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Bezos Closer to Commercial Space Travel

In a step that gets us closer to commercial space travel, Jeff Bezos’ Space venture project “Blue Origin” announced in a video that it will soon begin selling tickets for rides on its space tourism rocket “New Shepard”.

Though the announcement didn’t reveal how much tickets will cost, the company’s website did say this: “Sign up to learn how you can buy the very first seat on New Shepard”, and Come May fifth, those who submitted their name and email on a form on the company’s website will get more information.

Bezos previously lost the lunar contract which is now in dispute, but despite that setback the company had a successful test flight in early April.

The New Shepard rocket is designed to carry up to six people at a time on a ride past the edge of space giving the passengers nearly 10 minutes of zero gravity. The capsule has massive windows to give passengers quite the view before returning to Earth. Previous capsules test flights launched vertically and reached an altitude of roughly 340,000 feet (or more than 100 km). The capsule then returns using a set of parachutes and lands in the desert.

After the Blue Origin announcement, Virgin Galactic shares fell over 3%. Bezos’ company will compete with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic in the niche space sector of suborbital tourism.

Virgin Galactic sold roughly 600 tickets to date with the price varying between $200,000 and $250,000 each ticket. Bezos previously mentioned that Blue Origin will price New Shepard flights similarly to competitors. Virgin Galactic did say that prices could increase substantially for the first commercial flights, and emphasized expectations of demand for space tourism flights to outpace supply within the next decade.

It’ll be interesting to see where everything lands once this industry really takes off. From what goes up, to what comes down, subscribe to our Flight Crew Newsletter for the latest updates and news in the space industry.

Thank You NASA/ESA

MUSIC edit post Music The Truth Lies Within by Crew Chief April 30, 2021 Facebook Twitter Linked In Pinterest edit post Music The Most Important Thing in the Universe by Crew Chief January 5, 2021 Facebook Twitter Linked In Pinterest edit post Music Vibrations through Space & Time by Crew

What Happened to Virgin Galactic?

Virgin Galactic’s space tourism business is struggling to take off. With testing setbacks, losing several key executives and shares of the company’s stock being sold, the start date of Virgin Galactic’s commercial service continues to be pushed back and investors’ confidence in the company is dwindling.

The latest hit comes with the company’s share price tumbling as Sir Richard Branson cashed out on $150 million of Virgin Galactic stock as he and four entities under his control (including Virgin Group), sold 5,584,000 shares, according to an SEC filing. Just last year the investor sold $500 million shares. However, the Virgin Group still remains the largest shareholder in Virgin Galactic as they own a quarter of the company.

Virgin Group intends to use the cash from this sale to “support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that continue to be affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19,” the company said in a statement. 

This loss comes just a month after another crucial shareholder, Virgin Galactic Chairman Ch-ah-mat Pali-ha-pi-tiya, who in 2019, helped take the company public, sold roughly $213 million shares which was all of his personal stake in the company with the intention to reinvest in fighting climate change.

Analyst ratings of Virgin Galactic are also slipping. Only four out of the 10 analysts covering the stock have a “buy” rating, compared to six months ago when eight out of eight analysts covering the stock rated shares “buy,” according to Barrons. 

One thing Virgin Galatic has to look forward to is the test flight of SpaceShipTwo vehicle come May. It’s crucial this test flight is a success as the first attempt failed last December. 
“Valuation is complicated by long-term uncertainty,” Bernstein analyst Douglas Harned wrote in a note Tuesday. “A catastrophic failure by any provider could have a crushing effect on demand for all. We expect risk per flight to be low. But, as activity ramps, chances of an accident would increase.”

We have hope this test launch could be a giant leap toward commercial space travel. 

The Truth Lies Within

Jazz Guitarist David Becker captures the ultimate Universal duality that’s hard to ignore. In Partnership with Space Channel Music, David’s melodious guitar takes us on a journey through space and time to discover the truth in all things, and our connection and rhythm with the Cosmos

Space Hero Reality TV Series Planning for Mars

Space Hero will be the world’s first global competition to send a civilian into space on a $55M, 10-day trip to the International Space Station. The competition for this once-in-a-lifetime journey will begin at the end of 2021.

The Galaxy, from North to South + Beaches Galore!

We’re always in the mood for a destination with a warm tropical climate and a remote island just puts it over the top – so a space tourist trip to the Maldives is just about everything a space junkie could want! With two out of this world resorts that are an absolute dream come true if you love watching the night sky – because you know we just cant get enough!

SpaceX SN15 has Arrived

We have exciting news from SpaceX’s Starship SN15. But first, an update from NASA’s continued exploration of Mars – Seismic events from inside the Red Planet!

InSight, a robotic lander launched in May 2018 to study the deep interior of Mars, has detected “mysterious rumblings” from deep beneath the surface of Mars.

A sudden release of energy from Mars’ interior is thought to be the cause of seismic activity in a location on Mars called Cerberus Fossae, the site of similar events, sometimes called “Marsquakes,” that were measured about two years ago by InSight.

Now that Mars is moving further from the sun, InSight will begin to shut down instruments to hibernate until Mars begins to reproach the sun in July. NASA hopes to continue to operate the seismometer for another month or two before shutting it down.

Because a clear answer to why these seismic events are happening is not yet known, it leaves us to wonder – how similar is Mars planetary dynamics to Earth’s? Perhaps we’ll find even more similarities.

We recently reported on John Ratcliffe, Trump’s director of national intelligence and the prevalence of unidentified aerial phenomena – that there are far more incidents than the public is aware of.

Ratcliffe spoke of a forthcoming report into unexplained sightings produced by the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies that we at Space Channel are eagerly awaiting.

Recently, R. James Woolsey, a former CIA Director who served under Bill Clinton, says he has a new openness to that possibility of alien life.

On the topic of unidentified aerial phenomena, Woolsey said that these stories “always seemed pretty far-out to me…”

He continued: “But, there was one case in which a friend of mine was able to have his aircraft stop at 40,000 feet or so and not continue operating as a normal aircraft.

“What was going on? I don’t know. Does anybody know?”

Woolsey joins the list of US Intelligence officers who have been outspoken about believing in the possibility of alien life. Back in December, John Brennan, the CIA director from 2013-2017 stated, “I think it’s a bit presumptuous and arrogant for us to believe that there’s no other form of life anywhere in the entire universe.”

And now, we go to Texas.

The Starship program is moving at light speed with a new prototype featuring hundreds of upgrades and improvements.

Show this on screen during open. Not for read
Elon Musk teased major Starship upgrades in November of 2020 as early as the Starship SN15 Prototype. Then, in late March, Musk followed up on his promise, confirming the SN15 block upgrade would include “hundreds of design improvements [to] structures, avionics, software, and [Raptor engines].”

SN15 has now arrived at the launch pad, just nine days after SN11 exploded after a successful test
Ascent phase, transition to horizontal & control during free fall.

It’s now been confirmed, A (relatively) small CH4 leak led to a fire on engine 2 & fried part of the avionics, causing a hard start attempting landing burn in the CH4 turbopump.

The recent mishap of SN11 adds high expectations for the upcoming launch of SN15, which will be installed on SpaceX’s Suborbital Pad A.

GRAVITY | Disclosure Report #103

From an Undisclosed Location, a candid discussion about events in space which appear to be out of place. Featuring Harvard Professor Avi Loeb and Cosmic Zoologist Dr. Arik Kershenbaum

Moon Mortgages and Alien Biochemistry

Are you in the market for a new home? Well you’re in luck, because you might be able to live on the Moon for just $325k… a month.

NASA plans to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024 as part of the Artemis program, and a study by financial experts from Money, Dot Zinc subsidiary, and a credit broker for consumer credit products earlier this month estimate the cost of building a fully-functioning house on the moon at around $48 million.

We’re talking air seals, industrial-grade air conditioning and heating, meteor-proof windows, insulation and power supplies. And don’t forget about greenhouses, a food supply, and a water supply, since the moon’s exosphere can’t support life as we know it.

Residences and settlements on the moon may happen sooner than you think. Will we be the only ones in space when we get there, and what might aliens look like if we find them?

Arik Kershenbaum, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, proposes that the answer might be hiding in plain sight.

In his new book, “The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Kershenbaum stresses that the “universal laws of biology” that began with Charles Darwin would apply to extraterrestrials as well.

Kershenbaum argues that biochemistry and planetary environments aside, some version of Darwinian selection would be taking place.

He also states, “Finally, possibly inevitably, a social and intelligent organism, with the skill of language, develops complex technology. It is hard to see how any other outcome is possible. Soon, they will be building spaceships and exploring the universe — if they manage to avoid destroying themselves first.”

Although Kershenbaum acknowledges that not everyone would agree with theories, he adds that the likelihood of meeting intelligent aliens anytime in our lifetime is “so remote as to be almost dismissed.”

We’ve previously reported on the United States Defense Department’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, and the details from their recent reports.

According to John Ratcliffe, Trump’s former intelligence director, US Military pilots and satellites have recorded “a lot more” UFO sightings than the public is aware.

After being asked about an upcoming government report on “unidentified aerial phenomena,” Ratcliffe said the report will confirm previously unreported sightings all over the world.

“…We are talking about objects that have been seen by navy or air force pilots, or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for. Or traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom,” said Ratcliffe.

The report is scheduled to be released in early June by the defense department and intelligence agencies. Sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena are investigated by analysts, who attempt to rationalize the events, often as weather disturbances or technology from foreign nations.

“But there are instances where we don’t have good explanations,” says Ratcliffe. “So in short, things that we are observing that are difficult to explain – and so there’s actually quite a few of those, and I think that that info has been gathered and will be put out in a way the American people can see.”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for that June report. We’ll be sure to inform you when it is released publicly. Subscribe to our Flight Crew Newsletter for future updates.

Rwanda Enters the Space Race

Exciting news out of Africa: Rwanda is establishing a Space Agency!

Rwanda’s Chamber of Deputies, the lower house in its national legislature, voted on the law on March 10th, stating: “[The] establishment of Rwanda Space Agency aims at having coordination of Rwanda’s space sector activities geared towards securing communication, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) as well as purchasing and playing a custodian role of national spatial data and imagery.”

The Rwanda Space Agency would send Rwandans to the United States and Israel to receive training in able to support Rwanda’s space efforts.

This is not the first time Rwanda has been involved in the new space economy. They joined 2 satellite missions in 2019, one in partnership with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and another with United Kingdom-based communications company OneWeb.

With the “liftoff” of RSA, we now have 20 African countries with space institutions and programs. Very exciting stuff.

Heading north in the international space economy, Airbus has just announced that it has been selected to study spacecraft manufacturing in space by the European Commission.

In an announcement that came March 11th, Airbus will be part of the Horizon 2020 Programme, and the 3 Million Euro contract will last 2 years.

This project, coined the PERIOD project, or PERASPERA In-Orbit Demonstration, will focus on the construction of major satellite components, spacecraft component assembly, and satellite payload replacements.

Airbus will help pioneer the manufacturing of large structures in space and transform the way they are designed. Objects made in space has significant advantages to building on Earth and transporting to space and will be able to circumvent many previous launcher mass and volume limitations.

Silvio Sandrone, head of Space Exploration future projects at Airbus, stated, “Airbus has been working on in-orbit manufacturing technologies for more than a decade and the PERIOD program will help Europe move its combined technological know-how to the next level… Future large-scale space systems can only be manufactured and assembled in orbit, so it’s crucial that Europe is at the forefront of this key capability.”

Until we’re able to build large scale spacecraft in orbit, we’ll continue to get creative on land… or water.

NASA’s James Webb space telescope, or Webb for short, will face a strange threat later this year. With a protective shield the size of a tennis court and a mirror as tall as a 2 story building, Webb is too large to transport on a plane.

As a result, Webb will need to be transported by ship from Southern California to its launch site in French Guiana. Along the route to South America, the ship will need to pass through the Panama canal as well. A long journey over sea leaves the telescope open to many risks, including pirates.

Although some playful commentary has surrounded the issue, it’s still a valid concern. NASA has shrouded the trip in secrecy, to maintain an edge ahead of the historic journey.

Webb has been ongoing for over 20 years, and it would be tragic for something to happen that prevents its late October launch date. Its date of departure will remain under wraps to protect Webb from pirates who may want to hold the irreplaceable craft ransom.

Although many are eager to hear Webb’s progress and transportation updates, Christopher Conselice, an astrophysicist at the University of Manchester, poses a simple and valid question:

“Why would you announce that you’re going to be shipping on a certain day something that is worth over $10 billion… that you could easily put in a boat” and sail away with?

Just as we thought this telescope has faced every problem under the sun, we find one more: pirates.

We’ll continue to keep tabs on this story, however strange it gets. Subscribe to the Flight Crew newsletter for future updates.

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