July 9, 2015

Cassidy Tapped as New Head of Astronaut Office (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
U.S. Navy Capt. Christopher Cassidy has recently been appointed as NASA's new chief of the Astronaut Office by the Space Agency's Director of Flight Operations Brian Kelly. Cassidy will replace Air Force Col. Robert Behnken who has been the Astronaut Office's head since August of 2012. Cassidy's appointment comes at a time when the agency is working to reactivate its crewed space exploration efforts. (7/9)

SpaceX Remains Factor in Ariane 6 Plans (Source: Space News)
As ESA prepares to start work on the Ariane 6, SpaceX remains a major factor. The head of ESA's launcher directorate, Gaele Winters, said this week that despite the recent Falcon 9 failure, that rocket has been an "outstanding success." Industry officials testifying before a French parliamentary committee said Europe needed to focus on making Ariane 6 price competitive, and worry less about reusability despite SpaceX's efforts in that area. (7/9)

Commercial Imagery Raises Concerns for French Imagery Plans (Source: Space News)
The head of the French military's Joint Space Command said the proliferation of commercial imagery has undermined the value of France's own satellites. French air force Brig. Gen. Jean-Daniel Teste said that the increase in the quantity and quality of images from commercial satellites gives many nations capabilities that once belonged to only a few, like France. That situation "does raise questions for us," he said. (7/9)

'Space Guy' Jeb Bush Would Increase Funding To NASA (Source: Huffington Post)
If elected president in 2016, Jeb Bush would propose an increase in funding to NASA. "I'm a space guy," Bush said in a Wednesday sit-down with the New Hampshire Union Leader's editorial board. The former of governor of Florida, where a large portion of the country's aerospace industry resides, said he would also support increasing federal spending on research and development.

It's not entirely clear where the rest of the 2016 Republican presidential field stands on space exploration. Like Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio also hails from the state of Florida, the home of the Kennedy Space Center. He has fought to maintain funding to NASA, and is a booster for a manned mission to Mars. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), on the other hand, would drastically cut funding to the space agency -- by as much as 25 percent, according to his 2014 budget. (7/8)

Bricks to Build an Earth Found in Every Planetary System (Source: Space Daily)
Earth-like planets orbiting other stars in the Milky Way are three times more likely to have the same type of minerals as Earth than astronomers had previously thought. In fact, conditions for making the building blocks of Earth-like rocks are ubiquitous throughout the Milky Way.

Minerals made from building blocks of carbon, oxygen, magnesium, and silicon are thought to control the landscape of rocky planets that form in solar systems around Sun-like stars. A subtle difference in mineralogy can have a big effect on plate tectonics, heating and cooling of the planet's surface, all of which can affect whether a planet is ultimately habitable. (7/9)

Semibouyant Aircraft Could Explore Venus’s Upper Atmosphere (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 semibuoyant 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. (7/2)

NASA Seeking to Unlock Secrets of Longevity (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
World War II veteran Dorothy Turner Johnson, a resident of Disney’s Celebration, Florida community celebrated her 100th birthday several months ago. Does Dorothy have some “secret” to a long and remarkably active life? Scientists now believe that it’s related to something called telomeres, the "caps" on the ends of chromosomes (similar to the tips of shoelaces) that protect them from fraying and shortening.

NASA has launched an experiment to better understand how telomeres behave and how to strengthen them, not only for astronauts but for Earthbound humans as well. NASA’s immediate interest in telomeres relates to the health and stamina of astronauts during long-duration stays in space, such as travel to an asteroid or to Mars. Astronauts are collecting 10 ml samples (about two teaspoons) of their own blood: 2-3 times pre-flight, 1-2 times in-flight, and 3-4 times post-flight. (7/9)

Commercial Space – Georgia’s Next Great Aerospace Opportunity (Source: Georgia Innovation)
In today's growing commercial market for space, companies no longer must be located near a NASA center, which opens up opportunities for growing strong space sectors in states like Georgia. With an existing base of more than 500 aerospace companies supported by a strong aerospace education and research system, Georgia is a natural place for space-related companies to seek educational and research partnerships as well as to locate new facilities staffed with skilled workers from our 88,000 person aerospace workforce.

The Center of Innovation for Aerospace is preparing the way for the state ecosystem necessary to support rapid growth of the commercial space sector. The emerging commercial space market is poised to fuel the future growth in Georgia’s space industry in two key areas: Space Launch Operations: Both rocket assisted (vertical launch) and aircraft assisted (horizontal launch) of various sized payloads; and Small Satellites: The design, fabrication, launch and operation of small satellites for a wide variety of missions in communication, overhead imagery and space exploration (to the moon, Mars and beyond). (7/6)

NASA Wants to Send Microbes to Mars to Prepare for Human Habitation (Source: Space Daily)
As NASA considers the possibility of a manned mission to Mars, it may first send another lifeform: microscopic bacteria which could biologically engineer the planet's ecosystem, making it more habitable. Terraforming has long been a staple of science fiction. Literally meaning "Earth-shaping," the theoretical process involves artificially altering a planet's atmosphere and climate to be more accommodating for human life.

The question has always been: How? Do you bombard the stratosphere with particles which would help trap or release greenhouse gases? A similar proposal was made to solve global warming on Earth. Or do you somehow dump an ocean's worth of water onto the surface and hope it sticks? For NASA, the answer could be cyanobacteria. Click here. (7/7)

BE-4 Engine Remains Front Runner for ULA’s Next Rocket (Source: Space News)
Blue Origin continues to have the upper hand in a competition with Aerojet Rocketdyne to build a new engine for United Launch Alliance’s next-generation rocket, ULA chief executive Tory Bruno said June 27. Testifying before the U.S. House Armed Services committee strategic forces subcommittee, Bruno said Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine development program is 16 months ahead of Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1 effort. (7/8)

Space Foundation Report Reveals Global Space Economy Climb to $330 Billion (Source: Space Foundation)
In 2014, the global space economy grew slightly more than 9 percent, reaching a total of $330 billion worldwide, up from 2013's $302.5 billion. Together, commercial space activities made up 76 percent of the global space economy. The industry as a whole demonstrated a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of seven percent from 2005 to 2014, nearly doubling in size over the course of the decade.

U.S. government space spending went up slightly, 2.9 percent, from 2013 to 2014. The U.S. devoted 1.2 percent of the government's national budget to space in 2014. During that year, U.S. government space spending made up more than half of what all governments around the world spent on space. Space expenditures by governments other than the U.S. grew 12.9 percent in 2014, in spite of decreases in budgets of international cooperative efforts such as the European Space Agency. (7/7)

Orbital ATK to Produce Orion Launch Abort Motor (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Orbital ATK will produce the launch abort system motor for NASA's Orion spacecraft. The company announced Tuesday it had signed a $98 million agreement with Orion's prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, to provide the launch abort motor, a deal that runs through the first crewed Orion mission in 2021. Orbital Sciences had previously been under contract to develop the motor under the Constellation program, but that work was put on hold when the Orion program was restructured after Constellation ended. (7/8)

Gattle Has Top Space Job at Realigned Harris (Source: Space News)
After completing its merger with Exelis, Harris Corp. has a new head of its space business. Bill Gattle, previously vice president and general manager of Harris’ National Systems business unit, is now the president of Space and Intelligence Systems, one of four lines of business within the restructured company. That business unit is responsible for a number of Earth observation and navigation payloads, among other activities. (7/8)

UrtheCast Plans to Acquire Deimos with New Cash (Source: UrtheCast)
UrtheCast announced Tuesday it has raised nearly $80 million to help fund an acquisition. The Canadian company said it completed the sale of $78.4 million of company shares that the company announced last month. The company plans to use some of the proceeds of this, as well as a separate debt offering, to acquire Deimos Imaging, a Spanish company that operates two Earth imaging satellites. (7/7)

British Team Plans L-5-Based Space Weather Satellite (Source: SEN)
A British group is proposing a space weather mission. The Carrington-L5 spacecraft would operate at the Earth-Sun L5 Lagrange point, allowing it to see activity on the sun before it rotates into view from Earth and thus providing an early warning of solar storms. The mission team, which includes the U.K. division of Airbus Defence and Space and the Met Office, believes the spacecraft could be built and launched by 2021. They did not disclose the proposed cost of the mission, nor who would fund it. (7/7)

Florida Tops List of Aerospace Manufacuring Attractiveness (Source: Site Selection)
Florida is the most attractive US state for aerospace manufacturing, and the US is the most attractive nation globally, according to PwC’s Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Rankings, released in April and covered in the May 2015 Site Selection Aerospace Report. The rankings, first introduced in 2013, are “a quantitative framework for assessing many pressing issues facing industry leaders as they consider how and where to optimize their supply chain, control costs and plan for future growth,” according to the report. (7/7)

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