November 22, 2013

Richard Branson: Buy Your Space Flight With Bitcoin (Source: CNBC)
Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson announced on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Friday that his commercial space flight venture will accept bitcoin as payment. He called it "a new exciting currency." Virgin Galactic accepted its first purchase with bitcoin from a flight attendant in Hawaii. Branson—an early bitcoin investor himself—said the woman made "quite lot of money getting into bitcoin early on."

He said she paid in bitcoin, which was transferred into actual dollars "so there's a fixed price ... [and] we can actually pay her money back, if she changes her mind about going to space in a few months." If Virgin Galactic didn't have a refund policy, it might be willing to take the risk on a pure bitcoin transaction, he said. The cost in U.S. dollars to book a space flight is $250,000. (11/22)

Bill Would Require Pentagon To Study U.S. Alternative to RD-180 (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Defense Department would be required to examine the feasibility of swapping the Russian-made engine that powers the first stage of one of its workhorse rockets for a U.S. alternative under recently introduced legislation in the Senate.

The National Security Rocket Engine Study Act of 2013, introduced Nov. 12 by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), calls for an estimate of the costs of manufacturing an alternative to the Russian-made RD-180 engine in the United States. It also asks for an estimate of the savings that a U.S. engine would provide during the life of the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, which is used today to launch virtually all U.S. national security satellites. (11/22)

JFK's Moon-Race Mission Still Felt in U.S. (Source: USA Today)
The multi-billion-dollar effort President John F. Kennedy launched to get Americans to the moon is still bringing benefits to U.S. states, with facilities and work that have helped spawn a private space industry. Even though NASA's budget and influence have waned since the Kennedy era, states themselves are now providing backing to space missions. (11/21)

NASA Spacecraft Begins Collecting Lunar Atmosphere Data (Source: Phys.Org)
NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is ready to begin collecting science data about the moon. On Nov. 20, the spacecraft successfully entered its planned orbit around the moon's equator—a unique position allowing the small probe to make frequent passes from lunar day to lunar night. This will provide a full scope of the changes and processes occurring within the moon's tenuous atmosphere. (11/22)

China's Lunar Mission Could Affect NASA's Moon Dust Explorer (Source:
China's Chang'e 3 moon lander mission next month may pose some challenges for NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, already orbiting the moon. "The arrival of the Chang'e 3 spacecraft into lunar orbit and then its descent to the surface will result in a significant contamination of the lunar exosphere by the propellant," said space scientist Jeff Plescia. He said Chang'e 3's landing could pose problems, but also noted that it will give the U.S. craft an opportunity to study how propellant is distributed and later removed from the lunar exosphere. (11/21)

The Skylon: How Britain Joined the New Space Race (Source: Business Life)
Alan Bond comes across as a mild-mannered man. Bespectacled, with a mop of brown hair from the Bill Gates school of coiffure, he is rarely if ever photographed without collar and tie and speaks in a learned Derbyshire burr. But if there is anyone calculated to raise his hackles it's the Cabinet minister Kenneth Clarke.

"I think there's nothing positive or constructive that I could say 
about Kenneth Clarke," he told an interviewer earlier this year. It was Clarke, in his role as Minister for Trade and Industry during Margaret Thatcher's final term, who 25 years ago pulled the plug on government funding of Hotol — Horizontal Take-Off and Landing — the admittedly flawed spaceplane then being developed by Bond and his colleagues to claim the UK a place in the space race.

Earlier this year, however, the government did a volte-face and over the next two years it is to plough £60m into the development of Sabre, a revolutionary engine tipped to transform the economics of putting satellites — and, indeed, people — into space. If successful, it will enable the construction of the Skylon — a pilotless spaceplane named after the soaring needle sculpture that formed the centrepiece of the Festival of Britain 
in 1951. Click here. (11/14)

Spores in the Stratosphere (Source: Citizens in Space)
One of the experiments proposed for suborbital spaceflights is the collection and return of particles from the near-space environment, some of which might contain the building blocks of life.  In 1935, scientists performed a similar experiment to collect spores in the upper atmosphere.  The 1935 experiment had no exobiology goals; rather, it was to determine if living spores, fungi, or bacteria were present in the stratosphere.

The experiment was carried aboard the US Army Air Corps/National Geographic Society Explorer II balloon flight.  Explorer II took off from the Stratobowl, near Rapid City, South Dakota, on November 11, 1935.  The Stratobowl was a large natural depression that provided protection from surface winds during balloon inflation and the early part of the flight. Click here. (11/10)

Crowdfunded Nanosatellites Unleashed in Orbit (Source: NBC)
Two tiny satellites supported by Kickstarter campaigns were kicked out into orbit from the International Space Station on Tuesday, beginning what's expected to be a months-long citizen science mission. NanoSatisfi's ArduSat 1 and ArduSat X nanosatellites were deployed by a Japanese-built, spring-loaded launcher attached to the space station. A Vietnamese-built nanosat called PicoDragon was sent out as well. All three CubeSats were delivered to the station in August aboard an unmanned Japanese cargo ship. (11/19)

Tiny, Invisible Extraterrestrial Invaders Appear at South Pole (Source: The Register)
Scientists at the South Pole have detected a collection of warp speed neutrinos from deep space that could help explain the origins of the universe. A team from the mighty IceCube telescope laboratory in Antarctica will reveal their findings in tomorrow's Science journal.

The experts' 28 intergalactic subatomic particles were detected by the Cherenkov radiation emitted when they (unusually - most neutrinos go right through the Earth without stopping) hit something within a cubic kilometer of intrumented-up polar ice at the South Pole. They are thought to have originated from outside the Solar System, and likely from outside our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Having identified the particles, the boffins believe that they can gain new insight into the workings of black holes, pulsars and other wonders of space that emit the subatomic particles. The equipment is able to differentiate between neutrinos from outside the Solar System with those that may have originated from the Sun or the Earth's own atmosphere, which could reveal more about astrophysical phenomena billions of light-years from our home world. (11/21)

Celestis to Fly Star Trek Legends' Cremains on Solar Sail Mission (Source: Celestis)
Star Trek legends Gene & Majel Roddenberry will soon join millions of fans on board Sunjammer, NASA's first solar sail mission to deep space.  As honorary captains of the Cosmic Archive, the Roddenberrys will again inspire the world as Sunjammer launches an era of truly public space flight.

In a further effort to bring space to Earth, Celestis is proud to partner with two new representatives serving Las Vegas, Nevada.  In a city where anything is possible, our exclusive partners will provide the opportunity to travel into deep space on one of the most revolutionary vessels ever launched. (11/21)

Rep. McCarthy Pushes SOARS Act, But Will it Fly? (Source: NASA Watch)
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip testified today at the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's Subcommittee on Space Hearing on "Commercial Space". Interestingly the committee did not let McCarthy sit on the dais (protocol?) nor did they allow any of the subcommittee members to ask him any questions. Odd. This is one of House Speaker Boehner's inner leadership circle.

Multiple sources report that this appearance was a message from House leadership that many of the positions being pushed by the leadership of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology are out of synch with Majority's positions. Stay tuned. Editor's Note: McCarthy's co-sponsor on SOARS is Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL). (11/21)

Planetary Resources and NASA Team to Crowdsource Search for Asteroids (Source: Endagadget)
Planetary Resources really wants to mine asteroids for valuable materials, but first it has to find them. So the company is partnering with NASA on a crowdsourcing project that would put the American public to work identifying and tracking near-Earth-objects (NEOs). All the data generated will be open sourced and made publicly available on the web. The effort will center on a series of challenges and contests designed to lure in citizen scientists and the results will be reviewed by Planetary Resources.

Obviously, the company will be looking for mineable hunks of space rock, but it will also be giving back to the scientific community by using the data it collects to improve algorithms for detecting asteroids. And, obviously, the more of those we're able to detect and track, the less likely we are to be caught off guard by a meteorite apocalypse. (11/21)

Ecuador Launches Its Second Satellite (Source: Latin American Herald)
Ecuador’s second satellite, the Kryasor, was launched into space on Thursday, nearly six months after the South American country’s first satellite was lost, the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency, or EXA, said. The satellite was carried into space by a Russian-made Dnepr RS-20 rocket, which was launched from the Dombarovsky missile complex at the Yasni base. (11/21)

Poland Sends its First Satellite Into Space (Source: Warsaw Business Journal)
The first Polish scientific satellite, Lem, was launched early in the morning on Thursday. The satellite, named after renowned Polish science fiction writer Stanisław Lem, was carried into space by Russian rocket Dnepr, together with 31 other satellites. (11/22)

Korea Succeeds in Launching, Deploying Science Satellite (Source: Business Korea)
Beacon signals from the Science and Technology Satellite 3 (STSAT-3) were picked up by Norway’s Svalbard Satellite Station 87 minutes after the satellite blasted off from Russia’s Yasny Launch Base at 1:10 pm on November 21 (local time), said officials from the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI). The successful deployment of Korea’s sixth satellite STSAT-3 was confirmed when it established radio communication with the ground station in Daejeon, Korea. (11/22)

Pakistan’s First Cubesat Satellite iCUBE-1 Launched (Source: Pakistan Daily Times)
The Institute of Space Technology (IST) on Thursday launched Pakistan’s first Cubesat satellite, iCUBE-1, on board Dnepr launch vehicle from Yasny launch base, Russia. With this launch, Institute of Space Technology (IST) has etched its name among the foremost universities in the world who have built and launched a Cubesat satellite. (11/22)

Greece Tapping into Space Tourism? (Source: Greek Reporter)
Vassilis Kapernaros, member of the political party Independent Greeks, submitted his proposal for the transformation of the Kalamata International Airport to a rocket launch site, at Parliament on Wednesday. If such an event takes place, Greece will be able to tap into space tourism.

The Governments response wasn’t really encouraging as far as the “International Center for Space Tourism in Kalamata” is concerned. Notis Mitarakis, the Deputy Minister of Development said that the country has yet to show any interest in the aerospace industry, while Michalis Chrysochoidis, the minister of infrastructure noted that such a project needs resources and infrastructure investments that Greece is not currently able to provide. (11/21)

NASA Balks at Billionaire's Request for Mars Mission Aid (Source: CNET)
NASA issued a response to Dennis Tito's proposal, in the form of an e-mailed statement from David Weaver, associate administrator for the Office of Communications at the agency. When translated from the bureaucratic niceties into conversational English, it's roughly the equivalent of a dismissive "whatever, dude" delivered while walking away. Here's the key excerpt with the actual rejection:

"Inspiration Mars' proposed schedule is a significant challenge due to life support systems, space radiation response, habitats, and the human psychology of being in a small spacecraft for over 500 days. The agency is willing to share technical and programmatic expertise with Inspiration Mars, but is unable to commit to sharing expenses with them."

So that's what it looks like when a billionaire gets snubbed. The odds on a human Martian fly-by by the end of the decade are not looking good, unless Tito finds some dynamite lobbyists to convince Congress to pony up several hundred million for his plan. But at this point, I'd say Kickstarter is a better bet. (11/21)

Philanthropy and Crowdfunding Aren't Enough to Send People to Mars (Source: Motherboard)
Dennis Tito, a multimillionaire businessman and space tourist, said his Inspiration Mars project, the more realistic of two private plans to take humans to Mars within the next decade, would be dead without federal funding.

“We propose to do this in collaboration with NASA, as a partner in a NASA mission, in the name of America, and for the good of humanity,” Tito testified. “The endeavor is not motivated by business desires, but to inspire Americans in a bold adventure in space that reinvigorates US space exploration.” (11/21)

Satellites Set to Launch from Cecil Spaceport (Source: Daily Record)
Four years after its creation, Cecil Spaceport is getting its first customer — a company that will launch micro-satellites into orbit. The Jacksonville Aviation Authority will ask the state to fund airport roadways for the project. The authority was among nearly 60 constituent organizations Wednesday who told the Duval County delegation items they would like supported during the 2014 legislative session.

Those wishes included JAA's request to fund upgrades to its Spaceport. Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc. has selected Jacksonville's Cecil Spaceport as the primary launch site for its small satellite transport operation. The company plans to put small satellites into space by launching a rocket from an in-flight aircraft. The micro-satellites would support low gravity, astrophysics and hypersonic research at a fraction of the cost of full-size satellites.

State funding requested by the JAA would be used to connect the proposed spaceport site with taxiways and roads, authority spokesman Michael Stewart said.  "It's extremely exciting for us to be on the ground floor of an industry that is still being developed and Jacksonville and Cecil Airport will be a part of this," he said. "We look forward to your support to help make this happen." (11/22)

NASA Proved its Webb Telescope Parts Space-Worthy in Alabama Deep Freezer (Source: Huntsville Times)
Sending equipment into deep space requires an incredibly detailed and lengthy process of design, construction and testing. NASA must know, for example, that the James Webb Space Telescope it is spending billions to build and launch in 2018 won't bend, warp or freeze up in the super cold of deep space.

How do you test that? You use rare facilities like the X-Ray & Cryogenic Facility at Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center. It's a huge chamber where objects the size of helicopters can be subjected to prolonged exposure to temperatures as cold as minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit. (11/21)

NASA Artifacts Come to Sheboygan Spaceport, But Armory Not Long-Term Location (Source: Sheboygan Press)
Have you ever wondered what an actual space suit looks like up close? Or considered whether the tires on a space shuttle are taller than you are? Spaceport Sheboygan is collecting NASA artifacts for a display that would give people a close look at the stuff of space exploration.

There’s only one problem: The Spaceport building isn’t a healthy place for those artifacts to live. As Executive Director Daniel Bateman is cataloging and storing mission control consoles and thermal micrometeorite garments, the organization’s board of directors is trying to find a new home for the growing Great Lakes Aerospace Science and Education Center. (11/22)

Tito Could Do Mars Mission With Russia or China (Source: Universe Today)
If the NASA proposal doesn’t work out, Tito said he’s quite prepared to bring his idea to another country — Russia. (Recall that Tito flew into space in 2001 on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft as a private citizen, so he does have connections over there.)

“Given Russia’s clear recognition of the value and prestige of accomplishments in human space exploration, and their long-time interest in exploring Mars, my personal belief is that in all likelihood the Energia super-heavy rocket revival announcement signals Russian intent to fly this mission in 2021,” Tito stated.

“Their heavy lift rocket, along with their other designs for modules and the Soyuz, can fly this mission with modest upgrades to their systems.” A third option would be using Chinese capabilities, he added, because the country — reportedly developing a large space station of its own — is likely “contemplating this opportunity to be the first on Mars.” Tito said he is informing Congress of his plans to go elsewhere as a “civic duty”, and that he wants to give NASA the first shot. (11/21)

Spaceflight Federation Hails Innovative National Space Transportation Policy (Source: CSF)
Yesterday, the White House released the highly anticipated National Space Transportation Policy to guide the government’s use of space. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation applauds the clear vision of this Policy, which includes strong continued support for the use of competitive commercial space services.

The Policy emphasizes the importance of America’s leadership in space for exploration, scientific research, and national security purposes. The Policy urges the use of commercial services wherever available and reiterates its commitment to “encouraging and facilitating a viable, healthy, and competitive U.S. commercial space transportation industry.” (11/22)

Boeing Statement on President's New Space Transportation Policy (Source: Boeing)
“Boeing applauds the president’s balanced approach to developing affordable commercial crew and cargo transportation in areas of proven technology, while he simultaneously accepts the challenge for the United States – as the world’s leader in space exploration – to go far beyond Earth’s orbit. We have no doubt that this policy will inspire generations of future engineers, scientists, researchers and astronauts.

“As we have for more than 50 years, Boeing supports NASA’s spaceflight endeavors, working with our customer to achieve affordable commercial crew and cargo transportation under NASA’s Commercial Crew program, as well as America’s heavy-lift rocket to beyond Earth orbit, the Space Launch System. We also help to maintain the International Space Station, the cornerstone for both low-Earth-orbit and deep-space exploration. Its unmatched lessons about the effects of long-term space habitation will prove critical to deep space exploration.” (11/22)

Boeing To Sell Commercial Global Xpress Bandwidth to Government Users (Source: Space News)
Boeing’s new satellite services division has broadened its commitment to Inmarsat’s coming Ka-band Global Xpress program by adding the satellites’ commercial Ka-band bandwidth to Boeing’s existing offering of Global Xpress’ military Ka-band capacity, the companies announced Nov. 21. (11/22)

MDA Plans Payload Orbital Delivery System for DARPA Satellite Servicing Demo (Source: SpaceRef)
MDA has been authorized to proceed with development of a Payload Orbital Delivery system (POD) for the DARPA Phoenix mission. The expected contract value for full development of the flight system is $6 million. The POD concept is an innovative and cost-effective solution to rapidly deliver small packages to geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) using surplus capacity on regularly launched communication satellites.  (11/20)

Honeybee Nabs DARPA Phoenix Contract (Source: Space News)
Honeybee Robotics of New York has won a contract from DARPA for work on an experimental satellite servicing and salvaging project known as Phoenix. The goal of Phoenix is to develop a maneuverable spacecraft equipped with a dexterous robotic arm to salvage useful components from retired communications satellites in geostationary orbit.

For the first demonstration mission, tentatively scheduled for launch in 2015 or 2016 on an as-yet-unidentified rocket, a Phoenix spacecraft will try to remove an antenna from a satellite in a graveyard orbit and outfit it with so-called satlets: modules being developed by DARPA that provide core satellite functions such as power, pointing and communications.

Under the new contract, Honeybee would develop what it calls the Universal Gripper Anchor, which the Phoenix craft would position near the boom connecting a retired satellite to its antenna. The anchor would clamp down and sever the boom; the old satellite bus would drift away and the antenna would remain attached to the salvaging vehicle. (11/22)

Research Program to Tackle Asteroid and Space Debris Manipulation (Source: Space Daily)
World-leading scientists will push the boundaries of studies on how to deflect asteroids and manipulate space debris, as the University of Strathclyde gets set to transform international space research. Led by Strathclyde, the Stardust program - the first research-based training network of its kind - boasts some of the world's foremost experts in the field and aims to protect the planet and space assets from catastrophic impacts. (11/19)

Russia Starts Ambitious Super-Heavy Space Rocket Project (Source: Space Daily)
On the 25th anniversary of the historic flight of the Soviet space shuttle Buran, Russia's Roscosmos space agency has formed a working group to prepare "within weeks" a roadmap for the revival of the Energia super-heavy booster rocket. The group is set to draw up proposals on the design of a super-heavy launch vehicle capable of delivering up to 100 tonnes of payload to the baseline orbit.

The new carrier rocket Angara is set to become the base for the ambitious project that could bring Russia back to its heyday of space exploration. It could be launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome which is now being constructed in Russia's Far East, and will replace Kazakhstan's Baikonur as Russia's main launchpad. (11/19)

NASA Flight Opportunities Program Issues New Solicitation (Source: Parabolic Arc)
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center has released a solicitation entitled “NASA Announcement of Flight Opportunities (AFO) for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Missions to Flight Readiness Status.” The current solicitation cycle, AFO #8, provides access to parabolic flights and to flights on suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (sRLV). Applications are due on or before 11:59 PM Eastern Time on January 16, 2014, and selections will be announced in March 2014. (11/21)

NASA F/A-18 Hornets Conduct Vital Testing For SLS Flight Control System (Source: America Space)
For some time now work has been under way to develop NASA’s replacement launch vehicle for the agency’s retired space shuttle fleet, the Space Launch System (SLS for short).  The mammoth rocket will be the most powerful and capable heavy-lift launch vehicle ever designed, and last week a NASA F/A-18 Hornet research jet conducted the first in-flight tests over Dryden Flight Research Center in southern California to evaluate the autonomous flight control system for the SLS.

The  Launch Vehicle Adaptive Control (LVAC) experiment was conducted in five flights by the F/A-18 Hornet to test the Adaptive Augmenting Controller, which will allow SLS to to respond to various conditions – such as winds and vehicle flexing – during the launch / ascent phase of the mission. (11/22)

SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Conducts First Hot Fire at SLC-40 (Source:
SpaceX has conducted the first Wet Dress Rehearsal (WDR) and Hot Fire (Static Fire) test of their upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle at their Florida launch site. The rocket is still targeting a November 25 launch date, tasked with lofting the SES-8 satellite from SLC-40 into a geostationary transfer orbit, pending one final review.

SpaceX are pressing towards the second launch of their upgraded rocket – following the successful launch of the Cassiope spacecraft in September. The launch date for the SES-8 mission will be officially set at the upcoming Launch Readiness Review (LRR). (11/21)

EADS Still Determining Extent of Job Cuts in Defense and Space Businesses (Source: Wall Street Journal)
European Aeronautic Defence & Space (EADS) said it is still determining the number of jobs that will be cut under a restructuring plan that will merge its defense and space businesses. EADS was responding to a German news report that some 8,000 jobs are on the line, or 20% of the total headcount of its Cassidian and Astrium subsidiaries that are to be folded into a single business unit as part of a broad restructuring.

"No figure has been decided, no figure exists. We see no reason for any comment. And we will first present all our plans to the works councils and then communicate about it," an EADS spokesman said. EADS management recently outlined the planned restructuring to labor representatives, without giving estimates of the extent of potential job cuts. These are expected to be announced during the next meeting of EADS's works council on Dec. 9, in Munich. (11/20)

Falcon 9 Engine Restart Glitch Blamed on Thermal Conditions (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
SpaceX says frozen fluid lines prevented the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage engine from re-igniting on a Sept. 29 test flight, but engineers are confident extra insulation will resolve the thermal problem on the Falcon 9's next mission set for liftoff Monday on the company's first launch to geostationary transfer orbit.

The aborted engine restart on the Falcon 9 test flight was caused when fluid lines for the second stage Merlin engine's igniter fluid froze after long exposure to cold oxygen, according to Emily Shanklin, a SpaceX spokesperson. "This never happened on the ground, because ambient air kept the lines warm," Shanklin said in a statement. (11/22)

Asteroids Should be Colonized or Used as Transport to Planets (Source: Space Daily)
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Nov 22, 2013 - The potential colonization of asteroids is one of the most promising areas of space exploration - even more so than mining them for resources, Russian scientists say. The creation of closed-cycle ecosystems could possibly turn asteroids into space bases. Asteroids are often easier to access because they sometimes pass very close to Earth. (11/22)

XCOR and ULA Achieve Major Milestone With Liquid Hydrogen Engine (Source: Space Daily)
XCOR and ULA have reported their first successful hot fire of the subscale 2500 lbf thrust XR-5H25 engine in the XCOR and ULA liquid hydrogen (LH2) engine development program. "The first hot fire of any engine is a major milestone but the first firing of a liquid hydrogen engine in our LH2 program is an even bigger accomplishment," noted XCOR Chief Executive Officer Jeff Greason. (11/22)

FSU Research Uncovers Secrets of Mars' Birth From Unique Meteorite (Source: Space Daily)
As NASA prepares to launch a new Martian probe, a Florida State University scientist has uncovered what may be the first recognized example of ancient Martian crust. The work of Munir Humayun - a professor in FSU's Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science and a researcher at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) - is based on an analysis of a 4.4 billion-year-old Martian meteorite that was unearthed by Bedouin tribesmen in the Sahara desert. (11/22)

What Actually Happened with Dream Chaser (Source: Parabolic Arc)
I recently heard a very interesting talk from someone who saw the  Dream Chaser drop test at Edwards Air Force Base. The person described the landing, which went awry due to the failure of the left landing gear, as being looking similar to the crash in the opening credits for “The Six Million Dollar Man” television show.

This explains why the video that Sierra Nevada released ends abruptly just at touchdown. A crash like that is not exactly what you want everyone to see when you’re competing for billions of government dollars. The footage for the TV show was taken from the crash of the M2-F2 lifting body research aircraft at Edwards in 1967. Test pilot Bruce Peterson battled what is known as a Dutch roll after being released from the B-52 mother ship.

He came out of it off course and at low altitude. Distracted by a rescue helicopter hovering up ahead, he was unable to complete the landing flare and fully extend the gear before the M2-F2 hit the lake bed. Peterson was badly injured in the accident and lost an eye due to a subsequent infection, but he later returned to flight status. Unlike so many of his fellow test pilots, he died at home decades later. (11/22)

NASA Plans to Grant License for Space Resource Extraction (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA hereby gives notice of its intent to grant an exclusive license in the United States to practice the invention described and claimed in U.S. Patent No. 8,357,884 entitled System of Extraction of Volatiles From Soil Using Microwave Processes, to Space Resources Extraction Technology, Inc., having its principal place of business in Huntsville, Alabama. (11/22)

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