November 10, 2016

Trump's Military Plan Sees Big Boost In Defense Spending (Source: Law360)
President-elect Donald Trump's plans for national defense will see him ramp up defense spending and build up the military while simultaneously seeking to pull back from global operations, as part of a broad shift in how the U.S. will approach both allies and adversaries. (11/9)

New Kennedy Space Center Attraction to Open with 25 Astronauts On Hand (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is about to unveil its newest attraction and it's bringing some high-caliber names to the party. Heroes & Legends featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame is set to open to the public Friday, Nov. 11 and Gemini and Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, James Lovell and Thomas Stafford are among 25 astronauts slated to be on hand for the event. The children of Neil Armstrong and Alan Shepard will be on had as well. (11/9)

What a Trump Administration Means for Space (Source: Space News)
A space policy of the administration of President-elect Donald Trump is likely to focus more on human spaceflight, technology development and commercialization, and less on Earth science. The election outcome shocked many, given polls generally projected a modest but clear Clinton victory.

For most of his campaign, which formally started in June 2015, Trump said little about space, and offered only terse responses to questions about his positions on civil or military space issues. In the final weeks before the election, though, the campaign took space more seriously, bringing on Robert Walker, a former congressman, as its space policy advisor.

“I’ve been that for about two weeks,” Walker said of his advisory position in comments at an Oct. 26 meeting of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC) here. “I think the campaign figured out, at one point there, that they actually did need a space policy.” (11/9)

Space Exploration and Mars Under President Donald Trump (Source: Inverse)
For half of the country, it’s a somber Wednesday. In the aftermath of the 2016 United States election, which left billionaire celebrity Donald Trump as President-elect, reasonable citizens are beginning to wonder how policies may shift. Domestic and international policies, especially given the Republican Senate election results, are bound to change. Despite these uncertainties, there remain venues within which despondent U.S. citizens can find hope, inspiration, or some positive emotion.

For instance: Space! Space still exists, and we’re still hot on its tail. And, despite possible impending changes on Earth, Mars continues to beckon. Already, NASA is working hand-in-hand with private space exploration and colonization companies, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin. And from all indications, a Trump presidency will not alter that trajectory. Under Trump, Americans can still hope to colonize the Red Planet. (11/9)

Trump's NASA Looks Good for Human Space Exploration and Terrible for Earth Science (Source: The Verge)
It’s difficult to predict what a Donald Trump presidency will mean for the future of NASA. The newly elected commander in chief has said very little about his space policy plans throughout the course of his campaign. But Trump’s space advisors have made some things clear: they want the space program to focus more on human deep space exploration and less on researching the Earth and climate science. And the private spaceflight industry will continue to play a significant role in space policy moving forward. Click here. (11/9)

Trump Will Probably Undo Obama’s Budget Increases for Earth Sciences (Source: Ars Technica)
The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States will likely bring an end to a golden age of Earth science at NASA. While not much is known about Trump's general space policies beyond a commitment to "global space leadership" and support for commercial spaceflight, his views on Earth science and climate change are largely in line with Republican Congressional appropriators.

Funding-wise, NASA's Earth science programs have had a good run under the Obama administration. The agency's Earth science budget has grown by about 50 percent during Obama's tenure, even as much of the rest of NASA's science budget has remained flat. (11/9)

Martian-Americans Can Vote—But Only if They Come From Texas (Source: WIRED)
This week, Shane Kimbrough cast his vote from space. The astronaut is the sole American on the International Space Station, keeping democracy alive 250 miles above Earth.

His right to do so is guaranteed by a Texas law, passed in 1997. And the same law would apply even if Kimbrough were way further out, say on Mars. But that’s only because he, like all other NASA astronauts, lives near Johnson Space Center in Houston. If Elon Musk fulfills his promise for a multi-million person Martian settlement, the law is going to need revisiting to handle all the Americans whose Earthly residences are (were?) outside the Lone Star State. (11/9)

Hawaiian Group Says Army Blocking Access To Cultural Sites (Source: Law360)
A Hawaiian cultural group, Malama Makua, on Monday accused the U.S. Army of refusing Hawaiian community members access to sacred sites at the Makua Military Reservation on Oahu, in violation of a settlement agreement inked roughly 15 years ago. (11/8)

Inside Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (Source: Planetary Society)
Host Mat Kaplan traveled to California’s Mojave Desert for a tour of Virgin Galactic’s The Spaceship Company, where the second SpaceShipTwo was built and is undergoing flight tests. TSC Executive VP Enrico Palermo was his guide. Emily Lakdawalla provides a taste of this busy month throughout the solar system. NASA has reached an important milestone according to Bill Nye the Science Guy. And “The Honeymooners” are Bruce and Mat’s special guests on Whats’ Up. Click here. (11/8)

Smog Smothering India So Thick You Can Actually See it From Space (Source: Mashable)
The smog smothering millions in the Indian capital of New Delhi is so thick, it's plainly visible from space, showing up as a milky blanked covering northern India. Visible satellite imagery posted by NASA's Worldview tool shows persistent smog across northern India since late October. This coincides with the advent of winter weather patterns that often bring more stagnant air masses to the region. (11/7)

U.S. Military Rebounding as a Commercial Satellite Customer (Source: Space News)
The sighting of a nightingale is no proof that spring has arrived. But what about four of them? Satellite fleet operators Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES and Eutelsat all say the long-awaited rebound in U.S. government (translation: mainly the U.S. Department of Defense) demand for bandwidth now looks to be underway. (11/8)

How NASA's Space Suits Have Changed Through the Years (Source: Houston Chronicle)
NASA's white, baggy space suit is etched in the mind of people everywhere, becoming more recognizable than the humans who actually wore it while taking their first steps onto the Moon. Like each of NASA's endeavors, the space suits worn by astronauts have changed and evolved over time. Click here. (11/8)

Iridium Not Worried About SpaceX Rocket Problem (Source: Washington Post)
Matt Desch, Iridium’s chief executive, said he was heartened the investigation to date and by recent comments by Musk, who said that the company has discovered the cause of the Sep. 1 explosion. “We’ve been privy to the thinking and the analysis and the data involved at a very deep level,” Desch said. “So, yes, we know why he is saying what’s he’s saying and concur that they have found the issue.

SpaceX has been super cooling its liquid oxygen fuel, a process that makes it more dense, allowing the rocket to then carry more fuel. But apparently the propellant got so cold it turned solid, Musk said, without elaborating on how exactly that could lead to an explosion. “This was the toughest puzzle that we’ve ever had to solve,” he said.

Editor's Note: Mr. Musk has said the problem that caused the explosion was 'unprecedented in the history of spaceflight.' This may be true, but it seems similar to the "cryopumping" phenomenon that causes runaway expansion and solidification of supercooled gasses (including helium) under certain circumstances. Cryopumping was a cause of foam insulation popping free from the Space Shuttle's external tank. The cryogenic gas condenses into ice, creating a vacuum that sucks in more gas that also freezes, causing a growing mass that can damage the rocket or its plumbing. (11/9)

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