FOMS Inc gears up for ZBLAN fiber manufacturing on ISS

FOMS, Inc, a small business based in San Diego, California, has developed an automated fiber manufacturing process for producing a suite of next generation optical fiber in microgravity. FOMS, which is implementing its technology through NASA’s SBIR program, will see its first operational payload installed on the ISS in 2019. [caption id="attachment_2074" align="alignleft" width="356"] Dr. Dmitry Starodubov, chief scientist at FOMS Inc. Source: FOMS Inc[/caption] In-space manufacturing for Earth-based markets

DLR explores human-machine relations using AI on the ISS

The “floating brain” has arrived on the ISS. This new experiment is a mobile and autonomous assistance system using IBM’s Watson AI technology, and the first AI-powered robot crew member aboard the ISS. CIMON – which stands for Crew Interactive Mobile Companion – is a 3D-printed flying robot about the size of a medicine ball and weighing 5 kg. The hardware was developed by Airbus in partnership with German space

Success of commercial platforms unlikely without government help

The findings of the recent report indicate it will be very unlikely that a commercial space station will succeed without some level of on-going government support. In 2017, NASA commissioned a study from the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), under the direction of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, about the feasibility of a commercial LEO platform. Portions of the report were recently made public as part of

NASA mulls next steps in ISS privatization

After the Trump administration called for end to NASA’s funding of ISS by 2025 earlier this year, NASA officials are considering what to do next. The president’s budget allocates $900 million over the next five years to help transition the ISS to the private sector, with  $150 million being allocated to NASA in 2019, “to enable the development and maturation of commercial entities and capabilities which will ensure that commercial

What the past tells us about Scott Pace & the future of the NSC

Last month, US president Donald Trump named Scott Pace as executive secretary of the newly formed National Space Council. Pace is director of the Space Policy Institute and a professor of the Practice of International Affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He’s a longtime veteran of both the public and academic sides of the space sector. In the 1990s, Pace worked for the White House Office

NSS optimistic about Pence’s call for constant LEO presence

National Space Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes (among other things) space settlement, has happily endorsed a few key pieces of U.S. vice president Mike Pence’s recent July 6 speech at Kennedy Space Center. The group is particularly hopeful about Pence’s call for constant human presence in low Earth orbit, which the group sees as a key milestone in future space settlement. “To the best of my recollection, this is

Better than new? SpaceX’s reused Dragon launch a huge milestone in private space development

When the Dragon spacecraft from 2012's SpaceX 4 mission successfully berthed with the ISS's Harmony module, the cargo capsule's place in space-faring history was cemented, marking the first time a privately owned spacecraft berthed with the space station, vindicating long-held hopes that the commercial space industry could develop the ability to conduct complex operations in Earth's orbit. Now the SpaceX/CRS-11 mission (originally slated for launch Thursday, 1 June 2017, and rescheduled for 3 June 5:07 ET), is

NASA second-guesses its decision to use SpaceX for ISS taxi

By Kendra R Chamberlain NASA has ordered a slate of taxi flights that’ll shuttle astronauts from US soil to the International Space Station (ISS) in the future. But SpaceX’s recent Falcon 9 loss has raised new concerns about using private enterprise rockets to shuttle humans to and from the ISS. Last week, NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) voiced concern over using SpaceX for such missions in its annual report,

NASA astronauts conduct first of two scheduled ISS spacewalks to upgrade batteries

By David S Lewis [embed]https://www.facebook.com/yahoonews/videos/10155077585586037/[/embed] Web news service Yahoo! News broadcast a live spacewalk on its Facebook page yesterday morning. The spacewalk, conducted by astronauts Commander Shane Kimbrough and Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson, both of NASA, was to make upgrades to the space station’s power system, including replacing 12 older nickel-hydrogen batteries with six lithium-ion batteries delivered last month. (more…)