March 2, 2015

Rebooting Space Advocacy (Source: Space Review)
Space advocates have struggled in recent years for major victories in their efforts to increase NASA's budget or enact other space policy changes. Jeff Foust reports on how a new alliance of space organizations, and the outcome of a separate space summit, seek more targeted efforts to support space development and settlement. Visit to view the article. (3/2)

Journey to Whatever (Source: Space Review)
The new movie "Journey to Space" follows in the footsteps of previous space-themed IMAX films. Dwayne Day saw the film and finds it lacks the inspirational message that some of its predecessors had. Visit to view the article. (3/2)

Understanding the Legal Status of the Moon (Source: Space Review)
As government and commercial activity at the Moon ramps up, it raises questions about the legal status of some of those efforts, particularly the extraction of resources. Urbano Fuentes examines what one particular phase used in treaties regarding the Moon could mean for those activities. Visit to view the article. (3/2)

Space Economy Trends in the United States and Europe (Source: Space Safety)
The global space economy reached $314.17 billion in 2013, growing of 4% from the 2012 amount of $302.22 billion. The commercial sector, including space products and services and commercial infrastructure, was responsible for the majority part of this growth. Revenue of commercial space products and activities, commercial infrastructure and support industries increased respectively by 7% and 4.6% since 2012.

Government spending faced different evolutions worldwide, with a substantial reduction in U.S. space spending and budgetary increase in other countries, such as India, Russia, South Korea, Canada and the United Kingdom. The Space Foundation’s 2014 Report indicated that the total of the space economy in 2013 can be schematized as: 24% of government spending (13% USA, 11% non-USA) and 76% commercial (37% commercial infrastructure and support industries, 39% commercial products and services). Click here. (2/23)

Feedback Time! (Source: SPACErePORT)
Having switched the FLORIDA SPACErePORT e-newsletter distribution over to MailChimp, I also had to change the newsletter's format in some minor ways. The SPACErePORT goes out weekly to over 1500 subscribers and includes a calendar of space-related events in the Sunshine State. Is there anything I can do to improve the newsletter? Please respond with any comments or suggestions. (3/2)

Mikulski Plans Retirement from Senate (Source: SPACErePORT)
U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) has announced she will not seek reelection in 2016. Mikulski is a "Cardinal" in the Senate, one of the powerful appropriators who control the budget allocations for  government agencies and programs, including space. As the Ranking Member (and previous chairwoman) of the Appropriations Committee, she took a particular interest in NASA's budget and actively supported the growth of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility as a commercial spaceport. (While not in her district, Wallops is near the Maryland border and employs many Maryland residents.)

Mikulski has long served as a political counterweight and frequent budgetary collaborator with Alabama Republican Richard Shelby (also on the Appropriations Committee). Sometimes the Mikulski/Shelby alliances were consistent with Florida's interests, but often they were not. Florida Democrat Bill Nelson (Ranking Member of the committee responsible for NASA authorizations) was sometimes viewed by his constituents as getting the short end of the stick after Mikulski and Shelby cut their budget deals. (3/2)

SpaceX Improves Launch Tempo (Source: SPACErePORT)
Until recently, SpaceX had gained a reputation for an inability to keep up with its aggressive launch schedule. Yesterday's launch was the company's third mission in three months, with another planned in only three weeks. In 2014 the company launched only six missions total. According to one report in January, SpaceX has as many as 17 missions planned for 2015 (including some from Vandenberg AFB in California).

Based on their progress so far this year, it seems SpaceX is going to easily surpass their launch tempo from last year. To meet the challenge, they are hiring dozens of new workers at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport to support their launch operations. (3/2)

Spaceport’s Visitor Centers Evolved from Modest Beginnings (Source: Florida Today)
It was the early 1960s when NASA permitted the public to drive their personal vehicles on weekends through certain areas of the Kennedy Space Center and adjacent Cape Kennedy, later renamed Cape Canaveral. Also at that time, NASA opened an interim — and primitive by today’s standards — exhibit area in a trailer. It consisted mainly of static displays, including photographs and other items on tables.

A year or so later, when the two-man Gemini orbital space missions were under way, this exhibit area moved to a temporary indoor warehouse. This new site housed additional displays and exhibits, but it was still in a warehouse mainly used to store cables. At that time, I and other NASA public affairs contract support writers were additionally tasked with overseeing these weekend public visits to this modest warehouse facility. Click here. (3/1)

FSDC Board Selects New President (Source: FSDC)
The Florida Space Development Council (FSDC) has new leadership for 2015. Gabriel Rothblatt has been selected by the FSDC Board of Directors to serve as the organization's next president, leading the organization's development of new programs in support of Florida's continued space industry expansion and diversification.

"As home to our nation's most capable spaceport, Florida should be a center for space industry innovation and growth," said Mr. Rothblatt. "But while our state has historically been a leader in the development of pro-space policies and programs, other states have moved ahead of us, attracting business, investment and talent away from Florida."

Mr. Rothblatt has already engaged in national space advocacy on behalf of FSDC, participating in the Pioneering Space National Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on February 19-20, which produced a consensus statement to guide human space exploration policy. Mr. Rothblatt will return to Washington on March 15-19 to represent the FSDC in the newly formed Alliance for Space Development (ASD), to promote policies that support the space launch industry and facilitate a sustained human presence beyond low Earth orbit. (3/2)

Space Tourist Sarah Brightman to Wear Cornflower Blue Spacesuit (Source: Itar-Tass)
Sarah Brightman will fly to the ISS dressed in a velvet-blue space suit with an emblem of the UK flag. The details of the costume of the next space tourist were disclosed by Alexander Yarov of Kentavr-Nauka, the main designer of space outfits for Russian cosmonauts. "During a short space flight Sarah Brightman intends to wear a spacious polo-style shirt, a light suit, a Kentavr space suit intended to minimize the pressure of space load during the flight and a Bracelet elastic belt," Yarov said. (3/2)

Midland Approves $200K Engine Test Facility for XCOR (Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram)
MDC and City Council furthered its investment into XCOR Aerospace’s relocation to Midland with an approval last week for a $200,000 rocket engine test stand facility at Midland International Air and Space Port. The additional facility will be used for XCOR’s research and development operations and for testing the rocket engines.

MDC board chairman Robert Rendall said XCOR wants the testing facility in Midland to be identical to the one in Mojave, California. Midland International Air and Space Port will be the owners of the facility, but XCOR will be leasing it. (3/2)

NASA Astronauts Venture Outside ISS for the Third Time in 8 Days (Source: New York Times)
NASA astronauts took their third spacewalk in eight days outside the International Space Station, pushing forward with work to prepare for new docking ports that would be used for commercial spacecraft. (3/1)

Why Is The ISS So Important? (Source: Test Tube)
Russia has decided to continue to fund the ISS until the year 2024, but is it worth it? What do we gain by keeping the space station open? This remains a hotly debated subject. A few things to keep in mind when considering its value: it's the only microgravity lab humanity has, and simply by existing it's fostering political cooperation between 15 countries and creating jobs around the world. Building the ISS was no simple task, and that drove people to invent new technology. Click here. (3/2)

SpaceX Launches Commercial Satellites from Florida (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
SpaceX has launched its third Falcon 9 of the year. The rocket is carrying a pair of communications payloads for Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite. The rocket launched at 10:50 p.m. from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Separation of the two satellite payloads was confirmed at around 11:27 p.m. (3/1)

CASIS and Shackleton Sign ISS Agreement for Re-Entry System (Source: SpaceRef)
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Shackleton Energy Company (SEC) to design, develop and test in space a variety of new, highly capable reentry vehicles enabling on-demand, rapid return to Earth of time-critical experiments from Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

SEC's re-entry vehicles (technically described as Mini Space Brakes - MSBs) will be developed using novel aerobraking and flight dynamics control systems. The SEC team will leverage US federal technology investments and work closely with CASIS, NASA Centers, FAA, DoD and private partners to achieve its goals.

With this MOA, CASIS intends to support SEC with facilitation of payload integration activities, launch to ISS and deployment of MSBs from the station to test these miniaturized, highly intelligent, deployable maneuvering reentry vehicles (RV) for the purposes of providing real flight data to guide optimization of a compact, lightweight, low cost commercial on-demand reentry capability. (3/1)

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