August 16, 2015

Space Florida Considers $100,000 Bonus Pay Plan (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space Florida, the state's space business authority, is considering a performance bonus plan that could provide a reward of more than $100,000 for its president and smaller perks for other top staff. Space Florida's board on Monday will consider recommendations that would create incentive pay bonuses worth 50 percent of salary for the top official, and from 5 percent to 40 percent for lower executives.

"For me it comes down to: Do we have the talent we need to be able to do our job, as mandated by the statute, and compete in the aerospace industry, and be able to deal with the complex financing and tools we have at our disposal?" said Board Chairman Bill Dymond of Orlando. The bonus plan was developed by Harrington & Associates of Melbourne, which had helped establish the authority's salary schedule.

Space Florida President Frank DiBello receives a salary of $267,952. That means he could be eligible for a lump-sum bonus of up to $133,976. Space Florida's salary scale allows the president's salary to top out at $359,056. The authority's 36-person staff includes 10 other executives who draw salaries between $100,000 and $200,000. (8/16)

Join the SPACErePORT LinkedIn Group (Source: SPACErePORT)
The SPACErePORT LinkedIn group includes about 100 members who share an interest in how the states are supporting the development of new space transportation capabilities. Click here. (8/16)

Trump: 'Wonderful' Manned Mars Mission Comes After Infrastructure (Source: Forbes)
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has managed to garner all that attention while offering remarkably few substantive policy proposals beyond building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. But now we know where he stands on NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s – well, kind of. “Honestly, I think it’s wonderful; I want to rebuild our infrastructure first, ok? I think it’s wonderful.”

That was the entirety of Trump’s response to a question from Conor Cullinane, a NASA Space Technology Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School & MIT who was in the audience for Trump’s rally in Hampton, New Hampshire on Friday. Trump interrupted the young questioner several times before he could ultimately ask the GOP frontrunner what he thought about putting humans on Mars. (8/15)

Samsung Looks to Join the Satellite Internet Space Race (Source: WIRED)
Samsung is the latest company eyeing satellites as the best way to expand the reach of the internet to the billions of people without access. In a paper published this week, Farooq Khan, head of Samsung Research America, outlines an idea for using thousands of small low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide high-speed internet all over the planet.

Traditional satellite internet providers use geostationary satellites positioned much further from the earth’s surface to provide access. The problem is that these services tend to be slow, expensive and have high latency. By using a large number of smaller and cheaper satellites floating closer to the planet, Khan and company hope to speed connections up significantly while also cutting costs.

So far it’s just a research paper, but Samsung is far from alone in exploring this idea. A company called OneWeb has received funding from , as well as backing from Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson. Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space X is working on a similar scheme as well, complete with backing from Google. (8/15)

The Space Race Led by Britain: Nano-Sats, Cubesats - and New Funds (Source: This Is Money)
Britain's satellite firms are counting down to a launch that they expect will mark a key milestone in the industry’s astonishing expansion. But this time there will be no rocket on the launchpad. And instead of scientists, it will be private investors watching nervously as a dedicated private equity fund aimed at backing start-up space firms boosts the industry into the centre of the business world.

The fund will be launched by Seraphim Capital in October and is being backed by investors including Airbus, which already has a presence in the space industry through its ownership of Surrey Satellite Technology, one of the world’s leading small satellite makers. It will be followed by two more funds later in the year. The UK Space Agency believes that British space firms have previously missed out on creating world leading companies because of a risk averse attitude towards the industry in this country. Click here. (8/15)

Space Companies Await the Launch of Spaceport Colorado (Source: Denver Business Journal)
The idea of a federally licensed port where trips into space would start just east of Denver captured a lot of people’s imagination when it was splashily revealed in late 2011. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper highlighted it at an aerospace industry gathering, and Tom Clark, head of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., spoke of people one day skiing Colorado powder in the morning and catching a sub-orbital spacecraft to be on a coast for surfing that afternoon.

But the companies that signed agreements saying they’d come to Spaceport Colorado are still working on their ideas. “We do still have Spaceport Colorado in our plans,” said Eric Witcher, of Rocket Crafters. The company is based near the proposed spaceport at the Neil Armstrong International Air & Space Center in Titusville, Florida, next to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Rocket Crafters, then based in Utah, was the first company to publicly announce it wanted to operate of Spaceport Colorado.

The idea for Spaceport Colorado continues to resonate in Colorado’s space industry. Make a spaceport and you get in the ground floor by making the future real, the argument goes. Putting a hub for the nascent space tourism within such easy reach of a busy international airport made sense. Click here. (8/14)

Antares Launches to Resume at Virginia Spaceport in 2016 (Source: DelMarVa Now)
Orbital ATK is on track to make the next Antares launch from Wallops in early 2016, President Dave Thompson said. The company is preparing for multiple cargo supply missions to the International Space Station in 2016 under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. (8/14)

JAXA and Mitsubishi Move Next HTV Resupply Mission to Wednesday (Source: JAXA)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) decided to postpone the launch of the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No. 5 with the H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI5” (HTV5) onboard from the Tanegashima Space Center, which was scheduled for August 17 as unfavorable weather is forecasted. The new launch date is set for August 19. (8/16)

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