August 17, 2016

Aerospace Education Center Proposed to Support Workforce Needs (Source: GoFundMe)
The Space Coast Aerospace Education Center would be a permanent home for teaching STEM and Adult education course and classes, hosting aerospace education events like job fairs and promotional events, astronomy nights, lecture series by aerospace industry leaders, and other events that promote aerospace education. With the new commercial programs coming to the area in the next couple of years, it is important right now to be able to train the local citizens so that they can take positions in the local Aerospace Industry so that they can earn higher wages and contribute to the local economy. Click here. (8/17)

Spaceport America Closes Search for New CEO (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
The Spaceport Authority has closed its search for a new CEO of Spaceport America, and board Chairman Rick Holdridge said Tuesday he hopes to meet with the governor’s office this week to begin going through the applications. “The governor and her staff are very busy,” Holdridge said, noting ongoing preparations for an expected special session of the Legislature to address budget issues. “But I’m hoping that it’s sooner rather than later, because Christine Anderson’s last day is Friday." (8/16)

Praxair and Linde Discussing Merger (Source: Law 360)
Praxair Inc. is in talks with Germany’s Linde AG about a potential merger that would create a single industrial gas supplier worth more than $60 billion, according to a Tuesday report from the Wall Street Journal. According to the report, a deal could come in the form of Praxair taking over Linde, though it’s also possible Linde is hankering for a merger of equals. Any combination would likely face serious regulatory scrutiny. (8/16)

The Biggest Barrier to Asteroid Mining Isn't Technical, It's Legal (Source: Popular Mechanics)
Private companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries are already planning space missions to extract resources from asteroids by the mid 2020s. Despite how sci-fi that future may seem, there are actually very few technological barriers keeping us from extracting resources from extraterrestrial rocks hurtling through the void. Instead, there's something else. It's a nebulous issue with no obvious solution: the law.

Before we deal with the sticky legality, it's important to understand how much sense asteroid mining really makes. "The economic arguments for mining asteroids are overwhelming," says Peter Marquez, the former director of space policy for President Obama and current vice president of Planetary Resources. (8/16)

FAA Announces New Air Transportation Center of Excellence at Embry-Riddle (Source: ERAU)
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has announced the agency has selected Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to lead the new Air Transportation Center of Excellence (COE) for Technical Training and Human Performance. The FAA is expected to invest at least $5 million over the next five years in this partnership, with Embry-Riddle heading a team of top-tier academic research institutions and more than 20 industry partners, including the FAA’s NextGen Florida Test Bed at Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach.

Embry-Riddle will lead research and development on technical training for air traffic controllers, aviation safety inspectors, engineers, pilots and technicians that focuses on human performance, using part-task trainers, modeling, immersive human-in-the-loop simulation, and adaptive learning technologies that are found in other technical workforces. This includes new technologies such as mobile learning and new ways of collecting and managing training data. (8/16)

Houston Congressmen Form Texas Congressional Space Caucus (Source: Texas Insider)
On Thursday, August 11th, during a meeting with Houston space industry leaders, including members of the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership (BAHEP), U.S. Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36) announced the formation of the Texas Space Congressional Caucus (TSCC) to help advocate and protect the interests of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) and the space industry across Texas. (8/16)

Suborbital Mission Launched From Virginia Spaceport (Source: WVEC)
A suborbital rocket carrying student experiments launched from Wallops Island sometime Wednesday morning. University and community college students put their scientific and technological skills to the test by flying experiments they developed on a NASA two-stage Terrier Improved-Malemute suborbital rocket. After flying to around 95 miles altitude, the payload, with the experiments, descended by parachute and was expected to land 15 minutes after launch in the Atlantic Ocean, about 63 miles off the Virginia coast. (8/17)

NASA Scientist Detained in Turkey Following Failed Coup (Source: Physics Today)
A NASA physicist has been arrested and detained in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed 15 July coup, according to Turkish media outlets and evidence from multiple sources. Serkan Golge, a 36-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, is accused of involvement with the Gülen movement, which president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan holds responsible for the attempt to overthrow the government.

Golge arrived in Turkey in late June to spend time with family. According to a source who wishes to remain anonymous, Golge was accused of spying for the CIA by a person in the neighborhood where the family lives. Over the past month, Erdoğan and other government officials have accused the US of supporting the attempted coup. (8/16)

NASA Assesses ‘Risks’ of Russia’s Proposal to Cut Down ISS Crew (Source: Russia Today)
NASA is weighing the risks stemming from Russia’s potential reduction of its permanent International Space Station crew down to two cosmonauts, saying the agency is looking at options to either accommodate or help Moscow “realize why that’s a bad thing.” Last week, Russian space agency Roscosmos announced plans to potentially cut down the number of cosmonauts permanently deployed on the ISS. ''

The Head of Piloted Space Programs, Sergey Krikalev, said the standard crew of three is excessive given the equipment currently being used on the Russian segment of the station. “Plans to reduce the crew stem from the fact that fewer cargo ships are being sent to the ISS and from the necessity to boost the efficiency of the program,” the newspaper quoted Krikalev as saying. In addition, crew reduction can lower maintenance expenses, while an extra seat could be offered to space tourists or foreign astronauts.

Editor's Note: So one motivation for Russia to reduce its official ISS crew could be to generate revenues by sending space tourists to the orbiting outpost. (8/17)

NASA Unveils New Public Web Portal for Research Results (Source: NASA)
Public access to NASA-funded research data now is just a click away, with the launch of a new agency public access portal. The creation of the NASA-Funded Research Results portal on reflects the agency’s ongoing commitment to providing broad public access to science data.

“At NASA, we are celebrating this opportunity to extend access to our extensive portfolio of scientific and technical publications,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman. “Through open access and innovation we invite the global community to join us in exploring Earth, air and space.” NASA now requires articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings be publicly accessible via the agency’s PubSpace at (8/17)

Roscosmos to Spend $7.5Mln on Studying Issues of Manned Lunar Missions (Source: Sputnik)
The Russian state space corporation Roscosmos will spend 478 million rubles ($7.5 million) on studying issues of manned flights to the moon, data published on the Russian public procurement web portal suggests. The Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash), a research institute within the Russian space agency, is set to carry out the studies, according to the portal. (8/17)

China Launches Pioneering 'Hack-Proof' Quantum-Communications Satellite (Source:
China launched the first-ever quantum satellite in an effort to help develop an unhackable communications system. The nation's Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) spacecraft lifted off atop a Long March-2D rocket. Many nations are working to make quantum communication a reality, but China is the first to launch a satellite dedicated to developing the technology.

"In its two-year mission, QUESS is designed to establish 'hack-proof' quantum communications by transmitting uncrackable keys from space to the ground, and provide insights into the strangest phenomenon in quantum physics — quantum entanglement," China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

"Entangled" particles are intimately and curiously linked to each other; even if they're separated by billions of miles of space; a change in one somehow affects the others. QUESS will send messages to ground stations using entangled photons, Xinhua reported. Such a system is theoretically impossible to hack. In addition, any attempts to eavesdrop would be picked up via an induced change in the photons' state. (8/16)

Russian Scientists Adjust Innovative Satellite Control System (Source: Sputnik)
Russian scientists have started the adjustment of the innovative guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system on the Aist-2D satellite that was launched from the Vostochny space center in April. The on-board motion control system installed on the Aist-2D satellite is supplemented by the innovative GNC system based on micro-acceleration compensation hardware that was designed at the Institute of Electronics and Instrument Engineering of Russia's Samara State Aerospace University. (8/16)

Yes, NASA's New Megarocket Will Be More Powerful Than the Saturn V (Source:
NASA's huge new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket will indeed be the most powerful booster ever built, agency officials said. There's been some confusion and controversy about this claim ever since the SLS — which NASA is developing to get astronauts to Mars and other deep-space destinations — was announced in September 2011.

NASA officials have long maintained that the most muscular form of the SLS will be capable of lofting 143 tons (130 metric tons) of payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO). That's where the confusion comes in: The LEO capacity of the agency's famous Saturn V moon rocket was about 154 tons (140 metric tons), according to a 2006 U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. (8/16)

Astronaut Group Proposes Apollo 11 Coin (Source: Astronaut Scholarship Foundation)
It is hard to believe that in 2019 it will be 50 years since the Apollo 11 crew (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins) landed on the moon. We have a rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to recognize this great accomplishment and inspire the nation to dream again through the creation of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin.

To make this dream a reality, We need your help now! Our mission, should you choose to accept it, is to secure 62 Senate co-sponsors of the bill. Please call and/or email your Senator by September 15th and ask them to support this bill. For your convenience, download the letter, sign, save and send! Click here. (8/16)

NASA's Procurement Chief Keeps an Eye on the Next Era (Source: Bloomberg)
Bill McNally, NASA’s top procurement official, has helped the agency transition out of the space shuttle era and into grand new adventures like the proposed human mission to Mars. He’s overseen more than a dozen of NASA’s most sensitive contracts, including those for resupply to the International Space Station (ISS) and commercial crew transportation.

And since taking over as NASA’s senior procurement executive in 2007, McNally has spearheaded an effort to overhaul the agency’s contracting process by reducing transaction costs. His most significant challenge to date, he told Bloomberg BNA, is the commercial crew program that enlisted aerospace contractors to transport crew and scientific experiment equipment to and from the ISS. (8/16)

NASA Urged to Rejoin the Hunt for Gravitational Waves (Source: New Scientist)
Get back on the gravitational-wave hunting horse. That’s part of the message of a new report from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, designed to check how well the US is meeting key scientific goals in astronomy and astrophysics. The report follows up on the 2010 decadal survey, a wish list from the astronomical community released every 10 years to identify the top research priorities. (8/16)

New Technique May Help Detect Martian Life (Source: MIT News)
In 2020, NASA plans to launch a new Mars rover that will be tasked with probing a region of the planet scientists believe could hold remnants of ancient microbial life. The rover will collect samples of rocks and soil, and store them on the Martian surface; the samples would be returned to Earth sometime in the distant future so that scientists can meticulously analyze the samples for signs of present or former extraterrestrial life.

Now, MIT scientists have developed a technique that will help the rover quickly and non-invasively identify sediments that are relatively unaltered, and that maintain much of their original composition. Such “pristine” samples give scientists the best chance for identifying signs of former life, if they exist, as opposed to rocks whose histories have been wiped clean by geological processes such as excessive heating or radiation damage. (8/15)

Continuing Resolution Could Delay Air Force Rocket Engine Efforts, JICSpOC (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Air Force is worried that two high-priority space programs will suffer if Congress resorts to a stopgap spending measure instead of passing a defense appropriations bill by the Oct. 1 start of the 2017 fiscal year. Either a six-month or a 12-month continuing resolution would fund U.S. government activities at 2016 levels and would push off the start of more than 60 new Air Force programs.

That list includes more than a half-dozen programs related to national security space. The Air Force requested about $359 million for those space programs, the majority of which, about $296 million, would go toward developing a new American launch system.

A delay in enacting 2017 appropriations also would push back infrastructure funding for a new joint space operations center between the intelligence community and the Defense Department, known as the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center or JICSpOC. (8/16)

Army Adopts New Policy Calling for Greater Contributions to Space (Source: Space News)
While the Army is still a long ways from flying its own satellite constellations, Guzman said, the service “must make its voice heard on next-generation systems.” He noted the Army has a seat on the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, a key Pentagon acquisition review board that helps shape national security space programs.

In the meantime, Guzman said the Army must learn to operate in a more contested space environment where enemies have jammed GPS and communications satellites by training for those scenarios. Just as the military prepares to operate in an area where chemical weapons have been used, the Army needs to be able to “operate through” such situations that “replicate the effects of counterspace weapons.” (8/16)

Space-Based Interceptors: Realistic, Affordable, and Necessary (Source: Space News)
The findings and recommendations of a Hudson Institute report suggest the debate over whether or not space is “weaponized” has long been decided in the affirmative. Adversaries are exploiting U.S. vulnerabilities in space in a variety of ways but in particular, adversaries are advancing in the area of missile development including direct-ascent anti-satellites.

Indeed, this is a new missile era. Adversaries are heavily investing in missiles including of particular concern, hypersonics. To close the gaping holes in U.S. defensive capabilities the United States must fully utilize space across domains to protect what the United States values most: the U.S. homeland, deployed forces, allies, and assets located in space.

Specifically, it is time for the United States to move from a policy of providing a limited missile defense capability to one that is robust, and the most effective ways to do that is to deploy a satellite constellation in space that provides sensor coverage as well as a kinetic kill capability. In particular, several adversaries have prioritized the development of missile forces to hold at risk the U.S. homeland, allies, deployed forces, and space assets. (8/16)

What Is Dark Matter Made Of? New Studies Slash Candidate Pool (Source:
Three more dark-matter candidates have just bitten the dust. Since 2008, NASA's orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has been collecting evidence of the observable universe's most powerful explosions and energetic emissions. That high-powered insight has helped researchers in three different recent studies narrow down the materials that may make up mysterious dark matter. Click here. (8/16)

SpaceX Moving to Carbon Fiber for Launchers? (Source: Ars Technica)
SpaceX appears to be betting big on carbon fiber composites, which could increase the capacity of its future rockets to get people and supplies into space—and eventually to the surface of Mars. According to a report in Nikkei Asian Review, SpaceX has signed an agreement with Toray Carbon Fibers estimated to be worth $2 billion to $3 billion. The total price and delivery dates have yet to be finalized.

It is not immediately clear exactly when, and in which launch vehicles, these lightweight composites will be employed by SpaceX. But the company is not alone in its interest—NASA and other aerospace companies have been experimenting with the materials because of their potential to increase the amount of payload that can be carried by a rocket. They could also lower overall manufacturing cost.

On Tuesday evening SpaceX would not confirm that a large deal had been reached. "Toray is one of a number of suppliers we work with to meet our carbon fiber needs for Falcon rocket and Dragon spacecraft production, and we haven’t announced any new agreements at this time," a company spokesman told Ars. "As our business continues to grow, the amount of carbon fiber we use may continue to grow." (8/16)

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