August 15, 2016

Pulsar-Based Spacecraft Navigation System One Step Closer to Reality (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Pulsars are highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars that emit electromagnetic radiation at regular intervals. They are often dubbed “lighthouses” of the universe as their emission is beamed, thus a pulse of radiation is seen only each time the beam sweeps across line-of-sight. A spacecraft navigation method based on X-ray signals emitted from pulsars, known as XNAV, has recently taken a leap forward thanks to a study conducted by UK scientists from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Leicester. (8/15)

Honeywell Inks $300M Deal To Sell Gov't Contracting Unit (Source: Law360)
Honeywell International Inc. said Friday that it has agreed to sell its space, security, logistics and manpower services government contracting unit to KBR Inc. for approximately $300 million. Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell Aerospace, with customers primarily consisting of U.S. government agencies. Honeywell had determined that the unit “did not align” with the company’s current portfolio and long-term strategic plans in aerospace. (8/15)

San Diego Hits Lockheed Martin With Hazardous Waste Suit (Source: Law360)
San Diego Unified Port District sued aerospace company Lockheed Martin in California federal court on Thursday over chemical cleanup costs near Harbor Island, California, saying the corporation's marine terminal railway system contaminated the waters with mercury and other hazardous waste. The Port District accuses Lockheed of breaching its lease permit for certain areas in the East Basin by contaminating the lands with dangerous substances. (8/12)

Spaceport America Announces Annual Signature Event Series (Source: Spaceport America)
Spaceport America announced today the introduction of five annual Spaceport America branded signature events. The signature event series will begin with the annual Spaceport America Open House on Oct. 1, 2016. The Spaceport America Drone Summit is planned on Nov. 11-13. The Spaceport America Mile, a standing one mile vehicle racing event to be held from Mar. 10-12, 2017. A Spaceport America Relay Race is planned from April 8-9, 2017. And the Spaceport America Cup university rocket engineering competition will be held June 13-18, 2017. (8/15)

The Coming Satellite Revolution (Source: Aviation Week)
When Mark Zuckerberg announced he wants to fill the sky with thousands of low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites to improve internet connectivity, many traditional space players remembered when Bill Gates and others invested in Teledesic, Iridium and other ventures in the 1990s only to see them fail. Two and a half decades later, terrestrial communications capabilities have dramatically improved, while geosynchronous orbit (GEO) capabilities have improved but still remain a generation behind, and LEO capabilities have remained a niche alternative.

The vision of the tech giants is clear—deliver ubiquitous, low-latency, high-speed broadband and drive down the cost for data while expanding bandwidth and thus the market. In a recent paper, Farooq Khan of Samsung detailed how LEO constellations could rival the speeds of ground-based systems and in certain regions become a linchpin in the coming 5G wireless infrastructure. Click here. (8/15)

Earth-Sized Planet Found Orbiting Proxima Centauri (Source: AFP)
Scientists have reportedly discovered an Earth-sized planet orbiting another star. A report in the German magazine Der Spiegel Friday claimed that astronomers had discovered the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun. According to the report, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) will announce the discovery later this month, although ESO officials declined to comment on the report. (8/14)

Ariane 6 On Track for 2020 Debut (Source: Spaceflight Now)
Ariane 6 is on schedule for a first launch in 2020. Alain Charmeau, chief executive of Airbus Safran launchers, said in an interview that he was "extremely confident" that the vehicle, in its early stages of development now, will be ready for a first launch as planned in 2020. The vehicle's launch rate will ramp up to 11-12 launches per year by 2023, when the Ariane 5 will be retired. He said the vehicle should be less expensive than the Ariane 5, allowing Arianespace to be cost-competitive with SpaceX's Falcon 9. (8/15)

Space Florida Shares Plan for Commercial Space Industry (Source: Orlando Business Journal)
If you haven't noticed, Florida's Space Coast is in a bit of a competition with other states when it comes to getting commercial space company deals. States such as Texas, Georgia, Virginia and North Carolina are nipping at our heels to take commercial space launch projects, said Space Florida's Dale Ketcham. "SpaceX a couple years ago chose to establish a purely commercial launch site in Texas. That sucked. That really pissed us off, and we’re still ticked, but it was also a business kick," he told the crowd.

"Georgia is already on its environmental impact statement process to establish a launch site, Virginia’s got a commercial launch site that is working quite effectively, and North Carolina wants to get in this game — they put a lot of money on the table to try to land Blue Origin." And while Central Florida has a few commercial space projects in its pipeline and plenty of SpaceX launches, Space Florida, the state's aerospace economic development agency, is not taking any chances in falling behind its competition.

Ketcham said the agency's plan involves beefing up the supply chain and logistics capabilities to support and bring in new projects. He also said making sure the talent pipeline is available and strong also is part of the plan. Having a strong supply chain is a draw for commercial space companies because being near a materials suppliers is quicker access. And for the manufacturers and parts suppliers that are near those companies, that means more business. Click here. (8/15)

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