March 24, 2014

Henderson Moves to Blue Origin (Source: SPACErePORT)
Scott Henderson, the former launch site chief for SpaceX at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, is now the Orbital Launch Director for Blue Origin. According to his LinkedIn profile, his new job entails "establishing a commercial orbital launch capability to make space flight a viable option for the average citizen."

Henderson left SpaceX in 2012 to take a VP position with Raytheon in Texas. Prior to joining SpaceX in 2009 he was a launch group commander at the Air Force 45th Space Wing. Interestingly, his profile lists the following locations for his new job: Kent, Washington; Cape Canaveral; Wallops Island; and Texas. Click here. I know of two other Florida-based Blue Origin employees. (3/24)

Japanese Astronauts To Drink Yakult In Space (Source: Asian Scientist)
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has signed an agreement with probiotics drink manufacturer Yakult Honsha to study the impact of probiotics on astronauts’ health. The study, due to commence in 2016, will examine the effects of daily consumption of the probiotic drink, Yakult, on astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS). Scientists will investigate the effects of Yakult consumption on the immune function and gut microbiota of astronauts stationed at the ISS for long periods. (3/24)

Making the Most of the ISS (Source: Space Review)
In recent years, NASA and others have turned their attention on the International Space Station from building and maintaining the facility to making the best possible use of it. Jeff Foust examines some of those government and commercial efforts, from using the ISS as a remote sensing platform to as a launch facility for small satellites. Visit to view the article. (3/24)

If at First You Don't Succeed (Source: Space Review)
The early history of Soviet missions to Venus and Mars was filled with failures. Andrew LePage looks back at how Soviet engineers responded to the initial set of failed missions with a spacecraft concept designed for missions to both planets. Visit to view the article. (3/24)

Reusability and Other Issues Facing the Launch Industry (Source: Space Review)
While many in the space community are fascinated with SpaceX's experiments with reusability and their implications for launch prices, that excitement doesn't necessarily extend to other companies in the launch industry. Jeff Foust reports on what issues are currently of greater interest and importance to them. Visit to view the article. (3/24)

A New Price Point to Orbit (Source: Space Review)
The upcoming reusable Falcon 9 launch is generating some excitement. Sam Dinkin looks at the implications of projected lower launch costs for space settlement. Visit to view the article. (3/24)

GPS Modernization Stalls (Source: Inside GPS)
With the optimism of college-bound seniors touring the Ivy League, GPS managers have been weighing options to dramatically change the GPS constellation. Now, after studying the costs, considering the benefits, and assessing the funding climate, officials have made the starkly fiscal decision to stick close to home and take a few extra years to finish.

Although the final decisions will not be made until sometime this spring, proposals for a distinctly different type of GPS constellation appear to be off the table, sources tell Inside GNSS. The plan now appears to forego any major shift in the design of the satellites such as those proposed in Lower Cost Solutions for Providing Global Positioning System (GPS) Capability, an Air Force report delivered to Congress last April. (3/24)

Asia's Biggest Aerospace Museum to Open in Korea (Source: Yonhap)
Asia's largest aerospace museum is set to open on South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju next month to provide visitors with a chance to learn about aviation and space, its operator said Monday. The Jeju Aerospace Museum in the southwestern part of the island will showcase exhibitions on aviation, space exploration and planetary science, according to the Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC).

After some six years of construction with funding of 115 billion won (US$106.7 million), the JDC has completed the four-story building of some 30,000 square meters in cooperation with South Korea's Air Force. Items on the display will include Mustang and F4D fighter bombers, as well as some 270 meteorites collected and donated by Dr. Kim Dong-seop, chief of the Meteorite and Mineral Research Institute of Korea, according to the JDC. (3/24)

Soyuz Rocket with Glonass-M Navsat Launched from Plesetsk (Source: Voice of Russia)
A Soyuz-2.1b rocket with a Glonass-M navigation satellite has been launched from Plesetsk spaceport on Monday, said Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin. The GLONASS system is intended for operational navigation-and-timing support to an unlimited number of land-, sea-, air-, and space-based users. Access to GLONASS civilian signals at any point of the globe is provided, by a decree of the RF President, for Russian and foreign users free of charge and without limitations. (3/24)

Space Travel No Waste of Money (Source: New Zealand 3News)
Some might say investing in space travel is waste of money, but even New Zealand is taking advantage of its economic spinoffs, according to a high-ranking NASA official touring the country this week. Dr Charles Elachi, head of NASA's pioneering Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), says we wouldn't have companies like Weta Digital operating in New Zealand without technology developed for exploring the moon, Mars and beyond.

"Here in New Zealand you use a lot of computer graphics for movies – all of that was started at JPL 15 years ago, 20 years ago, to see how a spacecraft operates around the planet," Dr Elachi said on Firstline this morning. "Look what it led to – it led to a whole new industry, billions of dollars, from that kind of investment." (3/24)

Two Suns Could Make More Habitable Moons (Source: Astrobiology)
Moons in close binary solar systems have a better chance of hosting life than those in single-star systems, new research has shown. Binary stars dampen each other's solar radiation and stellar winds, thereby creating a more hospitable environment for life and increasing the habitable zone around such solar systems, according to research presented at the 223rd American Astronomical Society meeting in January. (3/24)

The Most Powerful Nerd In The Universe Is A Scientific Anomaly (Source: NPR)
Neil deGrasse Tyson — astrophysicist, irreverent tweeter, vanquisher of Pluto, frequent Stephen Colbert foil — is America's "It" Nerd. A lot of people have held that title before, acting as evangelists for science and discovery. Ben Franklin. Our buddy George Washington Carver. Stephen Jay Gould. Carl Sagan. Tyson's the latest standard-bearer, and two weeks he presided over an hourlong meditation on the birth and scope of the universe that was being broadcast on several networks at once. (3/24)

India and Space Defense (Source: The Diplomat)
Concerned about global trends, India is making progress in building its space defense capabilities. Fortunately, the final frontier has yet to become a battlefield. On present trends, however, the next two decades will witness a global arms race in space, culminating in a sophisticated weapons system being placed in orbit. The United States and Russia have been active in this sphere since the early 1960s, when the Soviets first tested the “hunter killer” low orbit satellite system.

The U.S. responded with a series of advanced strategic missile projects and some more promising ground launched initiatives. Since then, however, both the U.S. and Russia have constrained their space military programs, seeking to discourage weaponization. Still, both countries have made it clear they will start again, should a line be crossed. In 2007, China sparked global concern when it successfully tested its first ASAT (anti-satellite) missile, destroying one of its obsolete weather satellites at an altitude of 865 km. In 2006, the U.S. claimed that China had tagged some U.S. observation satellites with a high-power laser system.

Recently, India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) announced that it can harness the technology to manufacture anti-satellite weaponry. This, along with India's success with indigenous launch vehicles, equips the Indian space program with the technological capability to undertake space weaponization activities. Existing space treaties prohibit placing weapons of mass destruction in space, but not other types of weapons. Therefore, the next logical step for the DRDO is to develop orbital weapons, which could remain in space for as long as required while orbiting Earth or the Moon. (3/24)

E.T. - Are You Out There? (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
You and your wife are on a two-hour trip late at night in separate cars, travelling through dense fog. You need to talk but you can’t see her. She’s out there somewhere. The only mode of communication with her is a CB with a hundred different channels and no idea which one she might be on. You both go through them one at a time but the odds of each of you landing on the same frequency at the right moment are long indeed…

That is just one of the many problems that SETI has had to deal with for over 50 years in their quest for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Science tells us that the same elements and processes that made us and our world are at work throughout the galaxy. The Kepler telescope is discovering new planets all the time Out of the roughly 200 billion stars in our galaxy there may be a billion earth type planets. That’s potential for a lot of life out there. Click here. (3/24)

Orchestra Performs Under Space Shuttle Atlantis (Source: CFL News 13)
For the first time ever, the Brevard Symphony Orchestra performed in a special concert under the space shuttle Atlantis in celebration of the orchestra's 60th anniversary. The concert, called "The Symphonic Odyssey," featured numerous space-related and inspired arrangements, including music from "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Star Wars." (3/24)

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