June 26, 2016

How Juno Will Survive Jupiter's Devastating Radiation (Source: Popular Science)
Mighty Jupiter is incomprehensibly large. More massive than all the other planets and asteroids in the solar system combined, the size of 1,300 Earths. Jupiter is also swathed in radiation that's many thousands of times harsher than around Earth. “Jupiter is by far the most severe radiation environment of any body in the solar system, other than the Sun,” says Kevin Rudolph, an engineer at Lockheed Martin who helped design and build the Juno spacecraft.

The Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter on July 4 and orbit it for two years. How will Juno survive such blistering radiation? “We're basically an armored tank,” says Juno principle investigator Scott Bolton. “This mission is a first for NASA in many ways. It's probably one of the biggest challenges they've attempted, to get this close to Jupiter.” (6/24)

Virginia Looks at New Opportunities for Wallops Spaceport (Source: Roanoke Times)
With space station resupply launches expected to resume in August and a runway under construction for testing drone flights, Virginia is looking at another opportunity to lure a major federal research program to the state’s expanding spaceport complex. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to begin looking for a place to base a new “science and technology testing ground” for unmanned vehicle systems — operating in the air and underwater — and boosters say the regional spaceport would be an ideal fit.

The federal agency has not yet issued a request for information for an unmanned vehicle testing ground, but officials for the alliance and the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority already are trying to ensure that Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard have a long-term home at the 3,000-foot state runway for testing “unmanned vehicle systems” that is expected to be finished in December.

Virginia also is making a big push with its congressional delegation in partnership with Maryland and Delaware to persuade the U.S. Navy to base a portion of its new Triton drone fleet at the Wallops Flight Facility operated by NASA since the mid-1940s. “It’s becoming a very strong coalition,” said Dale Nash, executive director of the state space authority, also known as Virginia Space. (6/25)

Cuts in Enterprise Florida Incentives Spark Concerns (Source: Florida Today)
The Florida Legislature’s decision not to fund a key economic development tool could hamper future deals like ones that led to major corporate expansions in Brevard County, local officials say. The incentive — known as the Quick Action Closing Fund — provided Gov. Rick Scott with flexibility to offer cash to companies looking to expand in Florida, and was considered a handy tool in the state’s economic development toolbox for competitive projects.

But it was controversial, as were some of the operations of the state’s main economic development organization, Enterprise Florida Inc. Scott sought $250 million for the fund for the fiscal year that begins July 1. But the Florida Legislature decided not to set aside any money.

And the fallout from that decision was a major topic of discussion at recent meetings of the Enterprise Florida board of directors and the Ad Valorem Tax Abatement Council of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast. Greg Weiner, the Economic Development Commission’s senior director of business development, says he is worried about the lack of money for the Quick Action Closing Fund program. (6/26)

How Does SpaceX Make Money? (Source: Motley Fool)
SpaceX just might be the most popular company on Earth that everyone wants to invest in -- but that no one can. Lots of people might want to invest in SpaceX, but should they? To answer that question, we need to figure out how SpaceX makes money, and how much that money (i.e., profit) is worth to investors.

Unlike its backers such as Alphabet, and unlike its rivals such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, SpaceX is a private company and thus not required by the SEC to divulge its financials in detail. Figuring out how SpaceX makes money, and how much money it's making, is therefore largely an exercise in guesswork. Click here. (6/26)

Emirati Students Seek a Headstart in Space Race (Source: Gulf News)
American aerospace and global security firm Lockheed Martin is teaming up with the UAE Space Agency to help aspiring UAE students enter the realm of international space exploration. In an announcement on Sunday, Lockheed Martin said it had inked an agreement with UAE space officials to launch a “comprehensive dual-track space training program for students and early career professionals in space fundamentals.” (6/26)

Reentry Module Aboard Long March-7 Retrieved (Source: Xinhua)
A reentry module aboard carrier rocket Long March-7, which was launched on Saturday, was successfully recovered on Sunday, a move paving the way for technological breakthroughs in China's future manned spacecraft. According to officials in charge of the country's manned space engineering, the module landed in Badain Jaran Desert in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 3:41 p.m.

Before its landing, the reentry module weighing about 2,600 kilograms spent about 20 hours in orbit. In addition to laying a solid foundation for technological breakthroughs in designing future manned spacecraft, the recovery of the reentry module also means the Long March-7 has fulfilled all the objectives of its maiden flight, according to the officials. (6/26)

China Committed to Peaceful Use of Outer Space (Source: Xinhua)
China welcomed a newcomer to its Long March carrier rocket family on Saturday as the new generation Long March-7 blasted off successfully. It brings China one step closer to its goal of operating a permanent space station. As China ventures deeper into space, the country has not wavered in the key principles that govern its space missions -- namely, peaceful development in space exploration.

China has taken an active part in international space cooperation and been willing to provide platforms for countries and regions to use outer space peacefully. Currently, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), independently developed and operated by China, provides open services to the Asia-Pacific region free of charge.

China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe, which is scheduled to land on the moon in 2018, is expected to carry three scientific payloads, developed by the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. The cooperation aims to help engineers and scientists from different countries conduct joint research and share scientific data. (6/26)

NASA to Test Fire Powerful SLS Booster (Source: Florida Today)
Smoke and fire will pour from the most powerful solid rocket booster ever built during a test this week of a key piece of NASA’s next exploration rocket. In Utah, Orbital ATK on Tuesday morning plans to fire the five-segment booster, a pair of which are slated to help lift the 322-foot Space Launch System rocket and an unmanned Orion crew capsule in late 2018. The boosters are slightly longer than four-segment SRBs that helped launch space shuttles for 30 years, and will each generate 3.6 million pounds of thrust. (6/26)

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