09 Jun 2011

TEDxSMU Tuesday 6.7.11

Events, Ideas, News No Comments

Burt Rutan

Burt Rutan is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important industrial designers, and his prolific contributions to air- and spacecraft design have driven the industry forward for decades. His two companies, Rutan Aircraft Factory and Scaled Composites, have developed and flight-tested more new types of aircraft than the rest of the US industry combined. He has himself designed hundreds of aircraft, including the famous Voyager, which his brother piloted on a record-breaking nine-day nonstop flight around the world.

Rutan might also be the person to make low-cost space tourism a reality: He’s one of the major players promoting entrepreneurial approaches to space exploration, and his collaboration with Virgin Galactic is the most promising of these efforts. SpaceShipTwo, a collaboration between Richard Branson and Rutan completed its first “captive carry” in March of 2010, marking the beginning of the era of commercial space exploration.

Private Space Companies

X PRIZE Foundation 


NASA Missions 

NASA Science- Big Questions 

NASA has defined a set of space and Earth Science questions that can best be addressed using the Agency’s unique capabilities.  NASA works with the broader scientific community, considers national initiatives, and the results of decade-long surveys by the National Research Council in defining these questions.

Near-Earth Object Program

The purpose of the Near-Earth Object Program is to coordinate NASA-sponsored efforts to detect, track and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that could approach the Earth. The NEO Program will focus on the goal of locating at least 90 percent of the estimated 1,000 asteroids and comets that approach the Earth and are larger than 1 kilometer (about 2/3-mile) in diameter, by the end of the next decade.

Space News

A Look Back at the Space Shuttle, The New York Times, June 9, 2011

Pogue’s Posts- The Latest in Technology from David Pogue

End of an era for shuttle, and NASA, CBS News, May 29, 2011

With retirement of orbiter vehicles, America’s space program is at a crossroads, with development of new craft to take man beyond Earth orbit.

Shrouded in Secrecy, China’s Space Program Slowly Opens Up, Time, April 30, 2011

China’s space program has long been one of the country’s most secretive undertakings. When Yang Liwei became the first Chinese astronaut to reach orbit in a vessel powered by the country’s own rockets in 2003, television images were subjected to a time delay in case anything went wrong.

Stagnation fears haunt Russian space program, Reuters, April 10, 2011

Fifty years after Yuri Gagarin blasted into orbit, descendants of the Soviet craft that carried him still generate pride and profit for Russia, but critics say the nation’s space program has slid into stagnation.

Can Obama Ban Space Weapons Successfully? Popular Mechanics, October 1, 2009

Soon after President Obama took office, a change to the White House Web site gave a hint to this administration’s plans for defense in space. The site said that the administration is “seeking a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites.” These are high-priority goals, but the administration is likely to face some problems.

Related TED Talks

Anousheh Ansari at TEDxSMU 2009

On September 18, 2006, Anousheh captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer travelling to and staying onboard of the International Space Station for 10 days. An active proponent of world- changing technologies and social entrepreneurship, in 2004 Anousheh and her family provided the title sponsorship for the Ansari X Prize, a $10 million cash award for the first non-governmental organization to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within two weeks.

Peering into Space

To gaze upward and know we’re part of a vast system of heavenly bodies — it is simultaneously humbling and utterly thrilling. TEDTalks collects some amazing thinking on our place in the universe. Carolyn Porco takes us on a thrilling flyby of Saturn and its moons, while Burt Rutan, Bill Stone and George Dyson talk about how we could start putting more humans up into orbit and beyond.

Sir Martin Rees and David Deutsch offer thoughtful talks worth savoring, on our physical and metaphysical place in space. And Steve Jurvetson shares the sheer glee of shooting off rockets into the near cosmos.

Richard Branson’s life at 30,000 feet, TED 2007

Richard Branson talks to TED’s Chris Anderson about the ups and the downs of his career, from his multibillionaire success to his multiple near-death experiences — and reveals some of his (very surprising) motivations.

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