2007 – U.S. Spaceports
Oklahoma Spaceport received an FAA license for suborbital flights in June 2006. Blue Origin, founded by Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, received an experimental permit in 2006 for its West Texas launch site. The first test flight from Blue Origin’s facility was conducted on November 13 of the same year.
2007 – Spaceports Overview
The availability of U.S. launch sites continued to expand in 2006 and 2007 with the addition of several non-federally funded spaceports. Internationally, there are numerous launch sites both planned and in operation around the world. Exhibit 3n lists current major international launch sites as compiled by the Teal Group and Astronautix.
2007 – Russia Launch, Human
The Clipper (Kliper) vehicle, under design by Russia’s Energia, has not yet found a customer. Clipper may become a follow-on to the Soyuz vehicle, and has attracted interest from the European Space Agency (ESA) for ISS access. In 2006, Anatoly Perminov, the director of Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), said the agency planned to start construction of the vehicle in 2012.
2007 – U.S. Launch, Human
NASA announced SpaceX and Rocketplane Kistler as the winners of the COTS competition in August 2006. The goal of the competition is to develop commercial delivery services for the International Space Station (ISS), distributing research and development funds to be combined with private capital.
2005 – Low-Cost Launch Vehicles
“Despite the strong barriers to entry that prevail in the industry, some daring entrepreneurs are nevertheless attempting to challenge incumbents. The entry of low-cost launchers such as the Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) Falcon-1 and Falcon-5, offered at USD 6 million and USD 12 million respectively, may…”
2005 – Suborbital Payload Launch
Space Services Inc. of Houston, Texas, offers memorial spaceflights, launching a symbolic portion of a person’s cremated remains into space. These memorials are a small secondary payload on a commercial or scientific satellite launch. Space Services offers Earth return services, Earth orbit services, lunar services, and Voyager (deep space) services.
2005 – Orbital Launch Reports and Forecasts
The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) and the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) prepare an annual forecast of international demand for commercial launch services. COMSTAC assesses demand for geosynchronous orbit (GEO) launches, and the FAA predicts demand for non-geosynchronous (NGSO) launches.
2005 – ICBMs and SLBMs
Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) fly a ballistic trajectory, normally intended to carry a nuclear warhead as a payload. While they do not orbit the Earth, the apogee of their flight brings them to altitudes at and well above LEO.
2005 – Spaceports Overview
Major United States and international launch sites, according to Teal Group and Astronautix are listed in Exhibit 2m. These launch sites are both commercial and government operated.
2005 – China Launch, Human
China’s Shenzhou (“Divine Vessel”) launched two taikonauts into orbit in 2005 for a mission lasting more than 115 hours. It was China’s second human launch, following the launch of one taikonaut in October 2003. China’s next human mission is expected to launch in 2007. The Shenzhou capsule bears many design similarities to Russia’s Soyuz reentry crew capsule.