May 23, 2016

India Just Launched an Adorable Mini Shuttle Into Space (Source: Gizmodo)
India is joining the reusable space race. Its space agency has today launched a 22-foot space shuttle, that will be used test the country’s plans for creating a spacecraft that can be used multiple times. The 1.75-tonne un-manned Reusable Launch Vehicle traveled 43 miles above the Earth’s surface then descended back to the planet. This particular shuttle wasn’t expected to survive the landing. Instead, it will gather data about the speed and intensity of re-entry, and test the craft’s autonomous landing capabilities. This mission is the result of five years of work and $14 million of investment. (5/23)

Global Space Academy Kicks Off Spaceflight Training at Cape Canaveral (Source: GSA)
Welcome to the Global Space Academy, Training for a New Frontier! South Korean Astronaut Dr. Soyeon Yi will join NASTAR's Brienna Henwood, Embry-Riddle's Dr. Diane Howard, and ISU's Kim Ellis for a co-operative program between international businesses to deliver up to date, relevant and dynamic training for spaceflight. The Global Space Academy (a sponsor of this week's 44th Space Congress at Cape Canaveral) will sponsor a July 13 event at Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral. Click here. (5/23)

Chinese Firm Plans Space Expedition in a Balloon (Source: The Hindu)
A Chinese firm, which has developed the country’s first space parachute suit, has hit on a novel business idea to send people into space using a high-tech balloon. They will return to earth using a parachute. JHY Space Technology Co Ltd (Space Vision), a Beijing-based company, has unveiled China’s first space parachuting suit. The trip will at a cost of $77,000.

In the next few months, the company will test equipment, and recruit volunteers for training, state-run China Daily reported. The first three adventurers to take up the challenge are an entrepreneur, a champion woman parachutist and an aircraft engineer, the company said. The adventurers will soar into the stratosphere in the balloon. The customised suit has a radar, space-ground communications system and an image transmission system. (5/21)

Middle School Team Wins National Rocket Competition (Source:
A team of middle-school students from Washington state will represent the United States at an international rocketry contest in Europe, after taking home the top prize at the 2016 Team America Rocketry Challenge National Finals on May 16. Hailing from Bellevue, Washington, the Space Potatoes rocketry team from Odle Middle School beat out 789 other groups of students from all over the United States.

The winning team will share more than $20,000 in scholarships and funds for their school. Team Space Potatoes was one of 100 teams invited to Washington, D.C., to compete in the finals after an initial round of qualifying flights. The students will travel to London in July for the international competition. (5/23)

60 Years Ago, Patrick AFB Had its Only Missile Launch (Source: Florida Today)
Armed Forces Day attracted little notice Saturday , but 60 years ago the occasion drew throngs to Patrick Air Force Base. Cars lined State Road A1A before it was closed to traffic at 3:30 p.m. on May 20, 1956, as an estimated 25,000 people gathered to see something few ever had up close: a missile launch.

Officials briefed the crowd on the 29-foot-long "Florida Ranger" Matador surface-to-surface cruise missile before a late-afternoon countdown that culminated at “X minus zero,” when an officer pushed a button from a nearby control station shielded by sand bags. "I thought it was very fascinating; it was something I’d never seen.” And something no one has seen since: a launch from Patrick, rather than up the road on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, where the public has only ever gotten within miles of liftoffs by now much larger rockets. Click here. (5/23)

Visions of One of the Richest Men on Earth (Source: Florida Today)
“We’ll start out making simple things in space and then, sometime in the next few hundred years, there will be a big inversion and we will realize we shouldn’t be doing heavy industry on Earth for two reasons. One, it’s very polluting. And two, we just don’t have enough access to energy here to do it so it just won’t be practical.”

And then there is Mars, the only planet in our solar system that has all the elements needed for a fully-functional civilization, he said. People may dream about colonization and that’s good. But they shouldn’t romanticize it.

“All the people who think they want to live on Mars, they should first spend a few years living in Antarctica because Antarctica is a garden paradise compared to living on Mars. Living on Mars is going to be for the very hearty and very adventurous – people who don’t like trees, who don’t like parties, restaurants, movies,” Bezos said, before joking: “We’ll send them Amazon Prime memberships.” (5/21)

How a Japanese Company Seeks to Create Artificial Meteor Shower (Source: CSM)
A Japanese company is looking to combine atmospheric study and entertainment with its Sky Canvas Project, which it hopes can generate a satellite-based artificial meteor shower for the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in Tokyo. Star-ALE, the developer of the Sky Canvas light show proposed for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games, hopes its artificial shooting stars will support future astronomical projects in Japan.

Star-ALE wants to create its Olympic show in more or less the same manner that natural showers occur. The Sky Canvas is designed around a satellite filled with hundreds of “source particles” that the company says will “become ingredients for a shooting star.” The particles would be launched around the world from the spacecraft before entering the atmosphere and beginning to burn at a height of around 40 to 50 miles. (5/22)

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