November 11, 2013

India Lines Up 18 Missions Over the Next 15 Months (Source: Business Standard)
The Indian Space Research Organization has lined up 18 missions through the next 15 months. These include the launches of the Chandrayaan-II, Gagan and the Astrosat. ISRO said it, along with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), would launch a spacecraft to study microwave remote sensing. (11/11)

Satellites Packed Like Sardines (Source: Phys Org)
The complex task of placing all three Swarm satellites on their launch adapter is complete. This is another significant milestone in preparing ESA's latest Earth observation mission for liftoff, which is now set for 22 November. The Swarm constellation will measure the strength and direction of the magnetic and electric fields around Earth. The aim is to understand the individual sources of the magnetic field – each with their own characteristics in space and time. (11/11)

GOCE Gives In to Gravity (Source: ESA)
Close to 01:00 CET on Monday 11 November, ESA’s GOCE satellite reentered Earth’s atmosphere on a descending orbit pass that extended across Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica. As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported. (11/11)

Epsilon Launch Vehicle Won Good Design Award (Source: JAXA)
The first Epsilon Launch vehicle (Epsilon-1) developed and launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in September 2013 received the JFY 2013 Good Design Award Gold Award sponsored by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. (11/11)

Cosmic Rays Zap a Planet's Chances for Life (Source: Astrobiology)
Mysterious cosmic rays constantly bombard Earth from outer space. Now scientists find these energetic particles could limit where life as we know it might exist on alien planets. Cosmic rays continue to baffle scientists more than a century after they were first discovered. These charged subatomic particles zip through space at nearly the speed of light, a few strangely with energies up to 100 million times beyond what is possible from the most powerful particle accelerator on Earth.

Cosmic rays are believed to be atomic nuclei, with the vast majority being protons, or hydrogen nuclei. When cosmic rays hit Earth's atmosphere, they generate a shower of other particles, including muons, which are essentially much heavier versions of their cousin the electron. Some of these particles reach Earth's surface, potentially damaging life on land and in the oceans — muons can even penetrate hundreds of feet below a planet's surface.

Scientists investigated how cosmic rays might influence the habitability of distant alien worlds. The investigators reasoned the level of radiation a planet receives helps control its habitability. While a planet might see much fewer galactic cosmic rays compared to the radiation from its star, the average energy of cosmic rays is far higher than photons and protons from the star, making them critical to focus on. (11/11)

How Can Women, Minorities Steer Toward Space? (Source: Charlotte Observer)
Stargazing is a “commonality across the human experience,” former NASA astronaut Mae Carol Jemison said to a room of skeptical Duke University science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors. The world’s first woman of color to complete a space flight was science mission specialist on the Endeavour crew. Click here. (11/10)

Red Isotopes (Source: Space Review)
China's upcoming Chang'e-3 mission, besides being that country's first lunar rover, will also make use of radioisotopes for the first time. Dwayne Day examines what's known about Chinese efforts to develop plutonium systems to heat and possibly power spacecraft. Visit to view the article. (11/11)

More Missions than Money (Source: Space Review)
Space science is in a golden age today thanks in large part to the fleet of NASA missions studying the solar system and the universe. However, Jeff Foust reports that NASA budgets, squeezed ever tighter by sequestration and other policy decisions, could force NASA to soon make some tough decisions about what missions it can afford to continue operating. Visit to view the article. (11/11)

India's Mars Mission: the Media Converts Science to Soap Opera (Source: Space Review)
India's first mission to Mars met with criticism inside and outside of India, as many saw it as a sign of misplaced priorities by the government. Ajey Lele addresses those criticisms and makes the case that India can carry out a space exploration program while improving the quality of life for its citizens. Visit to view the article. (11/11)

To Mars With No Ambiguity of Purpose (Source: Space Review)
Last week India successfully launched its first mission to Mars, at a cost a fraction of NASA and other Western efforts. Bee Thakore argues this is evidence of India's innovative approach to spaceflight that can benefit both India and other nations. Visit to view the article. (11/11)

Space Station Crew Returns to Earth Toting Olympic Torch and Toy Dinosaur (Source: Collect Space)
Three crew members, a Russian, an American and a European, returned to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday night (Nov. 10), accompanied by a toy dinosaur created in space and the Olympic torch that will begin the 2014 Winter Games.

Roscosmos cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg of NASA and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Luca Parmitano landed aboard the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft in the steppe of Kazakhstan, southeast of Dzhezkazgan, at 8:49 p.m. CST. (11/11)

Puzzled Scientists Say Sun Producing Fewer Sunspots (Source: Wall Street Journal)
The sun is producing about half the sunspots it normally does and the drop in these solar occurrences, which often damage electrical systems or foul satellites, is puzzling. "There is no scientist alive who has seen a solar cycle as weak as this one," said Andrés Munoz-Jaramillo, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. (11/10)

Poor Countries Want Space Programs More Than Rich Ones Do (Source: ars technica)
This week's launch of India's spacecraft to Mars should not come as a surprise. Five years ago, the country sent a mission to the Moon. And going ahead, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has bolder aims. In 2015, it plans to send a probe to Venus and then another to the Sun. A reusable launch vehicle is already in the works, something that NASA is letting SpaceX develop.

These achievements, however, haven't stopped detractors from asking why India is doing this when a third of its people live below the international poverty line. The simple answer is because it makes economic sense, as technological and social development go hand in hand. This reasoning has been embraced throughout the developing world. Investment from poor countries has helped double global government spending on space programs in the last few years.

It was $73 billion in 2012 but only $35 billion in 2010, according a report by the space market consultancy Euroconsult. In that time, NASA's budget fell from $18.7 billion to $17.7 billion. Countries like Bangladesh, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are leading the charge. More than 70 countries now have space programs of some sort. (11/11)

India's Mars Mission Hits Glitch, but Allegedly No Setback (Source: NDTV)
India's mission to Mars, launched last week, hit its first problem early this morning, but scientists denied any setback to its first attempt at inter-planetary travel and said the satellite is "healthy." The Mars Orbiter Mission or Mangalyaan had a flawless launch on Tuesday, for an 11-month trip to the Red Planet.

Lacking a large enough rocket to blast directly out of Earth's atmosphere and gravitational pull, the Indian spacecraft is orbiting Earth until the end of the month while building up enough velocity to break free. On Monday, during a fourth repositioning to take it 100,000 kilometers or 62,000 miles from Earth, the thruster engines briefly failed, leading the auto-pilot to take over.

The Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) says another attempt to push it higher will be made early on Tuesday morning. ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said, "The space craft is healthy and it encountered a problem when a specific redundancy test was being conducted and it failed to reach the desired velocity it was to achieve." A failure analysis committee will examine why this problem happened, he said, but added that crucially, not much fuel was wasted in the failed attempt. (11/11)

Washington State Grants Tax Breaks to Keep Boeing (Source: KATU)
The fate of Boeing's 777x program is now in the hands of the Machinist's Union. Lawmakers worked swiftly on Saturday to extend $9 billion of aerospace tax breaks to the Boeing Company, in an effort to secure the manufacturing work that comes with the 777x production in Washington through 2040. (11/10)

Solar Activity Playing a Minimal Role in Global Warming (Source: Space Daily)
Changes in solar activity have contributed no more than 10 per cent to global warming in the twentieth century, a new study has found. The findings, made by Professor Terry Sloan at the University of Lancaster and Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale at the University of Durham, find that neither changes in the activity of the Sun, nor its impact in blocking cosmic rays, can be a significant contributor to global warming. (11/11)

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