June 1, 2015

ABS Gets Boeing Satellite, SpaceX Launch (Source: Space News)
Satellite operator ABS is teaming up again with Boeing and SpaceX for another satellite. The company will buy a Boeing 702SP all-electric satellite, ABS-8, with a payload of C-, Ka-, and Ku-band transponders that will operate from 116.1 degrees east in GEO. The satellite will be launched by SpaceX in late 2017 or early 2018. ABS-8 comes on the heels of ABS-3A, a Boeing 702SP launched on a Falcon 9 in March; ABS-2A, another Boeing 702SP, will launch on a Falcon 9 later this year. (6/1)

Virginia Air & Space Center Director: Reflect NASA's Future and Past (Source: Daily Press)
When Robert Griesmer looks at the towering exterior of the Virginia Air and Space Center, he sees a symbolic billboard. The downtown building is bathed in a luminescent blue glow each evening as a part of a campaign to revamp the museum and the way it interacts with visitors.

Griesmer, the museum's new executive director, wants to transport visitors to the sun's surface, teach them about flight and introduce to them the latest advancements in robotics. The mission, he said, is to creative an immersive experience for visitors that showcases NASA's latest technologies while providing a steppingstone for children into the world of science, technology, engineering and math education, often referred to as STEM. (6/1)

Baikonur Space Center Celebrating 60th Anniversary (Source: Radio Free Europe)
Authorities at the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan was due to start celebrations on June 1 to mark its 60th anniversary. The celebrations begin with a ceremony at the Baikonur cultural center and a concert on the evening. Baikonur was built in the 1950s as a test range for the Soviet Union’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, the R-7. The official date of its establishment was June 2, 1955, when an order was signed to formally open the testing range of the Soviet Defense Ministry. (6/1)

Leaf-Inspired Venus Rover Would Float Down, Then Fly (Source: Aviation Week)
A different way to enter a planet’s atmosphere is behind Northrop Grumman’s concept for a flying “rover” able to coast through the clouds of Venus for up to a year collecting atmospheric data. A semi-buoyant flying wing, the proposed Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform (VAMP) is the first in a possible family of vehicles exploiting the lifting entry/atmospheric flight (LEAF) concept. (6/1)

Seattle-Area Engineers aim High for Cheaper Spaceflight (Source: Seattle Times)
Ventures founded by Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Paul Allen are reinventing launches into Earth orbit, aiming to enable space tourism and exploration as well as new tech services for those on Earth. All three are intent on tapping this region’s aerospace and software talent, and all three speak in visionary terms. Click here. (6/1)

Habitable Exomoons Will Need to be Bigger than Mars (Source: Astronomy Now)
Planet-sized moons orbiting huge gas giants could provide havens for life around other stars, but in order to be habitable these moons would need to be larger and more massive than Mars, according to new research by René Heller and Ralph Pudritz.

A  moon has to be able to retain its liquid water, and massive moons have two advantages in doing so. One, is that the extra gravity is able to hold onto a water-rich atmosphere better. Two, is that the more massive a moon, the longer it can retain heat in its core to drive an internal dynamo that generates a magnetic field. (6/1)

Argentine Police Arrest 'Meteorite Thieves' (Source: BBC)
Police in Argentina have arrested four men who appear to have been trying to steal more than a tonne of meteorites in the northern province of Chaco. Highway police say they found more than 200 large pieces of meteorites hidden under the seats of a truck which they had stopped in a random check. Three Argentines and a Paraguayan were arrested. The province of Chaco is world famous for meteorites, which are protected under Argentine law. (6/1)

The Problem with Sending Food Into Space (Source: Guardian)
Poor old space. Once it was the final frontier. Now, it seems, it is just an extraterrestrial wheelie bin for viral-video wannabes. Apropos of nothing, two Swedish brothers recently piloted a doughnut into space by attaching it to a helium weather balloon and recording the whole thing with a GoPro camera. But it is far from the first example of food being propelled into the heavens.

There has been a cloud-bound can of Coors Light, a curry-house lamb chop sent into orbit by a novelist, a congealing pizza flung into the sky by an NYC electronic band, and a burger from a London delivery business that hoped to publicize its ability to deliver a meal by firing it in the opposite direction to all human life. Plus, there was a brewery that decided to create an imperial stout by shooting yeast into space. Click here. (6/1)

California Space Bill Stalls in State Senate (Source: SPACErePORT)
Bakersfield Republican Senator Jean Fuller is sponsoring S-506, a bill aimed at protecting the state's military installations and supporting the state's space industry. The bill went before the Senate Appropriations Committee last week but was not reported out. The bill's official status is "held in committee," which is defined in the Senate glossary as having failed to get sufficient votes to pass out of committee.

In California, bills move through one house at a time gaining approval from the full Senate or full Assembly before being considered by the next house. If it ultimately is approved by the Senate, S-506 still must next be considered by the Assembly. Click here to read the bill. (5/31)

UAE Sets Sights on Astronomy Leadership (Source: The National)
The UAE is setting up a telescope observatory center to increase awareness about space. Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, said time at the facility would be allocated to universities and researchers. “It’s still in early stages,” he said. “But our plan is simple. We want the UAE to be a hub for space and a powerhouse in the region. The telescope will increase awareness and attract people who can see the stars.” (5/31)

Corruption Tarnishes Russia's new Showpiece Cosmodrome (Source: Space Daily)
Designed to showcase a revamped space industry and divert attention from recent failures, Russia's multi-billion-dollar project to build its own space launch pad to take over from Soviet-era Baikonur has been mired in corruption scandals. Hailed by President Vladimir Putin as the country's biggest construction project, it has an estimated budget of 300 billion rubles ($5.8 billion, 5.3 billion euros).

The cosmodrome started going up in the remote far eastern Amur region in 2012. Since then, 10,000 workers have toiled to build 115 kilometers (71 miles) of roads in this immense but scarcely populated region, as well as 125 kilometres of railways and a town with housing for 25,000 people. But in the same period, Russia has opened dozens of probes into embezzlement of funds, with Moscow forced to top up the budget and even deploy student labor to help complete the strategically vital project on schedule by December. (5/31)

No comments: