January 11, 2016

Air Force Plans Next Generation GPS (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Air Force moved a step closer Friday to a competition for the next set of GPS 3 satellites. The Air Force issued a request for proposals Friday for study contracts to companies to demonstrate their ability to build the satellites. The first contracts, valued at up to $6 million each, will be awarded this spring. The competition for a fixed-price contract to build up to 22 GPS 3 satellites is expected in 2017 or 2018. (1/11)

European States Not Committed to ESA's Moon Plan (Source: Space News)
ESA member states don't appear to be in a hurry to back a proposal by its leader for exploration of the Moon. ESA released a video last week describing how the next destination for human space exploration was the Moon, and ESA Director-General Johann-Dietrich Woerner has discussed leading development of an international "Moon Village" there. However, ESA's members have not yet endorsed that vision, and the combination of competing priorities and limited budgets could work against adoption of any proposal at the next ministerial meeting in December. (1/11)

Air Force Space Chief Could Ascend to Bigger Job (Source: Defense News)
The head of Air Force Space Command is considered a leading candidate to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff. Gen. John Hyten is one of three generals widely believed to be front-runners to succeed Gen. Mark Welsh later this year. Hyten would be a "dramatically nontraditional" choice given his lack of piloting experience, but Secretary of Defense Ash Carter "has shown a propensity for choosing out of the box nominees" for leadership posts in the Army and Navy. (1/11)

Delaware North Trademarking of Atlantis Causes Stir (Source: CollectSpace)
The company that operates the visitors center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center has trademarked the name of a shuttle orbiter. Delaware North filed for a federal trademark for "Space Shuttle Atlantis," the orbiter on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in 2013, a filing that came to light only after a lawsuit on a unrelated dispute involving the company. Delaware North defended the trademark as "typical business practice" and said it would surrender them should it lose the contract to run the complex. (1/11)

Spaceport America Launches Gateway to Space Venue and Event Brand to Marketers and Location Scouts (Source: SpaceRef)
Spaceport America announced the launch of its new venue and event brand "Gateway to Space." With the tagline - Earth's ultimate space venue – Spaceport America's new venue and event team are leveraging the unique one-of-a-kind destination the world's first purpose-built, commercial spaceport has become.

The offer to location scouts and experiential and event marketers is a palette of possibilities for product launches, corporate retreats, press events, commercial photo shoots, film production, film screenings, racing events, sporting events, aviation events, drone races, art events, dream weddings, educational events and conferences.

Nestled alongside the national historic trail, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the futuristic spaceport is barely visible when approached by road vehicle or by foot. When approached by air, the awe-inspiring feat of what it must have taken to create a spaceport designed to send people and payloads to space from the remote high desert and rugged landscape below is clear. (1/11)

Accelerating the Next, Next Space Telescope (Source: Space Review)
As NASA works to complete the James Webb Space Telescope for launch in less than three years, it’s also beginning work on the next major space observatory after it. Jeff Foust reports on the accelerated start of the WFIRST mission. Click here. (1/11)
A Snapshot of MOL in 1968 (Source: Space Review)
Recently declassified documents have provided new insights into the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory program that was cancelled in 1969. John Charles examines what those documents tell us about the management and structure of the program. Click here. (1/11)
Making Moon Day Memorable (Source: Space Review)
One of the challenges for the space community is outreach to the general public. Ken Murphy describes the successes and setbacks he’s encountered in one such effort, a “Moon Day” event in Dallas. Click here. (1/11)

Can We Use Magnetic Fields to Make and Manipulate Gravity? (Source: Space Daily)
A Belgian research calls for scientists to use magnetic fields to make, measure, manipulate and use gravitational fields -- both for scientific study and technological innovation. Currently, scientists are content to study gravity passively, observing the gravitational forces of Earth and other large bodies in space -- stars, black holes, planets, dwarf planets, comets, asteroids.

Füzfa wonders: Why travel so far from home, when we can make gravity right here in our backyard? If scientists could create controllable gravitational fields, they could bend space-time and test Einstein's theory of general relativity. (1/8)

Medical Risks Connected with Space Travel Researched as Tourist Flights Take Step Closer (Source: ABC)
With the reality of commercial space flights no longer light years away, there is a growing interest in space medicine. Doctors from across the country have travelled to Adelaide to better understand the medical risks associated with space travel. The Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine is holding a three-day conference covering the medical challenges surrounding humans in space. (1/11)

Spaceport America: Q & A with Christine Anderson (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
Some 15 months after the fatal crash of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo during a test flight in Mojave, California, the company that will eventually anchor Spaceport America is ready to unveil and name the next version of the vehicle that is expected to carry tourists to low-orbit from the facility in southern Sierra County, north of Las Cruces, built at a cost of roughly $218.5 million of taxpayer-funded money.

We are ramping up our marketing activities and expect to earn about $4 million in fiscal year 2017, but this is just not enough to operate the spaceport. Thus, we are asking the legislature for $2.8 million. We feel fiscal year 2017 is a bridge year as we believe our anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, will be flying in fiscal year 2018. In addition, VG’s rent goes up from $1 million per year to about $3 million per year, per their lease. Click here. (1/11)

Russia Cuts Spending on Servicing ISS by $400 Million (Source: Tass)
Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos will cut spending on servicing the International Space Station (ISS) in 2016-2015 by almost 30 billion rubles. Citing the final draft of the Federal Space Program (FSP) submitted by Roscosmos to ministries, over the next decade Russia will allocate 252.1 billion rubles ($3.43 billion) for flight control, servicing the Russian segment of ISS and implementing a program of scientific experiments.

Russia is ready to spend around 26.8 billion rubles ($360 million) per year on servicing ISS. In spring of 2013, then-head of National Manned Spaceflight Center at Roscosmos Alexey Krasnov said that Russia will have to spend around $1 billion (at the exchange rate of 2013) annually on servicing ISS. (1/11)

Space Zinnias Rebound From Space Blight on ISS (Source: Universe Today)
Zinnia experimental plants growing aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have staged a dramatic New Year’s comeback from a potential near death experience over the Christmas holidays, when traces of mold were discovered.

And it’s all thanks to the experienced green thumb of Space Station Commander Scott Kelly, channeling his “inner Mark Watney!” After suffering from a serious case of space blight on the space station, the ‘Space Zinnias’ growing inside the orbiting outposts Veggie facility are now on the comeback trail from space based trials and tribulations. (1/10)

Telescope Protester Found Not Guilty After Trial in Hawaii (Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald)
A man arrested while blocking telescope construction crews on a Hawaii mountain was acquitted Friday after a trial that was conducted in Hawaii. Kahookahi Kanuha was among dozens of protesters arrested during attempts to resume construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. One of the reasons protesters oppose the $1.4 billion project is that many Native Hawaiians consider the mountain sacred.

Kanuha’s case was postponed because he insisted on defending himself in Hawaiian. The trial went forward Friday with a Hawaiian interpreter. Judge Barbara Takase found him not guilty of obstructing. County prosecutors didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment about the verdict. The prosecution called two witnesses, a state Department of Land and Natural Resources official and the officer who arrested Kanuha. (1/9)

Arianespace: Next-Gen Ariane 6 Still The Answer To SpaceX Falcon 9 (Source: Aviation Week)
Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium sees no need to change its strategy following the dramatic recovery by U.S. rival SpaceX of a Falcon 9 rocket core stage. “It’s very complicated to see how this is going to evolve and to assess the economics of launch vehicle reusability,” Arianespace Chairman and CEO Stephane Israel told reporters. “It would be a mistake for us to put our heads down and chase somebody else’s strategy.”

SpaceX’s Dec. 21 launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 11 small communications satellites to low Earth orbit marked the debut of the company’s most powerful iteration to date of the medium-lift vehicle. It also culminated in the first successful recovery of a Falcon 9 first stage, which landed intact and on target at Cape Canaveral after delivering its upper stage and payload to the edge of space.

Israel, whose company launched more than half of all commercial satellites orbited in 2015, using the heavy-lift Ariane 5, says SpaceX’s move toward reusable launch vehicles was well-known within the European Space Agency (ESA) when it approved development of an Ariane 5 successor in December 2014. (1/6)

Russia Raises ISS Orbit (Source: Tass)
Russia’s Progress M-29M space carrier, docked with the International Space Station (ISS), switched on its engines on early Monday raising the station’s orbit by approximately three kilometers (1.9 miles), a spokesman for the Mission Control told TASS. "The operation to adjust the station’s orbit was successfully carried out," the spokesman said in an interview with TASS. "The orbit’s altitude was raised by approximately three kilometers." (1/11)

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