June 11, 2016

Cheap Rocket Launches May be Key to National Defense (Source: Popular Science)
Space is, fortunately, a mostly peaceful domain, but missiles fired from Earth could easily take out important military and communications satellites. What can we do to prevent an act of space war from crippling the American military and public? According to Lieutenant Colonel Peter Garretson, the solution is to make sure America dominates the field of “Ultra-Low-Cost Access to Space,”or ULCATS.

Garretson wants to see a future where America can cheaply and reliably put new satellites into orbit. He's light on details as to how to do that, exactly, besides mentioning that military funding in technology in the Cold War improved America's technological advantage. Supposedly further funding of SpaceX's and Blue Origin's reusable rockets will lead to a ten-fold decrease in launch cost, which the military can then take advantage of. Click here. (6/10)

Russia Wants to Sell RD-180 Engines to the US Through 2021 (Source: Tass)
Russian manufacturer of rocket engines NPO Energomash hopes for the prolongation of its contract for the supply of RD-180 rocket engines to the United States till 2020-2021, Energomash CEO Igor Arbuzov has said. (6/11)

Space Florida Chief to Lay Out Vision at Space Club Luncheon (Source: NSCFL)
Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello will be the guest speaker for the next National Space Club Florida Committee luncheon on June 14. His presentation, entitled “Vision 2025,” will be delivered at the Radisson at Port Canaveral.

DiBello was selected in May 2009 to lead Space Florida, which serves as the single point of contact for aerospace-related economic development in Florida. In this position, he develops and executes programs designed to retain, grow and expand aerospace business in Florida. He also focuses on the development of Florida aerospace workforce retention and vendor appreciation programs. (6/11)

Arianespace Needs to Reassess Shareholder Roles (Source: Space News)
Arianespace is preparing to enter a new era as a company owned by Airbus Safran Launchers. In addition to the European Commission’s space policy, expected by December, the 22-nation European Space Agency has scheduled a December meeting of its ministers to set a mid-term policy and budget direction. OHB CEO Marco Fuchs, president of the Eurospace grouping of space companies, speaks about Arianespace and other issues. Click here. (6/10)

Russia Plans to Send Crews to Moon Regularly Starting in 2025 (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Russia plans to send cosmonauts to the Moon on a regular basis as soon as 2025, the Roscosmos State Corporation has recently revealed. According to Russian authorities, the country could carry out one or two launches yearly of its crewed spacecraft called “Federation”—currently in development—in order to transport people to lunar orbit.

This ambitious plan envisages the Federation spacecraft orbiting the Moon as well as humans landing on the lunar surface. Moreover, the project includes sending cosmonauts on a trip beyond the Moon’s orbit to the so-called Lagrangian points. The planned missions would be launched into space by Angara-A5P rockets. (6/10)

Cyber Attack On Satellite Could Be Act Of War (Source: Breaking Defense)
In a rare public event, the No. 2 member of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee (HPSCI), Rep. Adam, said a cyber attack on a US satellite could be considered an act of war. While this may sound like common sense to some, the question of whether using cyber to interfere with or disable a military or intelligence satellite would constitute an act of war has been one of those questions like the old philosophic chestnut: “If a tree falls in the forest but nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Senior military and intelligence officials have been extremely careful in answering the cyber question, in part because determining the difference between an act of espionage and one that constitutes an attack can be challenging. Click here. (6/10)

Globalstar Plan May Hinge on Regulator Who Supports Critics (Source: Bloomberg)
Globalstar Inc.’s proposal to open new frequencies to smartphones may hinge on a regulator who has publicly backed opposing uses of the airwaves. Globalstar wants to offer mobile broadband over airwaves now limited to satellite service, and to make use of neighboring airwaves. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth advocates say the plan could cause interference to millions of hearing aids, gaming consoles and cable hotspots and have urged rejection of the plan. (6/7)

When Will China's 'Heavenly Palace' Space Lab Fall Back to Earth? (Source: Space.com)
A Chinese space lab is bound to come back to Earth relatively soon, but when and where this happens is a matter of speculation. Some satellite trackers think China may have lost control of the uncrewed 8-ton vehicle, called Tiangong-1. "It could be a real bad day if pieces of this came down in a populated area … but odds are, it will land in the ocean or in an unpopulated area," added Tom Dorman, an amateur satellite tracker who has been keeping tabs on Tiangong-1 since the space lab's September 2011 launch.

However, Chinese officials have yet to confirm the end-of-life plans for Tiangong-1, and some experts think it may still be possible to bring the spacecraft down in a controlled fashion. Based on the latest tracking information, if there are no further reboosts of the Chinese craft, "we would expect to see Tiangong-1 re-enter just around the end of 2017," T.S. Kelso said. (6/10)

Iran Negotiating with Italy for the Return of Mesbah Satellite (Source: SpaceWatch)
Iranian officials are in talks with Italy for the return of the Iranian Mesbah (Farsi for ‘Lantern’) satellite, according to the head of the Iranian Space Agency Mohsen Bahrami. The Mesbah satellite was seized by Italy and Russia just prior to its scheduled launch in 2006, due to the imposition of the international sanctions regime in response to concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

Mesbah, a low-Earth orbit communications satellite, was cooperatively built by the Iran Telecommunications Research Center (ITRC), Iranian Electronics Industry Organization, the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), and the Iranian Institute of Applied Research, along with the Italian satellite manufacturer Carlo Gavazzi Space S.p.A.

Iranian engineers and technicians worked on Mesbah at Carlo Gavazzi Space which is headquartered in Milan, Italy, and now owned by German satellite company OHB Technology. According to Mohsen Bahrami, “Iranian researchers are now estimating the options to decide over the launch of Mesbah satellite into the orbit.” The Mesbah satellite was built between 1999 and 2001. (6/10)

Why Do We Really Need Space Travel? (Source: Huffington Post)
First of all, whether humans reach the stars, or even destinations in the outer solar system, is not a matter of technology at all, although it is often couched in these terms. Proponents love to invoke the ‘If you build it they will come’ and Human Manifest Destiny arguments for space travel at these scales. All you have to do is invest in the creation of the infrastructure for travel (rockets etc) and that alone will open up the universe to humanity.

But in actuality, whether we decide as a Society to make the journey or not is not an engineering question at all .Instead, it is the result of answering the three questions human explorers have had to answer. Where should we go? What will we do when we get there? and How will it benefit folks back home? Click here. (6/10)

UCF Dean Wants to Bring Musk to Campus (Source: Central Florida Future)
UCF College of Business Administration Dean Paul Jarley wants to bring Elon Musk to UCF. Jarley hopes to expose business and engineering students to Musk’s unique business philosophy. As the host of UCF's Failure Competition, Jarley wants students to meet Musk so they can be inspired to take risks.

On his blog, Jarley wrote, “I want Elon Musk to come and give 20 minutes of inspiration on how failure leads to success to 10,000 UCF Business and Engineering students. Why? Because our students don’t take enough smart risks. Fear of failure just might be the No. 1 enemy of college students today. Nobody has dreamed bigger, taken bolder actions and stared down failure more than Elon Musk.” (6/10)

France Launches Massive Meteor-Spotting Network (Source: Nature)
Scientists in France have launched an unprecedented campaign to catch shooting stars, an effort that will rely on thousands of volunteers to comb the ground for bits of space rock. The program already includes 68 cameras that scan the skies for meteors. By the end of this year, some 100 cameras will blanket France, organizers say. That would make it one of the biggest and densest meteor-spotting networks in the world. (6/10)

Biggest Obstacle to Mars Colonization May be Obsolete Humans (Source: Popular Science)
Colonizers of Mars may very well escape the grind of terrestrial life, but they likely won't escape the darker sides of their own natures. This could lead to all sorts of interpersonal strife, legal quandaries, political chaos, and even existential crises, all of which could doom a fledgling colonial community. Click here. (6/10)

As Silicon Valley Lays Plans to Colonize Mars, Researchers Offer a Blueprint for Governing It (Source: Quartz)
NASA has been tasked with landing humans on Mars by the 2030s. The nonprofit Mars One foundation claims it’s preparing to blast off hardware for human habitation of the Red Planet by 2024. And Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has made it his mission to turn Mars into humanity’s second home to save our species from possible extinction.

No political system exists to manage these new arrivals—and if humans indeed colonize Mars in the 21st century, we’re going to need one soon. But it’s hard to find good precedents for governing in a place where air may need to be a basic right of citizenry and an entire planet is up for grabs. Musk’s vision is steeped in the libertarian-leaning ideals of Silicon Valley, with a system of “direct democracy,” rather than a reliance on elected officials to represent the masses.

The nonprofit Blue Marble Space Institute of Science came to rather different conclusions than Musk about how to encourage harmony between rival states, sustain Martian exploration, and avoid follies ranging from physical violence to rampant environmental degradation. Their proposal borrows from the Antarctic Treaty System, the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, and the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. Click here. (6/10)

Space Travel Could Speed Passengers Around the World in One Hour (Source: BT)
Passengers could fly across the world in little over an hour due to space travel, according to experts. Plans for Britain's first spaceport, which was announced by the Government in the recent Queen's Speech, could revolutionise international travel over the next 20 years.

It could see flights between the UK and rest of the world take as little as an hour, and therefore see an end to long-haul journeys. But this would not mean developing a new generation of supersonic Concorde aircraft because of environmental problems, according to Will Whitehorn, a past president of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic commercial space project. Click here. (6/10)

Proton Launch Succeeds Despite First Stage Engine Problem (Source: Space News)
A Proton rocket successfully placed an Intelsat satellite into orbit Thursday despite an issue with the rocket. During the launch one lower stage engine shut down prematurely, causing it to underperform, although the Breeze-M upper stage was able to compensate during its series of burns. The launch was the first for the latest upgrade to the Proton, incorporating lighter-weight, but stronger, metallic structures and high-precision tooling that gives the vehicle an additional 150 kilograms of payload capacity for geostationary orbit missions. (6/10)

NASA Considering Payloads for SpaceX Mars Mission (Source: Space News)
NASA is exploring the possibility of flying payloads on SpaceX's Red Dragon Mars spacecraft or a follow-up mission. Officials in NASA's space technology and planetary sciences program say they are open to additional cooperation with SpaceX on that mission beyond the technical support they are providing in exchange for data on the spacecraft's landing attempt. Because the launch window for Red Dragon's 2018 mission opens in less than 24 months, it may not be possible to get a payload ready in time for that flight, but additional opportunities may become available in launch windows in 2020 and beyond. (6/10)

Russia Plans to Send Crews to Moon Regularly Starting in 2025 (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Russia plans to regularly send cosmonauts to the Moon as soon as 2025, the Roscosmos State Corporation has recently revealed. According to the Russian authorities, the country could carry out one or two launches yearly of its crewed spacecraft called “Federation”—currently in development—in order to transport people to the lunar orbit. (6/10)

SpaceX, Once Pooh-Poohed, Is Wake-Up Call for Europeans (Source: Bloomberg)
The success of SpaceX has given Europe’s space industry a kick in the pants. After three flawless landings of the first stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on a drone barge in the Atlantic ocean since April, the 44-year-old entrepreneur announced on Tuesday that he plans to start reusing rockets as soon as September. In contrast, Europe’s non-reusable competitor, Ariane 6, may be ready only in 2020, while a reusable version, a project for which was unveiled this month, may come even later.

“SpaceX is like a giant wake up call,” Jean-Yves Le Gall, head of CNES, the French space agency, said in an interview. “Six to nine months ago many in Europe thought Elon Musk was just hot air, even among the big shots in the space industry. But he showed he was able to do it, to potentially reuse rockets one day. He’s clearly shaking things up.”

More than just European pride is at stake. The space industry represents 38,000 jobs in Europe, most of them in France, according to Aerospace Defense Industries, an industry group. With the sector at the cusp of a new era of space missions that will broaden the client base for satellites and open the way for exploration projects hitherto unreachable, Europe can’t afford to miss the boat. (6/9)

Don’t Muddy the Message to Space Mining Companies (Source: Space News)
Last November, Congress passed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA) and, in doing so, sent a clear message to space entrepreneurs who plan to extract natural resources from asteroids and other celestial bodies: that they will be able to operate free from harmful interference and may assert ownership over any resources that they extract.

Although actual asteroid mining may still be decades off, investors need this assurance now if they are to continue to fund the companies that are developing technology that will be a cornerstone of an expanded human presence in space. However, the clarity of this message is in danger of being muddied by allegations from delegates of the UN’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) that the CSLCA violates international law.

The most vociferous opposition to the legality of the CSLCA was voiced in statements by Brazil and Russia submitted during the February meeting of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee. They accused the U.S. of acting unilaterally with “total disrespect for international law order [sic]” in enacting legislation that contains “inconsistencies” with the Outer Space Treaty (OST), specifically the Article II prohibition of national appropriation. Click here. (6/9)

Former NASA Astronaut Joins Blue Abyss Space Pool Project (Source: SpaceRef)
Former NASA astronaut Dr Scott Parazynski has joined Blue Abyss to provide advice and guidance on neutral buoyancy training for astronauts and human physiology in extreme environments. Dr Parazynski joins Blue Abyss as it prepares to build Europe’s largest commercial aquatic center. (6/10)

Pipelines Needed to Expand Cape Canaveral Spaceport's Launch Capacity (Source: SPACErePORT)
Pipeline infrastructure for gaseous commodities (helium, etc.) at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport has been identified as a bottleneck for accommodating the higher launch rate that will be needed by a growing number of users. The current network of gas pipes supports only one user at a time and requires a ~24 hour turnaround between users. The resulting holdup has impacted not only launches but also pre-launch test operations.

Ideally, the Air Force and/or NASA would come to the rescue, but their immediate needs are not impacted by the bottleneck. It's the commercial users who are most impacted. Florida--through Space Florida and the Florida Department of Transportation--could have a solution with infrastructure improvements funded annually by FDOT, but the infrastructure fund is obligated to other projects for years in advance.

Another solution is Space Florida exercising its 'spaceport authority' role by financing, developing, and even operating the pipeline as a multi-user resource. But this will require financial commitments by those users who would benefit from the investment, or maybe some other kind of deal with the Air Force and/or NASA. (6/10)

Musk Provides New Details on His “Mind Blowing” Mission to Mars (Source: Washington Post)
Before human pioneers board a rocket, Musk said the unmanned flights would carry science experiments and rovers to the planet. The equipment would be built either by SpaceX, or others. The early flights also would serve to better understand interplanetary navigation and allow the company to test its ability to safely land craft on Mars.

“Essentially what we’re saying is we’re establishing a cargo route to Mars,” he said. “It’s a regular cargo route. You can count on it. It’s going happen every 26 months. Like a train leaving the station. And if scientists around the world know that they can count on that, and it’s going to be inexpensive, relatively speaking compared to anything in the past, then they will plan accordingly and come up with a lot of great experiments.”

By the next launch window, in 2020, Musk said the company would aim to fly at least two Falcon Heavy rockets and Dragon spacecraft, loaded with experiments. “By that time there will be quite a few organizations … that are interested in running experiments on Mars,” he said. Then in 2022, Musk said he hoped to launch what the company now sometimes refers to as the Mars Colonial Transporter, designed to bring a colony to Mars. (6/10)

Defense Lobbyists Brief Trump (Source: The Hill)
A trade association representing leading aerospace manufacturers said it briefed its priorities to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday. "The Aerospace Industries Association [AIA] participated in a meeting today with the Trump campaign to brief Mr. Trump on issues of importance to our industry," said the association's president and CEO, David F. Melcher.

Representatives from defense firms Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon also participated in the meeting, which took place at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Melcher said the AIA has also been in contact with the Clinton campaign regarding a similar opportunity to brief presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (6/10)

ULA to launch Air Force’s AEHF-5 satellite in 2018 (Source: Space News)
The Defense Department awarded United Launch Alliance a $138 million contract modification May 31 largely to launch the fifth in a series of protected communications satellites on an Atlas 5 rocket in 2018. ULA received the contract modification to launch the fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite as part of its $11 billion block buy contract with the Air Force. That deal, signed in 2013, calls for the production of 36 new Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rocket cores and launch services for vehicles purchased as long ago as 1998. (6/10)

With Earth’s Largest Telescope Threatened, Its Homeland Rallies (Source: National Geographic)
At meetings June 7 in San Juan and Arecibo, students, scientists, observatory staff and community members spoke about what would be lost in terms of science and education if the observatory were to close, an outcome that no one in attendance seemed to find acceptable in any way.

The meetings gave the community a chance to speak directly to representatives from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. science agency responsible for deciding Arecibo’s fate, and which is now facing tough choices thanks to flatlined budgets. Editor's Note: They should seek a funding solution as part of Puerto Rico's ongoing debt negotiations in Congress. (6/10)

Commercial Crew Craft: Ready When They're Ready (Source: SpaceKSC)
The next International Space Station crew rotation is scheduled for July 7 from the Russian launch site at Baikonur, Khazkhstan. Here at Kennedy Space Center, commercial crew vendors Boeing and SpaceX continue to prepare for their first missions in the next two years.

A Boeing executive said their CST-100 Starliner is behind schedule. Their first uncrewed test flight is planned for 2017, with the first crew flight in 2018. Boeing has a problem with the capsule's mass and noise problems as it interacts with its United Launch Alliance Atlas V booster. SpaceX maintains they're still on track for operational status by the end of 2017, although their schedules are notoriously optimistic. Click here. (6/10)

Space Is Crowded, Lockheed's Head of Space Systems Knows How to Stay Ahead (Source: Inverse)
“Space is no longer the sole domain of the U.S. Government and a couple of large countries,” Richard Ambrose told an audience full of journalists, policy wonks, and bureaucrats on Wednesday as part of the Atlantic Council’s annual Captains of Industry Series that took place in Washington D.C.

As executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems Division, Ambrose is in charge of making the craft that offers one of humankind’s best chances at putting a person on Mars, the Orion Spacecraft. Though the setting was dry, when Ambrose talks, the industry listens. Click here. (6/9)

Aldrin: The Government Should Stop Competing With Private Sector In Space (Source: Forbes)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin thinks Congress needs to stop inhibiting the space program and the government should quit trying to compete with the private sector. Instead, it should leverage the space program to build bridges with other countries, especially China.

He said that while no one nation can go to Mars by itself, a global lunar coalition involving various space agencies, including China, Russia and Japan, should make the mission feasible. “We would not be well-advised to compete with China in space,” said Aldrin. “That’s where we can do things together like we did with the Russians [in the 1970s].” (6/9)

Chicago...A Hub for Space Travel? This Entrepreneur Says Yes (Source: Chicago Inno)
When you think about the future of commercial space travel and the possibility of long-term human presence in outer space, you think Elon Musk--and rightfully so. SpaceX has been one of the darlings of the tech world, making massive advancements in space innovation and collecting more than $1 billion in funding. But innovation in the space industry isn't exclusive to SpaceX, nor is it limited to startups in Silicon Valley.

The space industry is poised to be the "next trillion dollar industry," and there's a big opportunity for startups to get in on the ground floor, said Chicago-based serial entrepreneur David Hurst, who's trying to make Chicago a hub for space innovation. And he's already working on technology to facilitate human existence beyond planet Earth.

In 2014 Hurst founded Orbital Transports, a space technology design and engineering firm that's developing space logistics and other technologies to support long-term human habitation in space. The company is developing things like Spider Droids that roam the exterior surface of a spacecraft to monitor damage and perform maintenance, and orbital fuel depots--essentially space gas stations--that will allow a spacecraft to refuel in orbit. (6/9)

7 Facts About China’s New Long March 7 Rocket (Source: GB Times)
At the end of June China will launch its first Long March 7 rocket, which is part of a new generation of launch vehicles designed to take China’s space program ambitions to the next level. The new rockets, developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), aim to provide increased reliability and adaptability, lower costs and preparation time, as well as allowing much heavier payloads to be put in orbit. Click here. (6/10)

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