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NASA picks ‘Blue Origin’ As One of The 6 Companies for Developing ‘Tipping Point’

A technology is considered at a "tipping point" if investment in a ground or flight demonstration will result in significantly maturing the technology.

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Amazon chief Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin is among the six companies NASA has selected for developing 10 “tipping point” technologies that have the potential to significantly benefit commercial space economy and future NASA missions, including lunar lander and deep space rocket engine technologies.

The US space agency on Wednesday said it will invest for the purpose approximately $44 million – a significant investment in the US space industry.

The other five companies selected for the award are – Space Systems/Loral (SSL), United Launch Alliance (ULA), Frontier Aerospace Corp, Paragon Space Development Corp and Astrobotic Technology.

“These awards focus on technology collaborations with the commercial space sector that leverage emerging markets and capabilities to meet NASA’s exploration goals,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement.

These companies focus on areas such as, enabling efficient and safe transportation into and through space.
These companies focus on areas such as, enabling efficient and safe transportation into and through space.

“While these key technologies will support NASA’s science and human exploration missions in the future, these awards are yet another example of NASA’s commitment to our nation’s growing commercial space industry today,” Bridenstine added.

NASA requires these companies to focus on areas such as expanding utilisation of space, enabling efficient and safe transportation into and through space, and increase access to planetary surfaces.

Selections were based on the agency’s third competitive Tipping Point solicitation.

Also Read: Jeff Bezoz’s Blue Origin Launches Spacecraft Higher Than Ever

A technology is considered at a “tipping point” if investment in a ground or flight demonstration will result in significantly maturing the technology and improving the company’s ability to bring it to market. (IANS)

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Spacecraft Test Runs into Serious Problems, Smoke All Over SpaceX in Florida

"Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test"

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Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

Thick plumes of smoke rose over a SpaceX facility in Florida during a test fire of a Crew Dragon spacecraft and the issue was serious, it could derail plans to fly astronauts aboard the capsule later this year, the media reported.

SpaceX, which was founded by billionaire businessman Elon Musk in 2002, said the craft was undergoing a “series of engine tests” at a facility in Cape Canaveral on Saturday, and something went wrong during the final stretch, CNN reported.

SpaceX will work with NASA to determine what caused the issue. No injuries were reported.

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The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules. Pixabay

“Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test,” SpaceX said in a statement.

Crew Dragon is already overdue and more delays could make things tricky for NASA.

It was scheduled to conduct a key test of its emergency abort system in June. And its first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was slated for July, though NASA recently said that timeline was under review.

space craft
Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules.

NASA has also decided to ask the private sector to design and build a new generation of spacecrafts.

Also Read: Avoid Smoking During Pregnancy To Prevent Premature Births

SpaceX and Boeing, which is building a vehicle called Starliner, were awarded contracts worth up to $2.6 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively, in 2014. Both capsules were supposed to start flying in 2017, but they have been hampered with delays.

Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. (IANS)