November 16, 2015

Carson: Space Requires "Renewed Attention" (Source: CSPnet)
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson says he supports space exploration, but offered few policy details. Carson, speaking Saturday at a conference of convenience store retailers and suppliers in Scottsdale, Arizona, said that "important scientific discoveries have come from the nation’s past endeavors in space," and that those programs required "renewed attention." The report didn't state if Carson, a frontrunner in a number of recent polls for the Republican nomination, provided additional details about his space policy views. (11/16)

Russia Delays Progress Mission (Source: Tass)
Russia's space agency has confirmed a one-month delay in the launch of the next Progress mission. Roscosmos announced Saturday that the launch of the first Progress-MS spacecraft, an upgraded version of the current Progress-M cargo spacecraft, is now scheduled for Dec. 21, one month later than previously planned. The Roscosmos statement gave no reason for the delay, although the head of RSC Energia said late last month the delay was linked to completing work to address the failed launch of a Progress cargo spacecraft on a Soyuz-2 rocket in April. (11/16)

SLS Rocket Could Help Scientists Answer Big Questions (Source: Aviation Week)
NASA is building the massive Space Launch System (SLS) to send its astronauts on their way to Mars, but its powerful throw weight can help ground-bound explorers, too. Astronomers calculate that with a big enough space telescope, they can sample the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars—exoplanets—for the signatures of life. Launching such an observatory could be a job for the SLS. Planetary scientists, too, are interested in using the SLS to hasten deep-space robotic exploration. (11/16)

Hungary Becomes ESA's 22nd Member State (Source: ESA)
The Hungarian flag is now flying alongside those of ESA’s other Member States, after Hungary formally became ESA’s 22nd Member State on 4 November. The Agreement on Hungary’s accession to the ESA Convention was signed on 24 February 2015. (11/15)

Consumers Win in a Competitive Space Race (Source: North Denver Tribune)
Several companies are working to launch massive satellite constellations into space to provide super-fast Internet virtually anywhere on Earth. Two of the leading firms advancing this plan, OneWeb of Great Britain and U.S.-based SpaceX, share the same goal — to bring broadband Internet to billions of people who lack access. But it remains unknown whether the new era of space-based connectivity will be spurred by healthy competition or regulatory turf wars over satellite spectrum.

OneWeb, a startup based in Britain’s Channel Islands that plans to launch 600-700 satellites by 2019 has acquired the support of satellite makers like Airbus, would-be launch providers like Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and several other major corporations.

SpaceX, meanwhile, has advantages of its own. As the world’s fastest-growing launch service provider, the aerospace company plans to launch 4,000 satellites within five years. SpaceX already has built complex satellites in-house. And in January, Google and Fidelity announced a $1 billion bet on the continued success of SpaceX. (11/14)

Big Island Group Reaches for the Moon (Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald)
As the debate about the future of Mauna Kea — and whether one of the world’s largest telescopes should be built there — continues to simmer, a Hawaii Island organization is quietly working to place a telescope on another mountain high above the Earth.

The International Lunar Observatory Association, a small but ambitious organization based in Waimea, is raising money to land a 2-meter telescope on the moon, establishing what would be the first semi-permanent observatory on its surface.

ILOA founder and director Steve Durst, a historian turned space exploration enthusiast, said he sees the project as a way for humanity to fulfill its destiny of becoming a “multiworld species.” The organization’s goal is to land the small telescope on Malapert mountain at the moon’s south pole, with data being transmitted back to Hawaii for use by astronomers and students. (11/15)

China to Launch Dark Matter Satellite in Mid-December (Source: Xinhua)
The Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE) Satellite, developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), is expected to be launched at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in mid-December. DAMPE, the first satellite in a CAS space science program, and its carrier Long March 2-D rocket left Shanghai Saturday, heading for Jiuquan in northwest China's Gansu Province.

The satellite and carrier rocket are fully prepared for blast-off after passing the inspection and approval of the CAS. It will be the 26th mission for the Long March 2-D rocket. DAMPE is one of the first four scientific satellites employed in the CAS space program. It will observe the direction, energy and electric charge of high-energy particles in space in search of dark matter. (11/14)

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