August 27, 2015

All Eyes on India's Cryo Engine as GSLV Rocket Readies for Liftoff (Source: Times of India)
All eyes at the Sriharikota spaceport will be on the indigenous cryogenic engine which forms the third and upper stage of the GSLV-D6 rocket that will lift off at 4.52pm on Thursday with GSAT-6, a 2,117kg communication satellite. This will be the ninth flight of the Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle and the third development flight using a cryogenic engine. The success-failure score of the development flights has been 1-1. (8/26)

Orion Parachute System Withstands Failure Test (Source: NASA)
NASA successfully completed a dramatic test of the Orion spacecraft’s parachute system and its ability to perform in the event of a partial deployment on re-entry. On Wednesday, Aug. 26, a test version of Orion touched down in the Arizona desert after engineers intentionally failed two different parachutes used in the sequence that stabilizes and slows the spacecraft for landing. (8/26)

U.S. Air Force Eyes Blast Detection Satellite (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Air Force hopes to build an experimental satellite that would detect nuclear explosions and monitor the space environment from geosynchronous orbit, the service said in an Aug. 24 announcement. The Space Test Program Satellite (STPSat) -6 would be the latest in a series of spacecraft developed under a Defense Department program to field space capabilities quickly in response to emerging military needs. (8/26)

DoE to Crank Out New Plutonium-238 in 2019 (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Department of Energy will start producing new plutonium-238 for deep space missions around 2019, but production will ramp up slowly, and NASA still has not committed to setting aside any of the isotope for small missions.

Early next year, the refinery at DoE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee will restart for the first time in 27 years to produce a test-batch of the isotope, which powers nuclear batteries needed for space missions that cannot rely on solar arrays. (8/26)

More Than 100 Billion Billion Earth-Like Planets Might Exist (Source: New Scientist)
Your existence is unbelievably unlikely. Think of everything that happened for you to be born: your parents met, a particular sperm fertilised a particular egg, ultimately giving rise to the specific sequence of genes that is you. But if it hadn’t happened that way, someone else would be reading this in your place.  We’re unique, but that doesn’t make us special: there are 7 billion other humans on the planet. Now, thanks to a glut of data on planets in other star systems, astronomers are starting to realize the same is true of Earth itself. (8/26)

How Kubrick and Clarke Designed the Future (Source: New Scientist)
Half a century ago, Stanley Kubrick wrote to Arthur C. Clarke about a movie idea. Clarke was enthusiastic: “The ‘really good’ science-fiction movie is a great many years overdue.” So began their collaboration on Journey Beyond the Stars.

The film acquired several nicknames (“How the Solar System was Won” was a favourite), before its release in 1968 as 2001: A Space Odyssey. As a vision of the future it stands the test of time: a tribute to a writer who dreamed up communications satellites long before a satellite was launched, and a director who, even as Sputnik circled the Earth, was working through reels of Japanese sci-fi to find the effects he would need to imagine his way into space. Click here. (8/26)

Why Scott Kelly Will Be Taking Russian Spacecraft for a Spin (Source: ABC)
American astronaut Scott Kelly is spending one year in space but he'll get to briefly leave the International Space Station this week when he takes a short ride in the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, which is being moved to make room for the arrival of additional crew members.

The ride will take about 25 minutes, beginning when the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft undocks from the Poisjk module on Friday at 3:12 a.m. and moves to the station's Zvezda port, freeing up room for three new crew members to park their spacecraft when they're set to arrive at the station on Sept. 2, NASA officials said. (8/26)

Space Club Invites Kolcum Award Nominations (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club Florida Committee each year recognizes area representatives of the news media and other communications professionals for excellence in telling the space story along Florida's Space Coast and throughout the world with a Harry Kolcum Memorial News & Communications Award.

The award is named in honor of Harry Kolcum, the former managing editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology, who was Cape bureau chief from 1980 to 1993, prior to his death in 1994. Kolcum was a founding member of the National Space Club Florida Committee. Nominations for this year’s honorees will be accepted through Friday, Sept. 18. Click here. (8/26)

Buzz Aldrin, Florida Tech to Establish Space Institute (Source: Florida Today)
Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on Thursday will visit the Florida Institute of Technology for a ceremony formally establishing a space institute in the astronaut's name. The Buzz Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech, to open this fall, will focus on Mars settlement through Aldrin's concept of "Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars," according to a media advisory.

Aldrin will join the Melbourne university's faculty as a Research Professor of Aeronautics and serve as a senior faculty adviser for the institute. Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony Catanese and Aldrin will host the 2 p.m. signing ceremony and a media briefing about the institute. (8/26)

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