May 18, 2012

Secret Celebrities to be Launched on SpaceX Rocket (Source: ABC)
When SpaceX launches its Falcon 9 rocket it will secretly be carrying celebrities. Actor James Doohan, who played Scotty on the original "Star Trek" series, died in 2005. His ashes will be on board this mission -- as will those of Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper and 306 other people. If you have the money, Celestis, a space services company, will send your loved one's ashes up to orbit Earth. l

Sound familiar? This is the second time around for Celestis and Space X; the companies tried to launch Doohan and Cooper and 206 others back in August 2008. When SpaceX launched the remains on its Falcon1 rocket, the rocket never made it to space. When the rocket failed to get to orbit, neither did the cremated remains, or, for that matter, some small satellites sent by NASA and the Department of Defense. (5/18)

Egyptian Girl Invents Spacecraft Propulsion Device (Source: NextWeb)
A 19-year-old Egyptian university student called Aisha Mustafa has invented a propulsion device intended to offer spacecrafts a new method and cheaper means of energy consumption. The propulsion device promises chances of using quantum physics and chemical reactions in artificial satellites, instead of the current radioactive-based jets and ordinary rocket engines.

Mustafa’s device is based on a scientific mix between quantum physics, space technology, chemical reactions and electrical sciences. Mustafa said the inventions generates energy for space vehicles from electric energy formed by Casimir-polder force, which occurs between separate surfaces and objects in a vacuum and by the zero-point energy considered as the lowest state of energy. The device uses reflective panels for additional force which resembles photovoltaic solar cells. Click here. (5/18)

Florida to Hold First High School Astronaut Challenge (Source: Sunshine State News)
High school students will compete in the first-ever State of Florida Astronaut Challenge on Saturday at the Challenger Learning Center in Tallahassee, the state Department of Education announced. High school students from across the state will participate in the STEM-focused competition designed to test their knowledge of space shuttle operations, engineering, launch, orbit and landing of the Space Shuttle “Enterprise” flight simulator. (5/18)

Space Days Win Bring Local Students to KSC (Source: National Space Club)
Brevard Space Days 2011 was a rousing success with over 6500 Brevard County sixth graders and their science teachers participating in a full day of organized and hands-on activities at Kennedy Space Center. All of us in the National Space Club can take great pride in knowing that we initiated this program and through the generosity of our individual members, company sponsors, and individuals have contributed $200,000 towards the program’s overall cost since its inception.

This year’s program will be held over a nine day period from November 26 through December 7, 2012. The program was started seven years ago and it gets better each year. From the beginning, funding for this program has come from outside the Brevard School’s operating budget and is dependent on contributions from the community. The National Space Club has again pledged a minimum of $25,000 from the aerospace community towards this important program with the Brevard schools foundation raising funds from the community at large and through possible grants that match funding from private industry. (5/18)

DARPA's SeeMe Program Has Arrived (Source: Space Daily)
On May 9, 2012, DARPA released its latest Broad Agency Announcement (DARPA-BAA-12-35) for a program called, "SeeMe," which is an acronym for Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements. Bidders will be competing for a total of roughly $45M to be distributed via multiple awards. The goal of this program is to provide needed on-demand imagery directly to the warfighter in the field from a very-low-cost satellite constellation in a timely manner.

Such a program will fill current gaps in critical information prior to, during and after military engagements. There are obvious significant advantages in closing this information gap with persistent coverage and on-demand delivery in terms of driving up mission success probability and reducing personnel risk. If successful, the SeeMe program will provide reliable and persistent information by using small, short-lived, very-low-cost satellites at very low altitudes, integrated into existing communications systems and handheld platforms. (5/18)

Sea Launch On Track to Loft Intelsat 21 (Source: Sea Launch)
Sea Launch AG, through Energia Logistics Ltd., has conducted a Hardware Acceptance Review of the Zenit-2S launch vehicle to be utilized in support of the Intelsat 21 mission. A team of specialists from the Chief System Engineer’s Office at Energia Logistics Ltd., together with specialists from RSC Energia, reviewed all of the acceptance data for The Zenit-2S satellite is expected to arrive at the Sea Launch facility in late June or early July in preparation for the start of standalone and combined spacecraft operations. The Intelsat 21 mission is planned for launch in August 2012. (5/18)

CASIS Debuts New Website (Source: CASIS)
Today, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the nonprofit organization managing research on the International Space Station (ISS), announced the unveiling of a new website ( that will serve as a portal for researchers, businesses, educators and students to discover the unique opportunities available to them on board the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. Click here. (5/18)

SpaceX Launch Could Ignite Florida's Commercial Space Industry (Source: Tampa Bay Times)
But nearly a year after space shuttles stopped flying, this launch could symbolize the future for Florida's space business. Industry leaders say these are the reasons why. Saturday's launch could fizzle. Bad weather or technical problems could ground the Falcon 9. Predictions for Florida's space sector could prove overly optimistic — remember, the government once estimated space shuttles would fly 500 times in a decade. This may be why SpaceX and others are down-playing expectations, saying the company would make progress even if Musk's Dragon capsule doesn't actually dock with the station. (5/18)

Proton-M Rocket Blasts Off with Canadian Satellite (Source: gazeta)
Russia's Proton-M carrier rocket with the Nimiq-6 satellite onboard blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome on Thursday, the press service of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) reports. The Proton-M space rocket was launched from Baikonur at 23:12 Moscow time on Thursday. It carries the Briz-3 rocket booster that will put the Canadian communications satellite Nimiq-6 in orbit. (5/18)

PWR Begins Week Long Test Schedule (Source: San Fernando Vallley Business Journal)
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne today began testing its rocket engines in Mississippi and Florida. The tests, which will continue through Friday, are significant for the company because they combine both development and production engines, said Jim Maser, president of the Canoga Park-based rocket engine developer and manufacturer. “We’d like every week to be this way,” Maser said.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne engines have been used in four launches this year by the United Launch Alliance. The next launch using the company’s engines on an Atlas V rocket takes place in mid-June, Maser said. A development RS68A engine will be tested at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi today. On Wednesday, a test of a J2X engine at Stennis will focus on a modified nozzle extension that dissipates heat that is generated by the engine. The seven-second test is the first of 16 taking place throughout the summer months, Maser said.

An Atlas V rocket engine on Thursday will go through the standard acceptance test in West Palm Beach. Another J2X test takes place at Stennis on Friday; the goal is to push to the limits the gas generator and turbo machinery to see how they operate and meet engineering expectations, Maser said. (5/18)

Britain Must Build Spaceport, Leaders Claim (Source: Daily Mail)
Britain is at risk of losing billions if it doesn't join the space tourism race and build its own spaceport where satellites and intrepid travellers could be blasted into orbit, claim business leaders. A spaceport would help the British space industry 'really lift off' and bring in millions to the economy, according to the Institute of Directors (IoD). Several locations have been proposed including Scotland, Northern Ireland, South West England or even a joint purpose built air and spaceport in the Severn Estuary. (5/18)

Beyond SpaceX: Five Companies Seeking to Change Space Travel (Source: Christian Science Monitor)
NASA already has $3.5 billion in cargo contracts with two rocket makers – SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation – and has added $270 million in seed money to four companies to develop technologies to transport crews. This summer, NASA expects to provide additional money to help private space companies develop full-scale systems. Here are the key players. (5/18)

House Endorses Posey Plan to Let Pentagon Work with Space Firms (Source: Florida Today)
State agencies and private contractors would be able to partner with the Pentagon on space-related projects under a provision adopted by the House Thursday as part of a broad bill authorizing Defense Department programs for next year. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, who sponsored the proposal, said the change should help Cape Canaveral as it transitions from the government-run space shuttle program under NASA to one where private aerospace firms will launch crew and cargo to the International Space Station.

"Rolling back the red tape and enabling Defense Department, Space Florida, and the commercial sector to collaborate and work together is just a common-sense way to make America more competitive," Posey said in a statement that noted advances in commercial space by China and Russia. (5/18)

Approaching Asteroid May Get Close Enough to Smash Satellites (Source: National Geographic)
A newly discovered asteroid called 2012 DA14 will pass so close to Earth in February that it might hit a communications satellite, scientists say. "That's very unlikely, but we can't rule it out," said Paul Chodas, a planetary astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Discovered several weeks ago, the asteroid is currently "a fuzzy little blob," as seen through telescopes. Astronomers estimate that the space rock is just 150 feet (45 meters) wide. But "the orbit for 2012 DA14 is currently very Earthlike, which means it will be very close to Earth on a regular basis," Chodas said. (5/18)

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