May 4, 2015

Let a Thousand Space Policy Bills Bloom (Source: Space News)
There's more than NASA Authorization Acts being introduced in Congress. As always, it is Spring time, and all of the new space legislation is starting to bloom. Here's a selection. There will be more. Some will pass, others will merge, most will disappear - only to pop up again next year. Regardless, they will be mostly ignored by NASA, future administrations, and Congress.

Editor's Note: Two of the proposed bills are sponsored by Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL): HR-1508, the Space Resource and Utilization Act of 2015; and HR-2036, which directs NASA to plan for a return to the moom for a sustained human presence. Click here. (5/4)

Pad Abort Test Weather 70 Percent ‘Go’ (Source: NASA)
The weather forecast remains 70 percent favorable for the SpaceX Pad Abort Test on Wednesday, May 6, from a platform at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The primary concern is for winds above 25 knots. (5/4)

ULA Union Workers Approve Contract Offer (Source: Noozhawk)
A machinists union narrowly approved a United Launch Alliance contract Sunday, avoiding a possible strike. Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers voted to accept the three-year contract offered by ULA, which offers a 7% pay increase. Union leaders had declined to recommend the proposed contract, saying it fell short of expectations. ULA CEO Tory Bruno had urged passage, saying the deal was needed to help the company deal with "several daunting challenges" in the coming years as it faces more competition and works to develop a new launch vehicle. (5/4)

Proposed Legislation Would Make Space Settlement a National Goal (Source: Space News)
Legislation that one congressman plans to introduce in the near future would make space settlement a national goal and require NASA to take action to support it. The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2015, drafted by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), would mark the second time in the last three decades that Congress has directed NASA to support efforts for permanent human settlements beyond Earth orbit. (5/1)

Intelsat Treading Water as it Awaits a Lift from New Satellites (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator Intelsat on April 30 reported declines in revenue, gross profit and backlog for the three months ending March 31, saying the results were in line with forecasts and that the company can do little but count the days until its new satellites are launched. (5/1)

Iridium Seeks Change in Satellite Insurance Requirements (Source: Space News)
Iridium on April 30 said it would ask its creditors to ease launch insurance requirements as the company prepares to deliver 72 satellites to orbit in the next 30 months. Iridium also said its current constellation of 66 operational satellites, all well past their planned retirement dates, remained in good health as of March 31. (5/1)

Flat FAA AST Budget Could Slow Growth for Commercial Space Industry (Source: CSF)
This week the House Appropriations’ Transportation, Housing and Urban Development subcommittee passed their Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 spending bill. The legislation includes funding for the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). The bill did not approve FAA AST’s $1.5 million requested budget increase for FY 2016, keeping FAA AST’s budget flat relative to their FY 2015 budget.

Since 2011, the commercial space sector has seen an increasing number of licensed launches each year, and as private companies enter their flight test phase, the number of applications, as well as the complexity and geographic diversity of launches, will just continue to grow. FAA AST plays a critical role in providing timely approval of launch permit and licenses for the commercial space industry, and their budget will constrain their ability to fulfill these responsibilities.

To continue on the current trajectory of the sector, we must ensure that the FAA AST has the resources it needs to work with the industry in a manner that will continue to promote growth, and improve public and occupant safety. The commercial space industry and government are partners in the economic development of space, and CSF looks forward to working with Congress to support this increase as it improves this bill through the legislative process.” (5/1)

Southern Road to Spaceport America at Least a Year Away (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
Completion of the southern road to Spaceport America is "a ways down the road," Christine Anderson, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, said. The rough dirt road leading from Las Cruces to the spaceport in Sierra County has proven inadequate to getting visitors, workers and crew to the site. Spaceport officials and the federal Bureau of Land Management have been working to identify 45 cultural sites, some of which contain artifacts dating back 10,000 years, Anderson said. (4/30)

Will Mars Radiation Scramble Your Brain? (Source: NBC)
Could a trip to Mars addle your brains? Some scientists say it might, based on a study of high-energy radiation's effects on mouse neurons. But an advocate for Red Planet missions says the study overstates the effects. The report, published Friday in the open-access journal Science Advances, found that mice who were exposed to radiation similar to galactic cosmic rays showed degradation in their brain cells, and didn't do as well on cognitive tasks. (5/1)

ILS Supports New Proton and Angara Dual Launch Opportunities (Source: ILS)
International Launch Services will work with a Russian satellite manufacturer to identify dual launch opportunities for a small geostationary orbit satellite. ILS said it agreed to find opportunities to dual-manifest Dauria Aerospace's ATOM spacecraft bus with other satellites on Proton or Angara launches starting in 2017. The ATOM spacecraft, under development by Dauria, weighs no more than 1,500 kilograms. (4/30)

No comments: