February 9. 2014

Improved Highway Safety Delivered by App Developed for Astronauts (Source: NSBRI)
A custom version of SleepFit, a mobile app developed by Pulsar Informatics, Inc., has been used in a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) study to assess the impact of recently revised safe driving regulations for commercial truck drivers. The mobile app was developed with competitive funding from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). (2/5)

Shiloh Pros, Cons to be Aired at New Smyrna Beach Meeting (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Two meetings this week to discuss a proposed commercial spaceport inside Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge are expected to draw hundreds of passionate supporters and opponents. The public meetings start with open house-style workshops from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by an overview of the environmental impact statement review process between 6 and 6:15 p.m. One hour and 45 minutes will be allowed for public comment.

A coalition of outdoors and conservation organizations, which some are calling the broadest group they’ve ever seen, is working to rally its collective membership to attend the meetings — one Tuesday night at New Smyrna Beach High School and one Wednesday night in Titusville. Pro-aerospace groups and local chambers of commerce also are planning a strong presence, and encouraging supporters to wear red.

Opponents plan to point out the reasons why they believe a spaceport should not be developed there, including interruption of public access to the refuge and potential harm to water quality, protected species, including the Florida scrub jay, and the cultural and historic resources. (2/8)

Editorial: Spaceport Hearing Should Focus on Real Issues (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Space Florida’s basic proposal is to establish two vertical launch pads which could bring up to 12 launches per year, and 12 fire engine tests. The area is known as Shiloh, west of Kennedy Parkway and south of Oak Hill. It is within the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Space Florida believes the private space sector could spend $300 billion in the next two decades, and unless the Space Coast prepares for that, many of those private facilities will be lost to other states. Capturing some of that business is vital to help rehabilitate the Space Coast. (2/9)

Houston's Giant Astronaut to Tower Taller than Sam Houston (Source: Culture Map Houston)
Never one to pass up a chance to build a towering statue along the highway, legendary Houston artist David Adickes has signed on to design the largest project of his career — an 80-foot concrete astronaut at I-45 and NASA Parkway that would tower over the famous Sam Houston statue in size. It will stand above a newly-proposed education center dedicated to the Apollo space program and its historic moon landings.

The City of Webster, which owns the land for the project, will partner with the Apollo and Beyond nonprofit to raise funds for this new space center. The statue and Apollo center, neither of which have any direct affiliation with NASA, are expected to lure as many as 800,000 visitors a year to a community still hurting from the federal agency's cancellation of the space shuttle program in 2011. (2/8)

Editorial: Get State Out of Spaceport Business (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
I am a rocket-scientist, by training and career. In spite of being elderly and retired, I am still glad to see new technology and new things in our lives. During a long career at the leading edges of technology, I have seen many new ideas and industries develop, and understand well how some succeed and some fail.

Also, I am very concerned with the need for economic development in Doña Ana County and New Mexico, and actively explore and support every activity that may bring good jobs here. I am opposed to the state being in the spaceport business. I voted against the spaceport and continue to oppose supporting its construction with county and state tax funds. The use of taxes to pay for spaceport operating expenses is unconscionable, even if legal. When will this stop?

In 2006, when Gov. Richardson and Sir Richard Branson proposed the spaceport here, there was no commercial space industry to speak of, and Virgin Galactic needed a place to fly passengers on short trips to zero-gravity. Did it make sense then for the state to go into the spaceport business? Is that an area of the state's expertise? I don't think so. (2/9)

Editorial: Use Spaceport America Tax in Way Voters Intended (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
I support the spaceport. I support the state paying its fair share for the spaceport. Most importantly, I support Doña Ana County voters. It is not an either/or. Our county taxpayers did commit to helping build the spaceport. They did not commit to operating the Spaceport Authority for the state of New Mexico. A bait and switch has occurred.

The monies designated for building the spaceport are now being used for operational expenses instead. Dona Ana County voters committed to paying off debt for the spaceport facility with an increase in their gross receipts tax dollars; they did not vote to pay for daily operations. That is the state's obligation. (2/9)

Shotwell: How SpaceX Keeps Its Startup Culture (Source: Forbes)
What does it take to go from tiny to huge? And how can a company that make that journey retain the best aspects of startup culture? If anyone should have insight into these questions it’s Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of SpaceX (as well as a keynote speaker at our upcoming conference), who joined Elon Musk’s aerospace startup as employee number seven and now helps to manage a team of around 3,000.

We asked Shotwell about the company’s journey from wild idea to real-life rocket maker, as well as her personal journey from technologist to manager (and even got a bold prediction about the future of human space exploration thrown in!) Click here. (2/7)

Failure to Launch? Spaceport Takes Hits on Two Fronts (Source: New Mexico Watchdog)
The venture built with $212 million in state taxpayer money has taken hits on a couple of fronts: From a legislator who doesn’t like how officials are spending the money they’ve received from two southern New Mexico counties and a just-released book questioning whether Spaceport’s anchor tenant — Virgin Galactic — will ever get off the ground. But the executive director of Spaceport America says she’s as confident as ever that commercial space technology, Virgin Galactic and the Spaceport itself will thrive.

“I spent 30 years in the Air Force and a lot of that time was spent in space technology and space systems,” Christine Anderson told New Mexico Watchdog. “It is rocket science and it takes a while. People always like to say, ‘Here’s the date, you gotta hit that date.’ Well, you’re ready when you’ve done all the testing and in this particular case, you really want to get it right because you’ve got commercial passengers flying.” (2/7)

Canadian Aerospace Industry Applauds New Space Policy Framework (Source: AIAC)
James Moore, Minister of Industry, released the government’s new Space Policy Framework, which will serve as a guide for the Canadian space program’s future priorities and activities. The announcement comes as a response to recommendations included in the Emerson Report on Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies for strengthening the competitiveness of the Canadian aerospace and space industries. (2/7)

India to Launch 5 Satellites in 2014-15 (Source: Xinhua)
India is to launch into space at least five foreign satellites this year and next year, sources said Saturday. "All these satellites will be launched by the state-owned Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) from the spaceport of Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh," the sources said.

The commercial arm of ISRO has signed deals with Britain's DMC International Imaging, a subsidiary of the Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, to launch three 350 kg disaster monitoring satellites and with ST Electronics of Singapore to launch a 400 kg TeLEOS-1 Earth observation satellite, the sources said. The ISRO will also launch SPOT-7, a French satellite in the next two to three months, they added. (2/8)

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