May 22, 2016

Virginia Congressman Shifts Interest Toward Wallops, UAVs for (Re)-Election (Source: SPACErePORT)
Virginia Congressman Scott Rigell (R) is not seeking re-election, leaving Wallops Island without an incumbent supporter. Enter Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) who currently represents a different district. Forbes has moved to Rigell's district and is seeking election to become the spaceport's champion in Washington. Forbes said he wants to 'keep the power of a House Armed Services subcommittee in the hands of a Virginian.'

Forbes recently has made a priority of pursuing major defense programs for Wallops, and has pushed for hypersonics research at nearby NASA Langley Research Center. And earlier this month he launched a Congressional NASA Caucus to fight for NASA programs. He says he is leading a bipartisan, bicameral effort to base the Navy's Triton UAV program at Wallops Island, over competing sites in Jacksonville and Key West, Florida. (5/22)

Uncovering a Tale of Rocket Science, Race and the ’60s (Source: New York Times)
Taraji P. Henson hates math, and Octavia Spencer has a paralyzing fear of calculus, but that didn't stop either actress from playing two of the most important mathematicians the world hasn't ever known. Both women are starring in "Hidden Figures," a forthcoming film that tells the astonishing true story of female African-American mathematicians who were invaluable to NASA's space program in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s. Click here. (5/20)

Sweden Joins China's Historic Mission to Land on Far Side of the Moon (Source: GB Times)
Sweden may not be a country that is readily associated with exploration of the Moon, but the Nordic nation has played an interesting role. If you’ve seen still images of Nasa's Apollo Moon landings then you’ve witnessed the work of modified Swedish Hasselblad cameras.

And Sweden’s presence is soon to be felt on the Moon once again, this time on another unprecedented journey - China’s Chang’e-4 mission to the untouched lunar far side, which is never visible from Earth due to gravitational or tidal locking.

Europe Races to Meet Orion Deadline (Source: BBC)
European industry has begun assembling the "back end" of the Orion crewship that is due to make an important 2018 demonstration flight around the Moon. Orion is the next-generation vehicle that the US space agency (Nasa) will use to send astronauts beyond Earth, to destinations like asteroids and Mars. But it needs a "service module" to provide propulsion, power, temperature control, and to carry water and air.

That job will be done by the unit now being built by Airbus in Germany. It is an immense piece of hardware in the shape of a 4m-wide cylinder. In flight configuration, it will weigh some 13 tonnes. This is the first time the Americans have gone overseas for a critical element of one of their astronaut transportation systems.

An indication of just how much pressure everyone is under can be seen in the fact that final assembly is proceeding even before the module has had its so-called Critical Design Review. The CDR is usually the moment when all the final drawings are signed off; no further changes can be introduced. (5/20)

UK Spaceport Competition Axed in Favor of Licensing Model (Source: Herald Scotland)
A competiton to establish the UK's first spaceport has been scrapped. Instead, the Department of Transportation has written to bidders to inform them that it will "create the regulatory conditions for any suitable location that wishes to become a spaceport." It means the competing spaceport sites will be free to apply for a license to establish a commercial spaceport. (5/20)

Australia Hosts Airbus Satellite Ground Station (Source: Airbus)
A brand new purpose built satellite ground station has been established in Adelaide, to land Airbus Defence and Space’s Skynet secure military satellite communications. The Australian facility extends an existing chain of teleports in France, Germany, Norway, the UK and the USA. This worldwide teleport network provides global coverage for connectivity services by providing the link between the satellite constellation and terrestrial networks for reliable end-to-end connectivity at the highest service levels. (5/16)

Stott Exhibits Space-Made Art (Source: IOM Today)
The first ever art exhibition by retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott opens at the Sayle Gallery on the Isle of Man this week. Now a full-time artist and motivational speaker, Nicole’s exhibition – ‘Around the World in 90 Minutes: An Astronaut’s Perspective’ – sees her using painting and photography to share her impressions of the awesome views of our planet and spacecraft that she experienced during her time living and working in space.

Nicole is the veteran of two spaceflights and spent 104 days in space, on both the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS). She few three Space Shuttle missions and two ISS missions, and carried out one spacewalk. Nicole is also a NASA aquanaut and the holder of the women’s world record for saturation diving following her 18-day mission on the Aquarius undersea habitat, off the coast of Florida. [Florida-native Stott is also a member of Embry-Riddle's Board of Trustees.] (5/21)

China Reveals Design for Planned Tiangong 3 Space Station (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
The China National Space Administration (CNSA) presented several slides of the design of its future space station, called Tiangong 3—meaning Heavenly Palace in Chinese. The station is expected to be built between 2018 and 2022. According to the released slides, the station’s core module, “Tianhe 1” (which means “galaxy”), will include a laboratory with integrated modular racks for storing scientific equipment. It will also have five docking ports and a robotic arm. Click here. (5/22)

Japanese Startup Will Use Science And Satellites To Create Artificial Meteor Showers (Source: Forbes)
The Japanese company Star ALE is working on a business concept that combines entertainment with space exploration. The startup has developed a type of artificial meteor that it will launch from satellites, creating man-made meteor showers that can be ordered to light up the sky at specific locations and times. At the same time, the project will generate new insights into a part of the Earth’s atmosphere that is relatively unknown. (5/22)

NASA Misses a Chance to Promote the Best-Ever Ad for the Space Station (Source: Ars Technica)
The movie A Beautiful Planet lives up to its name. Earth is a planet, it is beautiful, and arguably it has never looked this good before. To capture imagery for this IMAX movie, NASA delivered 4K cameras to the space station in 2014, marking the first time 4K resolution cameras have been used to make a commercial film in orbit. Nevertheless, if you’re remotely interested in space, you’ve probably seen images and videos like these before.

For me, then, the true star of A Beautiful Planet is not Earth—with its storms, continents, volcanoes, coral reefs, and city lights—or even the Aurora Borealis, but the International Space Station, revealed in its glory by a Canon EOS C500 4K Digital Cinema Camera and EOS-1D C 4K cameras. (5/21)

The Citizen Lobbyists Gunning for a Trip to Mars (Source: WIRED)
59 year-old Gary Fisher, a retired software engineer from Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, has a mission: to convince lawmakers that going to Mars is both possible and affordable—if they’d just give NASA a little more money. “Since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated with Mars,” Fischer says. “I’m getting older and want to see someone land on the planet before I drop dead.”

Fisher and a helper wearing a “Mars or Bust” lapel pin are visiting congressional offices, hoping to bend the ear of a legislative aide, or, with any luck, bump into an actual lawmaker. They’re part of a posse of Mars enthusiasts who fanned out across the House and Senate as part of a “Humans to Mars” conference this week in Washington. (5/21)

Russian Satellites Resistant to Any Possible Control Interception (Source: Sputnik)
The control system of Russia's satellite constellation is protected from any outside intervention, and disabling Russian satellites or intercepting control over them is not possible, Russia's Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Center said Saturday. (5/21)

No comments: