November 30, 2016

GOES-R to Improve Surfing Forecasts (Source: Surfline)
"GOES-R is to current weather satellites like going from a flip-phone to a smartphone." Staying with the smartphone analogy, the newest GOES satellite takes 4X better images, is 5X faster, has six new features (instruments), and 34 new apps (products) -- safe to bet we'll never see an iPhone with that kind of an upgrade. The GOES-R not only improves storm tracking, the mass of new data will improve forecast and model products, which in turn helps improve surf forecasts.

Improvements in tracking and observing tropical systems is one of the most direct ways the new GOES satellite will aid and improve surf forecasting, but the limits are endless. The increased amount and scope of the data it captures will improve current weather forecasts and eventually lead to improvements in the models themselves. And the better we understand and are able to model storms that generate swell, the greater our ability to predict those swells and the conditions for when it becomes surf. (11/28)

Eutelsat Makes Contested Payment to Russian Firm (Source: Space News)
Eutelsat has made a long-overdue payment to a Russian company after a ruling by a French court. The satellite operator paid more than 400 million euros to Russian Satellite Communications Co. for satellite services after the Paris Court of Appeal ruled Nov. 23 that RSCC was not an arm of the Russian government. Former shareholders in the Russian oil company Yukos had filed suit to block that payment after an international arbitrator ruled the Russian government illegally liquidated that company. That ruling does not affect a similar suit blocking payments from Arianespace to Roscosmos for Soyuz vehicles. (11/29)

ISS Earth Science Sensor Will Not Be Replaced (Source: Space News)
NASA has written off an Earth science instrument on the International Space Station that malfunctioned earlier this year. NASA said Monday it was ending the mission of the RapidScat instrument, which was installed on the station in 2014 to measure ocean winds. A power malfunction in August disabled the instrument, and engineers were unable to restore its operations. NASA said it will not replace RapidScat, but instead use similar data from a recently-launched Indian satellite. RapidScat was the first in a series of Earth science instruments installed or under development for use on the ISS. (11/28)

Alpha Centauri is Now Rigil Kentaurus (Source:
The star system closest to the sun is no longer officially known as Alpha Centauri. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved 227 official names for stars, the first time the organization formally approved star names. Under the IAU system, Alpha Centauri will be known as Rigil Kentaurus, the ancient name for the double-star system. Proxima Centauri, the star that distantly orbits Rigil Kentaurus and is slightly closer to the sun, will retain its name. Among other stars retaining their popular names are Rigel, Sirius and Vega. (11/28)

RUAG Expands to Florida's Space Coast (Source: Space Coast EDC)
The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) announced RUAG’s selection of Brevard County for its RUAG Space USA Inc. production facility in Titusville. RUAG Space USA Inc., a supplier of spacecraft structural and thermal equipment, will operate at the Port Canaveral Titusville Logistic Center.

“The aerospace industry is undergoing a disruptive transformation,” explains Peter Guggenbach, CEO of RUAG Space USA Inc. “In what’s known as the new space segment, innovative start-ups and private investors are developing new commercial business models for aerospace applications. We want to be a competitive player in this segment too. The current order from Airbus OneWeb Satellites proves that we’re on the right path,” he says.

The company will begin with 10 employees in 2017 at an average wage of $50,261 and may ultimately reach 60 full-time workers by 2025. The EDC worked closely with RUAG to communicate the competitive advantages of a Brevard County location by presenting the best business case and meeting significant requirements. In addition, the EDC guided the company through the State and North Brevard Economic Development Zone incentive programs. (11/29)

NASA’s Mission to Snag Asteroid Faces Questions Amid Trump Transition (Source: GeekWire)
House Republicans are voicing renewed doubts about NASA’s plan to have astronauts study a piece of an asteroid – a turn of events that was expected for the transition to the Trump administration. The Asteroid Redirect Mission, or ARM, was a trademark space initiative for President Barack Obama but has drawn GOP criticism for years. Critics saw the mission as an ill-planned detour on the road to the moon or Mars.

As currently conceived, the mission calls for a robotic spacecraft to visit a near-Earth asteroid, pull off a piece and bring it back to lunar orbit for study by a crew of astronauts in the mid-2020s. NASA says the mission would serve as practice for a crewed journey to Mars and could serve as a test for diverting killer asteroids in the future. But leading House Republicans voiced skepticism about the mission’s utility in a letter sent to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden today.

The letter was signed by Lamar Smith, R-TX, chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, as well as Brian Babin, R-TX, chairman of the space subcommittee. Smith and Babin took issue with a recent NASA news release saying that the scientific benefits of the asteroid mission were confirmed in a task force report. “This press release is particularly peculiar, as it implies that the ARM has gained acceptance by advisory bodies,” Smith and Babin wrote. “NASA plans to issue contracts for ARM in a few short months. (11/28)

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