May 27, 2014

Export Control Reform (Almost) Reaches Finish Line (Source: Space Review)
After more than a decade of lobbying by the space industry, the State Department published a final rule earlier this month moving most satellites and related items off the US Munitions List, and therefore no longer subject to ITAR. Jeff Foust notes that, while this is a major milestone, industry didn't get everything they wanted, and there's still some unfinished business to tend to. Visit to view the article. (5/27)

Regulating the Void: In-Orbit Collisions and Space Debris (Source: Space Review)
One of the biggest uncertainties in space law and regulation today is determining who is responsible for collisions between spacecraft and debris. Timothy G. Nelson outlines the key legal issues associated with this topic. Visit to view the article. (5/27)

Making Progress, and Seeking Stability, with SLS and Orion (Source: Space Review)
NASA's Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket and Orion spacecraft are two of NASA's highest profile programs, and also two programs subject to significant criticism and debate. Jeff Foust reports on what the key companies involved in those two programs are doing to keep them on schedule in the near term as they also seek long-term stability. Visit to view the article. (5/27)

Cislunar Cnema (Source: Space Review)
Over the decades, many dozens of films have been produced about spaceflight to the Moon and its vicinity. In the first of a two part examination of this ouvre, Ken Murphy recounts the cislunar films from the golden age of cinema to the turn of the 21st century. Visit to view the article. (5/27)

Defense Giants Accelerate R&D But Lag Tech Firms (Source: Defense News)
Major U.S. defense firms ramped up internal research and development spending last year, pumping in $800 million more than a year earlier, but they still lag large technology firms in R&D investment. Collectively, Boeing Defense, L-3 Communications, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon spent $4.1 billion on R&D last year, according to data compiled by Byron Callan, defense analyst with Capital Alpha Partners; at the same time, tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft each spent between $4.5 billion and $10.4 billion. (5/26)

Airbus CEO Urges Radical Shake-Up of Space Launcher Industry (Source: Reuters)
The head of Airbus Group has urged European countries to carry out a fundamental overhaul of the space rocket launcher industry and give companies a bigger role to avoid becoming "irrelevant" in the $6.5 billion global rocket-launch club. His call for a bigger industry say in the public and private partnerships behind Europe's Ariane space rocket is a response to the arrival of low-cost U.S. based Space Exploration technologies (SpaceX), run by electric car mogul Elon Musk. (5/23)

University of Maryland Establishes a Space Debris Research Center (Source: LaunchSpace)
Last year, the University of Maryland initiated a new activity that will focus on education and research addressing this important long-term problem. After months of planning and preparation, just last week the new Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research (CODER) was publically announced and a new website has been introduced. Click here. (5/27)

Bidder Pays $1 Million for Trip to Space with Leonardo DiCaprio (Source: Celebrity Toob)
According to reports, actor Leonardo DiCaprio offered himself (and a trip to the moon) to one lucky bidder at a star-studded gala and auction in Cannes, France. The event was held for amFAR, the International non-profit foundation that supports AIDS research. For Leo, it was the second straight year he offered a trip to the moon to one lucky bidder.

The winning bid was $1 million, but the winner remained anonymous. Looks like Mr. DiCaprio is going to be awfully busy with trips to the moon shortly. Last year, the winning bid was $1.5 million. As for the transportation, the Virgin Galactic private reusable space plane is still being tested. Right now, it can only make it 70,000 feet – only 168,000 feet short of the moon. Editor's Note: The moon?? Sadly, this is what passes for space exploration news for much of the world. (5/26)

Editorial: Why a Mars Flyby Mission? (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Lately there have been several proposals to launch manned missions to circle past the planet Mars and return to Earth. Inspiration Mars, is a nonprofit venture that is working to launch a manned Mars flyby in 2018, when Earth and Mars are at opposition. The House Appropriations Committee just authorized NASA to study the feasibility of launching a crewed mission to orbit Mars by 2021. Neither of these plans shows much promise or practical value, and there are far better destinations in space in the short term.

A Mars flyby has been compared to Apollo 8, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon. On the surface, there might be some similarities. Certainly Apollo 8 was an audacious and daring venture. It was the first manned flight of the Saturn V and it was going all the way to the Moon. The space program was hopelessly primitive back then, yet they went to the Moon anyway; surely we’re as capable today of going to Mars, with our reusable rockets and unwelded spaceship hulls and pocket supercomputers.

Not quite. The Moon is only three days away. It’s much easier to send humans in a largely unproven spacecraft on an experimental mission for about a week than it is to send people on a voyage of a year or more far into deep space beyond all hope of rescue, or even of rapid communication. At its closest, Mars is some 55 million miles away from Earth. (5/26)

Volunteers’ Capitol Hill Visit Delivers NASA Support (Source: Florida Today)
Last week, I was in Washington, D.C. with Citizens for Space Exploration, a grassroots volunteer group that is advocating for human space exploration. Thirty-four states and Puerto Rico were represented. In the 2 ½ days we were there, we made 350 visits to congressional offices, both on the House and Senate side.

Everyone was a volunteer. We’re a self-funded group and we paid our own way to Washington to talk to members of Congress about the importance of human space exploration and the continuation of NASA’s budget. In a week or so, Congress is going to be looking at the NASA Reauthorization Act, so we were there at a good time. Click here. (5/25)

Italy’s New Space Chief Seeks To Close Chapter on Corruption (Source: Space News)
The new president of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) said the agency’s strategy and budget are stabilizing after months of upheaval following allegations of corruption in agency contract awards and the forced resignation of the previous ASI president. Physics professor Roberto Battiston, in his first public remarks outside Italy after assuming his post May 17, said Italy will push for upgrades to the Italian-led Vega small-satellite launcher.

Battison did not disclose Italy’s planned space spending, which has been a subject of concern in Germany and France, as well as at ESA, given Italy’s importance not only in ESA’s launcher program, but also with respect to the international space station. German government officials have complained that Italy’s reduced space station contribution, decided in late 2012, left Germany carrying a larger share of station expenses and must be reversed. (5/26)

No comments: