May 17, 2015

Boeing Selects New Contractor for CST-100 Hatch (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Boeing has selected a new subcontractor to develop eight parts for the CST-100 space capsule as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), which outsources to private companies to return American astronauts into space after the retirement of the Space Shuttle. D-J Engineering will manufacture the hatch and the hatch frame, as well as frangible joints, which enable stages of the rocket to separate safely. (5/17)

Governor: Aerospace Key to Virginia's Economy (Source: Daily Press)
Virginia's aerospace industry holds tremendous potential in helping the state diversify and grow its economy, Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Friday night in Hampton. "We are turbocharged for the future, and aerospace is going to lead the way," McAuliffe told attendees of the Virginia Aerospace Business Association's second annual gala at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

The governor shared good news that state revenue collections have been better than projected, up 7.5 percent in the first 10 months of the fiscal year compared to last year, but that the work on economic development needs to continue. So, McAuliffe said he plans to attend the Paris Air Show in June to attract the interest of international companies.

Already, the state's aerospace industry represents more than $7 billion in economic output annually, employing about 30,500 people in more than 260 firms, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership data. (5/17)

$8 Million Local Incentive Sought for [Blue Origin] on Space Coast (Source: Florida Today)
A high-tech aerospace company indicated to be Blue Origin is looking for $8 million in incentives from the North Brevard Economic Development Zone. The money would help it build a 330-employee facility at Exploration Park near the Kennedy Space Center. The company is referred as "Project Panther" in a report submitted to Brevard County commissioners.

The state is proposing that Blue Origin set up a rocket-manufacturing site in Exploration Park, a planned research and industrial complex outside KSC's south gate, and launch from Launch Complex 36, a state-run pad on the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The company is considering other states for the project, including Georgia and North Carolina.

Documents filed with the county say the company behind Project Panther would make a capital investment of $205 million to $220 million. Its new jobs would pay an average of $89,000 a year. The company is seeking the $8 million in incentives in "support for infrastructure-related improvements." Money to pay for the incentives would come from the North Brevard Economic Development Zone, which the County Commission created in 2011 to help spur economic development in northern Brevard County. (5/17)

IT Companies Fuel Space Race (Source: The Pioneer)
America has fallen behind, way behind the capabilities of our Cold War counterparts to the point that we now rely on Russian built Soyuz rockets, launched from Russian bases in Kazakhstan to get our astronauts into space. You may be asking, “Alright Mr. Know-it-all, pray tell why are we doing that?” To that I say: money.

For NASA to send one rocket to the International Space Station, it costs somewhere in the ballpark of $450 million and given the number of supply missions required and the economic turmoil of the past decades, to say that NASA’s budget has shrunk would be an understatement.

Recently, however, there have been stirrings from the place you’d expect me to write about in a business journal: the private sector. Fueled in part by a renewed sense of adventure and the cherished idea that if you want something done you should do it yourself, the privatized space sector has exploded with hundreds of firms experimenting with inexpensive ways to get off this little blue marble we call Earth. (5/16)

UrtheCast, Pepsi Partner on Film Campaign (Source: Parabolic Arc)
UrtheCast announces that footage captured from its two cameras aboard the International Space Station will be incorporated into a first-of-its-kind short film for the 2015 Pepsi Challenge global campaign. Challenging live production conventions, UrtheCast’s Ultra HD video of worldwide locales will help to make this an unprecedented brand partnership, which combines the worlds of technology, music, film production and storytelling like never before. (5/17)

Special Aerospace Systems Helps Top Colorado Companies Get to Space (Source: Denver Post)
With the acquisition of Denver-based C&C Manufacturing, Boulder-based Special Aerospace Services (SAS) will add specialized production capabilities to its arsenal, which it soon hopes to apply to the realm of human spaceflight. SAS counts Colorado aerospace heavyweights United Launch Alliance, Sierra Nevada Space Systems and Lockheed Martin — all of which work on projects that will take humans to space — among their top clients. (5/17)

Mexican Satellite Fully Insured (Source: Itar-Tass)
Mexico will not sustain economic losses due the loss of its MexSat-1 communications satellite following the crash of the Proton-M rocket, Mexico’s Minister of Communications and Transportation Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said. According to Esparza, the satellite was insured for its full value and "this sum will be fully refunded." He added that the Mexican authorities had invested $300 million in the creation of the satellite and another $90 million - in its blast off from the Baikonur spaceport." (5/17)

Russian Rocket Carrying Mexican Satellite Crashes in Siberia (Source: LA Times)
A Russian Proton-M rocket malfunctioned shortly after it blasted off early Saturday from its launchpad in Kazakhstan, crashing in Siberia along with the Mexican satellite it was intended to put into orbit. It was the second Russian space mission failure in less than a month, following an April 28 mishap involving an unmanned cargo craft ferrying supplies to the International Space Station.

Saturday's accident occurred about nine minutes after liftoff, when the third stage failed to separate and deploy the MexSat-1 communications satellite, Roscosmos reported. "The Mexican satellite is lost. Launches of rockets of the Proton type will be grounded until the reason is identified," an unnamed Roscosmos source said. The next Proton-M mission was to have taken a British satellite into orbit in June. (5/16)

ISS Orbit Correction Not Completed as Progress Spacecraft Engines Fail to Start (Source: Itar-Tass)
The Progress M-26M cargo spacecraft’s engines did not start today to lift the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS), a source in the space industry said Saturday. "Services on the ground [Mission Control Center in the Moscow Region] gave a command to perform the maneuver, but Progress spacecraft engines failed to start. The reasons are under investigation," the source said. (5/16)

Proton Crash Deals Another Blow to Russian Space Sector (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Failure struck Russia’s troubled space program for the second time in three weeks Saturday, when a Proton rocket carrying a high-tech satellite for Mexico’s new $1.6 billion space-based communications network crashed shortly after liftoff.

The launch mishap dealt another major blow to Russia’s space sector, happening as engineers were still determining what doomed a Progress supply ship lost minutes after an April 28 launch with food, spare parts and experiments for the International Space Station.

A different Progress freighter had to abort a planned reboost of the space station’s orbit Saturday, Roscosmos said. Saturday’s rocket crash occurred one year to the day after the last Proton launch failure, which destroyed a Russian communications satellite after an anomaly in the booster’s third stage propulsion system. (5/16)

Why Humanity May Yet Reach the Stars (Source: Reuters)
It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s starting to look as if Einstein might just have been right about that speed of light thing. From apparently superluminal radio sources in deep space, to the neutrinos that were supposed to be arriving ahead of schedule at the Grand Sasso experiment in Italy, every apparent exception to Einstein’s ultimate speed law has turned out to be a phantom.

Even in the quantum realm, where entangled particles seem to communicate with each other instantaneously across any distance, no useful information is shared at anything other than the speed of light. This is a particular blow if you happen to enjoy the galaxy-spanning fantasies of Star Trek, Star Wars and the like. Dreams of warp drives and hyperspace are just that — dreams.

But that doesn’t mean that interstellar travel is itself a fantasy. Travel below the speed of light — but as arbitrarily close to it as you wish — is perfectly feasible. Of course, that isn’t the same thing as saying it will be easy. Click here. (5/16)

NASA Challenges Designers to Construct Habitat for Deep Space Exploration (Source: NASA)
NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, known as America Makes, are holding a new $2.25 million competition to design and build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars. The multi-phase 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, is designed to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond. (5/15)

Air Force Works on Vision of Affordable Space (Source: National Defense)
The words “affordable” and “national security space” systems are not often paired together. The Air Force and other agencies involved in building, launching and operating satellites are better known for cost overruns. Air Force, NRO and Navy satellite programs were for decades plagued by delays that ultimately cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Sending the largest spacecraft to orbit was handed over to a monopoly in 2005 resulting in spiraling launch fees.

“Space acquisition isn’t broken and we can achieve affordability,” Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, military deputy at the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, said at the recent Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There are movements in all three industry sectors — satellite acquisition, ground systems and launch — that have the potential to make space more affordable. (5/15)

Aldrin: Next President Should Try to Colonize Mars Within 20 Years (Source: PJ Media)
Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk the moon, said he would encourage the next U.S. president to commit to colonizing Mars within the next 20 years. When asked about the importance of public and private partnerships for space exploration, Aldrin said the private sector usually does a better job.

“Your greatest legacy is in front of you by making a commitment within two decades for the United States to lead international humans to permanence on the planet Mars,” Aldrin said when asked by his son, Andrew, how he would justify the need for human presence on Mars to the next president. (5/12)

Editorial: Wallops’ Future May Include Manned Flight (Source: DelMarVa now)
NASA’s Wallops Island facility in Chincoteague, Virginia, is approaching the threshold of history, tugging at the proverbial coattails of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Yet just a few months ago, people were questioning the viability of rocket launches of any variety at Wallops.

Wallops officials are now planning to study the the potential environmental consequences of launching and landing reusable booster rockets and manned spacecraft at the center. You read that correctly: This environmental review is a step toward transforming Wallops into a launch center for manned, reusable spacecraft.

here are no immediate plans or specific proposals for manned, reusable spacecraft at this time; however, the environmental review is a necessary step in the process and the fact that officials want to tackle it now is indicative that Wallops still has a bright future. A group of 300 businesses called the Wallops Island Regional Alliance also support the use of reusable spacecraft. (5/15)

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