December 27, 2016

SpaceX, Boeing Mission Delays Could Cost NASA Hundreds of Millions of Dollars (Source: Motley Fool)
Earlier this year, NASA signed a contract hiring Russia's Roscosmos to transport six American astronauts to the International Space Station for $81.7 million per head. The two-year contract was valued at $490 million -- 15% more than the preceding contract. It was intended to secure NASA's access to ISS for the final few months while Boeing and SpaceX get their manned spacecraft programs ready to fly.

That was the intention. But now it seems NASA must write Russia another big check. Unfortunately, Boeing hit a snag in October. Announcing that supplier and technical issues would delay the first flight of its CST-100 Starliner capsule, the company now believes CST-100 won't fly before June 2018 at the earliest. Furthermore, CST-100 won't be ready to carry live passengers before August 2018, and Boeing set a regular flight schedule before the end of that year.

Now, the second shoe has dropped. Last week, SpaceX revealed that, in part due to the still-unfinished investigation into its September rocket explosion, its participation in NASA's "Commercial Crew Transportation" project will also be delayed. SpaceX now targets an initial November 2017 unmanned test flight of its Crew Dragon, to be followed by a May 2018 launch date for its first crewed mission. (12/25)

Dubai Inks Deal to Build Satellite to Monitor Pollution, Climate Change (Source: Arabian Business)
The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and Dubai Municipality have signed an agreement to design and manufacture the first environmental nanometric satellite in the region. The satellite, DM SAT1, is a project of the Dubai Future Accelerators program and is designed to collect and analyze environmental data using space technology.

DM SAT1 will provide data for monitoring sandstorms and other environment related activities, including aerosols and other factors affecting the climate as well as natural marine and wildlife reserves. The data will then be used to find solutions to the increasing pollution in cities as well as to address climate change. (12/24)

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