July 7, 2016

Space Florida Seeks $3M Loan to Accelerate OneWeb Project (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space Florida will pursue a $3 million "bridge loan" to maintain momentum on construction of a satellite manufacturing facility at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The agency will split payback of the loan with OneWeb, the company that's expected to occupy a 100,000-square-foot site next year. The company has received support from companies like Coca-Cola, Qualcomm and Virgin Group — and has said it hopes to start production by the end of 2017.

Space Florida's board of directors made the decision to pursue the loan Wednesday at a special board meeting. The agency will pursue the short-term loan, which will help provide construction equipment and other resources for the project. The loan will be repayable within three months. The goal is to enable jobs to be created more quickly, said Frank DiBello, CEO at Space Florida. "This is perhaps one of the most effective examples of using financials that allow us to accelerate projects," DiBello said. (7/6)

Coalition Issues Policy Paper to Guide Incoming President, Congress (Source: Explore Deep Space)
The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration has released a policy position paper highlighting the key issues that every presidential and congressional candidate should understand in order to ensure that deep space exploration remains a bipartisan priority over the next several years. The Coalition is the voice of America’s deep space industry, with over 40 corporate members supporting NASA’s deep space human exploration and science programs. Click here. (7/7)

Raft Of Space-Policy Issues Awaits Next U.S. Administration (Source: Aviation Week)
Space exploration is likely to be lost in the “fear and loathing” that will attend the two U.S. political conventions upcoming this month. That is a shame, because the opportunities—and pitfalls —looming in the spaceflight endeavor this year cry out for a well-reasoned, coherent U.S. policy. The president elected Nov. 8—if reelected in 2020—could remain in office until Jan. 20, 2025, which encompasses a lot of today’s planning for robots and humans in space. As head of the state that spends the most on space research, exploration and commerce, he or she will be in a position to lead mankind off the planet for good. Click here. (7/5)

NASA Flights to Track Greenhouse Gases Across Eastern US (Source: NASA)
This month, NASA begins an airborne experiment to improve scientists’ understanding of the sources of two powerful greenhouse gases and how they cycle into and out of the atmosphere. Atmospheric Carbon and Transport–America, or ACT-America, is a multi-year airborne campaign that will measure concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in relation to weather systems. The study will gather real-time measurements from research aircraft and ground stations to improve the ability to detect and quantify the surface sources and sinks of the gases. (7/6)

OneWeb Says its 700-Satellite Constellation is On Schedule (Source: Space News)
A year after unveiling its plans for a massive satellite constellation, OneWeb says it is on schedule. The company's chief operating officer said OneWeb has completed the preliminary design review for its 700-satellite constellation and should finalize the selection of subcontractors for those satellites by August. An initial set of 10 satellites will be built at an Airbus plant in France and launched on a Soyuz late next year before beginning full-scale production at a new factory in Florida. OneWeb says it has kept the cost of those satellites to within 5 percent of its original target so far. (7/6)

U.S. Lawmakers Want Details on Indian Launch Quota (Source: Space News)
Leaders of the House Science Committee are seeking details on the Obama administration's policy regarding launches of commercial satellites on Indian rockets. In a series of letters issued Wednesday, committee chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and space subcommittee chairman Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) sought information on the process by which the administration grants approvals for U.S.-built satellites to launch on India's PSLV.

Current policy discourages the use of Indian rockets because of a lack of a commercial space launch agreement between the U.S. and India, but several companies have won approvals to launch their satellites on the PSLV. The issue has pitted satellite companies seeking improved access to space against launch vehicle firms concerned about competing with a government space agency. (7/6)

Thales Alenia Plan High Altitude Alternative to Satellites (Source: Space News)
Satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space and partners are investing in development of a high altitude platform. The companies are using their own money, plus grants from the French government, to work on Stratobus, an airship 100 meters long that would operate at altitudes of about 20 kilometers. Thales Alenia and partners are initially focused on Earth observations in the tropics, but plan to expand their use to include communications once they win approval from the International Telecommunication Union to operate at Ka- and Ku-band frequencies. A full-scale test model of Stratobus could fly in 2020. (7/6)

Strategic Command Leads New Space Wargames (Source: Breaking Defense)
U.S. Strategic Command is taking the lead on space wargames at a new space operations center. In an interview, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said that U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Buck, the Joint Functional Component Commander for space at Stratcom, will take over exercises run at the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center, or JICSpOC. He takes over for Andrew Cox, director of Air Force Space Command’s space security and defense program. The move may also provide more clarity about who would command military space assets in the event of a conflict in space. (7/7)

Holdren: Obama's Scaled-Back Human Exploration Allowed Growth Elsewhere (Source: Nature)
President Obama's science adviser said that the administration scaled back human space exploration ambitions to revitalize other aspects of the space agency. John Holdren said in an interview that while the outcome of the 2010 debate about the future of NASA's human spaceflight program retained the Orion spacecraft and created the heavy-lift Space Launch System, "we scaled them back" compared to what was planned under the Constellation program. That effort, he said, allowed the administration to "revitalize Earth observation, to revitalize planetary science, to revitalize robotic exploration, to think about new missions." (7/6)

Scientists' Innovation Began With 'Wanting to Understand Why' (Source: Space Daily)
NASA's Journey to Mars will require groundbreaking technologies and solutions to many complex problems. For a pair of NASA scientists at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, an idea to help make that trip possible began with simply "wanting to understand why."

Reflecting sunlight may be the key to multiple challenges in working on the moon and traveling to the Red Planet. Youngquist, along with co-principal investigator Mark Nurge, Ph.D., are researching cryogenic selective surface coatings. This innovative technology could enable storing cryogenic, or super-cold, liquids, shielding astronauts against radiation and helping create magnetic fields.

A key cryogenic element supporting spaceflight is liquid oxygen, often used as a rocket propellant which can be converted to a gas for breathing. Storing such cryogenics requires a coating that reflects the sun's rays, keeping a container's contents cold. Youngquist explains cryogenic selective surface coatings theoretically will reflect almost all of the sun's radiation. Being able to keep such commodities from boiling off would be a crucial breakthrough. Click here. (7/7)

Congress Expected To Act On Long-Term FAA Extension (Source: Aviation News)
With only days left before the July 15 expiration of FAA's authority and aviation excise taxes, Congress this week is expected to consider legislation that continues these programs through September 2017. Congress is scheduled to recess July 15 for party conventions and the traditional August break and won't reconvene until Sept. 6. (7/5)

Canada Considers Space Security (Source: Toronto Star)
Canada is taking a greater interest in space security issues. Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion received reports last November warning that the "viability of the space infrastructure is increasingly threatened" by hostile actions, orbital debris and space weather. It's unclear what steps the Canadian government might take to address those concerns. The ministry declined to comment on the paper. (7/6)

Slovenia Joins ESA (Source: ESA)
Slovenia has become an associate member of the European Space Agency. Slovenian Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek signed an association agreement at ESA headquarters Monday, allowing Slovenia to directly participate in optional ESA programs. Slovenia had been cooperating with ESA under earlier agreements dating back to 2008. (7/6)

Asteroid Helped by Volcanoes in Dinosaur Wipeout (Source: GeekWire)
A giant impact 65 million years ago teamed up with volcanoes to finish off the dinosaurs. Analysis of isotopes in fossils from that era showed that volcanic eruptions 66 million years ago caused temperatures to increase by as much as 11 degrees Celsius. Those temperatures were dropping when an asteroid hit the current-day Yucatan Peninsula, causing another spike. The result was a "theoretical 'one-two punch,'" one scientist said, that helped kill off the dinosaurs. (7/6)

Space Club Invites Nominees for Annual Awards (Source: NSCFL)
Nominations for the National Space Club Florida Committee 2016 Lifetime Achievement and Rising Star awards are now open. The deadline is July 15. Each year the National Space Club Florida Committee recognizes deserving individuals who make significant contributions to the U.S. space program. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors those with lifelong service, while the Rising Star Award seeks to honor someone who is very early in his or her career. Check out our website – www.nscfl.org for more information about the award and info on previous award recipients. (7/7)

Connecticut Offers $60M for Aerospace Manufacturing (Source: Aviation Week)
Supporting Connecticut’s aerospace advancements is the state's $60 million Manufacturing Innovation Fund. Not only does this fund encourage company/university R&D collaboration, it provides vouchers for business development/technical needs, supports workforce training and provides matching funds for federal grants. (7/6)

NASA May Pay Elon Musk To Land Scientific Instruments On Mars (Source: Aviation Week)
NASA is ready to help Elon Musk land a Dragon capsule on Mars and is taking a wait-and-see approach to sending its own expensive instruments along with it. The U.S. space agency has an internal list of potential scientific payloads for the “Red Dragon” mission the SpaceX founder and his engineers hope to launch in 2018. NASA is ready to spend “on the order of $30 million” to assist that first private mission to Mars. Landing NASA’s own stuff inside the capsule is another story. Click here. (6/29)

Elite Team to Consider New Approaches to Asteroid Danger (Source: Space Daily)
A six-week-long research accelerator, championed by NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist and hosted at the SETI Institute, is engaging young researchers from around the world to take on one of the truly existential threats to our species.

The NASA Frontier Development Lab (FDL) is bringing together a team of postgraduate researchers in data analytics and planetary science and challenging them to think outside the box on the threat of asteroid impacts. The initiative is under the aegis of experts from the space agency and the SETI Institute, with deep-learning expertise contributed by NVIDIA and Autodesk. (7/6)

Cost Issues May Sink Next-Gen Air Force GPS Control System (Source: Law360)
The U.S. Air Force has announced that the expected cost of its next-generation GPS satellite control system has ballooned past a cost growth limit, triggering a statutory requirement to review and possibly scrap the multibillion-dollar program.

The cost of the Next-Generation Operational Control Segment, or OCX, program is expected to exceed 25 percent above the program’s cost baseline, triggering a mandatory review requirement under the Nunn-McCurdy Amendment, the Air Force announced Thursday. A range of issues had contributed to the cost blowout for the program. (7/5)

First Soyuz MS Spacecraft Successfully Launches with Next Space Station Crew (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Thundering off from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, a Soyuz-FG rocket lit up the early morning sky, marking the first launch of Russia’s upgraded Soyuz MS spacecraft. The vehicle is carrying a trio of future International Space Station (ISS) inhabitants. (7/6)

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