February 2, 2015

Mining the Moon Becomes a Serious Prospect (Source: Phys.org)
With an estimated 1.6 billion tonnes of water ice at its poles and an abundance of rare-earth elements hidden below its surface, the moon is rich ground for mining. private firms and space agencies are dreaming of tapping into these lucrative resources and turning the moon's grey, barren landscape into a money-making conveyer belt.

Since NASA disbanded its manned Apollo missions to the moon over 40 years ago, unmanned spaceflight has made giant strides and has identified a bountiful supply of water ice at the north and south poles of the moon. Texas-based Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) plans to mine the vast reserves of water ice and convert it into rocket propellant in the form of hydrogen and oxygen, which would then be sold to space partners in low Earth orbit. Click here. (2/2)

For Commercial Crew, Out of the Blackout and Into the Spotlight (Source: Space Review)
Last month, a protest of NASA's commercial crew contracts was denied, allowing the agency and the winning companies to start sharing more details about their plans. Jeff Foust reports on those new details about the program, and continued criticism about some aspects of it. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2688/1 to view the article. (2/2)

Increased Competition will Challenge ESA's Space Authority (Source: Space Review)
The long-established European Space Agency is facing a new challenge to its power from the European Union. Clemens Rumpf argues that, as space becomes more competitive globally, the old models that supported ESA activities may no longer hold. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2687/1 to view the article. (2/2)

Supporting Space at Science Fairs (Source: Space Review)
One approach to encouraging students to pursue space-related careers is outreach at science fairs. Ken Murphy describes how he and others in the Dallas area have used science fairs to recognize and reward promising students. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2686/1 to view the article. (2/2)

Commercial Space Safety Standards: Let’s Not Re-Invent the Wheel (Source: Space Safety)
To be “absolutely safe” a system, product, device or material should never cause or have the potential to cause an accident; a goal practically impossible to achieve. In the realization and operation of systems the term “safety” is generally used to mean “acceptable risk level”, not “absolute safety”.

Acceptable risk level is not the same as personal acceptance of risk, but it refers to risk acceptability by stakeholders’ community or by society in a broad sense. Acceptable risk levels vary from system to system, and evolve with time due to socio-economic changes and technological advancement. Click here. (2/2)

Investment in Space Sector is 'Not an Extravagance but a Necessity' (Source: The Parliament)
Space programs remain crucial for many areas of our economy, our environment and our security. EU space policy deserves a long-term vision, built together and followed by all stakeholders. We should bear in mind that the space sector is not a standard industrial sector; it is of great strategic importance. Institutional customers play a very important role – the market is not completely open. However, like all other sectors, it is changing fast – new technologies and new players mean greater competition. Click here. (2/2)

Iran Launches Satellite (Source: PressTV)
Iran’s domestically-made National Fajr (Dawn) Satellite, which was launched earlier on Monday, has transmitted data to its stations on earth, an Iranian official says. The satellite made its first contact with its ground stations hours after it was put into the orbit. The satellite is capable of staying in the space for 1.5 years and taking and transmitting high-quality and accurate pictures to stations on earth.

Fajr satellite is technically characterized by an orbit which could promote from 250 to 450 kilometers through a thruster or an engine. Equipped with GPS navigation system, Fajr, weighing 52 kilos, is the fourth Iranian-made satellite which was put into orbit after three others between 2009 and 2012.

President Rouhani congratulated the great nation of Iran on the successful launch of Fajr satellite and said the Iranian scientists have entered a new phase in space sciences. Editor's Note: I thought Iran canceled its space program!? (2/2)

Ukraine Space Agency Gets New Chairman (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Introduction of the new Chairman of the State Space Agency of Ukraine – Dr. Oleg S. Uruskyi has taken place at the State Space Agency of Ukraine HQ. The Vice Prime-Minister Gennadiy Zubko read the Resolution #26-r of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine as of January 21, 2015 “On the appointment of Dr. Oleg Uruskyi the Chairman of SSAU”. In his speech the Vice Prime-Minister emphasized the important tasks facing the space industry and its leader. (2/1)

Russia to Replace Ukraine’s Zenith Launchers with New Angara Rockets (Source: Itar-Tass)
Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, will not any longer buy Zenith rockets produced in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk, Izvestia daily writes on Monday referring to representative of Roscosmos Igor Burenkov. He said the agency would not buy any Zenith launchers, and the satellites that were supposed to be launched by them will be orbited by new launchers of the Angara class. (2/2)

Russian Space Expert Fired After Criticizing Roscosmos Reforms (Source: Moscow Times)
A prominent Russian space expert has been dismissed from his position with a state-run research center in a move that he says is politically motivated, after criticizing a massive space industry reform project in an interview with the BBC. Vadim Lukashevich worked at the Skolkovo Innovation Center, a high-tech business park outside Moscow intended as Russia's answer to Silicon Valley.

"As I understand it, they [fired me] for a series of interviews in which I criticize the recent decision to liquidate the Federal Space Agency and create a new state corporation called Roscosmos," Lukashevich told The Moscow Times on Friday. (2/2)

Proton Launches Inmarsat (Source: SEN)
Russia's workhorse rocket opened the nation's space activities this year with a rare daylight blastoff from the frozen steppes of Kazakhstan Sunday. A Proton-M rocket lifted off as scheduled at 7:31 a.m. EST from Site 200 in Baikonur Cosmodrome. Under its payload fairing, the vehicle carried a six-ton Inmarsat-5 F2 satellite for its namesake company based in London. (2/2)

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