November 14, 2012

Russian Cable Breaks, Disrupting Control of Satellites, Space Station (Source: Reuters)
Russia's space agency scrambled to refigure communications with civilian satellites and the International Space Station on Wednesday after a cable broke outside Moscow, but said the satellites and the station were operating normally. Roskosmos, offered assurances after state-run news agency RIA cited an unnamed source as saying Russia lost the ability to control most of its civilian satellites and send commands to its segment of the space station.

"The cable break ... is not affecting the functioning of Russian satellites and the International Space Station," Roskosmos spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov said. He said the agency was able to communicate with the satellites and control them. Kuznetsov said a cable had broken during work by a construction company at an unspecified site northeast of Moscow. RIA cited its source as saying the broken cable would not be repaired for at least 48 hours. It also cited a separate source saying military satellites had not been affected. (11/14)

South Korea Urges Russia to Send Rocket Parts Swiftly (Source: Space Daily)
South Korea has urged Russia to send rocket parts as soon as possible so it can go ahead with an already-delayed satellite launch this month, an official said Tuesday. Seoul wants to make another attempt to send the satellite into space between November 9 and 24 after last month's rocket launch was cancelled because of a defective part. (11/13)

Russian Satellite System Official Sacked (Source: Space Daily)
Russia's defense industry housecleaning continued over the weekend when satellite navigation system designer Yuri Urlichich was sacked from his job. Urlichich, the chief designer of the costly and scandal-plagued Glonass system of 24 navigation satellites, was fired Sunday by the Kremlin's military-industrial commission headed by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. (11/13)

Hawaiian Program Gears Up to Test Space Vehicles (Source: Ventura County Star)
A program to test space vehicles on the Big Island is getting an infusion of millions of new investment dollars. The state is putting $2.34 million into the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) to help the program prepare for missions to Mars or the moon. Rob Kelso, the new director of the PISCES, said long-term plans call for a high-tech park in Hawaii for research into technologies related to space travel and colonization.

He joined other researchers and space enthusiasts at the annual PISCES conference in Waikoloa this week for discussions and demonstrations of robotic equipment designed to explore challenging space environments. Another avenue for research would be to develop new ways to extract resources, including oxygen and water, from the terrain on Mars, which has a chemical composition strikingly similar to portions of the Hawaii island landscape. (11/13)

Branson Talks Space Travel in Florida Visit (Source:
Privatize space travel, decriminalize drug abuse and start companies during fledgling economies. That was the message billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Richard Branson delivered to hundreds of business leaders Tuesday during a Global Financial Leadership Conference in Naples, Florida. Branson said the U.S. was right to halt NASA launches, which can cost upward of $1 billion per shot. Private companies can launch for 2 to 5 percent of that, Branson said.

Leo Melamed, chairman emeritus of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which presented the conference, said he particularly appreciated Branson’s discussion on private space travel. “That was the most important thing he probably said because it truly is an endorsement of private sector doing things they can do much better than government,” Melamed said. (11/13)

South Korea Postpones Launch Until End of November (Source: Strait Times)
South Korea has postponed a key satellite launch until the last week of November because of tech-transfer-related delays in the shipment of rocket parts from Russia. After two failures in 2009 and 2010, the planned rocket launch is considered crucial for South Korea's efforts to join an elite club of nations - including Asian powers China, Japan and India - capable of putting a satellite in orbit. The launch was originally scheduled for October 26 but it was cancelled at the last minute after engineers detected a broken rubber seal in a connector between the launch pad and the rocket's first stage. (11/14)

Russia Launches Sixth Meridian Satellite (Source: Russian Space Web)
A Russian rocket successfully delivered the latest-generation military communications satellite, following a liftoff from the nation's northern spaceport Wednesday. The launch of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage took place on November 14, 2012, at 15:42:46 Moscow Summer Time from Pad No. 4 at Site 43 in Plesetsk Cosmodrome.

The rocket was carrying the Meridian No. 6 satellite intended for military communications. Following a nine-minute powered flight, a payload section comprised of the Fregat and the satellite was scheduled to separate from the third stage of the launch vehicle at 15:51 Moscow Summer Time. Following maneuvers of the upper stage, the spacecraft was scheduled to be released at 18:00 Moscow Summer Time. (11/14)

'Orphan' Alien Planet Found Nearby Without Parent Star (Source:
Astronomers have discovered a potential "rogue" alien planet wandering alone just 100 light-years from Earth, suggesting that such starless worlds may be extremely common across the galaxy. The free-floating object, called CFBDSIR2149, is likely a gas giant planet four to seven times more massive than Jupiter, scientists say in a new study unveiled today (Nov. 14). The planet cruises unbound through space relatively close to Earth (in astronomical terms), perhaps after being booted from its own solar system. (11/14)

Energia President Awarded International Man of the Year Award (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The international Man of the Year 2012 prize is awarded to persons and organizations from Russian Federation and other countries for outstanding achievements in science, culture, public administration and politics, economics, education, medicine, small and innovation business, sports, etc. RSC Energia President and General Designer V.A. Lopota was awarded the prize in the Economics category for personal contribution to the development of rocket and space technology. (11/14)

After the Vision, What Next? (Source: Spudis Lunar Resources)
Because the agency’s initial response to the 2004 Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) was to focus on a human mission to Mars, NASA began to devise an Apollo-style architecture (as the Apollo program was the one successful operational template with which the agency was familiar). These decisions effectively derailed the incremental and sustainable approach for lunar return intended by the VSE. 

Such a result was not the intent of the program architects, nor that of many of us who were working with NASA in the immediate years following its announcement.  Certainly I was not interested in participating in a new “Mission to Mars” effort doomed to failure from the beginning – many of us had already experienced this during the years of the Space Exploration Initiative (1989-1992), an earlier attempt to re-create the Apollo zeitgeist. Click here. (11/11)

Astrium Americas to Provide Space Capabilities to North American Market (Source: Astrium)
Astrium and EADS North America announced the creation of Astrium Americas, America’s newest space company. A subsidiary of EADS North America, Astrium Americas will bring Astrium’s broad global space capabilities to North America. Astrium Americas will provide government customers with secure satellite communications services. Astrium Americas, headquartered in Herndon, VA will provide Astrium’s advanced telecommunications, geo-information, space transportation and satellite capabilities specifically tailored to meet the demanding requirements of U.S. and Canadian government customers. (11/14)

U.S. to Station Space Debris Radar in Australia (Source: Aviation Week)
The U.S. military said on Wednesday it will station in Australia an advanced radar to help track space junk threatening satellites and is working toward placement of a new, state-of-the-art deep-space telescope developed by the Pentagon’s advanced research arm. The positioning of the advanced military equipment is another sign of deepening U.S. military ties with Australia and America’s widely touted “pivot” to Asia.

It follows an agreement last year for a rotating training presence of up to 2,500 Marines in Australia’s northern tropical city of Darwin. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Australia’s Defense Minister Stephen Smith made the announcement after high-level talks in the city of Perth, adding the C-Band radar would be moved from its present location on the island of Antigua some time in 2014. (11/14)

No comments: