The Seattle Space Scene (Source: Space Review)
Seattle is working to make a name for itself as a hub for the
entrepreneurial space industry. Jeff Foust reports on what companies
and local officials think make the region stand out, and what obstacles
it faces. Click here.
SIGINT Satellites Go to War
(Source: Space Review)
During the 1960s, the United States ramped up its development of
signals intelligence satellites, and found new uses for them as well.
Dwayne Day describes how satellites developed for identifying radars in
the Soviet Union also played a role in the Vietnam War. Click here.
A Review of the Atlantic Council’s
Ideas for a National Security Space Strategy (Source: Space
A new white paper by the Atlantic Council offers proposals to revise
the current US national security space policy. Christopher Stone argues
that the new proposal is in many ways similar to the current policy,
and has the same flaws. Click here.
The Red Tape Keeping Private Companies
from Getting Us Into Space (Source: Washington Examiner)
Technological innovations are rapidly enabling humanity to explore the
celestial frontier, and space companies are looking at commercial
ventures ranging from space tourism to mineral mining. The only thing
that stands to hinder progress, observers say, is government
regulation. "Right now, American companies that want to be involved in
space have to jump through hoops for three federal agencies and their
armies of lawyers and bureaucrats," said Florida Republican Rep. Bill
After years of trying to pass legislation that would enable those
companies to work independently of the Pentagon or other federal
agencies, Posey succeeded in November, when the president signed the
Commercial Space Launch Competitive Act into law. The legislation
carried with bipartisan support, including both members of Florida's
split Senate delegation, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican
Sen. Marco Rubio.
"What we've worked on is trying to streamline the process," Posey said.
"It's important we encourage the growth of commercial space, and that's
what the bill does." He added that it freed companies from the prospect
of the federal government laying claim to resources that private actors
bring back to Earth, or impose a burdensome tax scheme. (7/5)
NASA's Juno Orbits Jupiter for 20
Month Mission (Source: New York Times)
The NASA spacecraft Juno has reached Jupiter. It will orbit for 20
months searching for clues to the solar system's origins. Ducking
through intense belts of violent radiation as it skimmed over the
clouds of Jupiter at 130,000 miles per hour, NASA’s Juno spacecraft on
Monday finally clinched its spot in the orbit of the solar system’s
It took five years for Juno to travel this far on its $1.1 billion
mission, and the moment was one that NASA scientists and space
enthusiasts had eagerly — and anxiously — anticipated. At 11:53 p.m.
Eastern time, a signal from the spacecraft announced the end of a
35-minute engine burn that left it in the grip of its desired orbit
around Jupiter. Cheers erupted at the mission operations center at
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., which is
managing Juno. (7/4)
Ukraine, US Plan to Launch
Jointly-Developed Space Rocket in Coming Months (Source: Sputnik)
Ukraine and the United States are planning to launch a
jointly-developed rocket in the coming months, as part of the two
countries' space cooperation, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United
States Valeriy Chaly said. On May 30, head of the State Space Agency of
Ukraine Lyubomyr Sabadosh said that Ukraine proposed to the United
States joint development and production of rocket engines to replace
Russia’s RD-180 that the US side buys for its space industry.
Chaly added that Kiev had been unable to hold a joint meeting with
representatives of the United States on cooperation in the space sector
since 2008, but such a meeting took place some two weeks ago. "I hope
that this will not be such a sensation. We are planning to launch a
jointly-developed rocket with the United States in the coming months.
We have serious achievements in the cooperation on the launch," Chaly
After Brexit, Will Another UK
Astronaut Ever Go to the International Space Station? (Source:
When Tim Peake went into space—the first British astronaut go with the
European Space Agency (ESA), and the first British citizen to visit the
International Space Station (ISS)—many expected it to inspire a new
generation of his countrymen to follow him.
But within days of Peake’s return to Earth last week, his country voted
to leave the European Union. Will that have an effect on Brits who want
to go into space in the future? No, or at least not yet. Although
Brexit has put all policies into flux—including the UK’s space
program—it doesn’t mean that British astronauts will suddenly lose
their ability to go to the ISS.
The UK, however, has no astronaut training program and it’s unlikely it
ever will. Such programs are hugely expensive, which may make them
unpopular in post-Brexit Britain. And although the ESA is separate from
the EU, if one of its programs is funded or partly funded by the EU,
the contracts for that part of the project can only be granted to
companies from an EU country. (6/29)
Satellite Operator SES Swallows Rival
O3b (Source: Space Daily)
European satellite operator SES announced Monday it was disbursing $730
million (655 million euros) to acquire the remaining half of O3b, a
rival with satellites in lower orbits that offers fast connections.
"The acquisition of O3b -- the fastest growing satellite network --
significantly enhances SES's long-term growth profile," the company's
chief financial officer, Padraig McCarthy, said in a statement.
One of the leading satellite communications operators, SES dates from
the 1980s and operates a fleet of over 50 satellites stationed in fixed
orbits high above the earth. O3b, however, was launched less than a
decade ago. The company uses lower orbits to provide communications
with shorter delays in transmission, making it possible to transmit
larger volumes of data at a lower cost -- a key demand among mobile and
Internet providers in developing nations. (7/4)
Poland and China Agree on Space
Cooperation (Source: Space News)
Poland's space agency has signed a cooperative agreement with its
Chinese counterpart. The agreement, signed by the presidents of the two
countries during a state visit in Warsaw in late June, covers joint
research, monitoring and developing new telecommunications solutions.
The POLSA space agency has previously signed cooperative agreements
with its counterparts in France, Italy, Ukraine and Brazil. (7/4)
South Korea Offers High-Res Satellite
Imagery (Source: Yonhap)
South Korea plans to sell high-resolution images from a satellite
launched last year. Kompsat-3A, also known as Arirang-3A, was built by
the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and launched on a Dnepr rocket
in March 2015. After more than a year of on-orbit tests, the Ministry
of Science, ICT and Future Planning said Monday it will begin
commercial sales of images from the spacecraft. Arirang-3A is capable
of taking images with resolutions of 0.5 meters or better. (7/5)
China Plans 14 New Weather Satellites
China plans to launch 14 new weather satellites by 2025. Those
spacecraft include one FengYun-2 geostationary satellite, four
FengYun-3 polar orbiting satellites and three FengYun-4 satellites, a
next-generation version of the FengYun-2. Six other satellites will
serve "multiple meteorological purposes," according to a Chinese
Enterprise Florida Executive Pay
Increased 75 Percent in Six Years (Source: Tallahassee Democrat)
Leaders of Enterprise Florida, the state's public-private economic
partnership under scrutiny for overspending, increased their executive
payroll by $600,000 over six years while only adding two employees. The
total amount for executive salaries increased 75 percent from
$800,494 for seven positions in 2010-11 to $1.4 million for nine
positions in May, the summary information shows.
The agency has refused to release details about those salaries and
others, providing only summaries. However, state law specifically
requires Enterprise Florida to follow the same public records rules as
other state agencies.
Now facing critics in the Republican-controlled Legislature, the
Enterprise Florida board voted Friday to lay off 12 people, eliminate
12 open positions and force two senior vice presidents into retirement.
The move will save the agency $2.14 million. Scott has said the agency
would need to cut $6 million to make up for the loss of $250 million in
incentive funding denied by the Legislature. (7/4)
Suzuki to Help Japanese Team Shoot for
the Moon (Source: Nikkei)
Suzuki Motor has inked a partnership deal with a private-sector team
developing a lunar probe. The Hakuto project, led by Tokyo-based
startup ispace technologies, brings together academics and experts from
a variety of backgrounds. Hakuto is the sole Japanese team competing
for the Google Lunar Xprize, which awards money to the first group to
land a privately funded rover on the moon and have it travel a certain
What Comes Next For NASA After Juno?
Not Much (Source: NPR)
The exploration of our outer solar system is about to hit a real slump.
NASA is celebrating Juno's arrival at Jupiter, but in less than two
years, Juno will be gone — it's slated to plunge into the gas giant and
burn up. The Cassini spacecraft, now orbiting Saturn, will meet the
same fate next year.
NASA does have some upcoming missions closer to home. In September, one
mission will go off toward an asteroid, aiming to return a sample to
Earth. And there are a couple of missions that will go back to Mars: a
big rover in 2020, and a lander that was supposed to launch this year
but got delayed until 2018.
Usually NASA has one or two launches of planetary missions a year, says
Jason Barnes, who chairs the division for planetary sciences of the
American Astronomical Society. "Basically we're suffering now from what
were budget cuts to the planetary budget that started in 2013 with the
sequester," Barnes says. NASA's planetary science budget got slashed by
about 20 percent, and managers scrambled to save missions that were
already underway. Barnes says almost all planning for future missions
was put off. (7/6)
Five Times We Wished We Worked at NASA
(Source: USA Today)
NASA’s Juno spacecraft just completed its five-year journey across 1.8
billion miles of space, and it’s a pretty big deal. It's a great time
to work at NASA. After all, what other businesses let employees reach
for the stars, literally? Here are a few other times we wished we paid
more attention in science class. Click here.
Urthecast Lays Off San Francisco Staff
(Source: Space News)
Earth imaging company UrtheCast laid off 12 members of its San
Francisco-based platform and data analytics team July 1 and offered
three additional employees the option to remain with the company but
work remotely, according to a former UrtheCast employee.
Jeff Rath, UrtheCast executive vice president for corporate finance and
strategy, confirmed that the Vancouver-based company did “reduce its
San Francisco footprint” and “let a few employees go” but he denied
reports that the firm closed its San Francisco office and declined to
comment on the number of workers affected, saying the company does not
publicize personnel decisions. (7/5)
Blue Origin, OneWeb Start Work on
Space Coast Additions (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Exploration Park at Kennedy Space Center has been a fairly quiet place
since it was opened in 2011 to attract more space industry, following
the end of the space shuttle program. But that is set to change fast
now. Commercial space company Blue Origin, owned by Jeff Bezos, has
broken ground on a new 750,000-square-foot rocket manufacturing plant
on Florida's Space Coast. And, satellite manufacturer OneWeb has a
contractor ready to start prep work on what will eventually contain a
100,000-square-foot facility down the street. Click here.
Moon-Cargo Poster Rockets Past
Fundraising Goal (Source: Space.com)
A crowdfunded campaign to sell illustrated posters of every item that
flew to the moon on Apollo 11 has raised more than 14 times its initial
goal, with more than two weeks until the campaign ends. Visual artist
Rob Loukotka's poster features 69 detailed illustrations of items that
flew to the moon in 1969. The poster also lists the additional items
(more than 200 in total) that made the journey. Click here.
Chemistry on Titan Could Lay the
Groundwork for Life (Source: Space.com)
Saturn's biggest moon, Titan, may possess the kind of chemistry that
could eventually lead to life, albeit without water, a new study finds.
Titan is larger than the planet Mercury, making it the biggest of the
more than 60 known moons orbiting Saturn. The moon's surface is covered
in rivers, lakes and oceans of methane, which also rains from the sky.
This methane cycle, similar to Earth's water cycle, can make Titan seem
like an equally familiar and alien location.
Now, using computer models, a group of researchers has shown that a
chemical on Titan's surface could lay the groundwork for the formation
of life. In Titan's cold atmosphere, this ingredient can act as a
catalyst for chemical reactions, and potentially absorb energy from
sunlight, even through Titan's thick clouds. (7/5)
New Clues in Search for Planet Nine
(Source: Science News)
More clues about where to search for a possible ninth planet lurking in
the fringes of our solar system are emerging from the Kuiper belt, the
icy debris field beyond Neptune. And new calculations suggest that the
putative planet might be brighter — and a bit easier to find — than
Evidence for the existence of Planet Nine is scant, based on apparent
alignments among the orbits of the six most distant denizens of the
Kuiper belt. Their oval orbits all point in roughly the same direction
and lie in about the same plane, suggesting that a hidden planet, about
five to 20 times as massive as Earth, has herded them onto similar
Planetary scientists Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin, both at
Caltech, announced this evidence in January. Now they’ve used it to
refine Planet Nine’s properties and narrow in on where it might be
hiding. Planet Nine’s average distance from the sun is most likely
between 500 and 600 times as far as Earth’s, Brown and Batygin report.
Its orbit is highly stretched and tipped by about 30 degrees relative
to the rest of the solar system, taking it well above and below the
orbits of the eight known worlds. (7/5)