July 13, 2014

FireFly: Florida’s Next Launcher? (Source SPACErePORT)
Check out this video of the new FireFly microsatellite launcher. The company appears to be targeting the Cape Canaveral Spaceport as their base of operations. This is a good sign, but certainly not a sure thing. Companies like Blue Origin and others are actively considering spaceport sites in Georgia and elsewhere as alternatives to Florida. (7/13)

UK Spaceport Sites to be Announced (Source: Press Association)
A list of eight possible locations across the UK for the first British spaceport will be announced this week at the Farnborough air show. Representatives from the UK Space Agency will join Government ministers to reveal the potential locations for a dedicated spaceport which they hope will be ready by 2018. As part of ambitious plans the Government aims to capture 10% of the world's space market by 2030, citing figures that the UK sector has grown by just over 7% in the past two years, making it worth £11 billion and employing 34,000 people. (7/13)

FAA Nod for SpaceX Triggers Trust Fund Action for Midland Spaceport (Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram)
An official nod from the FAA means the private exploration company SpaceX is one step closer to its final destination. The Office of Commercial Space Transportation on Wednesday issued its “Record of Decision” allowing SpaceX to construct a private launch site at Boca Chica beach, near Brownsville. It’s a $2 million decision for Midland International Airport, which can finally receive its grant from the Office of the Governor’s Spaceport Trust Fund.

City Director of Airports Marv Esterly said during Tuesday’s Spaceport Development Corp. meeting that delivery of the funds depended on the SpaceX decision. “They are going through the same process we are,” said Esterly, noting Midland Development Corp. officials agreed to front the $2 million. “It takes time.” Midland’s commercial airport, which is slated to become the first in the nation to offer space flights from its runways, is still waiting on its spaceport license. The FAA has until Sept. 15 to approve or deny it. (7/12)

Collector selling Capsules of Space History (Source: Boston Globe)
David Ursin pulls the pickup truck to the side of the road and gets out to check a loose strap on the trailer behind him, which holds a Gemini space capsule. The reason Ursin is driving down the road with a Gemini space capsule is pretty simple: His Apollo capsule is too wide to fit on the trailer.

To move the Apollo, which sits under a brown tarpaulin in the backyard of his cluttered garage in Rutland, would require a huge trailer, chase vehicles, police permits, etc., and that’s expensive. This little hobby of his has already gotten out of hand. “It’s too much of a muchness,” as he likes to say. Which is why he’s driving the Gemini toward a classic car and airplane show in Stow, hoping he can persuade someone with expensive tastes to shell out $65,000 for it. Click here. (7/13)

Want To Name An Alien Planet? (Source: Forbes)
If you think you can come up with a catchier name for an alien planet than “HD 196885 A” or “MOA-2007-BLG-400-L b”, now’s your chance. The International Astronomical Union, the organization responsible for tagging objects in outer space, is opening up the naming of exoplanets to the public – sort of.

Although anyone will be able to vote on a short-list of proposed names for planets orbiting other stars, nominations must come from recognised organizations, ranging from amateur astronomy clubs to science museums and planetariums. So if you want to name a planet after your grandma or the home world in your favourite science fiction novel (Luke Skywalker’s Tatooine and Dr Who’s Gallifrey have both been mentioned) you might want to dust off your membership in the local telescopic society. (7/12)

Orbital Sciences Rocket Blasts Off for International Space Station From Virginia (Source: Bloomberg)
Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket successfully lifted off from Virginia's Walops Island spaceport, carrying a capsule of supplies to dock with the International Space Station three days from now. The launch occurred as scheduled after a delay of more than a month due to the test failure of a rocket engine for a later Antares flight, and after two one-day postponements due to severe weather. (7/13)

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