commercial space

In his campaigns, Lang frequently opted to juxtapose contemporary fashion photography and archival imagery. For his label, this became a means of distraction from the inherent commercialism of advertising, instead presenting his designs as artistic creations. This is exemplified in Lang’s campaign from the 1990s which used Robert Mapplethorpe’s iconic 1982 portrait of the artist Louise Bourgeois wearing a black monkey-fur jacket. In the campaign captions were used to grant authorship to Mapplethorpe though naturally the advertisement also included Lang’s logo, signifying that this very juxtaposition of images had been his curatorial act … Although his fashion designs were not unique objects, the space in which they were sold emulated a cultural and curatorial laboratory, actively creating ambiguity between commercial retail and gallery space. Symbolic value was core to this kind of marketing, which built on exclusivity and intelligence as a means of distinguishing itself from pure commerce and mass fashion. For designers such as Lang, this became a way to cultivate a status of high culture by borrowing cultural capital from art, thus maintaining a very direct relationship with his customers ‘in the know’.

“Helmut Lang: From Fashion to Art and Back Again” by Elisa De Wyngaert


How to Live on The Moon - A Lunar Mission Guidebook 

“One of the problems is that there is a perception that to build a moon base would require some enormous quantity of money,” said Paul Spudis, a lunar geologist with NASA. “That is simply not true. One of the things I looked at — and I did this about two years ago — is I specifically looked at how you can go back to the moon under the existing budget without any additional money for NASA — and you can do it.”

Some scientists think humans could survive comfortably on the moon. In some ways, the very minimal gravity of the moon might actually be more conducive to life than the microgravity astronauts experience on the International Space Station.

Although it hasn’t been formally tested, some experts hypothesize that the small amount of gravitational force put on an astronaut’s body when on the moon could help stem some of the adverse effects like bone-density and muscle loss that spaceflyers experience while living in microgravity on the International Space Station. This could make colonizing the moon an even more appealing option.

The first step in establishing a moon base might be robotic. Once unmanned missions establish the beginnings of a base, humans can launch to the lunar surface to conduct research and maintain the habitat. 

“I have thought that the initial return to the moon would consist of what I call a ‘human-tended outpost,’ where people go there for extended tourism time — there’s no permanent residence except in the sense of rotating crews,” Spudis told Just like the International Space Station, Spudis’ concept of the lunar base would require crews of four to eight people to rotate in and out of the base.

3D printing a lunar laboratory

A European Space Agency (ESA) study found that 3D printing a lunar base using material already available on the moon could be a practical way to establish an outpost on Earth’s nearest cosmic neighbor. Under the ESA’s hypothetical plan, a robotic mission to the moon could do most of the work before astronauts ever needed to set foot on the lunar surface.

A robot would conduct the 3D-printing program autonomously. The robot would use a mixture of lunar dirt and dust, called regolith, to cover an inflatable dome with layers of the robust material.

“It’s a dream from a manufacturing point of view,” said Tommaso Ghidini, head of the ESA’s Materials Technology Section. “You just have your house being printed around you.”

By using the moon’s indigenous material, space agencies can save money on the cost of flying pricey missions to and from the moon’s surface.  Astronauts would be sent up to man and maintain the station after the habitat is at least partially built.

Mining The Moon

Once on the moon, instead of having to stage costly missions aimed at delivering oxygen and other necessary volatiles from Earth, experts might be able to actually use mined lunar material to manufacture gasses needed to sustain life on the satellite.

“The consumables of air and water would largely be drawn from local resources,” Spudis said. “They would not be imported from the Earth, but everything else would be. So, all of your high-tech equipment, all of your food, any kind of specialized needs — clothing, things like that — for the inhabitants would be brought from Earth.”

Water could also be used for radiation protection on the exposed lunar surface, Spudis added. The moon has no atmosphere, so people would be completely susceptible to the radiation that would bombard the rocky satellite every day. Water manufactured on the moon could help shield lunar lifers from those effects.

Eventually, a base on the moon could lead to human exploration in deeper parts of the solar system, Spudis said. – Read More +Future Moon Colonies

10 Awesome Startups That Are Looking To Profit From A New Space Race

What would you do if you were a billionaire and wanted to go to space?
The obvious answer: use that money to start a company to help you do just that.

In recent years, some of the most famous names in tech, like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos have been founding and investing in companies that are looking to the stars.

Whether for personal dreams of adventure or for profit, these companies are doing the engineering and basic science needed to get humans into space.

They’re also looking at other opportunities that space provides, like access to resources that are hard to get on Earth and the ability to collect information about our planet from a different perspective.

1. SpaceX: The “other” company from Tesla founder Elon Musk. In the short term, it’s building rockets and capsules to get astronauts to the International Space Station. In the long term, it’s looking to make trips to Mars somewhat affordable by creating rockets that can be used many times, like the “Grasshopper” below, which can take off and land instead of simply falling into the ocean.

2. Planetary Resources: With financial backing from Google’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, “Avatar” director James Cameron, and others, Planetary Resources is looking at revolutionizing the tech world by mining nearby asteroids for metals that are extremely rare on Earth but found in abundance in space.

3. Blue Origin: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is well-known for his love of all things space. While he founded Blue Origins in 2000, it’s only in recent years that he’s become more open with the progress his company is making towards making manned spaceflight affordable.

4. Planet Labs: Using 28 miniature satellites known as “CubeSats,” Planet Labs aims to provide more detailed and more frequently updated images of our planet than have previously been available. These photos will allow for traffic maps and environmental data to be more accurate than ever.

5. Kymeta: Like other companies with backing from Bill Gates (who both provided initial cash and contributed to a $50 million venture round), Kymeta is a company looking to make a positive social impact. The company plans to use orbiting satellites and low-cost receivers to provide Internet to vehicles and also to isolated areas in the developing world.

6. Orbital Sciences: Though it has a background in launching satellites and missile defense systems, Orbital has been making great strides in recent years towards providing vessels for NASA, putting it in direct competition with SpaceX.

7. Deep Space Industries: Like Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries hopes to mine asteroids for materials that are worth insane amounts due to their rarity on Earth. The company plans to identify viable asteroids in the next two years and begin mining within a decade.

8. Stratolaunch Systems: Founded in 2011 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Stratolaunch is looking to make spaceflight more affordable by using massive, lightweight planes to do most of the work of getting people and cargo off the ground.

9. SkyBox Imaging: With backing from CrunchFund’s Michael Arrington, SkyBox is deploying a fleet of miniature satellites, much like Planet Labs. The company is looking to use these for a much wider range of uses however, including oil and natural gas site selection, reporting of natural disasters, urban planning, and agriculture.

10. Masten Space Systems: Based in Southern California, Masten is dedicated to making advanced, reusable rockets that can take off and land vertically many times, in the same vein as SpaceX’s “Grasshopper.”

Source: BusinessInsider


As a woman in a wheelchair, I can’t exactly embrace my “uncomfort” zone.

See, as a woman in a wheelchair, I can’t really do those yoga poses.

And as a woman in a wheelchair, I can’t lift those heavy weights.

And as a woman in a wheelchair, I can’t run that marathon.

And as a woman in a wheelchair, I’m kind of offended (though not at all surprised) that you’re only focusing on able-bodied women.

(Seriously, you couldn’t have been even the tiniest bit progressive by showing a woman playing wheelchair basketball or something?)


Dragon vs. Cygnus: Stacking Up 2 Private Spacecraft

An unmanned private spacecraft is set to launch from Virginia Wednesday (Sept. 18) on its maiden trip to the International Space Station.

If successful, Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft will become the second private robotic American cargo ship to dock with the orbiting laboratory. The first was the Dragon capsule, built by billionaire Elon Musk’s California-based spaceflight firm SpaceX. Orbtial Sciences’ first Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to launch toward the space station Wednesday at 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT). You can watch the Cygnus spacecraft launch live on Wednesday, courtesy of NASA TV.

Cygnus: Orbital Sciences' vehicle will fly into space atop the company's Antares rocket, which is expected to launch from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Wednesday at 10:50 a.m. EDT (1450 GMT). The spaceflight firm launched the first Antares test flight in April, but Wednesday’s liftoff marks the debut of the fully functional Cygnus.

Antares is about the size of a 13-story building, standing 131.5 feet (40 meters) tall. The two AJ26 engines used in the rocket’s first stage are based on the NK-33 engine, which was originally developed to launch Russia’s giant N-1 moon rocket — the Soviet answer to America’s famous Saturn V — in the 1960s. However, the Soviet heavy-lifter was never launched successfully.

Dragon: The Dragon capsule — named for the fictional “Puff the Magic Dragon” in the song by the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary — is launched to space using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. While Antares’ design is modeled after a Russian rocket, the Falcon 9’s Merlin engines are new. The two-stage rocket stands taller than Antares at 224.4 feet (68.4 m), and it can lift 28,991 pounds (13,150 kg) into low-Earth orbit.

The Falcon 9 first stage has nine Merlin engines. The rocket can lose up to two of these engines and still finish a mission, SpaceX officials have said. SpaceX designers were inspired by the Saturn V, “which had flawless flight records in spite of engine losses,” officials said.

Read + Robotic Cygnus Spacecraft’s 1st Space Station Test Flight


The Dutch company Mars One is looking for colonist for Mars for 2023. They will be announcing more details about the selection process today.

“Mars One is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to establish a human settlement on Mars through the integration of existing, readily available technologies from industry leaders world-wide. Mars One intends to fund this decade-long endeavor by involving the whole world as the audience of an interactive, televised broadcast of every aspect of this mission, from the astronaut selections and their preparations to the arrival on Mars and their lives on the Red Planet.” - Mars One

Who would have supposed in early 1957 that the Soviet Union, and not the United States, would loft the first artificial satellite into Earth orbit, the first robotic lunar probe, and the first man, into space? And who would ever have predicted that the United States, stung by losses in a competition in which it had not even known it was engaged, would, or even could, respond by carrying out the first lunar landing eight years and two months after declaring the goal? Most then-knowledgeable observers believed that such a feat was unlikely to be achieved much before the end of the 20th Century, if then. Not even the most visionary of hard science fiction authors – Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein – imagined that it could occur as early as 1969. And then, having spent $21 billion (in mid-60s dollars) to develop the transportation system to make such a thing possible, was it even conceivable that such hard-won capability would be utterly discarded within a few years? Who would have imagined it? And yet it happened.
NASA Expands Commercial Space Program, Requests Proposals for Second Round of Cargo Resupply Contracts for International Space Station

On the heels of awarding groundbreaking contracts to U.S. commercial space companies to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA has released a request for proposals (RFP) for the next round of contracts for private-sector companies to deliver experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory.
Full article


When they first started talking about commercializing spaceflight, I thought it was an intriguing idea but I wasn’t so sure that it could go anywhere…But I have been very pleasantly surprised by the fact that the commercial space effort has been so successful so far. It looks like they can do it. And in fact, they can do it far more efficiently than a government organization. You know, everybody knows the usual arguments here: if aviation had been left to the government, it would cost you $20,000 to fly from New York to San Francisco, and it would take three weeks to refuel the plane.

– Seth Shostak, SETI Institute Senior Astronomer in ‘Fight for Space’, speaking on commercial vs government spaceflight

For those who may have the skewed impression that 'Fight for Space’ was a film cheerleading specifically for a government-driven space program like NASA, – or adversely, that 'Fight for Space’ was an attack on NASA – this clip provides a bit of insight into some of these conversations and the narrative we pursue.

It’s going to to take collaboration from all scientific fields, industries, and entities to develop our spacefaring future. To create this future, we must all join the #FightforSpace.


The Future Of Design

SpaceX is exploring methods for engineers to accelerate their workflow by designing more directly in 3D. By integrating breakthroughs in sensor and visualization technologies to view and modify designs more naturally and efficienctly than we could using purely 2D tools.SpaceX hopes to eventually build the fastest route between the idea of a rocket and the reality of the factory floor.

“I believe we are on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing.” Elon Musk says.

“Being able to take the concept of something from your mind, translate that into a 3-D object really intuitively on the computer, and take that virtual 3-D object to make it real just by printing it.”

Video - SpaceX


A quick tour of SpaceX.



During commercial, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jimmy send a message to astronaut Scott Kelly (who’s in space)!


Ride Along With SpaceShipTwo: Tail Footage Video of Latest Test Flight

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo successfully completed its second supersonic rocket-powered test flight. Virgin Galactic has shared the flight footage from a camera mounted on the tail of the ship, allowing us all to ride along and see the views. 
The ship went to 69,000 feet (21 km, 13 miles) but you can still see the blackness of space and the curvature of Earth in the video.

Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson said yesterday that commercial flights with passengers should begin in 2014 … which is next year, meaning that perhaps space flight for the rest of us is not always 5-10 years off anymore.

Read more: 


What do you think of the Mars One Project?