August 2, 2016

Vector Space Plans 21 Launches for Iceye, Including From Alaska Spaceport (Source: Vector Space)
Vector Space Systems, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch, today finalized an agreement with Finnish-based Iceye to conduct 21 launches for Iceye's commercial SAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellite constellation. The payload flights, Vector's first customer flights since it started operations in early 2016, will be conducted over a four-year span as part of a larger partnership with Iceye. 

Iceye will develop its satellite constellation in Finland, and launch them into orbit using Vector's micro satellite launch system at select launch locations, including the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA). This radar satellite constellation will provide day/night all-weather imaging of the Earth's surface, as well as monitoring of arctic regions in support of safety for the environment and maritime operations. (8/2)

Virgin Galactic Receives SpaceShipTwo Operator License, Starts Taxi Tests (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Virgin Galactic has conducted its first taxi test with the SpaceShipTwo known as VSS Unity. Combined with the recently awarded operator license by the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA-AST), the space tourism company is gearing up for a series of ground and flight evaluations.

On August 1 the company announced that the FAA-AST permit was the culmination of several years of in-depth interaction with the FAA. The review process consisted of an evaluation of the vehicles system design, safety analysis, and flight trajectory analysis. (8/1)

Making It In Space (Source: Space Review)
Who will be the customers of commercial space stations that companies, and NASA, envision being developed within the next decade? Jeff Foust reports that there are a number of potential markets for them, including an interesting new effort in space manufacturing. Click here. (8/1)
The One Space policy Question for the Candidates (Source: Space Review)
If you could get the presidential candidates to answer one question about their prospective space policies, what should it be? Jeff Foust argues that it might to get them to explain why they believe NASA should have a human spaceflight program. Click here. (8/1)

This Time We’re Invading Mars. Seriously. (Source: Huffington Post)
National Geographic’s upcoming series Mars may only show a fake landing on the Red Planet, but make no mistake, say its creators: A real-life landing is coming soon. “There will be a Mars mission by 2033,” says Everardo Gout, director of the part-documentary/part-scripted series that premieres in November. “They will fly every two years, because that’s when the planets are in close enough alignment.” Click here. (7/31)

Scientists Just Figured Out How Black Holes Twist Space-Time (Source: Mic)
Astronomers just solved a 30-year-old mystery about black holes, and it might give us a new way to test one of Einstein's most important ideas. Back in the 1980s, astronomers discovered that black holes in our galaxy are ablaze with flickering X-rays, according to the California Institute of Technology. The flickering would follow a set pattern, getting steadily faster over a few months until stopping altogether.

They called the phenomenon quasi-periodic oscillation, or QPO. Astronomers suspected QPO happened due to the twisting of space-time that Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of general theory of relativity. Click here. (8/1)

General Dies Unexpectedly Before Assuming Space Leadership Role (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Army general who was about to become the service's top space officer unexpectedly died Sunday. Maj. Gen. John G. Rossi died at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, and his death was under investigation, according to a U.S. Army release. Rossi was scheduled to become commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command on Tuesday. (8/2)

MDA Corp. Focused on U.S. Markets (Source: Space News)
Canada's MDA Corp. is working to become a more U.S.-focused company. The company, based on Canada but with facilities in the U.S., now has an American chief executive and has formed a U.S. holding company, part of efforts to be better positioned to win business from U.S. government agencies. The company is still eligible for export credit financing from Export Development Canada, even for satellites that are built by MDA-owned Space Systems Loral in California. (8/2)

South Korea Picks Russia's Angara for Satellite Launch (Source: ILS)
International Launch Services has won the first commercial contract for an Angara 1.2 launch. ILS announced Monday that the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) has signed a contract for an Angara 1.2 launch of the Kompsat-6 remote sensing satellite. That launch, into sun-synchronous orbit, is scheduled for 2020 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia. Angara 1.2 is the smallest version of the Angara rocket, capable of launching payloads of up to 3.5 tons into low Earth orbit. (8/2)

Fire Reported in SpaceX Factory (Source: City News Service)
A minor fire broke out Monday night at SpaceX's main factory. Los Angeles County firefighters were called to the Hawthorne, California, plant at around 11 p.m. Eastern Monday after a fire broke out in a "battery room" there. No injuries were reported, and the fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes. (8/2)

Sanders to Chair NASA Advisory Panel (Source: NASA)
NASA has named a new chairwoman of its Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP). The agency announced Monday that Patricia Sanders, the former executive director of the Missile Defense Agency, will lead the independent panel that reviews safety issues associated with NASA programs. She succeeds retired Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Dyer, who chaired ASAP for 13 years. (8/2)

Orbital Outfitters Ready for Business at Texas Spaceport (Source: Midland Reporter-Telegram)
Orbital Outfitters says its new altitude chamber facility located adjacent to a Texas spaceport is open for business. The company told local officials in Midland, Texas, that its Midland Altitude Chamber Complex is ready for customers, and anticipates its first commercial use next month. The facility, next to the city's airport that is also an FAA-licensed spaceport, hopes to attract customers for testing space components that might otherwise use NASA-owned altitude chambers that have long wait times. (8/2)

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