September 9, 2016

Mikulski Champions $632K for Virginia Spaceport STEM Center (Source: WMDT)
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) announced Thursday the long-awaited federal funding that will go to NASA Wallops Flight Facility. $632,000.00 is set to go to the Visitor Center STEM In Action Project. According to a release from Mikulski's office, the project is a collaboration between Wallops Visitor Center, Wallops Education Team, Virginia Space Flight Academy, and the Delmarva Space Sciences Foundation, and aims to have children learn about and understand space while also having fun. (9/8)

Why Space is Such a Big Deal in Colorado (Source: KUSA)
In the space world, Colorado's kind of a big deal. Why? “Currently, it’s our ability to attract a highly-qualified workforce,” Vicky Lea with the Colorado Space Coalition said. “So for our aerospace employers, a high quality, educated workforce is imperative.” You can partly thank Millennials. They are the lifeblood of eight major space contracting companies in the state.

“Colorado is unique that we're the only major aerospace state without a NASA center,” Lea said. “So perhaps that's why people don't attribute Colorado as an aerospace state." The industry has generated 162,000 space-related jobs. The average salary is $129,000 a year. The coalition says Colorado's fascination with space was born out of fear of the Russians. 

“Back in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War, the Glenn Martin company actually established operations in Waterton Canyon which was a very secure location to develop Titan missiles,” Lea said. The mountains, she says, were out of the USSR's reach.  A few years later, the Air Force Academy was established. Then came other military space installations and high tech companies. (9/8)

The United States, China, and Anti-Satellite Weapons (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists)
Many US observers believe anti-satellite (ASAT) attacks could be China’s trump card in a major military confrontation with the United States. But the reality may be exactly the opposite. The US could have more to gain, and China more to lose, from taking the fight to outer space. A US presidential decision to pursue this advantage would make the US, not China, the protagonist in a new space arms race that would undermine the security of both nations. Click here. (9/8)

OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Lifts Off From Florida's Space Coast (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft lifted off from Florida’s Space Coast as planned this evening, headed to the asteroid Bennu, where it will collect a sample years from now and return it to Earth. The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket took off and rose into a clear blue sky, trailing smoke behind it.

OSRIS-REx is now on a seven-year mission to recover dirt from the asteroid, which researchers say will reveal more about Earth’s origins. The spacecraft should reach Bennu in 2018, then research the asteroid while coordinating its path to allow for a five-second landing scheduled for July 4, 2020. (9/9)

Musk: Pad Explosion is "Most Difficult and Compex Failure" Ever for SpaceX (Source: Elon Musk)
In a series of tweets, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appealed to anyone with audio recordings of the event to share them via email with SpaceX. He said the investigation is "particularly trying to understand the quieter bang sound a few seconds before the fireboll goes off." He said there was no apparent heat source that would have caused an ignition. (9/9)

President Obama Nominates New USAF Space Command Chief (Source: Space News)
President Obama has nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. John "Jay" Raymond to be the next leader of Air Force Space Command. Raymond, currently the commander of the 14th Air Force responsible for various launch and space operations, had been a leading candidate to take the post. Raymond will succeed Gen. John Hyten, who is thought to be in the running to take over U.S. Strategic Command. (9/9)

Bruno: Could Take 9-12 Months for SpaceX Return to Flight (Source: Reuters)
It could take 9 to 12 months for SpaceX to resume launches, based on the history of past launch failures, another launch company CEO says. In an interview, ULA CEO Tory Bruno said that it's taken that long, on average, for vehicles to resume launches after failures, but did not specifically name SpaceX or offer specific insights into the Sept. 1 pad explosion. (9/9)

SpaceX Could Be Flying Again By March 2017 (Source: Inverse)
A report out Thursday afternoon has a damning headline for Elon Musk: “SpaceX could be grounded for 9-12 months: ULA chief.” But recent history shows that Musk’s aerospace company could be launching rockets less than six months after a September 1 explosion.

Tory Bruno, CEO of United Launch Alliance, told Reuters it could take as a year for SpaceX to fully recover after that recent launchpad explosion. But recent history shows it could be much shorter: After SpaceX suffered a “mishap” on June 28, 2015 — an “overpressure event was triggered by a hardware malfunction — it was grounded for five months, 24 days. On December 21, 2015, SpaceX successfully launched (and landed on Earth) its Falcon 9 rocket. (9/9)

Iridium Remains Confident in SpaceX (Source: Space News)
Iridium CFO Thomas J. Fitzpatrick said at an investor conference Thursday that while the pad accident was a setback, Iridium was still confident that SpaceX would successfully launch its next-generation constellation. "Our confidence in them is not shaken. We’re sure they are going to figure out what happened and get back in business," he said. The accident, though, makes it unlikely Iridium will be able to launch all of its satellite by the end of 2017 on seven Falcon 9 missions, as previously planned. (9/9)

SpaceShipTwo Begins Test Flights (Source: GeekWire)
Virgin Galactic's second SpaceShipTwo made its first flight Thursday. The suborbital spaceplane made a "captive carry" flight Thursday, remaining attached to its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft for a flight out of the Mojave Air and Space Port in California lasting more than three and a half hours. The flight came just a day after Virgin Galactic said it would soon begin tests of the vehicle, which was rolled out in February. The company said it would analyze "a mountain" of data collected during the test flight, and that more captive carry flights may be required before they move on to free flights of SpaceShipTwo. (9/9)

China to Launch Next Space Lab Module on Sep. 15 (Source: GB Times)
China is planning to launch its second space laboratory module next week. The launch of the Tiangong-2 spacecraft on a Long March 2F is scheduled for Sept. 15. It will be followed in October by the two-person Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, which will dock with Tiangong-2 for a 30-day mission. Tiangong-2 is a precursor to a planned Chinese space station expected to be built by the early 2020s. The launch is going forward despite an apparent failure of a Long March 4C rocket at the end of August carrying a remote sensing satellite, a failure the Chinese government has yet to formally acknowledge. (9/9)

White House Frontiers Conference Seeks Space People (Source: OSTP)
On Oct. 13, President Obama will travel to Pittsburgh where he will host the White House Frontiers Conference. This event will explore the future of innovation here and around the world. We are looking for nominations of scientists and innovators on the Frontiers of Innovation for a small number of seats and exhibit spaces. One of the categories is "Interplanetary Frontiers" where nominations are sought for "space exploration, including our journey to Mars." Click here. (9/9)

Vector Space Systems Awarded $2.5M in NASA and DARPA Contracts (Source: Vector Space)
Vector Space Systems, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch, announced that NASA has selected its Phase II proposal under the 2015 SBIR/STTR program to continue development of an advanced prototype of the upper stage for the Vector-R launch vehicle. 

The contract, proposed through Vector's acquired Garvey Spacecraft Corporation subsidiary, complements an earlier SBIR award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that addresses the use of the Vector-R first stage as a second stage for the XS-1 Experimental Spaceplane. In conjunction with the awarded contracts, totaling approximately $2.5M, Vector is investing in related infrastructure and range site preparations to enable high performance flight testing by the fourth quarter of 2017. (9/8)

ISRO Eyeing $330 Billion Market (Source: Deccan Chronicle)
IRO is planning to use the new GSLV-F05-cryogenic engine combo to attract the attention of the $330 billion satellite-launch market. “A vehicle with a higher capacity will attract international customers. The PSLV is commanding its own market and having another vehicle will enable us to give more options to customers,” said S. Rakesh, director of ISRO’s propulsion complex.

Director of the Liquid Propulsion Systems Center, S. Somanath, said ISRO was now “not scared” of the cryogenic stage anymore and added that the agency was now developing the C-25 engine, which would be two times more powerful than the current unit. ISRO officials said they were also planning to enhance the GSLV’s payload capacity — from 2,600 kg to 2,800 kilos. (9/9)

Problems Aerospace Still Has To Solve (Source: Aviation Week)
Aerospace research is a long-term business. Moving from laboratory to production can take 20 years—longer if the result is as significant as a new airframe configuration or propulsion architecture. So industry has already chosen its path to the mid-2020s and has few roads left to take to the mid-2030s. Beyond that, the route is less certain, but even now investment decisions are being taken that begin to map those roads. Click here. (9/9)

NASA Glenn to Open Zero-G Drop Tower During Open House (Source: SpaceRef)
As part of the Ohio History Connection’s Ohio Open Doors program, NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland is hosting three Historic District Tours featuring its National Historic Landmark, the Zero Gravity Research (Zero-G) Facility on Sept. 17. Members of the media are invited to attend the tour honoring the history and design of Glenn and the Zero-G Facility at 1 p.m.

Glenn’s Historic District Tours will highlight the center’s newly established Lewis Field Historic District, which is currently eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Zero-G Facility is a 506-foot drop tower used to create a microgravity environment for physical science investigations including the study of components, combustion and the behavior of liquids and gases. The facility provides 5.2 seconds of microgravity for scientific research. (9/9)

ISRO Must Brace for More Global Competition (Source: The Hindu)
ISRO, which successfully launched the GSLV-F05 on an indigenously built engine today, can bring to the market competitive launch pricing, cheaper payload access to GTO and save on launches for its INSAT series through Arianespace, if it gets its act together fast. The present GSLV programme which began in 2001, has had a chequered history.

It has had eight flights, five with the cryogenic engine supplied by Russia and three with the indigenous version developed by the Liquid Propulsion Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. The space scientists have faced several hiccups, a couple of failures and technology challenges. Some experts argue that India is at least a decade behind in the GSLV technology. (9/8)

Air Force: Stash These F-22s for Us? NASA: Yeah Sure We Got Room (Source: WIRED)
On September 2, as then-tropical storm Hermine traveled up the East Coast, Dale Bowser of NASA’s Langley Research Center received a strange request. The Air Force base next door had a favor to ask. Bowser is the NASA site’s hangar manager. Was there any room at his inn for a few F-22 Raptors, the Air Force asked him? No one wants F-22s, which cost many millions of dollars, to sustain storm damage. And NASA had built its hangar to withstand a Category 2 hurricane.

“Even though the hangar in Hampton already had a large visitor—a C-130 from the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore—the hangar was able to carefully sandwich in more than a dozen Air Force fighters and offer them the protection of our hurricane-rated facility,” says Katherine Barnstoff, NASA Langley’s media relations specialist. (9/8)

Rocket Lab Strikes Deal for Air Traffic Support During New Zealand Launches (Source: TVNZ)
Airways New Zealand has signed a contract with commercial rocket launch provider, Rocket Lab, to provide air traffic services for test and commercial rocket flights through the country's airspace. Airways chief operating officer Pauline Lamb said "a special use airspace will be created around the Electron rocket as it launches through New Zealand airspace. (9/9)

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