October 17, 2014

Airbus Nabs $1.7 Billion Contract for Six Metop Weather Satellites (Source: Space News)
Airbus signed a $1.7 billion contract to build six polar-orbiting meteorological satellites for European governments, a deal in which guaranteeing strict work-share equality between Germany and France was almost as important as the satellite technology involved. For Airbus, the contract for the Metop Second Generation satellites was a kind of revenge match against the same Thales Alenia Space-OHB AG team that had bested Airbus for Europe’s third-generation Meteosat geostationary-orbiting satellites. (10/16)

Meet the Entrepreneurs at the Forefront of the Space Race (Source: Entrepreneur)
Call it the New Space Age. There's a reignited fervor for all things extraterrestrial, and entrepreneurs are leading the charge. From zero-gravity tourism to satellite and software development, themed entertainment and beyond, commercial enterprises are capitalizing on opportunities in the burgeoning space industry. As costly and risky as these endeavors may be, the possibility for reward is out of this world. Click here. (10/17)

Who Owns the Moon? (Source: The Conversation)
Whether you’re into mining, energy or tourism, there are lots of reasons to explore space. Some “pioneers” even believe humanity’s survival depends on colonising celestial bodies such as the moon and Mars, both becoming central hubs for our further journey into the cosmos. Lunar land peddlers have started doing deals already – a one-acre plot can be yours for just £16.75.

More seriously, big corporations, rich entrepreneurs and even US politicians are eyeing up the moon and its untapped resources. Russia has plans for a manned colony by 2030 and a Japanese firm wants to build a ring of solar panels around the moon and beam energy back to Earth.

We need to be clear about the legal validity of extraterrestrial real estate as the same ideas that were once used to justify colonialism are being deployed by governments and galactic entrepreneurs. Without proper regulation, the moon risks becoming an extra-planetary Wild West. Click here. (10/17)

Countdown to Monday Launch at Spaceport America (Source: Albuquerque Journal)
UP Aerospace is set for its next suborbital launch on Monday out of Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. It will be UP’s first flight since last year, when it launched two rockets in summer and fall with more than a dozen payloads paid for by NASA under the agency’s Flight Opportunities Program. That initiative, launched in 2011, pays commercial aerospace companies for suborbital flights to test new technologies in space.

Monday’s flight will include four payloads that UP is now packaging and loading onto its rocket, company President and CEO Jerry Larson said earlier this week. This is UP’s 13th launch from the spaceport since 2006, and the 21st time a rocket has flown from the facility since it began hosting vertical launch activities eight years ago, said Spaceport America Executive Director Christine Anderson. (10/16)

NASA Maintains Lofty Worker-Satisfaction Ratings for 2014 (Source: Washington Post)
NASA employees remained largely satisfied with their agency this year, likely continuing the agency’s trend of ranking among the best places to work in the federal government, according to results from a recent survey. Seventy-one percent of NASA staffers who responded to the Office of Personnel Management’s federal-employee viewpoints survey gave the agency a positive mark this year when asked about their overall impression of the organization. (10/16)

Construction of ISS-Bound Cold Atom Lab on Tap for 2015 (Source: Space.com)
A $52 million physics experiment NASA plans to send to the international space station in 2016 is scheduled for a critical design review — the last milestone before hardware construction begins — in January. The Cold Atom Lab is being built by JPL, and will be carried to the ISS aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule. Once unpacked, astronauts will install the science payload inside one of the space station’s standardized Express experiment racks.

The experiment, slated to run at least one and as many as five years, will take advantage of microgravity to cool atoms to temperatures impossible to reach in Earth gravity. (10/16)

Obama Nominates Dava Newman for NASA Deputy Administrator (Source: Parabolic Arc)
President Barack Obama has nominated Dr. Dava Newman for the post of Deputy Administrator of NASA, a position that was left open by the departure of Lori Garver in September 2013. Newman is best known in the space community for her working in designing a shrink-wrap type pressure suit called the BioSuit. Dr. Newman is a Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (10/16)

zero2infinity Plans to Launch Nanosats (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The Spanish company zero2infinity, based in Barcelona, known for its extensive Near-Space ballooning experience, announced it’s been working to expand its capabilities to include a nanosatellite launch vehicle, named bloostar, to offer reliable, dedicated, launch on demand for 21st century small satellites. zero2infinity has been operating high-altitude balloons since 2009. Flying technical, scientific and commercial payloads to over 30km altitude is its current operational activity. Using balloons as a first-stage for a nanosatellite launcher is the logical and necessary next step to address this booming and underserved market. (10/15)

CASIS to Fund 3 ISS Enabling Projects (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has announced grant awards for three projects focused on enabling technologies from the International Space Station (ISS). These awards stem from the CASIS Request for Proposals (RFP) “Enabling Technology to Support Science in Space for Life on Earth.” CASIS is the nonprofit organization managing research onboard the ISS U.S. National Laboratory.

The purpose of this RFP was to identify and support technology development projects that would enable increased use of ISS for Earth benefits—for example, improvements in hardware/capabilities or methods to improve bandwidth, throughput, or quality of future research projects. Click here. (10/15)

Alba Orbital Announces Off-the-Shelf CubeSat Solar Panels (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Alba Orbital Ltd (PocketQube Shop) announced today the addition of the DHV Technology PocketQube Solar Panel product to its online satellite shop. The Solar Panels are the first off the shelf power subsystem to be developed for the new PocketQube Standard.

The PocketQube Solar panels are available in a number of configuration including 1p, 2p and 3p. They leverage flight heritage gained from the Unisat-6 Microsatellite which launched earlier this year using DHV Solar panels. Panels can be tailored to different structures on request. (10/15)

Albuquerque Company Lands Multi-Billion-Dollar NASA Deal (Source: KOAT)
An Albuquerque information technology company has been awarded a contract to provide products and services to NASA. The company, Abba Technologies, is headquartered in Albuquerque. It offers IT systems integration and professional services. The contract was awarded under the Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement fifth generation initiative. Abba competed to win one of a limited number of awards. (10/16)

Arianespace Launches Two Satellites (Source: Arianespace)
Arianespace continued Ariane 5’s track record of success with another heavy-lift mission performed today from the Spaceport in French Guiana, which orbited a pair of telecommunications satellites for Latin America: Intelsat 30, which is hosting the DLA-1 payload; and ARSAT-1. Both spacecraft were deployed into geostationary transfer orbits following their ascent from the Spaceport’s ELA-3 launch zone. (10/16)

Designing Tomorrow's Air Traffic Control Systems (Source: Phys.org)
On a good day, flying can be a comfortable and efficient way to travel. But all too often, weather or overcbooking can cause delays that ripple through the system, inducing missed flights, anxiety, discomfort and lots of lost time and money. Things had gotten so out of whack that in 2003, Congress enacted a law designed to bring online a Next Generation—or NextGen—air traffic control system by January 2020.

The Department of Transportation would require the majority of aircraft operating within U.S. airspace to be equipped with new technology to track and coordinate aircraft and would institute many other programs to improve air travel. Click here. (10/15)

Space Coast Candidates Answer Space Policy Questions (Source: FSDC)
The Florida Space Development Council has posted answers to five space policy questions posed to the candidates competing to represent Florida's 8th District, which includes the Space Coast. Incumbent Republican Bill Posey and the Democratic nominee Gabriel Rothblatt both provided thoughtful answers on topics that are of increasing concern to Space Coast voters. Click here. (10/16)

To Boldly Go -- How A British Business School Would Change NASA (Source: Forbes)
NASA’s biggest problem is well-known. It was the first international space operation to get a man on the moon. Its critics say it has not done enough since to maintain that supremacy and now it faces competition abroad from China and at home from the likes of Elon Musk’s space company Space X.

Stating that NASA has not made valuable contributions to modern life would be like that scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian when dissident from the People’s Front of Judea complains: “What have the Romans ever done for us?”

In healthcare alone, a recent paper by Loizos Heracleous, professor of strategy and organisation at Britain’s Warwick Business School, in the journal Space Policy lists technologies developed or advanced by NASA from laser angioplasty, cardio and body imaging, gait analysis and ocular screening to food preservation and safety, UV-blocking lenses, scratch resistant lens coatings and X-ray imaging. Click here. (10/15)

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