May 18, 2015

Moon Express Lands Payload Deal (Source: Moon Express)
Moon Express announced a multi-mission payload agreement with the National Laboratories of Frascati and the University of Maryland to deliver a new generation of lunar laser ranging arrays to the Moon. Under the agreement, "MoonLIGHT" instruments will be carried on the first four Moon Express missions and used in conjunction with Apollo Cube Corner Retroreflector arrays to test principles of the General Relativity theory, add to scientific knowledge of the Moon, and increase lunar mapping precision that will support the company's future lander missions. (5/17)

New Florida Drone Privacy Law Could Trigger Litigation Wave (Source: Law360)
A drone privacy bill signed into law Thursday by Florida Gov. Rick Scott that bans drone surveillance of private people without their consent could create a wave of litigation for insurance and construction companies that use drones for aerial surveying and trigger First Amendment challenges from news organizations. (5/18)

Riddle of Comet Dust Delivered Back to Earth (Source: SEN)
While the Rosetta space probe studies one comet—67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko—like never before, other scientists around the world have been busy examining fragments from another of these ancient relics of the Solar System. They are the teams working in laboratories that were provided with samples from a NASA spacecraft called Stardust which flew through the coma, or dusty atmosphere, of Comet Wild-2 in January 2004.

One team of researchers says it has been presented with something of a riddle. Wild-2 is known to have spent most of its existence in the depths of the Solar System, beyond Neptune, yet it contains material that we know is commonly found in the inner Solar System. (5/18)

Medvedev: Accident Hurts Russia's Reputation (Source: Sputnik)
The Proton-M failure harms the reputation of Russia, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. "The [investigation into the failure] should be brought to the end, [we should] understand both the Soviet and post-Soviet causes [of the Proton accident] because the accident hurts the reputation of our program," Medvedev said during a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of Russia’s space industry.

Medvedev said that there were obvious financial implications due to the failed launch on Saturday of the Proton-M carrier rocket that was to orbit Mexico’s MexSat-1 communications satellite. Following the incident, the Russian prime minister ordered to set up a special commission to investigate the causes behind this failure. (5/18)

Roscosmos to Send Additional Resupply Ship to ISS in 2015 (Source: Interfax-AVN)
Roscosmos has adjusted its plans of transportation support to the International Space Station (ISS) following the loss of the Progress M-27M resupply ship launched on April 28, a source in the space industry said. "It has been decided to send three resupply ships to the ISS instead of two before the end of this year, in July, September and November," the source said. (5/18)

NASA Still Living with Nixon Space Policy (Source: Florida Today)
In name and appearance, no place embodies the presidential vision that landed men on the moon more than Kennedy Space Center, whose towering launch pads and processing facilities got those historic missions off the ground. But for decades now, it is really Richard Nixon's vision for space – or lack thereof – that has defined NASA and KSC.

After the successful Apollo 11 moon landing, it was up to the Nixon administration to decide what the nation's space program should do next, space policy expert and historian John Logsdon said during a presentation to a group of KSC employees. "One might have thought that the impact of Apollo 11 would carry over into a positive attitude towards post-Apollo – certainly NASA thought so," said Logsdon. "Didn't turn out that way." (5/18)

Impatience for Mars (Source: Space Review)
NASA says it has a plan for human missions to Mars in the 2030s. Jeff Foust reports that some, though, are pressing NASA for more details about those plans and coming up with alternative concepts that they believe could accelerate those crewed missions to the Red Planet. Visit to view the article. (5/18)

Two Small Steps for Humankind (Source: Space Review)
Getting humans to live beyond Earth in a sustainable manner is a long-term effort with many steps involved. Derek Webber proposes that NASA focus on two initial steps, supporting key technologies that can enable eventual human space settlement. Visit to view the article. (5/18)

Launch Vehicle Development: Learning from Brazil's Experience (Source: Space Review)
Brazil is considering terminating its agreement with Ukraine to launch Cyclone 4 rockets from its spaceport, dealing another setback to that country's space access plans. Ajey Lele suggests that Brazil partner with other nations, including India, to jointly develop launchers. Visit to view the article. (5/18)

Stallmer: Commercial Space Crawling Now, Soon Will Walk, Run (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
We're going to continue to see great success from some of the orbital companies out there such as SpaceX. I think they'll continue launching at a historic rate. As well, the suborbital companies, I think, are going to come on line probably in the fourth quarter of this year with more testing. Within 12 months from now I think we're going to see the first steps of commercial human space flight.

It is going to be a tremendously robust industry. It is going to account for probably 10 times the amount of jobs as today, with exponential revenue. I think there is going to be routine access to space within 10 years from now. I think you'll see some transition with the space station, from a government institution to kind of quasi-public and private partnerships. Click here. (5/17)

Commercial Fishermen Fight to Fish Near KSC (Source: Florida Today)
George Sweetman must follow the crabs. This year, they lure him to the shallows surrounding NASA's Kennedy Space Center, where the beginnings of a blue crab revival crawl inside his steel traps. But the feds say he and others who fish commercially must go because they clash with the government's conservation mission.

In 2018, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore plan to phase out commercial fishing, and it's uncertain where those who sell their catches will be allowed to fish on the federal property. Sweetman and his fellow crabbers say the feds are unfairly stripping their right to eke out a living here, where the space race left behind a vast buffer of unspoiled nature and some of the best crabbing around.

Many see the phase-out as the final blow to a once-proud and prosperous commercial fishing culture in the Oak Hill area. And without access to one of the last havens where crabs and oysters can hang on when the rest of the lagoon fouls, many fear their livelihoods will die, too. Commercial fishing has been allowed since the refuge was established in 1963 and the seashore in 1975. (5/17)

Space Coast Group Gets Grant for Advanced Turbine Manufacturing (Source: Energy Florida)
Energy Florida is pleased to announce that it has been chosen to receive a $499,956 Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortium (AMTech) planning grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to fund the development of the Consortium for Advanced Production and Engineering of Gas Turbines and Rotating Machinery (CAPE). (5/11)

NASA Awards Grant to Manage “Swarmathon” Challenge (Source: NASA)
NASA's Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) has selected the University of New Mexico (UNM) for a cooperative agreement to manage the agency’s Swarmathon challenge, an innovative swarm robotics competition. The university was selected from among a nationwide pool of 14 proposals after a rigorous peer review by education and technical experts.

The university will receive an award totaling almost $1.8 million over a period of three years, based on the availability of funds and satisfactory performance. The goal of the Swarmathon is to foster the development of integrated hardware and software to support the work done by NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in Washington. The challenge will be held annually between 2016 and 2018. Editor's Note: Secor Strategies, a Space Coast firm, supported UNM's effort and will assist in execution of the program. (5/13)

SpaceX has ‘Aggressive’ Schedule Leading Up to Crew Flights (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Staying true to a corporate philosophy that favors high-visibility flight tests, SpaceX plans to continue wringing out major parts of the company’s human-rated Dragon spaceship in a sequence of dramatic flights leading up to the capsule’s first crewed mission scheduled for 2017. Click here. (5/18)

Inmarsat Launch on Proton Delayed, Shares Fall (Source: Reuters)
British satellite company Inmarsat Plc (ISA.L) delayed the launch of its third Global Xpress satellite on Monday following a failure by its launch rocket partner at the weekend, knocking its shares and forcing it to trim its outlook. The news sent shares in the group, which counts merchant ships, airlines, the broadcast media and humanitarian aid agencies amongst its customers, down 5 percent at the open of trading. (5/18)

Russia Lifts Station Altitude with Successful Engine Restart (Source: Guardian)
Russia’s space agency said Monday it had managed to restart the engines of the Progress spacecraft and correct the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) which it is attached to, after a failed first attempt. “On Sunday night, the orbit of the ISS was successfully corrected,” Roscosmos told Russian news agencies, 48 hours after the initial attempt to switch on the spacecraft’s engines proved unsuccessful.

ISS is now at the right altitude for its three crew members to return to Earth in early June after the operation by the Progress M-26M cargo vehicle, which began just after 3.30am Moscow time (0030 GMT) and took about half an hour. (5/18)

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