So apparently it ends, and Aviation Week's Aerospace Daily is reporting that NASA has finally ended its contract with Rocketplane-Kistler after a troubled process that never saw the company come up with the financing. This leaves SpaceX, which has been doing fairly well itself in meeting its milestones, in the running for the commercial supply of crew and cargo for the International Space Station (ISS).
Another big announcement expected this week is that the UK could make some more tentative steps towards actually having astronauts. More news on that on Thursday. While the other week South Korea selected its first space walker.
Elsewhere in Asia the Japanese embrace solar power - madness in my opinion, who wants to fly through a huge laser beam?
For more ponderings on that perennial favourite fly back boosters are considered over at rocket enthusiast chairforcengineer.
And for those who couldn't face such a prospect without a stiff drink can find out how NASA's attempts at ending drunk astronaut rumours has backfired at our sister title's New Scientist's web site.
More sober material can be found at NASA deputy head Shana Dale's blog where she discusses the agency’s management and finances, something she will have to dwell on a lot if Congress doesn’t get its act together and appropriate the requested 2008 budget by the end of the month
While I was on vacation Jeff Foust of the spacereview and personalspaceflight blogs reported Rutan’s comments about design changes. We have since spoken to Rutan and Virgin Galactic about this and you can find our artists impression here. And last week Virgin Galactic and NASTAR announced their intentions for their customers, eh, sorry, astronauts training as well.
As for in-development-hell vehicles there is more slow progress from the plucky guys at Armadillo Aerospace.
And if you want some real insight into what Orion CEV really looks like then it seems that “T. L. James” of Marsblog is a good person to speak too. James is a member of Orion developer’s Lockheed Martin team and he gives his own corrections to the Orion model design recently made available for purchase.