July 10, 2016

Molly Macauley, Renowned Space Economist, Killed While Walking Her Dogs (Source: Space Policy Online)
Molly Macauley, one of the few economists specializing in satellites and the space program generally, was murdered last night while walking her dogs near her home in Baltimore, MD. She was stabbed to death while walking her two dogs in the Roland Park neighborhood in Baltimore. No suspects have been identified.

Macauley was a valued member of the space policy community for decades and renowned for her expertise on the economics of satellites, especially in the earth observation arena. Her professional portfolio was much broader, however, including the use of economic incentives in environmental regulation, climate and earth science, and recycling and solid waste management. (7/9)

Mystery Payload for July 28 ULA Launch (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
United Launch Alliance is preparing an Atlas 5 rocket to boost an undercover satellite into orbit for national security later this month. Details are scarce and informed speculation is nonexistent in the lead up to launching the clandestine NROL-61 mission for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. Liftoff is scheduled for July 28 during a four-hour unclassified launch period of 8 a.m. to 12 noon EDT. (7/9)

July 18 SpaceX Launch Will Feature Spaceport Landing (Source: Florida Today)
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule are being prepared for a blastoff from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport with International Space Station supplies very early on Monday, July 18. The targeted 12:45 a.m. launch will be the first since December in which SpaceX tries to land the rocket's first stage back at the Cape, on a reinforced concrete pad called "Landing Zone 1" (the former Launch Complex 13). (7/9)

Historic SpaceX Booster Approved for Display in California (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX landed its first Falcon booster on Dec. 21, and has since landed three more on the deck of a ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The booster landed in December has returned to SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, where the company plans to display it outside as a historic monument. It's the first liquid-fueled rocket to be recovered intact after boosting a mission to orbit, and proved that landing large rockets for reuse was possible.

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted SpaceX permission to build a 160-foot-tall display. The FAA's approval was needed because the tall rocket stage will stand not far from the Hawthorne Municipal Airport runway. "It would be the highest object for quite a distance around the airport," CEO Elon Musk explained back in April. (7/9)

One Giant Leap for Space Research, and Humans on Earth (Source: Washington Post)
Missions that rely on robots instead of people offer a high reward at a lower cost. Juno is one of those. In fact, its only “human” cargo is a Lego figure of Galileo Galilei. An investment in technology such as Juno is also an investment in health and science below the stars: Space-research spinoffs include technologies from solar panels to search-and-rescue systems. It’s impossible to know exactly what advances will come from Juno’s expedition, but the process stimulated scientific strides that surely will be applied elsewhere.

There is also the simple but scary fact that our world, which has already seen five mass extinctions, may not last forever. NASA hopes to find out whether and how we can live on Mars. Looking at outer planets such as Jupiter and Pluto — which NASA’s New Horizons flew by last summer — allows us to comprehend threats to the whole solar system, such as asteroids and comets. When it comes to the latter, Jupiter takes the punches for us.

These practical implications make missions such as Juno worthwhile. Yet the impulse to journey into infinity isn’t only scientifically sound: It’s human. Scientists believe Jupiter was the first planet created and that its enormous size — 1,300 times the volume of Earth — helped it hold onto everything formed along with it 4.5 billion years ago. Studying Jupiter’s origins, then, means studying the universe’s — and ours. (7/9)

Cosmosphere in Kansas is One of the World's Top Space Museums (Source: The Gazette)
Founded five decades ago by a Kansas woman with a love for the night skies, Cosmosphere has grown to become one of the finest space museums in the world. “Only the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., has a larger space collection,” said Jim Remar, president and chief operating officer of Cosmosphere. “We have more than 10,000 artifacts and get 100,000 visitors a year.”

Cosmosphere owes its existence to Patty Carey, a civic leader in Hutchinson, Kan. Hoping to introduce others to the wonders that fascinated her, she bought a used starball projector in 1962 and set it up in a poultry building on the Kansas State Fair Grounds. Four years later, Hutchinson Community College offered the planetarium a home on its campus, and a new, expanded science center was built. (7/9)

Airport Board Mulls Plans for Spaceport Tucson (Source: Tucson.com)
The creation of a “spaceport” south of Tucson International Airport has won broad political and business support as a potential driver of local economic development. But a recent meeting of the Tucson Airport Authority board raised some questions and concerns from airport stakeholders — including initial opposition from one of the airport’s biggest airline carriers.

Pima County is developing the spaceport site, about a mile and a half southwest of Tucson International Airport’s main runway, and is already constructing a building for World View to lease for balloon manufacturing and payload preparation. The county owns the property and building and will lease it to World View, which will also manage the launch pad under contract to the county. (7/9)

The mysterious Syndrome Impairing Astronauts’ Sight (Source: Washington Post)
In 2005, astronaut John Phillips took a break from his work on the International Space Station and looked out the window at Earth. He was about halfway through a mission that had begun in April and would end in October. When he gazed down at the planet, the Earth was blurry. He couldn’t focus on it clearly. That was strange — his vision had always been 20/20. He wondered: Was his eyesight getting worse?

Rigorous testing followed. Phillips got MRIs, retinal scans, neurological tests and a spinal tap. The tests showed that not only had his vision changed, but his eyes had changed as well. The backs of his eyes had gotten flatter, pushing his retinas forward. He had choroidal folds, which are like stretch marks. His optic nerves were inflamed.

Phillips case became the first widely recognized one of a mysterious syndrome that affects 80 percent of astronauts on long-duration missions in space. The syndrome could interfere with plans for future crewed space missions, including any trips to Mars. (7/9)

NASA Backs Australia's Coding Club for Kids (Source: Financial Review)
The world's leading space exploration agency has thrown its support behind an Australian scheme to get 10,000 schoolchildren writing computer coding at one time in an attempt to set a new world record.

Last week the NASA reached out to Code Club Australia after learning of the group's Moonhack event on social media. The organisations have now agreed that NASA will help promote the initiative through its channels, record a video message to be sent to the participating students and potentially offer a group of six "exceptional" kids the chance to see Canberra's Deep Space Communication Complex. (7/9)

India: Room for Collaboration (Source: Asian Age)
Juno is indicative of the power of a different kind of collaboration. It wasn't NASA that built the spacecraft. It was Lockheed Martin. The private sector has been a force multiplier when it comes to amplifying the efforts of space agencies, and this has been a theme over the last few years. The emergence of SpaceX is expected to free NASA to more efficiently channel its resources into missions that move humanity forward, than be caught up in the logistics of replenishing supplies of the International Space Station.

SpaceX and BlueOrigin are among a new crop of enterprises -- dubbed NewSpace companies -- working on slashing the cost of space launches by landing the first stages of rockets back on earth. Our team of former ISRO scientists have been an absolute pillar of strength for us at Team Indus. The only reason why we have come this far is the knowledge and ecosystem created by ISRO. These are people who had joined the space agency as it was being conceived. They have literally put the Indian space program together with their hands. (7/9)

Jacksonville Growing its Tech Talent, Report Finds (Source: Jacksonville Business Journal)
Skilled workers are flocking to Jacksonville because of its growing tech presence and affordable cost of living, according to a CBRE Group Inc. tech report. The First Coast had the fourth-largest increase in tech talent growth from 2013 to 2015 — 18.8 percent — up 5.6 percentage points from 2011 to 2013. It comes behind Madison, Wisconsin, Toronto and Miami.

Jacksonville’s population of millennials in their 20s grew 5 percent from 2009 to 2014, putting it at 11 out of 50 U.S. and Canadian cities in CBRE’s “Scoring Tech Talent” report. It’s also the fifth-ranked market in terms of gender diversity in tech occupations: Women fill 29.1 percent of its tech roles, placing it behind just Washington D.C., Richmond, Sacramento and Baltimore. (7/9)

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