September 6, 2015

What It Looks Like To Leave Our Solar System At The Speed Of Light (Source: Digg)
There is no better way to grasp the enormity of space than hitching a ride on a photon from the Sun. Take an hour, and just let the sheer vastness of our universe sink in. And this video stops at Jupiter. Click here. (9/5)

Shiloh a No Go? Nelson Says So (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Give the man props for being clear. “Shiloh is not going to become a spaceport,” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday at a Daytona Beach Regional Chamber event. Well, alrighty, then. That’s that. This is a guy who ought to know.

Shiloh, for those who have not been following this, is a ghost town near the Volusia-Brevard county line. A place in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge where local buinses leaders want to see a private space-launch area. A space-launch area that might create a Volusia-based aerospace manufacturing center. A Volusia-based aerospace manufacturing center that would create jobs and draw other high-tech manufacturing here.

Volusia County has always been in the uncomfortable position of being close enough to see the rockets go up but far away enough to only see modest spinoffs from Kennedy Space Center. Sure, some KSC families lived here during the glory days of the Space Shuttle program. And General Electric had a facility here during the glories of the Gemini-Apollo years. But the big local space industry boom, so optimistically predicted here since the '60s, has never materialized. (9/5)

Flashback 1989 - Shiloh Area Dropped as Site for Spaceport (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Bald eagles, not commercial rockets, will soar over the Shiloh, Gov. Bob Martinez on Friday dropped the Shiloh area, which straddles the Brevard and Volusia county line at the north end of Kennedy Space Center, from the list of possible sites for the proposed Spaceport Florida. ''While Spaceport Florida remains high on my list of priorities, I refuse to allow it to proceed in a location where the precious natural resources of our state are threatened,'' Martinez said.

This leaves three unused launch pads at Canaveral Air Force Station as the only proposed site for the main commercial spaceport facility. The Department of Commerce also is proposing a small launch site at Cape San Blas on the Panhandle coast. Department officials liked the Shiloh site because of potential problems in getting Air Force permission to develop a spaceport at Cape Canaveral but ran into objections from environmentalists. Click here. (4/8/89)

Scott Kelly Takes Over as Space Station Commander (Source: CBS News)
In a brief ceremony Saturday, veteran cosmonaut Gennadi Padalka, the most experienced spaceman on or off the planet, turned over command of the International Space Station to NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who along with cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko is midway through a nearly yearlong stay in orbit. (9/5)

Are Satellites Sustainable? (Source: Guardian)
When astronauts describe looking down on earth from space, they sound like the ultimate hippies. Gazing down on their fragile yet beautiful home they generally experience an eco-epiphany, fully appreciating how we are all children of the Earth. Fair enough. It must be quite a trip.

But what’s the plan for ensuring a sustainable space when aims to send a crewed mission to the Red Planet by 2026 while, elsewhere, there are plans to mine some of the 12,000 space rocks orbiting earth? There are big questions to answer. Who makes sure that this happens ethically and equitably, in a way that doesn’t trash space for future exploration? I’m taken with the New Scientist’s idea of a Martian Magna Carta.

There should be another one for satellites, already the source of a major problem. Since Sputnik launched in 1957, thousands of satellites now orbit the earth. Some, often government ones, operate in the lower earth orbit (LEO), but many others, usually commercial, are geostationary (GEO) for telecommunications, broadcasting and weather. There is a catch, however. As space scientists put it: what happens in GEO stays in GEO. (9/5)

First Rocket Heading to New Russian Spaceport (Source: Sputnik)
A space launch vehicle, the Soyuz-2, will be the first to be sent to Russia’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome in Siberia; it will leave the manufacturer on Sunday, according to Russia’s Vice Premier Dmitry Rogozin. Russia's Deputy Prime Minister in charge of defense has confirmed that a space launch vehicle which will be the first to take off from Russia’s new launch pad in Siberia will be sent there on Sunday.

The Soyuz-2 spacecraft will leave the facilities of the developing and manufacturing center TsSKB-Progress in the city of Samara in southeastern Russia and travel all the way to Vostochny Cosmodrome in Siberia. The launch vehicle is scheduled to take off for the first time by the end of 2015. (9/5)

Rising sea Levels Real Threat to NASA Launch Sites (Source: Economic Times)
Rising sea levels along the US coastlines have threatened NASA's launch sites and facilities -- including Kennedy Space Center in Florida -- of being submersed under the water in near future. Nearly half to two-thirds of NASA's infrastructure and assets stand within 16 feet of sea level.

With at least $32 billion in laboratories, launch pads, airfields, testing facilities, data centers and other infrastructure spread out across 850 sq. km with 60,000 employees -- the US space agency has a lot of people and property in harm's way. (9/6)

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