March 19, 2016

What is the "Cape Canaveral Spaceport"? (Source: SPACErePORT)
The term "Cape Canaveral Spaceport" isn't merely an informal way to simplify the often confusing adjacent properties known separately as NASA's Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It is a legal term, established in Chapter 331.304 (1), which declares "The territory consisting of areas within the John F. Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station may be referred to as the “Cape Canaveral Spaceport.”

This designation was intended to allow Space Florida to perform its duties as a spaceport authority, in this territory and others similarly established in the statute, including Patrick Air Force Base, Eglin Air Force Base, Jacksonville's Cecil Airport and Cecil Commerce Center, and the Space Coast Regional Airport and its adjoining industrial and commerce parks. (3/18)

NASA’s Crumbling Launch Sites Are Like America’s Greek Ruins (Source: Slate)
In Roland Miller’s eyes, NASA’s abandoned launch pads are the modern American equivalent of Greek ruins, Mayan temples, and Egyptian pyramids. But unlike those ancient wonders, many of these monuments to the Space Age won’t be around for long. That’s why he photographed them. Click here. (3/18)

The $4 Billion Scheme to Recreate the Moon in Coachella (Source: Motherboard)
Next month, the Coachella Valley will be flooded with screaming fans looking to snap selfies and watch the second coming of LCD Soundsystem and Guns N’ Roses. When the crowds leave, they will leave behind a sleepy, dusty place. Pass through the midcentury-modern oasis of Palm Springs, continue past Indio and its now famous Empire Polo Club, and eventually you end up in the city of Coachella, where Michael Henderson wants to recreate the surface of the moon.

“We’re bringing space tourism to the masses,” Henderson said. Think of him as a less wealthy Richard Branson, looking to give ordinary people a taste of space travel without the thrill of weightlessness or the $250,000 price tag.

His dream is called Moon USA and it won’t come cheap. Many critics contend it’s not feasible. The proposal calls for developers and corporate investors to put down $4 billion to build a complex with a convention center, 4,000-suite hotel, health spa, beach club, golf course and even a university-affiliated science and technology campus. Click here. Editor's Note: This project was once planned in Florida or the Bahamas. (3/18)

How This Retired Astronaut Will Bring a ‘Transformative Experience’ to Space Tourism (Source: NY Observer)
Retired NASA astronaut Ron Garan has dedicated his life to the advancement of space exploration. Garan will now be the Chief Pilot for World View, a commercial balloon spaceflight company that will fly passengers to the edge of space to experience the awe of a global, unifying perspective.

Ron Garan is well known for his philosophical take on space travel or what he calls the “Orbital Perspective.” This idea, sometimes called the Overview Effect, was also promoted by late Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell and it describes the overwhelming experience of seeing Earth from space and the shift in perspective astronauts undergo while on their missions.

Now, Garan believes World View is the perfect company to help him continue his work and share his experience as an astronaut with the rest of humanity. “The reason why I left NASA was to figuratively transport people to that higher vantage point and now, through World View, I can literally transport people to that vantage point,” said Garan. (3/18)

Getting Away From It All in Space Might Be the Answer (Source: The News)
Space travel will be commonplace in 30 years –for £7,000 you’ll be blasted to the International Space Station for the holiday of a lifetime. After initially being frightened of travelling in a rocket, I think I’m coming around to the idea of space holidays. Today’s holidays can be very stressful occasions. If it’s a staycation, chances are the British weather will wreak havoc and you’ll probably spend hours stuck in massive traffic jams.

Foreign holidays also come with certain stresses. Normally you turn up at the airport to discover your flight has a six-hour delay, then once on board you spend three hours sitting next to a screaming child. Finally, when you arrive at your Mediterranean resort you discover your self-catering apartment is underneath a nightclub. (3/19)

NASA Shifts SDO Responsibility to Deputy Counsel (Source: National Law Review)
On March 8, 2016, a final rule changed the position of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (“NASA”) suspending and debarring official (“SDO”).  The SDO had been NASA’s Assistant Administrator for Procurement. The final rule reassigns the position to NASA’s Deputy General Counsel. Public comments were not accepted because NASA concluded that the change “affects only the internal operating procedures” of the agency. (3/18)

Three-Man Crew Launched to International Space Station (Source: CBS)
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying two cosmonauts and a veteran NASA astronaut blasted off from Kazakhstan Friday, chased down the International Space Station and glided to a smooth automated docking, boosting the lab's crew back to six. (3/18)

Italian Space Agency to Airbus Safran: Hands Off Vega (Source: Space News)
The president of the Italian Space Agency does not want a new European launch vehicle joint venture to take over an Italian company. Roberto Battiston said that the Italian government opposed any plan by Airbus Safran Launchers to acquire a majority stake in Avio, the prime contractor for the Vega small launch vehicle. Battiston, not mentioning Airbus Safran by name, said Italian authorities "have to guarantee that the advanced European Vega launcher remains Italian in word and deed." (3/18)

Nine Monster Stars Unearthed in the Milky Way (Source: Sputnik)
Nine new monster stars have been unearthed in a galaxy in the Milky Way by a team of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope. The so-called 'monster' stars are 30 million times brighter than the Sun and could shape future understanding of the cosmos. The cluster named R136 is the biggest group of massive stars to have ever been discovered, raising questions about how a star’s life begins. (3/18)

Bolden: Nuclear Propulsion (Developed in Alabama) Will Get Us to Mars (Source:
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told Congress Thursday that Nuclear Thermal Propulsion developed at least in part in Alabama will probably get American astronauts to Mars. Bolden was questioned by U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) during a House Space Subcommittee hearing on the White House's fiscal year 2017 budget proposal for NASA. Brooks is vice-chairman of the subcommittee. (3/17)

Grandpa Astronaut to Break Scott Kelly's Space Record (Source: Space Daily)
A grandfather of three is poised to blast into space and the record books on Friday, becoming the American astronaut who has spent the longest time in space, NASA said. Jeff Williams, 58, is the first American to make three long-duration flights to orbit, and will break a US record set by astronaut Scott Kelly earlier this year. (3/18)

Orbital ATK Plans Expansion in Arizona (Source: Orbital ATK)
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Orbital ATK announced the expansion of the company’s engineering operations in Gilbert, Arizona. The expansion will add 60,000 square feet to the site that includes Orbital ATK’s Satellite Manufacturing Facility, one of the largest and most advanced spacecraft assembly and test facilities in the U.S.

With additional facilities in Chandler and Mesa, Arizona, Orbital ATK’s total footprint in the state is almost 800,000 square feet, contributing to over 1,750 high-tech and high-paying aerospace and defense jobs. The project will create a projected 155 full-time, high-wage jobs over a five-year period. Orbital ATK’s heritage satellite business began in Gilbert in 1989 and currently has 261 employees working at the existing site.

The expansion plans complement Arizona’s robust aerospace and defense sector that contributes $38 billion annually to the Arizona economy and employs more than 52,000 workers. This project will add to the growing landscape of high-wage Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) jobs in Gilbert and the state. (3/18)

Bridenstine Urges Appropriators to Increase Budget for FAA Space Office (Source: Space Policy Online)
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) and 17 other members of Congress sent a letter to House appropriators today urging them to support President Obama's requested increase in funding for the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). The President is seeking a $2 million increase in FY2017, from $17.8 million to $19.8 million.

Bridenstine is a strong advocate for AST both in its current role facilitating and regulating the commercial space launch and reentry business and, over time, for expanding its role to space traffic management and issuing "mission licenses" for private sector activities in space such as asteroid mining. For now, Bridenstine argues that AST needs more resources to cope with growing demand for launch and reentry licenses and other activities in licensing commercial launch sites and spaceports. (3/18)

Military Considers Virginia Spaceport an Alternative to 'Vulnerable' Cape (Source: WVEC)
The top general for the Air Force Space Command testified that Wallops could serve as a site for future military satellite launches. General John Hyten said it makes sense, as satellites get smaller, to launch from additional sites, including Kodiak, Alaska and Wallops Island. "We have vulnerabilities when everyone knows the only place we launch rockets is Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg," he said. "It's better to have more places to launch from.

Editor's Note: Actually, Gen. Hyten offered a fairly predictable answer to a Virginia congressman's question about the future utility of Wallops Island. No one would have expected Hyten to say anything negative about the Virginia spaceport to one of its proponents in Congress. So now the local media portray his comments as a sign of big things to come. (3/18)

US Air Force Will Defend Civilian Space Assets (Source: Air Force Times)
Space is for the use of all people, and the Air Force is prepared to defend any civilian or commercial assets that are threatened in orbit, just as it would on the ground, a top space official said. “We have an obligation to provide, not just space resiliency capabilities for our defense space, but for this global commons,” said Winston Beauchamp, the Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space. (3/18)

NASA Astronaut Jeffrey Williams is a Creationist (Source: Inverse)
When NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams launches into space later today, it’s a safe bet that he will be praying to God for a safe trip to the International Space Station. Literally. Williams is a devout Christian who has authored a book, The Work of His Hands, about how his time in space has deepened and affirmed his religious beliefs.

Williams wasn’t always uber-religious. For the first seven years of his marriage, he was secular, he told the Grace To You radio show. But in the midst of a marital crisis, and while William was out of town for flight training, his wife became a Christian. Upon his return, he did, too, and it saved their marriage.

When it comes to creationism, Williams has said that “science is compatible with the biblical account.” There are many different ways to make that argument, but suffice it to say he’s settled on one of them. If Williams’s religious beliefs have ever hurt his ability to perform his job as an astronaut, there’s no evidence of it. (3/18)

Expandable Living Space for Astronauts Heading to Space (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The Space Coast is getting busy. Following closely on the heels of next week's Orbital ATK launch, a Nevada-based company will send an expandable living space to test aboard the International Space Station in early April.

Bigelow Aerospace's module will head up aboard a resupply mission that will launch from Cape Canaveral April 8. The SpaceX Dragon capsule will take off on a Falcon 9 rocket, which CEO Elon Musk has been testing for reusability. (3/18)

NASA Targets Early April for Eighth SpaceX Cargo Launch (Source: NASA)
SpaceX’s Dragon cargo spacecraft is targeted for launch at 4:43 p.m. EDT Friday, April 8. The Dragon capsule will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in Florida, carrying science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 47 and 48 crews.

The flight also includes the Bigelow Aerospace expandable habitat module that will be attached to the space station for testing. In its scheduled return to Earth in May, the Dragon capsule will bring back biological samples from astronauts, including those collected during NASA’s one-year mission. This launch is the eighth contracted mission by SpaceX under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. (3/18)

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