Japan Joins the Private Space Race

Recently, Japanese private space company Interstellar Technologies Inc. has joined the private space race. While their rocket, Momo, failed to reach outer space* (shutting off after losing contact shortly into flight) it marks a major attempt by another country’s domestic aerospace industry to join the revolution in private, commercial space flight.  The English version of their website is here.

Setbacks are bound to happen, but the hobbyists-turned-corporate effort is still a significant step as a country with major space ambitions enters the private space age. Notably, the launch was significantly cheaper than those of the public Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

*The question of where outer space begins is an interesting one for scientists and lawyers alike. The boundary is generally agreed to be 100 km (about 62 mi) above Earth’s sea level. Here’s one description of the “Karman line.”

Langley’s Centennial, William Shatner, & My Appearance At FreedomFest

A quick shout out to the NASA’s Langley Research Center (established under the 1915 National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) – a precursor to NASA), celebrating its 100th birthday this week.

Space.com provides a link to a video history of Langley narrated by the one and only William Shatner.

Captain Kirk himself will also be appearing at this year’s FreedomFest in Las Vegas. I’m pleased to announce I’ll be joining him and many others there, as I speak on the panel about the “Revolution in Private Space Development.”