December 2, 2014

Small Satellites Have Another Way to Get Into Space (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
A spherical U.S. Navy spacecraft the size of a beach ball spring-ejected from a new satellite deployer outside the International Space Station last week, debuting a fresh way for low-budget space missions to reach orbit. SpinSat’s deployment from the space station Friday was the first time a satellite was released from a new mechanism designed to accommodate spacecraft weighing up to 100 kilograms, or about 220 pounds.

The space station already has a deployer for tiny CubeSat satellites, which weigh less than 10 pounds. The debut of a new deployer known as the Space Station Integrated Kinetic Launcher for Orbital Payload Systems (SSIKLOPS) allows the complex to serve as a launch platform for larger, more capable satellites. Click here. (12/2)

The Long and Winding Road (Source: Space KSC)
In their Sunday November 30 papers, Florida Today and the Houston Chronicle published articles about this week's uncrewed Orion test flight, scheduled to launch Thursday December 4 from Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 37. Both articles addressed, in part, the pork-laden political path that led to this test flight. Click here. (12/2)

An FAU Astronaut Returns (Source: WLRN)
At some point during his studies at Florida Atlantic University, astronaut Steve Swanson started thinking about his future. Perhaps it could involve space travel. He didn't go directly to NASA after receiving his master's in computer systems at FAU. He went on to work for GTE as a software engineer developing real-time software for telephone systems. Then he returned to school to get his doctorate at Texas A&M University, and then became an engineer for NASA. Click here. (12/2)

Brevard County Businesses Hoping for Successful Orion Launch (Source: WKMG)
The Space Coast is certainly buzzing that NASA's biggest launch in years in just days away. "It's almost like the old days again," said Pat Looney, general manager of the Residence Inn off A1A in Cape Canaveral. Looney said the hotel is busy any time there is a launch, but he hasn't seen this kind of response since the shuttle era.

"We're sold out Wednesday night, the night before the launch, but leading up to the launch and for a day or so afterward it'll still be a heavy demand," Looney said. And he's not alone. About a dozen other hotels in the Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral area are booked solid as will with folks hoping to witness history. (12/2)

4 Strategies NASA Used to Market the Moon (Source: Huffington Post)
Most people look at NASA as a space agency and at my childhood projects as natural activities. However, NASA is probably one of the most successful marketing agencies in the 20th century and my childhood is evidence of its enduring influence on society and individual biographies. Long before Steve Jobs did his meticulously planned product launches, NASA managed to enrol millions of people in one of the biggest science education projects known to man.

And whereas Steve Jobs would get hung up on tiny little iPhones, NASA had a really bold innovation in stock: the Moon. So how did NASA market the Moon? David Meerman Scott and Richard Jurek provide some fascinating clues in their book Marketing the Moon (2014). In the following, I add some of my own thoughts to offer a four-step model. Click here. (12/2)

Aldrin and Epsom's Slitherine Group Create Space Game (Source: This is Local London)
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, has "a brain the size of Mars" according to an Epsom-based video game publishers who worked with him to create a new space game. Engineer, pilot and astronaut Aldrin had regular Skype conferences with lead developer of the Slitherine Group, Ignacio Liverotti, and flew over to the UK for meetings over the 24 months it took to build Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager.

The company's headquarters are in Church Street with international offices in Canada, France, Italy and the USA, and it specialises in immersive and historically accurate strategy games. John Driscoll McNeil, Slitherine’s CEO, said: "Buzz is now 84 years of age and he is no less vibrant in his pursuit of space exploration now than he was then, in the original space mission. (12/2)

Wanted: Central Texas Farmer to Join the SpaceX Team (Source: KCEN)
SpaceX is looking for a Central Texas farmer to join its team. According to a job description in the careers section of the SpaceX website the company is looking to hire a farmer, specifically from Central Texas.  The job would be in McGregor.

The job description includes, perform practical farm activities, e.g. driving tractors, operating machinery, spraying fields, etc., maintain, monitor, and perform actions as necessary to increase the quality of crop yield and understand the implications of the weather and make contingency plans. The company is looking for a minimum of 10 years of row crop farming experience in the central Texas area which shall include a working knowledge of every process required for crop production in the region. (12/1)

Canada Mayor Sets Sights on Spaceport (Source: Nugget)
In his inaugural speech, McDonald said highlighted local efforts to attract aviation, aerospace and space businesses, suggesting the city is the ideal location to become the country's first commercial air and spaceport. “Commercial spaceport facilities are being established worldwide to service the variety of needs for space commercialization,” he said. “With our strategic location in North America, we can become a major player in the aerospace sector.” (12/1)

Spaceport Australia Adds Advisor (Source: Spaceport Australia)
Spaceport Australia is proud to that Mr Ethan Chew from Ansari Enterprises has joined Spaceport Australia as Chief Technical Advisor: Ethan has worked professionally as a NASA contract systems engineer with XCOR and DARPA as well. Ethan's Specialties: Systems Engineering, Composites Design and Fabrication, UAVDesign-Build-Fly Development, Rocket Propulsion, Rocket Engine Design-Build-Test, Establishment and Management of Makerspaces, Business Development, Networking & Marketing and Manager. (12/2)

Rocket Debris to be Souvenirs After Hayabusa 2 Launch (Source: Asahi Shimbun)
Pieces of the top of the H2-A rocket carrying the Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe into space will be doled out by the town government here in a lottery to spectators of the launch, scheduled for Dec. 3. "They (the pieces) are part of the rocket that will transport the important Hayabusa 2 into space and return back to Earth, so we want to give them to the spectators," said an official of the Minamitane town government.

The part in question is the payload fairing of the 26th H2-A rocket. The fairing, located at the top of the structure, is made from aluminum alloy and shields the probe from the impact of pressure and heat as it rises into the cosmos. Although the parts are usually processed as industrial waste after such missions are completed, the host town for the launch decided to take on the parts after blastoff. (12/2)

HAL to Make Cryogenic Engines for ISRO (Source: Business Standard)
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is setting up a facility to manufacture cryogenic engines for ISRO’s heavy light rockets in Bengaluru. ISRO will provide Rs 139 crore for setting up the facility and it will be built at the HAL campus in Bengaluru with HAL’s personnel manning it once its ready. Meanwhile, ISRO will provide Rs 139 crore for the facility. (12/1)

Will Orion Take Us Into Deep Space? (Source: Florida Today)
It's nice to see the proverbial eyes of the world back on the Space Coast this week, even if it is only for a four-hour unmanned test flight that may — in the long run — have little impact on the future of deep-space exploration. But that test flight — the Orion capsule atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket — will no doubt be looked at by many as the harbinger of things to come for the government space agency.

NASA and the Kennedy Space Center have been a focus of the national media since the hysteria of Ferguson and the obligatory Black Friday news coverage have come to a merciful end. There hasn't been this kind of buzz since the last flight of the Shuttle Atlantis more than three years ago. And that's a welcome change to reading of the space milestones other nations are achieving.

And at the very least, the test flight represents an attempt to move forward with developing deep-space capability with a not-so-deep-space budget. Using similar shape and form of the capsule that put Americans on the moon more than 40 years ago, NASA will test-fly the Orion and are billing it as the first step on the road back to manned deep-space travel. We keep hearing about an asteroid or the moon and eventually Mars but there will have to be significant changes in order for that to happen. (12/1)

Weather Might Delay Orion Launch (Source: UT San Diego)
Poor weather might delay Thursday’s maiden launch of the Orion spacecraft, a vehicle that will briefly orbit earth before parachuting into the Pacific, where it will be retreived by a warship from San Diego. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida says there’s a 60-percent chance that the weather will be acceptable for the launch, which is scheduled to occur during a 2-hour, 39-minute launch window that begins at 7:05 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday. (12/1)

Plummeting Rouble Hits Russia's Space Program (Source: Newsweek)
Russia’s federal space exploration agency Roscosmos could be forced to close down or indefinitely delay whole projects due to the worsening economic situation in the country. The plummeting Russian rouble has rendered the agency incapable of planning their spending ahead of time, national daily newspaper Izvestia reported on Monday.

According to Izvestia, Russia’s Gonets satellite system, launched by the Ministry of Defence and intended to restore Russia’s status as a major aerospace power, may not meet its upcoming deadline for government funding from 2016 to 2025. Roscosmos’s dependence on EU imports for its satellites and other aerospace projects has made it very sensitive to the exchange rate of roubles to the euro.

Projects like Gonets - a surveillance and communication satellite system - are almost entirely dependent on imports for its construction. “90% of the apparatus is imported, which is normal. It ensures that projects are not dated and remain at the cutting edge. The industry-wide average for imported components in satellites is 70%. “But what can we estimate from the rates of 2014, if we have to base the cost of 90% of our equipment on the euro?” the source said. Click here. (12/1)

Soyuz Deploys Upgraded Russian Navigation Craft (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
A new navigation satellite lifted off aboard a Soyuz rocket Sunday and reached an orbital perch 12,000 miles above Earth to test upgraded capabilities aimed at improving positioning services for Russian military and civilian users. The spacecraft will join Russia’s Glonass navigation system, an analog to the U.S. military’s GPS network. (12/1)

Russian Space Tracking System to Get New Stations (Source: Itar-Tass)
The Russian space tracking system will in the next few years get more than 10 new-generation stations, Russian Aerospace Defense Forces (ADF) Commander Alexander Golovko said Monday.

“In 2014, the ADF started deploying a network of specialized ground-based laser-optical and radiotechnical space object identification systems, which make it possible to substantially expand the information capacities of the Russian space tracking system, expand the range of controlled orbits and half or cut threefold the minimal size of space objects that can be detected,” Golovko said. (12/1)

Russian Space Observatory to Prevent Asteroid Threat (Source: Itar-Tass)
The Astronomy Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Kometa Corporation have developed a cutting edge project that envisages creation of a space observatory capable to spot asteroids more than 50 meters in size at a distance equal to one astronomical unit - the measurement used for the Earth-sun distance, and other space objects of a decameter size.

"We have been advocating the project as the Russian one, but which might be integrated into world systems of mass detection and monitoring of hazardous space objects. We expect Roscosmos (the Russian Federal Space Agency) and the Council for studies of space to give their support to the project of creation of a Russian system for prevention of space threats," Shustov said. He expressed hope that in the near future the parliament's upper house committees on science and defense would resume discussions of a problem of planetary defense. (12/1)

Russian Center Modernizes All Frigate-MT Boosters After Galileo Failure (Source: Itar-Tass)
The Lavochkin Research and Production Association has modernized all its Fregat-MT rocket boosters after a failure that occurred to Europe’s Galileo satellite. “All Fregat boosters we make have been modernized to avoid the factor that led to an emergency with the Galileo satellite.

The factor that created a combination of circumstances that led to such a sad result has been removed,” Khartov said adding that the remarks and suggestions which had been made would now be taken into consideration in the production of all Fregat rocket boosters. (12/1)

China’s Threat to America’s Weather Systems (Source: Space News)
China’s cyberwarriors have been busy, hacking not only into the U.S. Postal Service but also the National Weather Service. This would surprise some. After all, the provision of weather information is a classic example of a “common good.” Corrupting the data, or damaging the satellites, would presumably redound to ill effect upon one’s own weather forecasting.

This is one of the arguments that has been made for relying on China’s weather satellite constellation to provide weather data, while the American weather satellite constellation steadily decays and deteriorates. This approach presumes that one’s own weather data are wholly tied into the global weather information network, rather than running independently. However, it is this very Chinese constellation that arguably allows the Chinese to interfere with others’ weather data — China doesn’t have to depend on the kindness of others.

It is also important to recognize the importance that the Chinese attribute to weather data, not simply in terms of farming and storm warnings but as a military asset. In this regard, analyses from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) make clear that provision of space-based weather information is an essential security task. Because future wars will be “informationized wars,” the ability to establish “information dominance” (zhi xinxi quan) will be a key struggle in future conflicts. (12/1)

Editorial: ISS Looms Large for ESA Ministerial (Source: Space News)
Ministers from the European Space Agency’s member states have their work cut out for them at their Dec. 1-2 conference in Luxembourg intended to determine the agency’s direction in the upcoming years and resolve several outstanding issues, including launcher strategy. Click here. (12/1)

Airbus Negotiating SpaceX Launch for ESA-supported Laser Relay Satellite (Source: Space News)
Airbus Defense and Space is negotiating with SpaceX for a late-2016 launch of the European Space Agency’s European Data Relay System (EDRS) program’s second geostationary-orbit satellite designed to commercialize laser communications links worldwide.

The satellite, called EDRS-C, would be the second geostationary-orbit laser communications node for the commercial EDRS service, the first being a laser terminal fitted onto Eutelsat’s Eutelsat 9B commercial telecommunications satellite. Eutelsat 9B, whose laser communications payload is called EDRS-A, is scheduled for launch in early 2015 aboard a Russian Proton rocket. (12/1)

Air Force Extends Lockheed Contract on Milstar, DSCS (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Air Force plans to extend a contract with Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, California, for operation support services on the service’s legacy communication satellites through June 2015. The contract, worth about $49 million, would cover orbital operations of the Milstar constellation, which provides highly secure communications, and the Defense Satellite Communication System (DSCS). (12/1)

Epic Short Film 'Wanderers' Envisions Humanity's Future in Space (Source:
"Wanderers" is a short science fiction film by Erik Wernquist – a digital artist and animator from Stockholm, Sweden. Wernquist notes that the film is a vision of humanity's future expansion into the solar system. Although admittedly speculative, the visuals in the film are all based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. Click here. (12/1)

Space Is Now a Factory (Source: The Atlantic)
We may talk about "space tourism" as a specialized form of space travel; even the most cutting-edge space exploration, though, is disconcertingly similar to the basic experience of Earth-bound voyaging. You pack your bags, trying your best to plan for every circumstance that might arise while you're away, and then you're stuck with what you've brought.

In space's case, the suitcases in question may be spacecraft and the tools required may be slightly more complex than voltage converters and travel-size shampoos ... but the idea's the same: If you'll need something on your trip to space, you have to bring it with you. That basic paradigm, though, is changing. This week, NASA announced a breakthrough: For the first time, humans have 3-D-printed an object to be used in space exploration from space itself. Click here. (12/1)

Lift-Off for Space Salvage as Junk Threatens Satellites (Source: The Independent)
As the world's superpowers gear up for a new multi-million euro 'space race', one enterprising Irish boffin hopes to clean up with an engineering solution that is ready for lift-off. Dr William O'Connor is competing with some of the world's top scientists in a race against time to design a system to remove thousands of items of 'space junk'.

The problem has reached such a critical stage that the congestion of space junk in the Earth's lower orbit means that hundreds of satellites that we rely on for everyday life - enabling GPS on our mobile phones, sat-nav in our cars, weather forecasts, telecommunications and live TV broadcasts - are at risk of colliding with this speeding debris.

Dr. O'Connor, who has submitted a €250,000 tender to the European Space Agency for an innovative solution to remove dangerous space junk, has a successful track record in developing new technology. He was recently awarded a €250,000 contract to develop a rocket control programme which could be used by the ESA's next generation of spaceships in its future missions to space - including to Mars. Click here. (12/1)

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