April 16, 2016

Enterprise Florida Losing Chief, Incentive Cash, Operating Funds (Source: Naples Daily News)
Enterprise Florida President Bill Johnson's resignation was a blow to the organization, on the same day the Governor announced the agency would undergo an audit. He enlisted former DCF Secretary David Wilkins to search for $6 million in savings within Enterprise Florida and provide suggestions on how to refocus its mission.

Gov. Scott also wrote in his memo that Enterprise Florida should learn to lean more on the $1.6 million in money it receives from private funds. Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson said Enterprise Florida can use its time without the incentive cash to re-evaluate how it does business. "Enterprise Florida was not created to just create jobs," said Wilson, who also sits on the Enterprise Florida board. "It was created to diversify the economy. (4/15)

Top Google Executive Joining Space Investment Fund (Source: Fortune)
One of the inventors of Google Earth is joining the advisory board of Seraphim Space, adding considerable heft to the world’s first space-focused venture fund. Michael Jones was a cofounder of Keyhole Corporation, the creator of EarthViewer 3D, on which Google Earth is based. Google acquired Keyhole in 2004, and Jones went on to hold a number of senior leadership roles at the Silicon Valley giant, including serving as chief technology advocate from 2008 until April 2015. (4/15)

Four Reasons ULA is Having a Bad Month (Source: Popular Science)
The past 30 days have not been great for ULA. Once the military's and NASA's go-to for rocket launches, the joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin has fallen on harder times lately, and things only seem to be getting worse. You can blame ULA's problems on SpaceX, partly. Whereas a ULA launch costs about $225 million, SpaceX does the same job for the bargain basement price of about $61.2 million. Result: ULA is scrambling to lower its costs. Click here. (4/15)

'It's Always Next Year': The Long Wait to Realize the Dream of Space Tourism (Source: ABC.AU)
Virgin Galactic unveiled its latest spaceship in California's Mojave Desert earlier this year. But is space tourism just a pipe dream, or will a commercial industry one day be a reality? Click here. (4/15)

Aldrin: Colonize Mars! Not the Moon! (Source: Inverse)
The moon, says Buzz, is “been there, done that.” Returning would be an unnecessary drain on our nations resources. Mars, though - that’s where our focus should be. Buzz is not messing around with this: “Permanence is key, right from the get-go. Some of my colleagues don’t feel that establishing a settlement on Mars is wise; others consider it a suicide mission. I disagree. Over a period of six or seven years, we can construct a habitat and laboratory on Mars.

"Certainly, some people will go to Mars, stay for a while, and return to Earth, but we should also seek out and encourage people who with to travel to Mars and remain there for the rest of their lives."  (4/15)

Arizona County Official Responds to Lawsuit Against World View Deal (Source: Arizona Daily Star)
County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said in a statement released Friday that the county followed state law in drafting the economic agreement with World View. The Board of Supervisors approved the agreement with World View in January, agreeing to spend $15 million to build facilities for use by the company in exchange for 20 years of lease payments.

Huckelberry said in his statement that World View’s rent will be “lower initially,” but that it increases every five years over the term of the 20-year lease. “In total, World View will pay $4.2 million more than the County is spending on the building, even with borrowing costs and the value of the land included,” Huckelberry wrote. “So, no gift.”

He said the county will own the facility and the land. World View has the option to buy the building and the land before the lease ends, in which case World View will pay the county any principal amount still owed on the bonds issued to finance the facility. In addition, World View would pay all of the principal and interest payments the county already made on the bonds, minus the rent already paid and the interest the county could have earned on the bonds. (4/15)

The $30 Million 'Moon Shot' People (Source: Asia Times)
“Our plan is to land on the moon, collect that moon dust and bring it back,” says Internet entrepreneur Naveen Jain, co-founder of Moon Express from Cape Canaveral. “A tiny amount of Helium 3 in the moon dust can provide enough nuclear fusion energy to this planet for generations to come.” To win the Google Lunar XPrize, a team’s moon robot must travel 500 meters across moon terrain and send back high-definition video images to Earth. Gathering Helium-enriched moon dust is bonus work.

Motives driving the Google Lunar XPrize teams worldwide are diverse and Moon Shot unearths the inspiration for the Internet generation to reach for the moon dust 44 years after the last Apollo astronaut left his footprints on it. If the $30 million prize is handed out, it will be first time ordinary people have sent a messenger to the Moon. The solitary Moon valleys and mountains have as yet seen visitors only from space agencies of the USA, former USSR, Japan, India and China.

The team to first complete the Google Lunar XPrize mission will earn $20 million; $5 million will go for the second team and other Milestone prizes, but all teams must be privately-funded. No government funds are allowed to ensure the most cost-effective technologies and also to enable inexpensive voyages to the stars some day. (4/16)

NASA’s “Rocket Girls” Are No Longer Forgotten History (Source: Smithsonian.com)
When biologist and science writer Nathalia Holt stumbled, serendipitously, upon the story of one of NASA’s first female employees, she was stunned to realize that there was a trove of women’s stories from the early days of NASA that had been lost to history. Not even the agency itself was able to identify female staffers in their own archival photographs. Click here. (4/16)

NASA Getting Closer to "Boots on Mars" with Colorado Companies' Help (Source: Denver Post)
Dava Newman said that after 15 years of work on the International Space Station, and with all the research and technology development, NASA is well on its way to helping humanity become interplanetary. And Colorado, she said, is playing and will continue to play a pivotal role in those endeavors.

Colorado companies are involved in all stages of the process — among them Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Jefferson County, the Louisville-based division of Sierra Nevada Corp., and Boulder-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Firms jumping into commercial space also help with their focus on opportunities closer to Earth, allowing NASA to focus on farther-out exploration, she said. (4/16)

Swedish Company Introduces New Ground Operations Service for Small Satellites (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), a company providing advanced space services, announced its newest project dedicated to lowering the operational costs of small satellites. The new product, called SSC Infinity, is a set of new ground operations services that will utilize full-motion antennas in the 16-foot (five-meter) or smaller class. The company hopes that its newest offer will reduce risks associated with satellite launch, insertion, system and constellation checkout.

The system consists of a range of highly automated services that use full-motion antennas. These antennas are optimized for communication with small satellites and constellations. If needed, they could be also augmented with larger ones to support the most demanding small spacecraft or even a constellation of satellites. According to a company official, SSC, due to its vast experience in building technologically advanced space services, has mastered the development of ground operations systems. As thus, creating Infinity wasn’t really a big challenge. (4/15)

Russia is the Sole Country to Reduce Orbital Space Junk Last Year (Source: Tass)
The amount of space junk accumulated in the near-Earth orbit last year increased by several hundred objects while Russia proved to be the sole country to reduce its share of debris in orbit, a NASA report said on Friday. According to the data of US ballistics specialists, there were 17,385 man-made objects in orbit as of April 6: 4,041 satellites both operational and withdrawn from operation and 13,344 space rocket upper stages, acceleration units and various fragments. (4/15)

Obama to Shine Light on Unsung Hero of Astronomy (Source: Discovery)
Dig deep in the annals of astronomy and you'd be hard-pressed to find the name of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a 19th-century astronomer whose ground-breaking insights about a special kind of star led to a cosmic yardstick for measuring the universe. In 1923, Edwin Hubble used Leavitt's research to discover that a faint, fuzzy patch of light known as Andromeda was not part of the Milky Way, as scientists believed at the time, but instead was a separate galaxy. The universe suddenly became a much bigger place.

More than a century after her ground-breaking work, Leavitt will be acknowledged by the highest office in the United States. President Obama will conclude his week-long stint as guest presenter on Science Presents DNews at 9pm ET/PT by talking about Leavitt's contributions. (4/15)

Ancient Peruvian Mystery Solved From Space (Source: Discovery)
Satellite observations may have unraveled a mystery surrounding a series of unique and ancient structures in southern Peru. The desert area of Nazca is most famous for giant representations of humans, animals and plants — as well as 900 geometric shapes — carved into the ground: the so-called Nazca lines. But the lines are not the only artifacts of the Nazca civilization, which flourished in the area between 200 BC and 600 AD.

The region also contains spiraling, rock-lined holes, known as puquios. Long understood to be a series of underground aqueducts, little else is known about them. But now, Rosa Lasaponara and a team from the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis in Italy believe they have some answers. Using satellite imagery, they were able to better understand how the puquios were distributed across the Nazca region.

By considering their positioning relative to water resources and to settlements, they were able to piece together a picture of just how extraordinarily advanced the puquio system was. The corkscrew-shaped tunnels, Lasaponara concluded, funneled wind into a series of underground canals, forcing water to places in the arid region where it was needed. (4/15)

As Other Space Companies Grow, ULA Cuts (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Reports that ULA is planning to cut hundreds of jobs are a big contrast to the growth of space companies locally that the Sentinel has been reporting on recently. The company has about 600 people in Florida, with up to 3,400 nationwide, according to the company's website. Reuters first reported the story based on an interview with CEO Tony Bruno, who said the company may cut as many as 875 jobs by then end of 2017, specifically to compete with new space companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. (4/17)

U.K. Claims Satellite-Finance Advantages Over French Coface & U.S. ExIm (Source: Space News)
Britain’s export-credit agency may be the most attractive source of satellite project financing that almost none one has heard of or uses.

While its more active counterparts in the United States and France are most comfortable guaranteeing loans only when a large majority of the work done in these nations, U.K. Export Finance is willing to support projects with as little as 20 percent U.K. content, said Peter Maplestone, senior underwriter at the agency and responsible for satellite export programs. (4/15)

Alabama Senator Refusing Ex-Im Nominee (Source: Morning Consult)
Richard Shelby isn't budging on the Ex-Im nominee. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby is refusing to send forward a pending Export-Import Bank nominee, even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked him to. Ex-Im Bank cannot finance deals of more than $10 million until another board member wins confirmation. (4/14)

"Purple Space States" Meet in Colorado (Source: SPACErePORT)
Several states with strong ties to the aerospace industry are not considered to lean overly Republican or Democratic. Officials from some of these "purple" states, including Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado, met last week at the National Space Symposium to discuss ways they might work together to raise the profile of aerospace issues among candidates for the presidency and congress.

The idea is that voters who aren't committed to party ideologies will vote for candidates who share their vision for the economy or their industry. Candidates who strive to be appealing to these states' aerospace interests could sway their voters. Presidential campaigns will focus on these purple states because they could decide the outcome of the election.

Florida's aerospace-rich I-4 Corridor is a great example. This corridor connects Tampa, Orlando and the Space Coast and is viewed as an electoral region that determines which way the state goes in most presidential elections. Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia are other purple states with strong aerospace industries. (4/15)

ULA and SpaceX See the Future of Space Launching Very Differently (Source: Denver Business Journal)
It was clear SpaceX expects the evolution of the launch industry to resemble what its founder, Elon Musk, experienced in launching Internet companies, where economies of scale drive down costs and makes space so accessible that getting begins to be considered a service more than a feat of hardware.

ULA's Tory Bruno doesn’t agree. There’s a lot of potential for commercial business at ULA, Bruno chaffed when asked whether space launch will become a commodity, a service where one provider is almost indistinguishable from another except on price. “Going to space is not like that and never will be, particularly for large payloads,” he said.

“Commodities are tires. Commodities are cars,” he said. “None of those products involve 1 million pounds of high explosives and circumstance where years of work and the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars can disappear in a fireball in less than 10 seconds.” (4/15)

Who Will Protect Us From Space Pirates? (Source: Daily Beast)
It may sound like sci-fi. But millions and millions of dollars are pouring into projects to mine asteroids and the moon. And with a space gold rush comes space pirates. How to stop them from stealing your minerals. And whose job it is to chase them down if they do manage to swipe your billion-dollar space-stash.

No, I’m serious. The subject of orbital grand theft came up during a panel discussion on the subject of space mining at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this week. It all sounds so outlandish. But it’s increasingly likely that, sometime in the next few decades, this seemingly theoretical problem is going to become very real. (4/15)

Aerozone Alliance Working to Entice Businesses Around NASA Glenn, Hopkins (Source: Cleveland.com)
Northeast Ohio officials want to create a hub of aerospace businesses around Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and NASA Glenn Research Center at the center. The Ohio Aerospace Institute is developing a plan and report for the alliance, and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission is paying the group $5,000 for a "professional planning service agreement." (4/14)

Deniers Sully NASA's Climate Change Website (Source: Huffington Post)
“We invite you to comment on our page, but we ask that you be courteous and cite credible sources when sharing information.” That’s the disclaimer posted atop NASA’s Global Climate Change Facebook page. And judging from the normally staid government agency’s response to a handful of climate change deniers who ran amok this week under a post by media personality Bill Nye, they mean it.

Nye, known as “the Science Guy,” shared a story on NASA’s page Monday about a climate change denier who refused to accept $20,000 in bets that the planet will continue getting hotter. The post inspired readers to share a torrent of poorly substantiated — yet fiercely defended — theories in the comments section, ranging from outright climate change denial to vitriolic attacks on NASA itself. (4/14)

Northrop Backs XS-1 Spaceplane to Join Satellite Launch Market (Source: Flight Global)
Northrop Grumman might be "playing to win" the DARPA XS-1 program, but the aerospace firm's interest in a reusable spaceplane for rapidly launching small satellites runs far deeper than any one project or contract. The company's vice-president says Northrop will likely press forward with its XS-1 concept through "other ways and means" if it isn't downselected by DARPA. Click here. (4/15)

Aerojet Avoids Shareholder Lawsuits (Source: Sacramento Business Journal)
Sometimes no news is good news — and that was the case for Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. this week. None of the 19 law firms investigating a financial restatement at the aerospace company ended up filing suit before the April 11 deadline. Aerojet had announced Feb. 1 that it would restate financial statements for 2013 and 2014 for purchase accounting related to sales contracts in the wake of a merger. Aerojet in June 2013 bought the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne division from United Technologies Corp. for $550 million. (4/14)

No comments: