September 7, 2015

At KSC, Light Technology Being Developed for Advanced Communications (Source: NASA)
NASA's Kennedy Space Center recently entered into a partnership with Light Visually Transceiving (LVX) System Corp. to collaborate in developing a potentially ground-breaking technology in electronic communications. Similar to high-speed communication known as Wi-Fi, visible light communication, or VLC, is a wireless method using light-emitting diodes (LEDs), referred to as Li-Fi.

Using standard room lighting, VLC transmits data using LEDs to send wireless communications signals. It can be used as a standalone technology or as a supplement to radio-frequency or cellular networks. Ultimately, the innovation has potential applications for use in everything from a local coffee shop to a spacecraft on its way to Mars. Click here. (9/2)

At KSC, New Microbial Monitoring Technology a Candidate for Spaceflight (Source: NASA)
A new technology that can detect and identify microorganisms in a variety of sample types could go from use on the ground to use in microgravity on the International Space Station, and perhaps beyond low-Earth orbit.

Research scientists are using a portable instrument from BioFire Defense, called RAZOR EX. Originally developed for use by soldiers on the battlefield, first responders also have used it to test biological samples in the field. 

This technology could meet future exploration mission requirements, including crew health and planetary protection. The availability of a real-time microbial detection system would provide earlier identification of potential problems on the space station and enable the crew to respond more quickly to mitigate risks resulting from contamination. Click here. (7/30)

Failed Strut Only One Possible Cause of Falcon-9 Loss (Source:
The failed strut is understood to have released the Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel (COPV), resulting in it leaking helium, causing an overpressure event in the tank and the subsequent failure of the stage. However, the flight telemetry does not fully support a “straightforward failure” of a loose helium bottle bursting the second stage tank.

“It’s proving to be quite a puzzle,” noted SpaceX CEO Chief Designer Elon Musk in July. “The telemetry data also somewhat confusingly shows a drop in helium pressure – which you’d expect with a breach in the system – and then, somewhat strangely, a rise (of pressure) in the system, back to its starting pressure. This is obviously quite confusing.”

It is believed this failure sequence may revolve around the bottle breaking free, twisting around, resulting in its helium line “pinching” off the helium manifold, which subsequently restored pressure in the helium system. However, it would have still released enough helium into the tank to cause the Second Stage to fail. Due to the lack of a clear-cut failure explanation, SpaceX engineers have been working through numerous other fault tree paths, with oversight from the FAA and the participation of NASA and the Air Force. (9/6)

Indian Defense’s New Target: Anti-Satellite Weapons (Source: IBC World News)
After testing the over 5,000km Agni V missile, which traveled up to 600km into space during its parabolic trajectory, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) now feels it can fashion deadly anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons in double-quick time.

Agni V’s launch has opened a new era in developing space weapons. Apart from adding a new dimension to our strategic defence, it has ushered in fantastic opportunities in, say, building ASAT weapons and launching mini/micro satellites on demand. The ASAT weapon would include marrying Agni V’s propulsion system with the “kill vehicle” of the under-development two-tier BMD (ballistic missile defense) system. (9/7)

GSAT-6 Military Satellite Put in its Orbital Slot (Source:
The Indian space agency on Sunday said it had successfully positioned the country's military communication satellite GSAT-6 in its orbital slot. According to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), GSAT 6 has been successfully positioned in its orbital slot of 83 degrees East and co-located with INSAT 4A, GSAT 12, GAAT 10 and IRNSS1C on Sunday morning, after carrying out four drift arresting manoeuvres. (9/7)

New Wallops Resource Center to Help Teachers (Source: DelMarVaNow)
When teaching her sixth-grade students at Chincoteague Combined School, Linda Wright said she is looking for that “aha factor.” That moment when her kids learn a concept by doing rather than by strict memorization.

“You learn more discovering what the thing is rather than looking up the definition, so it’s just being able to incorporate more of the action part of learning,” said Wright, who teaches math, science and English. That action part of learning is what the Accomack County teacher is looking forward to passing onto her students thanks to Wallops Flight Facility’s new Educator Resource Center. (9/4)

Air Force Space Command Scholars Program Puts Airmen in Universities (Source: AFSPC)
The Air Force Space Command Scholars program allows space and cyber operators to study at some of the nation's most prestigious universities.

AFSPC Scholars provides funding for one 13SX, space and missile operations; and one 17SX, cyberspace warfare operations officer; or 17DX, network operations officer, to attend top-tier civilian universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford University, University of Southern California and other top schools to earn a master's degree in career field-related areas. (9/6)

"We want to continue to grow expertise in the space and cyber domains,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen T. Denker, the AFSPC director of integrated air, space, cyberspace, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. “One of the challenges we have in the cyber mission force is figuring out how to populate the force with cyber expertise in order to do that mission. Sending space and cyber operators back to the field after studying at some of the nation's best schools gives us that expertise. They will have new approaches and ideas that we need to succeed in our rapidly changing environments." (9/7)

NewSpace Business Plan Competition Announces First Regional Round (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace Business Plan Competition (BPC), which awards seed money, announced today that the first two of five total regional, qualifying competitions for the 2015/2016 competition cycle will be held in New York on October 22, 2015 and Los Angeles on December 3, 2015.

The cities will each host a Shark Tank-style event whose winners will advance to the national competition in Seattle. Submissions from the Northeast open September 1, 2015 and November 5, 2015 in the Southwest. Partners of the BPC include the Space Angels Network, OrbitalATK, Heinlein Prize Trust and the Space Finance Group. (9/6)

NASA’s Road Map Toward Possible Nuclear Rocket Flight Demo (Source: Aviation Week)
With the capability of generating high thrust and 100% more specific impulse than the best chemical rockets, the time and cost-saving potential of nuclear thermal rockets (NTR) for deep-space missions is once again gaining interest at NASA. Although never flown, the NTR concept is relatively simple. The rocket engine is based around a nuclear fission reactor, which heats the liquid hydrogen (LH2) propellant instead of igniting combustible fuel. (9/7)

Space Station Orbit Raised by Nearly 1 km (Source: Tass)
The Mission Control Center in the town of Korolyov in the Moscow Region has held a scheduled adjustment of the orbit altitude of the International Space Station (ISS), Russian state corporation Roscosmos told TASS. "The adjustment has been successfully completed," a Roscosmos spokesman said. Earlier Roscosmos reported that the Progress M-28M cargo spacecraft will give the station a 0.55m/s impulse and the station’s orbital altitude will grow by 950 meters. (9/7)

The Strange Case of the Speeding Supernova (Source: Cosmos)
Stars that hurdle throught space at speeds up to 7.2 million km per hour, only to explode all alone in deep intergalactic space, have perplexed astronomers for more than a decade. Click here. (9/7)

Space Florida Presses Ahead with Plans for Shiloh Launch Site (Source: WMFE)
The state’s aerospace authority is pressing ahead with plans for a commercial spaceport inside the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at a site called Shiloh. Space Florida is undeterred by Sen. Bill Nelson’s recent comments that the Shiloh spaceport won’t happen.

Frank DiBello, president and chief executive officer of Space Florida, says space companies are calling for a commercial spaceport free of government bureaucracy. He says the Central Florida Democrat’s comments don’t complicate the agency’s position.

“We’re fully in sync with the senator and believe that in the long run what’s important is what Shiloh represents. And what Shiloh represents is a fully commercial spaceport with all of the commercial operating conditions that the industry requires.” (9/7)

Will Lockheed Martin Build a Space Elevator? (Source: Fox Business)
To advance the idea of space elevators, NASA awarded $900,000 in 2009 to Seattle-based LaserMotive for demonstrating a method of powering a space elevator-car by laser. NASA also has a $2 million "Strong Tether Challenge" prize up for grabs to the first company able to build a potential space elevator cable with "5 GPa" of tensile strength. (A GPa, or gigapascal, is equal to 1 billion pascals and is a measure of tensile strength.)

And taking its cue from NASA, Lockheed Martin -- one half of the United Launch Alliance space-launch team -- secured a patent (number 6491258) to build a space elevator in 2002. Now here's the problem: Lockheed Martin would achieve light weight by building its space elevator from superstrong carbon fibers -- probably scaled-up carbon nanotubes, known as "carbon macrotubes." In 2007, The Wall Street Journal argued,"To the extent that a space elevator is feasible at all is due to advances in the science of nanotechnology, especially carbon nanotubes." Click here. (9/6)

Proposed Swedish Space Strategy Delivered to Government (Source: SSC)
Swedish Space Investigation handed over their proposal for a new Swedish Space Strategy to the government. The strategy, as well as the investigation, includes a number of suggestions that are positive and important to SSC. In particular, Esrange Space Center should be further developed, to enhance the ability to be a major center for space activities of strategic importance to Europe. (9/2)

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