February 26, 2014

KSC Visitor Complex Welcomes Brevard Symphony Orchestra For Atlantis Concert March 22 (Source: KSCVC)
Space Shuttle Atlantis, the largest and most comprehensive attraction in the world devoted to the U.S. Space Shuttle Program, will resonate with the inspiring sounds of  “Symphonic Odyssey” performed by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra (BSO) on March 22 at 8 p.m.
In a first-of-its-kind concert, the BSO will celebrate its 60th season with an evening of space-related and -inspired music performed beneath the historic orbiter in the $100 million, 90,000-square-foot Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction, which opened in 2013. (2/26)

CASIS Issues Solicitation for Enabling Technologies On the Space Station (Source: CASIS)
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has issued a solicitation for proposals supporting enabling technologies onboard the International Space Station (ISS). CASIS is responsible for managing research onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. The solicitation seeks projects that develop tools and/or techniques that will enable improved and expanded use of the ISS National Lab; increasing return on U.S. investment in the ISS National Lab and enhancing the value of the ISS research platform. Click here. (2/26)

Stratolaunch Gets New Leadership (Source: Forbes)
Paul Allen’s investment company Vulcan, Inc., has hired Charles Beames as Executive Director for its space launch system Stratolaunch. Beames has been heavily involved in space issues in the public sector. He has served as the space and intelligence liaison to the U.S. Congress for Air Force Appropriations, and most recently held a position as Principal Director of Space and Intelligence for the the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

Editor's Note: Stratolaunch has baselined the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport as its operational location. That doesn't mean they're committed to being based in Florida, but few other locations offer a runway capable of supporting their huge vehicle. (2/26)

Skybox Distribution Agreement Covers Wide Territorial Swath (Source: Space News)
Emirates Space Imaging (ESI) has signed a multiyear agreement with Skybox Imaging to distribute Skybox satellite imagery in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, ESI said. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based ESI has in turn partnered with European Space Imaging (EUSI) of Munich and Dubai-based Space Imaging Middle East, giving those companies Skybox distribution rights in their territories.

EUSI said Feb. 26 that its coverage area will include the Commonwealth of Independent States in addition to Europe and North Africa. Under the agreement, whose financial terms were not disclosed, ESI and its partners have purchased two ground stations featuring 2.4-meter antennas, to be located in Munich and Abu Dhabi. (2/26)

German-Korean Industrial Team To Build Kompsat-6 Radar Imager (Source: Space News)
The high-resolution imaging radar for South Korea’s Kompsat-6 Earth observation satellite will be built by LIG Nex1 Co. Ltd. of Korea and Airbus’ German arm. The contract follows the Aug. 2013 launch of the Kompsat-5 radar Earth observation satellite, whose imaging sensor was provided by Airbus rival Thales Alenia Space of Italy. Germany and Italy both have national radar reconnaissance programs that have allowed their industry to compete against Canada’s MDA Corp., among others, for export business. (2/26)

Satmex-9 Satellite to Host Payload to Enhance Aviation Safety (Source: SpaceRef)
Satmex, owned by Eutelsat Communications, Boeing and Raytheon announced that the all-electric propulsion Satmex-9 satellite being built by Boeing will carry a hosted payload enabling the FAA to enhance aviation safety. The FAA payload is the first in a series of WAAS commercial space missions.

Scheduled for launch by Space-X in the second half of 2015, the Satmex-9 satellite is based on the 702SP (small platform) developed by Boeing. It will be co-positioned at 117° West with the Satmex-8 satellite to offer expanded capacity across more than 45 nations and territories in the Americas, notably for Satmex’s growing video business.

Satmex’s commissioning of a payload from Boeing follows the agreement it has concluded with Raytheon for a Wide-Area Augmentation System (WAAS) payload that will enhance the availability and accuracy of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals for the FAA. The WAAS payload will provide coverage to reference stations in Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as the continental United States and Alaska, improving GPS signal accuracy to seven meters from 100 meters. (2/26)

DigitalGlobe Acquires Spatial Energy (Source: SpaceRef)
DigitalGlobe, a leading provider of commercial high-resolution earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions,  announced that it has acquired Spatial Energy, a leading source for digital imagery and related services to the energy industry. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. (2/26)

The Audacious Rescue Plan That Might Have Saved Columbia (Source: Ars Technica)
Imagine an alternate timeline for the Columbia mission in which NASA quickly realized just how devastating the foam strike had been. Could the Columbia astronauts have been safely retrieved from orbit? The CAIB had the same question, so it asked NASA to develop a theoretical repair and rescue plan for Columbia "based on the premise that the wing damage events during launch were recognized early during the mission." The result was an absolutely remarkable set of documents. Click here. (2/26)

Scientists Announce 715 New Planets Found in Kepler Data (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
A statistical analysis of data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope has confirmed the discovery of 715 newly-found planets orbiting 305 stars, pushing to total number of known planets beyond Earth's solar system to nearly 1,700, researchers announced Wednesday. (2/26)

India Takes Another Step Towards Human Spaceflight (Source: Times of India)
India's hopes of sending humans on a spaceflight to demonstrate its technological advancement is moving in the right direction with ISRO starting the instrumentation process in a crew module structure. It will test crucial re-entry aspects, key to bring the craft back into the earth's atmosphere and land at a designated spot. (2/26)

Space Elevators Totally Possible (Will Make Rockets Seem Dumb) (Source: Motherboard)
It's the scourge of futurists everywhere: The space elevator can't seem to shake its image as something that's just ridiculous, laughed off as the stuff of sci-fi novels and overactive imaginations. But there are plenty of scientists who take the idea quite seriously, and they’re trying to buck that perception.

To that end, a diverse group of experts at the behest of the International Academy of Astronautics completed an impressively thorough study this month on whether building a space elevator is doable. Their resulting report, "Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward," found that, in a nutshell, such a contraption is both totally feasible and a really smart idea. And they laid out a 300-page roadmap detailing how to make it happen. Click here. (2/25)

Boosters for Orion Debut Shipped to Florida (Source: Spaceflight Insider)
On Feb. 21, United Launch Alliance trucked a completed Delta IV Common Booster Core (CBC) from its Decatur, Alabama, facility to a nearby Tennessee River dock where it was loaded aboard the company’s Delta Mariner barge. This CBC will serve as the starboard booster on the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle which will deliver NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)  on its inaugural flight, Exploration Flight Test – 1 (EFT-1), currently slated to take place in September.

Another CBC, which will serve as the vehicle’s central booster was loaded on the Delta Mariner on Sunday, Feb 23.  Approximately two hours after the Sunday loading, the barge was scheduled to depart on its eight-day journey to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), Florida – arriving on March 3rd. (2/25)

Water Found in Atmosphere of Nearby Alien Planet (Source: Space.com)
Water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere of one of the first alien planets ever identified by astronomers. Advances in the technique used to scan the atmosphere of this "hot Jupiter" could help scientists determine how many of the billions of planets in the Milky Way contain water like Earth, researchers said.

The exoplanet Tau Boötis b was discovered in 1996, when the search for worlds outside our solar system was just kicking off. At about 51 light-years away, Tau Boötis b is one of the nearest known exoplanets to Earth. The planet is considered a "hot Jupiter" because it is a massive gas giant that orbits close to its parent star. (2/25)

We Need More Women in Aerospace (Source: Huffington Post)
There is no doubt that raising awareness on issues such as STEM, particularly Engineering and Aerospace fields in Canada is a valuable experience to offer. Seminars and conferences are a big part of making the necessary noise in order for professionals who are in the industry and the future generation who will enter the field to better understand what is actually taking place in the industry. Gatherings such as conferences and association meetings are imperative when tackling issues in the industry where experts from that particular industry are present to discuss solutions and future opportunities. (2/25)

Congressman Plans Q&A at Embry-Riddle Campus (Source: ERAU)
On March 18, U.S. Congressman Ron DiSantis, representing Florida’s 6th District, will answer questions in a live town hall discussion and interview. This event is part of the President’s Speaker Series at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (2/25)

Embry-Riddle Hosts Space Industry Advisors for Degree Program (Source: SPACErePORT)l
Space industry, government and academic leaders are meeting this week at Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach campus to discuss the evolution of Embry-Riddle's new bachelor's degree program in Commercial Space Operations. The visitors a members of the CSO program's advisory board, which was formed to ensure that the degree program meets the industry's growing need for skilled workers. (2/25)

NASA to Use Space Images to Help Monitor California Drought (Source: Reuters)
NASA scientists plan to use images shot from space and within the Earth's atmosphere to help California monitor one of the worst droughts in its recorded history, officials said on Tuesday. Scientists said they would deploy imaging tools to measure snowpack and groundwater levels and use a host of other technologies to help better map and assess the water resources in a state that produces half the nation's fruits and vegetables. (2/25)

Tiny Blobs and Tunnels in Meteorite Revive Debate Over Life on Mars (Source: NBC)
ghteen years after a Martian meteorite sparked a debate over alien-looking "nanofossils," researchers are reporting that different structures inside an even bigger space rock suggest biological processes might have been at work on the Red Planet hundreds of millions of years ago. Everett Gibson and his colleagues focused on microscopic structures deep within a 30-pound (13.5 kilogram) meteorite known as Yamato 000593, which was found in Antarctica  in 2000.

An analysis of the rock's composition showed that it was formed on Mars about 1.3 billion years ago and altered by interaction with water on Mars. Scientists say the rock was blasted into space by a cosmic impact and fell to Earth within the past 10,000 years. They describe microscopic tunnels that thread their way through the meteorite's interior, as well as tiny blobs of carbon-rich minerals that are embedded within layers of rock.

The team says such structures are suggestive of ancient weathering through biological processes. If the meteorite had come from the bottom of Earth's oceans, "we'd say, 'Gee, this rock contains evidence that there was microbial activity that was eating away at the rock,'" Gibson said. The researchers emphasize that they "cannot exclude the possibility that the carbon-rich regions in both sets of features" are the product of non-biological processes. (2/25)

'Solar System' on Leaked List of US Ppostage Stamp Subjects for 2014 (Source: Collect Space)
The United States Postal Service is planning to put its stamp on the solar system — or rather the solar system on its stamps. A confidential document shared with The Washington Post includes the "Solar System" on a list of U.S. stamp topics that have not yet been announced publicly but are planned for release later this year. The "approved subjects" include the "Solar System" among the postage stamps "in design development" as of Jan. 7, 2014. (2/24)

NASA Supports Innovative New Manufacturing (Source: NASA)
Today President Obama announced that Chicago will be the site of a public-private partnership Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute.. Led by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, the agency will support the new Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute with tools including prize challenges, university research grants and expert advice and knowledge sharing.

The idea behind the new Chicago institute is that manufacturing is being transformed by digital design, which replaces the drawing table with the capacity to work and create in a virtual environment. It has the potential for producing a faster and cheaper next-generation aircraft engine, or drastically reducing the amount of scrap material associated with small manufacturing runs and speeding the design process among multiple suppliers. (2/26)

AF Museum Previews New Space Shuttle Exhibit (Source: WDTN)
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is previewing the new Space Shuttle Exhibit and STEM Learning Node Tuesday before it opens to the public Feb. 26. The Space Shuttle Exhibit features NASA’s first Crew Compartment Trainer and allows visitors to experience the size and shape of an actual space shuttle orbiter by entering the payload bay and looking into the flight deck and mid-deck levels. (2/25)

Utah Planetarium’s New Exhibit Explores Future of Space Travel (Source: Salt Lake Tribune)
Humans may not yet be able to reach infinity and beyond, but the newest rockets are designed to get people to Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and even farther. A traveling exhibit from NASA opened Tuesday that highlights the agency’s new Space Launch System, which delivers more thrust and capacity than any previous space vehicle. The interactive exhibit will be open until March 3. (2/25)

No comments: