"NASA's plans to return astronauts to the Moon are dead"

The Orlando Sentinel reports: “NASA’s plans to return astronauts to the Moon are dead. So are the rockets being designed to take them there — that is, if President Barack Obama gets his way…. There will be no lunar landers, no Moon bases, no Constellation program at all.”

Read the full story.

Wall Street Journal reports NASA shift to private sector

The Wall Street Journal reports:

“The White House has decided to begin funding private companies to carry NASA astronauts into space, but the proposal faces major political and budget hurdles, according to people familiar with the matter. The controversial proposal, expected to be included in the Obama administration’s next budget, would open a new chapter in the U.S. space program. The goal is to set up a multiyear, multi-billion-dollar initiative allowing private firms, including some start-ups, to compete to build and operate spacecraft capable of ferrying U.S. astronauts into orbit—and eventually deeper into the solar system.”

See full article: White House Decides to Outsource NASA Work.

Europe's largest space company working on space solar power

EADS Astrium, Europe’s largest space company, is joining the growing list of companies interested in the potential of space solar power. The company is seeking partners to build a demonstration laser power transmission system in the 10-20 kilowatt range and says the technology could be operative by the year 2020.

BBC News: EADS Astrium develops space power concept
Earth Times: Astrium to build satellites to haul solar energy from space

Online Journal of Space Communication Issue 16: Solar Power Satellites

The Online Journal of Space Communication, a project of the Society for Satellite Professionals International (SSPI) which is hosted online by Ohio University, has partnered with the National Space Society in the publishing of a special issue on Space Solar Power.

In the 21st century, the need for alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity has become so great that space is now a real option. The Journal has asked prominent scientists, engineers, business people and others to answer the following question: What has changed in the last 30 years that now makes it possible (perhaps a mandate) to seriously entertain the idea of a major new satellite business: the gathering/concentrating of sunlight in space and beaming it to earth to be used as an alternative source of electrical energy?

The table of contents of this special issue includes links to video and audio material as well as the following articles:

  • Harnessing the Sun: Embarking on Humanity’s Next Giant Leap, by Dr. Feng Hsu
  • Global Warming in Perspective: Understanding Climate Change in a World of Contradictory Information, by John K. Strickland, Jr.
  • Energy Costs Eliminated By Satellite System, by Joleroy Gauger
  • Sustaining India’s Economic Growth, by Raghavan Gopalaswami
  • Space Solar vs Base Load Ground Solar and Wind Power, by John K. Strickland, Jr.
  • Costs, Organization, and Roadmap for SSP, by Peter J. Schubert
  • Why Has SPS R&D Received So Little Funding? by Karen Cramer Shea
  • SUNSATS: The Next Generation Of COMSATS, by Don Flournoy
  • Disruptive Technology: A Space-Based Solar Power Industry Forecast, by Kristin Medin
  • Low Cost Access to Space is Key to Solar Power Satellite Deployment, by Ralph H. Nansen
  • Deploying Sunsats, by Philip K. Chapman
  • Solar Power Satellite Development: Advances in Modularity and Mechanical Systems, by W. Keith Belvin, John T. Dorsey, and Judith J. Watson
  • Server Sky – Data Centers in Orbit, by Keith Lofstrom
  • The Sunsat Act – Transforming our Energy, Economy and Environment, by Darel Preble
  • Legal Issues for Space Based Solar Power, by Mark I. Wallach
  • Vision for Producing Fresh Water Using Space Power, by W. Kent Tobiska
  • Space Solar Power Via Prizes, by Al Globus
  • Space Solar Power, Lunar Mining and the Environment, by Al Globus