February 7, 2016

North Korea’s Rocket Launch Triggers Missile-Defense Moves (Source: Wall Street Journal)
North Korea’s long-range rocket launch sparked international condemnation and prompted Washington and Seoul to formalize talks over deploying an advanced missile shield to South Korea, a move strongly opposed by China. (1/7)

How Would Asteroid Mining Work? A Visual Guide (Source: The Guardian)
With outer space mining increasingly likely to become reality, firms are drawing up exploration plans. Here’s how one of them, Deep Space Industries, will tackle the job. Click here. (2/6)

Editorial: No Sense in Flushing Investment in Spaceport America (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
It is disappointing but not surprising that state lawmakers have cut the funding requested by Spaceport America for operations in the upcoming fiscal year by more than half, trimming it down to $1 million. Lots of people supporting worthy causes will be disappointed this year when the final budget come out.

Development of the Virgin Galactic spacecraft suffered a tragic setback with a fatal crash in 2014. Testing has resumed, and it is hoped they will be ready to start by next year or in 2018. But it won’t happen at Spaceport America unless we can keep the facility open for the next couple of years.

But it is important to remember we have a $220 million investment in this facility. It is an investment we believe can still pay benefits for the state in the future in bringing high-paying jobs to the spaceport and boosting local tourism. We share frustrations over the wait for Virgin, as well as local issues such as the delay in getting a southern road built to the spaceport. But we believe it makes absolutely no sense to flush away that investment over concerns or frustrations with current management. (2/7)

Moonwalker, Outspoken UFO Enthusiast Ed Mitchell Dead At 85 (Source: Forbes)
Edgar Mitchell, 85, died in a Lake Worth, FL, hospice after a brief illness Feb. 4, the day before the 45-year anniversary of his lunar landing. Of the dozen humans who have walked on the moon, that leaves just seven still alive.

In a culture obsessed with fame and faux celebrity, perhaps Mitchell did not rise to the glib mediocrity of say, a Donald Trump, the Kardashians or a past Super Bowl ad. Then again maybe it was the fact that Mitchell, in addition to his stellar astronaut credentials, was outspoken about the controversial subject of UFOs. Ask any pilot or credible witness who has seen something – it is a no-no to report it. (2/7)

Russia Launches Another GLONASS Navsat Atop Soyuz Rocket (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
A Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket thundered into space from Site 43/4 at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Archangelsk Region of Russia. Its payload was the latest GLONASS-M satellite for the country’s homegrown GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS). Liftoff took place at 7:21 p.m. EST on Saturday Feb. 6 (0:21 GMT on Sunday Feb. 7). (2/7)

Space Companies Restore Florida's Status As Nation's Launch Pad (Source: Fortune)
The Sunshine State will host as many launches this year as during the Apollo-era. Commercial spaceflight companies like SpaceX and ULA plan to launch more than 30 rockets from Florida this year, nearly doubling last year’s rocket traffic along Florida’s famed space coast. Driven by both government-backed science and military missions and climbing demand for commercial satellites, the area’s launch schedule is on pace to rival the headiest days of the space race.

Editor's Note: It's not unusual for such a large number of launches to be on any recent year's initial manifest. But every year the number shrinks substantially as technical delays take their toll. This year's final number will depend largely on whether SpaceX is able to increase their launch tempo. (2/5)

Florida Dem Candidate to Replace Marco Rubio in Senate is a Strong Space Supporter (Source: Florida Politics)
U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a Democratic candidate for Florida’s U.S. Senate seat, said Friday that he supports broad but efficient development of a commercial space program and also thinks the U.S. government needs to keep pursuing space for military and intelligence support.

Murphy on Friday was the first U.S. Senate candidate this year to meet with Space Coast business leaders in a closed-door assessment of space policy and development, organized by the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, in Melbourne. He spoke with FloridaPolitics.com afterward. Meetings with other Senate candidates are in the works.

He said he came away impressed by the progress of commercial space, heavily funded by NASA and Florida, in helping companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Moon Express and others establish programs. Yet he also suggested commercial space must and likely would become more efficient. Click here. (2/5)

Mars or the Moon? NASA Must Pick One Manned Mission Due to Lack of Funding (Source: Sputnik)
NASA appears to be incapable of simultaneously launching a manned mission to both the moon and Mars, due to a row of technical issues, a lack of financing from Washington and the absence of a clear plan for their space exploration program.

A panel of experts revealed that NASA is capable of developing only one major human spaceflight mission at a time, and must make a tough choice between projected flights to Mars and the moon. The announcement was made during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday. (2/6)

North Korea Moves Up Planned Rocket Launch To Next Week (Source: NPR)
North Korea has announced it will be firing a rocket into orbit next week — moving up a launch originally planned for later this month. Pyongyang told the U.N. International Maritime organization the launch will be held between Feb. 7 and 14. It had previously been scheduled for sometime between Feb. 8 and 25. (2/6)

Hawaii Judge Sends TMT Back to Land Board (Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald)
A judge on Thursday cleared the way for a new round of hearings by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea. The Hilo Circuit Judge instructed the attorney for Mauna Kea Anaina Hou and several other appellants to prepare an order vacating a May 5, 2014, ruling that the permitting process employed for the $1.4 billion observatory project by BLNR was valid and the appellants due process rights weren’t violated by the process. (2/6)

Space Center Houston Drives Greater Houston Economy, Jobs (Source: Space Center Houston)
The growth of a major attraction is making a big impact. A new economic study reports Space Center Houston has a $73 million annual economic impact on the greater Houston area and plays a significant role in generating jobs and millions of dollars in personal income.

“The museum plays a vital role in the region by bringing tourism dollars and stimulating the workforce,” said the center’s President and CEO Richard E. Allen Jr. “Globally, it is inspiring creativity and innovation in people from all over the world. With our hands-on educational programs, we’re exciting young minds and inspiring them to think about a possible future career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.” (2/5)

What a Space Pioneer Can Teach Businesses About Success (Source: Phoenix Business Journal)
All of us understand instinctively what a pioneer is. Those adventurous folks who keep pushing boundaries in order to transform life as we know it. In the realm of planetary exploration, spacecraft design and celestial navigation, no one better fits that description than Robert Farquhar, who passed away last October at the age of 83.

Bob was the real deal — a visionary and true genius in his field. Before he came to work for us at KinetX Aerospace, he worked at Lockheed, NASA and the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. A man of great tenacity, he wasn’t afraid to take calculated risks and never took no for an answer, especially when people didn’t give him a good enough reason why something couldn’t be done. Click here. (2/5)

Space Florida: Aerospace is Thriving with Support From Governor and Legislature (Source: Space Florida)
Today, week, when Florida Space Day participants visit the legislature as they have for well over 20 years, Space Florida would like to take the opportunity to thank the Governor and Florida legislature for their tremendous support of the industry through the power of Florida’s unique economic development toolkit. The aerospace industry in Florida is thriving, with much more to come.

Since inception through June 2015, Space Florida, through the policy and financial support of the state, has created more than $600 million in Florida labor income with over 1900 high wage jobs created to date and 7095 future jobs committed. At present 26 major projects have resulted in $128 million in capital investments with those companies having invested an additional $1.2 billion of their own capital within the state. (2/3)

China Conducts Final Tests on Most Powerful Homegrown Rocket (Source: Space Daily)
China's largest and most powerful rocket the Long March 5 underwent final tests at the Wen-chang Satellite Launch Center in Hainan province. The rocket's first flight will be conducted in September, according to a senior project manager. The Long March 5 is China's latest and most technologically advanced rocket. The tests were conducted for more than 130 days of September last year. (2/7)

North Korea Fires Long-Range Rocket Carrying Satellite (Source: Sputnik)
North Korea has launched a long-range rocket from a launch site in the country’s northwest, media reported Sunday. The rocket is believed to have range of over 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles). Earlier this week, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) confirmed it had received North Korea’s notification of plans to launch a satellite between February 8 and 25. Pyongyang later changed the launch dates by one day. (2/7)

Falcon Heavy in 2016, Astronauts in 2017 (Source: Florida Today)
According to SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX still plans to debut its heavy-lift Falcon Heavy rocket at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport (at LC-39A) sometime this year, and to fly a test of its Dragon crew abort system for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Shotwell said the company will launch astronauts in 2017. (2/6)

What a Space Pioneer Can Teach Businesses About Success (Source: Phoenix Business Journal)
All of us understand instinctively what a pioneer is. Those adventurous folks who keep pushing boundaries in order to transform life as we know it. In the realm of planetary exploration, spacecraft design and celestial navigation, no one better fits that description than Robert Farquhar, who passed away last October at the age of 83. Click here. (2/5)

Editorial: New Mexico Has Too Much Invested to Give Up on Spaceport (Source: Albuquerque Journal)
The reality is that anticipated revenues haven’t materialized because the fledgling commercial space industry hasn’t taken off as quickly as hoped. Anderson projects the spaceport will be self-sustaining within a year of regular Virgin Galactic flight activity.

While the state waits for that to happen, taxpayers are left propping up the Spaceport, which has security, maintenance and administrative needs whether it’s used by enough clients or not. That’s a hard expense to swallow, considering the many other worthy competitors for state funding.

Yet, having come this far and investing this much, New Mexico can’t afford to simply abandon Spaceport America. Some amount of new funding or still more budget cuts will be needed as the state tries to find new customers and hopes for greater success by the companies trying to privatize space travel. (2/6)

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