December 3, 2014

Canadian Parliamentary Space Caucus Created (Source: SpaceRef)
Conservative MP Jay Aspin announced that he will chair a new Parliamentary Space Caucus that will focus on the priorities of the space sector. Aspin is also the Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Aerospace Caucus. "The Space Caucus was established to bring together MPs with space industries in their communities for the purpose of better connecting with business and educational stakeholders, determining challenges and priorities, and creating a better framework for creating and pursing opportunities. The opportunity for expanding our local space sector in North Bay is important so we need to act on it," said Aspin. (12/2)

NASA Hopes to Have Orion Back at KSC Before Christmas (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Officials working on NASA’s new crew rated spacecraft are hoping that, if everything goes according to plan come launch day, that the Orion spacecraft carrying out Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) – will be back “home” in time for Christmas. Liftoff is planned to take place at 7:05 p.m. EST on Thursday Dec. 4.

“When the vehicle splashes down, we will already have helicopters in the air. The Navy guys will then go out in two types of boats,” said Mark Geyer, NASA’s Orion Program Manager. “We should get Orion back just before Christmas, it will come back to the pier where we’ll unload it and we’ll have some operations prior to putting it into the canister which we’ll load Orion onto a truck and then ferry it back to KSC.” (12/2)

ISS Astronauts Must Wait for Espresso (Source: Space Daily)
If there are sad faces and tired eyes on the International Space Station this week, it's likely not a caffeine crash but the despair of knowing they're going to have to wait another few months for a freshly brewed cappuccino. The ISSpresso machine -- a joint effort designed by coffee experts at the Italian manufacturer Lavazzo and engineers from Italian company Argotec -- was supposed to arrive along with Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti last week.

But new reports suggest Cristoforetti arrived without the espresso maker; its shipment to ISS has apparently been delayed. David Avino of Argotec said that, subject to launch openings, the company hopes to get ISSpresso aboard the station in time for Cristoforetti's birthday in April. It's not yet clear what the reasoning for the delay is, but it would be understandable of space and weight was an issue. The rather large contraption weighs 44 pounds. (12/2)

Meteorite Stirs Life-on-Mars Debate (Source: Space Daily)
Analysis of a meteorite that fell in the Moroccan desert three years ago revives theories about life on Mars, scientists said. Scrutiny of cracks in the rock revealed "unique" carbon traces, according to a team led by the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. The carbon has "a very probable biological origin", the EPFL said in a statement. (12/2)

Satellites Helping to Assess Risk of Epidemics (Source: Space Daily)
Learning about our enemy through satellites is helping us to combat diseases spread by insects and other pests. Changes in the environment, global trade and travel are all factors in the ever-increasing numbers and movement of pests. Identifying and predicting the distribution of existing local species as well as the spread of new exotic ones are essential in assessing the risk of potential epidemics.

A consortium led by Avia-GIS in Belgium and supported by ESA has developed Vecmap - an all-encompassing software and services package including a smartphone app for field studies with a time and location information system, all linked to an online database. The database pools satellite information with results from field research. (12/3)

Mislaunched Navigation Satellite May Get 2nd Life (Source: Space Daily)
A navigation satellite sent astray by a mislaunch in August, has sent a signal from its faulty orbit, and may yet prove useful, the European Space Agency (ESA) said. Didier Faivre, head of ESA's Galileo satnav program, a rival to America's GPS, said the "first signals" from the orbiting constellation's fifth satellite were received on Saturday after it managed to maneuver into a slightly better position.

"We are now in a safe place and we can work and we still have the hope that this satellite could be used for the navigation receivers," Faivre told an ESA ministerial meeting in Luxembourg. "We rescue what we can rescue," he added. (12/2)

Examining the U.S. Military’s Long, Weird ‘Star Wars’ Fascination (Source: Washington Post)
“Star Wars” has captivated millions of viewers over the last few decades with its good-versus-evil themes, colorful alien characters and futuristic technology. But it isn’t just science fiction fans who gravitate to the franchise. There’s a long history of scholars, media outlets, defense contractors and active-duty troops connecting the U.S. military with the franchise. Consider the following. Click here. (12/2)

Aerospace Finds a Home in Alabama (Source: PF Online)
Alabama’s aerospace sector employs 83,000 people at more than 400 companies. With the Airbus A320 family assembly line under construction in Mobile, optimism is high that the sector is ripe for expansion. “We are working hard to attract elements of the Airbus supply chain to Alabama while also increasing aerospace research and engineering activities that take place here,” Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield says.

“Our goal is to create more high-paying aerospace jobs and to spur more product development in the state,” Canfield says. Airbus and Boeing are fierce competitors in the marketplace, but they have found common ground in Alabama, where both have substantial operations. Click here. (12/1)

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