August 21, 2015

Japan Seeks to Add Neighbors to ISS Partnership (Source: Nikkei)
Japan wants to invite Southeast Asian nations to participate on the ISS. According to a report, the Japanese government will ask the U.S. to allocate one crew slot on the station to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) once the station's crew is expanded from six to seven people in 2018. Japan will also consider offering its crew slots on the station to ASEAN member nations. The proposal is part of a broader effort by the Japanese government to strengthen ties with the ten-nation organization. (8/21)

China Using Sats to Coordinate Post Explosion Relief (Source: Xinhua)
China is using several of its satellites to coordinate relief efforts after massive explosions last week in the port city of Tianjin. At least eight satellites, including low- and high-resolution Earth observation spacecraft, are involved in the recovery effort, taking images of the blast site and surrounding area. The Aug. 12 explosions killed more than 100 people. (8/21)

Cruz on Space (Source: Roll Call)
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz's space policy is very similar to positions he has taken as a senator. Asked for his views on human spaceflight, Cruz said it's "time to refocus our investment in NASA toward the hard sciences, on getting men and women into space." Cruz's comments are similar to those in a statement he issued in January after being named the chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee. Cruz is one of more than a dozen Republican candidates for president. (8/21)

ISS Cargo Contracts Could Grow for Orbital and SpaceX (Source: Space News)
Both Orbital ATK and SpaceX could receive additional cargo missions under their current NASA contracts. The agency has already added three missions to SpaceX's contract and two to Orbital's, but could add more as it delays the award of follow-on contracts until November. Both companies are also recovering from launch failures, with SpaceX expected to return to flight in November, according to an industry source. (8/21)

One Direction Films Music Video at JSC (Source: Mashable)
NASA launched One Direction into space — sort of. The British band released the video of their new single "Drag Me Down" that was shot at NASA's Johnson Space Center. The video shows the four band members training at JSC before boarding an Orion spacecraft and launching into deep space (albeit on a conventional Delta 4 Heavy rocket lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base.) NASA cooperated in the filming of the video and was promoting it on social media late Thursday night when the video was formally released. (8/21)

FSDC Hosts Lunar Elevator Discussion on Aug. 29 in Cocoa (Source: FSDC)
Space elevators are not commonly considered in near-term plans for space exploration, primarily due to a lack of suitable materials for their construction. However, a Lunar Space Elevator (LSE) could be constructed with existing technology and materials. A 48 ton LSE could be deployed with a single launch of SLS or three launches of Falcon Heavy.

The LSE can most efficiently attach to the lunar surface at the equatorial location at zero or 180 degrees longitude, and reduce the cost of soft landing sixfold versus chemical rockets. A lunar elevator investment of $1B pays for itself after twenty payload landing cycles.

Join us for a presentation and discussion on this intriguing and achievable concept, at 2:00 p.m. on Aug. 29 at the Cocoa Public Library, 308 Forrest Avenue in Cocoa. The featured presenter will be Charles Radley, an AIAA Associate Fellow and new Space Coast resident with a long history of leadership in groups like the Moon Society, the Oregon L5 Society and the Leeward Space Foundation. Click here. (8/21)

KSC Engineers Among Nation's Best (Source: NASA)
The Federal Engineer of the Year Award, sponsored by the Professional Engineers in Government, honors engineers employed by a federal agency that employs at least 50 engineers worldwide. Kennedy’s Brad Lytle and Phil Weber were two of the 25 engineers honored at the ceremony in Washington, D.C.

A panel of judges from the National Society of Professional Engineers in Government evaluates engineers based on factors such as engineering achievements, education, professional and technical society activities, awards and honors, and civic and humanitarian activities. Of the 25 honorees, 10 finalists were chosen before the ceremony and then finally a “Federal Engineer of the Year” was selected — a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force was chosen. Click here. (8/19)

Sierra Nevada Expands Satellite Solar Production in Colorado (Source: SNC)
Sierra Nevada Space Systems continues to expand its Space Technologies product line by growing its capability in solar array design, production and verification. SNC's Space Systems, based in Colorado, houses state-of-the-art test facilities, including the recently commissioned Large Area Pulsed Solar Simulator (LAPSS) used to verify solar array performance. This large-scale testing zone simulates the sun to obtain accurate electrical performance measurements of solar panels up to 3.5 m2.

The facility also houses thermal vacuum chambers, a radio frequency anechoic chamber, vibration table, shock table and dimensional inspection lab, among other satellite test and production equipment. In SNC's Space Systems 25-plus-year history, it has provided thousands of components on hundreds of missions. (8/20)

Ariane 5 Rocket Lifts Off with Two Communications Satellites (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Arianespace successfully sent two communications satellites into space on Aug. 20 using the company’s Ariane 5 heavy launcher. It was Arianespace’s 225th mission to date in the company's history (VA225). It delivered the EUTELSAT 8 West B and Intelsat 34 comsats into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO). (8/20)

The NASA Tech That Matt Damon Will Use in the “The Martian” (Source: Quartz)
Those who criticized Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar for being too unrealistic are in for a treat. In October, perhaps the most science-based science fiction space film ever will hit theaters: The Martian, based on the bestselling book of the same name by Andy Weir.

The Martian is written in the form of a log by a fictional NASA astronaut, Mark Watney, who’s stranded on Mars after his team evacuates the planet during a brutal dust storm, believing him to be dead. But the resourceful and witty Watney is very much alive, and must figure out how to survive, alone, with an extremely limited food supply on a barren planet where nothing grows. Click here. (8/20)

Europe to Australia in 90 Minutes? Aviation Agency Eyes Suborbital Jet (Source: Sputnik)
A German aerospace company is revisiting plans to design a rocket-propelled jet that can take passengers to the other side of the world in just an hour and a half. And if they get enough funding, they can make it happen by 2040.

DLR is a German aerospace agency that specializes in complex flight systems. In 2007, the agency designed a concept for a hypersonic airliner capable of flying 50 passengers from Europe to Australia in just 90 minutes. The plans were shelved at the time, but now, and nearly ten years later, the company is revisiting the concept and laying out a roadmap to make it real. (8/20)

NASA Considering More Cargo Orders from Orbital ATK, SpaceX (Source: Space News)
Having delayed the award of follow-on Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts until at least November, NASA is considering ordering more International Space Station cargo deliveries from Orbital ATK and SpaceX, both of which had already quietly hauled in additional orders under CRS deals signed in 2008.

After contract modifications initiated late last year and finalized this summer, SpaceX is on the hook for a total of 15 flights to the space station, up from the 12 NASA ordered in 2008. Orbital ATK wound up with 10 flights, up from eight, following the latest round of contract modifications. (8/20)

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