November 9, 2015

Social and Networking Event for Space Industry on the Space Coast (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club Florida (NSCFL) Committee in association with Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is sponsoring a Holiday Social and Networking Event on Wednesday, December 9, 4 – 7:30 pm, Fish Lips (upstairs), Port Canaveral.
The event, which is open to the public, is $5.00 per person that includes drink tickets, food and surprises. It offers an opportunity for those who have not previously attended a meeting to come and learn about the NSCFL’s 2016 calendar of events and enjoy the holiday fellowship. Guests are encouraged to bring a canned food item to donate to a local Sharing Center. Door prizes will be awarded. You must RSVP to attend; to register visit (11/9)

Perlan CubeSat Contest (Source: Teachers in Space)
How would you and your students like the opportunity to send a science payload to the edge of space? Teachers in Space has teamed up with Perlan ( to bring space science directly into the classroom. Perlan has developed a glider deigned to soar at altitudes over 90,000 feet. This will set the world record for a non-powered manned vehicle. What’s cool for educators is that inside the sailplane is a payload bay that can carry up to 4 CubeSat sized experiments. Click here. (11/9)

Astronauts Dodge Ammonia on Risky Spacewalk (Source: Space Daily)
Two US astronauts successfully dodged highly toxic ammonia flakes during a risky spacewalk Friday to repair a cooling system at the International Space Station. Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren floated out of the space station almost an hour ahead of schedule but encountered a small leak early on and soon fell behind.

The goal for Friday's spacewalk was to complete the final repairs to a system that broke down about three years ago, by restoring the external ammonia cooling system to its original configuration, the space agency said. While the duo finished most of their plumbing tasks outside the orbiting lab, they were unable to complete a key part of the job involving the retraction of a backup radiator. (11/6)

UP Aerospace Launch Demonstrates Staged Payload Ejection (Source: Space Daily)
Spaceport America announced the successful launch of an UP Aerospace SpaceLoft rocket carrying several scientific and engineering experiments. The SpaceLoft commercial research rocket was launched within the dedicated 2 1/2-hour launch window, and flight data indicate the rocket attained a maximum altitude of approximately 120.7 km/74.98 miles. The parachute recovery system brought the rocket and its payloads safely back.

The payloads were recovered intact 49.62 km/30.83 miles downrange on the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range as planned. This is the first mission in which UP Aerospace demonstrated the capability to eject separate payloads that require independent re-entry into the atmosphere. Three separate parachutes provided soft landing of payload components. (11/9)

Global Partnerships in Orbit Support Economic Growth (Source: Space Daily)
In November, we are putting the "international" in the International Space Station by focusing on the global partnerships that enable the out-of-this-world orbiting laboratory. These same partnerships also are supporting economic development of low-Earth orbit by creating a growing commercial marketplace in space.

An exciting side note to all of this is that on Nov. 2, we celebrated 15 years of continuous human presence aboard the space station. Follow us throughout the month to learn how this international collaboration is making a lasting impact off the Earth, for the Earth. (11/9)

Boeing, Lockheed Martin Protest $55B USAF Bomber Award (Source: Law360)
Boeing Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. launched a protest against the U.S. Air Force’s $55 billion award for the next-generation long-range strike bomber to Northrop Grumman Friday, saying the service’s cost assessments for the program missed the mark. (11/9)

Feds Say URS Bid To Nix NASA False Claims Suit at KSC 'Misguided' (Source: Law360)
Federal prosecutors on Friday called efforts by URS Federal Services to duck a False Claims Act suit alleging more than 1,000 fraudulent vehicle maintenance claims for NASA cars “misguided," arguing in Florida federal court the complaint has all the specifics it needs to survive.  The government's September complaint against URS and subcontractor Yang Enterprises is over an alleged $387,000 scheme to bill NASA for unnecessary tire replacements. (11/9)

ATK Launch Systems Scores $790M ICBM Support Contract (Source: Law360)
The U.S. Department of Defense on Thursday announced a $790 million contract award to ATK Launch Systems Inc. to support modifications and changes being made to the propulsion subsystems of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Under the cost-plus-fixed-fee maximum ceiling contract, ATK Launch Systems will perform sustaining engineering support for the U.S. Air Force-controlled ground-based nuclear weapons along with support services for program management, the Department of Defense said. (11/9)

Watch Out, SpaceX: ULA Is Building a Reusable Rocket, Too (Source: Motley Fool)
If SpaceX is successful in building a reusable rocket, and ULA doesn't have a viable alternative, ULA could effectively be rendered obsolete. That's bad news for both Boeing and Lockheed Martin: According to Boeing's 2014 annual report, equity earnings primarily attributable to ULA came to $211 million in 2014, and according to Lockheed Martin's 2014 annual report, that number was approximately $280 million for Lockheed in that same year.

Plus, the current EELV block-buy contract will cost the Air Force $11 billion over the next five years, which directly benefits both Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

Consequently, ULA is working on a next-generation launch system that'll not only address some of Musk's points of criticism but also compete with the F9R. Pointedly, ULA states, "With the introduction of the Vulcan, ULA's next-generation launch system, ULA is transforming the future of space launch -- making it more affordable, accessible, and commercialized -- and innovating to develop solutions to the nation's most critical need: reliable access to space." (11/9)

The EM Drive, NASA's 'Impossible Engine,' Highlights Our Greatest Failing (Source: Forbes)
The EM Drive uses only conventional materials and reactions, and yet purports to violate the conservation of momentum, a cornerstone of both Einstein’s physics and of all quantum and classical theories. Zero point energy and perpetual motion both violate the laws of thermodynamics and have generally been abandoned, yet occasionally an outrageous claim will come through and gain international attention, with headlines proclaiming that the laws of physics have been overturned.

Despite the EM Drive undergoing repeated tests by multiple teams (of dubious credibility) that give only marginally positive results (thrusts of microNewtons) that are not only right at the sensitivity of the equipment measuring it, but that have not been able to be scaled up, it continues to fascinate many in the general public.

You’ve got non-experts fooling themselves and one another, and that’s all you’ve got. When someone claims to be an “inventor” who has an invention that purports to defy the laws of physics, there are really only two possibilities: 1) You are dealing with someone who has confused themselves by constructing something that they do not understand, and are essentially sending this device to others and saying, “what did I do, here?”; or 2) You are dealing with a scam artist, who’s deliberately trying to fool the general public. (11/9)

Astronaut Plays Bagpipes on International Space Station (Source: BBC)
A US astronaut has played a set of Scottish-made bagpipes on the International Space Station to pay tribute to a colleague who died. Kjell Lindgren played Amazing Grace on the pipes after recording a message about research scientist Victor Hurst, who was involved in astronaut training. It is thought to be the first time that bagpipes have been played in space. They were made for Mr Lindgren by McCallum Bagpipes at the company's factory in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. (11/7)

Poof! The Planet Closest To Our Solar System Just Vanished (Source: National Geographic)
Scientists just made a planet disappear. According to a new study, Alpha Centauri Bb, a world in the nearest star system to us, was merely a ghost in the data. The planet, thought to be perhaps similar in mass to Earth, was hailed as a “landmark” when it was announced in 2012. The discovery got people excited about finding neighboring worlds that might harbor life in the Alpha Centauri system 4.3 light-years away.

Now it will serve as a cautionary tale for planet hunters, a reminder that planets as small as Earth are hard to find. Distinguishing subtle clues from background noise is incredibly difficult, as shown in a new paper recently posted at and due to appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Even the team that originally reported the planet agrees. “This is really good work,” said Xavier Dumusque of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “We are not 100 percent sure, but probably the planet is not there.” (11/7)

Astronomers Think the Largest Planets of All Could be Hiding from View (Source: Science Alert)
Spotting planets isn't quite as simple as pointing a telescope out into space: astronomers have to make all sorts of calculations about light, distance and gravity to try and piece together the jigsaw of the universe and work out where planets are located, and the further from Earth you look the more difficult this becomes. Now new research reported by the Atlantic suggests giant planets 10 times the size of Jupiter could have been hiding from us.

These planets, a fresh theory suggests, could be creating the gigantic spiral disks that appear after stars are formed in space. We've known about these circumstellar disks for some time, mixtures of gas and dust that can be seen a few million years after a star is born, but now astrophysicists think huge planets are part of this cosmic dance as well... we just can't actually see them. (11/7)

No comments: