October 29, 2013

Armstrong's Spacesuit Lands on List of '101 Objects that Made America' (Source: CollectSpace)
Astronaut Neil Armstrong's spacesuit rubs shoulders with Muhammad Ali's boxing robe, as well as Lewis and Clark's compass, Abraham Lincoln's top hat and Alexander Graham Bell's telephone in a new list of the 101 objects that tell the story of the United States. Several artifacts from the nation's efforts to explore space are included on the list in Smithsonian Magazine's special issue, "101 Objects That Made America." (10/27)

KSC-Based Commercial Crew Management Changes (Source: NASA)
Ed Mango, the Program Manager of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, has announced he's stepping down from his position to tend to personal matters, effective as of Oct. 21. Kathryn Lueders, Deputy Manager, Commercial Crew Program, is serving as the Acting Program Manager, working to ensure NASA's commercial crew partners remain on-track developing safe, innovative, cost-effective transportation systems to launch American astronauts from U.S. soil again as soon as possible. (10/29)

Saving the World From Asteroids: Who’s in Charge Here? (Source: Doctor Linda)
Last Friday I observed a press conference held to publicize an Association of Space Explorers (ASE) statement submitted to the U.N. urging global action to protect Earth from the “threat” of asteroid impacts. What was remarkable was that, amidst an hour’s worth of discussion about the need to monitor near-Earth objects and take steps toward defense against possible NEO impacts, there was no mention of existing efforts along these lines.

No one said a word about NASA’s NEO observation program, the Obama administration’s request to double the budget for this program (a request now held hostage by Congress), NASA’s restart of the NEOWISE space-based infrared NEO observation campaign, the Minor Planet Center’s global database of NEO observations and its global communication network for issuing alerts about potentially hazardous asteroids, NASA’s collaboration with FEMA on NEO impact preparedness and response…and so on. (10/28)

SNC: Mission Accomplished Despite Crash Landing (Source: Space News)
Despite a crash landing, a full-scale model of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dreamchaser — one of three spacecraft vying to take the space shuttle’s place as NASA’s means of flying astronauts to the international space station — may actually have performed well enough in an Oct. 26 test flight to clear an $8 million development milestone, according to a Sierra Nevada executive.

“The milestone was all about the flight worthiness of the vehicle and the data from the flight and the ability for us to autonomously control the flight in the air,” Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president for Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and chairman of Sierra Nevada Space Space Systems, told SpaceNews in an Oct. 28 phone interview. “The fact that the landing gear didn’t go down once we hit the ground ... was not actually part of the test.” (10/29)

Space Coast Launch Services Awarded Contract Modification for Launch Support (Source: FDCA)
Space Coast Launch Services at Patrick Air Force Base has been awarded a $35,355,805 modification to a previously awarded contract for operations, maintenance and engineering support to critical launch, spacecraft and ordnance facilities and support systems owned by the 45th Space Wing. (10/29)

Chinese Surveillance Payload Put in Orbit by Long March 2C (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
China unexpectedly launched a Long March rocket Tuesday and put into orbit a secret military surveillance satellite likely equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to make observations through clouds and darkness. The Long March 2C rocket soared into space from the Taiyuan space center in northern China's Shanxi province. (10/29)

China Providing Space Training (Source: Xinhua)
China is providing training for space professionals from developing economies, enhancing their capacity in satellite operations and space technology application. "Hundreds of space engineers and scientists from several countries including Pakistan and Nigeria have received training in China since 2005," Li Lan, deputy general manager of the communications satellite division of China Great Wall Industry Corp, said.

The latest training was provided to 35 Bolivian space experts, who completed their studies on Monday. They are part of 78 Bolivian space professionals who received space-technology training here in preparation for the country's first telecommunications satellite, Tupac Katari, to be launched in late December. The training is part of the Tupac Katari program signed in 2010 between the Bolivian Space Agency and China Great Wall Industry Corp. (10/29)

Design of China's Proposed Space Station (Source: Xinhua)
China is the third country after the United States and Russia to acquire the technologies and skills necessary for space rendezvous and docking procedures, as well as supply manpower and materials for an orbiting module via different docking methods, key steps toward the country's goal of building a permanent manned space station by 2020. China’s manned space program is being implemented in three stages, with the ultimate goal to establish a permanent space station by 2020. Click here. (10/29) 

Rihanna to Spend $750,000 to Go Into Space (Source: The Spec)
Rihanna is set to spend $750,000 to go into space. The 'Only Girl (In The World)' singer is reportedly planning to buy three seats on Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic program. The 25-year-old pop superstar is on the waiting list for one of next year's expensive flights, and she hopes to take her younger brother Rorrey, 23, and a bodyguard on the out-of-this-world mission. (10/29)

UK Space Agency a Success, Say MPs (Source: BBC)
The government's decision to set up the UK Space Agency has helped make the industry a "success story", MPs say. The Science and Technology Committee found a "sense of momentum", with the space sector growing at 7.5% a year and expected to be worth £40bn by 2030. But it warned that the UK needed to increase its influence over the European Space Agency to ensure continued progress. (10/29)

Want a Starship? Think Big. Think Really Big (Source: Discovery)
Pushing humanity into the stars is certainly no cakewalk. There are light-years of interstellar space to bridge. Mind boggling energies are needed. We’ll have to comprehend years, decades or even centuries of time before we can even consider calling ourselves an interstellar race.

Are these concepts insurmountable? No. But, according to advanced propulsion expert and science/science fiction writer Les Johnson, we need a paradigm shift before these interstellar dreams become a reality. This isn’t necessarily a paradigm shift in technology, however. We need to change the way we think about time, space, distance and energy. Click here. (10/29)

ESA Approves Sale of Artemis Telecom Satellite to Avanti (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
The governing council of the European Space Agency has approved the sale of the 12-year-old Artemis experimental communications satellite to UK-based Avanti Communications. Outfitted with Ka-band and S-band communications equipment, along with a payload to supplement Europe's EGNOS aviation and maritime navigation service, Artemis is past its 10-year design life but can still support three more years of operations. (10/29)

Space Club to Honor Communicators with Award (Source: Florida Today)
The National Space Club Florida Committee will honor Andrea Farmer of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and John Zarella of CNN with the 2013 Harry Kolcum Memorial News and Communications Award during its monthly luncheon meeting on Nov. 12. (10/29)

SNC: Mission Accomplished in Dream Chaser Test, Despite Crash Landing (Source: Space News)
Despite a crash landing, a full-scale model of Sierra Nevada Corp.’s Dreamchaser — one of three spacecraft vying to take the space shuttle’s place as NASA’s means of flying astronauts to the international space station — may actually have performed well enough in an Oct. 26 test flight to clear a $15 million development milestone, according to a Sierra Nevada executive. (10/28)

Cubesats Need Coordination Too (Source: Space News)
In the midst of the cubesat revolution that is opening up a whole new world of space applications to people and organizations of ordinary means comes a reminder from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is responsible for regulating and coordinating radiofrequency transmissions of all types: The existing rules requiring ITU member states to register their satellite systems do not discriminate based on size.

That means, in a nutshell, that cubesats and other nanosatellites, like their larger operational cousins, must be entered into the ITU-managed database of satellite frequencies and orbital slots. Officials with the United Nations-affiliated ITU noted that cubesats draw on finite spectrum — however marginally — and have the potential to interfere with one another and with other systems. These officials urged ITU members to register cubesats and other microsatellites at least two years before launch. (10/28)

Editorial: Conquering Interference (Source: Space News)
Satellite services are widely used by military commanders to provide key tactical communications capabilities to their forces anywhere in the world. Satellite interference, either unintended or deliberate, is becoming a major threat to maintaining assured and reliable communications links. Let’s look at the main sources of interference in satellite communications links and the military’s role in resolving it. Click here. (10/28)

Editorial: Cuts Could Hurt Technical Performance in Space (Source: Space News)
The unfortunate reality of cuts to space programs and the loss of workers in the field is a heightened risk for technical malfunctions and even catastrophic failures. The phenomenon has been exhibited in the past when senior engineers and managers left their posts and anomalies ensued thereafter. Indeed, the latest round of U.S. federal cuts is raising quality control concerns.

It is uncertain whether the sequester and other federal reductions in spending on civilian and military space programs will lead to disasters, but history indicates that a dearth of opportunities to keep technical skills honed offers reason for worry. At the very least, U.S. government budget cuts may disrupt the supply chain and production lines by reducing spending on new spacecraft, ground equipment and satellite systems. (10/28)

Ocean Used to Wash Martian Shores – Russian Scientists (Source: Russia Today)
There used to be an ocean on Mars about three billion years ago and its remains can still be observed, Russian scientists said. “Our studies have shown that an ocean existed in the Utopia Planitia region on the Red Planet,” Mikhail Ivanov from Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences said. The glaciation of the ocean began during the Hesperian Period, which lasted on Mars about 3.5 – 2.9 billion years ago, the planetologist said. (10/28)

European Cargo Freighter Undocks From ISS (Source: AFP)
Europe's heaviest-ever cargo carrier to the International Space Station undocked on Monday after completing its mission, and will burn up in Earth's atmosphere on Saturday. Filled with about six tons of garbage and waste produced on board the ISS, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) separated from the ISS at 0855 GMT, when it was orbiting at about 420 kilometers over Kazakhstan. (10/28)

Terminal Velocity Enters Into Space Act Agreement With NASA Ames (Source: Terminal Velocity)
Terminal Velocity Aerospace has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA Ames Research Center to collaborate on evaluation, testing, and technology transfer of newly-developed thermal protection system (TPS) materials. The lightweight conformal and flexible ablative materials provide performance and manufacturing advantages over existing materials used to protect space vehicles from the high heating of reentry.

The multi-year non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement provides for arc-jet and other ground testing of the new TPS materials at NASA Ames in preparation for flights on TVA's small Reentry Devices (REDs). The new TPS materials are applicable to TVA's family of RED products, designed to perform a variety of missions including reentry data collection and small payload return. "The value proposition of these new materials lies in their improved affordability for our products," said Terminal Velocity CEO Dominic DePasquale. (10/28)

Masten Xombie Flight Campaign Set for November (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Planetary Landing Exploration Technology (PLANET) leverages mature cross-cutting Autonomous Guidance, Navigation and Control (AGNC) technology and flight proven hardware to provide cost-effective, safe closed-loop sRLV flight demonstration of Precision Landing AGNC.

The demonstration results provide risk reduction of the application of precision landing and hazard avoidance to a broad range of future SA missions and technology demonstration projects. In addition to maturing the Precision Landing AGNC technology, the project extends the capabilities of the sRLV vehicles and enable future technology demonstrations. (10/28)

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