March 22, 2015

Florida Space Day Bringing Industry Execs to Tallahassee (Source: FSDC)
On March 25, 2015, Florida’s space industry representatives will visit Tallahassee to participate in Florida Space Day. Private companies, local, state and federal agencies, and academic institutions will participate in this unique, annual event, meant to educate our state leaders on the challenges and opportunities Florida has during this dynamic time in the space program. Click here to see what space issues are being pursued in Tallahassee. (3/22)

NASA Surprised By Chelyabinsk Russian Meteor Fragments (Source: Forbes)
More than two years after an estimated 20-meter class meteor fragmented high over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, new data reported by NASA researchers this week reveals that — over a four billion year timeframe — the meteor’s orbital parent body itself had likely been geologically-impacted as many as a dozen times.

Two 15- to 20-gram samples of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that NASA obtained from Russia over a year ago reveal a broad range of information about the meteor’s mineralogy, bulk composition and age, as noted at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston. (3/21)

SpaceX Swaps Order of Next Two Falcon 9 Launches (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Confronted with pesky problems in the Falcon 9 rocket’s helium pressurization system, SpaceX has shuffled the order of the next two launches, choosing to go ahead with the liftoff of a Dragon supply ship on a cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station around April 10.

The launch of a European-built communications satellite for the government of Turkmenistan, originally set for March 21, will now occur no sooner than late April, tentatively around April 24, officials said this week. The extra time will allow engineers to complete an assessment of an issue with helium storage bottles inside the Falcon 9 rocket. (3/22)

Cernan: NASA Has No Goals, No Mission, No Timetable (Source: Al Jazeera)
It’s been 43 years since astronaut Gene Cernan became the last man to walk on the moon – joining an exclusive club of just 12 men to do that. A witness to the excitement of the space race era, Cernan hopes celestial exploration will once again become a priority in America. "It’s not good enough to stay home. Man was made to explore. Curiosity is the essence of our existence: Who are we? Where are we? Where do we come from? What else is out there?" Click here. (3/21)

Vote to Name United Launch Alliance's New Rocket (Source: Denver Post)
United Launch Alliance wants the public to decide the name of its Next Generation rocket. The three choices — fingers crossed the 'Nimoy Vulcan' is among them — were culled from a list of about 300 submissions from ULA employees. They will be released at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Online voting will open at that time and continue through April 6. (3/22)

Astronaut Wants Space Travel Costs Cut to Equalize (Source: Monday Mag)
Astronaut Chris Hadfield has commanded the International Space Station, made three flights into space and orbited the globe more than 2,300 times. Yet he still spends time marvelling on the small things that put him there, such as the elegant mechanics of a set screw.

"I constantly remind myself that, in fact, this is just a summed example of a whole bunch of tiny little innovations ... bolted to each other." Canada's most beloved and quirky space explorer spent more than an hour on Friday galvanizing up-and-coming business leaders to strive to produce innovations that help the world. (3/20)

Arianespace to Launch Satellites for Earth Imaging, Data Relay (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Arianespace announced four launch orders this week to deploy spacecraft in orbit for a subsidiary of Google, the United Arab Emirates and Europe’s new laser data relay satellite network. The missions will launch from the Guiana Space Center on the northern coast of South America, where Arianespace operates the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega rocket families. (3/21)

Another Construction Boss Sacked at Russia's Mega Spaceport (Source: Moscow Times)
The head of construction at Russia's 150 billion ruble ($2.5 billion) Vostochny Cosmodrome project been removed from his post amid corruption scandals and missed deadline. The move is the second scalping of a spaceport construction boss in under a year, and comes days after a visit to the cosmodrome in Russia's Far East by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin, who now oversees the project personally, threatened two weeks ago to rip the heads off any contractors that interfere with the cosmodrome being completed by November 30 — in time for a first launch in December. Construction schedules have already been pushed back due to slow work at the site. (3/21)

UAE Space Agency Forges Bilateral Space Cooperation Deal with U.S. (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Officials from several departments and agencies of the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency met in Washington, D.C., during the week of March 16-20, 2015, to review a broad list of potential areas of space cooperation.

The United States and the United Arab Emirates officials discussed strengthening civil and national security space collaboration. They agreed on developing a strategic approach that would focus on building mutual confidence and understanding of space systems on which both countries rely for economic, environmental, security, and social well-being. (3/21)

On-Orbit Satellite Servicing - an Insurer’s Perspective (Source: Room)
In 1984, Space Insurer Jim Barrett was overjoyed when the 14th Space Shuttle flight retrieved Palapa B2 and Westar 6, two failed communication satellites whose identical anomalies had left them stranded in useless orbits far below their intended geosynchronous target of 35,786 kilometers above the Earth. Click here. (3/6)

1970s Concept Srt for NASA Space Stations (Source: Mashable)
In the 1970s, NASA held a series of summer schools to explore practical designs for future space colonies. Artists illustrated the concepts. Each approximately the size of a Californian beach town, such colonies were imagined as completely self-contained habitats with artificial gravity, some with artificial weather, where people could live out their entire lives. Click here. (3/21)

Solo Planets May be Surprisingly Common (Source: Science News)
Computer simulations in the 1970s gave planetary scientists their first hints that rogue planets might exist. As planets formed around a star, some planetary material would have been scattered into far-flung orbits. A few miniplanets may have been tossed far enough to be ejected completely from the star’s gravitational grasp.

Later estimates suggested that every planetary system in the galaxy booted at least one planet into interstellar space. With billions of planetary systems in the Milky Way, there may be billions, maybe even hundreds of billions, of rogue planets in the galaxy, says planetary scientist Sara Seager of MIT. (3/20)

A Single Exploding Star Could Build 7,000 Earths (Source: Washington Post)
Now, by tracking cosmic dust, scientists have found evidence that it may be the violent star explosions called supernovas that push these life-giving materials into future galaxies. Scientists already knew that supernovas produced enough dust to seed the universe with new planets and stars, producing lively galaxies. But the explosion of a star is a violent process, and they weren't sure whether enough of the dust created by the explosion could also survive it.

"Our observations reveal a particular cloud produced by a supernova explosion 10,000 years ago contains enough dust to make 7,000 Earths," Lau said in a statement. That surviving dust was free to flow back into interstellar space and provide material for new galaxies. (3/20)

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