October 1, 2015

Moonspike Launches Effort to Develop Lunar Rocket (Source: Moonspike)
We are happy to welcome you to the Moonspike engineering adventure, taking you and us to the Moon. We have spent most of 2015 preparing this launch and we are happy to finally let you all know about it. Moonspike aims to reach the Moon with a small, professional, dedicated team and this task is easy on paper – but real development is not. Hopefully you will find that we have presented a feasible plan as a starting point, and you will support us as we attempt to move this project off paper and into reality.

Moonspike will show progress and hardware quickly and weekly – if we get funded, this will not be a project which stays dormant, or shows only renderings, ideas and text. We know that the globe is packed with great minds and we invite you all to take part. Hopefully you will find it inspiring to see how an actual moon rocket is created and, if we succeed, finally launched. Click here. (10/1)

Investing in the Next Space Race (Source: Oxford Investment U)
If there is water on Mars and colonists can make a home there, I think we’re setting up for a good old-fashioned space race. A land rush on Mars could be a possibility. That sounds exciting, eh? And there are companies that will profit. Exploring Mars unlocks a whole planet full of potential. I hope we do it soon. It could be a very profitable journey for investors. Click here. (9/30)

Australian Broadband Satellite May Not Deliver What it Promises (Source: Crikey)
One of the most powerful forces in the world today, disruptive new technology, will destroy all of the hopes that rode into space on the rocket that launched the first of two Australian NBN National Broadband Network satellites toward geostationary orbits. Even the national broadcaster the ABC made this clear as it streamed the live launch of the first of two Sky Muster space based platforms from French Guiana.

There are well based mathematical reasons why the billion dollar investment to provide ‘high speed’ broadband access to 200,000 more remote subscribers with NBN internet access will not perform as well as hyped. Australian governments do not seek out ruthlessly impartial analysis of big spending projects, and the NBN seriously required such a reality check.

The inherent problem with geo-synchronous satellites is called latency.Unfortunately for those who use ‘the cloud’ for computing services, or are even attempting to conduct basic commerce over the web, those actions often involve servers on the far side of the planet. Anyone who has, like the writer, tried to use WordPress from a jet with internet access through a geo-synchronous communications satellite, will know that the process is mind numbingly slow and error prone. (10/1)

GPS III Launch Services RFP Released by Air Force (Source: GPS World)
The U.S. Air Force released a final Request for Proposal (RFP) for GPS III Launch Services on Sept. 30. Launch services include launch vehicle production, mission integration and launch operations for a GPS III mission scheduled to launch in 2018. Proposals are due back to the Air Force no later than Nov. 16 in accordance with the solicitation instructions. (10/1)

Major Repairs on Wallops Island Spaceport Completed (Source: Washington Post)
The Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority says major repairs to a launch pad that was damaged when a rocket exploded shortly after liftoff last fall have been completed. An unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff from Wallops Island on Oct. 28. The rocket explosion caused about $15 million in damage to the launch pad, which sits on a NASA facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. (10/1)

Tomorrow’s Space Suit: Personal “Gravity Pack” Comes Standard (Source: IEEE Spectrum)
After exiting the air lock, an astronaut uses the thrusters on her space suit to propel herself toward a nearby asteroid. With great care, she gets as close and as steady as she can in preparation for knocking a few samples off the surface. But with very little gravity to anchor her, the strike of her hammer throws her backward in an uncontrolled tumble.

This scenario may sound a bit comic, but it’s one that engineers will have to keep in mind as they design ways to once again send astronauts out beyond low earth orbit—to a piece of an asteroid brought close to the moon by a robotic spacecraft, according to NASA’s current plans; to other small bodies in deep space; and on long missions to what could be our generation’s ultimate destination—Mars. Click here. (9/30)

Swiss Space Systems Announces Partnership with UAE Company (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Swiss Space Systems (S3) – A satellite launcher for the Middle East Dubai, UAE / Payerne, Switzerland, the 30th of September, 2015 – Swiss Space Systems (Holding) SA, through its subsidiary S3 Middle East, announces major partnership with D&B Group to deliver access to space to the Middle East. The goal is to develop, manufacture, certify and operate unmanned suborbital shuttles to locally launch small satellites up to 250 kg by 2019. (9/30)

Google Lunar X Prize Down to the Sweet 16 (Source: Parabolic Arc)
With an end-of-the-year deadline looming for the Google Lunar X Prize to continue, the $30 million competition to land a private rover on the moon has shrunk in half to 16 teams from the original 33 or 34. At least one of the teams has to demonstrate that it has a firm launch contract in place by Dec. 31 for the competition to continue. If at least one team can show a contract this year, then the remaining teams in the competition will have until the end of 2016 to secure contracts in order to stay in the race. (9/30)

Lunar Mission One, Astrobotic Partner to Establish First Lunar Digital Archive on Moon (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Astrobotic Technology Inc. and Lunar Missions Ltd, the company behind the global, inclusive, not-for-profit crowd-funded Lunar Mission One, have signed a deal to send the first digital storage payload to the Moon. The payload will support Lunar Mission One’s ‘Footsteps on the Moon’ campaign, launched earlier today, which invites millions of people to include their footsteps – in addition to images, video and music – in a digital archive of human life that will be placed on the moon during Astrobotic’s first lunar mission. (9/30)

Could Prestwick Become Scotland’s First Spaceport? (Source: The Scotsman)
It was once Scotland’s window across the ocean, the base of all transatlantic flights to the United States and Canada. Today, Prestwick is a shadow of its former self and offers services to fewer than 20 destinations in Europe. But the airport on the Ayrshire coast could be welcoming tourists looking for a rather more adventurous trip if it is chosen as the launchpad for the UK’s first commercial space flights.

The UK Government is eager to expand the fledgling space industry and is asking for final bids from potential spaceports to be submitted by next year. It has set an ambitious target of winning 10 percent of the global market by 2030. (9/30)

India to Sex Up Sriharikota Spaceport (Source: mydigitalfc.com)
A day after launching the Indian space research observatory or mini-Hubble named Astrosat, the Center has given an in-principle clearance to Indian Space Research Organization to build a third satellite launchpad (SLP) and assembly line at the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh costing Rs 1,000 crore. The prime minister’s office (PMO) has given the go-ahead for building the third launchpad and assembly line as part of a larger plan to make ISRO a commercially-viable profit center.

The Union cabinet will shortly consider the proposal after ISRO puts together the technical configuration for the SLP and launch vehicle assembly line, to push Sriharikota as the world’s most cost-effective space industrial complex. (9/30)

UAE Space Agency Explores Ties with India (Source: Khaleej Times)
A delegation from the UAE Space Agency met officials of the Indian Space Research Organization to discuss possibilities of cooperation between the two space organizations. The UAE delegation included Chairman Dr Khalifa Al Rumaithi, Director-General Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, and a number of senior officials. During the visit, the UAE delegation learnt about the Indian space sector and ISRO programs including satellite launching capabilities, which have positioned India as a leading nation within the space industry. (9/30)

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