October 17, 2016

Donald Trump to Tour KSC Next Week (Source: Florida Today)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump plans to tour Kennedy Space Center next Monday, Oct. 24. The schedule, whose details are still being worked out, anticipates Trump flying into KSC's former space shuttle runway, touring the spaceport and talking with industry representatives in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast and Space Florida, the EDC confirmed.

“Since 2008, the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast has led the way to educate presidential candidates regarding the need to support critical aerospace programs to keep the United States competitive and viable,” said Lynda Weatherman, organization's president and CEO. “We are pleased Mr. Trump has accepted our invitation to participate in this industry roundtable and are hopeful the Clinton campaign will follow suit.”

The visit would be Trump's second to the Space Coast in a month, following a Sept. 27 rally that drew 8,500 people to the AeroMod International aircraft hangar at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. That event included no mention of the space program or Trump's space policy positions. In limited remarks to date, Trump has called NASA "wonderful" and referred to the space program as one worthy of "a Third World nation." (10/17)

Business Opportunities Expo Planned for Spaceport on Oct. 25 (Source: KSC)
The NASA Kennedy Space Center Business Opportunities Expo 2016 is sponsored by the NASA KSC Prime Contractor Board, 45th Space Wing, and Canaveral Port Authority, and features approximately 150 business and government exhibitors. Click here. (10/17)

China Launches Crewed Mission With Monthlong Visit to Orbiting Lab (Source: Space News)
China successfully launched its first human spaceflight mission in more than three years Sunday night. A Long March 2F rocket lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 7:30 p.m. Eastern and placed the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft into orbit. On board Shenzhou-11 are Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, named as the crew less than 24 hours before the launch. They will dock with the Tiangong-2 module for a 30-day mission, part of a long-term Chinese effort to develop its own space station. (10/16)

European Lander Separates From Orbiter, Ready for Mars Descent (Source: BBC)
A European lander separated from its Mars-bound orbiter spacecraft Sunday. The Schiaparelli lander separated as planned at 10:42 a.m. Eastern from the Trace Gas Orbiter spacecraft, although it took longer than expected to regain telemetry from the orbiter after separation. The orbiter completed a maneuver late Sunday to prepare for going into orbit around the planet Wednesday. Schiaparelli, a technology demonstration mission intended to support a 2020 rover mission, will attempt a landing on Wednesday. The two spacecraft together represent the ExoMars 2016 mission. (10/16)

Helium Issue Temporarily Keeps Juno in Raised Orbit Over Jupiter (Source: NASA JPL)
NASA is postponing a orbital maneuver by its Juno spacecraft at Jupiter. Juno was scheduled to fire its engine Oct. 19 during a close flyby of Jupiter to lower itself into a 14-day orbit that will be used for the spacecraft's prime science mission. Two helium valves did not open as quickly as expected during preparations for the burn Thursday, leading project managers to postpone the maneuver until no earlier than the next close flyby in December. Juno, which arrived at Jupiter in July, is currently in a 53-day orbit. That longer orbit does not affect the science Juno can perform, but limits the amount of data it can collect in a given period of time. (10/14)

Light Modulation From 234 Stars Suggests Alien Civilizations (Source: New Scientist)
A claim by astronomers that they have discovered alien signals from 234 stars is being treated skeptically by their colleagues. In a paper submitted last week, astronomers at Laval University in Quebec analyzing data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey said they found modulation in the light coming from 234 stars, which they argue are pulses being sent by alien civilizations around those stars. Other astronomers believe the "pulses" may simply be data analysis errors, and criticized them for jumping to conclusions without considering other causes for the pulses. (10/14)

Musk Says Sabotage Unlikely Cause of Explosion, But Still a Worry (Source: Space News)
Statements attributed to SpaceX founder Elon Musk suggest he remains concerned that Falcon 9 rocket operations are vulnerable to attack by “a long list” of SpaceX adversaries even if it’s unlikely that such an event was behind the Sep. 1 explosion during preparations of a static fire test.

In comments leaked just hours after a Musk presentation Oct. 13 to the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Musk also said “a leading theory” for the Sep. 1 failure is the formation of solid oxygen on the carbon composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) — the helium reservoir that is immersed in the liquid oxygen tank on the Falcon 9’s second stage. (10/17)

Why Elon Musk's Mars Vision Needs 'Some Real Imagination' (Source: Bloomberg)
When Elon Musk introduced earthlings last month to his vision for cities on Mars, his 90-minute remarks fired up imaginations everywhere—except on Mars. For now. Kim Stanley Robinson has done as much as anyone to bring the idea of colonizing Mars into the mainstream. The writer entwined knowledge, reasoning, and imagination into his landmark Mars trilogy—Red Mars (1992), Green Mars (1993), and Blue Mars (1996).

And to Robinson, Musk's Martian future looks a lot like other people's familiar past.
"Musk’s plan," he said, "is sort of the 1920s science-fiction cliché of the boy who builds a rocket to the moon in his back yard." Click here. (10/17)

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