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Commerce Department seeks big funding boost for Office of Space Commerce

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WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department is once again requesting a large budget increase for its Office of Space Commerce in order to work on space traffic management activities after Congress rejected a similar request last year.

Parts of the department’s fiscal year 2021 budget proposal were not released with the rest of the White House’s budget request Feb. 10. However, the section for “Departmental Management,” which covers the Office of Space Commerce, was released by Feb. 14.

That proposal, like the one for fiscal year 2020, seeks to combine the Office of Space Commerce with the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs (CRSRA) office, and moved the combined office from NOAA, where both offices currently reside, to directly under the Secretary of Commerce.

The Commerce Department is seeking $15 million for the combined office in 2021, up from the 2020 request of $10 million. Congress, however, rejected both the proposed spending and the request to combine the offices, giving CR…

SpaceX Crew Dragon arrives at launch site for the 1st orbital crew flight from US soil since 2011

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Crew Dragon may get off the ground in early May.

The spacecraft that will fly SpaceX's first-ever crewed mission has made it to Florida.

A SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule arrived on Florida's Space Coast on Thursday (Feb. 13), NASA officials said, completing a cross-country trek from the company's California headquarters.

"The spacecraft now will undergo final testing and prelaunch processing in a SpaceX facility on nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station," NASA officials said in an update.

Technicians at a SpaceX processing facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station can now start prepping the vehicle for the launch that will kick off Demo-2, a historic test mission that will send NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station (ISS).

That liftoff is targeted for early May from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, which is next door to Cape Canaveral.

Demo-2 will mark the first crewed flight for Crew Dragon, and the first orbita…

Trump's next budget could give NASA a huge funding windfall

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The money would help fulfill dreams of returning to the Moon.
If NASA is going to fulfill its goal of returning to the Moon by 2024, it's going to need a lot of money in very short order -- and that might be forthcoming. The Trump administration is proposing one of the largest NASA budgets in years as part of its latest budget, earmarking $25 billion for the space agency versus the $19 billion from the first year of the administration and $22 billion for this year. Nearly $3 billion of that would be devoted to creating the vehicles needed for the Artemis program. The budget is also poised to outline Artemis' complete costs and provide a clearer roadmap for the 2024 mission.

The problem, of course, is that budgets need congressional approval -- and there's no guarantee the budget will go through Congress unaltered. A House subcommittee recently put forward a bill that would push the Moon landing to 2028 and shift the focus to a Mars orbital mission in 2033. And it wouldn…

Robert Zubrin-The Apostle of Space

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In the aerospace community of the now, there is an irrepressible feeling of optimism. A bevy of bright-eyed scientists, engineers, and investors have upended the high launch costs and low volume of traditional spaceflight at every turn. SpaceX’s accomplishments with its Falcon 9 and ambitious plans for its fully reusable heavy lift rocket system are the most prominent example, but far from the only one. Blue Origin. Virgin Galactic. Companies large and small step onto the stage with radical plans to catch rockets with helicopters for later reuse, use colossal 3d printers to reduce complexity, or to put mass production and launch flexibility at the forefront of the rocket industry practically every other month. Some of the richest and most powerful people on Earth are seriously involved in planning the colonization of Mars, harvesting resources from asteroids, building entire cities in space. At first glance, this explosion of interest and action feels as if it came from nowhere-but it…

Trump touts Space Force, moon and Mars plans in State of the Union address

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And a gallery guest was a kid with Space Force ambitions.
During the nearly 80-minute speech, Trump touted the recent establishment of the Space Force — the first new U.S. military branch to be stood up since the Air Force in 1947 — as one of his administration's key accomplishments thus far.

And one of the president's special guests for the State of the Union, which is held every year in the House of Representatives chamber of the U.S. Capitol building, was a kid with Space Force dreams.

"In the gallery tonight, we have a young gentleman," Trump said. "And what he wants so badly — 13 years old — Iain Lanphier, he is an eighth-grader from Arizona. Iain, please stand up. Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was the first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy. He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, 'Most people look up at space; I want to look down on the world.'&qu…

Great-Grandson of Tuskegee Airman Wants to Join Space Force

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He's only 13, but he's already got his eye on joining the nation's newest military branch.

Meet Iain Lanphier, the Scottsdale, Arizona 8th-grader who attended the State of the Union Address Tuesday night as one of President Donald Trump's special guests. Lanphier got a standing ovation in the packed House of Representatives as Trump introduced him.

"Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy," Trump said. "He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then, he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, 'most people look up at space, I want to look down on the world.'"

Lanphier has already distinguished himself, last year becoming the top graduate of the Aerospace Career Education program, sponsored by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, according to a biography published by the White House. But he also comes from a distinguished line of trailblazers.

NASA selects Axiom Space to build commercial space station module

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WASHINGTON — NASA has selected a startup led by a former International Space Station program manager to develop a commercial module for the station.

NASA announced Jan. 27 that Houston-based Axiom Space will win access to a docking port on the station, to which the company will install a commercial module for research and other applications. The agency said that it will begin negotiations on a formal contract with Axiom, with a five-year base period and a two-year option.

Axiom was founded in 2016 by Kam Ghaffarian, who previously led space industry engineering services company Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, and Michael Suffredini, who was program manager for the ISS at NASA for a decade prior to his retirement from the agency in 2015. The company has several former astronauts in leadership positions, including former NASA administrator Charles Bolden, listed as a “business development consultant” on the company’s website.

Axiom says it believes that experience, as well as an indus…