July 14, 2016

New Drone Rules to Bring 4,000 Jobs to Florida (Source: WFTS)
Drone-related jobs are coming to Florida. St. Petersurg College is offering drone classes to teach students how to pilot drones safely and responsibly. Florida currently has the second highest number of drone operators. Click here. (7/13)

ESA to Fund SABRE Engine Development (Source: BBC)
The European Space Agency is providing funds to support development of a British air-breathing rocket engine. ESA signed an agreement Tuesday with Reaction Engines Ltd. to provide the company more than $10 million to continue work on the SABRE engine, with ESA serving as the project's technical auditor. That funding is in addition to the $80 million pledged by the British government for the engine. SABRE is designed to collect oxygen from the air, even at high speeds, to combust with hydrogen fuel. Reaction Engines says the new contract will support development of a ground demonstrator engine ready that will be ready to begin tests in 2020. (7/13)

UK Space Agency Plans Rocket Propulsion Test Lab (Source: Engineering & Technology)
The UK Space Agency announced plans to develop a propulsion test lab for rocket engines. The UK National Space Propulsion Facility, to be established at the site of the country's former Rocket Propulsion Establishment, will host facilities for testing spacecraft and rocket engines of up to 450 pounds-force of thrust. The UK Space Agency will invest more than $5 million in the center, with industry providing some of the test facilities. (7/13)

Britain Awards Studies for UK Launch Sites (Source: Space News)
The British government awarded five contracts Tuesday to study the feasibility of performing orbital or suborbital launches from UK territory. The study awards, with a total value of about $2 million, went to Airbus Safran Launchers, Deimos Space UK/Firefly Space Systems, Lockheed Martin, Orbital Access Ltd. and Virgin Galactic. The studies will focus on regulatory and legal issues involving launches of those companies' vehicles. Separately, Glasgow Preswick Airport, which is seeking to become a spaceport, announced memorandums of understanding with Orbital Access and XCOR Aerospace that could lead those companies launching from the airport, although work on XCOR's Lynx vehicle is largely on hold after the company laid off employees in May. (7/13)

Penultimate Delta 2 Launch Planned for Early 2017 (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
The next to last Delta 2 rocket is being assembled on the pad in California. The rocket will launch the first Joint Polar Satellite System spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base in early 2017. One more Delta 2 launch, of NASA's ICESat 2 spacecraft, is planned for later in 2017 from Vandenberg before the vehicle is formally retired. (7/13)

Broadband Satellite Plans Concern Weather Satellite Operators (Source: Nature)
Weather satellite operators are concerned about communications interference from broadband systems. Ligado Networks, formerly known as LightSquared, is seeking spectrum between 1,675 and 1,680 megahertz for its broadband system, overlapping with transmissions of data from weather satellites. There have already been cases of interference caused by transmissions from mobile phone systems at neighboring frequencies. An FCC comment period for the proposal is open through July 21. (7/13)

Surrey Planning for UK Lunar Mission (Source: New Scientist)
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. is working with a British ground station on a proposal for a lunar mission. The Lunar Pathfinder mission would feature a spacecraft developed by SSTL that carries seven cubesats and places them into lunar orbit. The Goonhilly Earth Station will provide communications with a 26-meter antenna recently taken out of retirement and restored. SSTL hopes to launch the first Lunar Pathfinder mission by 2020, with subsequent missions every two years. (7/13)

Lockheed Age Bias Suit Gets No Traction in Court (Source: Law360)
A former Lockheed Martin Corp. engineer failed to show the “pretext” behind his termination for poor work, the Tenth Circuit ruled Monday, refusing to revive his age discrimination lawsuit against the aerospace giant. Lockheed had conducted a reduction in force in 2012 and laid off Richard Finney for "poor performance," an alleged pretext for age discrimination and retaliation over his complaints to the company and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the former engineer. (7/12)

NASA’s Solar System Program is Just About the Greatest Thing Ever (Source: Ars Technica)
Carlos Entrena, one of the bright young minds in aerospace, asked a fair question last week in the wake of the Juno mission's successful insertion into orbit around Jupiter: "So why is a spacecraft doing a pre-planned burn a big deal again?" He was right, it did seem a relatively straightforward maneuver.

Another young scientist, Christopher Stelter, offered a series of answers that put the Juno spacecraft's 35-minute engine burn into perspective. Among the reasons, he said, was that, "Most burns a spacecraft does are not critical. If there's a glitch, you can try again later. Not this time. And it's a very long burn." Click here. (7/13)

Stellar Outburst Brings Water Snow Line Into View (Source: ESO)
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made the first ever resolved observation of a water snow line within a protoplanetary disc. This line marks where the temperature in the disc surrounding a young star drops sufficiently low for snow to form. A dramatic increase in the brightness of the young star V883 Orionis flash heated the inner portion of the disc, pushing the water snow line out to a far greater distance than is normal for a protostar, and making it possible to observe it for the first time. (7/13)

Reaction Engines Establishes US-based Subsidiary (Source: Reaction Engines)
Reaction Engines Ltd., a UK based company developing a new class of aerospace engine, today announces the strengthening of its leadership team with two senior management appointments and the establishment of a US-based subsidiary to lead its engagement with potential US government and industry partners.

The company has appointed Mark Wood to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer & Engineering Director. Reaction Engines has also established a new US-based subsidiary, Reaction Engines Inc. to support the expansion of the company’s development efforts and lead engagement with potential US government and industry partners.

The company has appointed Dr. Adam Dissel, an aerospace leader with over 15 years’ experience in the development of advanced vehicle systems, to lead the new subsidiary as President of Reaction Engines Inc. Dr. Dissel joins Reaction Engines Inc. from Lockheed Martin Space Systems where he served as System Architect for Responsive Space. (7/13)

UK Prestwick's Spaceport Ambitions Boosted by Deal with XCOR (Source: Herald Scotland)
tourism from Prestwick is a step closer after a US firm at the cutting edge of spaceflight design struck a deal with the Ayrshire base to bring manned launch services to Scotland. The spaceport has signed a memorandum of understanding with California-based space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace and space plane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited, setting out an action plan for operations at Prestwick.

The move takes it closer to launching manned flights using XCOR's Lynx, a two-seater supersonic spacecraft which is vying with Virgin Galactic to become the first firm to launch sub-orbital passenger flights. XCOR has already sold more than 200 tickets at $95,000 (£72,000) each for the inaugural flights, which promise give passengers a view of Earth from a gravity-defying altitude of 350,000ft.

The tie-up between XCOR and Glasgow Prestwick comes as the taxpayer-owned airport ramps up its efforts to become the UK's first spaceport, a venture that would also allow it to become a major base for scientific research and satellite launches. (7/13)

Blue Origin Gets Set to Pick Up the Pace for Spaceship Test Flights (Source: GeekWire)
Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, plans to accelerate its current once-every-eight-weeks schedule for flight tests of its New Shepard suborbital spaceship, leading up to the first crewed flights next year, one of the company’s executives said. The variety of scientific experiments being flown on the flights will also widen, according to Erika Wagner, Blue Origin’s business development manager. (7/13)

Astronaut Twins Tease Each Other About Dead Space Flower (Source: Popular Science)
We have no doubt that fictional space botanist Mark Watney feels your pain, Commander Kelly. Scott Kelly, who meticulously tended a flower garden on the ISS earlier this year recently received a wilted souvenir of his gardening adventures after the #SpaceFlower made it back down to Earth on a recent SpaceX flight. Scott Kelly was still hopeful on Twitter even as he posted an image of the dry, severed flower, posting "Just got my things returned from @Space_Station via @SpaceX, incl #SpaceFlower. Let's see how it grows on Earth!" (7/13)

Juno Spacecraft Sends First In-Orbit View (Source: Space Review)
The JunoCam camera aboard NASA's Juno mission is operational and sending down data after the spacecraft's July 4 arrival at Jupiter. Juno's visible-light camera was turned on six days after Juno fired its main engine and placed itself into orbit around the largest planetary inhabitant of our solar system. The first high-resolution images of the gas giant Jupiter are still a few weeks away. (7/13)

Measure Approved by House Panel Could Help Ex-Im (Source: McClatchy)
The House Appropriations Committee has approved an amendment that would reduce the board quorum of the US Export-Import Bank to two members for a period of three years. This measure, if it becomes law, would enable the bank to finance large deals despite moves in the Senate to block the nomination of a third board member. (7/12)

Selling Space Travel To America (Without Relying On Nostalgia) (Source: Fast Company)
The new Commercial Spaceflight Federation website, designed by Long Island-based marketing agency Viceroy Creative, tries to do a couple of things. First, it's designed to make visitors excited about the poetry and adventure of leaving the planet. But it's also careful not to make its activities look too sci-fi. "We didn't want to be hyperbolic," by using, say, images of intergalactic spaceships or family vacations on Pluto, says Viceroy founder and president David Moritz. "We want people to understand that commercial space flight is real—it's right in front of you, not some grandiose future 1,000 years from now." (7/12)

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