November 25, 2012

Ukraine Presses Russia on Joint Space Launch Program (Source: Space Daily)
The implementation of a Russian-Ukrainian space launch program now depends on the Russian Defense Ministry, the head of the Ukrainian State Space Agency said on Friday. Yuriy Alekseyev said Ukraine has done its part of the work on the Dnepr project and added that the ball is now in Russia's court.

"We have dealt with all questions at our end; the questions now should be addressed to the [Russian] Defense Ministry," he said. The program's future became uncertain, with reports saying Russia had decided to close it as unviable. The Russian and Ukrainian heads of state recently decided to resume work on the program. (11/25)

University of Glasgow and Clyde Space Attack Space Junk Problem (Source: Space Daily)
Engineers at the University of Glasgow and Clyde Space Ltd have developed a practical solution to the increasing problem of space debris. Development of the Aerodynamic End Of Life Deorbit System, or AEOLDOS, could help ensure that objects sent into space in future can be removed from orbit at the end of their operational cycle. AEOLDOS is lightweight, foldable 'aerobrake' which can be added to small satellites known as CubeSats before they are launched into low Earth orbit. (11/23)

Failure Of India's Big Rocket Project Is Symbolic Of Deep Structural Problems (Source: Space Daily)
The ongoing "Asia Pivot" by United States is rapidly changing the regional dynamics of the Indo - Pacific region, and nowhere is it more visible than the sphere of cooperation in defence and space research. Recently Canadian and Australian defense co-operation and ties with India reached unprecedented highs, a chain of event termed as the "Rise of the Anglosphere" by historian Walter Russell Mead.

However, the successive failure of Indian GSLV missions, combined with India's stubborn secrecy and fierce independence in the space sector is giving rise to doubts about the scope of further future co-operations. Although the failure of this signature launching vehicle is attributed to technical glitches, it is highly symbolic of the greater lack of clarity, purpose and direction in the Indian space program. (11/25)

U.S. Space Program Turns to Russian Engines for Boost (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Sometime early next year, a new U.S. rocket is expected to rise from the sandy shores of eastern Virginia. Built by Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., and dubbed Antares — for the bright star of the same name — the rocket represents NASA's latest attempt to break Russia's dominance of the global launch business. But even if the Orbital launch is a success, it won't mean NASA will have escaped Moscow's orbit. For the twin engines powering Antares won't be American originals; instead, they are derived from the decades-old, and now defunct, Soviet moon program.

The irony highlights what some say is a critical failure of U.S. space policy: Only two American companies build the type of high-performance, liquid-fuel rocket engines that are critical to space missions. And they don't sell to rivals. Some say there's little economic justification for a made-in-the-U.S.A. rocket engine. In an era of increasing globalization, they say, U.S. companies should focus on their strengths — designing and assembling rockets and equipping them with the avionics necessary for successful orbital flights — and let other countries provide the engines. Click here. (11/25)

Billion-Ton Comet Near-Miss in 1883 (Source: MIT Technology Review)
On 12th and 13th August 1883, an astronomer at a small observatory in Zacatecas in Mexico made an extraordinary observation. José Bonilla counted some 450 objects, each surrounded by a kind of mist, passing across the face of the Sun. Unable to account for the phenomenon, the editor of the L'Astronomie journal suggested, rather incredulously, that it must have been caused by birds, insects or dust passing front of the Bonilla's telescope. (Since then, others have adopted Bonilla's observations as the first evidence of UFOs.)

Today, Hector Manterola at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, and a couple of pals, give a different interpretation. They think that Bonilla must have been seeing fragments of a comet that had recently broken up. This explains the 'misty' appearance of the pieces and why they were so close together. (10/17)

Boeing, ULA Work to Reset Manned Launch Capabilities (Source: Florida Today)
At the north end of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a launch complex where unmanned Atlas rockets blast off with super-secret national-security satellites. Four towering lightning protection masts surround the pad, which also has been the embarkation point for robotic NASA spacecraft flying missions to the moon, Mars, Jupiter and Pluto.

Mike Leinbach looks out over the landscape and envisions something else: American astronauts riding an elevator to the top of a 22-story crew access tower, crossing a swing arm, and then boarding a U.S. spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. “This is going to happen. We are going to put American astronauts into orbit on American rockets again,” said Leinbach. Click here. (11/25)

Boeing Might Invest More in CST-100 to Speed Schedule (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The Boeing and SpaceX spacecraft both ranked high on their technical merits. But NASA raised concerns about Boeing’s financial commitment to the public-private sector partnership. Ferguson said Boeing is thinking about upping its corporate ante, aiming to advance the date of its first piloted test flight. “We’re looking heavily into getting some additional Boeing investment to move that (late 2016) date to the left significantly, which we think we need to do to keep pace with SpaceX,” Ferguson said. (11/25)

China Successfully Launches Remote Sensing Satellite (Source: Xinhua) -
The Jiuquan spaceport confirmed that China successfully launched the Yaogan XVI remote-sensing satellite into space at 12:06 a.m. Sunday. The satellite, launched from the center in northwest China's Gansu Province, was boosted by a Long March-4C carrier rocket and sent into a predetermined orbit. The launch marked the 172th of the Long March series carrier rockets.

The Yaogan XVI remote-sensing satellite was developed by an affiliate research institute of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It has been designed for a variety of uses, including technological experimentation, land resource surveying, agricultural yield estimation and disaster prevention and reduction. (11/25)

NASA Establishes Applied Sciences Advisory Committee (Source: Space Policy Online)
NASA is establishing an Applied Sciences Advisory Committee (ASAC) to provide guidance to the agency on implementation of a grants program designed to promote the integrated use of remote sensing and geospatial information at a state and local level. The advisory committee is being created in response to language in the 2005 NASA Authorization Act. 

Section 313 of the law requires NASA to establish "a program of grants for competitively awarded pilot projects to explore the integrated use of sources of remote sensing and other geospatial information to address State, local, regional and tribal agency needs" and Section 314 directs NASA to establish an advisory committee "to monitor the program."

NASA initially complied with the law by forming an "Applied Sciences Analysis Group" under the Earth Science Subcommittee of the NASA Advisory Council (NAC) in 2008.  In announcing the creation of ASAC now, NASA said that the new committee will better meet statutory requirements. (11/24)

NASA's Nobel Laureate John Mather 'Reddit' for Questions On-line (Source: NASA)
Nobel laureate and James Webb Space Telescope Project Scientist John Mather will answer astrophysics questions on on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 at 1 p.m. EST. Reddit, a popular on-line community where users vote on content they find interesting, has a sub-forum for interviews with volunteers who answer questions about their specific experiences. (11/24)

SpaceX Acquires More South Texas Properties (Source: Brownsville Herald)
SpaceX continues to invest in Cameron County, buying more property as well as options it holds on other lands, as the time nears to unveil the results of the environmental impact study. SpaceX purchased two more properties on Election Day Nov. 6 on the steps of the Cameron County Judicial Building on East Harrison Street, according to public records.

Local officials have emphasized that this does not reflect that the California-based SpaceX has selected the Cameron County site near Boca Chica Beach from others that it is considering to establish a rocket launch facility.
Gilberto Salinas, vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council, reiterated Wednesday that BEDC is not involved in SpaceX’s land purchases and has distanced itself from SpaceX’s internal real estate decisions. (11/24)

Canadian Forces Still Have No Spacce Policy (Source: Ottawa Citizen)
Canada’s Department of National Defense still hasn’t yet produced its long awaited space policy, already years behind schedule. It’s still in draft form, as it has been for years. South of the border things are moving more quickly. The U.S. Department of Defense announced that its new DOD space policy was signed on OCt. 18. (11/24)

Mojave Spaceport Governing District Changes Its Name (Source: Parabolic Arc)
After 41 years, the East Kern Airport District (EKAD) will soon become just a memory. The district’s Board of Directors voted on Tuesday to adopt the name of the airport it operates. The district will be know as the Mojave Air and Space Port beginning on Jan. 1, 2013. (11/23)

Military Space Plans Worth Keeping an Eye On (Source: Florida Today)
The DoD policy addresses two important issues. First, the military’s leadership says it is working on partnerships with commercial companies to reduce the cost of development of new space systems as well as access to space. They’ll also share technology as appropriate. The military also wants, as part of its space mission, to protect the “industrial base” that supports space development in the U.S. In short, that means the military will from time to time decide on contracts and other issues in a way that makes sure to protect the existence of companies with specialized capabilities, such as the manufacture of solid rocket motors. (11/24)

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