October 16, 2014

Rosetta's Latest Selfie: Just Showing Off Now (Source: New Scientist)
Rosetta just can't stop snapping selfies – but let's be honest, if you were hanging out this close to a comet, you'd want to show off too. The European Space Agency spacecraft is now orbiting just 16 kilometres from the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, meaning the rubber-duck shaped rock looms much larger than in Rosetta's previous selfie snapped last month. Click here. (10/16)

ESA Confirms Comet Landing Site for Rosetta (Source: ESA)
ESA has given the green light for its Rosetta mission to deliver its lander, Philae, to the primary site on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November, in the first-ever attempt at a soft touchdown on a comet. Philae’s landing site, currently known as Site J and located on the smaller of the comet’s two ‘lobes’, was confirmed on 14 October following a comprehensive readiness review.

Since the arrival, the mission has been conducting an unprecedented survey and scientific analysis of the comet, a remnant of the early phases of the Solar System’s 4.6 billion-year history. At the same time, Rosetta has been moving closer to the comet: starting at 100 km on 6 August, it is now just 10 km from the center of the 4 km-wide body. (10/15)

U.S Premiere of Space-Inspired Work for Orchestra and iPads (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Talk about out of this world. Inspired by the NASA's Voyager program, which launched two unmanned space probes in 1977, English composer Warren Greveson has created a new work titled "Voyager." Truly a product of the modern age, Greveson scored the piece for orchestra and four iPads.

The American premiere of the work will take place at 3 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 19, at the Mount Dora Community Building, 520 N. Baker St., Mt. Dora. Anthony Hose will conduct Stetson University's symphony orchestra. A film by Maurice Lock accompanies the performance of "Voyager." (10/15)

India Launches Third Navigation Satellite (Source: The Hindu)
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C26) lifted off with aplomb from the Satish Dhawan spaceport on Thursday and precisely put the Indian navigation satellite, IRNSS-1C into its orbit. This was the 28th successful launch of the Indian Space Research Organization. All the four stages of the vehicle ignited on time and separated on the dot. (10/16)

Living in a Dome for 8 Months in Hawaii, Pretending It's Mars (Source: National Geographic)
On Wednesday, three men and three women will step inside a thousand-square-foot dome on the north side of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. For the next eight months, they will be cut off from the outside world. The team will simulate life at a space station on Mars as part of a project called HI-SEAS, sponsored by NASA and led by the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The eight-month project is the second of three missions sponsored by NASA studying human performance on long-duration isolation missions. It's NASA's longest Mars simulation to date. Martha Lenio, 34, of Canada, is the mission's commander and the first woman to lead a Mars simulation. She's the third woman in NASA's history to lead a mission of any kind. (10/15)

Sierra Nevada Files Suit To Reinstate Hold on Commercial Crew Contracts (Source: Space News)
In the latest round in the legal dispute regarding NASA’s commercial crew contracts, Sierra Nevada Corp. filed suit in federal court Oct. 15, seeking to overturn a NASA decision to lift a stop-work order on contracts it awarded to Boeing and SpaceX. Sierra Nevada filed requests for both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to overturn a NASA decision Oct. 9 lifting an order stopping work on Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts. (10/16)

China Moving Forward with Big Space Station Plans (Source: Space.com)
Space travelers from around the globe recently got a firsthand sense of China's blossoming plans to explore Earth orbit and beyond. At the 27th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), held in Beijing last month, China's space industry leaders extended an open invitation for other nations to take part in China's emerging space station program.

"We reserved a number of platforms that can be used for international cooperative projects in our future space station when we designed it," Yang Liwei, deputy director of China Manned Space Engineering and China's first astronaut, said at the event, which was held in China for the first time. "In addition to collaboration in applied experiments, we also designed adapters that can dock with other nations' spacecraft."

China has initiated a multistep space station program, sending the Tiangong 1, its first space lab and still-operating spacecraft, into orbit in September 2011. And the liftoff of China's Tiangong 2 space lab, scheduled for 2016, is intended to sharpen China's space station construction skills. A Shenzhou 11 crewed spacecraft and a Tianzhou 1 cargo spacecraft would then be launched to dock with that facility. (10/16)

ISS Spacewalkers Replace Power Regulator, Move Equipment (Source: Space Daily)
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 16, 2014 - Two NASA astronauts wrapped up a 6-hour, 34-minute spacewalk at 2:50 p.m. EDT Wednesday to replace a failed power regulator. Flight Engineers Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore also relocated equipment on the station's exterior to begin setting the stage for a reconfiguration of the orbiting complex to accommodate future commercial crew vehicles. (10/16)

Huge Flock of Minisatellites Aims to Photograph Entire Earth Every Day (Source: WIRED)
Tracking what’s happening on Earth from space is becoming more and more feasible as Earth-observing satellites increase in number and resolution. The USGS’s Landsat mission has an incredible 40-year record of the planet’s changing landscape, with virtually every spot imaged every eight days. It’s an incredible scientific asset. But what if you could see every bit of the globe, every single day? That opens a new range of possible uses for satellite imagery. Click here. (10/14)

Hurricane Threat Pushes Antares Launch Back to Oct. 27 (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
NASA and Orbital Sciences agreed to postpone the launch of Orb-3 to no earlier than Oct. 27 today. Both agencies are closely monitoring Hurricane Gonzalo and will be tracking it as it continues to develop. Last week, the launch date was changed to no earlier than Oct. 24 to allow for more pre-launch prep time. (10/27)

Orbital Announces Third Quarter 2014 Financial Results (Source: Orbital)
Orbital Sciences Corp. reported its financial results for the third quarter of 2014. Third quarter 2014 revenues were $338.2 million, compared to $322.0 million in the third quarter of 2013. Third quarter 2014 operating income was $33.3 million. Adjusted operating income* in the third quarter of 2014 was $36.5 million, or 10.8% of revenues, compared to $25.6 million, or 8.0% of revenues, in the third quarter of 2013. (10/16)

Astrotech Downgraded From Hold to Sell (Source: The Street)
Astrotech has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from Hold to Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity." (10/16)

NASA Has More Science Bound for ISS than Crew Can Handle (Source: Space News)
There are more science experiments headed to the international space station than NASA astronauts have time to conduct, an agency official said here Oct. 7 at a meeting of the National Research Council’s committee on biological and life sciences in space.

“If you ask me, we’re at a crew-time max,” Rod Jones, manager of NASA’s ISS Research Integration Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said at the meeting. “We are literally going into an increment coming up where we have allocated to us 875 hours [of research time], and I have about 1,400 hours of research.” (10/16)

Russia’s Space Agency Joins Search for Missing Helicopter (Source: Itar-Tass)
Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) has joined the search operation for a Mi-8 helicopter that went missing in the republic of Tyva, East Siberia, on October 10. A Roscosmos spokesman told TASS on Wednesday that the agency had arranged to space survey of the area where the helicopter might have crashed. Detailed photos of a territory with an area of 45,000 square kilometers were made available to the emergencies ministry, which is in charge of the search operation. (10/16)

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