This 1950s Jet Will Launch Tiny Satellites From the Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: BBC)
If you asked an eight-year-old to design a jet fighter, the end result
might resemble the Lockheed F-104. The F-104 looks less like a plane
and more like a rocket with some extra bits added as an afterthought.
Its long thin fuselage – with a tiny cockpit perched behind its pointy
nose and short stubby wings either side – make it look state-of-the-art
even today; one can only imagine how revolutionary it seemed when it
was unveiled in the 1950s.
Most air forces phased out their Starfighters by the mid-80s, replacing
them with aircraft more suited to the roles the supersonic jet had
struggled to fill. But the F-104 soldiered on in a non-combat role
elsewhere. Cubecab plans to launch very small satellites – known as
cubesats – using a rocket that weighs a similar amount. It’s much
smaller, and therefore cheaper, than any other launch method
currently available. How will CubeCab launch these tiny satellites?
Simple – they’ll use Starfighters.
Cubecab will strap its lightweight rockets, weighing around 10kg, on to
the kind of underwing ‘pylons’ usually used to fire missiles. And
Starfighters Inc, a Florida-based company which still flies a handful
of F-104s, will take their pint-sized payloads up to the edge of the
stratosphere and fire them into orbit. Click here. (8/29)
“Mister President, Their Rocket Blew
Up.” (Source: Space Review)
Even after the US won the race to the Moon, American intelligence
monitored Soviet development of the N-1, and reported on it to
President Nixon. Dwayne Day discusses what Nixon learned about the N-1
based on recently declassified intelligence briefings. Click here.
A Changing of the Guard at Spaceport
America (Source: Space Review)
Christine Anderson originally signed on to run New Mexico’s Spaceport
America for a year; she stepped down earlier this month after five and
a half years on the job. Jeff Foust examines the state of the
spaceport, including efforts she led to diversify the spaceport’s
customer base. Click here.
Rethinking Image Release Policies in
the Age of Instant Gratification (Source: Space Review)
While some planetary missions readily share the images they take with
the public, others are more reticent to do so. Svetoslav Alexandrov
argues that, in an era of instant access to information, all missions
should be more open in releasing images. Click here.
Interplanetary “Litter” on the Space
Trail: University of New Mexico’s Meteorite Museum (Source:
A small museum in Albuquerque contains a collection of meteorites,
including some from Mars. Joseph Page provides an overview of the
museum and its exhibits. Click here.
Hand-Off of Space-Flown Football
Launches Pre-Super Bowl Tour in Houston (Source: CollectSpace)
A football flown for five months aboard the International Space Station
has now become a symbol of the next Super Bowl to be played in Houston.
Astronaut Scott Kelly, who returned from a record 340-day expedition on
the orbiting outpost earlier this year, handed off the flown football
at Space Center Houston on Saturday (Aug. 27). (8/29)
Moon Express Co-Founder: Successful
Entrepreneurs Must Have a God-Complex (Source: Economic Times)
In Naveen Jain's vision, the moon in 'honeymoon' might be a real
possibility for some jetsetters one day. "I reckon that in 10-15 years,
people will be travelling to the moon," he says in a telephone
conversation from the US on August 11.
The 56-year-old American is the co-founder of Moon Express, a space
company that he established with Bob Richards (a space entrepreneur)
and Barney Pell (a former NASA scientist) in 2010. In early August,
Moon Express announced it had become the first private enterprise to
receive regulatory approval from the US government to send a robotic
lander to the moon in 2017. The company is also one of the 16 teams
competing for the Google Lunar X Prize, which will award $20 million to
the first venture to get to the moon. Click here.
Spacecraft Manufacturers Express
Confidence in Spacebelt (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
On Wednesday, Aug. 17, Cloud Constellation announced that it had gained
Letters of Confidence from four major spacecraft manufacturers in its
SpaceBelt satellite constellation. As the name of the documents imply,
these letters express faith in the company’s design.
At present, Cloud Constellation is working to close the second round of
funding. It is hoped that these endorsements will help the firm develop
an orbital “Information Ultra-Highway”. The first phase of funding was
completed this past March (2016).
The company hopes to file a secure network of satellites that will
provide a global, interconnected orbital database. This ring could
potentially provide these services anywhere across the globe.
SpaceFlight Insider spoke with representatives of the company in an
exclusive interview conducted on Wednesday, Aug. 24. (8/29)