April 12, 2015

Colorado Voices: I Get to Build Rockets. Whoo Hoo! (Source: Denver Post)
Thirteen years ago, I held my breath as a 200-foot-tall rocket roared to life and lifted off the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Fla. I was several miles away, surrounded by television cameras and reporters. My brilliant quote — "Whoo hoo" — was picked up by the wire services and reported around the country.

The sentiment was heartfelt: As chief systems engineer, my job was to make sure all the pieces and parts of the 20-story machine worked as intended to send the communications satellite to its destination 20,000 miles above the Earth. I was terrified that some tiny detail was missed. In total, the launch was the achievement of a team of 1,000 engineers and technicians. And it was designed and built in Colorado. (4/11)

Why The UAE Should Build A Spaceport (Source: Gulf Business)
Over the past three decades the UAE has successfully diversified its economy away from dependence on oil and gas production and exports towards trade, services and industry. Investment in infrastructure, transport and logistics has enabled this structural shift in the UAE’s economy to become a regionally and internationally connected business, tourism and trade hub for the GCC and the Middle East.

As the UAE prepares to host Dubai Expo 2020, it needs to prepare for a new phase of growth and development based on investing in new technologies and sectors that will embody innovation. In particular, this article proposes that the UAE should develop and implement a Space Policy and undertake investments to become a significant player in the global space economy.

The UAE’s massive investments in infrastructure and logistics have turned it into a regional and global trade, tourism and business hub. Dubai’s ports, airports, land-sea-air transport companies have transformed it into an Aerotropolis, a city whose activities are increasingly linked to its airports. While these are important achievements, the UAE needs to invest into the new frontier of space, commercial space transportation and the commercial space economy in order to remain internationally competitive and relevant. (4/12)

Aerospace Defense Force Detects Reconnaissance Satellites Spying on Russia (Source: Sputnik)
Russia's Aerospace Defense Force (VKO) has recently detected on the orbit a group of reconnaissance satellites spying on Russia, commander of the Space Command Maj. Gen. Oleg Maidanovich said Sunday.

"Recently the staff of the Main Space Intelligence Center detected a group of newly launched satellites. The group was set to collect intelligence on the devices located on the territory of the Russian Federation," Maidanovich said. He said there was no need to specify the country of origin of the satellites. (4/12)

Guardians of the Galaxy: Russia Creates International Space Patrol (Source: Space Daily)
Russia's Ministry of Defense on April 1 established the Aerospace Monitoring Forces (AMF) tasked with providing security to spacecraft and the International Space Station (ISS) and enforcing international rules of space conduct. The military corps, dubbed the Space Patrol by the Russian media, will carry out joint missions in cooperation with similar forces under development in other countries across the globe, including the United States, China and Germany.

The United Nations welcomed Russia's initiative, adding it could lead to a binding international agreement. The AMF will use an extensive network of satellites and ground stations to track those, who break international law, especially space traffic regulations. The agency will also carry out three month space missions to the International Space Station and fly daily orbital patrols. (4/12)

Russian Premier Calls Space Technology Development Top State Priority (Source: Itar-Tass)
Space technology development remains a priority of Russia’s state policy, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday as Russia and the international community was celebrating the 54th anniversary of the first human space flight. The Russian premier congratulated workers and veterans of the country’s space industry with Cosmonautics Day. (4/12)

Bright Future for ‘Dark Sky’ Sites as Astrotourism Grows in Appeal (Source: The Guardian)
They are the darkness seekers – and they are growing in number. On Black Fell, looking down on Northumberland’s beautiful Kielder Water reservoir, a group of people wait in a car park next to a strange wooden building with a minimalist design beamed down from the future.

This is Kielder Observatory, the center of Britain’s nascent astrotourism industry. And those waiting outside last Thursday evening were the lucky ones. Many more had applied for a night of stargazing at the observatory, but numbers are strictly limited. (4/11)

Astronaut Mark Kelly Visits Jacksonville (Source: WKXT)
Mark Kelly, an astronaut, a retired US Navy Captain and highly experienced pilot, spoke in Jacksonville about his future with the NASA program and his and his wife Gabrielle Giffords' experience following the assassination attempt on her. Click here. (4/12)

Hawaii Telescope Protesters Prepare for Another Police Showdown (Source: Civil Beat)
Native Hawaiian activists continue to camp out on Mauna Kea, on the watch for construction crews coming to build the Thirty Meter Telescope. Just after dawn broke Friday, a woman danced to a mele celebrating Mauna Kea more than 9,000 feet up. Dozens of people watched in silence, some wiping away tears. The mountain’s peaks grew clearer as fog receded.

It was Day 16 of a protest against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, a $1.4 billion project planned as one of the world’s most advanced observatories. The telescope would be the 14th on the mountain, adding 140 jobs and boosting the state’s $167 million astronomy industry. But Native Hawaiian activists have gathered for the past two weeks to hinder construction crews, camping each night on the mountain in spite of the harsh cold, in opposition to what they consider desecration of the land. (4/10)

US, Chile to 'Officially' Kick Off LSST Construction (Source: NSF)
From distant exploding supernovae and nearby asteroids to the mysteries of dark matter, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) promises to survey the night skies and provide data to solve the universe's biggest mysteries. On April 14, news media are invited to join the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and other public-private partners as they gather outside La Serena, Chile, to "officially" launch LSST's construction in a traditional Chilean stone-laying ceremony. (4/9)

This is International Dark Sky Week (Source: IDA)
Created in 2003 by high-school student Jennifer Barlow, International Dark Sky Week has grown to become a worldwide event and a key component of Global Astronomy Month. Each year it is held in April around Earth Day and Astronomy Day. This year celebrations begin Monday, April 13, and run through Sunday, April 19.

In explaining why she started the week, Barlow said, “I want people to be able to see the wonder of the night sky without the effects of light pollution. The universe is our view into our past and our vision into the future. … I want to help preserve its wonder." International Dark Sky Week draws attention to the problems associated with light pollution and promotes simple solutions available to mitigate it. (4/11)

Despite Recession, Russians' Support for Space Program High as Ever (Source: Moscow Times)
Popular support for Russia's space program is as strong as ever, even as an economic crisis pushes greater numbers of Russians into poverty, according to a poll published Friday. The survey by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (VTsOM) found that 47 percent of respondents wanted the nation's space program to be expanded, despite the current economic hardships.

Forty percent said the current commitment to space exploration is appropriate, while 8 percent said expenditures should be cut, according to VTsOM. The government last May promised to spend 1.8 trillion rubles ($35 billion) on the space program through 2020. The poll comes as Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine and a sharp fall in the price of oil, Russia's main export, have combined to lower Russians' standard of living. Average real wages in February were 9.9 percent less than in February 2014. (4/11)

Brightman, Japanese Backup ISS Tourist to Train at ESA, NASA (Source: RBTH)
British singer Sarah Brightman is training at Zvyozdny Gorodok (Star City) outside Moscow for a flight to the International Space Station. She will continue her training and exercises at the European Space Agency (ESA) next week. "Brightman will undergo a training course at the European Space Agency April 13-16." a source said. Brightman's training at NASA is also scheduled for June 22-26. Her backup, Satoshi Takamatsu, will train on the same schedule. (4/11)

Dragon to Deliver Research Supplies and Caffeine Boost to Space Station (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Monday’s scheduled launch will act as an errand runner for the International Space Station and the Dragon resupply spacecraft is loaded up with research equipment. This delivery will bring an array of supplies to help assist astronauts perform experiments while in space. Let's take a look at some of the research happening at the world's laboratory in orbit. Click here. (4/11)

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