January 18, 2015

SpaceX DSCOVR Launch Slips to February (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
NASA's launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission has slipped to no-earlier-than Feb. 9, 2015. No details have been released as to the cause of the delay or at what time that the launch will take place. A SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket will launch the DSCOVR mission from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport's Launch Complex 40. (1/18)

Musk Reveals Plan for $10B 'Space Internet' Plan in Seattle (Source: GeekWire)
SpaceX's Seattle office will be the headquarters for a next-generation space Internet initiative, aiming to transform the way Internet service is delivered. The idea is to launch a vast network of satellites that would boost data speeds and make low-cost Internet available around the world. Musk intends to use the project as a stepping stone to Mars, providing connectivity and funds to colonize the Red Planet.

“People should not expect this to be active sooner than five years,” Musk told Bloomberg Businessweek, describing the plans to deliver Internet access from low-Earth orbit. “But we see it as a long-term revenue source for SpaceX to be able to fund a city on Mars.”

Sources said Musk cited the possibility of as many as 4,000 satellites in the network, replacing each one every five years. The satellites would orbit at 750 miles above Earth, much lower than traditional satellites, to deliver significantly faster Internet service. (1/17)

Formation-Flying Satellites Link Up to Create Giant Virtual Telescope in Orbit (Source: Guardian)
It is a groundbreaking mission that will sweep robotic spacecraft around the Earth in displays of global formation flying. High-precision guidance systems and delicate rocket thrusters will enable the project’s two satellites to move in synchrony. And if all goes to plan, European engineers will have created an extraordinary device in orbit.

The European Space Agency project is breathtaking in its ambition and depends on a level of precision never before achieved in orbit. By flying two or more small satellites in very tight formation, virtual telescopes of incredible power and sensitivity will help astronomers to observe Earth-like planets in orbit around distant stars. These worlds could then be studied to determine if they could support extraterrestrial life. (1/17)

Is Climate Disaster Inevitable? (Source: New York Times)
Humanity has recognized that our climb up the ladder of technological sophistication comes with a heavy price. From climate change to resource depletion, our evolution into a globe-spanning industrial culture is forcing us through the narrow bottleneck of sustainability crisis. In the wake of this realization, new and sobering answers to Fermi's question now seem possible. Click here. (1/17)

The Astronaut's Secret (Source: News4Jax)
Former NASA astronaut Rich Clifford reveals in a new book how he kept his secret affliction: Parkinson's Disease. Click here to see the interview. (1/17)

Musk Wants to Spend $10 Billion Building the Internet in Space (Source: The Verge)
Elon Musk's plan for satellite internet is even more ambitious than originally thought. At a SpaceX event in Seattle on Friday, the Tesla CEO said his unnamed Space Internet venture could one day stretch all the way to Mars — and it could cost $10 billion to pull off.

"It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well," he explains. "I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it." Musk expects the project to take $10 billion and at least five years to get off the ground. In the meantime, SpaceX's resources will be devoted to making satellites in addition to the rockets and vehicles it already manufacturers and tests. (1/17)

India's Prototype of Crew Capsule for Manned Missions Back Home (Source: Indian Express)
The crew module is back home. The prototype of the crew capsule for future manned missions to space which the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully tested in December arrived here on Friday morning. Over the next few months, the cupcake-shaped module would undergo tests before being put on display at the Space Museum at Vikram Sarabhai Space Center.

The dummy module was more or less built at the VSSC. While its basic structure was designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the VSSC had been responsible for its integration and ‘arming’ it with heat shields and control and guidance mechanisms. The Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) had been the sole payload aboard the sub-orbital test-flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-III (GSLV Mk-III) which lifted off from Sriharikota on December 18, 2014. (1/17)

It’s On: Asia’s New Space Race (Source: Daily Beast)
While NASA and the European Space Agency gets most of the world’s attention, China, Japan and India are racing for the heavens. The general public in the West largely views the exploration of space as dominated by the United States and perhaps Russia. Sometimes, as in the case of the Rosetta mission, they may give thought to Europe’s capabilities.

Few people think of India when it comes to missions to Mars, but popular joy erupted across India in September 2014 after its Mangalyaan scientific spacecraft successfully achieved orbit around the red planet. One Indian reader responded to the story on a major online news outlet by posting: “It is [a] moment of pride as India becomes [the] 1st Asian nation to reach Mars.” And understood to all Indian readers was the point that China had—after a series of Asian firsts in space—finally been surpassed.

Since China’s first human spaceflight in 2003 and its threatening anti-satellite test in 2007, Asia has seen a surge in space activity, with budgets increasing rapidly across the region. While few officials admit to the term, a “space race” is emerging in Asia. Click here. (1/17)

Energia’s International Work Unaffected by US Sanctions (Source: Sputnik)
US sanctions against Moscow are not going to influence the work of Russian rocket and space corporation Energia internationally, as the company also collaborates with a wide range of European companies, Energia head Vladimir Solntsev said Friday.

"Our international partners are not only American. There are many others who want to work with us, and they do. We have joint ventures with many European space industry giants and we continue working with them actively," Solntsev said in response to a question about the effects US sanctions had on Energia's international projects. (1/16)

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