February 8, 2016

Florida Tech Accepts Mars Environment Chamber from KSC (Source: FIT Current)
An email came from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center recently, asking Florida Institute of Technology if they would like to take something off their hands: A Mars Environment Chamber that had been languishing in a spare-part junk yard.

Daniel Batcheldor, department head for Florida Tech’s Collage of Science is leading the effort to deliver the chamber to campus. The insulated pressure vessel was made by KSC around 2005 to simulate Martian and Lunar environments for research and instrument testing but funding constraints halted its development. Click here. (12/21)

Russian Official Slams Allegations of Passing Rocket Technology to North Korea (Source: Sputnik)
The South Korean media reported that some parts of the rocket launched last week from North Korea could have come from Russia. In an interview with the Kommersant newspaper on Monday, Rogozin called the allegations of Moscow passing technology onto Pyongyang "complete nonsense and drivel, which is not even half-percent true." (2/8)

NASA Electric Propulsion Technology Could be the Future of Aviation (Source: PBS)
At Edwards Air Force Base in California, NASA has been testing a new technology called distributed electric propulsion. "DEP could mean a fundamental shift in how we design aircraft," said NASA researcher Mark Moore of the Convergent Electric Propulsion Technology Sub-Project based at Langley Research Center. (2/3)

China Tests Electric Airplane in Extreme Cold (Source: CNS)
Liaoning Ruixiang General Aviation Co. put China's first domestically-built electric airplane, the RX1E, through a series of flight tests at extremely low temperatures. "There is no need to be concerned about performance in low temperature as the lithium battery has gone through a thermal insulation process," said company spokesman Zhang Liguo. (2/5)

Now Elon Musk Wants to Build an Electric Plane (Source: Fast Company)
As if his cars, rockets, transportation systems, and batteries weren’t enough, now Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk wants to build an electric plane. "I have been thinking about the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) electric jet a bit more," Musk said. "I think I have something that might close. I'm quite tempted to do something about it." (2/5)

North Korea Now Has Two Satellites in Orbit (Source: AP)
After its launch on Sunday, North Korea now has two satellites orbiting Earth. The second Kwangmyongsong, or "Shining Star," satellite, passed almost directly over California's Levi's Stadium about an hour after the Super Bowl was over. "The pass happened at 8:26 p.m., after the game. I would put it down to nothing more than a coincidence, but an interesting one," said Martyn Williams. (2/8)

Filling in the Details (Source: Space Review)
Passage of a new commercial space bill last year marked the end of one effort, but the beginning of another. Jeff Foust reports on the various reports required by the bill and its implications for future commercial space legislation, either this year or beyond. Click here. (2/8)
The Naming of Onizuka Air Force Station (Source: Space Review)
For decades, military space programs were controlled out of a California facility later renamed after an astronaut killed in the Challenger accident. Joseph T. Page recalls the development, and ultimate demise, of Onizuka Air Force Station. Click here. (2/8)
Rethinking the National Security Space Strategy (Source: Space Review)
Given the growing reliance on, and growing threats to, satellites, some argue that the US government should take a different approach to safeguarding their security. Christopher Stone discusses why the current deterrence approach should be replaced with an alternative. Click here. (2/8)
Preserving our Space Heritage (Source: Space Review)
While some lament the destruction of archaeological artifacts during conflicts in the Middle East, most are unaware of how more recent space-related artifacts are falling apart elsewhere. Anthony French argues that those space relics, on Earth and in space, should be treated with the same respect as more ancient ones. Click here. (2/8)

Photos Show Aftermath of Chinese Rocket Toxic Debris Impact (Source: SpaceFlight 101)
Photos emerged on the Internet of the aftermath of this week’s successful launch of a Long March 3C rocket carrying China’s next Beidou-3 third-generation navigation satellite to orbit. Shown in the images is the scenery immediately following the impact of the twin boosters of the Long March rocket with a large cloud of toxic propellant residuals rising from the wreckage of the spent boosters.

Spectacular photos were captured in Panxian County, about 370 Kilometers downrange from the launch site, where the boosters impacted. The photos, published via the Chinese social media service Weibo, show the aftermath of the booster’s return to Earth in the form of a very large cloud of residual, unburnt propellant released upon impact of the boosters.

The orange-brown color is caused by Nitrogen Tetroxide, used as oxidizer on the boosters, first and second stage of the Long March 3C rocket. Nitrogen Tetroxide, as well as the Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine fuel, are toxic substances and their release can be harmful to humans and the environment. Click here. (2/6)

Indian Man Could be First Recorded Human Fatality Due to a Meteorite (Source: Ars Technica)
Indian officials say a meteorite struck the campus of a private engineering college on Saturday, killing one person. If scientists confirm the explosion was due to a meteorite, it would be the first recorded human fatality due to a falling space rock. According to local reports, a bus driver was killed on Saturday when a meteorite landed in the area where he was walking, damaging the window panes of nearby buses and buildings. Three other people were injured. (2/7)

FAA Releases 2016 Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation (Source: FAA)
The size of the global space industry, which combines satellite services and ground equipment, government space budgets, and global navigation satellite services (GNSS) equipment, is estimated to be about $324 billion. All of this activity would not be possible without orbital launch services. Global launch services is estimated to account for $6 billion of the $324 billion total.

Most of this launch activity is captive; that is, the majority of payload operators have existing agreements with launch service providers or do not otherwise “shop around” for a launch. About a third of this $6 billion represents internationally competed, or commercial, transactions. In 2015, there were a total of 86 orbital launches conducted by service providers in seven countries. Click here. (2/7)

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