June 27, 2016

NASA Research Project Takes Off with Aim to Make Airports More Efficient (Source: Phys.org)
As part of the transition to NextGen, NASA is launching a new five-year project to research and test how information sharing between air traffic management can benefit airports. "Shared information leads to more accurate planning so we can create a clearer picture to streamline all airport and airline operations," said Leighton Quon, project manager for the NASA Airspace Technology Demonstrations project based at the Ames Research center in California. (6/24)

Curiosity Rover Finds Unusual Mineral on Mars (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Researchers using data from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover have found an unexpected mineral in a rock sample at Gale Crater. The discovery may change our understanding of how Mars evolved. Curiosity has been studying sedimentary rocks in Gale crater since landing in August 2012. The rover collected powder from a rock at a location called “Buckskin” in July 2015.

Scientists analyzing sample data from the rover’s CheMin x-ray diffraction instrument detected significant amounts of a silica mineral called tridymide. This finding was a surprise to researchers as tridymite is usually associated with silicic volcanism, which occurs on Earth but was not thought to be present on Mars. The presence of this mineral suggest that the Red Planet may have once had explosive volcanoes. (6/27)

Moon Express Update at Space Club Meeting (Source: NSCFL)
Dr. Robert ‘Bob’ Richards, Founder and CEO, Moon Express, will be the featured speaker at the National Space Club Florida Committee’s (NSCFL) monthly luncheon on Tuesday, July 12. His presentation is entitled “Moon Express 2017: A Private Mission to the Moon.” The luncheon event begins at 11:30 am and will be held at the Radisson at the Port Convention Center, Cape Canaveral.
Dr. Richards is a space entrepreneur and futurist. He is a co-founder of the International Space University, Singularity University, SEDS, the Space Generation Foundation and Google Lunar X PRIZE competitors Odyssey Moon Ltd. and Moon Express, Inc. Dr. Richards participated in the 2007 NASA Mars Lander mission and 2004 XSS-11 mission of the U.S. Air Force. He is a member of the International Institute of Space Law and co-chairs of the Exploration Committee of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. (6/27)

What India Gains From Missile Technology Control Regime (Source: Live Mint)
The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) is an informal, voluntary grouping of countries which aims to check the proliferation of missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) capable of carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMD). It is not a treaty and does not impose any legally binding obligations on its adherents and members.

A grouping of 35 countries, MTCR keeps a check on transfer of missiles and UAVs capable of carrying a payload of at least 500kg over a range of at least 300km. It also focuses on any equipment, software or technology that can enable a nation to produce such systems. Once India puts in place an appropriate export policy for items covered by the MTCR, an argument can be made that the sale of any such systems to India will not lead to any further proliferation. (6/27)

Japanese Startup Aims High in Small Satellite Market (Source: Nikkei)
A Japanese startup is working to develop the world's first compact commercial rocket in southern Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost main island. Takahiro Inagawa, CEO of Interstellar Technologies, recently spoke with The Nikkei about the company's goal of building cheap booster rockets for small satellites. The startup is preparing to launch its first sounding rocket for observation as early as this summer. (6/26)

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