March 9, 2015

NSBRI Picks Eye Healthcare Projects for Funding (Source: SpaceRef)
The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) Industry Forum launched the 'Vision4Mars' Challenge to identify and advance critical medical technologies for ocular health. NSBRI today announced that it has selected and funded three companies to further develop unique technologies that address visual problems in space as well as on Earth. Click here. (3/9)

KSC Shopping for Liquid Hydrogen Solution Ahead of SLS Debut (Source:
NASA has begun to plan its Liquid Hydrogen options relating to debut launch of the Space Launch System (SLS). Options under consideration include the staging of up to 30 trailers full of LH2, ready to replenish the storage tank at Pad 39B. The main consideration relates to a scrub late in the countdown – which would result in a shortfall of 330,000 gallons based on the current storage infrastructure. (3/9)

France Gives All-Electric Satellite Research a $30 Million Jolt (Source: Space News)
The French space agency said a government research program stimulating French industry development of all-electric-propulsion satellites has disbursed $30 million for its first phase, with more to come to help with in-flight technology validation. CNES is motivated by industry forecasts saying that, by 2020, 50 percent of all commercial telecom satellites will be all-electric, a design that affords substantial weight savings compared to satellites using chemical propellant. (3/9)

Revolutionary Engine Could Fuel Human Life on Mars (Source: Space Daily)
Thanks to groundbreaking research at Northumbria University in Newcastle, England, those who wish to one day colonize Mars have a new technique at their disposal to harvest energy from carbon dioxide. Researchers want to power a new kind of engine using a phenomenon known as the "Leidenfrost effect." Click here. (3/9)

Euroconsult SmallSat Report Sees Steady Increase Across the Market (Source: Via Satellite)
Euroconsult’s newly released small satellite research report projects a total of 510 smallsats to be launched in the next five years — a two-thirds pick up from the average number of these spacecraft orbited in the last decade. The report, entitled “Prospects for the Small Satellite Market,” includes research on all small satellites — nanosats, cubesats, microsats and minisats — with a mass between 1 kg and 500 kg that Euroconsult expects will be “realistically” launched between now and 2019. (3/5)

Lawmakers Could Limit Florida Governor's Economic Development Fund (Source: Tampa Tribune)
Lawmakers want to put limits on how Gov. Rick Scott uses large pots of money set aside to lure jobs to the state, complaining that his administration has too frequently let businesses off the hook in fully complying with all their wage and return-on-investment requirements.

Scott used the incentive money during his first term to spur job creation, a main tenet of both his campaigns. Lawmakers signed-off on big incentive projects, including $41 million to two companies in 2014 as Scott was running for re-election, but are now expressing concerns. (3/9)

The New Space Race: One Man's Mission to Build a Galactic Internet (Source: Bloomberg)
Greg Wyler’s first space Internet startup, O3b Networks, has positioned a ring of satellites in medium-earth orbit around the equator—high enough to cover large portions of the planet, but not so high to make Skype or other apps sluggish. Service is already up and running. Customers will include remote tropical areas, ships, and oil rigs. With the 12 satellites up and running, O3b has moved from doing trials throughout 2014 to launching its full commercial service in December.

Think of OneWeb, Greg Wyler’s newest startup, as a supercharged O3b. The company intends to launch hundreds of satellites into low-earth orbit by 2018. Assuming it works (a lot can go wrong), OneWeb will provide extremely high-speed Internet access everywhere on earth. Engineers expect data to travel between space and the surface in 20 milliseconds, which would provide a state-of-the-art Internet service capable of handling any application. Click here. (2/22)

Shaping Up: The Future of US Space Transportation (Source: Space Review)
For decades, the United States has struggled to develop a sustainable long-term strategy for government and commercial access to space. Now, Roger Handberg argues, such a strategy appears to have emerged, thanks to commercial launch vehicle efforts and government programs that have supported them. Visit to view the article. (3/9)

The Earth, Moon, Mars, and Christopher Columbus (Source: Space Review)
Humans missions to Mars would involve expeditions unlike any conducted in space to date, but may have analogies to seafaring exploration centuries ago. Rex Ridenoure compares ocean and space exploration to see if a mission to Mars is a trip too far. Visit to view the article. (3/9)

Who Speaks for Earth, and Does it Really Matter? (Source: Space Review)
Last month, a scientific conference featured a session debating the merits of actively transmitting messages in the hopes that other civilizations might one day detect them. Jeff Foust examines the arguments and whether the debate really has merit. Visit to view the article. (3/9)

Life Imitates Art (Source: Space Review)
Dwayne Day offers a brief photographic comparison between science fiction and reality in one aspect of spaceflight. Visit to view the article. (3/9)

Japan Space Agency Advances in Space-Based Solar Power (Source: Wall Street Journal)
It’s one small 55-meter step for Japan’s aerospace industry, but perhaps a giant leap into developing a new energy source for mankind. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said it succeeded in transmitting electric power wirelessly to a pinpoint target using microwaves, which is an essential technology needed for the realization of space-based solar power.

According to a spokesman at the agency, the researchers were able to transform 1.8 kilowatts of electric power into microwaves and transmit it with accuracy into a receiver located 55 meters away. The microwave was successfully converted into direct electrical current at the receiving end. In space-based solar power generation, sunlight is gathered in geostationary orbit and transmitted to a receiver on earth. (3/9)

The 8 Weirdest Things We've Left on the Moon (Source: Vox)
Humans tend to leave junk wherever we go. The moon is no exception. It's estimated that we've left nearly 400,000 pounds of stuff on the moon over the course of dozens of human and uncrewed missions.

Most of the objects are simply defunct spacecrafts, probes, and rockets, intentionally crashed into the moon's surface after their missions were over. But there are also a handful of stranger things on the moon: art projects, sporting goods, and even bags of feces. Click here. (3/9)

Supporters of Scottish Spaceport Sites Vow to Fight On (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Supporters of two sites in northern Scotland eliminated from the competition to host the United Kingdom’s first spaceport have vowed to fight the decision. Campaigners will seek private funding to bring a spaceport to Moray if the government does not budge on its decision to discount the region from its plans.

The pledge was made by councillors yesterday following Tuesday’s shock announcement that the Civil Aviation Authority had ruled both RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks off a short list of possible sites. The decision to bar the two bases due to their crucial role in national defence was met with dismay from local supporters , who had believed Kinloss base was a front-runner for selection. (3/9)

ULA CEO AMA (Source: Space News)
ULA CEO Tory Bruno will answer questions in an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session on at 7:00 pm EDT on March 11. Click here. (3/9)

Russia's Dauria Aerospace Under Criminal Investigation (Source: Parabolic Arc)
One of Russia’s few private entrepreneurial space ventures, Dauria Aerospace, is reportedly under criminal investigation along with NPO Lavochkin over work on a satellite project. The claim is that Lavochkin billed for work on the Karat-200 project that it had already done under a separate contract with the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The company allegedly shared the results of the work it had done under the Roscosmos contract with Dauria Aerospace. (3/9)

Weather Looking Acceptable for Atlas Launch (Source: Discover)
The preliminary weather outlook for Thursday night’s Atlas 5 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral is cloudy but optimistic that the vehicle will fly as scheduled. A weather front in North Florida and a developing low pressure system in the Central Gulf of Mexico will be influencing the weather along the Space Coast, forecasters say. Moisture over Central Florida in the mid and upper levels will increase, plus easterly winds deepen and bring a coastal shower threat. (3/8)

World’s Most Powerful Solid Booster Set for Test Firing March 11 (Source: io9)
All systems are go for the inaugural ground test firing on March 11 of the world's most powerful solid rocket booster ever built that will one day power NASA's mammoth new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket and propel astronauts to deep space destinations.

The booster known as qualification motor, QM-1, is the largest solid rocket motor ever built and will be ignited on March 11 for a full duration static fire test by prime contractor Orbital ATK at the newly merged firms test facility in Promontory, Utah. (3/8)

How to Drink a Martini in Space (Source: Daily Mail)
James Bond may like his Martini shaken, not stirred, but the fictional spy hasn't had to contend with zero gravity when sipping his favourite tipple. Making cocktails in space is a difficult business, but now there’s a specially designed ‘glass’ in the pipeline that promises to force liquid to stay put. Grooves in the 3D printed vessel will let astronauts enjoy the aroma of a beverage and keep the fluid in place so they can drink in a way they are used to on Earth. Click here. (3/8)

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