September 14, 2015

Florida Scientists Jailed, Fined $10.6M for for Defrauding NASA, Other Agencies (Sources: Law 360, Tampa Bay Times)
Two scientists convicted of fraudulently obtaining government research grants from more than a dozen federal departments and agencies including the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Department of Homeland Security and NASA were sentenced Thursday in Tampa, Florida, to federal prison terms and ordered to pay $10.6 million in restitution.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington ordered 15 years' imprisonment for Mahmoud Aldissi and 13 years for Anastassia Bogomolova, who were both found guilty by a federal jury on March 20. Aldissi and Bogomolova are married. Aldissi, owner of Fractal Systems Inc., and Bogomolova, owner of Smart Polymers Research Corp., were originally indicted for wire fraud, identify theft, falsification of records and obstructing investigators.
Their research grants included $100,000 from NASA for a system designed to generate potable water aboard spacecraft. Aldissi and Bogomolova used money derived by inflated budget sheets to "enrich themselves and others," the indictment alleged. Several universities, including the University of South Florida's Center for Biological Defense, the University of Florida, Louisiana State University and three in France, have been named as "relevant entities" in the case. (9/14)

Virgin Galactic Increases Payload Performance of LauncherOne (Source: SpaceRef)
Robust demand from the growing small satellite market has led Virgin Galactic to significantly increase the performance of its LauncherOne satellite launch service. Virgin Galactic has nearly doubled the amount of payload that customers can deliver to orbit for the same price.

For a price below US $10 million, LauncherOne will now be able to launch 200 kg into the standard Sun-Synchronous Orbit most commonly desired by small satellite missions, a marked increase from the system's originally projected performance to that orbit. Customers will also be able to purchase further increases in performance to the same orbit, as well as launches that reach other altitudes or inclinations. To lower LEO orbits, the system will be capable of launching over 400kg of payload. (9/14)

Editorial: Limit Military Command Of Spy Satellites (Source: Breaking Defense)
China’s space activities have prompted lots of interest in whether America’s space systems might face direct attack in some form. Of course they will. They already do. And they have.

In today’s popular mythology, space was a “sanctuary” during the Cold War: the sagacity of US and Soviet decision-makers prevented any effort to disturb their opponents’ spy and strategic communications satellites, lest Armageddon ensue. That’s a comforting image, but of course it’s not at all true. And it can also be dangerous, if it fuels a belief that there can be war in space without war on earth. Click here. (9/14)

Space Coast Tourism Promotion to Rise with More Money (Source: Florida Today)
With Brevard County hotels setting revenue records this year, based on room tax collections, that will mean more money to promote Space Coast tourism next year — with the aim of drawing even more visitors to the area. As Labor Day marks the end of the traditional summer tourist season, the Space Coast Office of Tourism reports that Brevard County Tourist Development Tax revenue for the current budget year is up 16 percent from the same period last year. Every month was stronger than the same month a year earlier. The 5 percent tax is collected on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals.

The Office of Tourism plans to spend $3.63 million on media advertising next year, focusing on four major campaigns, tied to four time periods. the Space Coast is unusual among tourism destinations, in that it has a large number of magnets already, rather that just one or two. Among them are the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; ecotourism and fishing; Cocoa Beach and other beach areas; cruise ships; charming, walkable downtown areas; the Brevard Zoo; and sports tourism tied to youth and other amateur sports tournaments. (9/6)

Air Force Will Focus on Modernization in 2017 (Source: Defense News)
The Air Force will likely avoid major deviations from its 2016 course as it creates it 2017 spending plan, sources say. "Wherever we can, we have to make the decision to minimize investment in old things and mission capability that we don't absolutely need today and transfer that investment to modernization for the future, because, 10 years from now, the threat and the scenario will be completely different," said Gen. Mark Welsh. "So we've got to figure out how we modernize this force." (9/11)

Vulcan's Future (Source: Space Review)
Most of the attention ULA has received for its Vulcan launch vehicle has focused on its use of an American-built main engine in place of the Russian RD-180. However, Jeff Foust describes some of the later innovations planned for the rocket, whose implementation could be affected by a proposed sale of the company. Visit to view the article. (9/14)

India's Round Table Conference on Issues for National Space Legislation (Source: Space Review)
In July, members of industry, academia, and government in India convened a one-day conference to discuss space policy issues. Rachana Reddy summarizes the event, which included a call to develop national space legislation to aid India's emerging space industry. Visit to view the article. (9/14)

A One-Year Recap of CCtCap (Source: Space Review)
This week marks the one-year anniversary of NASA's award of commercial crew contracts to Boeing and SpaceX. Jeff Foust reports on some recent developments reported by both companies, and the ongoing funding concerns the overall program faces. Visit to view the article. (9/14)

Mars Nation (Source: Space Review)
Opponents of proposals to send humans to Mars state that there are many more pressing problems to solve on Earth. Frank Stratford argues that by going to Mars, and dealing with the challenges of living there, we will be better equipped to deal with the Earth's problems. Visit to view the article. (9/14)

Utah Provides High-School Students Direct Path to Aerospace Jobs (Source: Washington Times)
Utah is testing its new Aerospace Pathways program for high-school students this year, allowing seniors to take paid internships and graduate with a certificate in aerospace manufacturing that could lead directly to a job. (9/12)

China Conducts Two Launches in Two Days (Source:
China carried out two launches within 48 hours. On Saturday, a Long March 3B lifted off from Xichang, carrying a satellite called the Communications Engineering Test Satellite-1. That spacecraft, according to Chinese officials, will be used to test advanced communications technologies, although some western observers believe it may be linked to Chinese plans to deploy missile warning satellites. Early Monday, a Long March 2D launched from Jiuquan, carrying the Gaofen-9 satellite. The satellite is described as a high-resolution remote sensing satellite for civil applications, but may have military uses as well. (9/14)

Meet the Man NASA Paid $18,000 to Lie in Bed For 70 Days Straight (Source: NextShark)
To say the least, 28-year-old Drew Iwanicki took an uncommon path to making some extra cash. Last year, he was a part of a NASA study that paid him $18,000 to lie down in bed for 70 days straight. The study, titled “CFT 70 (Countermeasure and Functional Testing in Head-Down Tilt Bed Rest Study),” aimed to learn more about how human bone and muscle might deteriorate in space. Click here. (9/9)

Moon Express' Richards Talks Commercialization of Space Coast (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Moon Express’ Bob Richards is very interested in commercial space efforts. When he spoke with SpaceFlight Insider earlier this week, he noted that more firms with an interest in private space efforts are emerging – and eyeing Florida’s Space Coast as a place to set up shop. With Blue Origin set to make an announcement at Cape Canaveral on Sep. 15, the space entrepreneur talked about the changing dynamic out at the Cape.

Richards’ organization, Moon Express, is considered by many to be one of the leading contenders to win the Google Lunar X-PRIZE. The $20 million grand prize has inspired an array of organizations to develop spacecraft and rovers to touch down and traverse on the surface of the Moon. Moon Express joins Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic as the perceived front-runners in this private effort. Moon Express, through an agreement aided by Space Florida, has gained access to Launch Complex 36 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

“The Space Coast is becoming a pretty exciting place to work, we have some of America’s greatest entrepreneurs migrating to the Space Coast and making substantial investments,” Richards said. “Moon Express… recognizes the value of being along Florida’s Space Coast at Cape Canaveral and our partnership [with NASA] at Kennedy Space Center.” Click here. (9/14)

SpaceX Wins Two Commercial Launch Contracts, Launching From Florida (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX has won two contracts to launch Spanish and Saudi communications satellites from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in 2017 and 2018. A satellite for Hispasat will launch on SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, launched from Launch Complex 40. Saudi Arabia's Arabsat 6A will launch on a Falcon Heavy rocket, which is expected to fly from Launch Complex 39A on Kennedy Space Center.

"We are pleased to add these additional launches to our manifest," SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said in a press release. "The diversity of our missions and customers represents a strong endorsement of our capabilities and reflects SpaceX’s efforts to provide a breadth of launch services to our growing customer base." (9/14)

Next Ariane 5 Mission Readied for Fast-Paced 2015 Launch Cadence (Source: Space Daily)
Arianespace remains on track for a record number of launches at the Spaceport in 2015, as underscored by the busy week of preparations for Ariane 5's next heavy-lift mission - which were performed in parallel to yesterday's successful flight of its medium-lift Soyuz from French Guiana.

The upcoming Ariane 5 launch is scheduled for September 30 to orbit a pair of telecommunications satellites: Sky Muster for Australian operator nbn and ARSAT-2 for Argentina's ARSAT.

During activity of the past several days, Flight VA226's Ariane 5 was transferred from the Spaceport's Launcher Integration Building (where it was integrated by prime contractor Airbus Safran Launchers) to the Final Assembly Building for installation of Sky Muster and ARSAT-2 under Arianespace responsibility. (9/13)

Arianespace Wins Contract to Launch BSAT-4a (Source: SpaceRef)
Arianespace was selected by SSL to launch the BSAT-4a satellite for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) of Japan. BSAT-4a will be launched by an Ariane 5 in late 2017 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, as part of a turnkey contract between California-based manufacturer SSL and the Japanese operator B-SAT. (9/14)

ILS Wins Contract to Launch Hispasat in 2017 (Source: ILS)
International Launch Services (ILS) and HISPASAT announce a contract for the launch of a satellite on ILS Proton in the first half of 2017 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for HISPASAT, headquartered in Madrid, Spain. HISPASAT distributes more than 1,250 television and radio channels through its powerful fleet of satellites and is a key driver for the Spanish aerospace industry. (9/14)

Galileo Grows with Ten Satellites Now in Orbit (Source: Space Daily)
Europe's own satellite navigation system has come a step nearer to completion, with Galileo 9 and 10 which lifted off together at 02:08 GMT on 11 September from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, atop a Soyuz launcher. All the Soyuz stages performed as planned, with the Fregat upper stage releasing the satellites into their target orbit close to 23,500 km altitude.

Two further Galileo satellites are still scheduled for launch by end of this year. Galileo is the Europe's own global satellite navigation system. It will consist of 30 satellites and their ground infrastructure. (9/13)

Editorial: High Caliber of Spaceport Talent Should lift New Mexico Spirits (Source: Albuquerque Journal)
Virgin Galactic is still reaching for the stars from southern New Mexico, and that’s a relief considering state taxpayers have 10 years and more than $218 million invested in Spaceport America. And it’s a testament to the expertise of those involved that they remain dedicated to quite literally getting this monumental endeavor off the ground.

Because when state legislators propose having what amounts to a garage sale, it would be easy to pick up and take your rockets to one of the eight other spaceports in the nation, be it in California or Colorado or Texas or Florida. That would be a loss of galactic proportions. (9/13)

What's The Red Shape in NASA's Meatball Logo? (Source: Gizmodo)
You’ve probably seen NASA’s so-called “meatball logo,” and wondered what it meant. Obviously, the blue sphere represents a planet. What about the red? I’d assumed the chevron stood for aeronautics, and once I heard it represented a certain constellation. But the truth is more interesting. Thanks to NASA’s latest free e-book titled “Emblems of Exploration: Logos of the NACA and NASA,” I just learned that the red shape was inspired by actual aerospace research programs of the late Fifties. Click here. (9/11)

New RAND Report: U.S.-China Military Space Brinkmanship (Source: Leonard David)
A new RAND Corporation report suggests that although China continues to lag behind the United States in terms of aggregate military hardware and operational skills, it has improved its capabilities relative to those of the United States in many critical areas. Regarding space capabilities, the report includes these chapters: 1) U.S. Counterspace Capabilities Versus Chinese Space Systems; 2) Chinese Counterspace Capabilities Versus U.S. Space Systems. Click here. (9/14)

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