September 30, 2016

ForeFlight and SiriusXM Introduce Satellite Aviation Weather Service (Source: GA News)
ForeFlight and SiriusXM have introduced SiriusXM Aviation weather service on the newest version of ForeFlight Mobile. ForeFlight’s latest release (version 8.1) is now available on the iTunes App Store.
Pilots using the ForeFlight app with the SXAR1 portable receiver can now access SiriusXM’s aviation weather service, which will provide them with access to satellite delivered graphical weather and aviation information, including NEXRAD storm cell attributes, lightning strike locations, high-resolution composite radar, plus high-resolution base reflectivity radar, and more. (9/28)

Air Force Releases Final STP-3 Launch Services RFP (Source: USAF)
The Air Force released a Request for Proposal for an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Launch Service supporting the Space Test Program (STP) 3 mission scheduled to launch in June 2019.  The draft RFP was released on Aug. 19 to obtain industry feedback to inform the final RFP.  After extensive industry engagements, the final RFP was released on Sep. 29 with proposals due back to the Air Force no later than Dec. 2.
The Air Force will award a firm-fixed price contract that will provide the government with a total launch solution including launch vehicle production, mission integration and launch operations for the STP-3 mission.  The Air Force’s acquisition strategy for this solicitation achieves a balance between mission success/operational needs, and lowering launch costs, through reintroducing competition for National Security Space missions.
This will be a standalone contract for the STP-3 launch service.  The STP-3 mission consists of a primary space vehicle (STPSat-6) and a propulsive EELV Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) holding up to 6 payloads that will be identified no later than 12-months prior to launch. (9/29)

Firefly Announces "Setback on Funding" (Source: Firefly Space Systems)
"Firefly Space Systems in recent weeks experienced a setback on funding, which caused us to take necessary action to maintain cash-flow equilibrium and position our company for future success. We are reviewing options with our financial partners and will be communicating updates to our employees in as close to real time as possible. We will update the media as soon as a resolution is reached." (9/29)

Flashback September 2014: Firefly Gets $1.22M Incentive for Relocation to Texas (Source: Economic Dev. Blog)
Firefly Space Systems is getting up to $1.225 million in incentives and grants from the Cedar Park Economic Development Corp. The company relocated its headquarters from California to Texas and plans to create 200 jobs in an Austin suburb by 2019. These are jobs with an average annual wage of at least $60,000, adding up to an annual payroll of $12 million. The company also plans to invest $7.5 million in the expansion during a 10-year period. (9/29/2014)
Flashback July 2015: Firefly Joins Texas Capital Accelerator (Source: Austin Inno)
Firefly plans to go beyond the stratosphere by late next year or 2017 with a series of suborbital test flights. And that would put them on track to launch rockets into low orbit by 2018, said Firefly CFO Michael Blum. Those launches will likely happen at an established launch site, such as the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

Now Firefly is starting a new relationship with local venture capital powerhouse Capital Factory as part of its accelerator program, which provides startups with networking, mentorship and access to investors. Capital Factory Founder Joshua Baer said a rocket-launching company is well outside of the startups they typically work with. The program provides Firefly with $50,000 in financing. But that’s small fry for a company that needs $85 million to develop its alpha rockets and break even. (7/20/2015)

Space Florida Launches New Space Tourism Campaign (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space Florida wants to make "Vacationauts" out of everyone who visits the Sunshine State. The company created to make Florida a global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce has launched a marketing campaign targeting a new kind of tourism: space tourism.

We Are Go Florida is the company’s multi-media advertising campaign encourages visitor to "come for the sun, stay for the space," to borrow one of the campaigns own tag lines. "We're confident the We Are Go Vacationauts campaign will captivate space enthusiasts and vacation planners alike," said Frank DiBello. (9/29)

Russia's S7 Plans Spaceport in Orbit (Source: Tass)
Russia’s S7 group that acquired the Sea Launch floating spaceport is viewing an option of setting up a private spaceport on the orbit, a source close to the new management of the project said. "An idea is considered to set up an orbital spaceport provisionally titled 'Space Launch', in a similar way to the Sea Launch and the Land Launch. Examination of the idea is at the initial stage," the source said. (9/29)

Mars-Like Ice Rediscovered in Hawaii Volcano, But Might Not Last (Source: New Scientist)
I’m not sure what takes my breath away first: the low oxygen, or the rugged, alien landscape that spreads out majestically below my feet. We are standing on the 4200-metre-high summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano that forms the highest point in Hawaii. It’s easy to see why astronomers are interested in this cold, remote place: the red-brown basalt rocks and dry, barren surface immediately conjure up images of Mars.

It was in the crater below, in 1969, that scientist Alfred Woodcock dug beneath the rocky exterior and discovered a hidden ice world. But when Norbert Schörghofer, an astronomer from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, stumbled across Woodcock’s papers and records decades later, he was baffled. How could ice persist in an area where the average temperature is 4 °C above freezing?

To help solve this puzzle, Schörghofer has enlisted the help of Matthias Leopold, a geophysicist and permafrost expert at the University of Western Australia in Perth. The goal of our expedition today is to use a technique called electrical resistivity tomography to find out whether the curious ice patch still exists. (9/29)

Congress Members Question Whether SpaceX Should Conduct its Own Investigation (Source: LA Times)
Ten Republican Congress members led by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) have sent a letter to the heads of the Air Force, NASA and the FAA questioning whether SpaceX should be allowed to lead its own investigation into a Sep. 1 launch pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and a communications satellite.

The letter, dated Thursday, also cited SpaceX’s prior explosion in June 2015 while carrying cargo for NASA to the International Space Station. The Hawthorne space company led its own investigation for that launch failure.

Under federal law, SpaceX is allowed to conduct its own investigation. SpaceX and other companies lobbied successfully to extend the law last year. The FAA oversees such investigations. The Congress members said the investigation responses raised “serious concerns about the authority provided to commercial providers and the protection of national space assets.” (9/29)

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