February 5, 2016

40 More Beidou Satellites for China (Source: Xinhua)
China plans to launch nearly 40 navigation satellites over the next five years. Officials said those plans include launching 18 satellites by the end of 2018 as China expands its Beidou system from regional to global coverage. China launched the 21st Beidou satellite on Monday. (2/3)

Foxx Calls for Predictable FAA Funding (Source: The Hill)
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Tuesday called for predictable funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, which will see its budget expire on March 31. "We're concerned obviously because we don't know what's on the other side of March," Foxx said. Today, the House of Representatives Transportation Committee is expected to make public its proposed funding bill for the agency. (2/2)

Pentagon Chief Says U.S. Keeping Eye on North Korea's Missile Program (Source: Reuters)
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday the U.S. military was keeping a vigilant eye on North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs, and was continually expanding its defenses against a possible missile attack by Pyongyang. Carter said the US was on track to expand the number of ground-based missile interceptors in Alaska and Hawaii to 44 from 30, and improve their quality, but no further interceptor expansion was planned for now. (2/4)

Feds Plead for 'Certainty' in FAA Funding (Source: The Hill)
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx pleaded Tuesday for "certainty" and "predictability" in the Federal Aviation Administration's funding as lawmakers are preparing to debate a new funding measure for the agency.  The House Transportation Committee is expected to unveil its bill to reauthorize the FAA's funding on Wednesday. The agency's funding is set to expire on March 31, and lawmakers are bogged down in a debate about a controversial plan to separate the nation's air traffic control system from the FAA. (2/2)

Experts Suggest NASA Should Probably just Scrap the Mars Mission (Source: Fusion)
Paul Spudis, a senior scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, came down especially harshly on the space agency. “America’s civil space program is in disarray, with many aspirations and hopes but few concrete, realizable plans for future missions or strategic direction,” he said, adding that NASA lacks what it needs to pull off the mission. Click here. (2/4) http://fusion.net/story/264210/science-committee-mars-hearing/

Galactic Center's Gamma Rays Unlikely to Originate from Dark Matter (Source: Space Daily)
Bursts of gamma rays from the center of our galaxy are not likely to be signals of dark matter but rather other astrophysical phenomena such as fast-rotating stars called millisecond pulsars, according to two new studies, one from a team based at Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another based in the Netherlands.

Previous studies suggested that gamma rays coming from the dense region of space in the inner Milky Way galaxy could be caused when invisible dark matter particles collide. But using new statistical analysis methods, the two research teams independently found that the gamma ray signals are uncharacteristic of those expected from dark matter. (2/4)

OneWeb Eyes Space Coast for Satellite Factory (Source: Florida Today)
A company with plans to launch a mega-constellation of 900 small satellites to expand high-speed Internet access around the globe is considering building the spacecraft here on the Space Coast. Sources confirmed OneWeb, which has partnered with Airbus Defense and Space to build the satellites, is the venture that Space Florida last week said was contemplating a “major aerospace presence” in Florida.

During a board meeting in Tallahassee that referred only to the potential deal’s code name, Project Sabal, Space Florida said the company wanted to build a $36 million manufacturing facility and could bring 250 jobs with an average salary of $86,000. The state has proposed contributing $17.5 million toward the facility where OneWeb’s small satellites, each less than 330 pounds, would be built at a rapid clip.

Editor's Note: OneWeb intends to use Virgin Galactic's satellite launcher to deliver the OneWeb birds into orbit. Manufacturing the satellites near the spaceport may make Florida the launch site of choice for Virgin Galactic...which should provide another reason for Florida to put incentive money on the table. (2/4)

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