July 24, 2013

Dangers of a Manned Mission to Mars (Source: Telegraph)
Humans hoping to be the first to set foot on Mars will have to run a gauntlet of dangers to reach their goal and yet more if they hope to return home again. During the long journey to Mars, the astronauts would be exposed to all kinds of radiation that the Earth's atmosphere [and magnetic field] shields us from. The greatest risk comes from the sun - streams of subatomic particles can damage DNA, leading to cancers and other diseases. Click here. (7/24)

No Furloughs for Civilian Pentagon Workers, House Says (Source: The Hill)
The House this week has voted to halt plans to furlough civilian Defense Department employees by attaching an amendment to the appropriations bill for the department. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., offered the amendment, which was passed along with several others attached to the spending measure. Civilian employees were set to be furloughed due to sequestration budget cuts. (7/24)

Dramatic Changes to Google Lunar X Prize Cash Prizes Considered (Source: SpaceRef)
The plans laid out in this draft document embody a radical departure from the current approach to awarding prizes i.e. one winner, one big prize with several smaller runner-up prizes. Now, multiple teams will be able to get even smaller cash prizes for efforts already completed or near completion - but far short of actually sending a mission to land on the Moon.

If approved, this approach would help inject some much needed cash into the coffers of several competitors. No word yet on whether this plan will be formally adopted or when it will be adopted but a quick turn around time for comments suggests that there is an interest in getting these new rules in place soon. Click here. (7/24)

Zero Gravity Solutions Commences Trading Of Its Stock (Source: Space Daily)
Zero Gravity Solutions, Inc. has completed the filings required to satisfy the financial reporting necessary to commence the trading of the Company's stock under the trading symbol ZGSI.PK. Zero Gravity Solutions, Inc., a zero gravity biotechnology company, is at the forefront of utilizing the unique effects of extended zero/micro gravity environments only available on the International Space Station ("ISS"), now a national lab.

The Company's intellectual property was developed and validated through six NASA-enabled flights to the ISS under the Company's Space Act Agreement. ZGSI's intellectual property is based upon the premise that genes and cells express differently in a zero/microgravity environment, allowing for the development of patentable plant, animal and human regenerative stem cells with unique and beneficial characteristics. (7/22)

Embry-Riddle Gets 10-Year Contract for European Aviation Instruction to U.S. Military (Source: ERAU)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide will continue to be the only institution offering face-to-face aviation courses to members of the U.S. military stationed in Europe, according to a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense that begins Aug. 1. (7/18)

KSC Tech Transfer Forum Planned for Sep. 12 (Source: EDC of FSC)
One of the unique assets we hold in our community is the NASA/KSC laboratories providing access to lab capabilities, technological development, talent and spinoff technologies. The EDC/KSC Technology Transfer Forum with NASA KSC officials will be held on Sep 12 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Cocoa Beach. We are developing an aggressive program to provide attendees with an overview of the technology, equipment and procedures for licensing with the NASA / KSC laboratories.
The KSC scientific teams will also present specific opportunities ready for commercialization as well as specific capabilities immediately available for private engagement with the Center. This all - day forum will include meet and greet networking opportunities followed by breakout sessions with the lead scientists and developers. (7/24)

Florida Space Development Council Revives Bumper Award (Source: FSDC)
The Florida Space Development Council, a statewide chapter of the National Space Society, invites nominations for the Bumper Award, to be provided annually to individuals or organizations that have had the greatest positive impact on Florida's space industry, or to Floridians who have had the great­est impact nationally. FSDC members and non-members are encouraged to submit 2013 nominees using a simple online form, available here. Nominations will be accepted through Aug. 31.

The Bumper Award, named after the first rocket launched from Florida (on July 24, 1950), was origi­nally sponsored by the Florida Space Business Roundtable, a space industry advocacy group that was dissolved in 2003. FSDC will establish a panel to review the nominations and select a winner. An announcement of the winner and presentation of the award will occur at an upcoming FSDC event.
The Bumper was a modified German V-2 rocket with a U.S. WAC Corporal upper stage (built by Douglas Aircraft Co.). After a series of Bumper test launches at New Mexico's White Sands Proving Grounds in 1948 and 1949, Bumper-8 became the first rocket launched at Florida's new Joint Long Range Proving Ground, from Launch Complex 3 on what is now the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Bumper was our nation’s first multi-stage liquid engine rocket and it led to the development of a series of other space launch vehicles. (7/24)

National Space Club Updates Annual Space Ball with "Celebrate Space" (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club, Florida Committee, is bidding a fond adieu to its venerable Space Ball in favor of a new annual Celebrate Space! event. Celebrate Space replaces the Space Ball with a less formal, more festive evening of good food, great friends, and all around fun including music and dancing. The cocktail attire event will be held on Oct. 19 inside the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the KSC Visitor Complex. (7/24)

Aerojet Withholds Rocketdyne Payment Pending Russian Approval of RD-Amross Transfer (Source: Space News)
Rocket-motor maker Gencorp Aerojet has withheld 25 percent of its payment to United Technologies Corp. (UTC) for the purchase of competitor Rocketdyne pending Russian government approval of the transfer to Aerojet of UTC/Rocketdyne’s 50 percent stake in the company that provides the first-stage engine for the U.S. Atlas 5 rocket, Aerojet said.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Aerojet left open the possibility that its purchase of UTC/Rocketdyne’s 50 percent ownership of Cocoa Beach, Fla.-based RD-Amross, which adapts the Russian RD-180 engine for use on the Atlas 5, might not occur.

Aerojet Chief Executive William M. Boley Jr. said following the purchase of Rocketdyne that it could take several months for the Russian government, whose state-owned Energomash builds the RD-180 engine, to approve the transfer to the new Aerojet Rocketdyne of the RD-Amross stake. Energomash owns the other 50 percent of RD-Amross. Aerojet’s purchase of Rocketdyne was valued at $550 million. In the SEC filing, Aerojet said the value of the RD-Amross ownership was set at $55 million, and that this sum had been subtracted from Aerojet’s payment to UTC. (7/24)

First High-Resolution National Carbon Map - Panama (Source: Space Daily)
A team of researchers has for the first time mapped the above ground carbon density of an entire country in high fidelity. They integrated field data with satellite imagery and high-resolution airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to map the vegetation and to quantify carbon stocks throughout the Republic of Panama.

The results are the first maps that report carbon stocks locally in areas as small as a hectare (2.5 acres) and yet cover millions of hectares in a short time. The system has the lowest demonstrated uncertainty of any carbon-counting approach yet-a carbon estimation uncertainty of about 10% in each hectare overflown with LiDAR as compared to field-based estimates. Importantly, it can be used across a wide range of vegetation types worldwide. (7/23)

New Space Command Chief Brings 'World Champion' Outlook (Source: AFSPC)
Air Force Space Command's newest Command Chief completed his first 30 days in office early this month having met with each AFSPC A-staff director, visited with Airmen of Colorado Springs and Alaska-based AFSPC units, the 45th Space Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla., and conducted his first AFSPC-Headquarters enlisted call.

Chief Master Sgt. Douglas McIntyre also attended a Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force-led enlisted board of directors meeting of major command command chiefs and represented AFSPC at a Senior NCO Academy Graduation and at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo - the largest annual military community relations event in Colorado Springs. (7/23)

NASA Investigates Water Leak in Spacewalk Helmet (Source: Florida Today)
NASA is launching a full-scale investigation into the close call that could have drowned an Italian astronaut during a spacewalk last week at the International Space Station. A NASA engineering team already has determined that it’s highly unlikely that a leak from an in-suit drinking water bag filled the helmet of Luca Parmitano with water last Tuesday, rendering the spacewalker deaf, unable to speak and blind for a time. (7/24)

India in Mission Mode (Source: Frontline)
India has 12 missions lined up over the next eight months. K. Radhakrishnan, its Chairman, speaks on two major ones coming up: the GSLV launch with an indigenous cryogenic engine and the Mars Orbiter Mission. Click here. (7/24)

UK Team Designs Human Mission to Mars (Source: BBC)
Scientists at Imperial College London have designed a concept mission to land astronauts on Mars. The plan envisages a three-person crew journeying to Mars aboard a small two-part craft. The craft would rotate to generate artificial gravity and use a heat shield to protect itself against solar flares. The crew would then return to Martian orbit in a pre-sent craft fuelled using ice from beneath the planet's surface. (7/24)

Join the Florida Space Development Council for $5 (Source: FSDC)
FSDC provides a forum for networking and collaboration, including grassroots support for space policy priorities in Tallahassee and Washington aimed at improving Florida's competitiveness as a location for government and commercial space programs. Joining FSDC is easy and inexpensive. Individual membership is available for only $5 per year. Corporate membership is also easy and inexpensive at only $50 per year. Click here. (7/24) https://sites.google.com/site/floridaspacedev/membership-1

Astrium To Build Ocean-color Imager for South Korea's GEO-Kompsat 2B (Source: Space News)
Astrium Satellites of France will provide an ocean-color imager for South Korea’s geostationary-orbiting GEO-Kompsat 2B satellite under a contract Astrium announced July 24. Financial terms were not disclosed. Astrium said that under the contract, six South Korean engineers will assist in the development of the instrument, called the Geostationary Ocean Color Imager, at Astrium’s Toulouse facility. The contract also stipulates that Astrium provide work to Korean companies in an amount equivalent to 5 percent of the contract’s value. (7/24)

'Mars In Our Lifetime': Catching Up With Astronaut Abby (Source: America Space)
Astronaut Abby – Abby Harrison – is 16 years old and has already figured out her life’s goal: to be the first human to step on the surface of Mars. This high school student has done her homework and has earned serious credibility in the space community with her outreach efforts in fairly short order. She witnessed the Soyuz launch this last May, when she trekked to Baikonur to see Expedition 37 astronauts roar into space. She has even been given the nod by space flight royalty, when  met the last man on the moon, Gene Cernan, said he believes she will be first on Mars. Click here. (7/24)

Here's What Your $5 Billion Space Yacht Could Look Like (Source: Popular Mechanics)
John Spencer is designing a space yacht for those among the one percent who want to be early adopters of the luxury orbital getaway. Spencer's proposed space super yacht Destiny is designed to cruise in Earth's orbit, offering a striking view of our planet. In illustrations, the 300-foot-long ship cuts a remarkable profile—its bulbous body seems almost butterfly-like, with its four sails outstretched like wings in midflight.

Like PayPal Galactic, Destiny is an idea for a market that doesn't exist yet. Still, this image of Destiny offers a glimpse into John Spencer's vision of spacefaring luxury, one he's been working toward for decades. "We're getting into things that have probably never ever been thought of before from a real world perspective," he says. "All the things we take for granted we have to redesign." Click here. (7/23)

Sandra Bullock Says No to Any Real Space Travel (Source: Extra)
Actress Sandra Bullock made her first Comic-Con appearance over the weekend, promoting her space thriller “Gravity.” In the film, which co-stars George Clooney, she plays an astronaut adrift in space after an accident, but Bullock told “Extra’s” Ben Lyons she has no desire to go into space anytime soon. Bullock smiled, “My feet feel really good on the ground.” (7/23)

SpaceX’s New Falcon 9 v1.1 Begins to Arrive in California (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
Following the successful conclusion to acceptance testing in Texas, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1 – an upgraded version of the Falcon 9, which also aims to become fully reusable – has begun to arrive at its Californian launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The rocket is scheduled to debut with the CASSIOPE mission in early September. (7/23)

Trio of Satellite Orders Ends Nine-month Dry Spell for Orbital Sciences (Source: Space News)
Satellite, rocket and missile-defense vehicle manufacturer Orbital Sciences on Sept. 18 said a nine-month dry spell in commercial satellite orders had ended with the signing of three firm telecommunications satellite contracts and an option for a fourth. Orbital CEO David Thompson did not name the customers. But industry officials said two of the satellites were with DirecTV of Los Angeles and intended to meet surging demand for Innova/Sky Mexico, a DirecTV-Grupo Televisa joint venture providing satellite television in Mexico. (7/19)

Energy Department Nominee Struggled with Financial Management at NASA (Source: Washington Times)
Elizabeth Robinson, the woman President Obama has named to make the Energy Department’s oft-criticized contracting more efficient, is leaving behind a trail of spending questions in her past job as NASA’s chief financial officer. A Washington Times review of NASA inspector general reports finds the space agency struggled to achieve austerity under Ms. Robinson’s financial leadership, as cost overruns grew sixfold from $50 million in 2009 to $315 million in 2012.

“Cost increases and schedule delays on NASA’s projects are longstanding issues for the agency,” the space agency’s internal watchdog reported last year. Ongoing changes in the agency’s mission also led to billions being spent on projects that were later canceled, such as the Constellation Program and the Ares V launch vehicle that were designed to replace the space shuttle. Taxpayers spent an estimated $10 billion on shuttle replacement before it was scrapped in 2010.

Editor's Note: Blaming Robinson for mis-spending and cancellation of the Constellation program and Ares V seems a bit misleading, but par for the course at the Washington Times. (7/23)

Boeing Second Quarter Profit Tops Estimates (Source: Market Watch)
Boeing's second-quarter profit rose to $1.1 billion from $967 million a year earlier. Revenue climbed to $21.8 billion from $20 billion a year earlier. (7/24)

Boeing Refines CST-100 Commercial Crew Capsule Approach (Source: Aviation Week)
A mockup of Boeing’s CST-100 entry in NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) is undergoing internal evaluation by astronauts this week amid renewed optimism over how the initiative to regain a U.S. capability to transport crews to and from the International Space Station by 2017 is faring in Washington. The Apollo-shaped capsule has met eight of 19 milestones outlined under Boeing’s $460 million NASA Commercial Crew Integrated Capability agreement, as the company aims for a critical design review (CDR) in the spring of 2014 and an unpiloted flight test in 2016.

In parallel, Boeing is working under a $10 million first-phase contract to certify the spacecraft’s safety and performance for a piloted demonstration mission to the ISS in 2017. The evaluations collected this week could lead to modifications that would undergo a final round of astronaut assessments prior to the CDR, said Chris Ferguson, Boeing’s director of crew and mission operations and a former shuttle commander. (7/24)

Revealed: How Mars Lost Its Atmosphere (Source: TIME)
Mars’ modern atmosphere is only 1% the density of Earth‘s, but the planet’s watery phase is believed to have lasted for the first billion of its 4.5 billion years, which means its air must have been around that long too. But things were never likely to stay that way. Mars has only half Earth’s diameter, 11% its mass and 38% its gravity, making it easy for upper layers of the original atmosphere to have boiled away into the vacuum of space and been blasted out by meteor hits.

And that cycle would build on itself: the thinner the air became, the easier it would be for space rocks to hit the ground, unleashing still more explosive energy and, in effect, blowing still more holes in the sky. But that’s only one mechanism. Planets can lose their air not just from the top up but also from the bottom down, as elements of the atmosphere bond with — and retreat into — the soil. Martian meteorites that landed on Earth have often been found to include gas bubbles from the Martian sky, evidence that this commingling was going on. (7/24)

‘Landmark’ Space Policy Shift: China, Others in Space Code of Conduct Talks (Source: Breaking Defense)
After years of grudging refusal to do much more than discuss the possibility of talks on a space code of conduct, China has begun discussions on a multilateral code as part of a larger UN effort, as well as committed to specific goals known in the trade as “transparency and confidence-building measures” (TCBMs).

“It is an extremely positive step that representatives of the international community were able to agree on activities that can lead to a more predictable, stable environment. This is part of a trend where space stability issues are often more effectively discussed using norms of behavior (versus a treaty-based approach),” says Victoria Samson, DC director of the Secure World Foundation, who’s one of the few people outside the US government who know much about this intensely technical subject.

The long term stakes for these efforts are enormous: preserving the ability of every country to send satellites and people into space safely, operate safely and make use of the incredibly precious orbits that allow much of today’s and tomorrow’s economies to function globally and efficiently. Not to mention that it also preserves military access to the ultimate high ground. That may be why the Chinese position appears to be shifting. (7/23)

Intelsat Enlists Loral To Build IS-34 Satellite (Source: Space News)
Loral will build the IS-34 C- and Ku-band telecommunications satellite for Intelsat under a contract both companies announced July 23. The IS-34 satellite will operate at 304.5 degrees east, replacing the Intelsat 805 and Galaxy 11 spacecraft at that slot. To be launched in 2015, IS-34 will fill the capacity gap left following the Feb. 1 failure of a Sea Launch rocket carrying the IS-27 spacecraft. The satellite will serve Latin American broadcast customers and will have beams covering the North Atlantic air and sea routes. (7/23)

Lockheed Snags Contract for U.S. Defense Weather Satellite Program (Source: Reuters)
Lockheed Martin was awarded an Air Force contract worth about $101 million over a decade, to modify the U.S. defense weather satellite program. The contract work will be performed by Lockheed Martin Space System Corp in Sunnyvale, California, and is scheduled to be completed by October 2020. (7/23)

Atlantis: New $100 Million Kennedy Space Center Visitor Experience (Source: Forbes)
The entirely new facility includes four multimedia cinematic productions and over 60 interactive experiences, such as conducting a virtual spacewalk; docking a shuttle to the International Space Station; creating sonic booms and gliding through re-entry; experiencing the sensation of floating in space; and strapping in to the sights, sounds and sensations of a shuttle launch, among many others, all while celebrating the individuals behind the shuttle program.

Atlantis is tilted on its side at a 43.21-degree angle, as if floating in space just after being undocked from the International Space Station, with its payload bay doors open and robotic arm extended, offering a nearly 360-degree view that only astronauts have seen before. This is the featured attraction, but the drama starts outside the entrance, as arriving guests are greeted by a full-scale, 184-foot vertical replica of the space shuttle’s external tank and two solid rocket boosters, illustrating the magnitude of power needed to get it into space.

The new building is divided into two wings, respectively representing the shuttle’s launch and return. Designed to meet LEED Silver sustainability standards, much of the building is clad in iridescent orange and gold, representing the fiery glow of re-entry, while the taller wing is covered in gray tiles representing the underside of the orbiter. Before reaching the shuttle itself, visitors enjoy multimedia cinematic presentations designed to build anticipation and show the evolution of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program. (7/23)

Foundation Launches into Tourism (Source: Colorado Springs Business Journal)
For the Space Foundation, it’s truly a summer of discovery. For the first time, the 30-year-old organization has the room to display decades’ worth of space memorabilia – models of the Mars rover, exhibits from NASA’s space shuttle program, the only moon rock in the state of Colorado. And staff members have combined it all with the technology and a series of hands-on educational opportunities designed to bring families into the foundation, which now has 17,000 square feet for a space museum, classes, a conference center and a variety of educational and space-related activities.

It’s time for the group, headquartered locally but with an international presence, to discover how it can change the local tourism scene while expanding its educational mission. The “Summer of Discovery” series is a new push for wider local exposure for the organization, which puts on the annual Space Symposium that is attended by about 9,000 people every year – including space agencies from China, Europe and Japan. (7/23)

Lockheed Martin Reports Second Quarter Earnings (Source: Lockheed Martin)
Lockheed Martin Corp. reported second quarter 2013 net sales of $11.4 billion compared to $11.9 billion in the second quarter of 2012. Net earnings in the second quarter of 2013 were $859 million, compared to $781 million in the second quarter of 2012. Cash from operations in the second quarter of 2013 was $623 million, compared to cash from operations of $845 million in the second quarter of 2012. (7/23)

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