May 9, 2014

SpaceX Rocket Launch Delayed (Source: CFLnews13)
SpaceX's plans to launch another Falcon 9 rocket from Brevard County this weekend have been delayed, telecommunications company Orbcomm confirmed. The rocket was scheduled to lift off Saturday from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport on a mission to carry six commercial satellites for Orbcomm into orbit. But SpaceX said a static fire test was scrubbed Friday morning during fueling.

"Both the Falcon 9 rocket and ORBCOMM satellites are in good condition, but as a result of schedule constraints, launch will be postponed past this weekend, with the next opportunity most likely in late May," SpaceX said in a statement. (5/9)

Falcon 9 Scrubs Static Fire – SpaceX Set to Delay Launch (Source:
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 v1.1 – tasked lofting six ORBCOMM OG2 satellites into orbit – scrubbed her second attempt at a Static Fire test on Friday. Thursday’s Static Fire was postponed following problems with umbilical connections between the SLC-40 pad and the rocket. Friday’s issue is unspecified but is likely to result in SpaceX delaying the launch that was set for Saturday. (5/9)

Telenor Reports Flat Revenue, Sees Bright Light in Maritime Market (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway on May 7 reported flat revenue and slightly lower gross profit for the three months ending March 31 compared to the previous year and said it had leased capacity on Telesat’s Telstar 11N satellite to bolster its growing maritime services business. Telenor said it plans to continue its maritime push both in Ku- and Ka-bands. (5/9)

Globalstar’s Duplex Service Dials up Double-Digit Subscriber Growth (Source: Space News)
Recovering mobile satellite services operator Globalstar on May 9 reported double-digit increases in the number of subscribers to its key two-way voice service, in service and equipment revenue and average monthly user payments. Globalstar, whose second-generation satellite constellation was in orbit as of August 2013, needs to continue to increase revenue for what it calls its Duplex subscriber base, as it is these subscribers who provide the highest profit levels. (5/9)

Court Lifts NPO Energomash Injunction, SpaceX Back at Square One (Source: SpaceRef)
Yesterday the U.S. Court of Federal Claims lifted the preliminary injunction which had barred the Air Force and ULA from making any purchases "from or payment of money to NPO Energomash or any entity whether governmental, corporate or individual, that is subject to the control of Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin."

A SpaceX spokesperson responded: "The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has taken steps toward understanding whether United Launch Alliance's current sole-source contract violates U.S. sanctions by sending taxpayer money to Russia for the RD-180 engine. That question, combined with the others specifically raised in the SpaceX Complaint, relating to the risks posed by dependence on Russian-made engines and the need to open competition for the Air Force space launch program - are timely and appropriate."

With the preliminary injunction lifted SpaceX currently now finds itself back at square one. Editor's Note: Not "square one." I think the injunction was an unintended consequence of SpaceX's ULA block-buy procurement challenge. The complaint/lawsuit was separate from the injunction and continues to work its way through the court. (5/9)

A History of Spaceflight - In Numbers (Source: New Scientist)
As of 31 December 2013, 539 individuals had been to space, defined as reaching an altitude of 100 kilometres or more. That's a rate of about 10 per year, and roughly equivalent to the 566 people who have ever won a Nobel prize in a science subject (physics, chemistry, or physiology/medicine). Click here. (5/9)

Crowd-Funded Satellite May Re-Enter Before Unleashing Tiny 'Sprite' Armada (Source:
A crowd-funded satellite launched to space last month might burn up in Earth's atmosphere before it can complete its mission to deploy a fleet of even tinier "sprite" satellites in orbit. Funded through the website Kickstarter, the small KickSat launched into space along with a group of other cubesats aboard a SpaceX-built Falcon 9 rocket on April 18.

The launch, which also sent SpaceX's robotic Dragon capsule to the ISS, successfully delivered KickSat into orbit, but the cubesat has encountered problems in recent days. Unfortunately KickSat rebooted its systems on April 30, resetting its master clock in the process. That reset has delayed the deployment of the tiny postage stamp-sized satellites — called "sprites" — by 16 days. The extra wait might mean that KickSat will re-enter Earth's atmosphere before the craft can deploy its satellites. (5/9)

UK Firms Must Explore New Aerospace Business (Source: Electronics Weekly)
Space technology is set to become big business and UK companies can get themselves into position to make the most of the opportunity. The strength of the UK’s space R&D is represented by technology being developed in universities and at companies such as e2v Technologies and Surrey Satellite. The government has made a commitment to support industry deliver a UK space sector worth £40bn a year by 2030.

This will be the responsibility of an enlarged UK Space Agency and increased UK subscription to the European Space Agency. An example of this a £25m investment in ESA’s PLATO mission to search for habitable planets orbiting alien stars. (5/9)

Congressman Questions Falcon-9/Dragon Performance on ISS Resupply Mission (Source: America Space)
In an April 29 letter to Air Force and NASA leaders, House Armed Services subcommittee Chair Mike Rogers (R-AL), raised concerns about the CRS-3 launch and requested the status of certification of new entrants into the EELV program. He raised performance issues of both the Falcon 9 v1.1 launcher and Dragon spacecraft and questioned SpaceX’s statement that the CRS-3 launch was “perfect as far as we could tell.”

SpaceX contends that the Congressman’s data points were factually incorrect and that the performance of the Falcon 9.1 and Dragon was excellent. In his letter, Rep. Rogers raised two issues about the CRS-3 launch: A) the launch was short of the desired orbit and that the initial maneuver plan had to be changed to account for changed times and burn durations (po ssibly the result of booster under-performance); and B) the Dragon capsule experienced a failure of three of its four thrusters.

SpaceX responded that the Falcon-9 delivered the Dragon to its targeted orbit, and given the rocket's excellent placement, a pre-planned contingency burn was not required. “The Dragon spacecraft was stabilized immediately on orbit and following a re-command sequence for a valve, Dragon successfully initiated all thrusters and arrived as expected at the International Space Station. (5/9)

The Financier Who is Winning the Space Race (Source: Spear's)
Successful financier, sky-diver, space-tourist-in-waiting... Per Wimmer doesn’t do things by halves. He bought his first ticket into space in 2000 for $100,000, then a second for $200,000 in 2006 with Virgin Galactic and a third in 2007 with XCOR, hedging his bets. Click here. (5/9)

Even in Space, You Gotta Have 'Wa' (Source: Asahi Shimbun)
As tensions escalated between the United States and Russia over the situation in Ukraine, Koichi Wakata made sure harmony continued high above ground. Wakata, 50, the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station (ISS), asked ground crew members to provide information on developments in Ukraine.

Washington had suspended space-related cooperation with Moscow, with the exception of the ISS, and Wakata shared the information he received to prevent the friction from affecting relations in the five-member crew from the United States and Russia. It was one example of Wakata’s leadership based on “wa” (harmony). (5/9)

Fact Checking SpaceX Statements on Falcon-9 (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Everyone wants to promote their brand, to highlight the good work done by the organization they represent. However, when one is talking about spaceflight? It is vital that one acknowledges the accomplishments of the past. SpaceX’s CEO and Founder, Elon Musk made some statements recently, that, upon reflection have caught the attention of SpaceFlight Insider’s “fact-checker.”

Musk’s comments that the recent soft-landing of a booster stage was the first of its kind – are incorrect. However, given the nature of the venue where he made this statement, it’s understandable that he might have forgotten about DC-X and Blue Shepard or that he meant to say it was the first operational use of such technology. Click here. (5/9)

Colorado Governor to Speak at Space Symposium (Source: Colorado Springs Business Journal)
Gov. John Hickenlooper will participate in two events at this month’s 30th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. At 11:40 a.m. on May 20, the governor plans to sign a bill in the symposium’s Boeing Exhibit Center at the Colorado Space Coalition booth. The bill is HB14-1178 “Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Space Flight Property” by representatives Mark Ferrandino and Brian DelGrosso and senators Mary Hodge and Kevin Grantham. (5/8)

Canada's Space Industry Faces Challenges Penetrating Global Markets (Source: Times Colonist)
A new study says Canada has experienced a small bounce in its space competitiveness and retains a skilled workforce but is still facing future challenges. The observation was made by U.S.-based space forecaster Futron Corporation in its 2014 space competitiveness index.

According to a Futron official, Canadian companies still haven't penetrated international markets to the extent they can. "They don't necessarily turn up in the European markets or the emerging Asian markets or for that matter in some unlikely markets like South America and Africa," he said. "I think those are markets Canada could play well in." (5/9)

Mars Offers Humanity A Do-Over (Source: NPR)
What will it mean for us to start over on a new planetary home? What aspects of human societies, continuously developing and changing since our species first evolved 200,000 years ago, will we replicate on Mars? Which will we alter? Perhaps the central question, from an anthropological perspective, is one of power: How will men and women representing so many different cultural, ethnic and religious traditions work out issues of decision-making? Click here. (5/8)

F-35's Improving Fortunes Bode Well for Lockheed, Harris in Florida (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
"Despite defense spending caps and cuts made through sequestration, the F-35 program came out basically unscathed," said Pentagon program chief Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan. That bodes well for Central Florida's defense industry. Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed's Orlando operations build weapons-targeting systems, flight and maintenance training simulators and automated logistics computers for the F-35.

More than 500 local jobs are tied to the work, not including those at local subcontractors and vendors. Melbourne-based Harris produces the F-35's high-speed avionics, cockpit communications and data-processing technology. The company employs about 6,500 in Melbourne and Palm Bay. (5/9)

ISSET Sponsors "Mission Discovery" Educational Program at Embry-Riddle (Source: ISSET)
The International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) is a UK charity founded in 1998 to utilize space exploration to inspire and motivate young people to believe that they can become what they want to be. ISSET’s Mission Discovery program is a great opportunity for ordinary students to do something extraordinary.

High school and university students will carry out research with NASA astronauts, rocket scientists and trainers for a week at one of the best universities in the world. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will host Mission Discovery on June 23-27 at their Daytona Beach campus and featuring NASA Astronaut (and Embry-Riddle trustee) Nicole Stott. Click here. (5/8)

Lunar Iditarod Challenge Planned (Source: RevUp Render)
The RevUp Render Lunar Iditarod is a micro rover race. Participants will build very small rovers to race, both for time and against one another. The Lundar Iditarod will take the top three participants to the moon for a final challenge. As a gated challenge, participants must partake in the lower level before being allowed to participate in the next. The different levels will be called “Stages.” Having different stages will provide funding for competition and also prevent individuals from jumping in at the last second and stealing the “prize” of racing on the moon. Click here. (5/8)

Court Lifts RD-180 Injunction (Source: Space Politics)
The US Court of Federal Claims issued an order today formally lifting the injunction on payments to and from NPO Energomash for RD-180 engines used by ULA’s Atlas V rocket. In the two-page order, Judge Susan Braden said her decision was based on the letters she received from the Departments of Commerce, State, and Treasury stating that they had not found that payments to Energomash contravened the sanctions on Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

The court also received a letter from Bradley Smith, chief counsel for Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, with similar language to the previous ones, noting that no “affirmative determination” that Rogozin controls NPO Energomash had been made by his office or elsewhere in the government. Based on the opinions in those letters, Judge Braden dissolved the April 30 injunction.

Editor's Note: Sometimes called a kleptocracy, Russia is not known for its transparency in financial dealings. Corruption among high-level officials in Russia's space program has been alleged in multiple recent cases. I imagine it would be quite difficult to ascertain that none of funds provided to Energomash are improperly transferred to senior executives or government officials. (5/8)

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