February 2, 2016

Hawaii Event Recognizes Onizuka as Museum Prepares to Close (Source: West Hawaii Today)
The Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center’s last event on Sunday attracted astronauts, family, friends and first-time visitors. “The last 30 years, it’s really gone by fast,” said Ellison’s brother, Claude, in opening remarks to a packed room, stairwell and platform.

The museum honors Ellison Onizuka, one of seven astronauts killed in the Challenger disaster on Jan. 28, 1986. The museum also sought to expand interest in science learning and space exploration. Although the museum will remain open into March, many people came because as it was the last event for the museum. (2/1)

Camden County Could Become Commercial Georgia ‘Space Coast’ Site (Source: WABE)
Georgia could soon have its own space coast. Officials in Camden County, in the southeastern corner of the state, hope to build a commercial spaceport where companies could launch rockets. This is one of several spaceports either being proposed or already being built around the country as rural areas hope to cash in on the private space race.

Camden County administrator and lead Spaceport Camden booster Steve Howard says whenever he presents the idea to an audience, he always starts off with a question: “What did Camden County, Georgia and Frank Sinatra have in common in 1965?” Then he pulls out a Life Magazine with Sinatra on the cover and flips to page 73, where there’s a full page article about a rocket test that happened in Camden County, conducted by the chemical company Thiokol, which had a plant there. (2/1)

Successful Launch Expands China’s Beidou Navigation System (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
A new addition to China’s Beidou navigation network launched Monday on top of a Long March 3C rocket, which injected the satellite into an orbit more than 13,000 miles above Earth several hours later. The Beidou spacecraft will test inter-satellite communications links with other members of the Chinese navigation constellation and support the system’s growth from regional coverage over China to a global positioning provider. (2/2)

UK Spaceport Bid is Poised on Launchpad (Source: The Courier)
Leuchars is very much in it to win it as the race to host Europe’s first commercial spaceport heats up this week. It is T minus two days and counting until six sites still in the running to host the out-of-this-world facility go head-to-head at a conference in London. And even though no decisions will be made at the event on Wednesday, the gathering is expected to give some indication as to who the strongest contenders are likely to be. (2/1)

Campbeltown Case for Spaceport in Contest This Week (Source: Forargyll)
The privatization of space exploration isn’t new. Much of the US’ work in space is already accomplished through government contracts with private companies: Lockheed Martin won the contract to build and launch the New Horizons probe, and NASA chose SpaceX and a few of its rivals to resupply the ISS through 2024. Still, the primary objective for these projects was to serve the interests of science and discovery rather than the goals of the companies, which is why a growing trend toward commercialization is so notable.

Billion-dollar government investments into the space program have long been rationalized in academic terms, as steps toward figuring out humankind’s place in the universe. Economic spillovers stemming from space innovation — satellite technologies, memory foam mattresses and Michael Phelps’s swimwear, to name a few — served as retroactive justifications.

But for many, a deeper philosophical justification came from proving that a liberal market economy could match up in greatness to the government-led system of the Soviet Union. As Communist powers began making great strides in space exploration in the mid-20th century, President Kennedy pushed to keep pace. Despite limited market incentives to expand space exploration, it was the US that got to the moon first — a major ideological win for the liberal world. Click here. (2/1)

Space Travel is Nearing the Bounds of Affordability (Source: Tech Insider)
Perhaps within the next five to ten years, an average Joe could check off "experience space travel" from their bucket list, according to Tom Shelley, the president of Virginia-based company Space Adventures. That's all due to a number of factors, including the increase in companies working on different ways to get people there, and recent breakthroughs in reusable rockets by companies like Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX. Click here. (2/1)

NASA’s ‘Super Guppy’ Delivers EM-1 Orion to Kennedy Space Center (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
One of NASA's more unique aircraft touched down at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. Safely cocooned within the aircraft's cavernous interior - was the pressure vessel for the Orion spacecraft selected to carry out Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) - the first integrated flight of Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. (2/1)

NASA Stole the Rocket Countdown From a 1929 Film (Source: Atlas Obscura)
In the mid-1920s, Germany had a bad case of rocket fever. Still getting over the trauma of World War I, and unsure how to reconcile the power of new technology with the power of old-school spirituality, the public turned to space travel as a literal escapist fantasy, writes media scholar Katharina Loew.

The surprise bestseller of the decade was a popularized version of Die Rakete zu den Palnetenräumen (By Rocket into Planetary Space), a Transylvanian high school teacher’s rejected dissertation that argued scientifically for the possibility of space travel. What followed was a historic collaboration between art and science. For each obstacle that faced the spacefaring characters—rocket design, oxygen shortages, zero gravity—Oberth would calculate the most probable solution, and Lang and his crew would make it happen.

As the astronauts lie in their bunks, eyes wide and jaws tense, the screen cuts to an announcement: “Noch 10 Sekunden-!”—10 seconds remaining! The mission leader grips the firing lever—”Noch 6 Sekunden!” The numbers get bigger, filling the screen: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, JETZT! Now! The lever lowers, and the rocket blasts out of the water. Nearly a hundred years later, it still gets the heart pumping. (2/1)

Election 2016: Keep Tabs on the Presidential Candidates' Space Plans (Source: Space.com)
You can now keep track of everything the 2016 presidential candidates say about spaceflight and exploration, thanks to the nonprofit Planetary Society. The Planetary Society is cataloguing the space-related statements made by Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and other contenders as the presidential primary election events get into full swing. Click here. (2/1)

Todd May Named Marshall Space Flight Center Director (Source: NASA)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Todd May director of the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. May was appointed Marshall deputy director in August 2015 and has been serving as acting director since the Nov. 13, 2015 retirement of Patrick Scheuermann.

As director, May will lead one of NASA's largest field installations, with almost 6,000 civil service and contractor employees, an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion and a broad spectrum of human spaceflight, science and technology development missions. (2/1)

What Will Power Tomorrow's Spacecraft? (Source: BBC)
Power systems are a critical part of a spacecraft. They need to be able to operate in extreme environments and be utterly reliable. Yet, with the ever-increasing power demands of more complex spacecraft, what does the future hold for their power technologies?

The latest mobile phones can barely last a day without the need to be plugged into a power socket. Yet the Voyager space probe, which was launched 38 years ago, is still sending us information from beyond the edges of our solar system. The Voyager probes are capable of efficiently processing 81,000 instructions every second, but the average smartphone is more than 7,000 times faster. Click here. (2/1)

China Shares Vivid Photos of the Moon's Surface with the World. Why Now? (Source: CSM)
To see hundreds upon hundreds of true color, high definition photos of the moon's surface, just ask China. The typically secretive China National Space Administration recently made images from its successful moon landing available to the public for download.

Though the images were captured back in December 2013 by cameras on the Chang’e-3 lander and Yutu rover, they demonstrate a still-impressive achievement: China's mission to the moon's surface was the first successful soft landing in 37 years, and China was only the third country to achieve it, after Russia and the United States. Click here. (2/1)

NASA and Facebook Offer Taste of What it's Like to Stand on Mars (Source: CSM)
NASA, with the help of Facebook, has made it possible to view a 360 degree video of the Martian terrain through the eyes of its intrepid rover, Curiosity.

The space agency used technology created by the social network to string together 57 images taken by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover while it was examining dunes along the Bagnold field on the Red Planet, which is along the rover's route up the lower slope of Mount Sharp. These dunes surround the mountain's northwestern edge, with some as tall as a two-story building and wide as a football field, according to NASA. Click here. (2/1)

University of Calgary Receives Funding Boost for Space Science (Source: CTV News)
Canada's Space Agency is investing $1.4 million in funding for space research and four projects at the University of Calgary will benefit from the awards. The awards were given to four Earth-Space projects at the University of Calgary, three at the University of Alberta and one at the University of Waterloo. (2/1)

NASA Considers Europa Mission Alternatives (Source: Space News)
NASA is considering launching a congressionally mandated Europa lander separately from a spacecraft already under development. The fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill directs NASA to fly a mission to the icy moon of Jupiter that consists of an orbiter and a lander, launching them on an SLS by 2022. NASA officials said Monday that adding the mass of the lander to the "clipper" mission under development would not only require an SLS, but force the mission to use a slower trajectory to reach Jupiter. One option under consideration is to continue with development of the clipper mission for launch in 2022, to be followed by a lander mission. (2/2)

Orion Arrives at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The next Orion spacecraft flew to Florida Monday inside a cargo airplane. NASA used a Super Guppy aircraft to transport the Orion pressure vessel from New Orleans, where it was put together at the Michoud Assembly Facility, to the Kennedy Space Center. The pressure vessel will be outfitted with the spacecraft's other key subsystems in the coming months at KSC. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch on an uncrewed test flight in late 2018 on an SLS. (2/1)

Russians Skeptical of Reusable Launchers (Source: Tass)
The main Russian space research institute is skeptical about the prospects for reusable launch vehicles. A spokesman for TsNIIMash said that the institute's research suggests the economic feasibility of reusable vehicles "is not obvious" despite recent technical achievements by Blue Origin and SpaceX. "The designers are still to demonstrate the real costs of production and of making reusable stages for re-launching," the institute's spokesman added. (2/2)

Bezos Still Ready to Launch Trump (Source: Nieman Lab)
If Donald Trump is looking to make a getaway from Iowa, Jeff Bezos is still offering a ride. Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, held a town hall meeting with staff Monday where he reiterated an offer he made to Trump in December: a seat on a future flight on one of his Blue Origin launch vehicles. "My offer to send Donald to space still stands," Bezos said, according to tweets from several Post employees attending the meeting. Trump, who finished second in the Iowa Republican Party caucuses Monday night, had criticized Bezos and his various business ventures back in December. (2/2)

Face it, America: The Space Shuttle was a Total Failure (Source: Fusion)
If you ever get to see one of the retired space shuttles up close, you will be struck by how rickety it looks. Just go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles or the Intrepid Museum in New York. Walking under the wings or by the cockpit’s windows, you get the unmistakable impression that this incredible piece of engineering is, at best, sketchy.

It is a miracle, and not in a good way. It is surprisingly tiny and appears cobbled together, with slightly deformed bulkheads, uneven rivets and burned tiles on its underside. In all, it seems custom-built and handmade and not nearly as sturdy as an airliner. Click here. (2/1)

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