March 30, 2010

Embry-Riddle and MITRE Collaborate on ADS-B Rocket Test (Source: ERAU)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and The MITRE Corporation’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development plan to test an Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) unit on an upcoming high-power rocket flight, in conjunction with Embry-Riddle’s entry in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition. ADS-B is an FAA NextGen technology for aircraft to collect and share GPS data. ADS-B also will have likely applications to space vehicles traversing regulated airspace.

IREC is an annual event hosted by the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association in Utah, to launch a rocket with a ten pound payload to ten thousand feet. Embry-Riddle’s student built Pathfinder II vehicle has flown successfully to 8000 feet, and is being re-engineered to meet the contest requirements, and MITRE’s objectives. The test will be conducted under a Memorandum of Agreement between MITRE and Embry-Riddle. (3/23)

Projects Left in Limbo Amid Plans to Cancel NASA Shuttle Program (Source: Washington Post)
President Barack Obama's proposal to end NASA's Constellation program has left much uncertainty in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and plenty of projects with questionable futures. Among them is the $500 million, 355-foot, steel mobile launch tower, which was built for the Ares 1 rocket that now may never be built. Click here to view the article. (3/28)

Looking Forward to Tax Day (Source: Space Review)
Many in the space community wonder what President Obama will say in his space conference on "Tax Day", April 15. Edward Ellegood offers some suggestions to him in order to make improvements on the original plan and ease concerns in Florida. Visit to view the article. (3/30)

Responsible Launching: Space Security, Technology, and Emerging Space States (Source: Space Review)
As the number of nations that operate satellites grows, so does the risk of incidents in orbit caused by these new operators' lack of expertise. Ben Baseley-Walker proposes one way that countries that launch satellites can mitigate this problem. Visit to view the article. (3/30)

Prospects and Concerns for Export Control Reform (Source: Space Review)
The prospects for reforming the US export control systems for space products look better now then they have in years. Jeff Foust reports on the potential reforms and the obstacles that stand in the path of achieving them. Visit to view the article. (3/30)

Prognosticating NASA's Future (Source: Space Review)
What are the prospects for NASA's proposed new exploration plan? Bob Mahoney brackets the range of potential outcomes to see what the most likely scenarios are. Visit to view the article. (3/30)

Per Ardua ad Astra (Source: Space Review)
Last week the British government formally announced the creation of the UK Space Agency. Andrew Weston sees this as an opportunity for greater cooperation between the UK and the US in space exploration and commercialization. Visit to view the article. (3/30)

2,229 Space Payloads Projected by Survey (Source: Space Daily)
Teal Group has revised upward its Worldwide Mission Model of future space payloads. According to the Teal survey, there are 2,229 space payloads proposed for launch to earth or lunar orbits or deep space trajectories from 2010-2029. "Our payload count for the next 20 years is nearly 10 percent higher than it was a year ago," said Teal's Marco Caceres.

Civil and commercial payloads account nearly equally for 77 percent of the total payloads in the Mission Model, while military and university payloads account for 19 percent and 4 percent respectively. Approximately one-quarter of the civil payloads are crew transfer and resupply capsules for the International Space Station (ISS) missions. (3/30)

SpaceX Activates ISS Communications System For Dragon Spacecraft (Source: Space Daily)
SpaceX announces the successful activation of its new Dragon spacecraft communication hardware aboard the International Space Station (ISS) during a series of operations conducted in January and March. Dubbed the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Communication Unit, the new system will allow ISS crewmembers to monitor and command approaching or departing Dragon spacecraft during cargo delivery missions to the orbiting laboratory. (3/29)

U.K. Space Logo Proves Graphic Design Is Rocket Science (Source: Fast Company)
Britain's space industry can grow to £40bn a year and create 100,000 jobs in 20 years." This all sounds exciting, but the new agency's logo unveiled at the event is nothing to cheer about. The design recipe is simple, right? Take a square, add a Union Jack, thrust an arrow through it and BAM! The net result looks terribly fractured and unstable. Not the ideal visual for space flight.

To make matters worse, the U.K. Space Agency will have the inevitable and unfortunate acronym "U.K.S.A." which sounds like something translated into Pig Latin. In Britain's defense, this mark just joins the other less-than-stellar logos representing space agencies from other nations. (3/29)

Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Risks Elimination on "Dancing With the Stars" (Source: CollectSpace)
The second man to walk on the Moon may be the first to be danced off stage as the first results for ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" are revealed Tuesday evening. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin's future on the reality TV show now rests on how many fan votes he received after two weeks of live dance performances that the show's judges ranked as the lowest among the ten other contestants.

"How can you not be a fan of Buzz Aldrin?" asked judge Len Goodman, a British professional ballroom dancer, on Monday night's show. "How difficult it is to try to criticize a legend, so I am not even going to try." Unfortunately for Aldrin, the other judges were not equally reserved in their critiques. (3/30)

Alien Planet Hunter Develops a Blind Spot (Source: New Scientist)
Our best eye on alien worlds has developed a blind spot. NASA's planet-hunting telescope Kepler has developed a fault that means it sees the equivalent of static in some parts of its view. Kepler launched in 2009 to hunt for planets orbiting other stars. Many giant planets on tight orbits have already been found, but the telescope's main aim is to find Earth-sized planets orbiting their stars at distances that can support the presence of liquid water and potentially life.

A total of 42 light-detecting chips called CCDs are used to look for periodic dips in starlight when planets pass in front of their host stars. But one of the 21 modules – containing two CCDs – is now malfunctioning, rendering the stars in its view invisible. Since the craft rotates its field of view by 90 degrees every three months, the fault means that four regions of the sky are only observable 75 per cent of the time. The good news is that the problem is not expected to spread, and it might be possible to repair it. (3/30)

Why Space Shuttle Exhaust Races to the Poles (Source: New Scientist)
Space shuttle exhaust plumes tend to move and spread faster than they should - seemingly because they are fast-tracked inside a low-density part of the atmosphere. The shuttle leaves over 300 tons of water in the atmosphere and a 1000-kilometer-long exhaust trail. This creates a plume, parts of which travel to the poles far faster than expected.

Now Robert Meier of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and colleagues have found that simple diffusion can explain the anomaly. Satellite images in a paper to appear in Geophysical Research Letters reveal that the exhaust diffuses upwards into less dense regions of the atmosphere, where diffusion rates are naturally faster. "Once you get the gas up into a more rarefied region of the atmosphere it's really easy to spread sideways," says Meier. (3/30)

Space Economy Leadership Summit Planned in Texas on May 5 (Source: SPACErePORT)
Join leaders from Texas, DC, Florida, Alabama, California and across the nation for a special one day summit as they discuss technology and economic policy that will fundamentally transform the Space Economy. U.S. competitiveness depends on a vital economic engine of job creation - and one of the greatest opportunities for job growth is fueled by our commitment to scientific discovery and our leadership position in the global Space Economy. Visit for information and reservations. (3/30)

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