December 16, 2013

Swiss Firm Eyes Roscosmos Collaboration on Satellite Launches (Source: Space Daily)
A new aerospace company based in Switzerland has expressed interest in collaborating with Russia's space agency on cost-efficient launches of mini-satellites. The Swiss Space System (S3) is developing a launch system based on the Airbus A300 plane and a suborbital shuttle to launch satellites weighing up to 250 kilograms for the price of some 10 million Swiss francs ($11.3 million) or about four times less than current market prices. (12/12)

Abrupt Impacts From Climate Change (Source: Space Daily)
Climate change has increased concern over possible large and rapid changes in the physical climate system, which includes the Earth's atmosphere, land surfaces, and oceans. Some of these changes could occur within a few decades or even years, leaving little time for society and ecosystems to adapt.

A new report from the National Research Council extends this idea of abrupt climate change, stating that even steady, gradual change in the physical climate system can have abrupt impacts elsewhere -- in human infrastructure and ecosystems for example -- if critical thresholds are crossed. The report calls for the development of an early warning system that could help society better anticipate sudden changes and emerging impacts. (12/13)

Collapse of the Universe is Closer Than Ever Before (Source: Space Daily)
Maybe it happens tomorrow. Maybe in a billion years. Physicists have long predicted that the universe may one day collapse, and that everything in it will be compressed to a small hard ball. New calculations from physicists at the University of Southern Denmark now confirm this prediction - and they also conclude that the risk of a collapse is even greater than previously thought.

Sooner or later a radical shift in the forces of the universe will cause every little particle in it to become extremely heavy. Everything - every grain of sand on Earth, every planet in the solar system and every galaxy - will become millions of billions times heavier than it is now, and this will have disastrous consequences: The new weight will squeeze all material into a small, super hot and super heavy ball, and the universe as we know it will cease to exist. (12/3)

Export Control Reform Process is Wrapping Up (Source: Space Politics)
Nearly one year ago, the Congress approved a defense authorization bill that included a key provision for the US space industry: repealing language in the fiscal year 1999 defense authorization bill that put satellites and related components onto the US Munitions List, and thus under the control of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

The administration, which had already embarked on broader export control reform efforts, could now include that section of the USML in its rolling review of the overall list, determining what should remain on the list and what could be moved to the less restrictive Commerce Control List (CCL).

That process is now in its final phases. In May, the State Department published a draft of a revised Category XV of the USML, which includes satellites and related components, beginning the process of public comment. That publication stated a 45-day public comment period that ended in July. Since then, an interagency group has been reviewing those comments. (12/15)

Why America Lacks Lunar Ambition (Source: The Telegraph)
While China celebrated its lunar landing, America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration has no plans to return to the Moon. Many Americans believed they had won the space race when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon in 1969. A year after taking office, President Barack Obama controversially ditched the Constellation human space flight program pursued by his predecessor and with it plans for new lunar landings by 2020.

Instead, he set NASA’s sights on further-flung targets, most ambitiously to tow an asteroid back to Earth and to launch a manned mission to Mars within the next 20 years. That left US space operations in what is known as near-Earth orbit to the private sector. His decision to bypass the Moon has split the US space community. Buzz Aldrin agrees that returning there is a waste of limited American financial resources.

Former astronaut Harrison Schmitt, another Moon-walker, was scathing critical of the Obama space policy. "It's bad for the country," he said. "This administration really does not believe in American exceptionalism." The current NASA strategy is of course partly shaped by a simple matter of finances and resource management. China’s communist rulers can choose to plough funds into whatever projects they choose. America, with its perennial budget crises and partisan politics, has no such luxury and has to choose its targets for federal funding. (12/14)

American Exceptionalism and Space Exploration (Source: Spudis Lunar Resources Blog)
Why is the term, “American exceptionalism” so readily and predictably panned by writers and commentators? It is the exceptional way that this nation was created and how it encouraged individual success that is meant by the term “American exceptionalism.” It does not mean that Americans believe that they are better than people living in other countries.  It means that the political system we have inherited and through which we succeed, is exceptional.

China on the Moon is not the issue. The issue – and the problem – is that the United States is not on the Moon, nor planning to return there to harvest resources necessary to build and profit from the inevitable transportation system to be built in cislunar space (the area between the Earth and the Moon, where all of our commercial and national space assets reside) American exceptionalism must stay viable and be a strong presence along side China and other nations.

Editor's Note: As the U.S. pursues other destinations and priorities for our taxpayer-funded exploration, perhaps NASA should also step-up its efforts to assist U.S.-backed commercial leadership in lunar resource exploitation. (12/16)

Sweating the Small Stuff in Space Policy (Source: Space Review)
The space community frequently focuses only on big-picture issues, from the size of the NASA budget to the direction of its exploration program. Jeff Foust examines several lesser-known policy issues that are also critical to government and commercial space activities. Visit to view the article. (12/16)

Apollo 8: Humanity's First Voyage to the Moon (Source: Space Review)
As China returns to the Moon this month, the US remembers the anniversary of another major milestone in lunar exploration. Anthony Young recounts the first crewed mission to orbit the Moon, which launched 45 years ago this week. Visit to view the article. (12/16)

A Small Step for Mars Settlement, But a Giant Leap of Funding Required (Source: Space Review)
Mars One, the private venture with plans to settle Mars in the 2020s, announced last week plans to develop a precursor robotic mission for launch in 2018. Jeff Foust reports on the announcement and the challenges the venture faces beyond building spacecraft hardware. Visit to view the article. (12/16)

UF Aerobiologist Launches High-Altitude Dust Experiment on Starfighters Jet (Source: Gainesville Sun)
Dust isn’t just that annoying film on your furniture. We breathe in millions of dust particles every minute — and some of those come from as far away as Africa and Asia. Some of those dust particles are also harmful, containing pathogens that might be one of the reasons behind your child’s asthma.

To learn more about these far-flung dust particles, a University of Florida scientist has invented a device that sits on an airplane and can scoop up dust particle samples. Called DART, which stands for Dust at Altitude Recovery Technology, the 7-foot-long cylindrical device also resembles a large dart, nestled beneath the body of an airplane.

The DART is the first device to gather dust from high altitudes, and last week, it completed its maiden voyage above the Kennedy Space Center, sucking in dust samples at 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 feet above the ground. Researchers are starting to analyze the dust filters. Click here. (12/11)

German Space Agency Funds Study on Uses of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser (Source: Parabolic Arc)
OHB System AG and the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) signed an agreement providing for the use of funding from the national space program to finance a study to explore possible uses of the U.S. spacecraft Dream Chaser developed and owned by Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).

Named DC4EU (Dream Chaser for European Utilization), the project is to explore ways in which the Dream Chasercan be used to cover German and European requirements for the transportation of payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and for deployment as a manned or unmanned space vehicle allowing German and European scientists to conduct research under weightless conditions over extended periods of time.

Given the capability which the Dream Chaser has for reaching orbits at a substantially greater altitude than the ISS, the study will determine the extent to which it is able to supply satellites or remove decommissioned satellites from their orbits. The project participants intend to explore the potential offered by the Dream Chaser to achieve more intensive scientific utilization of the ISS and opportunities for high-caliber research in weightless conditions in the post-ISS era. (12/16)

AsiaSat Orders SSL Satellite, Retains Option for Weather Sensor (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator AsiaSat of Hong Kong on Dec. 16 said it is returning to Space Systems/Loral (SSL) for the construction of the AsiaSat 9 C-, Ku- and Ka-band satellite under a contract that leaves open, for three months, the possibility of adding a weather sensor to the satellite’s payload.

Under the contract, valued at $163.6 million, SSL will deliver AsiaSat 9 within 31 months. AsiaSat has 120 days from the contract signing to determine whether a 300-kilogram hyperspectral weather sensor, to be provided by GeoMetWatch (GMW) of Las Vegas, will be part of the payload. The sensor is expected to require 500 watts of power. (12/16)

Think You Know What Alien Life May Look Like? Be Careful! (Source: Space Daily)
The search for planets outside our solar system has been much in the news for the past couple of years, with most of the attention, and questions, focused on "habitable" planets -- do they exist, and if so are at least some in fact harboring life? And the biggest question of all: What might that life look like?

While scientists might argue over what would make a distant exoplanet habitable -- and they do -- one inviolate requirement on which most have agreed is the necessity of liquid water. That figures strongly in what most people would envision as a habitable planet, based on the only model we have -- Earth. That brings up for most people a vision of a habitable planet with streams and rivers and oceans, and water vapor forming clouds in an atmosphere at least somewhat Earth-like.

And that may be expecting too much. If our own planet has shown us anything, it's that life can exist under the most extreme conditions, and those conditions can create life forms we might consider "alien" even here on Earth. First of all, "liquid" water covers a wide range, from near-boiling -- or even above -- to near-freezing, with both extremes seemingly less than hospitable to life. (12/16)

Military Personnel Costs Now On The Table (Source: Army Times)
The recently crafted budget compromise show that, nearly for the first time, lawmakers are willing to address rising military personnel costs, and doing so will help the U.S. maintain troop readiness, writes Stimson Center scholar Russell Rumbaugh, a former Pentagon and Hill staffer. The deal makes changes to military pensions, but more change to personnel costs are needed in order to keep U.S. defense strong, Rumbaugh argues. (12/13)

James Confirmed as Air Force Secretary (Source: The Hill)
Deborah James has been confirmed by the Senate as the next secretary of the Air Force. James was confirmed by a vote of 79-6 early Friday morning. James, who currently works with Science Applications International Corp., was previously an assistant secretary of defense under President Bill Clinton. (12/13)

Chinese Moon Rover Takes Photos as Lunar Mission Dubbed Success (Source: Bloomberg)
A Chinese spacecraft sent back photos of the lunar surface and the unmanned rover that it brought there, as authorities dubbed the latest step in the country’s space program a “complete success.” The Jade Rabbit rover emerged from the Chang’e-3 yesterday and the two began taking photos hours after China became the first country since 1976, and the third ever, to land a spacecraft on the moon.

Chinese state television distributed photographs taken from the Chang’e-3 that showed the rover, its two solar panels extended, after it rolled down two metal tracks onto the lunar surface. Chinese state media have described the space program as an element of the “Chinese Dream,” a slogan unveiled by President Xi Jinping that signifies a stronger military and improved livelihoods. China is also planning a manned mission to the moon in the coming years. (12/15)

Water Seems to Flow Freely on Mars (Source: Nature)
Dark streaks that hint at seasonally flowing water have been spotted near the equator of Mars1. The potentially habitable oases are enticing targets for research. But spacecraft will probably have to steer clear of them unless the craft are carefully sterilized — a costly safeguard against interplanetary contamination that may rule out the sites for exploration.

River-like valleys attest to the flow of water on ancient Mars, but today the planet is dry and has an atmosphere that is too thin to support liquid water on the surface for long. However, intriguing clues suggest that water may still run across the surface from time to time. Click here. (12/10)

Space Expedition Corp. Mooved to Spaces Zuidas (Source: SXC)
Earlier this month, Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) moved its headquarters to Spaces, the flexible office building at Amsterdam Zuidas. From here, the young Dutch company coordinates its worldwide marketing and sales efforts. SXC is currently preparing for the first test flights with the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, which are scheduled halfway into the next year. Michiel Mol (CEO): “Our previous office in Amsterdam Zuid was beautiful, but we missed the presence of other young enterprises around us. (12/16)

Budget Space Trips Planned from Canary Islands (Source: Guardian)
A group of European space companies plans to offer "budget" trips to space tourists from Spain's Canary Islands. Grégoire Loretan of Swiss Space Systems, the company leading the push, said trials were expected to begin in 2020 of technology that would allow the public an experience previously accessible only to astronauts and millionaires.

Launching from a base near Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, one of the largest tourist towns in the Canary Islands, the trips into space will be relatively low-cost because the group plans to use an Airbus 300 aircraft attached to a space shuttle. Passengers would be transported six miles above Earth. From there, the shuttle would detach from the plane and travel up to 60 miles farther into space before returning to Earth. The spacecraft would have room for up to six people. (12/15)

Arianespace Orders 18 Ariane 5 Rockets from Astrium (Source: Space News)
Astrium Space Transportation, which in January changes its name to Airbus Defense and Space, will build 18 heavy-lift Ariane 5 rockets for delivery starting in 2017 under a contract valued at more than 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion). The contract, with Arianespace, was signed at Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport in South America. Arianespace had previously contracted with Astrium for Ariane 5 long-lead items to assure that the vehicles arrive as scheduled. (12/16)

Mehran Keshe Announces Spaceship Institute (Source: PESN)
Beginning January 14, the Keshe Foundation will be launching a 1-3-year long course for scientists from around the world who wish to collaborate in the development of knowledge required to build a fully functional space craft, complete with propulsion, energy generation, healing capability, food and water production.

The course will begin January 14 with 20-50 participants, then in March they will allow multinational companies to join in. The setting will not be a "classroom" with teacher and students, but more of a "round table" environment of peers, directed by Keshe. "Most of these people are high-level scientists. Titles get hung on the door on the way in. This will be an environment of peers." Click here. (12/16) 

Hamel Takes the Helm at Lockheed Martin’s Commercial Satellite Business (Source: Space News)
Lockheed Martin Corp. has appointed retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Mike Hamel as president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems’ Commercial Ventures division, which builds telecommunications and remote sensing satellites for non-U.S. government customers. Hamel, a former commander of Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, replaces Linda Reiners, who is taking a new position as vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Corporate Ventures operation. (12/12)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This news collection reminds me of the old Sesame Street song "One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong". It's the Keshe section, that doesn't belong.

Since Keshe entered the world scene as technology guru in 2005, there has to this day never been any even remotely credible demonstration of any "Keshe technology" (that can't be easily explained based on conventional science). The simple reason is that his theories are nonsense and his "technology" exists only in his fantasies.

Read an extensive facts collection about Keshe here:

Read the sad history of his "3-4kW generators" (for which about 150 people paid 500 EUR deposit) here:

Read also this compilation concerning the psychological background (Keshe claiming to be a prophet, to be omniscient, that his personal job "is the unification of all the races in the universe", etc.):

Keshe's "Spaceship Institute" is a charade. No "high-level scientist" will even think about participating.