December 21, 2015

Air Force Captain Wins 2016 National Defense Space Award (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club Florida Committee has named Air Force Captain John Richmond the 2016 Forrest S. McCartney National Defense Space Award recipient. He will be recognized at the January 12, luncheon meeting held at 11:30 am at the Radisson at the Port in Cape Canaveral. Guest speaker at the event is Colonel Shawn Fairhurst, 45th Space Wing Vice Commander, who will provide an update on the 45th Space Wing and Eastern Range. (12/20)

The Moon in the Crosshairs (Source: Space Review)
Dwayne Day continues his examination of CIA monitoring of the Soviet Union's manned lunar program by reviewing what the CIA learned of Soviet development of the N-1 rocket and its launch site from 1965 to 1968. Visit to view the article. (12/21)

A Little Something for Almost Everyone (Source: Space Review)
Congress passed a final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2016 last week, giving NASA nearly $19.3 billion, more than $750 million than requested. Jeff Foust analyzes the budget and finds that, at least for this year, there are far more winners than losers among the agency's programs. Visit to view the article. (12/21)

Space Commercialization: Finally Ready for Liftoff? (Source: Space Review)
The promise of a rapid expansion of commercial space activities has existed for years, but has it finally arrived? Jonathan Coopersmith examines the prospects for greater commercial uses of space based on discussions at a recent conference. Visit to view the article. (12/21)

GPS Origins Myths as Propounded by Stephen Johnson and Annie Jacobsen (Source: Space Review)
The Global Positioning System is one of the most commonly-used space-based services today, but its history is often misrepresented. Richard Easton takes issue with how the development of GPS is portrayed in two recent books. Visit to view the article. (12/21)

Russia Launches Cargo Craft to Space Station (Source:
A Progress spacecraft is on its way to the station after a launch early today. A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress MS-1 cargo spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:44 a.m. Eastern. The spacecraft, carrying 2.5 tons of supplies for the station, is scheduled to dock with the Pirs module of the ISS at 5:31 a.m. Eastern Wednesday. It replaces another Progress cargo spacecraft that left the station early Saturday. (12/21)

Arianespace Concludes Record 2015 (Source: Space Daily)
With 12 successful launches over 12 months, Arianespace's mission performance in 2015 was one for the record book - concluding with last week's Soyuz flight that further expanded the European Galileo global navigation satellite system. (12/21)

Russia, China Sign Range of Space Industry Agreements (Source: Space Daily)
Russia's space agency Roscosmos signed a cooperation agreement on Thursday with China National Space Administration. The document was signed at the 20th regular meeting of Russian and Chinese heads of government, during Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's three-day visit to Beijing.

The sides signed a cooperation agreement on navigation technologies and the use of the Russian satellite navigation system Glonass. Russian state-owned nanotechnology company RUSNANO and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation also signed a strategic partnership agreement.

Among other documents, Russia and China also signed a strategic cooperation agreement on the development of Russian company I-Teco's cloud computing and data processing center, the other parties to the deal were the China-Eurasia Economic Cooperation Fund and the Huawei company. (12/21)

ESA and Arianespace Sign Deal to Launch James Webb Telescope (Space Daily)
ESA and Arianespace have signed a launch services contract for the James Webb Space Telescope, to be orbited by an Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch is planned for October 2018. The JWST is a joint project of NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency. (12/21)

No Water Required: Mars Gullies Caused by 'Dry Ice'? (Source: Discovery)
More than a decade ago, NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor returned stunning images of gullies shaped like water-carved streams on Earth, raising the prospect that Mars may be a friendly haven for life. But appearances can be deceiving. New research shows that the Martian gullies were much more likely to be sculpted by seasonal outbursts of dry ice -- frozen carbon dioxide -- than water. (12/21)

SpaceNews 2015 Year in Review (Source: Space Review)
The drama and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. government launch enterprise and its incumbent provider, United Launch Alliance, in 2015 stood out in contrast to the situation in Europe, which after some early hiccups now appears on track with development of the next-generation Ariane 6 rocket and an upgraded version of the smaller Vega.

Meanwhile, a number of startups planning huge constellations of low-orbiting satellites emerged from the woodwork, with OneWeb leading the pack with $500 million in investment and satellite construction and launch contracts. The U.S. Export-Import Bank’s brush with death was another noteworthy event in a year that, as usual, provided plenty. Some, but by no means all, of them are recognized here. (12/21)

Ceres' Bright Spots Explained (Source: Cosmos)
Ceres is half comet, half asteroid and its bright spots are made from Epsom salt. Click here. (12/21)

On the Intersection of Space Travel and Religion (Source: SFM)
Military advantage, scientific knowledge, and commerce have thus far been the main motives for human exploration of outer space. Touching the Face of the Cosmos explores what may be the best motive of all, largely untapped: the desire of every human being, essentially spiritual, to understand more about our place in the universe, how our lives on Earth are inextricably part of that bigger picture.

Drawing on leading scientists, religious thinkers, and science fiction writers--including a new interview with John Glenn, and an essay by Director of the Vatican Observatory Guy Consolmagno, SJ--Paul Levinson and Michael Waltemathe have assembled a volume that puts space travel and religion on the map for anyone interested in outer space, theology, and philosophy. Click here. (12/20)

NORAD Set to Track Santa (Source: NORAD) For 60 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa's flight. Follow Santa as he makes his magical global journey on December 24/25. Click here. (12/20)

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