August 31, 2014

Three NASA Langley Scientists Receive Awards (Source: Daily Press)
Three senior scientists from NASA Langley Research Center were among four researchers honored at a recent ceremony at NASA headquarters in Washington for distinguished service to the country. Bruce Anderson, Thomas Brooks and Lelia Vann were presented with Distinguished Service Medals on Aug. 14 by NASA chief Charles Bolden and associate administrator Robert Lightfoot. The medals are considered NASA's highest form of recognition for employees whose ability or vision have helped the agency advance the nation's interests, NASA said. (8/31)

SpaceX, Blue Origin Compete for NASA Contract (Source: San Marcos Mercury)
Two private space travel companies working to launch shuttles out of Texas are competing for the same NASA contract that is expected to be handed out in the coming weeks. The contract, called the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability, will hire a private company to carry astronauts to space. NASA said the service is similar to “getting a taxi ride,” and four companies have spent the past few months pitching their shuttles and services to NASA.

Blue Origin, funded by Amazon CEO and billionaire Jeff Bezos, and SpaceX, funded by billionaire investor Elon Musk, are two of the four private companies competing for the project. Both are working to launch shuttles out of Texas. The Boeing Company and the Sierra Nevada Corp. are also pursuing the contract from NASA. (8/30)

Karin Nilsdotter & Spaceport Sweden (Source: Swedish Startup Space)
Kiruna. One hundred and forty five kilometers north of the arctic circle. Home of the midnight sun, reindeer, iron ore….and orbital space tourism. On actual spaceships. To actual space. It’s a quiet town-so quiet that if you listen closely at times you can literally hear the sky crackling, making it the perfect place for astronomical research, atmospheric sounding, and suborbital tourism. Kiruna is as far north as you’ll ever go, and it’s where Spaceport Sweden is hoping to take you as high up as you’ll ever dream.

That’s precisely why CEO Karin Nilsdotter is here tonight, talking to over 100 Grinders (including a Jawa, R2d2, a Tusken Raider, and of course His Great Dark Highness Lord Darth Vader) about the role Spaceport Sweden will play in the future of astro-tourism. Her company is hoping to become Europe’s portal to the stars, and she’s working with other astropreneurs like Anousheh Ansari (X Prize), Elon Musk (SpaceX), Stuart Witt (Mojave Air & Space Port) and Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) to make that a big fat reality.

Spaceport Sweden is building both literal and figurative launchpads in Kiruna, enacting terrestrial projects that facilitate academic research and foster entrepreneurial growth. They host talks and technical visits, they’ve founded a space camp for children as well as a northern lights academy, all in addition to their northern lights flights, Zero-G­ parabolic flights, and centrifugal G-force training in some of the world’s most advanced long-arm dynamic flight simulators. There is a lot going on here. (8/25)

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