July 6, 2012

Cosmic Scaffolding Uncovered? Scientists Find Thread of Dark Matter (Source: CS Monitor)
A team of astronomers says it has detected one of the threads of dark matter that scientists have long believed serve as the scaffolding for the cosmos. Three-dimensional astronomical maps developed since the late 1980s show that the vast majority of the universe's galaxies are distributed as threads and sheets that span the universe, with galaxy clusters as well as superclusters of thousands of galaxies appearing where threads and sheets intersect.

These structures were thought to have formed on a framework of dark matter, the unseen form of matter that scientists believe binds galaxies together. The results announced Thursday mark "the first time we have observationally verified this very important theoretical prediction" of a dark-matter backbone, says Jörg Dietrich, an astronomer at the University of Munich Observatory in Germany who led the team. (7/5)

Inmarsat Sees Growing Market For UAV Data Relay, Despite Drawdowns (Source: Aviation Week)
Even as U.S. and coalition forces withdraw from Middle East hot spots, satellite service provider Inmarsat doesn’t necessarily expect a dip in demand for satellite data relay from military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). On the contrary, UAV data services are likely to grow even as troop numbers fall, according to Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce, who sees data from unmanned aircraft as a significant driver of demand for the company’s upcoming Global Xpress Ka-band satellite service. (7/5)

Florida Google Lunar X-PRIZE Team Seeks KickStarter Support (Source: EarthRise Space)
Earthrise Space, Inc. is a non-profit research laboratory and student training ground located in Orlando, Florida near the University of Central Florida. The company provides students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience designing, building, testing and operating real spacecraft, the ultimate STEM experience! The skills and knowledge gained from this provides students with a significant advantage as they enter the workforce and seek high-tech jobs in aerospace or related industries. Click here. (7/6)

ISS Suffered Temporary Loss of Command and Voice Comms with Houston (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
The International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control Room (FCR) in Houston suffered a primary and backup failure of its Front-End Processor (FEP), causing a loss of the forward command and voice link between the orbital outpost and Houston. The issue – since resolved – caused controllers to move to the Red FCR, per contingency procedures. (7/3)

New Plaque Marks Where Space Shuttle 'Stopped' (Source: CollectSpace)
"Mission complete, Houston. After serving the world for over 30 years, the space shuttle has earned its place in history. It's come to a final stop." With those words, astronaut Christopher Ferguson signaled the end of the 135th and final shuttle mission on July 21, 2011. Almost a year later, the spot where STS-135 commander Ferguson brought space shuttle Atlantis to its "wheels stop" has been marked with a permanent plaque.

The 16 by 28 inch (41 by 71 centimeters) black granite marker was installed late last month alongside Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) in Florida. It was the third similarly-designed plaque added to mark where NASA's three retired winged orbiters had come to their final resting stops after each of their last spaceflights. (7/6)

China's Space Challenge to America (Source: Washington Times)
At the dawn of the Space Age, China lagged far behind the United States and the Soviet Union. Beijing didn’t even launch its first satellite until 1970. But China has made remarkable progress. China’s manned space program results from longstanding indigenous development efforts, leavened with some foreign technology. Aerospace efforts have been a top research priority for the People's Republic of China since March 1986.

That’s when senior political and military leadership established Plan 863, formally termed the National High-Technology Research and Development Plan. These leaders saw space capability as promoting economic development. Moreover, many viewed space as an arena where competition with the United States would be both inevitable and necessary. Compared to China, the United States enjoys a far wider array of space capabilities, but Washington seems to employ them less effectively. Here are some things the U.S. can do to get the most out of its space programs. Click here. (7/4)

LinkHellas Sat Secures Orbital Slot for 20 More Years (Source: Space News)
Greece’s Hellas Sat has secured rights to an additional 20 years’ use of the 39 degrees east longitude orbital slot following an agreement with the government of Cyprus, a milestone that industry officials said could pave the way to the company’s long-expected sale. In addition to securing a place for an eventual successor to the Hellas Sat 2 satellite, the accord will “enable the company to expand its commercial operations with additional satellite services through the activation of additional spectrum.” Hellas Sat said in a July 3 statement. (7/6)

House Members Would Give NOAA More Satellite Control, Not Less (Source: Aviation Week)
If acquisition control of critical and delayed U.S. weather satellite programs must be given to one federal agency rather than two, some House members still would choose NOAA over NASA, despite its much-publicized problems. In April, Senate appropriators, impatient with overruns in NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), cut its budget request $117 million by taking away the agency’s satellite acquisition authority and giving it to NASA, which traditionally has been NOAA’s partner on satellite buys.

Last week, the House Science subcommittees on Investigations and Energy held another oversight hearing on JPSS and NOAA’s next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES-R), with witnesses from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, NOAA and NASA. Science Committee Chairman Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) asked NOAA and NASA’s Joint Agency Satellite Division, to give their opinions on the Senate proposal: Would it save money or produce efficiencies? He found the answers unspecific but had expected their reluctance.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) first brought up the idea of giving more control to NOAA rather than less, in light of “this joint system which created so much havoc with Npoess,” referring to the ill-fated, tri-agency National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System program. Rohrabacher suggested that it made more sense for NOAA to assume a greater role in weather satellites because it is the major user. (7/6)

Spaceport America Unveils New Control Center, New Look (Source: Spaceport America)
Spaceport America has launched a new look for its brand on Independence Day. "Spaceport America is helping a new American Revolution take place in the commercial space industry, and what better time to showcase our new brand than the Fourth of July," said Christine Anderson.

The new identity, named "Spirit", represents two stars coming together; the collaboration of innovative efforts to propel man's reach into space. The Spaceport America identity is created from the colors of our nation with red symbolizing energy, strength, and power and blue symbolizing trust, loyalty and wisdom. It reflects Spaceport America’s core commitment to the spirit of exploration, the promise of human potential, and the powerful combination of vision and courage as it launches the next generation of space.

Also this week, the NMSA announced it has obtained a temporary Certificate of Occupancy from the New Mexico Regulations and Licensing Department for the Spaceport Operations Center (SOC), a dome-shaped building adjacent to the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space that will support operations. The design of the interior SOC fit-out is underway and final build out construction is expected to begin by the end of 2012. When complete, the SOC will house NMSA staff and their primary contractors that will handle facilities operations, security, fire and EMT service. (7/4)

New European Weather Satellite Launched (Source DW)
Europe has sent a new weather satellite into space. Its operators hope that it will improve forecasters' ability to predict extreme weather conditions. The satellite is one of two launched Thursday by the European space consortium Arianespace from its center in French Guiana. The other is a telecommunications satellite that will deliver broadband services across North America.

The "MSG-3" weather satellite, which was carried aloft by the Ariane 5 rocket, is to replace an older predecessor from the series Meteosat Second Generation (MSG). The satellites observe Europe, Africa and the North Atlantic from a height of 36,000 kilometers. They are a joint project of Eumetsat and the European Space Agency. (7/6)

Oahu Woman on Backup Team for Mars Simulation (Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser)
Six people will live for four months on a barren lava field on Hawaii island next year to test new food and food preparation techniques for potential deep-space travel. The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) exercise is designed to help NASA figure out the best ways to keep astronauts properly nourished during multiple-year missions to Mars or the moon, and will require the six participants to don space gear whenever they leave their man-made habitat for the outside. (7/4)

Space Trek May Help Worms Live Long (Source: Science News)
Tiny, transparent nematodes that spent 11 days on the International Space Station — the equivalent of about 16 years for a person — appeared to age much more slowly than earthbound worms, Yoko Honda of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology and colleagues report online July 5 in Scientific Reports.

The result is the opposite of what some scientists expected, based on experience with human spaceflight and studies of other animals. Mammals, including people, in the microgravity of space are under physiological stress, says D. Marshall Porterfield, director of NASA’s Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division in Greenbelt, Md. In low gravity, muscles atrophy and aging accelerates. (7/5)

Financial Picks in Space (Source: Motley Fool)
Could a new private space race inject some dynamism into dinosaur defense contractors? Without government largess, many companies wouldn’t exist at all. Specifically, because the U.S. government enjoys a virtual monopoly on military power, defense and military contractors live almost entirely on that big trough that runs alongside the Pentagon. Otherwise, aerospace companies have been suppliers to an $18 billion-a-year monopsony called NASA. But that may soon be changing. Click here. (7/5)

Astrotech Space Stock Ready to Launch (Source: MoneyShow)
Loss of novelty, increased awareness that stated risks are for real, and ultimately federal budget constraints have diminished the number of launches, something that has hampered progress for Astrotech (ASTC), a provider of launch and mission services. But the level of activity, while sufficient to keep ASTC’s revenues above zero, has not been sufficient to prevent considerable slippage in recent years (e.g., from about $100 million a decade ago to $20.1 million in fiscal 2011), not to mention stock-price deterioration (from well above $100, adjusted for a 1-for-10 reverse split, down to the vicinity of $1).

In such situations, the investment case typically emphasizes a company’s ability to survive until better days arrive. Astrotech has been doing that, thanks to being able to keep operations cash flow positive more often than not, and a late-2000s balance-sheet restructuring that wound up converting most debt to equity. It is still too early to announce a happy conclusion to the survival story. But there is now reason to believe the company is a lot closer to the end of its desert passage. That’s because it looks like the privatization of space, so to speak, is getting close to becoming an established reality.

Prosperity for Space X would present more business opportunity for Astrotech. So, too, would prosperity for SpaceX rivals. And Wall Street may be starting to think this way. Astrotech shares have performed well in recent months, and the price-to-sales of 0.92, while by no means lofty, is higher than we’ve seen for some other deep-value low-priced plays, which is noteworthy given Astrotech’s decade-long slide. (7/5)

Higgs Boson Particle Discovery May Help Reveal Dark Matter Secrets (Source: Space.com)
The discovery of a new subatomic particle that is likely the elusive Higgs boson — a particle thought to give all other matter its mass — could be an important step toward uncovering the invisible stuff that makes up the majority of the universe, physicists say. In a much-hyped announcement yesterday (July 4) from the world's largest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, scientists reported evidence of a new "Higgs-like" particle with roughly 125 times the mass of the proton.

Finding the Higgs has even wider implications: It opens the door beyond the Standard Model for explaining the existence of dark matter, the mysterious substance widely thought to make up 83 percent of all matter in the universe. Dark matter has yet to be directly detected; its presence is inferred based on its gravitational pull. Confirming the characteristics of the newly found Higgs-like particle could account for dark matter.

While dark matter is not explained as part of the Standard Model, evidence for the enigmatic substance (based on its gravitational effects) is hard to ignore. This could mean the Standard Model is only part of a wider framework to explain the universe. If the newfound particle is consistent with the Standard Model, physicists may be able to use these results to craft a more encompassing picture of the universe. (7/5)

Astronomers Discover Impossible Binary Systems (Source: Sci-News)
Until now it was thought that such close-in binary stars could not exist. About half of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy are, unlike our Sun, part of a binary system in which two stars orbit each other. Most likely, the stars in these systems were formed close together and have been in orbit around each other from birth onwards. It was always thought that if binary stars form too close to each other, they would quickly merge into one single, bigger star. This was in line with many observations taken over the last three decades showing the abundant population of stellar binaries, but none with orbital periods shorter than 5 hours.

For the first time, the team has investigated binaries of red dwarfs, stars up to ten times smaller and a thousand times less luminous than the Sun. Although they form the most common type of star in the Milky Way, red dwarfs do not show up in normal surveys because of their dimness in visible light. “To our complete surprise, we found several red dwarf binaries with orbital periods significantly shorter than the 5 hour cut-off found for Sun-like stars, something previously thought to be impossible”, said Dr Bas Nefs. (7/6)

Is China’s Space Push Worth It? (Source: Wall Street Journal)
If China goes on to repeat the U.S. moon mission 60 or so years after the original, it would prove what? To my mind, it would represent a poverty of imagination, not riches. It would be one of a long line of Chinese efforts to “catch up” with the West. While it makes sense to try to catch up to the best in auto or airplane manufacturing, merely trying to repeat the glories of the American success program would be a step backward.

The U.S. Apollo moon program ended early because of the cost and because of a lack of purpose. Americans hit golf balls on the moon and drove around in lunar jalopies – cars and golf being two American obsessions. What would Chinese astronauts do differently? Play ping pong? Since then the U.S. manned program has been stuck in low orbit. The U.S. built a space shuttle to fly astronauts to a space station that was decades late in being built.

NASA engineers dreamed of manned missions to Mars, but Congress never came close to approving a program. The costs were too large and humans too weak. Much of a Mars mission would go to shielding astronauts from cosmic rays and creating some form of gravity during the flight so the explorers would be strong enough after a year-long flight to walk on Mars rather than sit on lawn chairs. A better use of U.S. money has been to bankroll unmanned missions to Mars, including one that is close to trying to land an unmanned rover to explore whether the planet ever was home to life. Click here. (7/4)

“Hit the Ground Running”: Busy Space Station Times Ahead (Source: America Space)
Sunday’s landing of Soyuz TMA-03M brought Oleg Kononenko, Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers safely back to Earth after more than half a year in orbit and ushered in the official start of Expedition 32 on the International Space Station. The coming months aboard the outpost promise to be exciting and dramatic, with no fewer than two spacewalks scheduled from the US and Russian segments, plus a Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), SpaceX’s first dedicated Dragon cargo flight, the maiden voyage of Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus craft, the departure of a European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), and more. Click here. (7/4)

NASA To Announce Commercial Space Shuttle Successors Soon (Source: TPM)
A competition is currently underway between seven private spacecraft companies vying to replace the retired space shuttle when it comes to ferrying humans and crew into space, and NASA will soon announce the winners of the final round. NASA aims to select “more than one” transport providers for getting astronauts to the International Space Station, and the agency is likely to announce up to three funding awards soon.

The awards will be worth a total “between $300 and $500 million,” according to NASA’s spokesperson, and they will be announced in the “July/August” timeframe. NASA wants the winners to take the spot of the shuttle fleet, which was retired following the final flight of the shuttle Atlantis in July 2011. Currently, NASA astronauts have to hitch a ride aboard the Russian Soyuz vessel at a cost of upwards of $60 million per seat. NASA hopes that the commercial providers it is pitting against one another will be able to come up with a more cost-effective solution. (7/3)

Poof! Planet-Forming Disk Vanishes Into Thin Air (Source: Science)
Some 460 light-years away in the constellation Centaurus, a thick disk of dust swirled around a young star named TYC 8241 2652 1, where rocky planets like our own were arising. Then, in less than 2 years, the disk just vanished. That's the unprecedented observation astronomers report in a new study, out today. Even more intriguing: The same thing may have happened in our own solar system.

Born about 10 million years ago, the TYC 8241 2652 1 system was chugging along just fine before 2009. Its so-called circumstellar disk glowed at the infrared wavelength of 10 microns, indicating it was warm and lay close to the star—in the same sort of region that, in our own sun's neighborhood, gave rise to the terrestrial planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The infrared data reveal that the dust was about 180°C and located as close to its star as Mercury is to the sun.

By January 2010, however, nearly all infrared light from the dusty disk had vanished. "We had never seen anything like this before," says astronomer Carl Melis of the University of California, San Diego. "We were all scratching our heads and wondering what the hell did we do wrong?" But subsequent observations with both infrared satellites and ground-based telescopes confirmed the surprising discovery, he says: "The disk was gone." (7/4)

Iowa: Feeding the Soul with Space Exploration (Source: Press-Citizen)
The possibility of exploring the universe and finding life on other planets has intrigued the young and old for decades. It’s that type of excitement that the Iowa Space Science Center — a nonprofit organization working to bring a permanent planetarium to Iowa City — is trying to promote.

The organization is holding its first large community outreach event — “Spacetacular!” — Saturday with a full day of activities revolving around space exploration. Events include a program for children in a full-digital planetarium dome, a screening of the film “Apollo 13” and presentations from two prominent figures in space exploration, University of Iowa professor Donald Gurnett and space historian Andrew Chaikin. All events are free and open to the public. (7/4)

Gov. Martinez Names Replacement to Spaceport America Board (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
Gov. Susana Martinez has appointed Las Crucen Paul J. Deason to the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to replace a member who resigned in April. Deason will fill a vacancy created when former spaceport authority board member Scott Krahling, who's also a Doña Ana County commissioner, stepped down from his post after tensions with Martinez's office. Deason has more than 45 years of military experience, most recently serving as the Director of the Science Technology Analysis Team, LLC. (7/3)

Masten's Xaero Sets New Altitude Record (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Masten’s Xaero returns to the skies to complete a flight to 444 meters [1,457 feet] AGL – a record for Xaero and the company. Xaero took some time off while the team put significant work into updating her landing gear and cutting mass and solving some guidance issues. Onward and upward! Click here for the video. (7/3)

Working Group Backs European Prop Module for Orion (Source: Space News)
A French-German working group established to coordinate the policies of Europe’s two biggest space program backers has concluded that the European Space Agency (ESA) should provide a propulsion module for NASA’s Orion crew-transport capsule to pay ESA’s space station operating costs between 2017 and 2020, government and industry officials said.

A second bilateral working group assessing the costs and benefits of an entirely new heavy-lift rocket has not yet delivered its conclusions despite a June 30 deadline, the head of the German Aerospace Center, DLR, said. Both groups were created by the French and German ministries responsible for space. DLR and the French space agency, CNES, coordinated the effort to harmonize French and German space policy goals in advance of a November meeting of ESA ministers to set multiyear budget and program goals. (7/5)

NASA and Excalibur Almaz Inc. Complete Space Act Agreement (Source: NASA)
Excalibur Almaz Inc. (EAI) has successfully completed its Commercial Crew Development Round 2 (CCDev2) partnership with NASA's Commercial Crew Program. Through CCDev2, NASA is spurring innovation and development of safe, reliable and cost-effective spacecraft and launch vehicles capable of transporting astronauts to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station.

EAI, based in Houston, began exchanging technical information with NASA about its human spacecraft concept for low Earth orbit crew transportation in October 2011 under an unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA). The company and NASA reviewed the design of the spacecraft, its systems requirements and compatibility with launch vehicle alternatives. Additional milestones included presentations on how the company plans to test and integrate its spacecraft in advance of a crewed launch. All of the EAI SAA milestones were completed by June 19. (7/6)

Officials Research Ownership of SpaceX Launch Site (Source: Brownsville Herald)
Cameron County is researching title to some properties that could be sold or leased for the proposed SpaceX project near Brownsville. The issue was discussed briefly at Thursday’s Commissioners Court meeting. No action was taken, and County Judge Carlos Cascos said the item will be placed on the agenda every two weeks in the event action is required.

SpaceX proposes to build a vertical launch area and a command center to support up to 12 commercial launches per year. The vehicles to be launched include the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and smaller reusable, suborbital launch vehicles. The site being considered for the launch pad is at the eastern end of State Highway 4 near Boca Chica Beach, about 3 miles north of the border with Mexico. It is about 5 miles south of Port Isabel and South Padre Island.

Cascos said it is his understanding that the properties being researched would house the proposed command center if the project moves forward. David Ruiz Cisneros appeared at the meeting and stated that his family might own some of the land in question, based on a land purchase he said was protected by the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. “We are asking that the county provide us proof of ownership,” Ruiz said after the meeting. Under the Adams-Onis Treaty, Spain gave up Florida to the United States, and disputes regarding the U.S.-Mexico border were resolved. (7/5)

China Beats Russia and U.S. on Space Launches (Source: RIA Novosti)
For the first time in the history of space exploration, China beat Russia on the number of space launches in a given period of time, a rocket engine manufacturer said on Wednesday. China conducted 10 of the world’s total 35 launches in the first six months of 2012, Russia’s NPO Energomash said on its website. Russia was second with nine launches, followed by the United States with eight launches, the report said. The list also included multinational companies Arianespace with three launches and Sea Launch with one launch, as well as India, Iran, Japan and North Korea, each of which attempted to send one satellite into orbit so far this year, the report said. (7/4)

Crew Picked to Study Food Production in Deep Space (Source: LA Times)
A crew of six people has been chosen for a simulated Mars mission to test ways to feed astronauts on space trips that last years. Wolfgang Puck was not among them. Thursday’s announcement came from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Cornell University, which selected the crew from more than 700 applicants. Nine people took part in an intense testing and training session in June, with six chosen for the mission and the three others serving as the reserve crew.

Their mission, called HI-SEAS — for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation — is to figure out how to make food and what foods will taste good enough to take on long missions. Even though plenty of earthbound people eat Rice Krispies every morning for years on end, things are different in space. Menu fatigue is a major challenge, said Jean Hunter, associate professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell. (7/5)

Costa Rican Astronaut Delivers Motor Mock-Up (Source: Tico Times)
Last Friday, Costa Rican astronaut turned space entrepreneur Franklin Chang landed at Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport in a NASA airplane. The flight was for delivery of a mock-up model of a two-rocket plasma space motor to the Costa Rican subsidiary of Chang’s research corporation, Ad Astra Rocket Company.

Known by the acronym VASIMR – for Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket – the actual motor is being developed to power pure space vehicles operating outside the Earth’s atmosphere. The motor is revolutionary, developing thrust on the basis of expelling super-hot plasma gas, as opposed to traditional chemical rockets that use combustion of explosive fuels combined with liquid oxygen. (7/6)

NASA Centers are Selling to Industry Now and Not Just Buying (Source: Huntsville Times)
They've been around since NASA's beginnings, but Space Act Agreements between NASA and private companies have recently taken off as America launches a private space industry. NASA centers like Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center have hundreds of legal contracts with industry today, and they are creating a new business model in which NASA sells services as well as buys them. NASA's message to industry today? "We really appreciate the business and, if you have anything else, we're here and we'll be happy to work it for you." (7/6)

Vital Eye for Killer Asteroids Could Shut Imminently (Source: New Scientist)
A lack of cash could end the only survey dedicated to searching the southern skies for Earth-grazing comets and asteroids. That would create a blind spot in our global view of objects that could cause significant devastation should they hit Earth.

The Siding Spring Survey uses images from the Siding Spring observatory in Australia as part of the global Catalina Sky Survey, an effort to discover and track potentially dangerous near-Earth objects. Astronomers sift through virtually identical images of the sky, looking for moving objects.

Catalina uses a range of northern hemisphere telescopes - and the Sliding Spring Survey. But in October, Catalina cut off cash to the survey due to growing costs, caused partly by changes in the exchange rate between the Australian and US dollars. That decision was "very difficult", says Steve Larson, who heads Catalina. (7/6)

America's Nerdiest Destination: Virginia's Emerging Space Coast (Source: Huffington Post)
A summer ago, as NASA astronauts prepped for the final mission of the 30-year Shuttle program, Florida's Space Coast cashed in for the last time on gawkers arriving to witness lift off: the smoke, the noise, the flames. An era of space tourism had come to an end. Though the next era of space tourism will likely be dominated by Virgin Galactic, Space X and other companies hoping to sell tickets to the great beyond, those dreams have yet to be realized.

In the meantime, a generation of Carl Sagan readers, Trekkies and star watchers had been loosed from Cape Canaveral's orbit. Nerd tourists could head to the spaceport in the New Mexican desert, Area 51 or Wright Brother National Memorial, but they no longer had a definitive vector.

Then, in April, the retired shuttle Discovery arrived in Washington and highlighted the host of other space-centric attractions coming into their own. Nerd tourists can now access a diversity of museums, launch facilities and geek-friendly attractions without driving farther than a few hours from Dulles International. Click here. (7/5)

Boeing Awarded $111M To Upgrade Two U.S. Air Force Communications Satellites (Source: Space.com)
Boeing Satellite Systems will boost the capacity of two military communications satellites under a $111 million contract modification awarded by the U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon said in a July 2 contract announcement. Boeing will install upgraded digital channelizers aboard the eighth and ninth Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellites under the contract. The upgraded hardware also will be installed on the 10th WGS satellite, which the Air Force is expected to order in July. (7/6)

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