June 24, 2015

Boeing Names Muilenburg CEO, Succeeding McNerney (Source: Reuters)
Boeing Co on Tuesday named Dennis Muilenburg as chief executive officer, effective July 1, succeeding Jim McNerney. Muilenburg, 51, who has been president and chief operating officer since 2013, had been widely seen as McNerney's successor.

McNerney, 65, will retire at the end of next February. He will continue as an employee until then "to ensure a smooth transition of his CEO responsibilities," Boeing said. He will also remain chairman indefinitely, the company said. Muilenburg, who previously headed Boeing's Defense, Space and Security business, was also elected to Boeing's board, the company said. (6/23)

Embry-Riddle Benefits From Florida Budget Investments (Source: ERAU)
In a historic show of support for the future of STEM education, Florida Governor Rick Scott approved a 2015 budget that includes $3 million in funds for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s public high school partnership program providing in-demand technical skills and free college course credits. Since its creation in 2004, Embry-Riddle’s Gaetz Aerospace Institute has grown to more than 40 Florida high schools.

It offers free college credits and hands-on experience in courses focusing on key growing industries including aviation, unmanned systems, aerospace, engineering, computers and business. More than 2,300 high school students have or are currently participating in the program, providing superior talent for state and local businesses.
Florida is ranked No. 1 in the nation by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in aviation manufacturing attractiveness. It also is nationally ranked as the No. 2 largest aviation, aerospace and space establishment by the U.S. Department of Labor. Also approved in the 2015 state budget was the tax-free aviation fuel item. Embry-Riddle Board of Trustees Chairman Hosseini noted this will result in an estimated $158,000 in savings annually that will be passed on to students. (6/23)

Smallsat Operators Have Yet To Allay Concerns about Space Junk (Source: Space News)
The projected increase in the launch of small satellites, particularly cubesats, has raised new concerns about the growth of orbital debris, despite statements by ventures developing such satellites that they will be responsible citizens in low Earth orbit.

“There’s been a lot of concern the last couple of years about small satellites and their proliferation. There are those in the industry who derisively refer to cubesats as ‘debris sats,’” said Ted Muelhaupt, one of several Aerospace Corp. officials who discussed the issue during a session of the Small Payload Rideshare Symposium. “There’s some justification for that.”

One problem with cubesats is that their small size makes them difficult to track, and thus difficult to predict when they might come close to another satellite. “Because of tracking uncertainties, cubesats have about as big an uncertainty volume as a normal satellite, so you have to avoid them just as much,” said Brian Hansen, who leads Aerospace’s Debris Analysis Response Team. (6/24)

NASA’s Interest in Removal of Orbital Debris Limited to Tech Demos (Source: Space News)
NASA’s policy of paying companies to develop technology designed to eliminate orbital debris but not to pay for in-flight demonstrations has space companies searching for new backers. NASA adopted a policy in June 2014 to support development of orbital debris removal technology but not of operational systems. Specifically, the space agency backs projects with Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1 through 4, which means NASA’s support for projects ends once components or prototypes work in a laboratory setting. (6/24)

Hot Lava Flows Discovered on Venus (Source: Space Daily)
ESA's Venus Express has found the best evidence yet for active volcanism on Earth's neighbor planet. Seeing the planet's surface is extremely difficult due to its thick atmosphere, but radar observations by previous missions to Venus have revealed it as a world covered in volcanoes and ancient lava flows.

Venus is almost exactly the same size as Earth and has a similar bulk composition, so is likely to have an internal heat source, perhaps due to radioactive heating. This heat has to escape somehow, and one possibility is that it does so in the form of volcanic eruptions. (6/22)

NASA Joins North Sea Oil Cleanup Training Exercise (Source: Space Daily)
NASA participated for the first time in Norway's annual oil spill cleanup exercise in the North Sea on June 8 through 11. Scientists flew a specialized NASA airborne instrument called the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) on NASA's C-20A piloted research aircraft to monitor a controlled release of oil into the sea, testing the radar's ability to distinguish between more and less damaging types of oil slicks. (6/22)

PlanetiQ Selects Blue Canyon Technologies For Smallsat Constellation (Source: Space News)
PlanetiQ has selected a Colorado company to build its planned constellation of small satellites to provide weather data, with the first satellites to be launched in late 2016. Maryland-based PlanetiQ said Blue Canyon Technologies of Boulder, Colorado, will build a set of 12 satellites, each carrying a Global Positioning System radio occultation payload. The companies did not disclose the value of the contract. (6/24)

Spaceport America Experience Tour Opens (Source: Spaceport America)
Spaceport America – the world's first purpose-built, commercial spaceport announced today the new Spaceport America Experience tour is open for visitors. Guests gathered to create a celebratory atmosphere in the street outside the new Spaceport America Visitor Center located in the historic hot-springs district of the City of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. (6/24)

More Students Are Going to Space School (Source: Science.Mic)
There's never been a better time to want to build a rocket ship for a living. Private companies are exploring how to mine asteroids, how to create new satellite networks and how to manufacture tools with 3-D printers to enable greater space exploration. In 2012 alone, the U.S. aerospace industry added $118.5 billion in export sales to the economy, and investors are bullish on the prospects of the new space economy.

As America moves further into space and begins to reap the benefits, custom education programs designed to train the future space workforce are popping up. Unlike general programs, these schools are designed specifically around helping students learn how to turn space dreams into space careers. One of the earliest Aeronautical Universities, Embry-Riddle, offers more than 40 different degrees, from space policy and law to the more popular aerospace engineering and aeronautical science. In 2013, Embry-Riddle added a commercial space operations program to meet the rising demand for classes on the business of space. (6/24)

Hopes For A Woman To Be Next Malaysian Astronaut In Space (Source: Malaysian Digest)
42-year-old Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor spent 11 in space, conducting experiments on liver cancer and leukaemia cells as well as experiments on crystallization of various proteins and microbes. The former orthopedic surgeon said he is committed to fostering the younger generation's interest in the the field of science.

"Society's awareness of the development in science and the pursuit of scientific knowledge still lag far behind. There are many aspects about science that students are not aware, especially in aerospace exploration. Therefore, I am passionate when it comes to promoting science education as well as to foster interest in science and technology education especially among the younger generation."

Dr Sheikh will also be hosting a camp called "Space Science Camp" in September this year. He said, although there is no assurance yet that Malaysia will qualify to send a second representative to space but he sincerely hopes that women will be given the opportunity in the next space exploration mission. (6/23)

Aerojet Wins Lockheed Work for In-Space Propulsion Systems (Source: Aerojet)
Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne have signed a contract for satellite propulsion systems. Aerojet will provide XR-5 Hall Effect and MR-510 Arcjet electric thrusters, and monopropellant rocket engines, to Lockheed for use on its A2100 satellites. The propulsion systems will be incorporated into two A2100 spacecraft Lockheed is building for Arabsat. (6/23)

Mauna Kea Officials Grapple with Increased Visitor Traffic (Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser)
Mauna Kea officials are discussing ways to manage increased visitor traffic. The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports about 100,000 more people visited last year than in 2010 and University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl says it’s probably due to improved access.

Meisenzahl said completed improvements on Saddle Road are one example. "You couldn't take your rental car there before," Meisenzahl said. The Office of Mauna Kea Management is hosting open houses this week on its administrative rules process. Managing public access will be part of discussions. (6/22)

Maglev Train Project Considering Port Canaveral (Source: Florida Today)
American Maglev Technology Inc. is exploring the idea of a train linking Port Canaveral's cruise terminals with the port Cove restaurant and retail area, nearby beaches and hotels — and possibly Orlando International Airport. Port commissioners on Wednesday will consider approving a non-binding letter of intent that would allow American Maglev to study the ridership potential for such a system. (6/22)

Europe Teams up for Next-Gen Mission Control Software (Source: SpaceRef)
Together with national space agencies and industry, ESA is working to develop next-generation software for spacecraft control and monitoring. The initiative is a strategic and technological jump, and will see most space organizations in Europe adopting a common infrastructure, which will improve efficiency, lower technical risk and deliver a major boost to European industrial competitiveness. (6/23)

NASA, Partners Test Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA, working with government and industry partners, is testing a system that would make it possible for unmanned aircraft to fly routine operations in United States airspace. Through the agency’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System (UAS-NAS) project, NASA, the FAA, General Atomics and Honeywell are flying a series of tests which began on June 17 and will run through July at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. (6/23)

Bessemer VC Sunil Nagaraj on Jump Into New Space Investing (Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal)
Bessemer Venture Partners enjoyed one of the early successes in the "New Space" race when Google acquired Skybox Imaging last year for $500 million. New Space is the term coined for the group of venture-backed companies that promise to open up space to private investment in a way that was unthinkable 10 years ago and that could dramatically cut the cost of launches even further.

Bessemer followed that success earlier this year by leading the Series B funding of Los Angeles-based Rocket Lab and is reportedly about to add a third Bay Area company to its space tech portfolio. Click here. (6/23)

Jurvetson on Why He Invested in SpaceX, Planet Labs (Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal)
Steve Jurvetson was a space and rocket enthusiast long before he got to invest in his first New Space company at Draper Fisher Jurvetson. "So I've been always of the opinion that it would be a good idea to invest in space. But for about 10 years I wasn’t really active searching, but was open to the idea. Every science business team that had anything to do with space, I'd take a look at it. But for 10 years, I never saw anybody or any group that seemed to warrant a second meeting." Click here. (6/23)

Is Space Tourism Traveling Faster than Space Law? (Source: The Conversation)
Space tourism is fast becoming the new frontier in the transportation business. Driven by profit-making private venture capital, the push to offer customers some direct or indirect experience with space travel is no longer the stuff of comic books or science fiction. The worry is that the legal architecture for this nascent industry has barely got its foundations in order.

There seems to be a sound business case for the industry. Market studies indicate that there are more than one thousand sub-orbital passengers per year and this is capable of generating global market figures topping $1 billion by the end of this decade. Supporting infrastructure for space tourism has already been installed in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin and Florida. The United Kingdom has recently also unveiled eight potential space ports.

Developments are hurtling ahead with dizzying speed whereas the body of space law upon which space tourism must be based remains clunky, and is designed by and large to apply only between sovereign states. A rare spirit of international legal and scientific socialism has infused space law since its inception by statesmen, international bureaucrats and enthusiastic scientific advisors who were awe-struck by the rapid achievement and prospects of space travel. Click here. (6/23)

Orbital Outfitters to Install Pressure Chambers at Texas Spaceport (Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram)
The new Orbital Outfitters building at Midland Air & Space Port has received one of its more expensive -- and fragile -- pieces of equipment: a two-person pressure chamber. The chamber, which is 6 feet in diameter and weighs 6,500 pounds, will give the company the ability to test its suits in near-vacuum before being sent into space. The hypobaric chamber is one of three that will be installed in the chamber room at Orbital Outfitters. (6/23)

Third Spacecraft in Troubled Persona Series Launched on Jun. 23 (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Russian Aerospace Defence Forces launched the newest Persona electro-optical reconnaissance satellite, also known as Kvarts (Quartz), on a Soyuz-2.1b rocket at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The rocket will fly in the Soyuz 2-1b configuration with a modernized digital flight control system and upgraded third stage engine.

The launch of Persona-3 was initially scheduled for April 30, but was postponed due to the investigation into the April 28 Progress cargo craft launch anomaly.

Persona-3, built by Progress State Research and Production Space Centre (TsSKB-Progress ), is derived from the Resurs DK commercial Earth observation satellite. The Persona-3 satellite will carry a laser data-transmission system, BA MLSPI, which enables it to send information to the ground via a special relay satellite located in a geostationary orbit. (6/22)

Empty Promises On NASA's Road to Mars (Source: SpaceRef)
These days you can't seem to go anywhere in the Internet without seeing #JourneyToMars slapped on Tweets about, well, everything that NASA does - regardless of how it is actually related to sending humans to Mars. It's in press release titles, on posters, YouTube videos. NASA is all about the "Journey To Mars" these days and its marketing campaign reflects a concerted effort to make you truly believe that this is happening - except ... it is not. Click here. (6/22)

SpaceX Gears Up for its Next Rocket Landing Attempt (Source: The Verge)
This Sunday, a routine SpaceX launch could turn revolutionary, as the spaceflight company tries for a third time to safely land its Falcon 9 rocket after takeoff. The uncrewed booster will be carrying the company’s Dragon cargo capsule, packed full of science experiments and supplies to bring to the crew of the International Space Station. Yet many will be waiting eagerly after the launch is over to see if the rocket finds its way to its landing pad.

SpaceX holds a contract with NASA’s Commercial Cargo Resupply (CRS) program to launch a number of cargo resupply missions to the station through 2017. The upcoming launch marks the seventh planned mission for SpaceX under the program. Click here. (6/22)

Silicon Valley Startups Enter the Space Race (Source: Silicon Valley Business Journal)
When Scott Nolan was an undergrad at Cornell studying aerospace engineering, he saw two ways to further the passion he had developed while building and launching rockets as a teen. “The two options looked like going to work at NASA or going to work with a large corporation that was fulfilling space contracts with the government — a Boeing, a Lockheed or Northrup,” said the partner at San Francisco-based Founders Fund. Click here. (6/23)

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