January 15, 2014

Space Station Orbit to Be Adjusted Ahead of Resupply Mission (Source: RIA Novosti)
The orbit of the International Space Station will be raised Thursday by nearly two kilometers to ensure safe docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft in February. "The thrusters will be fired up at 5:54 a.m. Moscow time and will remain switched on for 493 seconds, giving the station a boost of 1.12 meters per second,” the official said. “As a result, the average altitude of the ISS will be increased by 1,940 meters,” he said. (1/14)

GPS Turns 20 (Source: AFSPC)
The Global Positioning System (GPS) Directorate celebrated the 20th Anniversary of achieving Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for GPS Dec. 8, 2013.  In 1973, the Navstar Global Positioning System Joint Program Office (JPO), headed by then-Colonel Bradford Parkinson, developed the GPS architecture and initiated efforts to field a prototype system to prove the concept of space-based global navigation would work. Since that time, GPS has evolved from an idea, to a prototype, to a global utility. It continues to evolve, with modernization bringing forth new capabilities for the 21st century. (1/14)

Powering a Starship With a Black Hole (Source: Discovery)
Interstellar flight certainly ranks among the most daunting challenges ever postulated by human civilization. The distances to even the closest stars are so stupendous that constructing even a scale model of interstellar distance is impractical. For instance, if on such a model, the separation of the Earth and sun is 1 inch, the nearest star to our solar system (Proxima Centuri) would be 4.3 miles away!

The fastest object ever built by the human species is the Voyager 1 space probe, moving at a speed of 18 miles per second. If it were heading toward Proxima Centuri (which it’s not), Voyager 1 would reach our nearest stellar neighbor in about 80,000 years. Clearly, if interstellar travel is to be accomplished on human timescales, much greater speeds are required. Click here. (1/14)

France Presses For New European Rockets (Source: Aviation Week)
The success of new rockets in India and the U.S. is fortifying a French argument for developing a more affordable three-stage rocket, rather than a two-stage solid-fueled one. The urgency of beginning work on the next-generation rocket hit home Jan. 5 with the flawless first flight of India's Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which lofted a small national communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on the country's eastern coast. (1/13)

Remember When George W. Bush Wanted to Send People to the Moon Again by 2020? (Source: National Journal)
"Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the cost of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions," George W. Bush said on Jan. 14, 2004, such as sending humans to Mars for the first time. The 10-year anniversary of Bush's ambitious plans comes during a bleak time for U.S. space exploration.

The Space Shuttle program was dismantled in 2011, extinguishing hopes for sending American astronauts to space without collaboration with international space agencies. This year's proposed budget for NASA, outlined in an appropriations bill Monday night, was a slim $17.6 billion, just $2 billion more than it was in 2004. Although the budget includes money for asteroid detection, it shrinks funding for a planetary science program that creates and oversees missions to outer planets and moons. Editor's Note: And remember how he planned for us to get there, and with what money? (1/14)

Wallops Island Launches Postponed Due to Weather (Source: Virginian-Pilot)
The launches of three suborbital rockets from the Wallops Flight Facility scheduled for this morning for the Department of Defense have been postponed to Wednesday. The Terrier-Orion suborbital rockets won’t launch today because of rain, a NASA news release says. On Wednesday, the rockets are expected to launch within 20 seconds of each other between 1 and 5 a.m., a NASA news release says. If weather causes another postponement, the rockets could launch Thursday through Saturday. (1/14)

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