In the news...

August 26, 2013

California races other states to capture new space industry

As several new private ventures to take people on trips to space come closer to becoming reality, California lawmakers are racing other states to woo the new space companies with cushy incentives.

They are debating a bill now in Sacramento that would insulate manufacturers of spaceships and parts suppliers from liability should travelers get injured or killed on a voyage, except in cases such as gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Last year, the state enacted a law that shields space tourism companies such as Sir Richard Bransonís Virgin Galactic from similar lawsuits.

ìWeíre still in the fledgling part of space flight and space travel, and we need people to be able to take a risk,î said California Republican Sen. Steve Knight, who introduced both state bills.

Several other states ó including Texas, Florida, Virginia and New Mexico ó have passed similar laws, hoping to lure newcomers to the more than $200 billion commercial space flight industry.

Californiaís latest bill faces opposition from several lawmakers who say the state should not relax its standards since tourists should expect the ships they use to ascend to the heavens are safe. But space tourism companies say the protection is necessary if the state wants to attract and retain the industryís business.

Someday, something is going to crash and burn,î said Kathleen Allen, a professor of entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California who researches and advises new space companies. The question is: Are we going to be able to say thatís a price we pay to stretch and explore and go beyond our current limits?

Edwin Sahakian dreamed of flying in space since he watched Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon almost 45 years ago. Sahakian, 50, a trucking company owner from Glendale, Calif., is one of more than 600 people who have collectively paid about $75 million to embark on a trip in space with Virgin Galactic.

Leaving the planet is worth the risk, he said. Without incentives like limiting the ability of customers and family members to sue, he said the opportunity would never be open to him.

I’m not under the impression that itís as safe as flying on an airliner or anything remotely like that,î he said. ìBut I do feel like itís the safest way to go to space right now.

In April, Virgin Galacticís space ship completed its first powered flight, as its rocket engine burned for 16 seconds, propelling the ship to an altitude of 55,000 feet as it broke the sound barrier. The company expects to conduct flight testing this year and send people into space soon thereafter.

Other companies are also working to launch people beyond the earthís atmosphere. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Muskís SpaceX is already ferrying cargo to the International Space Station. Last year, SpaceX signed an agreement with Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace, which is designing inflatable space stations for research and maybe even tourists. SpaceX and other companies will provide the transportation ó like airlines ó and Bigelow the place to stay. AP




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 

Lockheed to settle suit over retirement accounts

Lockheed Martin agreed Dec. 16 to settle a federal class-action lawsuit accusing the aerospace and defense behemoth of mismanaging the investment accounts of its employees and retirees, charging the investors high fees along the way. The tentative deal announced in federal court in Illinois’ East St. Louis averted an anticipated four-week trial in the 8-year-old...
 

 

Headlines December 17, 2014

News: U.S. Air Force tanker platform slated for year-end debut - Boeing is planning for first flight of its 767-2C – upon which the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker will be based – by year’s end, six months late. Northrop Grumman wins $657.4 million deal to supply drones to South Korea - Northrop Grumman has won...
 
 

Headlines December 15, 2014

News: Defense authorization bill heads to White House - Senate lawmakers finalized work on the $584.2 billion annual defense authorization bill Dec .12, putting in place a 1 percent pay raise for troops starting in January and limiting growth in housing allowance rates. Senators make final push for vets suicide-prevention bill - An effort to get a...
 
 

News Briefs December 15, 2014

Official: Afghan insurgents kill two U.S. troops An international military official has told The Associated Press that an insurgent attack on a convoy in eastern Afghanistan has killed two U.S. troops. The official says the attack happened by the Bagram air base in Parwan province near the capital, Kabul, late Dec. 12. The official spoke...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>