December 26, 2016

Florida Launch Manifest Update - 19 Launches for 2016, 21 Planned for 2017 (Source: SPACErePORT)
At the beginning of 2016 the manifest for launches at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport included up to 30 missions (17 Falcon, 9 Atlas, 3 Delta, 1 Pegasus). The final 2016 tally was 19, including 8 Falcon, 7 Atlas, 3 Delta, and 1 Pegasus. An early look at SpaceFlight Now's 2017 manifest includes a total of 21 launches (11 Falcon, 7 Atlas, 2 Delta, 1 Minotaur). The forecast is notoriously subject to change and in 2017 will depend largely on SpaceX's return-to-flight remedies and launch pad development/repair progress. (12/26)

Iran Plans to Launch Three Satellites By 2018 (Source: Space Watch Middle East)
In what appears to be another schedule slippage in the Iranian space program, the Iranian Minister for Communication and Information Technology announced that three domestically built satellites will be launched by 2018. The Dousti microsatellite will be launched before March 20.

Delays in Dousti’s launch suggest that ultimately Iranian officials may have to choose between prioritizing a domestic satellite manufacturing capability or a domestic space launch capability as resources for its space program become tighter. (12/26)

NASA Closing in on Root Cause of JWST Vibration Test Anomaly (Source: Space Policy Online)
NASA is closing in on the root cause of the anomalous results produced by a December 3 vibration test on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Thomas Zurbuchen, the new head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD), said that dealing with the problem likely will consume one of the remaining six months of schedule reserve. (12/23)

UK's First Muslim Astronaut Aims to Put Focus on Mental Health (Source: Guardian)
For most people who go into space it is a dream come true, but for the man set to be the UK’s first Muslim astronaut his priority is making the world a better place. Hussain Manawer, 25, from Ilford, Essex, is due to blast off in 2018 after seeing off thousands of other entrants from more than 90 countries in a competition.

The poet, charity fundraiser and founder of his own creative agency dedicated his victory to everyone who has suffered mental health problems, and said he had an important mission in life. He said he saw the competition to travel beyond the 100km mark in XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx spacecraft as a way of taking his campaigning to another level. (12/26)

State Financing of 'Space-Bound' Equipment is a First (Source: Florida Today)
Space Florida has approved what officials say is a groundbreaking — or you might say “space-breaking” — agreement backing a company that hopes to pioneer a new industry manufacturing products in space for use on the ground.

The state agency will extend a line of credit up to $1 million to Made In Space, a Silicon Valley company with a growing Florida presence, for a project that aims to produce a higher-quality optical fiber aboard the International Space Station.

Made In Space, whose co-founders include graduates of the University of Central Florida and University of Florida, already is known as the first company to 3-D print items on the space station. That technology could advance the industry and exploration if spare parts can be made as needed in orbit, instead of everything having to be launched at high cost. (12/26)

Russia Develops Satellite to Remove Space Garbage From Near-Earth Space (Source: Pravda)
Russia's state-run corporation Roscosmos develops a project of a space cleaner - a satellite that will be able to "blow away" space junk. Currently, every new space launch leaves two or three fragments of spacecraft in near-Earth space. It can be a rocket stage, an upper stage or detachable fuel tanks. These fragments may circle around Earth for a long time, creating problems for space stations and satellites.

According to general director of TsNIIMASH Oleg Gorshkov, the problem is very serious, because there were as many as 17,800 large objects (larger than ten centimeters) staying in Earth's orbit in the middle of 2016. Russia, the United States and China are the three countries that create most of space garbage, the Izvestia newspaper wrote.

"The spacecraft is equipped with ion engines on opposite sides. The satellite approaches a defunct spacecraft and activates the engines on opposite sides. The cleaning spacecraft remains in place while "shooting" a stream from one of the engines to displace the defunct object from orbit. The latter will thus lose its speed and go off orbit," said Gorshkov. (12/26)

Investing Big in Small Satellites (Source: White House)
This past October, the White House announced the “Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution” initiative. As part of the initiative, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and other Federal agencies identified multiple opportunities to encourage both government and private sector use of small spacecraft for a variety of applications. Today, the White House is announcing $110 million in new investments by DOD and NASA to foster innovation in the development and use of small satellite technologies. Click here. (12/22)

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