November 11, 2014

NSS Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest (Source: NSS)
The NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise never made it to orbit. Another Enterprise – Virgin Galactic’s VSS Enterprise, crashed in the Mojave Desert last month. With luck and public support the first Enterprise to orbit the Earth will be the NSS Enterprise Orbiter which will carry approximately 100 competitively selected student experiments into low Earth orbit and after a week’s time return them safely to Earth.

Before the Enterprise can be built it must be designed. And this is where you can help. One feature of this program is that the Enterprise in Space team is calling on artists, engineers, science fiction fans, students, designers, space activists, and dreamers to come up with their own concept of what the NSS Enterprise Orbiter should look like. And unlike the overwhelming majority of art, graphics, and design contests that require entrants to pay a submission fee, entry in the Enterprise in Space Design Contest is free! Click here. (11/3)

Editorial: Rocket Accidents Favor Unmanned Spaceflight (Source: USA Today)
Recent weeks have not been kind to the private space industry. On Oct. 28, an unmanned rocket, owned by Orbital Sciences Corp. and headed to the International Space Station, failed on takeoff. Three days later, SpaceShipTwo, a rocket flown by Virgin Galactic, broke up over the Mojave Desert, killing its pilot.

The accidents demonstrate that private rockets, just like government ones, can go awry. They also should prompt skepticism about claims made by many in the private space industry that they can dramatically reduce the costs of accessing space and allow for a much more robust presence.

This is not to say that these and other companies, such as electric car mogul Elon Musk's brainchild known as SpaceX, are not welcome additions. They are. But the accidents underscore the inherent dangers of the thermal rocketry that, more than 50 years after the Mercury program, remains the only way into space. Those dangers — and efforts to minimize them — are a key component of the high costs. (11/11)

Feds Lift Export Ban on Commercial Satellites (Source: The Hill)
The aerospace industry can now begin exporting commercial satellites. In a final rule published in the Federal Register on Monday, the Department of Commerce removed commercial communications satellites from its list of military technology.

“This military classification heavily restricted the export of commercial communications satellites and related components, causing U.S. industry to lose critical market share to foreign competitors and forcing some small companies out of the market to the detriment of this important industry base sector,” the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) said in a news release.

In 2012, Congress passed legislation that gave the administration authority to allow commercial satellite exports. Monday’s rule, the AIA said, moves the technology to the Commerce Control List where it will be more appropriately and safely controlled by the agency’s Bureau of Industry and Security. (11/10)

Editorial: Don't Discount Human Spaceflight (Source: USA Today)
As with the early development of passenger aviation, it is unthinkable to allow initial setbacks to halt the long-term arc of progress in human spaceflight. On the horizon are commercial uses with tremendous economic and uplifting value. As Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson put it: "Space is hard — but worth it. We will persevere and move forward together."

We are also disappointed with the failure of the Orbital Sciences' Antares cargo resupply launch to the International Space Station. These two accidents illustrate that whether it's government or private enterprise, rigorous testing and data collection are key to producing and maintaining a safe vehicle. We're confident that the mishap investigations will find and fix the causes of both accidents.

With respect to the costs and benefits of humans vs. robots in space, it need not be an either-or question. To explore space, we need both. Human spaceflight is more costly, but its inspirational benefits and productivity are unsurpassed. In the end, while human spaceflight is difficult, so was the early European settlement of North America and trans-Atlantic sailing. But through perseverance, we gained the experience and new technologies that have made travel across the globe routine and affordable. (11/11)

Canada and France Sign a New Space Cooperative Agreement (Source: SpaceRef)
On the occasion of the state visit by French President Fran├žois Hollande, Canada and France signed a new space cooperative agreement. The agreement comes on the heels of another one signed with Israel at the recent International Astronautical Congress on Toronto in early October.
The new agreement between the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency, is a follow-up agreement to a framework agreement signed in 2011. The agreement will see stepped up cooperation in three areas: space remote sensing; R&D in healthcare on the ISS, and space-based search-and-rescue systems. (11/10)

Sending a Rover Called Beaver to Mars? It's a Canadian Thing (Source: Global News)
Instead of relying on the Canadian Space Agency, a private company has started an Indiegogo campaign to get a lander and rover on Mars. Their names? Northern Light and Beaver. You can't get more Canadian than that. Thoth Technology, a Canadian company based in Pembroke, ON, specializes in space systems and technology. They have two instruments in orbit, including a micro-spectrometer. They also have instrumentation on a Canadian satellite that was launched in 2008 as well as an Indian satellite. (11/10)

Where is Space and Why Does That Matter? (Source: STPI)
Despite decades of debate on the topic, there is no consensus on what, precisely, constitutes the boundary between airspace and outer space. The topic is mired in legal and political conundrums, and the easy solution to-date has been to not agree on a definition of space. Lack of a definition, some experts claim, has not limited space-based activities, and therefore is not a hurdle that must be overcome. There are increasing calls however in light of increasing (and expectations of increasing) space traffic, both orbital and sub-orbital. Click here. (11/5)

Making the Case for Space Science as a National Priority (Source: Space Review)
Planetary and other space scientists are facing continuing challenges to win federal funding to suport their missions and other research. Jason Callahan examines the history of federal R&D funding and the lessons it offers to scientists seeking increased NASA funding. Visit to view the article. (11/10)

Destination Deimos (Source: Space Review)
In their conclusion of a two-part examination of an alternative Mars mission architecture, James S. Logan and Daniel R. Adamo describe how a spacecraft could be developed to transport humans to the Martian moon of Deimos and back, and be flown again. Visit to view the article. (11/10)

Moving Beyond the Accidents (Source: Space Review)
As the investigations into the Antares and SpaceShipTwo accidents continue, both Orbital Sciences and Virgin Galactic are looking how to get their efforts back on track. Jeff Foust reports on their plans and looks at which company has the most at stake. Visit to view the article. (11/10)

Gravity's Rainbow (Source: Space Review)
The success of last year's hot movie "Gravity" appears to have inspired a range of other movies and television shows about spaceflight. Dwayne Day reviews what's on the manifest, and what's been scrubbed. Visit to view the article. (11/10)

Government and Commercial Space: an Essential Partnership (Source: Space Review)
The recent Antares and SpaceShipTwo launch failures have raised questions from some quarters about NASA's reliance on commercial space ventures. Louis Friedman argues that both sides need each other today. Visit to view the article. (11/10)

"Interstellar" Versus Interplanetary (Source: Space Review)
The movie "Interstellar" has attracted diverging reviews: some believe it's one of the great sci-fi films of all time, while others find it disappointing. Jeff Foust wonders about one little-appreciated aspect of the film: why it needed to be "interstellar" at all. Visit to view the article. (11/10)

America, NASA Miss the Comet (Source: Boston Globe)
The Rosetta rover is set to become the first spacecraft to orbit and land on a moving comet. It's a mission that was first conceived by NASA, but it was canceled for budgetary reasons in the early 1990s. Luckily, the European Space Agency stepped in. By doing what NASA did not, the ESA's commitment to Rosetta may revolutionize our understanding of the past by unlocking the mysteries of the oldest building block in the solar system. Click here. (11/10)

"America's Animal Astronaut Heroes" Premiers at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: CCI)
In the early days of America’s space program, scientists did not know what the effects would be of long periods of time in space, since no one had ever gone there. So, before any human ventured into the cold of space, animals were sent as pioneers into the final frontier. These first brave animals consisted of several different species of monkeys, mice and insects. Since, many other types of animals have been sent into space and have gone along ha human’s have explored.

Some animals have been born in Zero-G and some have lived their entire lives in outer space. Animals are true space pioneers. America's Animal Astronaut Heroes tells of the lives & achievements of these brave explorers in a way easily understood by children and adults. Great historic footage…combined with simple explanations and fun demonstrations of the science needed for space travel as told by space and animal experts. Click here. (11/10)

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