August 7, 2016

Anderson: Spaceport is Taking Lead in Space Industry (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
Spaceport America is alive and well. It saddens me to read uninformed articles to the contrary. Unlike an airport or an airport-turned-spaceport, our strategic value proposition to the commercial space industry is our proximity to and close working relationship with U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range and 6,000 square miles of protected airspace.

Our remote and secure location provides aerospace companies a certain level of privacy much needed to protect their proprietary technologies. These attributes, paired with our extensive space launch experience, make Spaceport America a major player within the evolving commercial space industry. (8/6)

Branson’s Battle to Revive Space Odyssey (Source: The Times)
Mike Moses calls it the “Oh shit door”. Walk through the entrance to Virgin Galactic’s hangar in the Mojave desert in southern California and it is clear why. Parked in the heart of the bustling, cavernous facility is a shiny spaceship. VSS Unity, a rocket with wings, is certainly an expletive- inspiring machine. Yet on a searing desert morning last month, the craft had its windows covered in protective paper and wires running to a battery of machines pored over by furrow-browed technicians, like a patient on an operating table. Click here. (8/7)

NASA's Secret Art Studio: How to Make Rocket Science Beautiful (Source: Guardian)
If you’ve marveled at space news recently, there’s a good chance it’s thanks to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This arm of NASA is responsible for the most ambitious of missions, like sending robots to Mars and, most recently, the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter. But the JPL has another under-the-radar mission: uniting two uncommon bedfellows – design and science – in new and meaningful ways.

You’ve probably never heard of the Studio at JPL, a group of rocket-science misfits who roam the facilities, offering their not-so-traditional design skills to engineers. You’ve definitely never seen their digs, a trailer on the outskirts of campus that looks like a science fair exploded on the inside. But you may have already seen their work.

The studio comprises eight jacks-of-all-trades who have experience in sci-fi movie effects, anthropology, advertising, architecture and illustration, among others. They work like freelance contractors, usually juggling at least five projects apiece. Click here. (8/7)

Rocket Enthusiasts Find Great Heights (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The Rocketry of Orlando's Community Kids club, called "Rock" for short, launches model rockets the first Saturday of every month at an entrance to the Little Econ State Forest in Oviedo. The monthly launches can attract as many as 25-35 families with upward of 100 rocket launches in a morning, said Brian Coyle, the club's president. (8/7)

Politics Must Be Excluded From Space Exploration (Source: South China Morning Post)
A US ban on cooperation with China is a view not shared by the heads of the Chinese and American space administrations, the scientific community or even the White House. Space is so expensive to explore that it makes sense for agencies to collaborate and pool resources. China and the US, as the leaders in the field, should therefore be working together on endeavours and missions. But although scientists from both sides are eager to cooperate, American lawmakers are so distrustful of Beijing that they have refused to ease a ban involving NASA. (8/7)

Boeing Starts Assembly of 1st Flightworthy Starliner at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Universe Today)
The next generation of America’s human spaceships is rapidly taking shape at the Kennedy Space Center as Boeing and NASA showcased the start of assembly of the first flightworthy version of the aerospace giants Starliner crew taxi vehicle – that will ferry NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) by early 2018.

Boeing is rapidly making tangible progress towards once again flying Americans astronauts to space from American soil as was quite visibly demonstrated when the firm showed off their spanking new Starliner ‘clean-floor factory’ to the media last week and it’s already humming with activity by simultaneously building two full scale Starliner crew vehicles.

Starliner is being manufactured in what is officially known as Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility (C3PF) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida under contract with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP). Formerly known as Orbiter Processing Facility-3, or OPF-3, the facility was previously used as a servicing hanger to prepare NASA’s space shuttle orbiters for flight. (8/7)

Former Advisory Council Member Discusses the Questionable Future of NASA’s Budget (Source WHNT)
We are definitely in the midst of a presidential election, and there is a long way to go until people go to the ballot box. One of the things that is of vital interest around here, and also important for the nation is what happens to NASA when the new president is elected?  Who ever that president might be. This week former NASA Advisory Council member Mark McDaniel stopped by WHNT to give his perspective on concerns about NASA’s future.

"Back in the day during the Apollo program, during those days 5.7% of the nation’s budget was spent on NASA. We had a mission, we had a goal, we had a dream. This is a nation of pioneers. Now it’s less than a half percent.  NASA is currently the lowest funded agency in within the government. However, thank goodness we have Senators Shelby and Jeff Sessions, Congressmen Aderholt and Mo Brooks...If we keep telling members of Congress that if they keep just treading water, they’re going nowhere.  This administration will go down." (8/7)

China Prepares for New Round of Crewed Space Missions (Source: Xinhua)
The rockets expected to carry China's second orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 and the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft into space have been delivered to Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. A statement issued by the Manned Space Engineering Office on Saturday said that the center is where the assembly and tests of the rockets, which belong to the Long March-2F rocket series, will be carried out. The rockets were sent from Beijing Wednesday by rail. (8/6)

NASA’s New High Dynamic Camera Records Rocket Blast (Source: Inverse)
On Friday, NASA released the first footage from its game-changing new toy, the High Dynamic Range Stereo-X (HiDyRS-X) camera. The footage — of Orbital ATK’s QM-2 solid rocket booster test — promises to offer great insight and direction for the future of NASA’s engineering program since it allows NASA scientists to observe minute details that have been heretofore unobservable. Click here. (8/6)

Space Psychology 101: How NASA Keeps Its Astronauts Sane (Source: Inverse)
Outer space is terrifying — not just on the body, but also on the mind. Extreme environments and situations can stretch people’s minds to the brink of sanity, and outer space is no exception. Sure, astronauts are protected inside their multimillion dollar spacecraft, but those confined little metallic boxes can make one feel isolated and trapped. And we’re also making strides to put humans on other planets.

All that time in the deep dark void — probably not good for the noggin, right? Thankfully, NASA’s on it. Welcome to the world alternately called aerospace psychiatry and psychology — a field of medicine where one provides mental health support to aviation professionals. Click here. (8/6)

Why We Shouldn’t Go to Mars: We Might Decimate the Martians (Source: WIRED)
The notion of colonizing the Red Planet has become respectable. There’s just one problem: It’s looking more and more likely that Mars might already be inhabited—by Martians. Very tiny ones. Which concerns Cassie Conley. As NASA’s increasingly large and sophisticated fleet of robot explorers has spread through space over the past decade and sent thrilling findings home, Conley has logged 14-hour days making sure those robots don’t infect any heavenly bodies with germs from Earth. The more likely a destination is to support life, the more stringent she is. (8/6)

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