May 7, 2016

Boeing Exec Calls Out Sen. Shelby for Blocking Ex-Im Appointment (Source: WAAY)
Steve Swaine, the leader of Boeing Research & Technology-Alabama, criticized Sen. Richard Shelby, R-AL, for blocking attempts to appoint a director to the board of the Export-Import Bank. "So much of what Boeing and many small businesses [do] depends upon that bank to subsidize our exports and provide export financing to our international customers," Swaine said. (5/6)

FFD Completes Round of Spacesuit Testing at Embry-Riddle (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Last month, Final Frontier Design (FFD) completed another round of space suit testing in Daytona, Florida as part of Project PoSSUM, in conjunction with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. During “suit days” in the multi-day program, participants learn about space suits and safe operations followed by individual sessions where they don FFD space suits, pressurize in ERAU’s suborbital flight simulator, and conduct image capture in a mock flight scenario with a professional grade RED camera.

As part of testing, ERAU and Final Frontier Design gathered valuable data on suit user bio statistics and a range of qualitative feedback on general suit comfort and usability to inform future designs. Such data collections plays a significant role in FFD’s near-term milestones targeting the commercial spaceflight industry: FAA Flight Safety Certification for its suborbital Stratos-Suit design. This round of Project PoSSUM had 15 participants. (5/4)

Current Debate on ICBMs a Throwback to the 1990s (Source: Space News)
An established aerospace company seeks government permission to use retired ballistic motors for commercial satellite launches. It’s opposed by a startup who argues such vehicles constitute unfair competition. A description of the current debate about use of excess intercontinental ballistic missiles? Try 1990 instead.

The present-day debate, where Orbital ATK seeks a policy change to allow it to use ICBM motors to provide lower cost commercial launches, mirrors one from the early 1990s that established the current policy that restricts those motors’ use. And, in the intervening quarter century, some of the key players have switched sides. Click here. (5/6)

Ceres’ Bright Spots Show Unexpected Changes (Source: Astronomy)
Observations made using the HARPS spectrograph at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile have revealed unexpected changes in the bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. Although Ceres appears as little more than a point of light from Earth, careful study of its light shows not only the changes expected as Ceres rotates, but also that the spots brighten during the day and also show other variations. These observations suggest that the material of the spots is volatile and evaporates in the warm glow of sunlight. (5/6)

920th Rescue Squadron Supports Launch Operations at Cape (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
For those who attend or cover the launches at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, the Pavehawk HH-60G helicopters are a familiar sight buzzing around the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and adjacent Kennedy Space Center.

“The bulk of the flying that we have done, since I have been here in the mid-90s, has been in support of range-clearing duties, where we would get out, about two hours in advance of the launch, and make sure that the down range area off Cape Canaveral is clear of boats,” Lt. Col. Robert Haston told SpaceFlight Insider. Click here. (5/6)

Kennedy Space Center: a Cosmic Quest for Young Space Adventurers (Source: Miami Herald)
Although it celebrates some of the greatest rides in the world — in the universe, in fact — Kennedy Space Center Center Visitor Complex isn’t quite a theme park. But the privately run entertainment arm of the space launch facility offers attractions that entertain and educate — it even has its own version of character meet-and-greets, but with veteran astronauts — so it’s not too far a stretch to include it in a theme park round-up.

The Kennedy visitor complex is adding two new attractions this year. Cosmic Quest, a series of subversively educational video adventures that target 8- to 12-year-olds, kicked off in February. And Heroes and Legends, a high-tech, theatrical attraction that will incorporate the relocated Astronaut Hall of Fame, will open late this year. Click here. (5/7)

Ex-NASA Astronaut Tom Jones ‘Used To Be A Big UFO Fan.’ Not Now. (Source: Huffington Post)
Stories have been told for decades about American astronauts who supposedly have seen unexplained aerial phenomena (as Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton prefers to call UFOs). But how many astronauts have really reported close encounters with objects that could be verified as actual unknowns? Vanishingly few, it turns out.

Veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones said he wondered about UFOs long before he joined the space agency. “I used to be a big UFO fan when I was a teenager, thinking that this was the next great frontier of exploration,” Jones said in a recent interview. “I dropped that opinion later on, after not seeing the evidence that I was looking for.” Editor's Note: Jones is currently a senior research scientist with Florida's Institute for Human & Machine Cognition, headquartered in Pensacola. (5/6)

Dragon Set to Fly Home From ISS Wednesday (Source: Florida Today)
The coming week is another big one for SpaceX, whose unmanned Dragon capsule is scheduled to depart the International Space Station and return to Earth on Wednesday morning. The station’s 58-foot robotic arm is expected to release the Dragon and its 3,700 pounds of cargo at 9:18 a.m., beginning a less than six-hour journey culminating in a Pacific Ocean splashdown under parachutes. (5/6)

Globalstar Narrows Losses by $107.9 Million (Source: The Advocate)
Globalstar, the satellite telephone services provider, reported a first-quarter loss of $29.9 million, compared with a $129.7 million loss the year before. The company said the decrease in losses was primarily caused by lower noncash, nonoperating losses, which dropped from $107.9 million in the first quarter of 2015 to $1.3 million. (5/5)

Gap's ‘1969’ Ad Campain Features Space Shuttle From 1998 (Source: Popular Science)
1969 was a year of space exploration, rock and roll, and most notably, the founding of The Gap clothing store. As part of an ad campaign for its "1969" line of jeans, The Gap has been touting its heritage, placing jeans next to other things that happened in 1969. If you're nerds like us, the Apollo 11 mission tops the list of that year's highlights.

The Gap thought so too, honoring the launch of the first lunar landing by placing a historical space launch next to some quality denim. However, that's not the Saturn V rocket used on 1969's Apollo 11 mission. It's a Space Shuttle. The first Shuttle launch wasn't until Columbia in 1981. The Saturn V was a modular rocket constructed like a single tower. Click here. (5/5)

No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration (Source: Voice of America)
While many Americans celebrate May 5 as Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of a Mexican military victory, science nerds recognize the date as a technological milestone: the day the United States first put a man into space. In the decades since Alan Shepard's spaceflight, much has changed between the United States and its onetime rival in space.

With the 1998 launch of the International Space Station, pushing further into space has become a collaborative effort, including not just the United States and Russia, but also the European Union, China, and Japan. Over the years, at least 222 spaceflight technicians from 18 countries have worked together on long-term projects as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes.

Now, with the success of the space station, international collaboration is expected to continue as scientists pursue their next goal: the planet Mars. Over a half-century, what began as a struggle for dominance between two world powers has changed entirely. Limited space and resources may continue to cause tensions here on Earth, but the search for something beyond our planet is one common goal that helps preserve peace. (5/6)

India Seeks Doubling of Satellite Launches (Source: Hans India)
Until now, the Indian industries have been realizing several sub-systems including motor cases, structures, propellant tanks, liquid engines, control components and electronic packages. However, ISRO plays the lead role in carrying out the mission design, assembly & testing, quality assurance, integration and launch.

In order to achieve substantial increase in the launch frequency, ISRO is in the process of exploring the possibility of involving Indian industry towards stepping up the launch capacity within the country. ISRO is not seeking collaboration with other institutes in foreign countries, as part of Make in India campaign. (5/6)

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