April 3, 2016

North Korea Trying to Jam GPS Signals in South (Source: New York Times)
North Korea is reportedly trying to jam GPS signals in South Korea. The South Korean government said Friday that it was detecting GPS jamming efforts it traced to locations in North Korea. The jamming efforts had not caused serious disruptions to flights or other transportation that uses GPS. North Korea has made other attempts to jam GPS in South Korea in recent years, including a 2012 incident that affected more than 200 flights. (4/3)

India Lunar Mission Will Receive "Minor" U.S. Assistance (Source: PTI)
India's next lunar mission will include "minor" help from the U.S. The Chandrayaan 2 mission, which includes a lander and rover, is now planned for launch between the end of 2017 and the middle of 2018. The spacecraft, originally planned as a joint effort by India and Russia, will now be developed exclusively by India. NASA will support the mission by offering communications services through the Deep Space Network. (4/4)

GSA Must Pay For Satellite Service Not In Contract (Source: Law360)
The U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals said Thursday the U.S. General Services Administration must pay out most of a contract vehicle for satellite systems that serviced a Korean military base, saying the government reaped the satellites' rewards despite contract improprieties. A three-judge panel ordered the GSA to pay out $418,000 to Americom Government Services Inc. for the costs of providing host-nation satellite licenses and bandwidth services, or HNAs, to U.S. Forces Korea. (4/4)

Russian Startup Seeks to Solve Space Junk Problem with 'Artificial Star' (Source: Space Daily)
Space junk is a major problem which could potentially trap humans on Earth forever. Now, a startup founded by students at Russia's Moscow State University of Mechanical Engineering has come up with a possible solution.

"Decommissioned satellites could take decades to descend from an altitude of 600-800 kilometers. But the situation changes drastically when the satellite has a drogue chute, an object with a large area and a very small mass. With this device on board, the satellite begins to act not like a dropped pellet, but like dropped piece of fluff - it brakes very quickly in the atmosphere, descends and burns up in thicker layers," project leader Alexander Shaenko said.

The Mayak satellite, launched to an altitude of 550 kilometers, would take around a month do descend. The project also seeks to show that space can be affordable, and will be Russia's first crowdfunded satellite. Along with solving the space debris problem, the new satellite would also be the brightest low earth orbit object in space. (4/4)

GOES-R Satellite Could Provide Better Data for Hurricane Prediction (Source: Space Daily)
The launch of the GOES-R geostationary satellite in October 2016 could herald a new era for predicting hurricanes, according to Penn State researchers. The wealth of information from this new satellite, at time and space scales not previously possible, combined with advanced statistical hurricane prediction models, could enable more accurate predictions in the future. (4/4)

Space Tourism Nears As Reusable Rocket Lands (Source: Sky News)
Stunning new video shows a Blue Origin rocket blasting off from a launchpad in Texas and travelling to the edge of space - before landing serenely back on the same spot. It is the third successful attempt by the space firm backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and brings space tourism a step closer.

By showing that reusable rockets are a realistic option, the potential costs of sending tourists into orbit could be substantially cut. Many experts believe that reliable recovery and reuse of boosters could seal the business case for space tourism. The third test was designed to be harder than previous attempts, with the control team waitin Click here for the video. (4/4)

First Launch from Vostochny Cosmodrome to be Insured for $2.13M (Source: Tass)
Roscosmos announced a tender for the right to sign an agreement on insuring the launch of the carrier rocket Soyuz 2.1a from the Vostochny Cosmodrome for 146.7 mln rubles ($2.13 mln), according to the statement on the public procurement website published Monday. In addition, Roscosmos announced an open tender for the right to provide insurance for launch facilities of the carrier rocket Soyuz 2.1a at the Vostochny Cosmodrome for 89 mln rubles ($1.29 mln). (4/4)

Spaceport America Holds Open House (Source: KRQE)
The public got a glimpse of Spaceport America this weekend during a free open house.
With the help of Spaceport staff and crew members from Virgin Galactic, visitors got to take tours and participate in hands-on activities. Aviators from the Experimental Aircraft Association did some fly-ins, giving aircraft enthusiasts a chance to chat with the pilots and see the machines up close in action. (4/4)

Satellites Key to Monitoring Harmful Emissions (Source: Space Daily)
Satellite technology plays a crucial role in measuring greenhouse gas emissions globally, the heads of several space agencies agreed Sunday as they vowed to work together to develop a coordinated monitoring system. The pledge comes after a landmark climate accord in Paris last year at which world leaders agreed to cap global warming by "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial levels. (4/3)

Astronomers Have Discovered the First Star with an Almost Pure Oxygen Atmosphere (Source: Science Alert)
Scientists have identified a new kind of star that up until this point had only been considered hypothetically: an ancient sun that has lived so long, its outermost layer is now composed almost entirely of pure oxygen. This star, dubbed SDSS J124043.01+671034.68, bucks the trend, with astronomers discovering its outer atmosphere is essentially greater than 99.99 percent oxygen.

Only traces of other elements have been detected, including neon, magnesium, and silicon, but as for the hydrogen and helium you'd expect to find dominating the surface, there's no sign. This oxygen-dominated star is a true one-of-a-kind in terms of the solar bodies we know about, being the only star among some 32,000 white dwarfs with such a pristine oxygen atmosphere. (4/1)

China Wants to Mine the Moon for ‘Space Gold’ (Source: WEDU)
At a cost of more than $150 billion, the International Space Station is the most expensive object ever built. This price tag is more than double the combined costs of China’s Three Gorges Dam, Boston’s Big Dig and the Chunnel. But as noted by CNN, funding for the International Space Station may run out in the early 2020s.

That happens to be around the same time that the Chinese are expected to complete their own space station, potentially leaving the Asian power with the sole operating lab in the heavens. And given that Congress banned NASA from working bilaterally with anyone from the Chinese space program, it’s unclear if American astronauts will be welcome.

But China has even grander plans. These include a 2018 mission to send the first probe in history to land on the far side of the moon, where the extraordinary geology is largely unexplored. Other plans aim to bring back lunar samples as well as to land humans on the surface of the moon. The country has Martian ambitions as well. (3/31)

How Space Could Decide Presidential Race (Source: Florida Today)
Spaceflight is the heart of Brevard’s economy. It has three components: military, commercial and NASA. It is NASA funding that presidents most influence. The record is not positive. NASA funding has steadily declined since the height of the space race. As a percentage of federal spending, it’s gone from over 4 percent in the late sixties to less than 0.5 percent today. At the presidential level, KSC’s funding has gone down too, about 20 percent (constant dollars) during each of the last three presidents’ terms in office.

Neither party clearly offers more for NASA and KSC in the upcoming election. Since the late 1960s, both the Rs and the Ds have treated NASA poorly. Can today's candidates be pushed to show more support for space programs? Answer: yes. Potentially. If space interests get their act together. How? By showing the candidates and their campaigns the election virtue of making space a strong part of their message in those places where that position can sway votes that really count.

And Space votes really matter in these four swing states: Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, and Florida. If space interests and space advocates in these four states can convince a candidate that his or her stand on space exploration and future NASA funding could be a big factor in delivering that purple state, we could see that positive view of space carrying into the Oval Office after a win in November. Click here. (4/2)

Mars Colony Will Have to Wait, Says NASA Scientist (Source: Universe Today)
Establishing a human settlement on Mars has been the fevered dream of space agencies for some time. Long before NASA announced its “Journey to Mars” – a plan that outlined the steps that need to be taken to mount a manned mission by the 2030s – the agency’s was planning how a crewed mission could lead to the establishing of stations on the planet’s surface. And it seems that in the coming decades, this could finally become a reality.

But when it comes to establishing a permanent colony – another point of interest when it comes to Mars missions – the coming decades might be a bit too soon. Such was the message during a recent colloquium hosted by NASA’s Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group. Titled “Selecting a Landing Site for Humans on Mars”, this presentation set out the goals for NASA’s manned mission in the coming decades. Click here. (3/30)

SpaceX Targeting Falcon 9 Rocket Launch/Landing to ISS on Friday (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX early this week is expected to light a Falcon 9 rocket’s engines in a test of their readiness for a 4:43 p.m. Friday launch from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The mission will be the company’s first flight of a Dragon capsule carrying International Space Station cargo since last June, when a Falcon 9 broke apart just over two minutes after liftoff.

The Dragon is fully packed except items added just before the countdown, which in this case will include mice. Like on its last flight, SpaceX will try to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on a ship down range in the Atlantic Ocean, rather than attempting to fly it back to a landing pad on Cape Canaveral. (4/2)

Russian Supply Ship Docks with the International Space Station (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
A Russian refueling and resupply freighter docked with the International Space Station on Saturday after a two-day pursuit with maneuvering propellants, food and provisions for the research lab’s crew. The Progress MS-02 supply ship, flying with upgrades to its command and control and navigation systems, sailed to an automated linkup with the space station’s Zvezda service module Saturday as the vehicles flew more than 250 miles over Astana, Kazakhstan. (4/2)

Will This Guy Be the First Artist in Outer Space? (Source: Slate)
Some time soon, Michael Najjar will go boldly where no artist has gone before. Since three patrons purchased a Pioneer Astronaut ticket for him aboard Virgin Galactic’s tourist ship, SpaceShipTwo—which has not yet made its first launch—Najjar has been preparing to become the first artist to hang out in outer space. Click here. (4/2)

Critics Question if Georgia Spaceport Expenditures are Worth It (Source: Brunswick News)
One of the questions often asked by opponents of a proposed spaceport in Camden County is if it’s worth the financial cost. They argue there are no guarantees the county will receive the necessary permits to operate a spaceport at the site or that a commercial space flight company will come. According to county financial records, more than $1 million has been spent so far, and that doesn’t include the down payment the county made to purchase the vacant industrial site. (4/2)

Equipment Failure Downed Japan's Satellite (Source: The Australian)
Japanese satellite Astro-H seems to have been damaged by an equipment failure and not by a collision with space debris, as proposed by initial theories. Agencies of the United States had detected objects up to a meter wide floating close to the Japanese device, suggesting the satellite had collided with something, but JAXA believes it is highly probable they are pieces of the satellite itself.

"After becoming unable to stabilize itself, (the satellite) sustained some sort of damage," an official of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was reported as saying Friday by news agency Kyodo. Among the possible faults could be a rupture of the helium tank housing the X-ray telescopes, a fuel leak in the stabilising engines or a battery fault, added the Japanese agency. (4/2)

New CEO Takes Helm at Space Center Houston (Source: SCH)
A new CEO with extensive fundraising, strategy and communications experience takes the helm at the nonprofit Space Center Houston in the midst of a period of significant growth. William T. Harris has more than 30 years in nonprofit leadership including senior positions at a renowned science center and universities, where he led multi-million-dollar capital and fundraising campaigns, principal and major gifts, marketing campaigns, communications, government relations and strategy initiatives. (4/1)

Vandenberg and Cal Poly Continue CubeSats Partnership (Source: Lompoc Record)
Navy Rear Adm. Brian Brown visited Cal Poly Friday to learn more about the current state of CubeSats and the impact advances in the technology could have on the future of space exploration. The CubeSats program, which was launched 17 years ago, prepares students for industry engineering by providing opportunities to design, build, test, launch and track satellites.

Vandenberg Air Force Base personnel receive training at Cal Poly, while students have visited the base for specialized instruction. The program maintains and aspires to evolve CubeSat — satellites made up of multiples of 10-centimeter cube units — specifications, while providing launch vehicle integration to support the larger CubeSat community. (4/2)

Search for Astronaut Gordon 'Cooper's Treasure' Isn't a Stunt (Source: Inverse)
Gordon Cooper, by all accounts, was made of the “right stuff.” The astronaut, who would later be portrayed by Dennis Quaid, played a critical role in the early days of space exploration — then kept on searching. What he was searching for later in life, however, was different. He was looking for billions of dollars worth of treasure.

Cooper’s secret treasure map is the basis of a new show produced by the Discovery Channel called, appropriately, Cooper’s Treasure. While there’s no date set for its premiere, the plan is that the show will follow the travels of treasure hunter Darrell Miklos, a longtime friend of Cooper. He will attempt to decode the treasure map left by Gordon, who Miklos says worked on it in secret for decades.

On his last Mercury mission in 1963, Cooper first noticed an “anomaly” in the South Caribbean and then allegedly photographed 100 more. It is these anomalies that Miklos says make up the map, and could lead to the uncovering of “billions of dollars worth of treasure.” This map was given to Miklos before Cooper’s death in 2004, with the hope that his friend would eventually find the treasure. (4/1)

No comments: