September 5, 2015

Lockheed Advances Cryocooler Technology (Source:  C4ISR)
Lockheed Martin has upgraded its High Power Microcryocooler for satellites to deliver 150 watts per kilogram, or about 68 watts per pound -- more than double what most cryocoolers provide. "With higher power, this microcryocooler enables larger, more sensitive IR sensors, which is especially useful for very high-resolution images," said the company. (9/3

Continuing Resolution Would Put Brakes on Pentagon Space Initiatives, White House Warns (Source: Space News)
Amid growing concern that fiscal year 2016 will begin under a continuing resolution that funds U.S. government activities at prior-year levels, the White House is warning that two high-priority Defense Department initiatives to more closely monitor and manage space activity could face delays as a result.

An Aug. 28 document from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, called an anomalies list, lays out priority Defense Department programs that would suffer in the event that Congress is unable to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The document seeks special dispensation to increase funding for anomalies list programs, which otherwise could not move forward. (9/4)

Integrated Space Plan: Crowdsourcing the Future (Source: Inside Outer Space)
Here’s a way to take part in shaping humankind’s up and going trajectory into space. And to do so, everyone needs a plan and some guideposts on which you can hang your space helmet. The Integrated Space Plan – an evolutionary matrix of capabilities — is billed as “the most comprehensive vision of the next 100 years of space development ever produced” – compiled into a single graphic. Click here.

Editor's Note: This project is being coordinated by Florida-based space advocate Jay Wittner, president of Kickstarter Coaching and is a founding partner of the Space Finance Group and Integrated Space Analytics. The Space Plan's graphic posters are being distributed by a Florida-based company too. (9/5)

Fortifying Computer Chips for Space Travel (Source: Berkeley Lab)
Space is cold, dark, and lonely. Deadly, too, if any one of a million things goes wrong on your spaceship. It’s certainly no place for a computer chip to fail, which can happen due to the abundance of radiation bombarding a craft. Worse, ever-shrinking components on microprocessors make computers more prone to damage from high-energy radiation like protons from the sun or cosmic rays from beyond our galaxy.

It’s a good thing, then, that engineers know how to make a spaceship’s microprocessors more robust. To start, they hit them with high-energy ions from particle accelerators here on Earth. It’s a radiation-testing process that finds a chip’s weak spots, highlighting when, where, and how engineers need to make the microprocessor tougher.

One of the most long-lived and active space-chip testing programs is at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab). Sitting just up the hill from UC Berkeley, in Berkeley Lab’s Building 88, is the 88-Inch Cyclotron, a machine that accelerates ions to high energies along a circular path. (9/4)

Florida Drawing Space Industry Leaders Away from Washington (Source: Puget Sound Business Journal)
Washington state may be growing its outer space industry at a rapid pace, but the gravitational pull of Florida’s launch capabilities is hard to escape. On Friday Boeing unveiled its new space ship assembly plant at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. This was just 10 days before Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is expected to announce his space company will build large launch rockets nearby, even though his Blue Origin is headquartered in Kent, Washington.

The key reason is the well-established NASA space launch facilities at Florida, where Bezos, competitor Elon Musk, and Boeing will all be launching rockets. While all three companies reflect the privatization of the space industry, Cape Canaveral also is where NASA has launched all its big missions, from Apollo to the Space Shuttles. Why not the Washington coast, or a more isolated site in Eastern Washington for these launches? Click here. (9/4)

How I Fell From the Stratosphere and Lived to Tell the Tale (Source: TED)
On October 21, 2014, Alan Eustace donned a custom-built, 500-pound spacesuit, attached himself to a weather balloon, and rose above 135,000 feet, from which point he dove to Earth, breaking both the sound barrier and previous records for high-altitude jumps. Hear his story of how -- and why. Click here. (9/4)

Boeing Expands Operations, Names Space Shuttle Replacement (Source: WESH)
Boeing opened a new factory at Kennedy Space Center on Friday, where work is underway to build a replacement for the space shuttle. The replacement is called the Starliner, and it will eventually carry astronauts to the International Space Station.

The transformation of a former space shuttle hangar has been completed and finished off with a grand opening. It's the new home of the Boeing-built Starliner space ship, which is touted as one of the replacements for the space shuttle.

"In 35 states, 350 American companies are working to make it possible for the greatest country on Earth to once again launch our own astronauts into space," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "It's exciting to celebrate this new capsule, this new facility, and most important for Florida and Brevard County, the 550 more jobs," Gov. Rick Scott said. (9/4)

Fire at U.S. Space & Rocket Center was Accidental, Investigators Say (Source: Huntsville Times)
A heating appliance left too close to combustible materials has been determined as the cause of a small fire that broke out Wednesday night at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Capt. Frank McKenzie, a spokesman for Huntsville Fire & Rescue, said Friday that the damage was confined to the work area where the fire broke out. The building's sprinkler system activated in the area of the fire and responding firefighters were able to run a hose line into the building and finish extinguishing the flames shortly after arriving. (9/4)

Booze in Space (Source: US News)
Whiskey maker Ballantine’s is betting that the view of Earth from space will look better while enjoying a glass of scotch. And to ensure booze doesn’t go flying across a spaceship in zero gravity, the company has developed a “space glass” to allow sipping while weightless without spoiling the subtle flavor of the whiskey.

The glass, unveiled Friday, is one of a handful of developments by companies that foresee a future for alcohol in space tourism. Tech startup Open Space Agency designed the glass for Ballantine’s to work better than the simple plastic bags with straws that astronauts have used to drink since NASA began flying manned space missions. Click here. (9/4)

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