December 3, 2015

The Benefits of a UK Spaceport (Source: Spaceport Newquay)
Space tourism is not particularly interesting to those in favor of a spaceport - there is more interest in a visitor center for watching launches. Click here. (12/2)

UAE Educates Students About Space Exploration (Source: The National)
The United Arab Emirates has launched a monthlong event to educate students about space. Officials say educating and engaging students in the subject is critical as the UAE works toward more space research.

“As the UAE is moving towards space research, we want to educate children – to create awareness about such programmes – because this will help open their eyes towards research and development,” said George Itty, chief executive of Nahtam, the Abu Dhabi-based social responsibility organization in charge of the event. (11/30)

Europe to Study Semi-Reusable Launcher for Small Satellites (Source: Via Satellite)
The French Office National d’Etudes et Recherches Aerospatiales (ONERA) is leading a study with partners in six European nations on the feasibility of a low cost system for launching small satellites. The three-year research program is known as the Air Launch space Transportation using an Automated aircraft and an Innovative Rocket (ALTAIR) project.

ALTAIR is under the European Union H2020 research and innovation program, and has the goal of demonstrating the industrial practicality of a launcher for 50 to 150 kg satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) altitudes between 400 and 1,000 kilometers.

ALTAIR will use a semi‐reusable “air launch” system, whose carrier will be a reusable automated aircraft, releasing an expendable launch vehicle at high altitude. The launch system is expected to use environmentally friendly hybrid propulsion, advanced lightweight composite structures, avionics and an upper stage providing mission versatility. The architecture of the ground systems will also target cost‐effective operations. (12/2)

PlanetiQ Picks Indian Rocket for Weather Satellite Launch (Source: Space News)
PlanetiQ will launch its first two commercial weather satellites on an Indian PSLV. The company announced Thursday that its first two smallsats will fly as secondary payloads to an 800-kilometer orbit on a PSLV slated for launch in November 2016. PlanetiQ is developing a constellation of a dozen satellites that will use GPS radio occultation to collect atmospheric profiles that can be used to refine weather forecasts. The company is one of several planning such satellite systems, with the hope of selling the data to companies and government agencies. (12/2)

Europe's Vega Rocket Launches LISA (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
A Vega rocket successfully launched ESA's LISA Pathfinder spacecraft overnight. The Vega lifted off from Kourou, French Guiana on Wednesday night, placing the spacecraft into an elliptical parking orbit. The spacecraft will later maneuver to the Earth-sun L-1 Lagrange point to carry out its mission to demonstrate technologies that could be used by future spacecraft to detect gravitational waves. (12/2)

LISA en Route to Gravitational Wave Demonstration (Source: Space Daily)
ESA's LISA Pathfinder lifted off on its way to demonstrate technology for observing gravitational waves from space. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime, predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, published on 2 December 1915.

Einstein's theory predicts that these fluctuations should be universal, generated by accelerating massive objects. However, they have not been directly detected to date because they are so tiny. For example, the ripples emitted by a pair of orbiting black holes would stretch a million kilometre-long ruler by less than the size of an atom.

LISA Pathfinder will test the extraordinary technology needed to observe gravitational waves from space. At its core is a pair of identical 46 mm gold-platinum cubes separated by 38 cm, which will be isolated from all external and internal forces acting on them except one: gravity. (12/3)

Russia Cuts Space Budget (Source: Moscow Times)
Russia's space agency is facing another cut to its long-term budget plan. Roscosmos director Igor Komarov said the agency now expects to get 1.5 trillion rubles ($22.5 billion) from 2016 through 2025, less than half of its original plan for that period. Komarov didn't state what that reduced budget meant for ambitious Russian space exploration plans announced in recent months, including concepts for a new space station or human missions to the Moon. (12/2)

Red Tape Could Delay European Launch on Russian Rocket (Source: Tass)
A paperwork problem could delay the launch of a European Earth science satellite on a Russian rocket. A Rockot is scheduled to launch the Sentinel-3A satellite this month from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. However, an industry source said that the Russian military and Khrunichev, the company that provides the Rockot, had not finalized the paperwork to allow the pre-launch processing activities to start. The launch could slip to late January, since work at the space center will stand down from Dec. 30 to Jan. 10 because of the New Year's holiday. (12/2)

Kelly: Plants Help With Station Life (Source: Florida Today)
Astronaut Scott Kelly said Wednesday that growing plants on the ISS has helped him deal with the "sense of isolation" during his year-long stay on the station. In a videoconference with members of the House Science Committee, Kelly, who has been on the station for more than eight months, said he has enjoyed recent experiments to grow lettuce on the station. "There's the psychological aspect of having something else green up here that's living that we can take care of, that we can see grow that we can utilize later as food," he said. (12/2)

China's Space Prowess Could Challenge Decades of US Dominance (Source:
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) recently released its 2015 annual report to Congress, and it includes an intriguing look at the China's space and counterspace programs. The 2015 report, released in November and provided to Inside Outer Space by the USCC, provides information on and analysis of developments in the U.S.-China security dynamic, U.S.-China bilateral trade and economic relations, and China's evolving bilateral relationships with other nations.

In an introduction to Section 2, which includes the analysis on China's space program, the report notes that China "has become one of the top space powers in the world" after decades of high prioritization and steady investment. "China's aspirations are driven by its assessment that space power enables the country's military modernization and would allow it to challenge U.S. information superiority during a conflict," the report states. (12/2)

Pope Blesses Kid-Built Satellite Bound for Space (Source:
A tiny satellite built by grade schoolers may get a little help from above during its launch toward the International Space Station Thursday. STMSat-1, a cubesat built by students at the St. Thomas More (STM) Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia, is scheduled to blast off aboard Orbital ATK's uncrewed Cygnus cargo spacecraft Thursday from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in Florida.

The primary payload of the bantam satellite, which measures 4 inches (10 centimeters) on a side and weighs just 3 lbs. (1.4 kilograms), is a camera. But the cubesat also carries a golden-cross medallion that was blessed by Pope Francis, NASA officials said. (12/2)

Out of the World Gift Ideas for Space Lovers (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
e holidays are here and Go for Launch has compiled a list of gifts to earn your way into the heart of the space lover in your life. From astronomy binoculars to space-inspired clothing we've got you covered for ideas for all ages and prices.

In Florida, we don’t get to see the beautiful lights known as the aurora borealis. This light projector will turn any room into a realistic replica of the Northern Lights. Great for kids rooms to get them asking questions about what causes the aurora lights (Hint: Solar wind). Click here. (12/2)

Hawaiian Court Revokes Permit for Planned Mega-Telescope (Source: Nature)
Hawaii's supreme court has ruled that the construction permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) atop the mountain of Mauna Kea is invalid. The 2 December decision is a major blow to the international consortium backing the US$1.5-billion telescope, and a win for the Native Hawaiians who have protested its construction on what they regard as a sacred summit.

Hawaii's Board of Land and Natural Resources should not have approved the permit in 2011, the court said, because it did so before protestors could air their side in a contested case hearing. “Quite simply, the Board put the cart before the horse when it issued the permit,” the court decision reads. “Accordingly, the permit cannot stand.” (12/2)

ESA Wastewater Recovery System Picked as Key Climate Tech (Source: ESA)
An ESA-developed water treatment system has been chosen as one of a hundred top climate technologies to mark this week’s COP21 climate change summit in Paris. The selection was made in a special issue of France’s Environnement Magazine International to coincide with the 21st UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, which includes a Sustainable Innovation Forum. (12/2)

More Than Half of Purported Giant Alien Worlds May Not Exist (Source: Science)
When is an exoplanet not an exoplanet? A team of researchers, following a 5-year campaign investigating candidate alien worlds spotted by NASA’s Kepler mission, found that more than half of the giant exoplanets spotted by the orbiting telescope are not planets at all but a pair of stars orbiting each other, or a brown dwarf—or failed star (pictured)—orbiting another star.

Kepler identifies exoplanets by staring at a large number of stars for extended periods and waiting for their brightness to dip periodically when a planet passes in front of them. But these dips can be caused by a number of effects so need to be confirmed by other methods.

A team using the SOPHIE spectrograph on a 1.93-meter telescope at the Haute-Provence Observatory in France spent 5 years studying 129 of Kepler’s bigger candidates using a different method: looking for the slight movement of a star as a planet’s gravity tugs it around. As the researchers told the Extreme Solar Systems III conference in Hawaii today, nearly 55% of the candidates were false positives. (12/2)

Kendall Says Recompeting OCX is a Possibility (Source: Space News)
The Defense Department’s top acquisition official said he would consider re-opening the competition for the ground system for the Air Force’s next-generation GPS satellites. Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said the Raytheon-led Operational Control Segment, or OCX, program “is not executing where we’d like it to be,” according to a transcript of his remarks. (12/2)

Russia Is Planning To Build A Permanent Manned Base On The Moon (Source: Yahoo)
Russia’s space agency is planning to build a manned moon base - launching modules into space on six separate rockets. Russia plans to launch a lunar probe in 2024 which will scout possible locations - before landing a man on the moon in 2030.

Construction of the Luna 25 lander has already begun, the official state news agency Tass has reported. Once the components are in place, assembly of the moon base will continue over ten years. Moscow has previously said that it envisages the base being permanent. Last year, deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin said: 'We are coming to the moon forever.' (12/3)

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