January 1, 2016

Space Educators to Gather in Houston (Source: NSCFL)
Make plans to attend the 22nd Annual Space Exploration Educators Conference, to be held Feb. 4-6, 2016, at Space Center Houston. This conference is for all K-12 educators. Activities presented use space-related themes to teach across the curricula. The activities can be used for science, language arts, mathematics, history and more.

Attend sessions hosted by scientists and engineers working on exciting projects like the International Space Station and the exploration of Mars and other parts of our solar system. Hear from astronauts who will be “leading the charge” in exploration. Attend sessions presented by educators and receive ready-to-implement classroom ideas. Attendees can earn up to 24 hours of continuing professional education credit. Click here. (12/31)

Preparing for a Private-Sector Launch Industry in Japan (Source: Japan Times)
The government is to create a framework to promote private-sector investment in the space rocket industry while protecting the public interest, setting rules on technical specifications and on operators’ liability in the event of an accident, Kyodo News has learned.

Draft bills for the Space Activities Act and Satellite Remote Sensing Act, to be submitted to the regular Diet session from Jan. 4, will require the government to scrutinize launch plans before granting case-by-case permission. Under the Basic Plan on Space Policy set in early 2015, the government aims to expand the size of the space industry to around ¥5 trillion over the next decade.

The government would also oblige companies to pay compensation in the event of accidents. Victims would receive government compensation if private operators are unable to cover all the damages, according to the drafts. Currently, the only entity that has a space program is the state-sponsored Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. (12/31)

Elon Musk `Stepping on Toes' in Space Race, Russia Official Says (Source: Bloomberg)
Elon Musk’s success in launching reusable space rockets means Russia must make its own projects cheaper as the cash-strapped country struggles to retain its share of the market, the country’s defense-industry chief said. “The main goal today is to make space cheap,” said Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who’s in charge of defense.

“Competitors are stepping on our toes. Look at what billionaire Musk is doing with his projects. This is very interesting, well done, and we treat this work with respect.” At the same time, Russia’s space industry has been hit by systemic under-financing and a brain drain after the collapse of the Soviet Union, while also suffering a series of botched space launches in recent years. Russia is one of the global leaders in the multibillion-dollar civilian space business. (12/31)

European Space Agency Just Gave Itself a Moon Base Deadline: 2040 (Source: Inverse)
The European Space Agency has been fairly vocal about its big vision for bringing people back to the moon at some point in the future. Last July, ESA chief Johann-Dietrich Woerner expressed his desire to build a “moon village,” a research station built and operated by both space agencies and private companies. Now, he’s following up. The ESA is dedicating time and energy to this goal and plans to have Woerner taking in Earthrises daiquiri in hand by the end of the 2030s.

Those intentions were the focus of the ESA’s two-day symposium entitled, “Moon 2020-2030 – A New Era of Coordinated Human and Robotic Exploration,” held at the European Space Research and Technology Center in Noordwijk, Netherlands. Over 200 scientists and agency experts from 28 countries gathered over December 15 and 16 to discuss exactly what how the ESA and the world ought to treat moon exploration and research over the course of the next decade.

Instead of sending astronauts to Earth straight from Mars, we could build infrastructure on the surface of the moon as well keep active facilities operational in cislunar space and lunar orbit. We wouldn’t have to stock a spacecraft with everything it needs for the trip all at once. Those resources - like food and more importantly fuel — could be picked up at the moon to lighten the load. (12/31)

South Korea Joins Hands with NASA to Launch Lunar Exploration Next Year (Source: Business Korea)
The South Korean government deliberated and voted for the “Stage 1 Lunar Exploration Development Plan.” In a bid to reduce the trial and error associated with the nation’s first lunar exploration and strengthen its space exploration technology competence, it will also promote technological cooperation with NASA.

The ministry will provide some space inside of a test orbiter to NASA, and it will receive technology assessment on the development of data processing systems such as lunar orbiter trace and deep space navigation, deep space network establishment and lunar images, and consultation support from NASA.

In order to build trust for lunar exploration technological cooperation between the two countries, they are planning to enter into an international agreement on cooperation details and role assignment between the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and NASA by the first half of 2016. (12/31)

You've Got Space Mail: New Service Offers Daily Space Photos in Your Inbox (Source: Space.com)
They've invited the public to name exoplanets and radio messages to Mars. Now, the space-research funding company Uwingu is offering to deliver the universe to your inbox every day for a year. Daily Space Explorer, Uwingu's new subscription service, emails its members a new digital high-definition space or astronomy image each day. Selected by Uwingu's experts, each photo includes a detailed, informative caption and a forum to discuss the image with other subscribers. (12/31)

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