July 29, 2013

Space, Luxury or Necessity: Situations and Prospects for France (Source: Space Review)
The United States is not the only country to realize the transformitive role space-based assets can play in military operations. Guilhem Penent discusses how use of space-based reconnaissance, telecommunications, and other capabilities is changing French military operations and doctrine. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2340/1 to view the article. (7/29)

The Silicon Valley of Space Could Be Silicon Valley (Source: Space Review)
As entrepreneurial space ventures have spring up in places like Mojave and Seattle, one region largely associated with high-tech startups has been on the sidelines. Jeff Foust describes how that is changing, as smallsat and other space companies get started in Silicon Valley. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2339/1 to view the article. (7/29)

Talk of an Icy Moon at Vegas for Nerds (Source: Space Review)
The new movie "Europa Report" was the subject of a panel at Comic Con earlier this month, featuring some of the key people involved with the movie. Dwayne Day reports on the panel discussion, including the role science played in shaping the sci-fi film. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2338/1 to view the article. (7/29)

NASA and Korean Space Agency Discuss Cooperation (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Seung Jo Kim, met in Washington Monday to discuss collaboration in aeronautics research and space exploration, including KARI's robotic lunar mission and NASA's asteroid initiative. Bolden and Kim also discussed NASA's plans for a new asteroid initiative, previously announced in President Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. Kim welcomed the chance to discuss opportunities for collaboration. (7/29)

NASA Names New Chief Scienist (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named planetary geologist Ellen Stofan the agency's chief scientist, effective Aug. 25. The appointment marks Stofan's return to NASA. From 1991 through 2000, she held a number of senior scientist positions at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., including chief scientist for NASA's New Millennium Program, deputy project scientist for the Magellan Mission to Venus, and experiment scientist for SIR-C, an instrument that provided radar images of Earth on two shuttle flights in 1994. (7/29)

Embry-Riddle Professor/Startup Exec Wins "Entrepreneur of the Year" (Source: Daytona Beach News Journal)
The UCF Business Incubator at Daytona Beach International Airport will honor Magdy Attia, president of AbM Engineering LLC, as its "Entrepreneur of the Year". The award presentation will be at an open house event celebrating the second anniversary of the Volusia County-funded program to help first- and second-stage businesses with strong growth potential.

AbM is an engineering consulting firm that is marketing a modified gearbox for wind turbines that he and business partner Marko Ivankovic invented. Attia, who teaches aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, became one of the incubator's first clients in 2011. "We're honored by this award," Attia said. "It affirms that everything we're working for is on the right path." Attia teamed up with Ivankovic, a former student of his at Embry-Riddle, to develop the gearbox, which is patented as a speed-reduction mechanism for wind turbines. The two men met in a "Jets and Rockets" class Attia was teaching at Embry-Riddle. (7/28)

New Horizons Flyby Plan In Place (Source: Aviation Week)
Scientists on the New Horizons mission are beginning to plan in earnest how they will evaluate the data that will begin flowing back from Pluto in less than two years, when the nuclear-powered probe begins sending “better than Hubble” imagery of the distant body and its satellites.

The spacecraft's Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (Lorri) has already resolved Pluto and Charron, its largest satellite, into two distinct objects (see image, page 22). With the resolution improving by the day, the mission team has planned and uploaded its flyby choreography, and has sent out a call to astronomers for parallel observation from Earth and its environs before, during and after the July 14, 2015, encounter.

The team also has completed a rehearsal with the spacecraft, and conducted a detailed scientific workshop at the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) here, where New Horizons was built. There are no plans to retarget the probe again. (7/29)

Vietnam to Launch Micro Satellite to ISS (Source: Xinhua)
The Vietnam National Satellite Center (VNSC) has confirmed that the Vietnamese micro satellite Pico Dragon will be shipped to the International Space Station ( ISS) early in August. The cubesat is the first of its kind developed by Vietnamese engineers and researchers for launching into space. Its duties will be to capture images of the earth, collect space environment data and test communication systems.

It will be launched from an H-IIB rocket from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima prefecture in Japan. VNSC is working with Tokyo University and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to test the satellite before launching it. The satellite will be kept at the ISS for two to three months before being put to work. (7/29)

Mitsubishi Plans Bio Research with XCOR (in Texas) (Source: Lurio Report)
While Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has been engaged with biological experiments on the ISS, they want to take advantage of the low cost, high flight frequency and relatively low complexity of suborbital flight for new drug research. An experiment-carrying unit is in development to provide full environmental support for up to ten mice aboard XCOR's Lynx, located in the “Payload B” position in place of the Lynx passenger seat. MHI plans to set up an animal life sciences lab in Midland, Texas, possibly in the same facility where XCOR will be establishing its new corporate and research headquarters.

Editor's Note: With XCOR also planning flights from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, and nearby access to the state-developed Space Life Sciences Lab (which is certified for animal experiment support), I believe Florida might be a better alternative for MHI's animal life sciences lab. (7/28)

UF's Space-Based Plant Gene Research Continues (Source: Lurio Report)
Dr. Rob Ferl at the University of Florida’s Horticultural Sciences Department noted that plant gene expression is very sensitive to gravitational conditions. Orbital flight, 1g, and parabolic aircraft flight each give unique results. Behavior after the initial parabolas also differs from that after many of them. What’s needed is response data from the first zero to five minutes of zero gravity flight--without--the many short cycles from micro-g to greater than one g when flying parabolas. To get that, a Shuttle mid-deck locker-sized payload is being adapted to fly on reusable suborbital launch vehicles. (7/28)

ILS Expects Summary of Russia’s Proton Failure Review This Week (Source: Space News)
Commercial Proton launch-service provider International Launch Services (ILS) expects to receive a summary this week of the Russian government inquiry into the July 2 Proton failure, and to convene its own ILS-coordinated Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) on Aug. 9, ILS said. In a July 26 statement, Reston, Va.-based ILS said its FROB should conclude its work by Aug. 16. ILS said it is too soon to determine when Proton will return to flight, but that the next launch is a commercial ILS mission carrying the Astra 2E telecommunications satellite for fleet operator SES that could occur in September. (7/29)

How to Explore Jupiter's Moon Europa (Source: Space.com)
Jupiter's icy moon Europa is shrouded in mystery. Scientists have long been intrigued by Jupiter's fourth largest moon with its underground ocean and icy shell. Researchers have said that Europa's saltwater ocean could harbor life, and some have theorized that it is the most likely place to find life in the solar system. "Is its fundamental biochemistry the same as that on Earth or is it different? Is the origin of life easy or hard? There are all questions that Europa could potentially answer."

Unmanned robotic landers, deep space probes and even manned missions could help researchers answer some of those outstanding questions. In 2011, NASA awarded Stone Aerospace $4 million to continue the development of its "cryobot" project designed to autonomously explore the ocean of the moon. Ideally, the robotic instruments included with the lander would come equipped with life-detecting instrumentation. Scientists are getting closer to developing viable versions of these scientific instruments that could travel to Europa, Stone said. (7/29)

World’s Largest Gamma-Ray Telescope to be Built in Russia (Source: Itar-Tass)
Astrophysicists from the Irkutsk State University have begun the construction of the world’s largest gamma-ray telescope Tunka-HiSCORE in the Tunka Valley in Buryatia, close to Russia’s border with Mongolia. “The telescope that has no analogues in the world will register ultrahigh energy particles coming from the Universe,” the press service of the Irkutsk State University said.

The site will feature ten optical stations and 20 stations to register charged particles. Such particles are born “when cosmic rays and ultrahigh energy gamma photons enter the atmosphere,” scientists say. German-made equipment will be used in these detectors. The cost of this equipment is 92 million roubles. The bulk of the expenses will be covered by a grant Irkutsk’s researchers won in April. (7/29)

Company Hopes Space Experiments Will Produce New Bio-fuel for Jets (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Imagine a plant you can grow in the barren oil fields of West Texas that when you process its berries, jet fuel worth billions of dollars comes out. And that crop is there because of America’s space program. That’s what Richard Godwin and his Florida-based company, Zero Gravity Solutions Inc. (ZGSI), are hoping to make possible. The company, which just went public, is using space-based genetic research to modify a tropical plant called jatropha curcas to grow in the cooler environment of West Texas. The plant’s berries could produce up to five to six tons of fuel per hectare. (7/28)

Smithsonian Opens New Spacesuit Exhibit (Source: America Space)
A new exhibit, dubbed “Suited for Space,” opened to the public Friday, July 26, 2013, at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. It’s organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and has already appeared at numerous locations across the country. It made its original appearance at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago in April 2011 and explores the evolution of spacesuit development from the early twentieth century until the beginning of the space shuttle era. (7/29)

India Concerned Over Eavesdropping on Satellite Crime-Tracking Network (Source: The Hindu)
Warned by intelligence agencies that using a foreign satellite in the proposed nationwide Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) could make critical databases vulnerable to eavesdropping by other countries, the Union Home Ministry has decided to take the help of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to make the project fully indigenous.

When fully operational, the much-delayed CCTNS project will connect 14,000 police stations across all the 28 States and seven Union Territories, thus creating a nationwide networking infrastructure for the evolution of an IT-enabled, state-of-the-art tracking system for crime investigation and detection of criminals. (7/29)

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