October 8, 2016

Escambia High School Aviation Academy Takes Flight (Source: WKRG)
Most Escambia High students will not enter the workforce for another three to five years, but they’re taking flight now on their career path in aviation. The students are training to become aviators. Most of them are high school seniors getting a head start on college credits. “They don’t offer this class at other schools, so it’s cool to have this for our future,” says one aviation student.

It’s a dual enrollment program through Embry Riddle University. “It’s called the Gates Aerospace Institute,” said Greg Pile, instructor at the academy. “We offer dual enrollment classes that get Embry Riddle credit for the students, and most of them come with industry certification.” (10/3)

Hawaii Making Plans to Advance Aerospace Industry (Source: Madison.com)
Video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers is calling for the state to become a leader in space exploration and has proposed developing a prototype lunar base in Hawaii. Rogers, chairman of the board for the state-funded Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, made his proposal Tuesday during a discussion at the state Capitol as part of the 2016 Hawaii Aerospace Summit.

Rogers said the group is "tired of being the followers" and has the ability to lead Hawaii in an effort to boost the aerospace industry. He compared the moon base plan to President John F. Kennedy's 1961 proposal to send an American to the moon by the end of that decade. "Make no mistake about it, humanity is going back to the moon, and we might as well be the ones to take humanity there," Rogers said. (10/7)

Making Rocket Fuel from Water Could Drive a Power Revolution on Earth (Source: Phys.org)
Researchers led by NASA's former chief technologist are hoping to launch a satellite carrying water as the source of its fuel. The team from Cornell University, guided by Mason Peck, want their device to become the first shoebox-sized "CubeSat" to orbit the moon, while demonstrating the potential of water as a source of spacecraft fuel. It's a safe, stable substance that's relatively common even in space, but could also find greater use here on Earth as we search for alternatives to fossil fuels.

Until we develop a warp drive or some other futuristic propulsion system, space travel is likely to rely largely on the kind of propellant-based rockets we use today. These work by firing gas out of the rear of the vehicle in a way that, thanks to the laws of physics, pushes it forward. Such propulsion systems for satellites need to be lightweight and carry a lot of energy in a small space (high energy density) in order to continuously pack a powerful punch over the many years, or even decades, that the craft are in orbit.

Safety too is of prime concern. Packing energy into a small volume and mass in the form of a fuel means even the slightest issue can have disastrous consequences, as we saw with the recent SpaceX rocket explosion. Putting satellites in orbit with any form of unstable fuel on board could spell disaster for expensive hardware or even worse, human life. Click here. (9/28)

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