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Washington, D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) congratulates Moon Express, Inc., on its U.S. government authorization for a planned robotic mission to the Moon in 2017. This is the first time that a private enterprise has been licensed by the U.S. Government to venture to the lunar surface.

Moon Express first filed the application with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on April 8, 2016. The company then consulted extensively with the FAA, White House, State Department, NASA and other federal agencies before being granted the landmark license. The formal approval sets a precedent for the private sector to engage in peaceful space exploration in accordance with U.S. national obligations of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

Empowered by this government authorization, Moon Express will now be able to continue to make progress towards its ambitious goal of unlocking the resources of the Moon. As Moon Express CEO Bob Richards notes, “We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity.”

CSF President Eric Stallmer agrees. “We applaud the government for its decision on this critical  mission that will make possible humanity’s development of space resources. I am thrilled for CSF member, Moon Express, and anxiously await for this unprecedented milestone in space exploration.”
Moon Express is a privately funded space company co-founded in 2010 by space visionary Dr. Bob Richards, billionaire entrepreneur Naveen Jain, and technology guru Dr. Barney Pell. The organization aims to explore and develop lunar resources for the benefit of humanity. It partnered with NASA in 2014 under the Lunar CATALYST program. In October 2015, Moon Express announced a launch contract with Rocket Lab USA for 3 launches to the Moon beginning in 2017. In 2016, Moon Express announced an agreement with the US Air Force to utilize Cape Canaveral Launch Complexes 17 and 18 for the development of its spacecraft.

Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is excited to announce the addition of three new associate members: Calspan Corporation, Firefly Space Systems, and TIP Technologies.

“The commercial spaceflight industry is developing and innovating at an ever-increasing pace,” said CSF president Eric Stallmer. “With the recent expansion of membership we have brought on board three different companies focusing on areas ranging from systems testing, small satellite launches, to quality assurance software. This diversity is a testament to the vast reach and influence of the rapidly growing commercial space sector.”

For more than 70 years, Calspan has been supporting initiatives that drive domestic and global innovation. They are a world-class independent engineering services and testing company that provides its customers with knowledgeable staff, unrivaled processes, unsurpassed quality, proven facilities and reliable equipment. Its high ethical standards and values-driven culture are two reasons why Calspan is consistently requested to support industry-leading innovators across the globe. The company provided aerodynamic analysis of space access vehicles with its transonic wind tunnel for several NASA vehicles including the Space Shuttle. Calspan’s space vehicle expertise includes Stage Separation & Proximity Assessment Testing, Jet Effects Assessment, and Performance, Stability, and Control.

Firefly Space Systems is a rapidly growing Newspace company that is helping to change the face of the global launch market. Founded in 2014, Firefly’s team of over 140 engineers will help to  revolutionize the launch market by providing a dedicated and low cost launch option for small satellite payloads, a package which does not exist on the market today despite the rapid growth of the small satellite segment. To date Firefly has won its first launch contract from NASA, has begun to build and test hardware, and is on track for its first orbital flight in Q1 of 2018. Firefly is headquartered in Cedar Park, Texas, a 30-45 minute drive from downtown Austin, Texas.

TIP Technologies was a pioneer and continues to be the recognized leader in quality assurance software. Since 1989 the company has been developing and marketing TIPQA™, an integrated suite of enterprise quality assurance applications. TIP Technologies focuses on serving the needs of companies in regulated discrete manufacturing industries. TIPQA™ is a flexible, yet complete solution for manufacturers who view quality as a competitive advantage. Use of the TIPQA™ solution has resulted in proven, documented success by countless companies that demand delivery of highly regulated, quality products. The TIPQA™ solution allows customers to quickly adapt to changing markets and quality requirements with ease. TIP Technologies utilizes a proven implementation methodology to help ensure timely success at a fair price. The company is committed to the development and support of feature-rich and easy-to-use quality assurance software and the effective delivery of implementation and support services.

With deepest sadness, we learned of the passing of a dear friend, colleague, and industry advocate on Sunday, June 5th.

Patti Grace Smith will be remembered as a dynamic force within the commercial spaceflight industry. During her time as Associate Administrator of the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, she ensured safety within the industry and encouraged innovation to prosper and flourish. Her leadership yielded many extraordinary milestones, including the launch of the X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne and Mojave Air and Space Port becoming the first inland commercial spaceport licensed by the agency. Patti consolidated AST’s position within FAA and built key bridging relationships to other agencies. Throughout Patti’s almost three decades of service, she bettered hundreds, if not thousands, of lives through her strategic vision, her expertise, her toughness and tenacity, her mentorship, and her kindness. Her death is a great shock, and a sad loss, for everyone who knew her and for the industry as a whole.

“Those of us that had the privilege to know and work with Patti saw so clearly how special a person she was. Her leadership at the FAA helped transform our industry. Her wonderful personality and spirit brought a natural smile to your face. She made us just better people. She will be dearly missed.” said Eric Stallmer, President of CSF.

Although we can never hope to live up to her legacy, we wish to honor and continue the profound impact that Patti had on commercial space. CSF is in the process of establishing a memorial scholarship that will honor her memory by providing opportunities for students and young professionals involved in the industry that was so close to Patti’s heart. We are in the process of finalizing the details and will make them public as soon as they are available.

If you are interested in more information or supporting the scholarship, please contact jane@commercialspaceflight.org.

Washington, D.C. — The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates Bigelow Aerospace and NASA on the successful deployment of the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which on Saturday was expanded to its full volume, berthed to the Tranquility node of the International Space Station. The BEAM module, delivered to International Space Station in April onboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, berthed using a Sierra Nevada Corporation Passive Common Berthing Mechanism (PCBM), will test and validate expandable habitat technology. In addition, BEAM has been approved for commercial operations, which will enable Bigelow Aerospace to offer commercial services to the burgeoning LEO market.

 Co-sponsored by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Divisions, the BEAM project is the first test of a human-rated expandable module, an experimental habitat that is designed as compact cargo on a spacecraft, but holds the promise of providing lower cost and greater volume for living and working in space once fully expanded.

 “BEAM is a critical pathfinder that will validate both the exploration and commercial benefits of expandable habitats,” said Commercial Spaceflight Federation President Eric Stallmer. “And this landmark project is yet another example of private sector collaborations creating great benefit and value for NASA, the American taxpayer, and the United States 21st century economy.”

 The fully expanded BEAM module will be entered by space station crew members for the first time in about a week, initiating a two-year demonstration period in which astronauts will enter the BEAM to retrieve data from sensors and assess conditions, monitoring the module for pressure, temperature, radiation detection, and micro-debris impact detection.

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the leading voice for the commercial spaceflight industry. Founded in 2006, CSF and its 70+ members are laying the foundation for a sustainable space economy and democratizing access to space for scientists, students, civilians, and businesses. CSF members are responsible for the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs driven by billions of dollars in investment. Through the promotion of technology innovation, CSF is guiding the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere, bolstering U.S. leadership in aerospace, and inspiring America’s next generation of engineers and explorers.

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill from Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) to increase the funding for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) by $1 million. Building on efforts led by Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Rep. Kilmer’s amendment improved on the good foundation established in the THUD Subcommittee’s draft bill, bringing FAA AST’s appropriations up to the full budget request. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees’ FY 2017 THUD appropriations bills fully fund FAA AST at $19.8 million.

“The Commercial Spaceflight Federation applauds Congressman Kilmer, Congressman Bridenstine, and the members of the House Appropriations Committee for securing full funding for the Office of Commercial Space Transportation in their appropriations bill,” said CSF President Eric Stallmer. “Congressman Kilmer and Congressman Bridenstine are some of the most effective champions of pro-growth policies for the commercial space industry and we thank them for their continued leadership.”

The FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation plays a critical role in protecting public safety while also encouraging, facilitating, and promoting the U.S. commercial space transportation industry. Providing timely reviews and approvals of licenses and permits for the commercial space industry ensures public safety is protected while technological advances occur that benefit our economy and further our civil and national security space interests.

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the leading voice for the commercial spaceflight industry. Founded in 2006, CSF and its 70+ members are laying the foundation for a sustainable space economy and democratizing access to space for scientists, students, civilians, and businesses. CSF members are responsible for the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs driven by billions of dollars in investment. Through the promotion of technology innovation, CSF is guiding the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere, bolstering U.S. leadership in aerospace, and inspiring America’s next generation of engineers and explorers.

Washington, DC – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation hosted its second in a series of Executive Leadership Forums, an open dialogue for policymakers, industry leaders and stakeholders to discuss key issues and opportunities in the commercial spaceflight industry.

Friday’s keynote speaker, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) said that, “The commercial space industry is fueling growth today. It’s at the forefront of some of the most exciting new technologies that can create quality jobs and ignite a new passion in our kids for math and science.

Rep. Kilmer serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the Interior and Environment Subcommittee and Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee.

As a leading advocate in the House of Representatives, Rep. Kilmer supports policies that enhance continued space innovation and job creation. He was a coauthor of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, signed into law by President Obama in November 2015, that promotes American space commerce and creates new opportunities for job creation and growth in the U.S. space economy.

CSF President Eric Stallmer expressed “deep gratitude for Representative Kilmer’s continued support on commercial space issues and for his leadership in securing funding to enhance innovation. We are grateful for the Congressman’s leadership on policies that will expand growth in the industry and preserve our nation’s competitive edge in space.

In the 21st century Space Race, I want to make sure that our nation stays ahead of the competition. That’s why I’ll continue to push for policies that support the growth of new commercial space ventures and ensure that breakthroughs happen on our shores, not someplace else,said Rep. Kilmer.

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the leading voice for the commercial spaceflight industry. Founded in 2006, CSF and its 70+ members are laying the foundation for a sustainable space economy and democratizing access to space for scientists, students, civilians, and businesses. CSF members are responsible for the creation of thousands of high-tech jobs driven by billions of dollars in investment. Through the promotion of technology innovation, CSF is guiding the expansion of Earth’s economic sphere, bolstering U.S. leadership in aerospace, and inspiring America’s next generation of engineers and explorers. 

Washington, DC – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation continues to grow its membership, announcing today the addition of a new associate member, AECOM.

AECOM is built to deliver a better world; they are the world’s #1-ranked engineering design firm by revenue, according to Engineering News-Record magazine. They design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organizations worldwide. As a fully integrated firm, they connect knowledge and experience across their global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges. From high-performance buildings, ports, roads, airports, spaceports and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments, to stable and secure nations, their work is transformative, differentiated and vital. AECOM has offices throughout the United States and their clients include NASA, USAF, DoD, FAA, SpaceX, Space Florida, New Mexico Spaceport Authority, and thousands of others.

“CSF welcomes the addition of AECOM to its membership. Infrastructure is extremely important to the future success of spaceports and adding AECOM’s expert voice to the conversation will be a great asset.” said Eric Stallmer, President of CSF.

CSF is excited to bring on such a prominent engineering services firm that has been integral in the development of spaceflight complexes such as Kennedy Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, and SpaceX’s various facilities.

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering.

On Friday, April 8, 2016, SpaceX successfully launched its eighth Commercial Resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) via its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. The Dragon is carrying 7,000 pounds of supplies, hardware, scientific research, and technology payloads to the ISS and its crew, including the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). BEAM will be attached to the ISS to test the use of human-rated expandable space habitats in microgravity.

“CSF congratulates SpaceX, Bigelow Aerospace, and all of our commercial partners that are expanding the burgeoning economic activities in LEO,” said CSF President Eric Stallmer. “BEAM represents an important milestone for public-private partnerships that will further expand NASA’s exploration capabilities and commercial opportunities in low-Earth orbit (LEO).”

This mission is part of SpaceX’s CRS contract with NASA, in which the company flies uncrewed Dragon spacecraft to and from the ISS for resupply and return of research to Earth. Scheduled to return to Earth in May, the Dragon spacecraft from CRS-8 will bring back biological samples from astronauts, including those collected during NASA’s one-year mission. Each flight carries important crew supplies, as well as payloads that allow universities and private companies to study the effects of microgravity in an effort to improve our understanding of space.

Additionally, we’d like to congratulate SpaceX for sticking the landing of the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket on the “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship. Rapidly reusable orbital rockets are key to a more cost-effective space future, and today’s landing was a giant leap forward in this domain.

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering.

On Friday, April 8, 2016, SpaceX successfully launched its eighth Commercial Resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) via its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. The Dragon is carrying 7,000 pounds of supplies, hardware, scientific research, and technology payloads to the ISS and its crew, including the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). BEAM will be attached to the ISS to test the use of human-rated expandable space habitats in microgravity.

“CSF congratulates SpaceX, Bigelow Aerospace, and all of our commercial partners that are expanding the burgeoning economic activities in LEO,” said CSF President Eric Stallmer. “BEAM represents an important milestone for public-private partnerships that will further expand NASA’s exploration capabilities and commercial opportunities in low-Earth orbit (LEO).”

This mission is part of SpaceX’s CRS contract with NASA, in which the company flies uncrewed Dragon spacecraft to and from the ISS for resupply and return of research to Earth. Scheduled to return to Earth in May, the Dragon spacecraft from CRS-8 will bring back biological samples from astronauts, including those collected during NASA’s one-year mission. Each flight carries important crew supplies, as well as payloads that allow universities and private companies to study the effects of microgravity in an effort to improve our understanding of space.

Additionally, we’d like to congratulate SpaceX for sticking the landing of the first stage of their Falcon 9 rocket on the “Of Course I Still Love You” drone ship. Rapidly reusable orbital rockets are key to a more cost-effective space future, and today’s landing was a giant leap forward in this domain.

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Washington, DC- The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) and its Suborbital Applications Researchers Group (SARG) congratulates Blue Origin and all of their payload partners on the successful suborbital research flight it carried out on April 2nd. On this flight, Blue Origin’s New Shepard vehicle carried a number of university and private research institute scientific payloads, further solidifying a commercial market which provides researchers, technologists, and educators more frequent and affordable access to microgravity for research topics that can advance spaceflight and life on Earth.

Experiments on this first science mission explored the physics of particulate collisions and settling in weightlessness such as in the rings of Saturn and surfaces of asteroids. SARG members Dr. Dan Durda of the Southwest Research Institute and Professor Josh Colwell of the University of Central Florida led the experiment teams that produced payloads for this flight.

Dr. Steven Collicott, the Chair of SARG and a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, states, “These two pathfinder experiments flown by Blue Origin during their flight test program clearly show that a very large change in how we think about suborbital spaceflight for research and education is appropriate.”  He adds, “Multiple CSF member companies are pursuing human-tended and automated suborbital research flights, and the next year or two are expected to be exciting times for us all as this new era begins.”

Since 2009, SARG members have advocated for wise regulatory choices, as well as broad scientific awareness of the emerging opportunities that the commercial spaceflight industry enables. In recent years, reusable vehicles from the private sector have served as reliable flight providers for a diverse range of fields, including atmospheric sciences, cellular biology, solar astronomy, physical sciences, human physiology, planetary science, and even K-12 education.

SARG and CSF leaders look forward to the establishment of frequent flight programs necessary to support regular, commercial suborbital science mission operations. Interested researchers and educators are invited to attend the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, June 2-4 in Broomfield, Colorado where these many new opportunities will be discussed.

Image courtesy of Blue Origin.