August 5, 2016

Houston We Have A Problem... US Military's MUOS 5 Fails To Reach Orbit (Source: SatNews)
When the MUOS 5 launched successfully on June 24th there was no reason to question its successful glide into the proper orbit. The MUOS constellation of five was now complete with the successful deployment of the fifth communications satellite for the US Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS)—its object was to form a new rugged smartphone network for the US military.

Unfortunately, officials said on Tuesday that a propulsion system problem has left the MUOS 5 communications satellite short of its intended orbit, resulting in a vital communications network over the Middle East, Africa and Asia without a spare.

Because the Mobile User Objective System, or MUOS, satellite was intended to serve as an on-orbit spare, there is no immediate impact to operations, Steven Davis said in a statement. On June 29 attempts to raise the satellite's orbit were halted leaving the spacecraft in a highly elliptical, rather than circular orbit. (8/2)

GAO Directs Air Force To Look At $285M Bid Again (Source: Law 360)
The U.S. Government Accountability Office told the U.S. Air Force to once again re-evaluate a $285 million bid proposal for work at its Cape Canaveral, Florida, station, finding that the agency still failed to fully address deficiencies, according to a decision publicly released Thursday. The GAO sided with ASRC Communications Ltd.'s bid protest in a decision — publicly released in Februrary —  that found that awardee Aleut O&M Services LLC only adequately addressed one out of four fatal failings identified in its initial proposal. (8/4)

UCF's Dirt Experiment in High Demand as NASA, Others Prep for Deep Space Missions (Source: UCF)
As NASA and private space companies look to explore other planets, they are turning to one of the world’s best dirt experts – UCF’s Phil Metzger. Metzger, who works at UCF’s Florida Space Institute, knows his dirt. He has wall to ceiling spice rack shelves in his office that contain hundreds of samples of dirt from around the globe. His latest sample comes from the beaches of Iceland. Click here. (8/5)

Bishop of the Moon (Source: Orlando Diocese)
The anniversary of the Diocese of Orlando is a chance to reflect on our community and identity as a Catholic people in Central Florida. Therefore, we bring you a story of Bishop William Borders, the “bishop of the moon.” Pope Paul VI appointed William D. Borders as the first Bishop of Orlando in 1968. At its creation the Diocese of Orlando encompassed thirteen counties: Brevard, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia.

A visit by Archbishop Borders to Rome occurred after the Apollo 11 mission when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed the lunar module on the moon on July 20, 1969 while Michael Collins remained in orbit piloting the command spacecraft. Paul Paul VI was quite engaged with the mission, following it on television and peering at the Moon through the telescope at the Vatican Observatory.

During his visit, Bishop Borders mentioned to the Pope that he was the “bishop of the Moon”.  Responding to the Pontiff’s perplexed reaction he explained that according to the 1917 Code of Canon Law (in effect at that time) any newly discovered territory was placed under the jurisdiction of the diocese from which the expedition which discovered that territory left. Since Cape Canaveral, launching site for the Apollo moon missions was in Brevard County and part of the Diocese of Orlando, then in addition to being bishop of 13 counties he was also bishop of the moon! (8/5)

Ceres' Interior Revealed by Gravity Data (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft does not have the necessary equipment capable of studying Ceres’ interior, but remote measurements of subtle changes in the impact of the dwarf planet’s gravity on the spacecraft have revealed its internal structure. Mission scientists measure the effect of Ceres’ gravity on Dawn by sending radio signals to the spacecraft, which then returns those signals to Earth.

The signals are received via a global network of large antennas known as the Deep Space Network (DSN), used by NASA to communicate with spacecraft exploring the Solar System. They allow scientists to obtain extremely precise measurements of Dawn‘s speed, up to a minute 0.004 inches (0.1 millimeters) per second. (8/5)

Chinese Long March 3B Launches Tiantong-1 Satellite (Source:
China launched a communications satellite on Friday that supposedly will be used for mobile communications. The launch of the first Tiantong-1 satellite took place on a Long March-3B/G2 (Chang Zheng-3B/G2) from the LC3 Launch Complex at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. (8/5)

NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative Opens Space to Educators, Nonprofits (Source: NASA)
Accredited education institutions, nonprofit organizations and NASA centers can join the adventure and challenges of space while helping the agency achieve its exploration goals through the next round of the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI). Applicants must submit proposals by 4:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 22. Click here. (8/4)

Space Flight Causes Drop in T-Cell Production in Astronauts (Source: ACSH)
Being an astronaut is not easy. Not only must you be in top physical and mental shape, but your body undergoes a constant assault from the effects of microgravity. According to Scientific American, prolonged space flight results in muscle atrophy, cardiovascular problems, neurological and perceptual difficulties, and circadian rhythm disruption. To this long list of ailments, researchers have added another: A drop in T-cell production.

T-cells, which can be thought of as the “intelligence officers” of the immune system, are produced in bone marrow. Next, they head to the thymus, where they undergo a process called thymopoiesis, part of which involves receiving a rigorous education. Each T-cell is equipped with a unique T-cell receptor (TCR) that is crucial for the immune system’s ability to recognize pathogens. (8/5)

Aldrin on Life After The Moon Landing, Settlements on Mars, and Long-Term Sobriety (Source: The Fix)
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, celebrating 37 years of sobriety, reflects on his challenges after coming back from the Moon and what difficulties we face in the future of space travel. Click here. (8/5)

FAA's Moon-Landing OK May Offer Chance for SpaceX Mission (Source: Orlando Business Journal)
A private commercial space company made one small step for space entrepreneurs, which could result in a giant leap for SpaceX. Cape Canaveral-based Moon Express Inc. on Aug. 3 got the OK from the Federal Aviation Administration to launch and land a spacecraft on the moon— the first time a private entity received landing mission approval.

That opens the door for other promising space businesses to follow in Moon Express's path, such as SpaceX's plan to land its Dragon capsule on Mars in 2018. And it benefits Central Florida, as the launch activity will take place at Cape Canaveral. "I think this [Moon Express approval] is going to be the first of many that will help this industry grow," said Dale Ketcham, chief of strategic alliances for Space Florida. "We're putting in place a regulatory regime for the marketplace to move forward." (8/5)

Russia Building Hypersonic Aircraft Capable of Dropping Nuclear Bomb on US from Space (Source: Observer)
Just one day after NATO’s Warsaw Summit came to a close, Russia announced to the world she was aggressively building a hypersonic aerospace bomber to make nuclear strikes from outer space possible. The engine’s projected speed will allow the bomber to reach any point on Earth in under two hours. A functional model of the bomber’s engine will be developed by 2020, Colonel Alexei Solodovnikov said. (8/5)

This is Why You Need Permission to Go to the Moon (Source: Space Frontier)
In 1967 the U.S. signed the U.N. Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (aka the Outer Space Treaty).

That means the U.S. government is responsible for all activities that originate from inside the United States. When an American entity launches something into space, the government is on the hook for damages and, as such, the government is supposed to provide “continuing supervision.” This is not just a theoretical idea – in the 1970s, when the U.S. Skylab station crashed into Australia, the Australian government fined the U.S. government for littering.

When SpaceX, ULA or another company decides to launch a spacecraft, they either get a launch license or a payload review in support of a launch. In reviewing the plan for a company like Moon Express, the government had to determine whether granting the license would risk violating the Outer Space Treaty. (8/5)

Forecast: Small Satellite Market by Type, Application, End-User, and Geography (Source: Report Linker)
The small satellite market is expected to grow from USD 2.22 billion in 2016 to USD 5.32 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 19.14% from 2016 to 2021. The market for small satellite is driven by factors, such as the increasing focus on reducing mission costs as well as increasing demand for earth observation-related applications of small satellite. Various growth opportunities for the small satellite market include the proposed development of satellite networks to provide internet access to areas without broadband connectivity.

The microsatellite segment is projected to be the fastest-growing segment in the small satellite market. These satellite are useful for high precision and complex space missions, such as remote-sensing and navigation, maritime and transport management, space and earth observation, disasters management, military intelligence, telecommunication, and among other academic purpose. Click here. (8/5)

Surrey Satellite Expands LEO Product Capability with Nanosatellite Offering (Source: SpaceRef)
Surrey Satellite Technology (Surrey) announces the expansion of its low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite platform product capability with an extended nanosatellite offering. This follows the recent announcement by Surrey of its contract award for the VESTA nanosatellite mission.

Surrey’s expanded LEO product capability now includes additional configurations suited for missions ranging in mass from 10 to 75 kilograms, with pricing starting at $500,000. With scalable architecture and a modular avionics solution, these entry-level platform configurations offer power, mass, and payload capability exceeding those of other offerings in its class. (8/3)

Aerojet Rocketdyne Chosen to Supply Dream Chaser’s Power (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Aerojet Rocketdyne has been selected to supply the electrical power distribution system for Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft. The company will be responsible for designing, developing, manufacturing, and testing the system, followed by integration into the reusable spacecraft’s power network.

The system from Aerojet Rocketdyne must be capable of efficiently, and reliably, distribute power from the Dream Chaser’s solar arrays to the spacecraft’s various systems, such as avionics and propulsion. Additionally, power must be supplied to any onboard payloads. (8/4)

ULA, SpaceX Expected to Face-Off for Next GPS 3 Contract (Source: Space News)
The Air Force formally released a solicitation Aug. 3 for SpaceX or United Launch Alliance to launch the third GPS 3 position, navigation and timing satellite, setting up what is expected to be the first true competition between the two companies for a national security launch contract. In April, SpaceX won an $82.7 million Air Force contract to launch the second GPS 3 satellite aboard its Falcon 9 rocket in May 2018. That contract marked the first of nine launch contracts the Defense Department plans to put out for bid over the next three years. (8/3)

What's It Like to Work at SpaceX? (Source:
SpaceX is pioneering the field of reusable rockets and pursuing dreams of sending humans to Mars. Understandably, lots of people want to work there. But how does someone get a job at SpaceX, and what's it like to work there? Brian Bjelde, vice president of human resources for the company, shed a little light on those questions on Aug. 2 during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). The questions varied, but Bjelde mostly responded to queries about how to get an interview for a job or an internship, what kind of experience the company values in its potential hires and those rumors about all SpaceX employees having superlong workdays.

One (very direct) user hit Bjelde with a question about the company's reputation (true or not) for making employees work "50+ hours/week," as well as setting "aggressive" or even "unrealistic" goals. "As VP of HR, how have/are you working on fixing this reputation?" the user asked Bjelde. "We recruit people who are incredibly driven by our mission, but it's a myth that most of our employees are working 100 or even 80 hour weeks on a regular basis," Bjelde responded. (So technically, that still leaves the 50- to 80-hour window unaddressed.) (8/3)

Inmarsat, Citing SpaceX Delays, to Miss European Deadline for Aeronautical Broadband (Source: Space News)
Mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat is all but certain to miss a European regulatory deadline for its satellite-terrestrial aeronautical broadband service, raising the possibility that one or more governments could revoke Inmarsat’s rights to the radio spectrum, industry officials said. Inmarsat said the Europasat/HellasSat-3 satellite, co-owned by Inmarsat and fleet operator Arabsat of Saudi Arabia and built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, has met its construction milestones but is facing delays at SpaceX.

It remains unclear when the satellite will be launched, but it will be well after the Dec. 1 deadline imposed by its license and may not occur before mid-2017. “We have been talking to SpaceX about different options,” Inmarsat spokesman Christopher McLaughlin said. “It’s never easy to fix a launch date far in advance but as of now it appears that we can get a Falcon Heavy launch in the first quarter of 2017, or a Falcon 9 launch in the second quarter.” (8/3)

The US Wants Space Business to Stay Laissez-Faire (Source: WIRED)
At this point in history, humanity is probably about halfway between the past moment when visiting the Moon became an achievable dream, and the future moment when that same trip will become a total hassle. As such, even a bit of bureaucratic paper is enough to make news. Today, space company Moon Express announced it has received permission from the FAA to launch the first commercial cargo bound for the moon.

But what’s really remarkable is that this Moon clearance was, bureaucratically, not much different from the clearance required to send any other commercial payload into space. This could set the precedent for how the US will regulate business on celestial objects beyond Earth’s orbit. Click here. (8/3)

Raytheon to Develop Missile Defense Interceptors (Source: Space News)
Raytheon has won a $523 million order for missile defense interceptors. The deal, awarded by the Missile Defense Agency on Tuesday, is an option on an existing $2.3 billion contract Raytheon won in 2015. The new order covers 47 Standard Missile 3 Block-1B interceptors used by the U.S. Navy for short to intermediate range missile threats. (8/3)

NASA Discusses Earth Science Cooperation with China (Source: South China Morning Post)
NASA and Chinese officials met in China last month regarding cooperation on a Chinese Earth science satellite. The NASA group, including Michael Freilich, director of the agency's Earth sciences division, met for hours with Chinese counterparts to discuss potential data sharing and other cooperation regarding TanSat, a Chinese satellite to monitor greenhouse gas emissions scheduled for launch later this year. NASA didn't comment on the meeting, sensitive in part because of U.S. restrictions on bilateral cooperation with China. (8/3)

Trump: “Look at Your Space Program… We’re Like a Third World Nation” (Source: Ars Technica)
During a brief, unofficial Reddit AMA one week ago, the Republican nominee for president of the United States, Donald Trump, had kind words for NASA and US space policy. “Honestly I think NASA is wonderful! America has always led the world in space exploration,” Trump responded to a question on NASA's role in his administration. Evidently Trump no longer feels that way. In Daytona Beach, about 75 miles up the coast from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, he offered some extemporaneous remarks about America's progress in space.

"By the way, look at your space program, look at what's going on there," he said. "Somebody just asked me backstage, 'Mr. Trump, will you get involved in the space program?' Look what's happened with your employment. Look what's happened with our whole history of space and leadership. Look what's going on folks. We're like a third world nation."

Somehow during the last week, when NASA demonstrated progress with its SLS rocket, a US company received a license to make the first-ever private launch to the Moon, SpaceX successfully tested a rocket that landed on a boat, and NASA's Juno spacecraft reached the halfway point of its first orbit around Jupiter, America's space enterprise has gone from always leading the world to being worthy of a developing country. (8/3)

Trump Disses America’s Space Program; What Would Hillary Clinton Do? (Source: GeekWire)
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's rare reference to space policy was sandwiched within nearly an hour’s worth of campaign rhetoric during a Daytona Beach event, and the comments catered to a Florida crowd. Employment on the Space Coast was hit hard by the space shuttle fleet’s retirement in 2011. Thousands of jobs were lost.

Now Florida’s aerospace jobs are starting to come back. Nevertheless, complaints about jobs resonate with Floridians who suffered through the post-shuttle blues and the Obama administration’s cancellation of the Constellation back-to-the-moon program. So what about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton? The Democratic platform says “we will strengthen support for NASA and work in partnership with the international scientific community to launch new missions to space.”

Some of the outlines of a Clinton space policy might well be found in the views of former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, who served as Clinton’s space policy adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign and then headed Barack Obama’s NASA transition team. At last year’s GeekWire Summit, Garver said commercialization was the best way to accelerate the pace of the space effort. But she also said commercial and scientific factors weren’t enough by themselves to push humanity’s space frontier outward. Click here. (8/3)

Mixed Reviews on EU Plan to Use Commercial Space Assets for Military (Source: Defense News)
They are EU-funded space projects supposedly designed for observing the earth and environmental monitoring. But, according to a top scientist, Europe’s commercial and civilian space assets will increasingly be utilized for military. Professor Anne Glover, the EU’s former chief scientific adviser, believes that European flagship space systems, such as the Galileo navigation and Copernicus Earth observation programs, are vital intelligence resources that will be used in planning and carrying out military missions.

Glover’s comments come after reports emerged that the European Commission's first-ever space policy, currently in draft form but to be finalized this fall, proposes more civil-military synergies in European space systems. A six-page draft of the new policy says that while the Galileo and Copernicus programs are essentially civil/commercial in nature, both have the potential for military use. Click here. (8/3)

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