October 22, 2016

NASA Establishes the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (Source: NASA)
NASA announces the addition of its newest virtual institute to advance the field of small spacecraft systems. The Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI), hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center, will leverage the growing small spacecraft community, promote innovation, identify emerging technology opportunities, and provide an efficient channel for communication about small spacecraft systems with industry, academia, and other government agencies. (10/21)

Donald Trump May Tour KSC on Tuesday, If At All (Source: Florida Today)
Kennedy Space Center is now preparing for a potential Tuesday, Oct. 25, visit by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, but the campaign is still working out its schedule. Trump's tour of KSC, which had previously been targeted for Monday, would be followed by a roundtable discussion with local aerospace industry representatives and possibly a rally.

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. (10/21)

Concern Over Potential Use of Russian Satellites for Troops’ Internet Service (Source: Washington Post)
In a letter to the Pentagon Friday, U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter said he was concerned a contract to provide Internet service to deployed soldiers could allow the use of Russian satellites, jeopardizing troops’ privacy and security.

Previous service at bases’ Internet cafes had “stringent security measures,” Hunter wrote to Army Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn, the head of the Defense Information Systems Agency. But he said he was worried the “contracting arrangement creates unnecessary security risks, given that our deployed warfighters could be exposed to transmitting their personal information over unprotected networks that are controlled by foreign and potentially hostile entities.” (10/21)

FAA to Conduct GPS Testing Over 2 States (Source: Disciples of Flight)
According to a set of flight advisories posted this week, the Federal Aviation Administration is conducting GPS interference testing at facilities in Alaska and Nevada. The FAA has requested that pilots report unreliable or unavailable GPS signals only if they need assistance from air traffic control. (10/19)

Astronomers Unveil Incredibly Detailed New Milky Way Map (Source: CNN)
Scientists have used two of the world's largest telescopes to produce a new, super-detailed map of our galaxy. Astronomers in Germany and Australia charted hydrogen -- the most abundant element in space and the main component of stars and galaxies -- to give an unprecedented view of the Milky Way. The map shows the concentration of stars and dwarf galaxies across the skies. Click here. (10/19)

HERA Campaign 3 Ends with Return of Mission XII Crew (Source: NASA)
The HERA Mission XII crew successfully “splashed-down” on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. This 30-day, on-Earth, simulation paves the way for future human research in the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA). A spaceflight analog is a situation on Earth that mimics physical and mental effects on the body experienced in space. HERA is one of several research analogs used by the Human Research Program (HRP) to prepare NASA astronauts for deep space missions, such as missions to an asteroid or Mars.

The returning HERA crew members are Ulyana Horodyskyj, Mark Kerr, Jonna Ocampo and Todd Huhn. This highly skilled crew includes an Air Force flight surgeon, a Fulbright scholar, a US Army Corps of Engineers project engineer, and a Team USA powerlifting competitor.

HRP required that the crew conduct the same experiments as the three previous HERA missions this year. This enables researchers to identify patterns and variances in the research data. Experiments included testing hardware prototypes, creating equipment with a 3-D printer, testing out a new concept for space food, flying a simulated exploration vehicle, and the virtual EVA on an asteroid. (10/20)

DOD Uncertain that Smallsats can Handle Big Missions (Source: Via Satellite)
The U.S. government is still waiting to close the business case on widespread use of small satellites and hosted payloads, U.S. Air Force (USAF) Assistant Deputy Under-Secretary David Hardy said. The USAF has requested a $5.5 billion budget for space investment in 2017, and while Hardy noted the enormous progress industry has made in the smallsat space within the last 10 years — particularly when it comes to reducing the cost of entry into space — very little of the proposed budget will go toward this technology until the Department of Defense (DOD) can be convinced they can fulfill the missions necessary for U.S. defense.

"When it comes to small satellites, the answer [for what their progress means for DOD] is still uncertain,” said Hardy. “Yes, it is true there have been tremendous capabilities in being able to make the satellite bus smaller and make the sensors smaller, however, this has been accompanied with the increase in requirements we need from our space. (10/21)

Obama Hosts Twin Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly (Source: Virginian-Pilot)
President Obama hosted twin brothers and former astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly at the White House on Friday, lauding both men for their contributions to U.S. space travel. Click here. (10/21)

Pool Global Resources for Space Exploration (Source: South China Morning Post)
It says something about humankind’s appetite for new frontiers and curiosity about what lies beyond that China’s latest leap forward in manned space conquest continues to excite such swelling pride at home and interest abroad among the scientific community and people in the street alike.

Apart from Chinese characteristics, there is not much that is groundbreaking about it. But the historic significance of China’s longest space mission, begun with the launch of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft carrying two astronauts who have docked with an orbiting space laboratory for a 30-day stay, will be enduring.

China is fast drawing level in orbiting technology and research and even raising the bar in some respects, with plans for a full space station by 2022, ahead of deeper manned space probes. Space exploration is developing a critical mass of main space-faring nations – the United States, Russia and China – followed by India, Europe and Japan among others. (10/22)

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