March 14, 2016

India to Launch 25 Foreign Satellites in 2016-17 (Source: Aviation Week)
India will launch 25 foreign satellites this year and next year using its indigenous launch vehicle as it strives to increase its presence in the global space launch market.
Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has signed agreements with clients in seven countries.

The launches will include 12 from the U.S., four from Germany, three from Canada, three from Algeria and one each from Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia, Jitender Singh, India’s junior minister for atomic energy and space, told Parliament. (3/11)

Space Keeps Us Safe as Air Travel Rises (Source: Space Daily)
ESA and UK satellite operator Inmarsat are forging ahead with the development of air-ground communications via satellite as part of Europe's plan to keep our skies safe as air traffic increases. A new partnership between ESA and Inmarsat secures the modernisation of Air Traffic Management (ATM) and will build on developments already under way in Europe.

This Iris Service Evolution will identify the technical, commercial and operational requirements of the satcoms part of the Single European Sky ATM Research programme, which promises to boost efficiency, capacity and performance of air traffic management worldwide. (3/13)

Human Influence on the Climate Dates Back to 1930s (Source:
Humans have triggered the last 16 record-breaking hot years experienced on Earth (up to 2014), with the new research tracing our impact on the global climate as far back as 1937. The findings suggest that without human-induced climate change, recent hot summers and years would not have occurred. It's also a conclusion that has been masked until recent decades in many areas by the wide use of industrial aerosols, which have a cooling effect on temperatures - another key finding of the paper.

"Everywhere we look the climate change signal for extreme heat events is becoming stronger," Dr King said. "Recent record-breaking hot years globally were so much outside natural variability that they were almost impossible without global warming." The record-breaking hot years attributable to climate change globally are: 1937, 1940, 1941, 1943-44, 1980-1981, 1987-1988, 1990, 1995, 1997-98, 2010, 2014. (3/13)

Global Warming Will Drive 'Extreme Rain' And Flooding, Study Finds (Source: Huffington Post)
Whether you live in Seattle or the Sahara desert, the time has come to invest in a good raincoat or umbrella, a new study suggests. As global temperatures continue to rise, more "extreme rain" events -- intense, cats-and-dogs downpours -- can be expected, said the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. And that, scientists said, means an increased flood risk, particularly for the world's driest regions. (3/9)

Proton Launches ExoMars at Baikonur Spaceport (Source: Reuters)
A Proton carrying the European-Russian ExoMars mission lifted off this morning. The Proton launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 5:31 a.m. Eastern carrying the ExoMars 2016 mission. Separation of the spacecraft from the Breeze-M upper stage is scheduled for more than ten and a half hours after liftoff. ExoMars 2016 consists of an orbiter designed to study trace gases, such as methane, in the Martian atmosphere, and a technology demonstration lander. (3/14)

Second ExoMars Mission, Planned for 2018, Could Slip to 2020 (Source: Tass)
Europe and Russia are still considering a possible delay in the second ExoMars mission. Officials with the European Space Agency and Roscosmos met Sunday about the 2018 mission, but did not reach a decision on whether to postpone its 2018 launch to 2020. The second ExoMars mission, which will land a rover on the surface, has been facing tight development schedules. (3/14)

Soyuz Launches Russian Remote Sensing Satellite at Baikonur Spaceport (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Russia launched a remote sensing satellite Sunday after a one-day delay caused by a last-second scrub. The Soyuz-2.1b lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2:56 p.m. Eastern Sunday and placed the Resurs P3 satellite into orbit. The launch was scheduled for Saturday, but was aborted in the final seconds before the scheduled liftoff because of an unspecified technical issue. The 5,700-kilogram Resurs P3 will provide multispectral data of the Earth, including images with a resolution of one meter per pixel. (3/14)

Russian Artifacts Exhibit Attracts Record Audience (Source: The Independent)
A display of Russian space artifacts is the most successful exhibition in the history of London's Science Museum. Officials said that the exhibition, which closed on Sunday after a six-month run, outperformed any other short-term exhibit in the museum's 159-year history. More than 140,000 tickets were sold for the exhibition, which included Soviet-era space hardware like capsules and an engineering model of a lunar lander. Many of the people attending the exhibit, museum officials said, traveled there from Russia. (3/13)

NASA Wants Your Help to Get to Mars in the Next 25 Years (Source: Engadget)
The idea of a manned mission to Mars got in the public consciousness in a big way over the last few years thanks in large part to Andy Weir's novel The Martian and its excellent big-screen adaptation. I'll admit that I haven't always been fascinated by space travel, but the book and movie captured my imagination in a way I didn't expect and made the SXSW panel "Surviving the Red Planet" a must-see.

The panel reinforced the fact that a true mission to Mars remains a long way off, but it also had a big focus on recruiting the talent out there to help NASA get there -- even if you're not a rocket scientist, or a scientist of any kind. Click here. (3/14)

Sea Dragons & Skycycles: The Life and Rockets of Bob Truax (Source: High Frontier)
While we currently recognize the achievements of Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, they are by no means the first to look towards providing a reusable rocket for commercial launch services. In the early years of the Reagan Presidency, new legislation sought to open space up to private enterprise.

A number of companies sprang up to explore the possibility of providing private launch systems with the aim of competing with NASA’s Shuttle for this predicted commercial payload boom. One such company was Truax Engineering headed by a true unsung visionary of American rocketry – Bob Truax.

Bob Truax passed away in 2010 at the age of 93 after a life in rocketry. His big rockets may never have flown but his influence remains strong amongst Big Dumb Booster enthusiasts who periodically propose concepts using elements of his ideas. Many of Truax’s concepts seem way ahead of their time, but the sheer scale of his ambitions for Sea Dragon feel slightly anachronistic to a Cold War era when huge space infrastructure projects were briefly, but seriously considered. Click here. (2/16)

MAVEN Observes Mars Moon Phobos in the Mid- and Far-Ultraviolet (Source: NASA)
NASA scientists are closer to solving the mystery of how Mars’ moon Phobos formed. In late November and early December 2015, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission made a series of close approaches to the Martian moon Phobos, collecting data from within 186.4 miles (300 kilometers) of the moon. Among the data returned were spectral images of Phobos in the ultraviolet. The images will allow MAVEN scientists to better assess the composition of this enigmatic object, whose origin is unknown. Click here. (2/29)

Mars, an Interactive Journey (Source: Washington Post)
For years, people have been dreaming about going to Mars. Now NASA has made the Red Planet a top priority. While the space agency works on developing the rockets and technologies that would take astronauts further than they have ever traveled before, The Washington Post has created a virtual reality experience to take you there today. Please join us on the journey, which was created using actual imagery from NASA’s rovers. Click here. (3/13)

Ambitious European-Led Mars Mission Ready for Liftoff (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Humankind’s largest emissary to Mars in a generation is set for blastoff in Monday, when Europe and Russia will dispatch a mission to unravel the mystery of Martian methane. The massive spacecraft — about the size of a large moving van — is counting down to launch at 5:31 a.m. EDT Monday on top of a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Monday’s launch has been more than a decade in the making. (3/13)

Where Do Rockets Come From? New Orleans (Source: Ars Technica)
Bobby Watkins hears it all the time. He's on a plane with some work materials, and a neighbor will notice the unmistakable "meatball." (That's a loving nickname for NASA's iconic blue spherical logo shared by many around his office.) Watkins isn't in transit to Houston, Florida, or Southern California, however, so onlookers inevitably ask, “You work for NASA? Why are you going to New Orleans?” Click here. (3/13)

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