April 22, 2016

Space Florida Supports Expanded Space Launch Use of Retired ICBMs (Source: Space News)
Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) suggested during the hearing on ICBM re-use that some spaceports, like Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), might benefit from commercial use of ICBM motors, increasing the number of launches they host. MARS, along with Space Florida, also submitted letters in support of a policy change. (4/21)

Former Tech Exec Considering Run for Florida Governor's Seat (Source: Miami Herald)
Democratic State Sen. Jeremy Ring confirmed Thursday that he is calling potential funders and conducting his own exploratory campaign for a possible run for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. Ring, who was on the team that built Yahoo, left the Internet start-up in 2001 and moved to Florida in 2001.

"In 2016, it comes down to fundraising. I feel I have the best bio of anyone who could possibly run. I have the best message of anyone who could possibly run -- bring the innovation economy to Florida." Editor's Note: Sen. Ring has been a supporter of efforts to improve Florida's position as a center for research and technology, including space programs. (4/21)

Iranian, Russian Space Agencies Discuss Joint Projects (Source: Tass)
The Iranian Space Agency and Russia’s Roscosmos state corporation have discussed in Tehran a project of upgrading a satellite information receiving and processing station. The sides also discussed other areas of cooperation, including launching student satellites and cooperation in astronautics. (4/21)

EmDrive Engine Phenomenon Explained? (Source: MIT Technology Review)
Various teams around the world have begun to build their own versions of the EmDrive and put them through their paces. And to everyone’s surprise, they’ve begun to reproduce Shawyer’s results. The EmDrive, it seems, really does produce thrust. In 2012, a Chinese team said it had measured a thrust produced by its own version of the EmDrive. In 2014, an American scientist built an EmDrive and persuaded NASA to test it with positive results.

And last year, NASA conducted its own tests in a vacuum to rule out movement of air as the origin of the force. NASA, too, confirmed that the EmDrive produces a thrust. In total, six independent experiments have backed Shawyer’s original claims. That leaves an important puzzle—how to explain the seeming violation of conservation of momentum.

Today we get an answer of sorts thanks to the work of Mike McCulloch. His explanation is based on a new theory of inertia that makes startling predictions about the way objects move under very small accelerations. McCulloch’s idea is that inertia arises from an effect predicted by general relativity called Unruh radiation, that an accelerating object experiences black body radiation. In other words, the universe warms up when you accelerate. Click here. (4/21)

China Testing Own Reusable Rocket Technologies (Source: Xinhua)
China is working on its own reusable rocket technologies. Chinese experts have already built a prototype model to test theories on the reusable rocket booster's landing subsystems. They have completed "experimental verifications" using "multiple parachutes" supposedly attached to the booster, a source with China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technologies (CALT), developer of China's Long March rocket series, said. "The experiment has laid solid foundation for the realization of reusable rockets in the country," the source said. (4/21)

China Set to Launch "More Livable" Space Lab in Q3 (Source: Xinhua)
China will put the country's second space lab Tiangong-2 into space in the third quarter of this year with more livable conditions for astronauts. According to Wang Zhongyang, spokesman with the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the new space lab will consist of a hermetically sealed experiment cabin, designed to provide astronauts with clean air and suitable temperature and humidity, and a resource module featuring solar wings, batteries and propellant for thrusters. (4/21)

After Visit to KSC, Czech Government Mulls National Space Agency (Source: Space News)
Czech Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek has announced the country’s government is considering establishing a national space agency to boost the Czech Republic’s domestic space sector. The announcement was made following Belobradek’s recent trade mission to Florida.

“I believe that our trade mission has something to offer even Florida’s highly advanced aerospace, aviation and electronic industries, and that we can also develop scientific and research collaboration and innovation projects,” Belobradek said during a stop in Miami. (4/21)

Does Spaceflight Cause Liver Damage? (Source: Space.com)
The long journey to Mars could be hard on astronauts' livers, even if they launch without any alcohol on board. Mice that spent less than two weeks in space back in 2011 — during STS-135, the final mission of NASA's space shuttle program — came back to Earth showing signs of early-stage liver disease, a new study reports.

The space mice stored more fat in their livers than a control group that stayed on the ground, and also exhibited changes to genes responsible for breaking down fats, researchers said. In addition, the "moustronauts" had lower levels of retinol, an animal form of vitamin A, which is necessary for good vision, bone growth and a number of other key body processes. (4/21)

Russia to Put 11 Communications Satellites Into Orbit by 2025 (Source: Sputnik)
Russia plans to put a dozen of new communications satellites into the Earth’s orbit in the next nine years, the head of the country’s communications agency Rossvyaz said Thursday. The Rossvyaz chief added that "paperwork is already being prepared for five devices," which will be launched in 2019-2020. (4/21)

Sentinel Satellite Maps North Korean Nuclear Blast Aftermath (Source: BBC)
The ground convulsion resulting from North Korea's underground nuclear bomb test in January has been mapped by Europe's Sentinel-1a radar satellite. The EU spacecraft uses a technique called interferometry to sense surface movements. Its data shows rock above the blast zone going down by up to 7cm in one area and rising 2-3cm in another. The imagery was released by Germany's Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). (4/21)

Florida's NASA Hackathon to Give Astronauts Something To Do On Mars (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
It will likely be a challenge for astronauts who travel to Mars to find recreational activities. Arcades and ballparks have yet to find their way to the Red Planet. So what’s a space agency who wants to eventually send astronauts there to do in the meantime? Crowdsource. For the fifth year, NASA will host its International Space Apps Challenge this weekend and, as part of it, has asked those who attend the hackathon to tackle specific challenges, which were submitted by NASA scientists.

One of those suggests using virtual reality to build a recreational game or sport for astronauts. NASA’s deputy chief technology officer for IT John Sprague, who will visit Orlando during the event, said it has grown since its 2011 debut, partly due to collaboration with tech leaders. “It’s become a popular and cool way for citizen scientists to help,” Sprague said. “We have always been a technology-focused agency. We work a lot with Silicon Valley and a lot of startups out there with good ideas.”

Orlando will host a local version of the Space Apps Challenge for the second year and, as part of it, will see some NASA firepower here. Sprague will become the first NASA representative at a Florida Challenge site, hoping to visit Orlando, Tampa and Sarasota locations during the 34-hour event. The specific challenges fall into one of six categories: technology, aeronautics, space station, solar system, Earth and Journey to Mars. (4/21)

U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Hosted Payload Delayed Until Mid-2017 (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s first commercially hosted payload is now expected to launch in mid-2017, nine months later than the date officials used when they discussed the program in March 2015. The Spacebased Kill Assessment is the MDA’s first known foray into commercially hosted payloads, where government organizations fly dedicated instruments aboard commercial satellites that provide the power, data handling and other functions.

The hosted payload concept has slowly gained traction within the Defense Department in recent years — albeit too slowly for advocates in industry and Congress. (4/21)

No comments: