally assigns civil space situational awareness to the Department of Commerce, but falls short of creating a Bureau of Space Commerce as the original bill proposed.

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Senate Committee Approves 2021 NASA Authorization, Requires Second HLS System

Senate Committee Approves 2021 NASA Authorization, Requires Second HLS System

A Senate committee approved a new NASA Authorization Act today as part of a larger bill to increase U.S. government investments in research, development and manufacturing. The NASA portion builds on a bill passed by the Senate late last year, but doubles down on the need to fund at least two Human Landing System (HLS) contractors, not just one. NASA wanted two, but picked only one because Congress drastically cut funding for HLS in FY2021.

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Today’s Tidbits: May 11, 2021

Today’s Tidbits: May 11, 2021

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com’s tidbits for May 11, 2021: China’s LM-5B rocket gets close to ISS; JWST ready for packing; Ingenuity and Perseverance hard at work; O-REx headed home; Boeing gets a date for OFT-2.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

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NASA, Axiom Get Ready for Private Astronaut Flights to ISS

NASA, Axiom Get Ready for Private Astronaut Flights to ISS

NASA and Axiom Space today revealed some of the details of their agreement for the first private astronaut flight to the International Space Station (ISS). It is a new era for NASA, which barely tolerated so-called space tourists visiting the orbiting facility in the past on Russian spacecraft. The agency changed its mind and embraced such commercial activities two years ago and they are close to reaching fruition.

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Cabana Replaces Jurczyk as Top NASA Civil Servant

Cabana Replaces Jurczyk as Top NASA Civil Servant

Bob Cabana is replacing Steve Jurczyk as NASA’s Associate Administrator, the top civil servant in the agency and third in command. Cabana, a former astronaut and currently Director of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, is a long-time friend of new NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

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What’s Happening in Space Policy May 9-15, 2021

What’s Happening in Space Policy May 9-15, 2021

Here is SpacePolicyOnline.com’s list of space policy events for the week of May 9-15, 2021 and any insight we can offer about them.  The House and Senate are in session this week.

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Austin: No Plans to Shoot Down Errant Chinese Rocket Stage – UPDATE 3

Austin: No Plans to Shoot Down Errant Chinese Rocket Stage – UPDATE 3

As global concerns rise about where China’s Long March-5B rocket stage might land, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said today DOD has no plans to shoot it down. Predicting when and where it will impact Earth is fraught with difficulties, but at the moment it is in the May 8-9 time frame almost anywhere on the planet. Still, the chances of it hitting a particular individual are very small. FINAL UPDATE, U.S. Space Command reports that the LM-5B rocket stage reentered over the Arabian Peninsula at approximately 10:15 pm EDT May 8. “It is unknown if the debris impacted land or water.” Separately, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson criticized China for “failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.” Reports are that debris fell near the Maldives. China’s Xinhua reported a slightly different time (May 9 10:24 am Beijing Time, or May 8 10:24 pm EDT) and said the “vast majority” of the rocket disintegrated and the rest of the debris fell in  the sea in an area centered at 2.65 degrees North, 72.47 degrees East.

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Space Force Lays Out Its Vision As a Digital Service

Space Force Lays Out Its Vision As a Digital Service

Gen. Jay Raymond, Chief of Space Operations and head of the U.S. Space Force, routinely stresses that this new military service is vastly different than its predecessors. Created in the 21st Century, it is being built from the bottom up as a digital service. Today he released a report explaining what that means.

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Bidding Is Open to Make the First Flight On New Shepard — If You’re Physically Fit

Bidding Is Open to Make the First Flight On New Shepard — If You’re Physically Fit

Blue Origin opened an auction today to buy the first space tourist seat on its New Shepard rocket for a 10-minute ride to space. The company, owned by Jeff Bezos, is not ready to reveal the price for seats in the future, but for this first one, the highest bid wins. Ultimately not only money, but physical fitness, will determine who gets the coveted seat.

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