November 20, 2015

JWST Taking Shape at Goddard (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the next-generation space telescope often touted as Hubble's successor, is taking shape inside the cleanroom at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Recently, Goddard’s engineers successfully completed two deployments for the telescope’s side portions of the backplane structure that fold up, called “wings”. They will also start installing all of the JWST’s primary flight mirrors onto the structure. (11/19)

Mars Helicopter Considered for Upcoming Mission (Source: Space News)
NASA's next Mars rover could also feature a helicopter. Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a speech Thursday that his lab is studying adding the small helicopter to serve as a scout, helping the rover chart a path. JPL has been working on the Mars helicopter concept for some time, and plans to test a full-scale version of it in a Mars atmosphere chamber next March. No decision, though, has been made on including it on the mission. (11/19)

NASA Partnerships Advance ‘Tipping Point’ Space Capabilities (Source: NASA)
Through the "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies” solicitation, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate selected nine companies to mature technologies beyond their “tipping point” with the goal of enabling private industry to develop and qualify them for market, stimulating the commercial space industry while delivering technologies and capabilities needed for future NASA missions and commercial applications.

NASA also secured partnerships with 13 U.S. companies through the Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity (ACO) solicitation, "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Emerging Space Technology System Capabilities.” Through these partnerships, NASA provides technical expertise and test facilities to aid industry partners in maturing key space technologies.

Editor's Note: None of the 22 total projects are from Florida. Click here. (11/19)

Embry-Riddle Partners with Florida High School on Aerospace Center (Source: Ocala Star-Banner)
Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Florida, will open its Aerospace Career Academy in January, thanks to a partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The school will offer pilot ground school and principles of aeronautical science courses this winter, with the entire curriculum to be launched in fall 2016.  (11/17)

Satellite Sensors Would Deliver Global Fire Coverage (Source: Space Daily)
Wildfires can wreak havoc on human health, property and communities, so it's imperative to detect them as early as possible. That's why NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is developing a network of space-based sensors called FireSat in collaboration with Quadra Pi R2E, San Francisco.

FireSat would be a constellation of more than 200 thermal infrared imaging sensors on satellites designed to quickly locate wildfires around the globe. Once operational, FireSat would represent the most complete monitoring coverage of wildfires ever from space. (11/20)

Citizens in Space and Starbase Operations Complete Flight-Test Campaign (Source: CIS)
Over the past several months, Citizens in Space and Starbase Operations have developed and tested a technique to simulate the landing profile of the XCOR Lynx spacecraft using an L-39C Albatros jet trainer. During the test flights, pilots configured aircraft controls to achieve approach angles and sink rates similar to those of a Lynx spacecraft. The test approaches were conducted at an abandoned military air field in Nevada. (11/19)

Energia CEO Counters Boeing’s $111M Sea Launch Claims (Source: Law360)
The CEO of Energia Logistics U.S. defended the satellite launching venture from claims it was created solely as a ploy by its Russian state-controlled parent to avoid paying Boeing $111 million for work getting the satellite company's predecessor off the ground, saying Energia is seeking customers and has dozens of employees. (11/18)

ULA to Give Small Research Sats Free Rides to Space (Source: Denver Business Journal)
Regular free rides to space. That's what Colorado's ULA will offer researchers with small satellites known as 'cubesats' starting in 2017. ULA and University of Colorado officials on Thursday announced the program, which the rocket company says could radically broaden scientific research in space.

"We are going to more than double the capacity for cubesats, and it's going to transform their opportunity," said Tory Bruno. He unveiled the cubesat initiative at Colorado’s state Capitol with Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and CU-Boulder Chancellor Phil DiStefano on hand. Starting in early 2017, ULA's Atlas V rockets will have a standardized payload container that can deploy as many as 24 cubesats on each launch.

But it still usually costs $100 million or more to launch a U.S. rocket into orbit, which makes the tiny satellites a secondary payload to the main satellite being delivered. That can cause logistical problems, limit the orbital placement for cubesats and, still, the cost of launch strains the budgets of many research institutions. (11/19)

On Small Satellites, NGA Putting its Money Where its Mouth Is (Source: Space News)
The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency plans to spend tens of millions of dollars studying ways to use data from emerging startups that are deploying constellations of small imaging satellites. NGA Director Robert Cardillo said the intelligence agency would request funding for the program as part of its fiscal year 2017 budget request, now being finalized. (11/19)

Key Lawmaker Aims to Delay Phaseout of Russian Rocket Engine (Source: USA Today)
A key lawmaker wants to slow the Pentagon’s phaseout of Russian-made rocket engines used to launch military satellites into space. Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican and a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, plans to add language to a massive federal spending bill that would allow United Launch Alliance (ULA) to keep buying RD-180 engines from Moscow until a domestic alternative is available, Shelby's office confirmed Thursday. (11/19)

Paris Attacks Pressure French Defense Budget as New Space Programs Ramp Up (Source: Space News)
French President Francois Hollande’s affirmation that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance would be top priorities after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris comes at a time when France’s already-stressed defense budget is committed to major capital spending on three space programs.

The 2016 budget now midway through French parliamentary review is likely to face substantial revision in the coming weeks as the government assesses the financial cost of the measures Hollande outlined in a Nov. 16 address to a rare joint session of the French parliament. (11/19)

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