August 19, 2015

Orion Spacecraft Ready for Tests at Plum Brook (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Preliminary testing has begun on the Orion crew module adapter at NASA Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station in Ohio. There, with a test version of Orion’s European Space Agency (ESA)-provided service module, also due to arrive in a few weeks, personnel have prepared their giant Space Power Facility for a series of tests that should prove Orion’s readiness for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO), and possible missions to Mars. Click here. (8/18)

Send Your Name to Mars (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Mars enthusiasts around the world can participate in NASA’s journey to Mars by adding their names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s InSight Mars lander, scheduled to launch next year. Submissions will be accepted until Sept. 8. To send your name to Mars aboard InSight, go to:

The fly-your-name opportunity comes with “frequent flier” points to reflect an individual’s personal participation in NASA’s journey to Mars, which will span multiple missions and multiple decades. The InSight mission offers the second such opportunity for space exploration fans to collect points by flying their names aboard a NASA mission, with more opportunities to follow. (8/18)

Russia to Send First Ever Robot-Cosmonaut to ISS (Source: Space Daily)
A team of experts at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Space Research Institute are working on the prototype of a robot cosmonaut to help ISS crews during spacewalks. Russia is a world leader where it comes to designing all kinds of space innovations. (8/19)

Japanese Cargo Craft Launches to ISS (Source: Space News)
A Japanese cargo spacecraft is on its way to the space station. An H-2B rocket lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center at 7:50 a.m. Eastern time and placed the fifth H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV) spacecraft into orbit. The spacecraft, carrying more than 4,300 kilograms of supplies and equipment, is scheduled to arrive at the ISS Aug. 24. The HTV's cargo includes an astrophysics experiment that will be mounted on the station's exterior and 14 satellites for Planet Labs that will later be deployed from the station. (8/19)

Avanti Finances Next Satellite (Source: Space News)
Avanti Communications has wrapped up the financing for its next satellite. The company closed a $136 million debt and equity deal Tuesday that the company says will complete the funding needed for the Hylas 4 satellite. That spacecraft is being built by Orbital ATK for an early 2017 launch on an Ariane 5. Most of the financing came in the form of bonds issued to MAST Capital Management LLC of Boston, due in 2019. (8/18)

Virgin Galactic Hires Former SpaceX Executive for LauncherOne (Source: Space News)
Virgin Galactic has hired a former SpaceX executive. Virgin Galactic announced early Wednesday that it has hired Barry Matsumori as senior vice president of business development and advanced concepts for the company's LauncherOne program. Matsumori was previously senior vice president for sales and business development at SpaceX, but left the company earlier this year. (8/19)

Alaska Spaceport Hosts Garvey Rocket Tests (Source: AAC)
An Alaska spaceport is hosting ground tests of a small launch vehicle. Garvey Spacecraft Corp., a California company developing a nanosatellite launch vehicle, carried out tests to "path-find operations" of its planned vehicle at the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska in Kodiak. That included shipping a first stage of a test vehicle to Kodiak and testing fueling there, all carried out within one month. While the Kodiak launch site has hosted several launches of small rockets, the Garvey vehicle is the first liquid-fueled rocket hosted by the complex. (8/18)

CASIS Puts Space Tech in Golf Club (Source: Florida Today)
The nonprofit running research on the ISS is supporting the rollout of a new golf club. CASIS, which manages the national lab portion of the ISS, held a press conference Tuesday with Cobra Puma Golf to unveil a new driver, the King LTD, which carries CASIS' "Space Is In It" branding. While Cobra Puma Golf has performed research on the ISS, it wasn't clear if that research was, in fact, incorporated into the new club. The company says the club includes other space-related technologies, such as "spiral lock" threading used to attach shuttle main engines. (8/18)

New Version of Soyuz Rocket Could Come in 2022 (Source: Sputnik)
A Russian company believes that a new version of the Soyuz launch vehicle could be ready by 2022. The head of TsSKB-Progress, which manufactures the Soyuz, said Tuesday a "draft design" of the proposed Soyuz-5 rocket should be ready by the end of the year, a schedule that would allow the vehicle to enter service in 2022. A key difference from existing version of the rocket will be the development of new rocket engines that use liquified natural gas as fuel. (8/17)

Spaceport America Visitor Center Saga Continues (Source: KRQE)
A dispute over a visitors center for New Mexico's Spaceport America has triggered a special election in one county. The spaceport established a visitors center in the town of Truth or Consequences earlier this year, moving a senior citizens center that previously used that building to another part of town. The displaced users gathered enough signatures on a petition to force a special election Sept. 22 on whether the center should be moved back into that building. (8/17)

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