June 11, 2013

China's First Teacher in Space (Source: Space Daily)
Thirty-three-year-old spacewoman Wang Yaping will make history -- she will be China's first teacher in space. Wang will teach Chinese primary and middle school students on Earth physics phenomena in a zero-gravity environment. She is preparing for the lecture and expressed full confidence about the upcoming lesson. "We are all students in facing the vast universe. We are looking forward to joining our young friends to learn and explore the mystical and beautiful universe," she said. (6/10)

Teachers in Space and Teaching Space: Space Frontier Foundation and Embry-Riddle (Source: Space Safety)
James Pura of the Space Frontier Foundation and Rebecca Zgorski of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University jointly announce details of a new Teachers In Space Workshop and Embry-Riddle’s long-term commitment of support to the Teachers In Space program. Teachers in Space is an initiative to spread curiosity about space and science to students through their teachers. Christa McAuliffe was to be the first teacher in space when the program was conceived under NASA’s purview.

The government program was cancelled after McAuliffe’s death in the Challenger accident, but the baton was taken up in the private sector. Teachers in Space plans to launch a crowdsourcing campaign with RocketHub to forward its goal of flying 50 teachers in space each year. Click here. (6/11)

Blue Origin Tests Engine at Texas Site (Source: NewSpace Watch)
Looks like Blue Origin, like SpaceX, is advancing their launch vehicle's development with engine tests based in the Lone Star State. Ben Brockert (Able Space Corp.) has posted this video of a Blue Origin video shown during their session at NSRC 2013 of a test of the BE-3 LOX/Liquid Hydrogen engine at Blue's West Texas facility. (6/11)

Japanese Epsilon Rocket’s Maiden Flight Scheduled for August (Source: Space Safety)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced the date of the maiden flight of its Epsilon Launch Vehicle. Epsilon-1 will lift-off, carrying the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Interaction of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A), from Uchnora Space Center, on August 22 2013. “The Epsilon launch vehicle is a three-stage solid-fuel rocket,” explained Yasushiro Morita, Epsilon Launch Vehicle Project Manager. “It uses the existing H-IIA solid rocket booster as the first stage, and an upgraded version of the upper stage of the M-V launch vehicle as the second and third stages.” (6/11)

FAA Encourages Industry Sharing with STAR Database (Source: Space Safety)
The FAA has been investigating methods to increase the collaboration between government and industry at the request of the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. Since the October 2011 meeting of Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), a USDOT advisory board, the FAA has been developing a process for improving space flight safety in the industry by sharing data that could be relevant to future missions. The AST is modifying an internal lessons learned database that it plans to make widely available.

This database, known as STAR, will be adapted for public consumption and will be added to the already existing Commercial Space Transportation Lessons Learned Website. This new updated STAR database contains information on more than 5,600 orbital launches around the world. The intent of sharing data is to create a safety culture in the commercial space industry and to encourage data sharing within the industry, says Deputy Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation Jim Vaan Laak. This database will also will help the industry to decide which data should be made public on FAA’s website. (6/11)

Dwarf Galaxy Segue 2 Called Smallest Ever Discovered (Source: Huffington Post)
An ultra-faint collection of 1,000 stars orbiting the Milky Way is the most lightweight galaxy ever discovered, scientists say. The dwarf galaxy known as Segue 2 is bound together by a tiny clump of dark matter. Scientists who measured it using Hawaii's Keck Observatory say the finding adds support to theories about the formation of the universe. (6/10)

Ankara Plans To Launch System, 25 Satellites By 2033 (Source: Aviation Week)
Ten years ago Turkey pledged to invest more in space technology as a means to improve the nation's intelligence-gathering, military communications and early-warning capabilities. A decade on, Turkey is investing heavily in a burgeoning space program that boasts several telecommunications spacecraft and two Earth-observation satellites, with plans to build more.

In the coming years, Ankara expects to establish a national space agency and military space command to consolidate management of existing and planned assets, which in 2033 could include a space-launch capability and more than 20 operational satellites. In January the government approved negotiations with Turkish weapons builder Roketsan to manage the early concept design phase for the national satellite launch system, which would be capable of delivering civil and military spacecraft to orbit. (6/10)

Rock Samples Suggest Meteor Caused Tunguska Blast (Source: Nature)
Fragments of rock retrieved from a remote corner of Siberia could help to settle an enduring mystery: the cause of the Tunguska explosion. On 30 June 1908, a powerful blast ripped open the sky near the Podkamennaya Tunguska river in Russia and flattened more than 2,000 square kilometres of forest. Eyewitnesses described a large object tearing through the atmosphere and exploding before reaching the ground, sending a wave of intense heat racing across the countryside.

At an estimated 3 to 5 megatons of TNT equivalent, it was the biggest impact event in recorded history. By comparison, the meteor that struck the Russian region of Chelyabinsk earlier this year 'merely' packed 460 kilotonnes of TNT equivalent. Numerous scientific expeditions failed to recover any fragments that could be attributed conclusively to the object.

Now, researchers led by Victor Kvasnytsya at the Institute of Geochemistry, Mineralogy and Ore Formation of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine in Kiev say that they have found a smoking gun. In what Kvasnytsya describes as the most detailed analysis yet of any candidate sample from the Tunguska event, the researchers conclude that their fragments of rock — each less than 1 millimetre wide — came from the iron-rich meteor that caused the blast. (6/10)

Russian Space Freighter to Depart From Orbital Station (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russian Progress M-19M cargo spacecraft will be undocked on Tuesday from the International Space Station (ISS) and depart on a week-long orbital flight to conduct a series of experiments, Russia’s Mission Control said. “The undocking has been scheduled for 05.59 pm Moscow time [13:59 GMT] on June 11,” a Mission Control spokesman told RIA Novosti on Monday.

“The Progress space freighter will carry out a series of experiments as part of the Radar-Progress project to study the physical characteristics of the ionosphere environment around the spacecraft caused by the work of its liquid-propellant engines,” the official said. (6/11)

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