April 26, 2015

NASA Selects Small Business CubeSat Projects for Funding (Source: Parabolic Arc)
NASA has selected three projects for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards that focus on propulsion, laser communications and attitude control for advanced CubeSat missions. Digital Solid State Propulsion of Reno, Nev., and QorTek of Williamsburgh, Pa., was selected for a SBIR awards worth up to $750,000 apiece for their propulsion and attitude control proposals., respectively. Fibertek of Herndon, Va., was chosen for a SBIR Select award worth up to $1.5 million. (4/26)

NASA STTR Phase 2 Grant Supports Small Launch Vehicle Development (Source: Parabolic Arc)
NASA has selected Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories (GTL) and the University of Tennessee Space Institute for a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II award to develop a new small-satellite launch vehicle.
“GTL has developed the conceptual design for the Advanced Cryogenic Expendable (ACE) nano-launch vehicle,” according to the program’s technical abstract. “The 7700 lb gross lift-off weight ACE vehicle is capable of delivering a 154 lb payload to 400 nmi circular orbit at 28.5 deg inclination.

“With a launch cost of less than $1M at low launch rate, ACE is directly competitive with existing large launch vehicles on a $/lb basis. This affordability is enabled by a combination of high performance, reduced stages and parts count, and simplified operations,” the abstract reads. (4/25)

Next Wave of Space Coast Rockets Will Pack More Power (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
New, bigger, bolder and more advanced rockets — most built by private companies — are coming to a spaceport near you. This next generation of boosters is key to transforming the Cape Canaveral Spaceport into the 21st-century multiuser launch center that officials have been talking about since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

First up will the Falcon Heavy. SpaceX hopes to debut its newest, most-powerful rocket, with a test launch from Cape Canaveral later this year. Earlier this month the United Launch Alliance unveiled plans for its next generation rocket, called Vulcan. In 2018, NASA hopes to debut its new rocket, the Space Launch System, which the agency plans to use to send astronauts into deep space and eventually to Mars.

Finally, Blue Origin, which like SpaceX is a private company run by an enigmatic billionaire, is preparing to announce plans later this spring for its first rocket, also set to compete with SpaceX and also likely to be launched from Cape Canaveral. While most of the new rockets still are several years away, competition for the space launch business is heating up now. (4/26)

Cosmic Tsunami Wakes Up Comatose Galaxies (Source: Science Daily)
Galaxies are often found in clusters, which contain many 'red and dead' members that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers have discovered that these comatose galaxies can sometimes come back to life. If clusters of galaxies merge, a huge shock wave can drive the birth of a new generation of stars -- the sleeping galaxies get a new lease of life. (4/24)

Arianespace Launches Thor 7 and Sicral 2 Satellites (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
On Sunday, April 26, an Ariane 5 ECA rocket roared off the launch pad and into the skies above Kourou, French Guiana. This rocket was originally scheduled to launch on April 15 but was scrubbed due to an issue that occurred on a fluid connector to the cryogenic upper stage. The mission successfully launched the THOR 7 and SCIRAL 2 satellites into their respective geostationary orbits. (4/26)

Space Tourism Industry Already Planning How to Entertain You in Space (Source: Epoch Times)
It’s the dawn of commercial space travel and an entire industry has spawned to service tourists who will travel to the final frontier. There are at least seven companies in the United States in the race to transport customers into space. Plans are being drawn up for pleasure cruises, space hotels, and even a new galactic currency, PayPal Galactic, to pay your off-Earth bills. Click here. (4/20)

In Defense of Space Control (Source: Marshall Institute)
Speaking on April 15 about the growing threat from China, Russia, and others against U.S. military satellites at the 31st National Space Symposium, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work told his audience that, “[w]hile we rely heavily on space capabilities, in both peace and war, we must continue to emphasize space control as challenges arise.”

Judging by the heated reaction to Deputy Secretary Work’s use of the term ‘space control,’ one could be forgiven for thinking that he had just made up U.S. policy on the fly — and that preparations are finally underway to build the Death Star. Deputy Secretary Work was hardly speaking off the cuff, nor is he the first to mention the term “space control” in recent months – that honor goes to the commander of the 14th Air Force, Lt. Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, in testimony he gave to Congress in late March.

The fact is that space control – the ability in peace, crisis and war to assure access to and use of space – has been an enduring feature of U.S. national space policy for several decades. The need to train, equip and prepare to exercise space control, should it be required, has been a continuing and consistent facet of national space policy since at least the Eisenhower administration, including the current one. (4/20)

Space Congress Returns to Cape Canaveral (Source: Florida Today)
Started in the Apollo era, the Space Congress once drew more than 1,000 aerospace industry professionals from around the country and even internationally to Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral for panel discussions and exchanges of technical papers. Buses shuttled guests to multiple hotels and the Congress leadership team could be identified by their colorful blazers.

But over the past decade, for reasons no one is entirely sure about, the event faded and stopped being held regularly. The National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, held for the 31st time earlier this month, rose to prominence as the industry’s main annual gathering. The Space Congress returns to the Space Coast this week, as local organizers try to revive the once-proud event and build momentum in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing four years from now.

“Without Space Congress, without some local annual or even biannual conference of that sort, there’s a real void locally that needs to be filled,” Edward Ellegood said. “It brings visibility to the area, and it allows the local community to become engaged and aware of what’s going on at the Cape.” (4/26)

Space Firms Fined by Feds (Source: Valley Morning Star)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) this year closed inquiries into two events at SpaceX facilities, while it initiated another inquiry at a ULA facility, public records reflect. The serious safety issues resulted in the issuance of citations and fines. The maximum penalty OSHA can assess, regardless of the circumstances, is $7,000 for each serious violation and $70,000 for a repeated or willful violation.

OSHA cited SpaceX for three serious safety violations and fined it $17,400. OSHA opened its first of two inquiries involving SpaceX on June 26, 2014, following the death of a SpaceX employee at the McGregor, Texas, site. A complaint took OSHA to Florida's LC-40 launch pad, where SpaceX received three citations for serious safety violations of rules that address the prevention of falls.

OSHA’s four inquiries into events at ULA facilities led to a combined six violations for serious safety and health concerns for ULA and fines totaling $6,235. Two electricians at Vandenberg had been injured while servicing the electrical substation. OSHA opened another ULA case on Feb. 12 based on a safety issue at the facility in Decatur, Alabama, where ULA’s manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located. (4/25)

AT&T Returning to Space with DirecTV Deal (Source: Providence Journal)
Half a century after helping launch the satellite communications industry, and later retreating, AT&T is on the verge of getting back into space. When its deal for DirecTV closes, possibly by midyear, the telecom giant will own a multibillion-dollar fleet of advanced satellites that relay television signals to millions of customers on Earth.

The transaction, initially valued at $67 billion including debt, also unites descendants of companies that played major roles in commercializing space, which began in 1962 with the AT&T-financed launch of Telstar. DirecTV traces its lineage to billionaire Howard Hughes and his Hughes Aircraft Co., which developed the Syncom satellites that orbited much higher than Telstar. Syncom 2, launched in 1963, was the first to travel in sync with the Earth's rotation. (4/26)

Replacing Hubble with Hubble 2.0 (Source: Space News)
[I have] spent significant time and energy considering what to do when Hubble reaches the end of its lifetime, I will discuss reasons why a servicing mission idea may not be in the best interests of the astronomical science community or the taxpaying public, and describe an alternative to servicing Hubble — namely, build Hubble 2.0.

Conducting another servicing mission to Hubble flies in the face of the National Research Council’s recommendations in the so-called decadal surveys in astronomy and astrophysics. This in itself is the reason why NASA’s astrophysics program is not pursuing any sort of Hubble servicing options within its highly constrained budget. Click here. (4/22)

Egyptian Space Authority Denies Losing Control of EgyptSat Two Satellite (Source: Sputnik)
On Thursday, the Russian Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing a source in the RSC Energia (Russian rocket and space corporation), that EgyptSat 2 on April 14 did not respond to commands from the Earth and control over the satellite was lost. Human factor was cited as the possible cause behind the loss of the satellite. "What was reported about is in fact a regular technical failure. It happens every now and then to all the satellites. The problem will be fixed in the next few hours," Medhat Mokhtar said. (4/25)

Legal Challenge Awaits Space Manufacturing Site in Volusia County (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
While a land-use change that could pave the way for an aerospace manufacturing facility in Oak Hill awaits a final vote from city leaders, an almost certain legal challenge looms. “I can’t wait to get this case in front of an administrative law judge,” Clay Henderson, a New Smyrna Beach attorney and environmentalist opposed to the land use change, said Thursday.

The Volusia Growth Management Commission — after a six-hour public hearing that stretched from Wednesday night into Thursday morning — approved by an 11-6 vote an amendment that would allow manufacturing on the site. Volusia County and state economic development officials have worked for months with a consultant who is scouting potential sites for aerospace-related manufacturing, but those officials referred to the project only as “Project Panther,” and have not confirmed the company is Blue Origin. (4/23)

No comments: