March 14, 2015

Cape Canaveral Spaceport Preps for Third Launch in Three Weeks (Source: Florida Today)
The Cape Canaveral Spaceport could host its third launch in as many weeks if SpaceX lifts off as planned next Saturday afternoon. A Falcon 9 rocket is targeting launch of Turkmenistan’s first satellite at 4:04 p.m., the opening of a one-hour window at Launch Complex 40. The contact with satellite builder Thales Alenia Space calls for launch a communications satellite to a geosynchronous orbit 22,300 miles over the equator. (3/14)

Outernet Joins The Space Race For Internet Accessibility (Sources: Tech Crunch, Mic)
The space race to launch satellites providing internet coverage to the roughly 4 billion people living in unconnected or nominally connected communities around the world is no longer just the purview of billionaire moguls and the world’s biggest Internet companies.

Outernet, a small, independently-funded media company with a unique vision for distributing Internet content like a radio broadcast, is partnering with the UK Space Agency, and Scottish satellite equipment manufacturer, Clyde Space, on a cost-sharing project for manufacturing “cubesats.”

At its most basic level, Outernet is a means of connecting to the Internet — without access to a traditional Wi-Fi network — via a receiver, which can be anything from a homemade model via Outernet's receiver instruction guide, a mobile receiver of Outernet's design called Lantern or the high-speed Pillar in development, which, according to the company, could be used as a digital public library, installable anywhere in the world. (3/14)

S3 Sells Zero-Gravity-Flight Tickets Convertible to Stock in IPO (Source: Bloomberg)
Swiss Space Systems, which plans satellite launches from an Airbus jet, is selling tickets for flights in which people will experience weightlessness that are also convertible into stock in a planned initial public offering. The convertible tickets are priced from 1,399 francs ($1,392), compared with the usual 2,500 francs, the Switzerland-based company said. An IPO will happen this year, it said. (3/13)

We're Going Back to the Moon! (and SpaceX Isn't Invited) (Source: Motley Fool)
Five years ago, that's how comedian Stephen Colbert introduced his viewers to Elon Musk, co-founder of SpaceX -- and as introductions go, it was a pretty good one. Historically, lots of companies -- Boeing, Lockheed, GenCorp -- have helped NASA's space program put objects into orbit. But only Elon Musk's SpaceX has put an object in orbit all on its own, and just for kicks.

Now, you might think this would give SpaceX an insurmountable lead in the movement toward commercialization of space. Instead, it turns out that "space" is starting to fill up with competitors. In fact, the line extends from here to the moon itself. Click here. (3/14)

Wallops Visitor Center to Expand for Teachers (Source: DelMarVa Now)
The NASA Wallops Visitor Center on Wallops Island is expanding in an effort to help teachers on Virginia's Eastern Shore. An addition that will house the new Educator Resource Center is currently being built and construction is expected to be complete in May.

The resource center is a one-stop clearinghouse for educational materials, such as educator guides, lesson plans and classroom activities relating to STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. A full-time coordinator will be available to assist teachers with selecting materials at the resource center, as well as finding materials on the NASA website. (3/13)

What China’s Lunar Rover Found (Source: Economist)
This week, in a paper published in Science, a team led by Xiao Long of the China University of Geosciences, in Wuhan, laid out some of Chang’E 3’s early scientific results. Yutu—which is equipped with a ground-penetrating radar—is in the remnant of a giant impact crater formed 4 billion years ago. Peering hundreds of meters beneath the mare’s surface, the rover was able to discern at least nine distinct strata.

Some of these are remnants of recent impacts, which leave layers of fine, powdered rock across the surface. Others, deeper down, are lava flows from volcanoes that, according to data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, an American spacecraft, may have stopped erupting a mere 100m years ago. (3/14)

This Woman Wants to Take Common Folk to Space -- In a Balloon (Source: WIRED)
Jane Poynter has a mesmerizing way of describing what it will be like to be shuttled to the ends of the Earth in the souped-up space balloon being developed by her company, World View. You’ll arrive at the launch site predawn, Poynter says, and step inside a comfortable capsule with a few other passengers. You’ll lift off the ground, and float upward for an hour and a half, gently rising at a speed of about 1,000 feet a minute.

When you arrive at the top of the atmosphere, Poynter says, you’ll see “the most unbelievable panorama of stars” around you. The sun, rising up over the ground below you, will begin to creep over the horizon and light up the Earth below. You’ll hover in that place for about an hour before gliding back to the ground using a rectangular parachute called a parafoil. Oh, and there will be appetizers and booze. (3/14)

Giant Leap for Inflatable Space Housing (Source: CNBC)
It's showtime for Robert Bigelow. The real estate developer and hotel magnate estimates he's spent $275 million of his own fortune researching, building, and testing expandable living areas for outer space at Bigelow Aerospace, a company he founded in North Las Vegas 16 years ago. NASA wants to see if he's right. It's paying him almost $18 million for one of his inflatable habitats to go to the International Space Station later this year. (3/13)

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