September 24, 2015

New SpaceX Rocket Could Get Us to an Icy Moon Where Alien Life May Exist (Source: Tech Insider)
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk just declared that his spaceflight company, SpaceX, could use it biggest rocket to send a crew-carrying spacecraft all the way to Jupiter. The giant planet Jupiter is itself an inhospitable hellhole. But planetary scientists have eyed one of its moons, Europa, for years.

The "Falcon Heavy" is Musk's next planned rocket. SpaceX has yet to build and launch one, but the company's website states that the 230-foot-tall machine could be ready as soon as 2016 and lift "a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage and fuel" into orbit around the Earth. The "Dragon," meanwhile, is SpaceX's capsule that can ferry people and supplies into space. Musk's idea for a Europa mission certainly got some support from scientists. Click here. (9/23)

Arabsat Orders Launch with SpaceX (Source: Advanced Television)
Arabsat’s 6A satellite will be launched by SpaceX in 2018. The contract was signed in Paris last week during the Euroconsult Space Business Week conference. Arabsat 6A is a heavyweight satellite which will be located at 30.5 degrees East, and when in position will take Arabsat’s fleet to 10 operational satellites. (9/22)

New Mexico Voters Elect to Keep Spaceport Visitor Center in T-or-C (Source: KOB-TV)
Voters in a New Mexico county decided to keep Spaceport America's visitor center at its current location. About 80 percent of the fewer than 800 people who voted in Sierra County Tuesday decided to keep the visitor center at a building in Truth or Consequences that formerly hosted a seniors center. Those opposed to the center had gathered petitions to force the special election. (9/23)

Space Architecture: From Outer Space to the Ocean Floor (Source: Space Daily)
No longer the stuff of science fiction, the details of how people work and live in space and other extreme environments have become a growing part of the economy.

Education and training for the people who design and build those work and living zones is changing, too. The University of Houston's Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) - the only program of its kind in the world - has restructured its interdisciplinary master's degree curriculum and is working on real-world projects that point to the future of the industry. Click here. (9/22)

NASA Glenn Starts Hall of Fame (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
NASA's Glenn Research Center is opening a hall of fame. The initial class of the hall of fame, to be inducted Friday, includes three former directors of the center, formerly the Lewis Research Center, as well as several engineers and computer programmers and the person who designed NASA's insignia. Glenn marks its 75th anniversary next year. (9/22)

Carson Not a Fan of Big Bang Science (Source: BuzzFeed)
Dr. Ben Carson, a Republican candidate for President, gave comments in a 2012 speech critical of the widely-accepted Big Bang model of the formation of the universe...

"Well, I mean, it’s even more ridiculous than that 'cause our solar system, not to mention the universe outside of that, is extraordinarily well organized, to the point where we can predict 70 years away when a comet is coming. Now that type of organization to just come out of an explosion? I mean, you want to talk about fairy tales, that is amazing." (9/22)

Russia, China May Create Joint Satellite Navigation System Receiver (Source: Space Daily)
Russia and China are negotiating the development of a joint four-system satellite navigation receiver which would include access to China's BeiDou satellite navigation, a source in the Glonass satellite navigation company told Sputnik Thursday.

Currently, navigation receivers are either dual-system, including access to Russia's Glonass satellite navigation and US Global Positioning System (GPS), or three-system, which also include EU Galileo satellite navigation. The creation of a four-system navigation receiver would be a new market niche for Russia and China to fill. (9/22)

'Mars Trek' Is Google Earth for the Red Planet (Source: Motherboard)
If you are one of the thousands of people who would like to start a new life on Mars, you might want to get an early start on scouting out some premium real estate options. Fortunately, NASA has created a new Google-Earth-style web app for the red planet, providing the Mars-eyed among us with a way to virtually explore their fantasy destinations in stunning detail.

“Working with our expert development team at [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory], we have just released our latest product, Mars Trek,” said NASA project manager Brian Day in a video about Mars Trek released today. According to Day, this “web-based portal allows mission planners, scientists, and the general public to explore the surface of Mars in great detail as seen through the eyes of a variety of instruments on a number of spacecraft.” Click here. (9/21)

Bizarre Giant Hexagon on Saturn May Finally Be Explained (Source:
The huge, mysterious hexagon at Saturn's north pole may finally have an explanation. The bizarre hexagonal cloud pattern was first discovered in 1988 by scientists reviewing data from NASA's Voyager flybys of Saturn in 1980 and 1981, but its existence was not confirmed until NASA's Cassini spacecraft observed the ringed planet up-close years later.

Now researchers have developed a model they suggest matches the hexagon's features better than previous attempts. The scientists ran computer simulations of an eastward jet flowing in a curving path near Saturn's north pole. Small perturbations in the jet — the kind one might expect from jostling with other air currents — made it meander into a hexagonal shape. Moreover, this simulated hexagon spun around its center at speeds close to that of the real one. (9/22)

2016 Could Be the Year Space Tourism Takes Off (Source: Observer)
Until now Space Tourism means very very rich people paying very large sums of money to ride Russian rockets on relatively short trips to the International Space Station (ISS). The last man to take such a voyage was Guy Laliberté, Canadian founder of Cirque de Soleil, in September 2009. SpaceAdventures, the firm that ran this service, has not launched a customer since then.

Space Tourism, both orbital and suborbital, is an important part of the emerging “New Space” industry. This branch of the aerospace industry can best be described as entrepreneurial, often undercapitalized, and willing to innovate in ways the bigger and older aerospace firms find difficult.

The likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Paul Allen currently underwrite space tourism startups. More a hundred years ago, wealthy moguls of the Glided Age, including John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, spent their money on universities and libraries, but many of today’s moguls support technologies that will eventually propel humanity into the solar system. Click here. (9/22)

No comments: