April 13, 2016

Space Florida to Make Big Announcement: OneWeb? (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space Florida is gearing up for a big announcement this Tuesday, and all bets are on a new spacecraft assembly building for satellite company OneWeb. Space Florida, an economic development agency, isn’t confirming any details, but many signs point to OneWeb, which began hiring top level engineers on the Space Coast recently.

The announcement will be made at the Space Life Sciences Lab at Kennedy Space Center, for invited media only. Space Florida is about to award a major new contract to build a new 120,000-square-foot spacecraft-assembly building next door to the lab.

Although Space Florida would not confirm the tenant, among many possibilities, one of the most likely occupants is OneWeb, which did not return requests for comment about its plans. OneWeb plans to launch up to 900 new satellites starting next year. It has been scouting a possible location on the Space Coast. The company hasn’t officially announced a Florida location yet, but its website shows job postings in Melbourne. (4/12)

Energia Says Boeing's Sea Launch Objection Unfounded (Source: Law 360)
Russian aerospace giant Energia on Monday slammed Boeing’s contention that it’s selling its Sea Launch business to avoid paying $111 million in claims by Boeing over their failed joint venture, telling a California federal judge that sale reports are false and it doesn’t actually own the business. Energia asked U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. to deny Boeing’s bid to halt the purported sale of Energia’s California-based Sea Launch business or freeze its proceeds. (4/12)

Aerojet Touts AR1 as Only Option for Replacing RD-180 for Vulcan (Source: Space News)
Aerojet Rocketdyne argued that its AR1 engine is the only direct replacement for the RD-180. A company executive said Tuesday Aerojet has invested $70 million of its own funds on the engine to date on the AR1, a total that will exceed $250 million while the Air Force provides up to $534 million. Aerojet claims the AR1 avoids the expense of reworking the launch vehicle and ground systems that would be required if ULA decides to use Blue Origin's BE-4 engine, which runs on methane instead of kerosene. Even if ULA does select the BE-4 for its Vulcan rocket, Aerojet believes the AR1 will be developed and flown on some other launch vehicle. (4/12)

Raytheon Gaining Ground With GPS System After Setbacks (Source: Space News)
Raytheon says its next-generation GPS ground control system has passed a key early test. The GPS Operational Control Segment (OCX) passed its first formal qualification test last month, the company announced Tuesday. OCX has suffered cost and schedule issues that could require the U.S. Air Force to use older systems for the first GPS 3 satellites, limiting the ability to take advantage of the satellites' new capabilities. (4/12)

Bezos Trains for Flight with Blue Origin (Source: GeekWire)
Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos looks forward to flying in space on his company's vehicles. In an on-stage interview at the Space Symposium, Bezos said he has undergone centrifuge training as part of preparations for both suborbital flights on Blue Origin's New Shepard vehicle as well as later orbital flights on a future crewed spacecraft the company plans to develop. Bezos said while Blue Origin competes with a number of other companies in the suborbital and orbital launch business, he did not see it as a winner-take-all race, and hopes that competing firms are also successful. (4/12)

French Court Releases Roscosmos Payments From Arbitration Dispute (Source: Tass)
A French court has lifted the seizure of funds intended for Russian space organizations. French officials had previously seized $700 million in payments from French firms to Roscosmos and the Russian Satellite Communications Company in response to an arbitration ruling that Russia owes the former shareholders of oil company Yukos $50 billion. Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said he was optimistic that the court's decision would stand. (4/12)

DOD, NASA Seek To Extend Rules For Contract Changes (Source: Law 360)
The U.S. Department of Defense, General Services Administration and NASA are seeking public comment about extending rules that require government contractors to submit information to justify and keep track of cost changes in their contracts.

In three notices slated to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, the agencies propose to extend previously approved information collection requirements concerning price adjustments, change order accounting and cost limitations. Two of the notices are republications of notices that drew only one comment between them. (4/12)

Engines for F-35 Fighter Jet to be Built in Florida (Source: Sun Sentinel)
Pratt & Whitney's plant in northwestern Palm Beach County will be one of two sites producing F-35 fighter-jet engines under a new $1.4 billion contract from the Department of Defense. They also will be produced in Connecticut.

The new contract comes on top of $360 million in funding that had already been awarded to Pratt to sustain the F135 engine production line. Pratt committed to opening a jet-engine production line in Palm Beach County in 2012, announcing a $63 million investment in Pratt's plant. The company employs more than 850 people at its campus west of Jupiter. (4/12)

RUAG will Manufacture Structures for the Vulcan Rocket (Source: RUAG)
RUAG Space will supply carbon structures for United Launch Alliance's (ULA's) new Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle. This was announced by both companies at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on Tuesday. An agreement to this effect was signed by U.S. launch manufacturer United Launch Alliance and RUAG, and is an expansion in the supplier partnership enabling significant future savings in composite structures. (4/13)

Florida's Ander Crenshaw to Retire from Congress (Source: Sunshine State News)
After eight terms in Congress, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-FL, announced he would not seek reelection. The Jacksonville-area Republican has been a leading player on the Sunshine State’s political stage for decades. During his time in Congress, Crenshaw served as party of the leadership as deputy majority whip. But much of his focus has been on his work on the Appropriations Committee, including the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Editor's Note: Crenshaw's departure compounds a loss of seniority and influence for Florida in Congress. Crenshaw had a prized appropriations seat, as did Bill Young. Marco Rubio, a supporter of space issues, will also depart. One consolation is the fact that other senior members nationwide are also stepping down and the November election should see the ouster of many incumbents in a lot of states. (4/13)

Commercial Space Competitiveness -- Strategy for the 21st Century (Source: AIA)
To become the commercial space leader, we must acknowledge that the next generation of space innovation is being driven by the global commercial space environment. Just as our nation did after initial Soviet successes, we must set the pace in space by out-innovating and out-competing the global competition. We must also be prepared to work with potential partners to grow the worldwide space economy. Click here. (4/12)

The Air Force’s Next Chief Might Be Its Space-War General (Source: Defense One)
Gen. John Hyten’s office is 7,000 miles from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, but the men and women he commands help guide just about every bomb dropped on an Islamic State target. Still, it’s another theater entirely that worries the head of Air Force Space Command — and top Pentagon leaders.

Now Hyten is being considered for another job: Air Force chief of staff. Should that happen, he would be the first non-pilot to lead the service since it was created in 1947. His selection would underscore that Pentagon leaders expect future wars to be fought not just terrestrially, but in space and online. (4/13)

Bridenstine Introduces American Space Renaissance Act (Source: Space News)
A sweeping space policy bill seeks to update a wide range of civil, commercial and national security space issues to keep the U.S. competitive. Rep. James Bridenstine (R-OK) formally introduced the American Space Renaissance Act at the 32nd Space Symposium, arguing that the bill’s updates to national space policy are critical in a changing environment that threatens the country’s economic and military security. Click here for a summary and other information. (4/12)

Swiss Group Buys Airbus Jet for Zero-Gravity Flights (Source: Reuters)
A Swiss aerospace group [with a Florida office and plans for Florida-based operations] plans to offer zero-gravity flights this year in an airliner that will expose thrill-seekers with strong stomachs to repeated bouts of weightlessness. Swiss Space Systems (S3) has bought an Airbus A340-300 jet that will carry around 70 passengers on 90-minute flights featuring 15 parabolic arcs. Each parabola will generate 20 to 25 seconds of weightlessness as passengers pass through the top of the arc.

"Our ultimate vision is to democratize access to space through our reusable launcher program. Well before our launcher becomes a reality, the ZeroG experience onboard our Airbus aircraft will offer everyone an opportunity to become an astronaut for a day," S3 Chief Executive Pascal Jaussi said.

Prices range from 2,700 Swiss francs ($2,826) for a seat in the "party zone" with up to 40 passengers to as high as 65,000 francs for the VIP Room, which will hold up to 12 passengers, who will also get a luxury watch and can keep their flight suit. The aircraft will also provide a platform for high-precision microgravity experiments, the company said. (4/12)

AFSPC Commander Announces Space Enterprise Vision (Source: AFSPC)
General John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, announced the command's Space Enterprise Vision here today. The SEV is the result of an AFSPC-commissioned study that looked at how to make the nation's national security space enterprise more resilient.

The August 2015 SEV study addressed the findings of several previous studies that identified the U.S. space enterprise is not resilient enough to be successful in a conflict that extends to space. The SEV also recognizes that acquisition and programmatic decisions can no longer occur in mission area stovepipes, but must instead be driven by an overarching space mission enterprise context.

The SEV accounts for the increasing threat to space systems, and provides a vision for how the Air Force should build a force responsive to that threat.  The vision describes an integrated approach across all space mission areas, coupling the delivery of space mission effects to the warfighter (such as communications, positioning, navigation & timing, missile warning, and weather data) with the ability to protect and defend space capabilities against emerging threats. (4/12)

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