October 27, 2014

China Tycoon Reveals Foray Into Space (Source: Space Daily)
A mysterious Chinese tycoon who plans to dig a $40 billion canal linking the Caribbean and the Pacific is spreading his reach into space with ambitions for a network of satellites, reports said. Wang Jing, who won a 50-year concession to build and operate the canal from Nicaragua last year, announced that one of his companies launched a test orbiter last month.

The move made Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group first private firm to invest in China's tightly controlled and mostly military-run space industry, the Beijing News said. Wang, in his early 40s, ranked 224th on the Forbes' world's billionaires list this year with wealth estimated at $6.1 billion.

He has denied any connections with the Chinese government, but reportedly owns a car with military licence plates, broadcasts army songs twice a day in one of his companies, where the lobby is decorated with pictures of Chinese leaders visiting the firm. (10/27)

China's Wenchang to Launch Space Station (Source: People's Daily)
China's fourth space launch center, the Wenchang satellite launch center in south China's Hainan Province, will launch the country's space station and cargo spacecrafts. Tao Zhongshan, chief engineer of the Xichang launch center, told Xinhua on Sunday that the new center will be used mainly for geosynchronous orbiters, large-tonnage space stations, cargo spacecraft, and large polar orbit satellites.

Wenchang has an advantage for transportation of modules of such spacecraft as it is located near a seaport. The site's low latitude will also help the carrying capacity of rockets by about 10 percent, compared to Xichang. (10/27)

Israel Positions Itself To Boost Satellite Business (Source: Defense News)
After silently settling what many here have characterized as the most potentially damaging lawsuit in Israeli aerospace history, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has taken full control of ImageSat International (ISI), a company it created to stimulate satellite business, but ended up as a renegade, aspiring rival.

The merger of ISI into the corporate portfolio of state-owned IAI aims to revitalize Israel’s remote sensing sector and fuel export sales after a decade of edge-eroding industrial infighting. IAI, a majority shareholder in the locally based, Dutch Antilles-incorporated firm that owns and operates IAI-built Eros satellites, never announced the out-of-court settlement of billions of dollars claimed by ISI minority partners. (10/27)

Plan for Texas Coastal Parks Likely Includes SpaceX Viewings (Source: Brownsville Herald)
Cameron County's park system crown jewel is Isla Blanca Park on the southern tip of South Padre Island. For decades, its jetties, surf and recreational vehicle parking have made Isla Blanca a revenue generator, but Precinct 1 Commissioner Sofia Benavides said the new master plan will allow the county to maximize usage of the county’s coastal parks.

The timing is perfect, Vega said, noting the area’s newest attraction, which is currently under construction across the ship channel from Isla Blanca. “With SpaceX coming around the corner (Isla Blanca) will be an ideal location to witness that,” Vega said, envisioning crowds packed into the park all looking south toward the spot where Elon Musk and SpaceX has begun work on the world’s first commercial rocket launch pad. (10/27)

Commercial Space Industry Growing Fast (Source: Albuquerque Journal)
The promise of paying passengers flying to space from southern New Mexico and elsewhere in the near future has captured the public imagination and helped spur the emergence of a new commercial space industry. But space tourism is just the tip of the iceberg. Scores of companies worldwide are working with government agencies such as NASA, and with research labs and universities, to develop a broad range of commercial space missions using new technologies created and managed by the private sector.

Some of the most visible initiatives include Elon Musk’s company Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, plus Orbital Sciences Corp. of Virginia. Both firms have been flying cargo to the International Space Station under contract with NASA. And in September, the space agency awarded the first commercial contracts to SpaceX and Boeing to fly U.S. crews to and from the space station by 2017. (10/27)

SLS Booster Separation Testing Brings Confidence to First Flight (Source: Space Daily)
It's a familiar phrase heard just before a rocket launches at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Throughout history, millions have traveled from across the world to see the fiery plumes created by a rocket's large boosters, which have launched astronauts and other payloads into space time and time again. NASA will once again shape history when it launches the Space Launch System (SLS).

Engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia are doing their part to enable NASA's 5.5-million-pound SLS to launch the Orion spacecraft to deep space. To understand the aerodynamic forces exerted on the rocket as it flies through the atmosphere, Langley engineers recently tested a 35-inch SLS booster separation model in its Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, with air speeds of over 2,400 mph. The engineers collected high-fidelity data from 800 runs. (10/27)

Roscosmos to Receive Designs of Super-Heavy Rocket (Source: Space Daily)
Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos will receive technical suggestions in creating the country's super-heavy carrier rockets by the end of 2014, an agency department head said Thursday. "We expect to receive designs from leading enterprises by the end of the year," said Andrei Mazurin, who heads one of the space agency's departments, told RIA Novosti.

Roscosmos is looking into developing a super-heavy carrier rocket to be used in Russia's lunar program, able to launch up to 80 tons of cargo into space, Mazurin said. In the long term, a rocket capable of carrying 130 to 160 tons could be created, he said. In September, Roscosmos reported that it was planning to launch a full-scale moon exploration program. (10/27)

OECD Takes Look at Quarter Trillion Dollar Global Space Industry (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The global space sector is a high‑technology niche with a complex ecosystem, which employed at least 900,000 persons around the world in 2013, including public administrations (space agencies, space departments in civil and defense‑related organizations), the space manufacturing industry (building rockets, satellites, ground systems); direct suppliers to this industry (components), and the wider space services sector (mainly commercial satellite telecommunications).

But these estimates do not take into account universities and research institutions, which also play a key role in R&D, as receivers of public contracts and initiators of much of the space sector’s innovation. The acquisition and development of space capabilities remains a highly attractive strategic goal, and the number of countries and companies investing in space systems and their downstream applications continues to grow. Click here. (10/25)

Virgin Galactic's Potential is Cosmic (Source: Express)
The space tourism firm will launch “earlier than most people expect” according to the tycoon, and has advance bookings from 800 passengers. The billionaire said: “The rockets are ready and the fundamental boxes have now been ticked, so I am hopeful we’ve got a nice surprise for those people coming.

“It’s the most exciting company we’ve ever launched and one day we’re going to be competing with British Airways point-to-point via space. “It could become one of the most profitable firms we have ever launched.” (10/26)

Novel Rocket Design Flight Tested (Source: Los Alamos National Lab)
Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists recently flight tested a new rocket design that includes a high-energy fuel and a motor design that also delivers a high degree of safety. Conventional solid-fuel rocket motors work by combining a fuel and an oxidizer, a material usually rich in oxygen, to enhance the burning of the fuel. In higher-energy fuels this mixture can be somewhat unstable, and can contain sensitive high explosives that can detonate under high shock loads, high temperatures, or other conditions.

The new rocket fuel and motor design adds a higher degree of safety by separating the fuel from the oxidizer, both novel formulations that are, by themselves, not able to detonate. After years of development and bench-top static tests, the new rocket design was recently flight tested at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center's Socorro launch site, part of New Mexico Tech. Click here. (10/26)

KSC Business Expo Planned on Tuesday (Source: KSC)
The NASA KSC Women-Owned Small Business Industry Day and EXPO trade show is sponsored by NASA/KSC Prime Contractor Board, 45th Space Wing, and the Port Canaveral Authority, and features approximately 150 businesses and government exhibits.

Exhibitors include businesses providing a variety of products & services. Representatives of NASA, the 45th Space Wing, prime contractors and other government agencies will be available to answer specific questions about doing business with their respective organizations. Matchmaking sessions will be available for those interested. Additional information will be available during the Opening Ceremony. Click here. (10/27)

Decatur Daily Endorses Marshall Engineer Bray to Unseat Mo Brooks (Source: Decatur Daily)
The rhetoric of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, has caused enough harm to Alabama and the Fifth District. Mark Bray, I-Huntsville, is a political newcomer, but he represents needed change. North Alabama has endured the inflammatory rhetoric of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks for too long. We endorse Mark Bray, I-Huntsville, for the Fifth District seat of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The contrast between incumbent Brooks and his predecessors is depressingly stark. The template for past representatives provided huge benefits for north Alabama. Former Reps. Ronnie Flippo and Bud Cramer were behind-the-scenes players. They created alliances that benefited their districts while pushing legislation that their constituents favored. What they did not do is make spectacles of themselves.

Like his predecessors, Brooks is an intelligent man. Unlike his predecessors, he devotes that intelligence to finding the spotlight. He is a darling of the national media, not because of his incisive commentary, but because of his inflammatory comments. Bray is a political unknown. He campaigns as a conservative, but he advocates practical solutions rather than ideological ones. As an engineer for NASA, he understands the importance of the federal government to north Alabama. (10/26)

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