July 31, 2016

National Space Society Names OU 'Center of Excellence' (Source: Athens Messenger)
Ohio University has received recognition from the National Space Society by being named a “Center of Excellence in Space Solar Power and Power Beaming.” OU professor emeritus Don Flournoy, who has been associated with the satellite communications industry for years, said space solar power can be defined as the sun’s energy beyond Earth’s atmosphere and that power beaming would be the means by which that energy could be captured and delivered to Earth as an abundant source of clean and renewable electric power. (7/31)

"I See You, You See Me": What Space Means for the Surge of Intelligence (Source: Forbes)
The expansion of commercial space imaging is a disruptive force for many governments. Given its security implications, Western players will not be the only ones to shape its spread and uses. Asian players too are already moving to harness the underlying technologies and trends.

Here is why they are all in the game: Sharper images of virtually any location around the world taken from space – deserts, oceans, remote villages, refugee camps, urban settings, and so on – changes things. Such imagery, whether in still or video clips, can now be continuously updated and promises to become available on a routine commercial basis to big and small governments, private and corporate players, as well as non-state actors and global institutions. (7/30)

SpaceX Shows Off Texas Testing Facility to Big McGregor Crowd (Source: Waco Tribune)
About 1,500 Central Texans accepted an invitation from the Space Exploration Technologies Corp., better known as SpaceX, to its community appreciation picnic Saturday afternoon at the Central Texas Youth Rodeo Indoor Arena, a close neighbor to the SpaceX testing facility whose rocket engine tests frequently blanket the prairie with artificial thunder. (7/30)

Jack White's Space Mission is a Success (Source: The Tennessean)
In a way, it was a scene not unlike one from "Apollo 13," "Armageddon" or another space flight drama: a packed mission control room, cheering at the success of a daring mission. But in a lot of other ways, this scene was pretty different. This mission control room had beer, snow cones and a cranked-up rock show.

Jack White's Third Man Records hosted a "launch party" at its Nashville headquarters on Saturday, revealing the results of their latest grand experiment: an attempt to play the first phonographic record in space. The event doubled as a seventh anniversary celebration for the label office, record store and concert venue, which opened in 2009. (7/30)

Vostochny Cosmodrome: Russian Space Project Isn't Going to Plan (Source: NBC News)
Russia is building a spaceport designed to reinstate it at the forefront of cosmic travel and evoke its 1950s Soviet heyday when Moscow put the first human in orbit. But five years after construction began, the Vostochny Cosmodrome is behind schedule, billions of dollars over budget, and dogged by accusations that officials have embezzled funds and did not pay workers for months at a time.

Officials reportedly requested another $105 million earlier this month to help complete the project. The complex in Russia's Far East designed to launch missions to the Moon and Mars is on course to be the most expensive spaceport ever built. It is located seven time zones and almost 3,500 miles from Moscow — further than the distance from Miami to Alaska. (7/31)

As Commercial Space Race Grows, Student Interest Takes Off (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The number of Central Florida students enrolling in aerospace engineering and other space-related majors has taken off as a new commercial space race lifts the industry's profile. SpaceX and United Launch Alliance are both launching rockets on Florida's Space Coast – ULA sent up a spy satellite Thursday. Although ULA recently announced layoffs, it has been launching steadily while SpaceX launches are getting more frequent this year.

Successful new feats, like SpaceX landing reusable rockets repeatedly, have generated more interest, as has the goal of more U.S.-based manned space missions soon. "As launch frequency grows, there is more hype and a lot of kids here see it, too," said Justin Karl, program coordinator for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University's commercial space operations program. "They start thinking that maybe the industry isn't so bad after having some low years." (7/31)

Virgin Galactic’s Next Big Bet (Source: Bloomberg)
Hello World’s Ashlee Vance went to the desert to attend the SpaceShipTwo press event at the Mojave, Calif., airport and to find out how much resolve Branson has left. With his typical flair, Branson brought the spaceship out amid a sea of champagne and celebrities and huge helpings of optimism. Flashing his brilliant smile, he said that the world’s wealthiest people will be able to travel to space soon. Some more of us will follow, someday. Click here. (7/29)

Humanity Finally Travels to Mars in Ron Howard's New Half-Documentary TV Series (Source: io9)
This November, the National Geographic Channel will take audiences into outer space in a way we haven’t seen before. From producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer comes Mars, a six-part TV miniseries that blends documentary and science fiction to dramatize humankind’s first trip to Mars in 2033—and io9 is proud to exclusively debut the first trailer. Click here. (7/30)

The Lie That Is Orion (Source: Behind the Black)
Several weeks ago NASA put out one of its periodic press releases touting the wonders of the engineering the agency is doing to prepare for its future missions to Mars. In this case the press release described a new exercise device, dubbed ROCKY (for Resistive Overload Combined with Kinetic Yo-Yo), for use in the Orion capsule.

As is their habit these days in their effort to drum up support for funding for SLS and Orion, the press release was filled with phrases and statements that implied or claimed that Orion was going to be the spacecraft that Americans will use to explore the solar system. The wording is very carefully phrased to allow NASA deniablity should anyone question these claims. Nonetheless, the implied intent of this wording is to sell Orion as America’s interplanetary spaceship, destined to take us to the stars!

The truth is that Orion is nothing more than an overpriced and over-engineered ascent and descent capsule, whose primary function is to get humans to and from Earth orbit. As a mere capsule, no bigger than a small passenger van, it is totally inadequate for use on a many month long mission to an asteroid, to Mars, or to any distant interplanetary destination. NASA itself recognizes this on their own Orion webpages, if you read carefully between the lines. Click here. (7/27)

Kuwait Mulling Development of National Satellite Capability (Source: SpaceWatch)
The Kuwaiti cabinet, the Council of Ministers, is considering the acquisition and launch of a satellite, according to local reports in Kuwait City. Draft legislation has been submitted to the cabinet from the Communications and Information Technology Commission. The reports say that the cabinet has formed a committee to examine the economic feasibility of, and the requirements and needs, the satellite project. (7/30)

The New Asian Space Race (Source: SpaceWatch)
Asia is home to three established space powers – Japan, China and India – and there are several new players, some with rising aspirations of reaching the Moon, thus giving way to a new competition in Asia. The fact that six of the ten countries – China, India, Iran, Israel, Japan and North Korea – that have independently launched satellites into orbit are in Asia is reflective of this new trend.

The space race in the twentieth century referred to the competition between the then two superpowers – the US and the Soviet Union. In more recent years, however, space has become highly competitive with more than 60 actors as of date, including non-state actors. Click here. (7/30)

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