August 10, 2016

Could the Moon be America's Next Economic Frontier? (Source: CBS)
oon Express was started with a tweaked concept from President John F. Kennedy, Jr., said founder Naveen Jain. "To rephrase JFK, we chose to go to the moon not because it's easy, but because it's good business," said Jain, the former CEO of dot-com InfoSpace, told CBS MoneyWatch. He said he was initially drawn to space exploration not because he had an interest in it, but because he's "a fan of everything that can become disruptive."

And Moon Express has plans to disrupt some major businesses on Earth. Last week, the company became the first private business to receive FAA approval to land on the moon. While the 2017 launch date is still a ways off -- and the company's lunar lander still needs to be built -- Jain has no shortage of business plans for the moon, which he notes has been estimated to hold "16 quadrillion dollars worth of resources."

One of the first projects will be lunar burials, with Moon Express working with space memorial company Celestis to provide the service. The idea is similar to families who want to commemorate their loved ones by sprinkling their ashes over a favorite body of water or golf course. Instead, customers will pay about $12,500 to send a capsule of their loved one's ashes to the lunar surface via Moon Express' lander. Click here. (8/10)

Kepler Communications Raises $5M to Launch Mini Satellites by 2017 (Source: GeekWire)
Kepler Communications, a Techstars Seattle graduate building telecom infrastructure for space, just secured $5 million in seed funding. New York venture capital firm IA Ventures led the round. The Toronto-based startup will use the funds to grow its team and launch two tiny satellites into space in the next 15 months.

How tiny? They’re roughly the size of a loaf of bread. The “CubeSats” are part of Kepler’s strategy to develop low-cost, replaceable satellites. They plan to swap out the spacecraft frequently, allowing them to adapt to new technologies faster than traditional satellites. Kepler Communications took part in the Techstars Seattle startup incubator this year. The startup’s CubeSats are designed to relay information, like asset tracking, photos, and weather predictions, in real-time. (8/9)

Ancient Bacteria Store Signs of Supernova Smattering (Source: Cosmos)
Iron atoms spat out by a distant stellar explosion have been found in magnetic crystals produced by bacteria two million years ago – and may have played a role in a mass extinction at the time. The work, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Peter Ludwig from the Technical University of Munich and colleagues in Germany and Austria, adds support to two studies published earlier this year that found stellar remnants in ancient Earth and moon rocks from the same period. (8/9)

Aerojet Rocketdyne Sees Sales, Earnings Slip with Contract Timing (Source: Sacramento Business Journal)
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. reported a smaller second-quarter profit a year after its earnings benefitted from a sale of 550 acres in Folsom. Aerojet also saw revenue decline as it received less from its military contracts. The company's net income declined to $5.9 million from $17.3 million a year earlier, it said in a statement Tuesday. The year-earlier profit included an after-tax gain of $17.9 million for a land sale. (8/9)

U.S. Air Force Turns to Industry to Plug Weather Satellite Gaps (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Air Force is asking industry how it could head off  looming  gaps in the collection of high-priority weather data. In a broad agency announcement released Aug. 3, the Air Force said it was looking for solutions to provide cloud characterization  and theater weather imagery by 2019.

The Air Force said it would be open to acquiring a new government-owned satellite, buying the weather data from a commercial company, or developing a solution that combines government-supplied missile warning data with conventional weather data. (8/9)

New State-of-the-Art Factory at Spaceport Will Crank Out 15 Satellites a Week (Source: Florida Today)
Groundbreaking is expected within a couple of months on a state-of-the-art Merritt Island factory that plans to crank out as many as 15 small satellites a week, each batch adding to a constellation that will eventually total more than 800 spacecraft.

But don’t think of OneWeb, the startup developing that constellation, as a satellite company, its founder and chairman told the National Space Club Florida Committee on Tuesday in Cape Canaveral. “We’re really a communications company,” Greg Wyler said in a presentation at the Radisson Resort at the Port. “The satellites just happen to be part of what we need to accomplish our goal.” That goal: To enable affordable internet access around the world. (8/10)

NanoRacks External Platform Deployed Outside International Space Station (Source: NanoRacks)
NanoRacks’ commercial gateway to space is officially open for business. The NanoRacks External Platform (NREP) has been placed outside of the International Space Station (ISS) on the JEM Exposed Facility.

The self-funded NREP is the first-ever commercial gateway-and-return to the extreme environment of space. Following the CubeSat form factor, payloads can now experience the microgravity, radiation and other harsh elements native to the space environment, observe earth, test sensors, materials, and electronics, all while having the opportunity to return the payload back to Earth. (8/9)

Launchpad Changes at Cape Canaveral Spaceport Preview New Era for Space Coast (Source:
Ongoing work at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral is continuing to lay the groundwork to once again launch American astronauts from home soil. While the huge Pad 39B equipment enters a critical period of testing at KSC for the Space Launch System, the Crew Access Arm and White Room is scheduled to be installed on the SLC-41 pad in the coming days, in preparation for Starliner missions. Click here. (8/9)

Boeing's Starliner on a Weight-Loss Diet (Source: Union Recorder)
The CST-100 Starliner had a bit of a bulge problem as of late – the capsule was simply getting too heavy for the proper rocket to lift. Space capsules have a huge margin of error built in; after all, you never know how heavy your astronauts will be. Granted, those folks tend to be on the slim and trim side, but they certainly don’t all weigh the same! So capsules have a target area in weight, and Boeing’s Starliner went outside that tolerance zone.

So the engineers went back to work, eliminated some heavy weights, swapped them out for lighter components or re-designed entire subsystems altogether. And because they are very smart people they are just about done with those alterations. Of course this means that new hardware has to be tested and certified (which is an incredibly labor-intensive and long process) and then it has to be integrated with the rest of the craft to see if it plays well with the others. Just like in kindergarten, running with scissors will get you exactly nowhere in space travel.

Once the upgrades are completed the capsule will be sent back to California where the heat shield will be added and more components will be installed. Since the capsule will ride literally on top of a rocket, as opposed to in the safe confines of a fairing, like satellites or robotic craft do. This brings all kinds of additional complications, mostly in terms of aerodynamics. (8/9)

Asteroid Redirect Mission at Critical Juncture (Source: Space Policy Online)
Three weeks after NASA completed a key milestone review of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), the agency still has not officially announced the results. A NASA official indicated at a NASA Advisory Council (NAC) meeting that the review revealed cost growth, forcing a reexamination of its objectives versus the cost. An Obama Administration initiative, it is at a critical juncture as the House Appropriations Committee denied funding earlier this year and President Obama’s term in office comes to an end in just 5 months.

NASA conducted its Key Decision Point-B, or KDP-B, review of the robotic portion of the ARM project on July 15.  At a meeting of NAC’s Human Exploration and Operations Committee (NAC/HEO) on July 25, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, said the review showed that costs are growing and the agency must evaluate whether to accept the increase or reduce the program’s scope to stay within the cost cap set by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. (8/9)

Pressure Leak Delays Launch of Japanese ISS Cargo Mission (Source: JAXA)
Japan is delaying the launch of a cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. The Japanese space agency JAXA announced Wednesday the H-2B launch of an HTV cargo spacecraft, previously scheduled for Oct. 1, would be postponed because of a "slight leak" of air pressure in the spacecraft. A new launch date has not been announced. The spacecraft will carry several tons of supplies, including a new set of batteries, to the ISS. (8/9)

UK 'Punches Above Its Weight' in Space (Source: Flight Global)
For anybody with a longish memory it may seem an odd thing to say, but spaceflight is a high-profile affair in the UK. On the shoulder of astronaut Tim Peake’s blue European Space Agency jumpsuit is a Union Jack, prominent as the former Apache helicopter pilot tours the country to talk about his six-month International Space Station mission, which ended with a return to Earth – and a big, smiling thumbs-up – in June.

Friendly, energetic, articulate and built top-to-toe of the purest right stuff, it’s hard to imagine a better front person for a sustained effort to turn young people on to science and technology careers – and generally promote a UK space industry that is, truly, surging. (8/8)

Powerful Solar Storm Triggered 1967 Military Alert (Source: CBS News)
On May 23, 1967, three missile early warning system radar installations suddenly showed signs of jamming, raising the possibility, however remote, of a Soviet sneak attack. With the radars out of action, Pentagon planners were operating "in the blind," unable to know if enemy missiles could be be heading toward a first strike.

With long-range nuclear-armed bombers already in the air on normal "alert" patrols, additional bombers were put on "ready to launch" status as options were debated, researchers reported Tuesday. At the height of the Cold War, an attack on early warning radars was considered an act of war.

Luckily, well before President Lyndon Johnson might have been forced to make any irrevocable decisions, a small contingent of "space weather" forecasters working for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, was able to convince the chain of command that a powerful solar storm, not the Soviet Union, was jamming the radars. (8/9)

China Launches Earth Observation Satellite (Source:
The long awaited launch of Gaofen-3 took place on Tuesday, lofted via the Chinese Long March-4C (Chang Zheng-4C) launch vehicle. The rocket, launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center’s LC9 Launch Complex at 22:55 UTC, successfully orbited the new addition to the Gaofen fleet of remote sensing satellites. (8/9)

Opening the Space Race to the Entire World (Source: Smithsonian)
Siince the launch of the Kepler Space Telescope in 2009, astronomers have discovered at least 2,327 planets orbiting stars outside our solar system. Despite failures of parts that have made it impossible for scientists to point the telescope accurately, the mission has been a great success for NASA. That’s a relief, because Kepler has a budget greater than the gross domestic product of some small nations.

NASA, the European Space Agency and other large space-faring organizations have decades of such missions and discoveries under their belts, from Sputnik to Juno. But with costs sometimes exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars per mission, space exploration been out of reach for most nations. And if scientists in a small country such Israel or Malaysia wanted to send a mission to the moon, they were often out of luck if they couldn’t partner with one of the big agencies.

But the race for space is becoming democratized. Thanks to miniaturization and other technologies making space exploration more affordable, now “anyone can get involved,” said Anita Heward of Europlanet 2020 during a session at the Euroscience Open Forum in Manchester, England on July 26. Heward is the communications manager for the adorably named Twinkle mission, led by University College London, which will study exoplanet atmospheres after launching in 2019. (8/9)

Mystery Object in Weird Orbit Beyond Neptune Cannot Be Explained (Source: New Scientist)
“I hope everyone has buckled their seatbelts because the outer solar system just got a lot weirder.” That’s what Michele Bannister, an astronomer at Queens University, Belfast tweeted on Monday. She was referring to the discovery of a TNO or trans-Neptunian object, something which sits beyond Neptune in the outer solar system. This one is 160,000 times fainter than Neptune, which means the icy world could be less than 200 kilometers in diameter.

It’s currently above the plane of the solar system and with every passing day, it’s moving upwards – a fact that makes it an oddity. The TNO orbits in a plane that’s tilted 110 degrees to the plane of the solar system. What’s more, it swings around the sun backwards unlike most of the other objects in the solar system. With this in mind, the team that discovered the TNO nicknamed it “Niku” after the Chinese adjective for rebellious.

To grasp how truly rebellious it is, remember that a flat plane is the signature of a planetary system, as a star-forming gas cloud creates a flat disk of dust and gas around it. “Angular momentum forces everything to have that one spin direction all the same way,” says Bannister. “It’s the same thing with a spinning top, every particle is spinning the same direction.” That means anything that doesn’t orbit within the plane of the solar system or spins in the opposite direction must have been knocked off course by something else. (8/10)

Construction Starts on Huge Chinese Cosmic-Ray Observatory (Source: Physics World)
Construction has begun on one of the world's largest and most sensitive cosmic-ray facilities. Located about 4410 m above sea level in the Haizi Mountain in Sichuan Province in southwest China, the 1.2 billion yuan ($180m) Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory (LHAASO) will attempt to understand the origins of high-energy cosmic rays. LHAASO is set to open in 2020.

Cosmic rays are particles that originate in outer space and are accelerated to energies higher than those that can be achieved in even the largest man-made particle accelerators. Composed mainly of high-energy protons and atomic nuclei, cosmic rays create an air shower of particles such as photons and muons when they hit the atmosphere. Where cosmic rays come from, however, has remained a mystery since they were first spotted some 100 years ago. (8/9)

Swiss Scientists to Analyse Returned Satellite (Source: SWI)
On Tuesday, a retired European Space Agency research satellite called Eureca (European Retrievable Carrier) left the Lucerne Museum of Transport, where it had been on display, for the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA). There, the satellite, which was launched into orbit on the Space Shuttle Atlantis on August 2, 1992, will be x-rayed by EMPA scientists. They are interested in discovering the effects of space travel – including  cosmic rays, extreme temperatures, and vibrations – on Eureca’s component parts. (8/9)

Japanese Engineers Working on Concrete for Lunar Base (Source: Nikkei)
Mitsubishi Materials and Japan's space agency have begun research into fashioning concrete from materials available on the moon, as part of a concept for a base there. The Japanese company and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, hope to find a way to make concrete blocks using lunar soil, which contains large amounts of glass. They will apply a technique employed by the ancient Romans in which sand and other materials were mixed with water and heated to create a solid. (8/10)

Asteroid Mining Will Begin In Just 4 Years (Source: Inverse)
Space mining company Deep Space Industries just announced the world’s first-ever commercial space mining mission. By 2020, the company will launch its Prospector-1 robotic spacecraft on an asteroid, land on it, and investigate its potential value as a source of precious metals, minerals, water, and other resources.

“Deep Space Industries has worked diligently to get to this point, and now we can say with confidence that we have the right technology, the right team and the right plan to execute this historic mission,” said company chairman and co-founder Rick Tumlinson in a news release. “Prospector-1 will be the next step on our way to harvesting asteroid resources.” (8/9)

Spreading Critical DoD Space Capabilities Over More Satellites (Source: Space Daily)
For decades, the most secure and protected U.S. military satellite network has served both a strategic and a tactical purpose. But now with space becoming a more contested and militarized theater, there is an ongoing conversation within the DoD to separate - or disaggregate - the strategic and tactical functions of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite constellation.

Three of the planned six AEHF satellites have been launched so far to replace the aging Milstar constellation. Both constellations have the strategic role of maintaining command and control communications in the event of a catastrophe such as nuclear war and a tactical role of transmitting communications and data to and from areas of military operations. (8/9)

Who Wants To Replace U.S.’s Aging Nuclear ICBMs? (Source: Aviation Week)
U.S. defense heavyweights are rallying to the U.S. Air Force’s call for a new-generation intercontinental ballistic missile under the banner of Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman already confirming their candidacy for a three-year technology maturation phase.

The request for proposals is the first programmatic step toward delivering the first nuclear-tipped ICBM since the Cold War, replacing the Minuteman III weapon system that has stood sentinel since the 1970s. We take a look at the major players that will likely answer the air branch’s multibillion-dollar GBSD request. Click here. (8/9)

Astrosat Lifted Indo-US Ties, Says Nobel Laureate (Source: Times of India)
Nobel Laureate and NASA scientist John Mather was on Friday full of praise for India's first space observatory, Astrosat, launched on September 28 last year. The success of Astrosat encouraged India and the US to collaborate in the field of space astronomy, said Mather, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2006. Mumbai had a role in the development of Astrosat as three of the instruments are from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) at Colaba. (8/7)

NASA Selects Six Companies to Develop Prototypes, Concepts for Deep Space Habitats (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected six U.S. companies to help advance the Journey to Mars by developing ground prototypes and concepts for deep space habitats. Through the public-private partnerships enabled by the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2), NASA and industry partners will expand commercial development of space in low-Earth orbit while also improving deep space exploration capabilities to support more extensive human spaceflight missions.

The selected companies are: Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas; Boeing of Pasadena, Texas; Lockheed Martin of Denver; Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia; Sierra Nevada Corp. of Louisville, Colorado; and NanoRacks of Webster, Texas.

The six partners will have up to approximately 24 months to develop ground prototypes and/or conduct concept studies for deep space habitats. The contract award amounts are dependent on contract negotiations, and NASA has estimated the combined total of all the awards, covering work in 2016 and 2017, will be approximately $65 million, with additional efforts and funding continuing into 2018. Selected partners are required to contribute at least 30 percent of the cost of the overall proposed effort. (8/9)

Damaged Satellite Reduces Japanese Company's Revenue Forecast (Source: Space News)
Japanese satellite operator Sky Perfect JSat is sharply reducing its revenue forecast after a satellite delay. The DSN-1/Superbird-8 satellite was damaged during shipment to its launch site in June and will take more than a year to be repaired. The company is now forecasting a decline in revenues of nearly 25 percent for its current fiscal year because of lost revenue from the delayed satellite which includes an X-band payload for the Japanese military. (8/8)

Satellite Equipment Gains Popularity on Aircraft (Source: Space News)
Global Eagle Entertainment reported record installations of satellite connectivity equipment on planes. The company said Monday that it now has its Airconnect equipment on 736 planes after adding a record 30 planes in the previous three months, and expects the installation rate to increase further this year. Global Eagle also closed its $550 million purchase of Emerging Markets Communications last month, and said that acquisition was key to winning an order from a Brazilian airline. (8/8)

CNBC Creates Space Industry Index (Source: CNBC)
Business network CNBC is rolling out a space index of stocks. The Kensho Space Index, which CNBC developed with financial firm Kensho, includes 30 publicly traded companies involved in some degree in space, from prime contractors like Boeing and Lockheed Martin to smaller suppliers. CNBC hasn't released data about the index, but notes that "it should not be surprising to learn that the Kensho Space Index is at a historic high."

Editor's Note: Scott Sacknoff created the SPADE Index many years ago to track publicly traded space and defense companies. Click here. (8/8)

Women in Science and Engineering Symposium Planned in Cocoa Beach, Patrick AFB (Source: WISE)
The objectives for the WiSE Symposium 2016 are multifaceted. First, we need to inspire diversity of thought in STEM. Secondly, we need to gain an international perspective and leverage global strengths in the STEM fields to replicate nationally. We also need to share success stories and lessons learned from professional women and men (including education and industry) in the federal government through moderated panel discussions.

This Sep. 7-9 symposium in Cocoa Beach and Patrick Air Force Base allows us to establish mentoring and networking opportunities to further support career growth in STEM-related fields. Lastly, we aim to address current STEM policy and how we can shape the future of the STEM career within DoD, industry and supporting community. Click here. (8/9)

Launch. Land. Repeat. From Internship to Career at Blue Origin (Source: ERAU)
Embry-Ridde business alumnus Al Garofalo proves that the real-world challenges in Embry-Riddle courses directly correlate to real opportunity. Garofalo’s degree in Global Business resulted in an internship and then a job offer from Blue Origin, which is best known for private space travel. Without hesitation, he accepted. “I’m super excited,” said Garofalo. “It’s everything I wanted in a company – the culture, the attitude, their approach to business. Fit was very important to me and from the internship last summer I know I perfectly fit in.” (8/9)

Hawaiian Launch Failure in November 2015 Blamed on First Stage Malfunction (Source: Space News)
The failure of the first launch of the U.S. Air Force’s Super Strypi rocket last year was likely caused by a problem with the rocket’s first stage motor, and the future of the small launch vehicle remains uncertain. The Super Strypi lifted off from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, on Nov. 3, 2015, carrying 13 small satellites on a mission for the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office designated ORS-4.

The rocket appeared to break up shortly after liftoff, and the U.S. Air Force later declared the launch a failure without providing additional information. However, he did indicate the failure was caused by an issue with the first stage motor of the spin-stabilized rocket. That spinning, which was within parameters, “doomed the first stage” because the motor was, according his slides, “insufficiently robust. (8/9)

Commercial Space to Smash the Astronomy 'Funding Wall'? (Source: Seeker)
What's happening in our universe? In the 400 years since we first started using telescopes, we've been trying to answer this question. The past two decades alone have been dizzying: Planets found outside the solar system, a universe accelerating in its expansion, and hints of the mysterious dark energy and dark matter that make up most of the universe, to name a handful of historic discoveries. But to see further, we often need to spend big.

But before worrying overmuch, Elvis proposes a solution: to depend more on the commercial space sector. Think about how much it has changed human spaceflight in the last decade. Now we have regular cargo runs to the International Space Station; in SpaceX's case, occasionally these missions have been able to land their rockets for future re-use. And very soon, SpaceX and Boeing will be sending astronauts aloft on their own spacecraft. What is the prospect for astronomy?

He argues that commercial spacecraft (which are more likely to see cost driven down by competition) would see quick advances in a few areas. Costs in launch, spacecraft and payloads would reduce, mainly because we are making a lot of advances today to reduce the mass hefted to orbit. In space, mass is one of the major costs. "Cutting spacecraft cost by a factor 2, along with launch costs by a factor 3, would roughly halve the cost of a flagship mission," he said. (8/9)

No Complaint From SpaceX as Air Force Skips Competition for Pair of NRO Missions (Source: Space News)
The Air Force said it plans to award ULA a sole-source contract to build and launch two Delta 4 Heavy rockets for National Reconnaissance Office between 2020 and 2023. The launches appear to be the first sole-source awards outside of ULA’s $11 billion block buy deal with the Air Force. That contract, which was awarded in 2013, includes production of 36 new Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rocket cores and launch services for vehicles ordered as long ago as 1998.

The Air Force did not announce a contract value, but ULA previously has said a Delta 4 Heavy rocket costs about $350 million, suggesting the contract could be worth roughly $700 million. The Air Force said it chose ULA due to the timing and complexity of the integration of the satellites to the rockets, unique requirements, and the need to have a certified launch vehicle by the award date.

The conventional wisdom within industry and within the Defense Department has been that ULA’s Delta 4 Heavy rocket would compete against SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket for such launches. The Falcon Heavy is expected to make its long-awaited maiden launch later this year and could earn certification from the Air Force to launch national security payloads as early as 2017. (8/9)

Georgia County Passes Resolution to Cover Spaceport Expenses (Source: Brunswick News)
The cost of establishing a commercial spaceport isn’t cheap. The Camden County Commission has approved a resolution authorizing the county to be reimbursed for all spaceport-related expenses, including engineering, legal fees and land acquisition. Camden County Administrator Steve Howard said the resolution sets a cap of $5 million for a bond to pay for the project.

“If we continue to reach milestones, we could purchase the property,” he said. “You want to capture all the costs for that project.” Mike Fender, the county’s finance director, said he made the recommendation for commissioners to approve a resolution based on advice from lawyers. They said it’s a recommended practice to pass resolutions for counties to be reimbursed for expenses on large projects. “This document only applies if the county gets a bond,” he said.

If the county gets a bond, Fender said the money will go back into the general fund. The county will still have to repay the bond, but Fender said the advantage is the county can spread out the debt over 20 years. “It’s just not going to cost the county as much,” he said. It’s unlikely the county will need a tax-exempt $5 million bond to pay for the its share of the project. The county will be reimbursed through the bond no later than three years after the original expenditure is made. (8/9)

Sen. Ted Cruz's New Mission: Space Exploration (Source: KTRK)
It was a two-stage mission for Senator Ted Cruz. First he met with more than a dozen industry leaders to talk about public/private partnerships and told the group space exploration is important to him and he hopes to see NASA expand its heavenly reach. That reach includes adding certainty to a space program that suffers when there is uncertainty and lengthening the lifespan of the International Space Station to 2028. (8/9)

"An additional four years that would give a broader platform to continue important research that important leadership will provide," he said at the round table discussion "In my view, space exploration is a critical priority. " The Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership hosted the morning gathering at its headquarters across the street from Johnson Space Center.

But after his round table with business leaders he met with Johnson Space Center Director and astronaut Ellen Ochoa. They talked short and long term plans for human space flight. When asked about Cruz's interest in prolonging the ISS lifespan, Ochoa didn't directly agree with his idea. "What we want to see," Ochoa said, "is that we get as much utilization out of the ISS as possible both in terms of the research and development you can do on board and also as using it as a test bed for exploration." (8/9)

The World's First VR Camera Satellite Launches Next Summer (Source: The Verge)
SpaceVR has signed a launch agreement to send its virtual reality satellite to the International Space Station using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in 2017. The small startup has contracted NanoRacks — a company that runs the commercial laboratory aboard the International Space Station — to prepare Overview 1, SpaceVR’s twin-camera cube satellite, for release into low Earth orbit using NanoRacks’ CubeSat Deployer. Overview 1 will head to the ISS inside one of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsules during the CRS-12 resupply mission, which is expected to launch early next summer. (8/8)

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