February 28, 2015

NASA Employee Arrested for Assaulting Police Officer (Source: Dayton Daily News)
A NASA employee has been arrested for reportedly assaulting a University of Dayton police officer as he was being arrested during an incident at off-campus housing Friday morning. David I. Hawbecker, 34, of Maryland, was arrested. Campus police along with Dayton officers were dispatched to a UD student’s residence on the report of an assault, according to university officials. He is listed as the laboratory chief for the NASA Office of Inspector General at their headquarters in Washington D.C. (2/27)

Timing of Russian Engine Ban Puts ULA, Air Force, in a Bind (Source: Space News)
The new U.S. law barring the Air Force from using Russian-made rocket engines starting in 2019 could force the DOD’s primary launch services provider to battle for future military business with its least competitive product. Although Congress provided money for the Air Force to start work on a new U.S.-built main engine this year, service officials are doubtful that it will be ready by 2019.

Even if it is, which industry officials argue is possible, the engine would still have to be certified by the Air Force to carry national security payloads, a process that one executive said could take more than two years. That scenario would leave United Launch Alliance in a weak competitive position relative to its rising nemesis, SpaceX. SpaceX is on the verge of earning certification for its low-cost Falcon 9 rocket and also hopes to demonstrate a heavy-lift launcher this year.

The problem for ULA is that its lowest-cost rocket, the Atlas 5, is powered by the Russian-built RD-180 engine. ULA’s other main rocket, the Delta 4, is powered by an American-made engine and is technically capable of launching all of the satellites on the Defense Department manifest. But in addition to being far more expensive than the Atlas 5, the Delta 4 is often viewed as an inferior rocket. (2/27)

What Big Bang? Universe May Have Had No Beginning at All, Study Claims (Source: Sputnik)
Two theoretical physicists have suggested nothing like the Big Bang played a role in the start of our universe 13.8 billion years ago, refuting Edwin Hubble’s 1929 theory that the universe was contained in a single point in space and some violent event caused it to expand. “Our theory suggests that the age of the universe could be infinite,” said study co-author Saurya Das. (2/27)

20-Year-Old Military Weather Satellite Apparently Exploded in Orbit (Source: Space News)
A 20-year-old military weather satellite apparently exploded in orbit Feb. 3 following what the U.S. Air Force described as a sudden temperature spike. The “catastrophic event” produced 43 pieces of space debris, according to Air Force Space Command, which disclosed the loss of the satellite Feb. 27.

The satellite, Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13, was the oldest continuously operational satellite in the DMSP weather constellation. The Air Force still has six DMSP satellites in service following the launch last April of DMSP-F19. (2/27)

Harris Leaving Brevard for Virginia? Both Have a Lot to Offer (Source: Florida Today)
As Harris Corp. executives contemplate moving the headquarters out of Brevard County - possibly to Northern Virginia's Fairfax County -- to be closer to Washington, D.C.'s power brokers -- we thought we'd make a quick comparison of the two areas. Click here. (2/27)

Khrunichev Signs 15-Year Deal with Gazprom Space Systems (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Khrunichev Space Center and OAO Gazprom Space Systems (GSS) signed a number of documents envisaging expanded strategic cooperation between the two companies. In furtherance of the Company Rehab Program, company officials met at Khrunichev’s Proton assembly facility to sign an agreement on strategic cooperation, and a contract for a Proton launch of GSS’s Yamal-601 communications satellite. (2/27)

Curiosity Confirms Mars Methane, Which May Hinting at Life (Source: U. of Granada)
The tunable laser spectrometer in the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) instrument of the Curiosity rover robot has unequivocally detected an episodic increase in the concentration of methane in Mars' atmosphere after an exhaustive analysis of data obtained during 605 soles or Martian days. This puts an end to the long controversy on the presence of methane in Mars, which started over a decade ago when this gas was first detected with telescopes from Earth. (2/27)

5 New NASA Missions Tracking Changes on Planet Earth (Source: KPCC)
Over the past year, NASA turned much of its focus from space and launched five new missions aimed at studying planet Earth. Thursday, the space agency shared some preliminary findings from those missions, showing a picture of a planet changing due to man made green house gases. This suite of new missions includes three satellites and two instruments aboard the International Space Station. Click here. (2/27)

NASA OKs Sunday Spacewalk Despite Water Leak in Helmet (Source: CFLnews13)
Astronauts on the International Space Station will head out for another spacewalk this weekend despite a water leak in one astronaut's helmet Wednesday. NASA on Friday cleared astronaut Terry Virts' spacesuit for Sunday's spacewalk, the last of three to route hundreds of feet of cable needed for the new, American-made spacecraft set to fly to the space station starting in 2017. (2/27)

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