December 22, 2013

UF Team Awaits Contact with SwampSat Mini Satellite (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Norm Fitz-Coy and two of the graduate students running the SwampSat project at the University of Florida check their computers and consult with a giant TV screen projecting a map of Earth dotted with several yellow squares representing satellites. SwampSat is out there somewhere.

The aerospace professor and his team have been trying to make contact with the wayward satellite since its launch last month. A single parabolic line bisects the blue screen — indicting where SwampSat should be in its orbit the next time it passes over Gainesville. A single parabolic line bisects the blue screen — indicting where SwampSat should be in its orbit the next time it passes over Gainesville. “We haven’t made contact yet,” Fitz-Coy says and shrugs. “That’s natural.” Click here. (12/22)

University of Michigan Crowdfunds Cubesat Plasma Thruster Experiment (Source: AstroAggregator)
The University of Michigan successfully crowdfunded their Cubesat Ambipolar Thruster on Kickstarter today, securing nearly $96,800 in funding.  According to the project lead, Ben Longmier, this funding will be enough to install a more finessed thruster design on the test cubesats that will result in greater efficiency and longer mission duration. (12/22)

Space Exploration Can Bring Technological Advances to Benefit Mankind (Source: Global Times)
China has scored huge success as its Chang'e-3 spacecraft deployed the Yutu rover on the moon, exerting enormous influence upon the nation and the world at large, as well as enlightening people with more profound knowledge of the significance of lunar exploration activities in the realms of science, technology, economics, politics and society.

Because lunar exploration calls for intensive integration of sophisticated technologies, the Chang'e-3 mission has driven the development of technologies, including new energy conversion, new materials, photoelectrons and telecommunications, which have already been or will be applied to the national economy and defense industries. There is no denying that lunar exploration technologies and accomplishments will benefit mankind. Click here. (12/22)

Spaceport Marks More New Mexico Milestones (Source: Albuquerque Journal)
What an incredible journey we are on. We are witnessing the dawn of space travel for humanity. The people of New Mexico took a leap of faith in 2007 and made an enormous investment in this bold new venture. At the time, there were few with the vision that New Mexicans had. Today, as we are propelled forward, many others are joining around the world – but we were among the first. So what have we accomplished so far? Click here. (12/22)

Colorado Faces Long Battle to Get Spaceport Built (Source: Denver Post)
As early as 2014, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher and Brangelina will board a plane, climb 50,000 feet and break the sound barrier on their way to experiencing zero gravity in space. Until recently, this idea of spaceport hubs launching space planes — much like airports launch jets — was considered farfetched. But now, two states are operating spaceports, and the first Virgin Galactic manned trip is expected to launch next year at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

While those facilities burst with aerospace research and suborbital test flights, Colorado still faces a long, uphill battle in its own spaceport aspirations. First, Colorado must win the FAA's approval of its proposed site at Front Range Airport, which seven states have already received. The state has several strengths working in its favor: It has the second-largest number of aerospace workers in the nation, boasts robust research institutions and has a governor and congressional delegation that supports the initiative. (12/22)

Spacewalking Astronauts Remove Faulty Pump Ahead of Schedule (Source:
Two astronauts working speedily outside the International Space Station removed a faulty pump module ahead of schedule, potentially negating the need for a planned Christmas Day spacewalk as they work to repair the outpost’s critical cooling system. (12/21)

Space Suit Issue Prompts Delay of Second Spacewalk (Source: AP)
Astronauts removed an old space station pump Saturday, sailing through the first of a series of urgent repair spacewalks to revive a crippled cooling line. The two Americans on the crew, Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins, successfully pulled out the ammonia pump with a bad valve __ well ahead of schedule. That task had been planned for the next spacewalk, originally scheduled for Monday but now delayed until Tuesday, Christmas Eve, because of the need for a suit swap.

Several hours after Saturday's spacewalk ended, Mission Control bumped spacewalk 2 to Tuesday to give Mastracchio enough time to prepare a spare suit. His original suit was compromised when he inadvertently turned on a water switch in the air lock at the end of Saturday's excursion. NASA officials said Saturday night that it's unclear whether a third spacewalk will be needed and when it might occur, if required. (12/22)

After Mars, India to Secure Place on Sun (Source: Indian Express)
Basking in the glory of the successful launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission, India has put its maiden mission to the sun titled Aditya-1 on a more ambitious track. Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have decided to upgrade the satellite from being a single payload, designed to study the sun’s outer layer, to now include five payloads that would study the sun more closely to see how it impacts the earth.

The solar mission would put India in the elite club that currently has only two members-the Europe Space Agency and USA’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Icing on the cake would be that earlier the solar mission was a collaborative effort between the European and US agencies, while the Indian mission would be an individual effort – ISRO with a shoestring budget is matching its well endowed counterparts. (12/22)

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