November 21, 2016

NASA Official Counters Australian Senate Climate Skeptic (Source: North Queensland Register)
A senior NASA official has taken the extraordinary step of personally rejecting the claims of One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts that the agency had falsified key data to exaggerate warming in the Arctic. Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told Senator Roberts he was "mistaken" in his assertion that the US agency had "removed" Arctic data to mask warming in the 1940s.

"You appear to hold a number of misconceptions which I am happy to clarify at this time," Dr Schmidt told Senator Roberts in letters and emails obtained by Fairfax Media. "The claim that GISS has 'removed the 1940s warmth' in the Arctic is not correct." Dr Schmidt noted in his letter dated November 18 that the data was freely available on its website. (11/21)

Antrix Chief Calls for Focus on Low-Cost Launch Vehicles (Source: Times of India)
When space faring nations are focused on innovative and cost-effective launches, ISRO along with its commercial arm Antrix Corporation is set to take up the challenge of developing low-cost and reliable space launch vehicles. "Now, with increasing global competition, India needs to focus on cost-effective space launches by re-engineering the production models and design of space vehicles to drive down the cost," said Antrix chairman and managing director (CMD) S Rakesh. (11/21)

Meet the Five Finalists for Genes in Space (Source: The National)
Eight UAE pupils are a step closer to contributing to the development of space travel after their experiments were chosen to be the final five in the Genes in Space contest. The five teams selected from schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai will raise awareness about space exploration. Genes in Space challenged pupils to design DNA experiments that take advantage of the low-gravity environment in space and solve real-life space exploration problems. (11/21)

Pentagon and Intelligence Community Chiefs Urge Obama to Remove NSA Head (Source: Space News)
The heads of the Pentagon and the nation’s intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed. The recommendation, delivered to the White House last month, was made by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., according to several U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

Action has been delayed, some administration officials said, because relieving Rogers of his duties is tied to another controversial recommendation: to create separate chains of command at the NSA and the military’s cyberwarfare unit, a recommendation by Clapper and Carter that has been stalled because of other issues. (11/19)

Trump Space Policy Will Increase Role of Private Companies (Source: Fortune)
In the runup to the November 9th U.S. Presidential election, the finer details of each candidates’ policy positions were rather lost in the heat of battle. But they were out there, even down to Donald Trump’s agenda for space exploration, which was outlined in two October op-eds by Trump senior policy advisors Robert S. Walker and Peter Navarro.

In broad terms, the Trump plan would make space a friendlier place for private operators, such as SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace, expanding on public-private partnerships fostered by the Obama administration. Trump would substantially cut or redirect funding for NASA’s earth science initiatives, including climate monitoring, while beefing up U.S. defenses against foreign attempts to degrade American intelligence satellites. Click here. (11/20)

Breakthrough Might Help Deep Space Travel (Source: Vice)
What is X-ray navigation? “In a nutshell, it is the cosmic equivalent of GPS,” says John Pye, the manager of the Space Research Center at the University of Leicester. Last week the China National Space Administration launched the X-ray Pulsar Navigation 1 satellite. The satellite has a new type of navigation system on board which no longer relies on earth-based signals to show where it is in space.

NASA plans to launch a similar satellite next year to the International Space Station. China believes the new system, if it works, will help accelerate space exploration plans, which include a manned mission to the moon, a Martian lander and deep space travel. With the x-ray navigation system, GPS satellites are replaced by pulsars — highly magnetized, spinning stars — which send pulses of x-ray energy to spacecraft housing telescopes designed to read those emissions. These measurements are then fed into another algorithm to find out a spacecraft’s position. (11/20)

What is Known About Trump’s Space Policy (Source: Parabolic Arc)
There’s been a whole lot more speculation than facts over the last two weeks about what president elect Donald Trump will do in space. Nobody is quite sure, and it’s a pretty good bet that they don’t know for sure, either. Let’s take a quick look at what’s actually known about what Trump is interesting in doing in space. Click here. (11/20)

Galileo Will Dramatically Improve Search-and-Rescue Performance (Source: Aviation Week)
Simultaneously with the launch of additional Galileo satellites, the European Commission (EC) is gearing up to declare the constellation’s “initial services,” which will include a spectacular improvement of search-and-rescue (SAR) capabilities it is hoped will take place gradually starting in December. A victim using a distress beacon could then expect to be located within a few minutes, and an additional feature will eventually be an acknowledgment of receipt. (11/21)

Cygnus Departs ISS, Mission Complete (Source:
A Cygnus cargo spacecraft is set to depart the ISS this morning. The Cygnus spacecraft, known as the "SS Alan Poindexter" and flying a mission designated OA-5, will be released by the station's robotic arm at around 8:20 a.m. Eastern. The spacecraft, launched on an Antares last month, will carry about 1,300 kilograms of trash for disposal by reentry. After departing, the Cygnus will be used for a Saffire fire experiment and also deploy four cubesats for Spire. The Cygnus will reenter Nov. 27. (11/21)

Vector Space Gets Space Angels Investment (Source: Space News)
A small launch vehicle developer has raised additional seed funding as it plans a first launch next year. Vector Space Systems said Friday it raised $1.25 million from the Space Angels Network, bringing its total investment to date to $2.25 million, plus $2.5 million in SBIR awards from NASA and DARPA. Vector Space plans to raise a larger Series A round by early next year. The company is developing a small launch vehicle, the Vector-R, with a first launch panned by the end of 2017. (11/21)

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