September 27. 2016

Concrete Poured for Blue Origin’s Orbital Rocket Factory in Florida (Source: GeekWire)
Bezos called attention to the groundbreaking milestone for the 750,000-square-foot rocket factory in June. Today, Space Florida, the state development agency that’s leasing the property and Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 36 to Blue Origin, tweeted that concrete is being poured for the campus’ first building.

The $200 million manufacturing and launch facility at Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park is expected to open by early 2018 and employ about 300 people. That’s in addition to the folks who work at Blue Origin’s headquarters and production facility in Kent, Wash., and at its suborbital launch complex in West Texas. The company says it has about 700 employees today. (9/26)

KSC Debuts New Mars Attraction (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has unveiled a new limited-time attraction last week called Destination: Mars. The attraction will give visitors the opportunity to "visit" several sites on Mars using real imagery from NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover. The attraction will feature a mixed reality headset, combining virtual elements with the user's actual environment.

Visitors will "follow" Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Curiosity rover driver Erisa Hines as they lead guests to areas of Mars where scientists have made discoveries. (9/26)

Rocket Lab Completes Construction at New Zealand Spaceport (Source:
Rocket Lab has completed construction of its New Zealand launch site. The company announced Monday the completion of the site, on Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand's North Island. Rocket Lab will use the site for its Electron small launch vehicle, the first launch of which is still planned before the end of this year. (9/26)

Blue Origin Tests Rocket in Wind Tunnel (Source: GeekWire)
Blue Origin's New Glenn launch vehicle has passed a series of wind tunnel tests. Company founder Jeff Bezos tweeted images of a model of the vehicle in a wind tunnel, verifying the vehicle's aerodynamics in transonic and supersonic regimes. Bezos announced New Glenn, the company's first orbital launch vehicle, earlier this month, but disclosed few details about it other than its size and engine configuration. (9/26)

India Wants to Build Satellites (Source: Deccan Chronicle)
India, which has carved out a niche launching foreign satellites, also wants to build those satellites. A.S. Kiran Kumar, president of the Indian space agency ISRO, said that ISRO was considering building satellites for customers outside India, assuming it has excess capacity beyond the requirements for domestic satellites. Kumar made those comments after Monday's launch of a PSLV that carried several foreign satellites. (9/26)

Mercury Shows Tectonic Evidence (Source: Seeker)
Mercury, long thought to be a dead planet, may be tectonically active. Analysis of images provided by NASA's Messenger spacecraft showed evidence of fault scarps that formed only relatively recently. Those faults are likely caused by the continued contraction of the planet as its interior cools, according to planetary scientists. It makes Mercury and Earth the only planets with current tectonic activity. (9/26)

Hawking: Space Travel is Essential for Human Survival (Source: Guardian)
Stephen Hawking says space travel is essential for the survival of humanity. In a excerpt from a new book about private spaceflight, Hawking said that life on Earth is in "ever-increasing" danger of natural or human-made disasters. "I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go to space," he wrote. Hawking, offered a free ticket on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, said that "if I am lucky, I will be among the early passengers." (9/26)

Sierra Nevada and United Nations Announce Dedicated U.N. Dream Chaser Mission (Source: SNC)
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and have announced details of the first-ever United Nations space mission. The dedicated Dream Chaser Mission is targeted at providing developing countries the opportunity to develop and fly microgravity payloads for an extended duration in orbit; however, all United Nations Member States will be able to propose payloads for the mission. (9/27)

No comments: