February 20, 2014

The Story of the First V-2 Rocket Launch (Source: Space Safety)
The Germans started to work on the development of the V-2 in the mid-1930s, at the Peenemünde Army Research Facility, in a village with a seaport north west of Germany. On October 3, 1942 the Germans had their first successful V-2 test firing from Peenemünde. After this first successful test, they carefully selected a strategic location in The Netherlands for their first operational launch. This is where the town of Wassenaar enters the V-2 story. Click here. (2/17)

Astronauts Detail Space Station Life in New California Exhibit (Source: LA Times)
The awe-inspiring feeling of clinging to the exterior of the International Space Station during a repair, surrounded by the dark of space. The way continued weightlessness wears on the human body. Those are just a couple of the experiences NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson and aerospace engineer Camille Alleyne discuss in their promotion of a new exhibit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles called "Destination: Station." The show, running through April 7, is aimed at highlighting NASA's space station work. (2/19)

NASA Robot Trains as Space Doctor (Source: CBS)
A robot aboard the International Space Station is getting a crash course through medical school, learning to conduct basic medical procedures such as ultrasounds and injections via a medical team on Earth. Robonaut 2, or R2, has a camera in its head that would allow its Earth-bound handlers to see what is happening. (2/19)

Space-Related Priorities Coming Into Focus for Florida's Legislative Session (Source: FSDC)
Florida space industry leaders have prepared an initial list of space-related policy and funding priorities for consideration by elected officials during the 2014 Legislative Session in Tallahassee, which begins on March 4. The state's annual Florida Space Day event, planned on March 12, will bring industry, government and academic leaders to Tallahassee to show their support for space issues.

The Florida Space Development Council will participate in Florida Space Day at the state capitol, and will monitor the progress of space-related legislation and funding requests. Click here for a summary of the 2014 priorities, and a review of last year's items. (2/20)

Rocketry Association Conference Planned on Space Coast (Source: NAR)
Amateur rocketry enthusiasts and vendors from around the world will gather on Florida's Space Coast on Feb. 28 - Mar. 2 to share technical information and discuss advances in the industry. There's still time to register and participate in NARCON 2014 through midnight EST on Feb. 24. The registration fee includes admission to all technical sessions, the exhibits and vendors room, all raffles and prizes, the Friday night dessert reception, the Saturday lunch with our Local Space Legends and a Saturday afternoon refreshment break. Click here. (2/20)

Europa Plumes May Change Flyby Mission (Source: Aviation Week)
Discovery of 200-km-high (124-mi.) ice geysers above the southern hemisphere of Europa has raised hopes that a flyby mission already in the works may raise the near-term chances of finding life in the global ocean beneath the frozen surface of Jupiter's big moon.

Scientists have long believed that Europa's ocean is one of the few places in the Solar System where life might have evolved, but mission-concept studies to date have focused on penetrating kilometers of ice to find out. Discovery of the geysers by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope offers another option. (2/17)

Stennis and NASA Explore More Than Space (Source: Picayune Item)
Stennis Space Center and NASA do more than explore space. The chief scientist at NASA, Ellen Stofan, visited Stennis and commented on Stennis solves problems affecting us here on Earth. Click here. (2/20)

Satellite Reaches Long Beach for Next Sea Launch (Source: Press-Telegram)
A communications satellite built for France-based Eutelsat has arrived in California to be prepared for liftoff from Sea Launch AG’s oceangoing rocket pad. The companies said Wednesday that the Eutelsat 3B spacecraft built by Airbus Defense and Space was flown from Toulouse to Long Beach Airport and then transported to a payload processing facility at the home port of the Sea Launch system’s two vessels. (2/19)

SES Books a SpaceX Falcon Heavy for 2016 Launch (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator SES, which in December launched the first geostationary-orbiting satellite aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, on Feb. 20 said it would launch a much larger satellite aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket in 2016. SpaceX’s current advertised prices show a Falcon Heavy launch at $77.1 million for satellites weighing 6,400 kilograms or less, and $135 million for satellites heavier than that.

Falcon 9 v1.1’s price is still listed at $56.5 million. The vehicle is capable of placing satellites weighing up to 4,850 kilograms into geostationary transfer orbit. The U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program 2 mission is currently scheduled as the first Falcon Heavy customer, with a launch scheduled for 2015. The STP-2 package features components going into several different orbits. (2/20)

Airbus Defense and Space Signs a New Satellite Contract with SES (Source: Airbus)
Airbus Defense and Space, the world’s second largest space company, has won a contract with SES one of the world’s leading satellite operators, for the design and construction of the latest addition to its fleet, the SES-10. The new satellite will be based on the ultra-reliable Eurostar E3000 platform from Airbus Defense and Space. (2/20)

GPS Upgrade Set to Launch Tonight (Source: Florida Today)
Leaders of the Air Force’s Global Positioning System program joke that some of their 36 orbiting satellites have nearly reached voting age, and others are old enough to drink. “We have a lot of satellites that are well past their design life,” said Col. William Cooley, head of the GPS directorate at the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles. “We’re trying to prevent any sort of outage and (have) some backup capability on orbit.”

With that in mind, the Air Force plans to launch three new GPS satellites from Cape Canaveral during the next five months to replace some of the constellation’s more senior members. The youth infusion starts with today’s planned 8:40 p.m. liftoff of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Launch Complex 37. There’s an 80 percent chance of favorable weather during the 19-minute launch window.

The 3,600-pound, Boeing-built satellite atop the rocket is the fifth of 12 in a new generation known as “IIF” (Two-F). It is slated to replace a spacecraft old enough to drive in Florida, having reached its Sweet 16 — more than double its expected seven-and-a-half-year lifetime. (2/20)

Florida Space Industry to Visit Capitol on March 12 (Source: FSD)
Representatives from Florida’s aerospace industry will visit Tallahassee on March 12 to participate in Florida Space Day and share with legislators the opportunities the industry brings to Florida and the nation’s space program. Former NASA astronaut Bob Crippen, pilot of the first orbital test flight of the Shuttle program and former NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Director, will be making scheduled appearances throughout the event. Space-related exhibits will be available on the third floor Rotunda of the Capitol. (2/19)

New Russian Space Rocket on Track for Launch by June (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia’s first large rocket since the Soviet era is on track for a maiden launch this year and will be competitive with foreign rivals, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday. “The rocket has been designed and produced entirely by domestic companies and uses environmentally-friendly propellants,” Medvedev said during a tour of Russia’s northern Plesetsk space center.

He noted that the Angara rocket was a great achievement for Russia’s aerospace industry, one that would secure access to space in the future for both government and civilian payloads. It was on track for a test mission in the second quarter of 2014. A full-scale mockup of the rocket was rolled out to a launch pad earlier this week to check ground support systems. The Angara is planned to launch from both Plesetsk and the new Vostochny space center in Russia’s Far East that is being built to reduce reliance on the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. (2/20)

NASA Ups Ante on Crowdsourcing Patents (Source: FCW)
Over the decades, NASA technologies were designed to hurl astronauts into space and develop satellites with pinpoint precision. But off-label uses have led to advanced medical ultrasound, camera phone enhancements and commercial airline improvements. In October 2013, NASA posted 14 patents on the crowdsourcing site Marblar to facilitate more innovation through collaboration by the space program, industry and individuals. NASA now has 35 patents on its Marblar page and has welcomed practical applications of its technology.

Daniel Lockney, NASA's technology transfer program executive, said that although the agency always has a specific reason for developing a technology, it doesn't always realize all the different ways that technology might be applied. "That's why we've worked with the company Marblar to help us to tap into the untapped cognitive surplus that exists in the world," he said. Click here. (2/20)

Russian Govt. Demands More Efficient Spacecraft Production (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russian spacecraft manufacturers will face stiffer penalties for failure to meet production deadlines, the deputy prime minister responsible for the sector said Wednesday. Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s defense and space industries, said that domestic spacecraft production, especially of commercial satellites, had been dogged by delays and inferior quality.

“We certainly need a completely different level of discipline and responsibility in this area,” he said after a government meeting on reform of the space industry, chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Rogozin said the government would introduce stronger penalties for companies that did not manufacture and deliver spacecraft on schedule. He did not specify what the penalties would be. (2/20)

Orbital to Launch Skybox Satellites Atop Minotaur From California (Source: SpaceRef)
Orbital Sciences Corporation (ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it has signed a commercial launch contract withSKybox Imaging to carry six high-resolution imaging and video-capable spacecraft into low-Earth orbit (LEO) in late 2015 from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Skybox spacecraft will be launched aboard the Minotaur-C space launch vehicle, a commercial variant of the company’s Minotaur product line that serves the U.S. government market. The mission will be overseen by the same Small-Class Launch Vehicles unit of the company’s Launch Systems Group that has executed 25 consecutive successful Minotaur launches since 2000. Financial terms of the agreement were not released. (2/20)

IDEAS Completes Project for Spaceport Sweden (Source: MRO)
IDEAS has completed two high-profile projects. The first is the feasibility and concept for the development of a Space Visitor & Science Center for Spaceport Sweden. Spaceport Sweden was inaugurated in 2007 and has been hard at work establishing commercial human spaceflight and offering innovative space adventures in Sweden, with the vision of becoming Europe’s gateway to space.

The early concept that emerged includes a unique “Earth and Sky Center” as a hub for the experience, bringing space exploration to life in the context of planet earth through immersive, interactive and participatory exhibits and programs. The complex is envisioned to bring true adventurers access to space as innovative companies like Virgin Galactic, XCOR and others establish themselves in Kiruna. Click HERE for more about the Spaceport Sweden project, including video. (2/19)

SpaceX Continues Local Land Purchases (Source: Valley Morning Star)
SpaceX already may have landed on “Mars.” Amid anticipation that Cameron County could be selected as the location for the world’s first private vertical launch site, SpaceX has developed a subdivision called “Mars Crossing.” It also continued to expand its property holdings into this new year, a Valley Morning Star investigation shows.

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, through Dogleg Park LLC, this year purchased 28 new lots surrounding the proposed complex at Boca Chica Beach, bringing the total number of lots it now owns to 88. The total land area purchased encompasses roughly 36 acres of land. In addition, SpaceX has leased 56.5 acres. (2/19)

Russian/Ukrainian Zenit Arrives in California Ahead of Satellite Launch (Source: Itar-Tass)
A Zenit rocket has arrived in Long Beach, California, ahead of an April 12-13 overnight launch taking a communications satellite into orbit. Lift-off from the Pacific Ocean launch platform will be the first this year following the failure and collapse of another Zenit carrier last February, a Russian space industry source told Itar-Tass.

The 3SL rocket and its accelerator block will lift satellite EUTELSAT-38 in the 36th project for the Sea Launch program, 32 of which have been successful. Long Beach-based Sea Launch is rated as the most direct and cost-effective route to geostationary orbit for heavy commercial communications satellites. The company was founded in 1995 to partner America's Boeing, Russia’s RKK space corporation, Norway's Quarner and Ukrainian enterprises Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash. (2/19)

Astroscale Signs With Astrobotic to Deliver Lunar Dream Time Capsule (source: Astrobotic)
Singapore-based Astroscale has contracted with Astrobotic Technology to send the Lunar Dream time capsule on its October 2015 lunar mission. The time capsule contains the popular Japanese sports drink, Pocari Sweat, which is sold across Asia and in much of the Middle East. The first commercial beverage to be delivered to the Moon’s surface, the Lunar Dream time capsule will be placed on the lunar surface by Astrobotic’s Griffin lander after it touches down in the Lacus Mortis region of the Moon. (2/17)

The Next New (Commercial) Frontier (Source: Roanoke Times)
The cost of going to the moon and back will continue to drop into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Sustainability of a permanent base on the moon will largely depend on how the American government handles private property claims for moon minerals. To address the issue of private property on the moon, Bigelow Aerospace has made a submission to the FAA requesting guidance.

The FAA must address the needs of the commercial space launch sector - a charge given the agency in the wake of the loss of the Challenger. It is clear that viewing the world through the lens of the space shuttle fleet is no longer reality. The next hero remembered by school students will most likely be that of a commercial space astronaut, one launched from Wallops Island, Va., not Cape Canaveral.

An astronaut mission to the moon is now exceedingly more likely to gain financing from private corporate equity, not U.S. taxpayers. Private property on the moon and commercial astronauts are the next wave of reality, coming very soon. (2/19)

Chinese Space Program Inspires U.S. Scientists, Could Spur Competition (Source: The Collegian)
With the declining interest in space travel in the United States and the recent social media success of China's Yutu, some have contemplated whether the U.S. would benefit from a better social media strategy for its missions. “NASA has had some major problems with public relations in the recent past,” Frank Male said. “They should be looking at all options for improving their image. If personifying their rovers helps, then it should be the first step of many.”

Erik Stalcup, K-State alumnus and aerospace engineering graduate student at Case Western Reserve University, said the Chinese moon mission seemed to be making a lot of U.S. scientists happy. “It’s always good to have competition, but it isn’t as focused on militarization as it was before,” Stalcup said. Editor's Note: NASA "personified" its Mars rovers and other missions with Twitter accounts long before China did. (2/19)

Eutelsat Sees Steady Growth as Consumer Broadband Service Gains Traction (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator Eutelsat on Feb. 14 said its consumer broadband service in Europe has maintained market traction and that the company is cautiously optimistic about satellite capacity-lease renewals in the coming weeks from the U.S. Defense Department.

Paris-based Eutelsat, which in the past year has extended its reach over the Pacific and in the Americas, reaffirmed its forecast that it will grow its revenue — aside from acquisition-related revenue — by 2.5 percent in the fiscal year ending next June 30, and 5 percent per year for the two subsequent years. (2/19)

Vega To Launch Two Israeli-built Earth observing Craft (Source: Space News)
Two Israeli-built satellites — one a high-resolution optical reconnaissance spacecraft for the Italian military — will be launched together in early 2016 aboard a European Vega rocket, launch services provider Arianespace said Feb. 19. Both will be placed into sun-synchronous orbits. (2/19)

EU Scientists Set Out to Tackle Radiation-Related Gender Issues in Space (Source: Cordis)
Why are there more men than women in space? The answer might not be as straightforward as you first think. According to physiological models used by NASA, female astronauts have a lower threshold for space radiation than their male counterparts, meaning opportunities for space exploration are more limited for them.

Radiation exposure from a long time spent in deep space or on the surface of certain planets is thought to cause an increase in the probability of developing cancer. According to NASA, the added risk of a male developing cancer on a 1 000-day Mars mission lies somewhere between 1 percent and 19 percent. The odds are worse for women. In fact, because of breasts and ovaries, the risk to female astronauts is nearly double the risk to males.

This means that while all astronauts are somewhat are limited in the missions they can fly, the limitations on female astronauts are far harsher. The work of the ongoing EU Project SR2S ('Space Radiation Superconductive Shield') may change this. Driven by the belief that technology can be sufficiently developed to allow both genders to withstand a long duration stay in space, SR2S aims to solve the issue of radiation protection for all astronauts within the next three years. (2/19)

Orion Recovery Testing Begins Off the Coast of California (Source: Space Daily)
About a hundred miles off the coast of San Diego, in the Pacific Ocean, a U.S. Navy ship's well deck filled with water as underway recovery operations began Feb. 18 on a test version of NASA's Orion crew module to prepare for its first mission, Exploration Flight Test-1, in September. Orion was undocked from its cradle and allowed to float out to sea.

Building on the knowledge gained from previous Orion recovery tests performed in calm waters near NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia, the agency's Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program began the next phase, seeking turbulent water off the west coast in which to practice recovering the Orion. (2/19)

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