February 6, 2013

Space Expedition Corp., XCOR Aerospace, To Offer Space Travel To Canadians (Source: Huffington Post)
There's another space race underway — only this one isn't nearly as ominous as the Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s to get a man on the moon. The new battle is between private companies that are working to get the space tourism industry off the ground this year. For Canadians dreaming about becoming a space tourist, that's good news because a price war appears to be going on.

Space Expedition Corp. and XCOR Aerospace signed a deal with Quebec travel agency Uniktour on Friday to offer suborbital flights to Quebecers. A similar deal is in the works for the rest of the Canadian market and is set to be announced in the coming days in Toronto. (2/1)

Embry-Riddle Plans Nation's First Degree in Commercial Space Operations (Source: ERAU)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University plans to launch the nation’s first bachelor’s degree in Commercial Space Operations. The new degree program, which would be offered at the Daytona Beach campus of the world’s largest accredited aviation and aerospace academic institution, will supply the commercial spaceflight industry with skilled graduates in the areas of space policy, operations, regulation and certification, as well as space flight safety, and space program training, management and planning.

“As a leading innovator and service provider within the aerospace industry, Embry-Riddle is committed to building an academic program that supports the emerging needs of commercial space enterprise,” said Daytona Beach Campus Chancellor Richard H. Heist. “This first-of-its-kind degree program would continue to solidify our students’ spot at the forefront of an industry that is sure to grow for decades to come.”

Graduates of the new degree program will have the qualifications needed to fill jobs in management, training and education, policy, safety, program and project planning, human factors, regulation, flight planning and operations. Final approval for the program, slated to begin in Fall 2013, is pending Board of Trustees approval in March. Click here for details. (2/6)

GOP Balks at Obama's Stop-Gap Sequester Proposal (Source: Defense News)
President Barack Obama wants to push back the deadline for across-the-board sequestration cuts, but GOP lawmakers say they'll rally against the idea. "If Congress cannot act immediately on a bigger package ... by the time the sequester is [scheduled to] take effect, I believe they should pass a smaller package of cuts and tax reforms to delay by a few more months the sequester," Obama said. Lawmakers critical about the idea said addressing spending now is better than putting off sequestration. (2/5)

Some GOP Leaders May Be OK with Sequestration (Source: Politico)
A growing sentiment among some House Republicans is that the nation's spending is so out of control that allowing sequestration to go forward might not be such a bad idea. "I haven't done the headcount, but I can tell you a large part is committed to saying, we have to reduce spending," said Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. "We'd rather do it another way. But if the only way it can be done is sequestration, then it has to be done." (2/5)

Changes to Military Export Rules Ready for Congress (Source: Defense News)
A reform of the rules governing exporting by defense contractors has been sent to Congress by the State Department, and lawmakers' review of the proposal will begin soon. The proposed changes regulate the export of gas turbines and aircraft products. In a statement accompanying the proposal, the State Department said the redefined aircraft category "does not contain controls on all generic parts, components, accessories, and attachments that are specifically designed or modified for a defense article." (2/5)

At Least 11 States are Considering UAV Legislation, ACLU Says (Source: San Diego Union-Tribune)
At least 11 states are looking at legislation to restrict unmanned aerial vehicles, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. In Montana, legislation that would require law-enforcement agencies to obtain search warrants to deploy UAVs is under consideration. (2/5)

Satellite Companies Want DOD to Reform Buying (Source: Satellite Today)
Executives from a group of satellite companies say they want the Pentagon to change the way it spends money on projects and to consider whether it can save by purchasing commercially built satellites. Executives from SES Government Solutions, XTAR and Intelsat General wrote a letter to the Pentagon suggesting changes that include cost analysis to compare government and commercial satellites and the creation of a single office to manage both kinds of satellites. (2/4)

Lockheed Offers Buyouts; Layoffs Possible (Source: Defense News)
Lockheed Martin is offering buyouts to midlevel managers in its information systems and global solutions unit, a company spokesman confirmed Tuesday. An unspecified number of eligible employees have until the end of the month to volunteer for layoffs. If their layoffs are approved by the company, those employees must leave Lockheed by March 22, said spokesman Keith Mordoff.

Mordoff said the voluntary layoffs were not prompted by looming sequestration budget cuts, but Lockheed’s information systems and global solutions unit is assessing the potential impacts of sequestration to its business, programs and customers. Lockheed is looking to reduce its workforce by 300 to 350 employees, he said. It isn’t clear over what time period. (2/4)

Maintaining Space Dominance (Source: Defense News)
The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating the most cost-effective ways to maintain its strategic and technological dominance as the U.S. moves beyond the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaders agree that satellite communications has become central to holding on to this edge, but how will DoD’s space architecture integrate the commercial satellite capabilities upon which it so actively relies? Will hosted payloads, leased capacity or other options be the most valuable path to enabling war fighter success?

As acting undersecretary of the Air Force, Jamie Morin stated recently at the Air Force Association’s Global Warfare Symposium, “Space is a fundamental pillar of America’s military and economic might. It’s an enduring source of American strength and American advantage.” Click here. (2/6)

SpaceX Pays a Visit to Brazil (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The president of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), José Raimundo Coelho, received the director of business for the American company SpaceX, Stella Guillen, on January 28. Guillen came to Brazil to present SpaceX, to know the programs developed by the country, and to evaluate possible partnerships. “It is interesting to know more about what private companies are doing in the industry. We can learn from them and also envision future partnerships, “says the chairman of AEB.

After the visit to the AEB, Guillen gave a lecture to students and faculty at the University of Brasilia. Just this week, she visits the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). SpaceX: The company was established in 2002 by Elon Musk, with the goal of providing space transportation for people and cargo, at a low cost. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California (USA), the company currently has 2,500 employees with two launch centers – one in Florida and one in California – and a testing center located in Texas. Editor's Note: So is SpaceX exploring the potential for launching Falcon-9 missions from Alcantara? (2/6)

Scientists Expect to Find Alien Earths Circling Red Dwarfs in Our 'Backyard' (Source: NBC)
An analysis of data from NASA's Kepler planet-hunting mission suggests that about 6 percent of all red dwarf stars should have habitable, Earth-sized planets — and because red dwarfs are the most common stars in our galaxy, the nearest Earthlike planet could be as close as 13 light-years. "We thought we would have to search vast distances to find an Earthlike planet.

Now we realize another Earth is probably in our own backyard, waiting to be spotted," said Harvard astronomer Courtney Dressing. That doesn't mean we can just hop out the back door and head for a red dwarf: Although 13 light-years is relatively close in astronomical terms, it would still take more than 50,000 years to cover that distance using current propulsion technology. But the finding could lead astronomers to cast a wider net in the search for the conditions conducive to extraterrestrial life. (2/6)

Six New Globalstar Satellites Ride Soyuz Rocket to Space (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
Launching into a clear dark sky over the deserts of Kazakhstan, a Soyuz booster rocketed into space Wednesday with six satellites for Globalstar's mobile communications network. (2/6)

One Commercial Earth-Imager Deferred in Favor of Another (Source: SpacecFlightNow.com)
As anticipated, a commercial Earth-imaging satellite making its way through final testing for a planned springtime launch atop an Atlas 5 rocket from California instead will enter prolonged storage after a major merger in the industry. Previous competitors GeoEye of Virginia and DigitalGlobe of Colorado operated independent fleets of sharp-eyed satellites to collect high-resolution images of the Earth's surface.

But under the merger that closed Jan. 30, the two rivals will have a combined constellation of five Earth observation satellites and a broad suite of high-value geospatial production and analytic services. The two companies also have two state-of-the-art satellites under construction, GeoEye 2 originally slated for launching this spring and WorldView 3 following in 2014 aboard Atlas 5 rockets from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Under the revised plan announced Monday, the GeoEye 2 spacecraft will see its launch deferred at least a few years while WorldView 3 progresses as scheduled towards liftoff in the middle of next year to support the firm's EnhancedView contract to supply images to the U.S. government and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. (2/6)

NSS Reaches Initial Kickstarter Goal - Next Stop Washington (Source: NSS)
I’m delighted to report that yesterday the National Space Society's Kickstarter campaign reached our initial goal of $35,000! With your support – 500 backers – we’ve come a long way. People from over 20 nations have banded together to make this happen and soon, for the first time, the National Space Society will have a video to explain the importance of space to the public.

Well, we have nine days left in our campaign…what happens now? Ahead of us are three stretch goals. At $45,000 we’ll be able to create both a trailer and a short 5-7 minute version of the video. At $75,000 we’ll be able to create two supplementary videos: Moon 101 and Spinoffs. (2/6)

FAA Getting Serious on Space Transportation Integration (Source: SPACErePORT)
FAA Deputy Administrator Carl Burleson spoke at the 16th Annual Commercial Spce Transportation Conference and focused, in part, on how the FAA is beginning to work more closely with other nations to mature plans for integrating space transportation (mainly launches and re-entry operations) into the gloabal airspace management regime. In the U.S., he said the commercial space industry will have a seat at the table for implentation of the NextGen program for modernizing the National Airspace System. With NextGen, he also sees a future for the FAA in "Space Traffic Management." (2/6)

Ad Astra Research Scientist Presents Findings on Magnetic Nozzles (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Christopher Scott Olsen, a Research Scientist at Ad Astra’s Houston Research Laboratory, formally presented the results of his 5-year company-sponsored PhD research on the physics of magnetic nozzles. In his talk, entitled, “Experimental Characterization of Plasma Detachment from Magnetic Nozzles,” Olsen described the potential mechanisms responsible for the observed separation of accelerated plasma in the VASIMR magnetic nozzle, thus providing useful thrust.

The investigation is also relevant in explaining the intricate behavior of high energy plasma jets observed in solar flares and mass ejections in distant galaxies and stars. The experimental data show that two interrelated mechanisms in particular: loss of “adiabaticity” and the onset of plasma turbulence appear to dominate the detachment process. Click here. (2/6)

Georgia Space Day on Feb. 6 in Atlanta (Source: AIAA)
“Aero Economics 101: The Dynamic Impact of Aerospace on Georgia.” A legislative day at the Georgia State Capitol intended to educate and stimulate state lawmakers on the crucial Georgia aerospace industry. AIAA is a co-sponsor of this event along with the Georgia Airports Association (GAA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Atlanta Aero Club, and Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). (2/6)

Porn Star to Fly in Space (Source: Parabolic Arc)
In yet another giant…ummm….something….for mankind, an American actress is set to become the first porn star in space next year aboard a Lynx suborbital vehicle. Coco Brown, 34, who, using that name as well as “Honey Love,” has starred in porn epics like “Big Booty Bomb 2,” “Sugarwalls Slop Shots” and “It Don’t Matter, Just Don’t Bite 5″ is now in the Netherlands training to become the first adult star and the second African America woman to take the journey into that final frontier. (2/6)

Kazakhstan and Israel to Cooperate in Space Exploration (Source: Caspio Net)
The Israeli Air Force Center has staged an international conference devoted to the prospects of space exploration. The conference held in the Israeli city of Herzliya discussed some joint manned missions and opportunities for international cooperation in the development of the space industry. Kazakhstan’s test astronaut, Colonel Aidyn Aimbetov was a guest of honour at the conference. Various countries of the European Union, as well as NASA representatives also presented their innovations in this area. However, Israeli officials named Kazakhstan as the most promising partner in space exploration. (2/6)

New Mexico Bill Moving Through House (Source: Albuquerque Business First)
The “informed consent bill” that will protect suppliers at Spaceport America passed the House Judiciary Committee late Monday. The vote was unanimous, said Virgin Galactic spokesman Tom Carroll. The bill, which was amended to match a Senate version that passed last week, could reach the House floor as soon as Thursday for a vote. The law, which will offer some liability protections for Spaceport suppliers, has been a priority for many businesspeople during this legislative session. (2/6)

Colorado Space Industry Needs New Funding Sources (Source: KMGH)
Governor John Hickenlooper will talk about investing in the space industry to promote economic development in Colorado on Tuesday. Space is a vital part of the state's economy, according to a report by the Brookings Institute. It says that more than 66,000 people work in generally well-paid space-related jobs in Colorado, generating more than $8 billion in income. That includes satellite technology, GPS mapping and even a proposal to convert land near Denver International Airport into a spaceport that will launch commercial space flights. (2/6)

Colorado Should Look to Space for Prosperity (Source: Coloradoan)
The report, titled “Launch! Taking Colorado’s Space Economy to the Next Level,” says that workers in the industry are well paid, with an average annual income of $92,500, nearly twice that of the typical Colorado private-sector employee. But it warns that much of the industry is still tied to federal defense contracts, which are scheduled to be severely trimmed in automatic budget cuts due to kick in next month.

Then there’s the spaceport. Hickenlooper in 2011 asked the federal government to designate Front Range Airport, near Denver International Airport, as a potential spaceport, where commercial flights to space could launch. The project won a $200,000 federal grant and work is continuing.

Lund said the spaceport remains a “long-term” ambition, but that Colorado’s extraterrestrial tech future also lies with other projects, like a bioscience firm’s effort to explore why Alzheimer’s disease develops slower in zero-gravity. He said that’s the sort of cross-industry collaboration the government needs to encourage. (2/6)

ITAR Launches Change for India (Source: Frontline)
A recent law passed in the U.S. that will ease the export controls on commercial satellites has the potential to make it simpler for ISRO to exploit the international market for launch services... “As regards a CSLA with India, as long as rules are the same for both the sides, there is no issue,” Sridharamurthy said. “But the U.S. wants us to agree on some conditions which are not really reciprocal, especially with regard to data exchange. Their argument is that data are not controlled by the government. But nothing seemed beyond resolution, and we were pretty close to agreement,” he added. Click here. (2/6)

Dark Matter: Experiment to Shed Light on Dark Particles (Source: BBC)
In a man-made cavern, deep beneath a mountain, scientists are hoping to shed light on one of the most mysterious substances in our Universe - dark matter. The Gran Sasso National Laboratory seems more like a Bond villain's lair than a hub for world class physics. It's buried under the highest peak of Italy's Gran Sasso mountain range; the entrance concealed behind a colossal steel door found halfway along a tunnel that cuts through the mountain.

But there's a good reason for its subterranean location. The 1,400m of rock above means that it is shielded from the cosmic rays that constantly bombard the surface of our planet. It provides scientists with the "silence" they need to understand some of the strangest phenomena known to physics. Inside three vast halls, a raft of experiments are running - but with their latest addition, DarkSide50, scientists are setting their sights on dark matter. (2/6)

KSC Mobile Launcher Redesign Plan for SLS Nears Completion (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
Teams at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) are expected to complete a redesign plan for the giant Mobile Launcher (ML) by the end of the month. Re-purposed for the Space Launch System (SLS), companies will soon be able to bid for contracts to carry out the conversion process. Click here. (2/6)

Volusia Launch Site Needs Boost From Space Agency (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Space Florida is doing its share of heavy lifting in trying to get a small, private launch site located on 150 acres in southern Volusia County. It's time now for local, state and federal officials to step up and help out. Volusia County needs this proposed SpaceX launch site on land controlled by NASA. If Volusia County loses a proposed private-launch site to a competing site in Georgia, Texas or Puerto Rico, the loss will be large for Florida's space sector and the local economy.

But Space Florida and NASA do not appear to be on the same page regarding the project. In a recent letter, NASA replied to Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll's request for the acreage with skepticism. NASA said the land may be needed for future missions and as a buffer between its operations and the community. But Space Florida President Frank DiBello is happy that NASA officials indicated they will continue to discuss the issue. Click here. (2/5)

Sea Launch Zenit Loss Blamed on Gimbal Control Pump (Source: Flight Global)
The 1 February loss of a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL appears due to a fault within a pump that powers the thrust directional control system of the liquid oxygen/kerosene-fueled RD-171 engine, according to parent company Energia. The Zenit lost directional control almost immediately after liftoff from Sea Launch's converted oil platform in the Pacific Ocean. A pump that powers the machinery which controls the direction of the exhaust nozzle appears to have failed.

Roughly 11s after liftoff, according to Sea Launch, the vehicle exceeded its pitch limitations, causing an automatic engine shutdown 20 seconds into the flight. The rocket impacted the Pacific Ocean around 20 seconds later, destroying both the rocket and the satellite it was meant to send into orbit. Sea Launch declined to comment beyond the statement issued, and Intelsat deferred comment to Sea Launch. (2/5)

Could a Space Telescope Help Us Grasp Reality? (Source: Discovery)
Launched in 2009 by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Planck space telescope has spent years soaking up radiation from the furthest most reaches of the universe. One of its major tasks has been to catalog the faint patterns in the endearing electromagnetic remnants of our universe’s infancy with unprecedented precision.

This information may push our observational investigations to within a fraction of a second of our universe’s birth. Unfortunately, the public release of these data isn't due for another few months -- an influential voice on one of mankind’s oldest conversations is locked in a European hard drive. Click here. (2/5)

A Closer Look at SpaceShipTwo’s Microgravity Research Capabilities (Source: Parabolic Arc)
With all the attention given to Virgin Galactic’s impressive list of famous future space tourists, SpaceShipTwo’s impressive research capabilities for microgravity experiments have been largely overlooked. According to SpaceShipTwo’s Payload Users Guide, the vehicle will be capable of carrying up to 1,300 lbs. (600 kg) of experiments into space, where they will experience 3 to 4 minutes of high-quality microgravity in a pressurized, shirt-sleeve environment. Small experiments can also be mounted on the exterior of the vehicle. (2/5)

Next Week's Asteroid Flyby Shows Earth is in 'Cosmic Shooting Gallery' (Source: Space.com)
The people of Earth are not doing enough to protect their home planet from the threat of an asteroid impact, scientists said as they track a space rock slated to make a close shave next week. The asteroid due to pass exceptionally close to Earth on Feb. 15 — called 2012 DA14 — was discovered only last year by amateur astronomers with the help of a grant from a non-profit agency. While asteroid 2012 DA14 poses no risk of hitting Earth, there are likely hundreds of thousands more rocks like it out there, its discoverers said.

"We live in a cosmic shooting gallery and it's a reminder that we need to keep doing our work to find these things and to prevent the only preventable natural disaster, which is asteroid impact," said Bruce Betts, a planetary scientist at the Planetary Society, the non-profit space research and exploration organization that helped sponsor the discovery of asteroid 2012 DA14. (2/5)

Israel Applies for 2nd Astronaut (Source: ynet news)
Will Israel send its second Israeli astronaut to space in the near future? Representatives of the Israel Space Agency at the Science and Technology Ministry have made the first move toward this goal by applying to add an Israeli astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is operated by a consortium which includes five participating space agencies: NASA, the Roskosmos, JAXA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The request was submitted to the consortium's representatives during the seventh annual International Ilan Ramon Space Conference held in Herzliya last week by the Israel Space Agency and the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies. The conference was attended by senior space agency representatives from 14 countries. (2/5)

NASA Awards Research Contract to University Consortium (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected the National Institute of Aerospace Associates (NIAA) in Hampton, Va., to provide research and other services to NASA's Langley Research Center. The contract is an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity performance-based contract with a maximum value of $48 million over five years, starting April 1 and ending March 31, 2018.

The contractor will provide leading-edge research in emerging fields, education in science and engineering, and dissemination of the research results and technology developed by the NIAA under this contract. NIAA is a non-profit research and graduate education institute formed by a consortium of leading research universities that serve as the core of NIAA's academic research program. (2/5)

ATK 3rd Quarter Income Rises (Source: AP)
Alliant Techsystems' fiscal third-quarter net income rose 27 percent. ATK, earned $63.2 million, up from $49.7 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue fell 5 percent to $1.06 billion. Aerospace sales were flat at $301 million, while sales at its defense business fell 18.4 percent to $467.5 million. Sales in the company's sporting group jumped 18 percent to $287.6 million, helped by higher sales volumes and selling prices of ammunition. (2/5)

Help Support a Florida CleanTech Company with Crowdfunding Campaign! (Source: FL-CAN)
Florida Cleantech Acceleration Network Class of 2013 client, World Housing Solution Inc, is doing a crowdfunding campaign on RocketHub and would love it if you could help amplify/share the message and demonstrate your support as a Central Floridian! These funds will be invested in Research and Development to help build and fine tune an even better way to connect our panels. That will mean faster assembly on site, easier construction and fewer tools to get the job done. View/support the campaign here! (2/6)

EADS Set to Bolster Independence with New Chairman (Source: Reuters)
Airbus parent EADS paved the way to getting its first independent chairman on Tuesday, as it unveiled proposals for a new board to include the former head of French defence group Thales. Denis Ranque, 61, will be put forward for the role of new chairman by EADS's nominations committee, two people close to the matter said. Ranque was contacted about the plan while on a sailing trip in the Atlantic, setting in motion his probable return to power almost four years after he fell victim to a boardroom coup at Thales. (2/5)

Ball Aerospace Chief Retiring After 29 Years (Source: Boulder County Business Report)
Ball Aerospace and Technologies president and chief executive David Taylor is retiring, Ball Corp. announced Monday. Taylor, CEO since 2002, will be replaced by Robert Strain, currently Ball Aerospace's chief operating officer, the company said in a press release. Taylor will leave the company at the end of March. (2/4)

What's Your Space Memorabilia Worth? (Source: Florida Today)
Find out what your early space memorabilia is worth and meet an astronaut who walked on the moon at an event this month. Regency-Superior Ltd. will conduct free appraisals of early space memorabilia, including cloth patches, access badges, astronaut autographs, spacecraft models, photographs, items flown in space, booklets, manuals and jackets. Click here. (2/5)

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