February 13. 2015

Arianespace to Launch Satellites for South Korea (Source: Arianespace)
The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has chosen Arianespace to launch the two satellites in its GEO-KOMPSAT-2 program. Mr. Jacques Breton, Senior Vice President, Sales & Customers of Arianespace and Mr. CHO Gwangrae, President of KARI, have signed today the launch contract for GEOKOMPSAT-2A & -2B. GEO-KOMPSAT-2A (GK2A) and GEO-KOMPSAT-2B (GK2B) will be orbited by Ariane 5 launchers in May 2018 and March 2019 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. (2/13)

Rising Sea Levels Having Effects at Kennedy Space Center (Source: WKMG)
It's a coastline like no other. A pristine, untouched, Florida landscape with the history of space exploration on its shores. Now researchers say a section of beachfront just beyond the iconic launchpads 39A and 39B is washing away at an alarming rate. University of Florida researchers say climate change and rising sea levels are to blame.

Associate professor of geological sciences, John Jaeger and assistant professor Peter Adams have been monitoring the shores of KSC on a monthly basis for 5 years. They say in that time, they've found the area of primary concern to NASA is actually predisposed to erosion. The project started when NASA partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey and UF to figure out why chronic erosion was happening along a roughly 6-mile stretch between launch pads 39A and 39B.

The problem had been occurring for years but when Florida endured three hurricanes within weeks of each other in 2004 a large portion of coastline was lost. Using GPS monitors, Jaeger and Adams gathered precise elevations of the beach and dunes along KSC property. "The area that's eroding is one where it was very sensitive to little tipping points," Jaeger says. "Gradually, the shoreline is moving closer and closer and that's largely a function of sea level rise impacting this little area." (2/13)

NASA's 5-Year Timelapse of the Sun is Stunning (Source: Mashable)
Timelapses have the ability to make reality seem like it's simultaneously sped up and slowed down. You might, ahem, say the result is "out of this world." To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Solar Dynamics Observatory's (SDO) launch, NASA released a five-year timelapse of the sun — and trust us: It ain't ugly.

The SDO is a mission designed to study where the sun's energy comes from, and also help us understand its influence on Earth. The footage, captured one frame every eight hours, is from June 2010 to Feb. 8, 2015, according to NASA. Click here. (2/13)

Florida Space Industry to Visit Capitol on March 25 (Source: Space Florida)
Representatives from Florida’s aerospace industry will visit Tallahassee on March 25, 2015, to participate in Florida Space Day and share with legislators the opportunities the industry brings to Florida and the nation. Former NASA astronaut Mike McCulley, Space Shuttle Pilot of STS-34, the mission that deployed the Galileo spacecraft to explore Jupiter, will be making scheduled appearances throughout the event. Space-related exhibits will be available on the third floor rotunda of the Capitol. (2/10)

How to Get a Job in Space (Source: Bloomberg)
The private space industry believes there's a booming future in space tourism—and students at MIT's Sloan School of Management want to make sure they, too, can get in on the action. A group of MBA students launched an aeronautics and space industry club in the fall, saying they hope it will help peers take advantage of growing career opportunities for business-minded space enthusiasts. Click here. (2/13)

SpaceX Has Come This Far. They’ll Go the Last Mile (Source: National Post)
Dumping tens of millions of dollars of cutting-edge technology and engineering into rough ocean waters is not normally considered a success. But on Wednesday night, 370 miles off the coast of Florida, private space company SpaceX did exactly that. And while the mission may not have been a complete success, it was awfully darned close. The implications for space exploration are enormous.

The high-priced hardware in question was the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, has been working to develop rockets that can be fully and rapidly reused. The primary obstacle to a dramatically expanded human presence in space is the incredible expense of launching anything out of Earth’s gravity. Click here. (2/12)

World View on Savoring Space Tourism (Source: Engadget)
Jane Poynter wants you to take a trip to space that's as comfortable as a luxury cruise. She's spent two years living in the sealed research lab Biosphere 2, and serves as president of Paragon Space Development Corporation, where she led development of the life-support systems for the 2018 Inspiration Mars mission. Now, as CEO of World View, she's been developing a solution for space tourism that relies on a huge helium balloon, not rockets. That means no training necessary, no dealing with the uncomfortable effects of heavy G-force acceleration and a trip that lasts four to six hours. Click here. (2/12)

Editorial: To Mars in 10 Years Economically Viable (Source: Washburn Review)
The stated goal of NASA is to go to Mars by the mid 2030s. The first of the vehicles that might take us there, the Space Launch System and Orion, won’t fly people until at least 2021 with the current budget realities. That is over seven years away, or nearly two presidential terms. The political landscape will be totally different by that time, so there is a risk of cancellation before hardware can even get to the launch pad. What NASA needs is a 10-year timeframe for a goal of going to Mars. Click here. (2/13)

How Much Is the New Orbital ATK Worth? (Source: Motley Fool)
The company, formed by the merger of twin space-tech titans, marries Orbital Sciences' expertise in building rockets and satellites with Alliant Techsystems' specialization in rocket boosters, and promises to create a worthy rival to aerospace giants such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and SpaceX.

Unfortunately, some financial data providers are still figuring out the numbers on the merged company, days after the merger closed. That's not uncommon in the immediate wake of an IPO, merger, or spinoff -- but it can be frustrating for an investor wanting to know whether to buy today. But never fear, dear investor. We've got you covered. Click here. (2/12)

NASA Wants Voice in Gas, Oil Lease Process Near Virginia Spaceport (Source: Daily Times)
NASA wants to weigh in on plans to sell offshore gas and oil drilling leases, citing launch safety concerns. "Even the temporary presence of support ships or aircraft within a mission's hazard areas can result in mandatory range safety criteria not being met, leading to missed launch opportunities," said the agency in a statement. (2/10)

Why We Need to Worry About Space Weather (Source: Reuters)
Everyone complains about the weather, but NASA is doing something about it. A Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite launched last night aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will monitor solar wind, solar flares and coronal mass ejections, all of which fit within the definition of “space weather.” The concept sounds like, well, science fiction, but a washingtonpost.com article titled “When space weather attacks” describes the magnitude of the threat constituted by space weather:

"Today, electric utilities and the insurance industry are grappling with a scary possibility. A solar storm on the scale of that in 1859 would wreak havoc on power grids, pipelines and satellites. In the worst case, it could leave 20 million to 40 million people in the Northeast without power — possibly for years — as utilities struggled to replace thousands of fried transformers stretching from Washington to Boston." (2/12)

Space Club Recognized for Student Space Week Program (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club Florida Committee (NSC-FL) was recognized at the Brevard Schools Foundation’s Applauding Brevard’s Champions (ABC) Awards Gala on January 28, 2015. NSC-FL received the Foundation Award of Distinction Group Champion for its active involvement and sponsorship of Brevard Space Week.

Brevard Space Week, an annual event held in late November and early December, exposes over 5000 Brevard County sixth grade students to a daylong program filled with STEM-related activities, hands-on exhibits and an astronaut space flight presentation. Its goal is to excite students about the space industry, promote the study of STEM and encourage space exploration as a potential career path. (2/12)

Talking Japanese space robot back on Earth (Source: Space Daily)
A pint-sized Japanese robot that became the first android to converse with an astronaut in space has returned to Earth after 18 months in orbit, project organisers said Thursday. "Kirobo" -- roughly the size of a chihuahua -- hitched a ride back from the International Space Station (ISS) on a cargo supply spacecraft that splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, sponsors including Toyota Motor and advertising firm Dentsu said.

Kirobo, which left Earth in August 2013, was programmed to communicate in Japanese and keep a record of its conversations with Koichi Wakata, the first Japanese astronaut to command the ISS. The robot was part of a study aimed at learning how a non-human companion can provide emotional support for people isolated over long periods.

Millions of Japanese schoolchildren were captivated by the adventures of a creation that showcased Japan's drive to combine cutting-edge technology and its obsession with all things cute. (2/12)

Putin Is Knocking Ukraine's Space Industry Out of Orbit (Source: Bloomberg)
The launch of a new European space plane on Feb. 11, is a rare instance of good news for Ukraine's space industry, which has been increasingly at risk from the grinding conflict with Russia. Ukraine's state-owned Yuzhnoye Design Bureau helped develop the rocket that carried the European Space Agency's new IXV experimental reentry vehicle from the Kourou launch center in French Guiana.

Yuzhnoye, descended from a Soviet-era designer of ballistic missiles, has developed a business supplying rocket technology to Western partners. Its headquarters in the city of Dnepropetrovsk sits less than 150 miles from the fighting in eastern Ukraine. Still, says Oleg Ventskovsky, the company's representative in Brussels, "it's more or less business as usual."

The rest of Ukraine's space industry hasn't been so fortunate. Russia was its biggest customer, and sales have cratered. That's partly Ukraine's doing: In June, President Petro Poroshenko halted all military sales to Russia, including some dual-use missile and rocket technologies made by Ukrainian companies. A far bigger blow came earlier this month with Russia's decision to stop buying the mostly Ukrainian-made Zenit rocket. (2/12)

Spaceport America to Open Visitor Center (Source: KQRE)
New Mexico’s Spaceport America is about to open its doors a little more to space enthusiasts and the curious. A new spaceport visitor center will open in May in the heart of T or C’s historic district. The facility will be housed in a vintage, city-owned adobe building constructed in 1935. “This location will also allow our visitors easy access to many of the interesting shops in the downtown area,” said Spaceport America Executive Director Christine Anderson.

Meanwhile, in March 2015, Spaceport America plans to open an expanded Visitor Experience in the Gateway Gallery at the spaceport itself, about 30 miles southeast of T or C. Both visitor facilities will feature space travel displays and interactive exhibits for adults and children. Public access to the Spaceport America launch complex southeast of T or C is presently only via tour buses operated by Follow The Sun, Inc. Tours cost between $29 and $59 per person. (2/12)

KSC Extends the SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft Exhibit (Source: MyFox Orlando)
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft that made history in May 2012 as the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station (ISS) will be on display until Monday, Feb. 16 at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  The Dragon display was originally scheduled to end Feb. 9.

The Dragon spacecraft is on display at NASA Central, just outside the Visitor Complex's Space Shop. Guests are welcome to take photos with the authentic space-flown spacecraft. The SpaceX Dragon display is included with admission to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and is free for annual pass holders. (2/11)

‘Disney-Style’ Space Park to Open in Israel (Source: Times of Israel)
Israel isn’t known for its amusement parks, but that could change soon as a new space-themed park is set to open in Ashdod. The International Space Center will feature displays, movies and activities all connected to space travel, with special shows and events featuring space industry personnel and astronauts from Israel and abroad.

Among those activities will be the 3D space experience, in which participants will have the opportunity to participate in a simulated space flight, with interactive displays to help visitors learn about the planets and the future of space travel. There will also be space-themed rides, games, snack bars – and, of course, a gift shop – to provide visitors with an “out of this world” experience.

Besides fun space stuff, the park will feature a more serious side, hosting an incubator for early-stage start-ups working on space-related technology. The site will also be home to the Israel Space Cadet Training Center, designed to be Israel’s premier academy for astronautics, aeronautics and space science. (2/12)

Virgin Galactic Opens LauncherOne Facility in Long Beach (Source: Space News)
Virgin Galactic announced Feb. 12 that the company is opening a new facility in Long Beach, California, devoted to development of its small satellite launch vehicle. Virgin Galactic said that it is leasing a 13,900-square-meter building at the Long Beach Airport that it will use for the design and manufacturing of LauncherOne. The company did not disclose the terms of the lease. (2/12)

New NOAA Satellite Boss Shoots Down Commercial Weather Pilot Program (Source: Space News)
The new head of NOAA’s satellite division said Feb. 12 the agency should not cordon off any of its budget to help would-be commercial weather satellite operators defray development expenses. “That’s a higher-risk approach than I would prefer to take from the NOAA side,” Steve Volz, the new assistant administrator for NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service, said. (2/12)

Mars Is The Next Step For Humanity – We Must Take It (Source: IFL Science)
Elon Musk has built a US$12 billion company in an endeavour to pave the way to Mars for humanity. He insists that Mars is a “long-term insurance policy” for “the light of consciousness” in the face of climate change, extinction events, and our recklessness with technology.

On the other hand, astronaut Chris Hadfield is sceptical: “Humanity is not going extinct,” he told me. He added: There’s no great compelling reason to go, apart from curiosity, and that’s not going to be enough to sustain the immense cost necessary with the technology that exists right now.

But I question our future, stuck here on Earth. Our environment is a highly balanced system and we are the destabilising element. Pursuing “green” initiatives is no long-term solution to the wall we’re hurtling towards, they’re speed bumps. If this is where humankind is destined to remain, then we shall find ourselves fighting over whatever is left of it. (2/9)

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