October 4, 2016

Was SpaceX’s Rocket Sabotaged? (Source: Fortune)
The ‘implication of sabotage’ narrative works in SpaceX’s favor. Even the suggestion that the explosion of one of its rockets might have been caused by an outsider with ill intent draws attention away from any failure on the company’s own part. And the perception that SpaceX may have somehow screwed up is already threatening its relationships with partners like satellite operator SpaceCom and Facebook.

It forces us to wonder: Were the anonymous “industry sources” who relayed these events to the Post connected with SpaceX? Because it would certainly be in the company’s interest to redirect blame—even if only by implication. (10/1)

MARCO POLO/Mars Pathfinder, RASSOR Tested at KSC (Source: NASA KSC)
An integrated test of the MARCO POLO/Mars Pathfinder in-situ resource utilization, or ISRU, system recently took place at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A mockup of MARCO POLO, an ISRU propellant production technology demonstration simulated mission, was tested in a regolith bin with RASSOR 2.0, the Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot. Click here. (9/30)

Elon Musk’s Road to Mars (Source: Space Review)
Last week, at long last, Elon Musk offered details about the rockets and spacecraft he sees SpaceX developing to send large numbers of people to Mars. Jeff Foust reports on the details of his plan, the spectacle of the speech itself, and questions yet to be answered about his proposed effort. Click here. (10/3)
Space Myths: DoD and NASA Cooperation (Source: Space Review)
From time to time, someone proposes that the Pentagon and NASA more closely cooperate in various areas of spaceflight. Wayne Eleazer notes that this idea is hardly new, and had rarely resulted in any real savings for either military or civil space efforts. Click here. (10/3)
PSLV C-35: ISRO’s Two-Orbit Mission (Source: Space Review)
The launch of an Indian PSLV rocket last week featured one twist from previous missions, by placing its payload of satellites into two different orbits. Ajey Lele argues this is another step in making India competitive in the global launch market. Click here. (10/3)
Albedo 0.06: Vangelis Returns (Source: Space Review)
The end of the Rosetta mission last week marked the beginning of something else: the release of a new album by composer Vangelis inspired by the comet mission. Dwayne Day examines the long-running links between Vangelis and other electronic music composers and spaceflight. Click here. (10/3)

Florida Grants to Support Launch, Simulation Industries (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Two economic development agencies in Central Florida were among 10 to receive defense-based grants from the State of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott announced today. The Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast and the Orlando Economic Development Commission landed a portion of the $846,136 given in Defense Reinvestment grants. Combined with Defense Infrastructure Grants, the state awarded nearly $2.2 million.

The Space Coast grant, worth $97,925, was meant to provide the funds to "protect and enhance military missions" at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station hosts regular launches into space. (10/3)

Blue Origin Postpones Destructive Escape-System Test Launch (Source: Space.com)
Blue Origin has postponed an in-flight test of the abort system of its New Shepard suborbital vehicle by a day. The test, previously scheduled for Tuesday morning from the company's West Texas test site, is now planned for Wednesday due to poor weather, the company said yesterday. During the test, the crew capsule will fire its abort motor shortly after liftoff, demonstrating its ability to safely escape in the event of an emergency. That test will likely destroy the vehicle's propulsion module. (10/3)

DTH Satellite Service Strong in Asia (Source: Space News)
Direct-to-home satellite television is alive and well in Asia, broadcasters say. Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council in Malaysia, satellite operators say they don't face immediate threats from "over-the-top" video services like Netflix and Hulu. However, satellite companies said they expect to see pricing pressure as demand for large bundles of channels declines. (10/3)

Foundation Focuses SETI Search on Proxima Centauri B (Source: GeekWire)
A private group funding searches for extraterrestrial signals plans to support efforts to observe a planet around the star nearest the sun. The Breakthrough Prize Foundation is looking into options for directly imaging Proxima Centauri b, a planet recently discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri, 4.3 light-years away. Those efforts would likely require a new generation of large ground-based telescopes under development. The foundation is best known for funding Breakthrough Listen, a 10-year, $100 million effort supporting SETI efforts. (10/3)

Rock Star Thinking Twice About Virgin Spaceflight (Source: Little Village)
A rock star is having second thoughts about flying to space. Dave Keuning, guitarist for the band The Killers, said in 2008 he was saving up to fly on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo. However, delays in that vehicle's development have given him second thoughts about flying. "Whenever it happens, I’ll probably let other people do it first for a few years because I don’t want to be the one who blows up," he said in an interview. (10/3)

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