June 21, 2016

Space Command Readies For War With ‘Space Enterprise Vision’ (Source: Breaking Defense)
Air Force Space Command has created a blueprint for fighting and winning wars in space, known by the innocuous title of the Space Enterprise Vision. The existence of the plan is not classified but many of its working elements are. The SEV is “an all-encompassing look at all the things we need to do to create more resilience in our space forces, enhance them, and respond to threats,” Air Force Space Command spokesman Col. John Dorrian says.

It includes current weapon systems and those planned for the near future, as well as changes to training and organization. It isn’t a direct result of the government-wide Space Portfolio Review, according to Dorrian, but it is “related.” A large part of the reason for that distinction, I think, is because the SPR dealt in great detail with US spy satellites, which Space Command does not  control.

The general thrust of the vision earned positive reviews from a top space expert. “It is good that the US government is finally getting serious about national security space. For a long time, there has been a lot of talk and not a lot of walk,” says Theresa Hitchens, a senior research scholar at the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies. (6/20)

Paul Allen: Tackling the Space Challenge (Source: LinkedIn)
Today, my team at Vulcan Aerospace is building on the concept of a reusable air-launch platform that will put satellites into orbit. Our Stratolaunch carrier aircraft – currently nearing completion in Mojave, California – will take off from a runway and fly to the approximate cruising altitude of a commercial airliner before releasing a satellite-bearing launch vehicle. As the launch vehicle rockets into orbit, Stratolaunch will fly back to a runway landing for reloading, refueling and reuse.

What advantages does this air-launch approach offer? First, with aircraft-like operations, our reusable launch platform will significantly reduce the long wait times traditionally experienced between the construction of a satellite and the opportunity to launch it into space.

Second, because Stratolaunch is designed with a flight radius of up to 1000 nautical miles and can launch from different runways, it will offer scientists, businesses and space entrepreneurs much greater flexibility, such as the potential to evade local weather problems that often delay traditional vertical launches. Third, with shorter wait times, greater flexibility and more missions per year, we will be able to lower costs and increase opportunities to put small satellites into LEO. (6/20)

The Universe May Be Expanding Way Faster Than We Thought (Source: Huffington Post)
Astrophysicist Adam Riess shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for research showing that the universe isn’t simply expanding (something we’ve known since Edwin Hubble’s landmark 1929 paper) but that it’s expanding at an accelerating rate. Now Riess, along with an international team of collaborators, is back with surprising new research showing that the universe is expanding faster than predicted.

Based on observational data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the research indicates that a more accurate value of the Hubble constant (the term astronomers use for how fast the universe expands over time) is about 73 kilometers per second per megaparsec. Or, if you prefer your astronomy in simple terms: The universe is expanding about 9 percent faster than we thought. That’s so fast that the distance between cosmic objects will double in the next 9.8 billion years. (6/20)

Skylab Remembered: How Reality TV Started in Space (Source: Daily Beast)
George Henry Longly’s new art show reimagines the lives of astronauts in Skylab, NASA’s first space station—who were watched every moment of their mission. “To be alive now is to be constantly performing. You have to present yourself in some kind of practical way. I mean, you don’t have to but it’s what it is like to be alive now.”

“They were overexposed. The [Skylab] astronauts were the first reality TV stars. It was the first time we had access to people constantly. They were always on film,” Longly says. At one end of the gallery is an oblique replica of the Skylab. A corner is painted a deep NASA blue. Out of one wall comes a copy of Dionysus from the Elgin Marbles, surrounded by brackets and braces to help the Greek god move through zero gravity. A makeshift dreamcatcher hangs nearby. (6/20)

Japanese Military Satellite Damaged En Route to Kourou Launch Site (Source: Space News)
Japan’s DSN-1 X-band military communications satellite was damaged during transport from Japan to Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport in South America and will miss its planned summer launch aboard a European heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, also delaying its intended co-passenger, India’s GSAT-18 telecommunications satellite, industry officials said.

It remained unclear whether the damage is severe enough to require the satellite to be returned to Japan or can be treated at the spaceport facilities. Also unknown is whether the damage occurred during loading or unloading of the satellite, or during its air transport from Japan. (6/20)

Inside Stratolaunch (Source: Space Review)
Stratolaunch Systems, the company backed by Paul Allen working on an air-launch system, opened the doors to its Mojave hangar to the media last week. Jeff Foust reports on the status of the company’s large aircraft and its plans to enter the smallsat launch market. Click here. (6/20)
The Wizard War in Orbit (Source: Space Review)
Thanks to declassified documents, we’re learning more about early American efforts to develop signals intelligence satellites. In the first of a four-part series, Dwayne Day discusses how these new sources show how diverse and prolific those efforts were. Click here. (6/20)
Why There Won’t Be a SpaceX in India Unless… (Source: Space Review)
Entrepreneurs in India hope to join the NewSpace movement with space ventures of their own, following in the footsteps of SpaceX. Narayan Prasad argues that, without support from government and investors in India, those ventures won’t be able to pursue their dreams. Click here. (6/20)

SpaceX May Face $15,000 Port Fee for Booster Return (Source: Florida Today)
Port Canaveral is considering charging SpaceX $15,000 every time the company brings one of its rocket boosters to the port after it successfully lands on a drone ship in the Atlantic. Port staff has proposed a new cargo wharfage charge for aerospace and aircraft items that initially would apply to SpaceX. Canaveral Port Authority commissioners will consider the staff proposal on Wednesday.

SpaceX has successfully landed three boosters on the drone ship so far, and brought them back through the port. "We view their cargo passing over our dock just like any other cargo passing our dock," Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said. "We're not looking at this as an adversarial relationship. It's no different than anything else coming across the dock. You have to pay for use of port facilities. That's how a port makes its money."

But SpaceX is not happy with the proposed fee. “The proposed wharfage fee is 14 times higher than what any other business is being charged for using port facilities," SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said. "Port Canaveral is an important partner in our recovery operations. But we expect fees to be fair and reflect our actual use of the port. We’re looking forward to participating in the meeting later this week.” (6/20)

What Happens if You Have a Heart Attack in Space? (Source: Popular Science)
Currently, humans in space have limited options when it comes to medical monitoring and treatments—surgery, for example, is not yet possible. But if there is a medical emergency aboard the International Space Station, the astronauts are only hours away from hospitals on Earth. A manned mission to Mars, however, would put humans in deep space for months or years at a time, which means crew members would need to be prepared to deal with emergencies on their own. Click here. (6/20)

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