December 8, 2016

Alaska Aerospace Joins in Space Forum (Source: Your Alaska)
The Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies held the 10th annual Space Forum at the United State Air Force Academy. Alaska Aerospace Corporation was invited to participate on the Spaceports panel to highlight the capabilities offered to both government and commercial customers at the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska.

The Space Forum facilitated discussions by Federal, State, and commercial companies to advance U.S. space capabilities. A special focus of this year's forum centered on public-private partnerships, private spaceflight, and state government and industry partnerships. (12/8)

Mars One Puts Back Planned Colonization of Red Planet (Source: Space Daily)
A British-Dutch company planning to install a community of humans on Mars admitted on Wednesday that it's project will be delayed by several years. The Mars One consortium said its first manned mission to the Red Planet would now not happen until 2031, having previously targeted 2026. Its first unmanned mission has also been delayed by four years to 2022.

The delays are due to a "new financial strategy" linked to Mars One's sale to Swiss financial services company InFin Innovative Finance AG, which was announced last week. Currently, Mars One consists of two entities: British public limited company Mars One Ventures and the Dutch not-for-profit Mars One Foundation. Mars One's controversial project aims to send pioneering colonisers on one-way trips to the Red Planet to set up a permanent human settlement. (12/7)

Dark Matter May Be More Smoothly Distributed Throughout Cosmos (Source: Space Daily)
New analysis of a phenomenon known as cosmic shear suggests dark matter is less dense and more evenly -- or smoothly -- distributed throughout space. The revelation was detailed this week in a new paper published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Cosmic shear is a type of gravitational lensing, the subtle warping of light waves emitted by distant galaxies as they travel past, around and through large clumps of cosmic matter, like galaxy clusters. Cosmic shear, specifically, isn't the warping effect caused by specific galactic clusters, but the distortions caused by large-scale cosmic structures. (12/7)

Marijuana is Legal on the Moon (Source: Marijuana)
So if people are really going to leave the planet and go elsewhere, plans need to be made. What we know from recorded history is that where humans go so does cannabis. That’s why spoke with Naveen Jain, the Founder and Executive Chairman of Moon Express, to see how people will get their pot in space.

“Our goal really is one day for humans to be able to live away from Planet Earth,” said Jain. “If someday we were to get hit by an asteroid, we would all [end up like]the dinosaurs.” Jain went on to add that these colonization goals are long-term. In the short-term, they are looking at tourism, which means food, drinks, and of course pot, will be a must.

At first, all vegetation would more than likely need to be shipped from Earth. But eventually, the moon will need to produce its own sustainable crop of Skywalker OG (and of course fruits and vegetables). So how is that done? “Even on our first mission, our goal is to take a small plant and feed and grow it on the moon in a small biosphere,” which Jain explains is basically a makeshift greenhouse. (12/7)

SpaceX Loses Inmarsat Launch to Arianespace Due to Delays (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Inmarsat has signed a contract with Arianespace to launch its S-band satellite for the European Aviation Network (EAN) on an Ariane 5 heavy lift launch vehicle. The EAN payload is part of a ‘condosat’ constructed by Thales Alenia Space, which incorporates a second payload for Hellas-Sat. The condosat is scheduled to be launched from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana in mid-2017.

The condosat was originally scheduled for launch with SpaceX. However, following the delay in SpaceX’s launch schedule, Inmarsat and Hellas-Sat took the decision to move the condosat to an Arianespace launch. Inmarsat will launch Inmarsat-5 F4, a Global Xpress (GX) satellite, with SpaceX. This launch is planned for H1 2017 and Inmarsat is looking forward to continuing to work with SpaceX going forward. (12/8)

SpaceX Says It’s Ready for Liftoff Again. The FAA Begs to Differ (Source: WIRED)
SpaceX announced it expects to begin launching again in early January—just four months after one of its Falcon 9 rockets burst into flames on a Florida launchpad. But the company is still missing one important thing before it leaves Earth: a license from the FAA. “They have not completed their investigation and therefore they do not have an (FAA launch) license,” said an FAA spokesperson.

The FAA said the time it would take to grant a license to SpaceX depends on how big a fix they propose to address the cause of the fire; SpaceX has previously said they believe the problem lies with helium in the liquid oxygen propellant tank. The accident occurred two days before the flight’s scheduled liftoff. Before granting a launch license, the FAA “needs inspectors in place, we have to have air traffic control aware, we have to review payload,” the spokesperson said. “It could take a little while.” (12/7)

Trump Administration's Space Approach Coming Into Focus (Source: Space News)
The Trump campaign's space policy adviser believes Vice President-elect Mike Pence will play a major role in space policy. Speaking at a space law event Wednesday, Robert Walker said that Pence "expressed absolute excitement" about chairing a reconstituted National Space Council in the incoming administration. The council, Walker said, would help identify overlaps in space activities, citing development of multiple heavy-lift rockets by government and businesses as one example. Walker also defended plans to shift Earth science research out of NASA, saying that reports that the Trump administration wanted to end climate science research altogether were incorrect. (12/8)

John Glenn Hospitalized (Source: CNN)
Legendary former astronaut and senator John Glenn has been hospitalized in Ohio. A spokesman for the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University said Wednesday that Glenn had been admitted to the James Cancer Hospital at the university more than a week ago, but did not have information on the reason or Glenn's current condition. The 95-year-old Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and flew on the space shuttle in 1998, and also served 24 years in the Senate. (12/7)

Walker Reveals Details on TrumpSpace (Source: Space Policy Online)
Meeting at the Cosmos Club, attendees at the 11th Eilene M. Galloway Symposium on Critical Issues in Space Law heard from a number of speakers including former Congressman Bob Walker, who is advising the Trump Transition Team, and Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) who has been conducting a behind the scenes effort to become the next administrator of NASA.

Walker spoke first and said that the Trump space policy came together rather quickly at the end of then campaign and that he was asked to come up with one and deliver it - the next day. He cautioned the audience that just because he wrote some things this is not indicative of where the Transition Team - and the incoming NASA leadership - would necessarily go. That said, Walker said that there is an intent that the National Space Council be re-instituted so as to guide all space activities. civilian, military, and commercial. Walker went on to say that the Trump team is looking for a space policy that is "disruptive, resilient, and enduring".

For one thing, Walker said that they are looking for a much longer life for the ISS - and that it will need to be refurbished and upgraded. He speculated that it would need to be handed over to an organization or consortium eventually. They are also looking for opportunities to have the commercial sector backfill for NASA so that NASA can focus on deep space exploration. Walker was very clear on this point noting that there was an awareness of many government programs that "take a decade to do with technology that ends up being out of date". (12/8)

Reports of Spacecom Sale are Premature (Source: Space News)
Spacecom said that reports of a deal with the Chinese company seeking to acquire it are premature. Israeli media reported last week that Spacecom has reached a deal to be acquired by Beijing Xinwei Technology Group for $190 million, two-thirds the price of the original deal announced in August prior to the loss of the Amos-6 satellite. Spacecom said in a statement this week that it has yet to reach a renegotiated deal with Beijing Xinwei, with no guarantee the sale could be salvaged. (12/8)

China's Busy Space Year Still Includes Four Launches (Source: GB Times)
China is planning a busy end of the year in space, including at least four more launches. The launches expected to take place by the end of the month include those for a weather satellite, Earth science satellite, two imaging satellites and a video satellite. China is also expected to release an updated space policy white paper, with plans for the next five years, by the end of the month. (12/8)

Planet Opens Seattle Office to Lure Software Engineers (Source: GeekWire)
Earth observation company Planet has opened a new office in Seattle. The San Francisco-based company, with more than 360 employees in several offices around the world, plans to have 10 software engineers working in its new Seattle office by the end of the year. Karthik Govindhasamy, Planet's chief technology officer and a former Microsoft executive, leads the new Seattle office that will work on new applications of the images Planet's constellation of cubesats provides. (12/8)

House Bill Would Proide Special Healthcare for Former Astronauts (Source: House Science Committee)
The House passed an astronaut healthcare bill on a unanimous vote Wednesday. The To Research, Evaluate, Assess, and Treat (TREAT) Astronauts Act, which would provide extended medical screening of former astronauts, passed on a 413-0 vote after a brief debate on the House floor. The bill is a modified version of one approved by the House Science Committee earlier this year after discussions with the Senate. Passage of the bill in the Senate is uncertain, though, because of disputes on other issues that are hindering the process of passing bills there by unanimous consent. (12/4)

Outer Space: The Filthy Frontier (Source: Daily Maverick)
Has anybody heard about Don Kessler, the creator of the said-to-be-famous “Kessler Syndrome” theory? In the late 70s, Kessler, a now retired NASA scientist, penned a seminal paper called: “Collision Frequency of Artificial Satellites: The Creation of a Debris Belt”. In it he wrote: “As the number of artificial satellites in earth orbit increases, the probability of collisions between satellites also increases. Satellite collisions would produce orbiting fragments, each of which would increase the probability of further collisions, leading to the growth of a belt of debris around the earth."

"This process parallels certain theories concerning the growth of the asteroid belt. The debris flux in such an earth-orbiting belt could exceed the natural meteoroid flux, affecting future spacecraft designs.” Kessler used a mathematical model to project the rate at which the asteroid belt he described in his paper would form, and came to the conclusion that, given the right conditions, the debris-filled belt could form as early as this century. (12/8)

UAE Policy Aims to Build Sustainable Space Sector (Source: Gulf News)
The national space sector policy announced on Tuesday aims to build a strong and sustainable space sector in the UAE that supports and protects national interests and related vital industries, according to the UAE Space Agency. The document was approved on September 4 by the Council of Ministers, headed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. (12/6)

John Glenn, American Hero, Aviation Icon and Former U.S. Senator, Dies at 95 (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
Former Sen. John Glenn died this afternoon surrounded by family at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus after a remarkably healthy life spent almost from the cradle with Annie, his beloved wife of 73 years, who survives. He, along with fellow aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright and moon-walker Neil Armstrong, truly made Ohio first in flight.

“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve," said Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich. "As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation.

Glenn’s body will lie in state at the Ohio Statehouse for a day, and a public memorial service will be held at Ohio State University’s Mershon Auditorium. He will be buried near Washington, D.C., at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service. Dates and times for the public events will be announced soon. (12/8)

Orbital ATK Chooses Florida Over Virginia for Next Space Station Supply Mission (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
An unmanned Antares 230 rocket nailed its launch from Wallops Island on Oct. 17, signaling Virginia's return as a site for commercial resupply missions to the International Space Station. But it appears the next ISS mission for rocket-maker Orbital ATK won't be from here, but from Florida. Orbital says it will skip the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on the Eastern Shore and head south to Cape Canaveral in the spring, where it'll use an Atlas V rocket to deliver crew supplies for NASA.

It's an eyebrow-raising decision given that Orbital had only just returned to MARS after an earlier version of its rocket, the Antares 130, exploded just after lift-off in October 2014, wrecking the state-owned launch pad and spurring the company to replace the Russian-made first-stage engines behind the mishap. (12/7)

ULA Successfully Launches WGS-8 Mission on Delta-4 From the Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: ULA)
A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the eighth installment of the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for the United States Air Force lifted off from Space Launch Complex-37 Dec. 7 at 6:53 p.m. EST. This is ULA’s 11th launch in 2016 and the 114th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. (12/7)

Space Club Accepting Debus Award Nominations (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club Florida Committee (NSCFL) presents its premier award, the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Award, for significant contributions to the advancement, awareness, and improvement of aerospace in Florida. This award will be presented at our annual Debus Dinner, scheduled for April 22, 2017, at the Debus Conference Center at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Whether as an NSCFL member or friend of the aerospace community, we encourage you to submit nominations for the 2017 Debus Award. Nominations must be made via an online form available at The deadline for submitting nominations is January 20, 2017.

The nominee must have made significant contributions to the space industry in Florida through either technical achievement, education, or the management of aerospace related activities. The nominee must have been either actively engaged in their working career or have retired from it since the most recently conferred Debus Award. The nominee must be recognized for having been actively engaged in community service as an advocate and supporter of space. Click here. (12/7)

SpaceX Targets Early January for Launch From California (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX confirmed that its return to flight has slipped to early January while it finishes up its investigation into the Sep. 1 launch pad explosion. "This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch," the company said in a statement.

SpaceX had hoped to conduct this launch on Dec. 16 at Vandenberg AFB in California. Iridium Communications, which would launch its first 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites on the Falcon 9, is the customer. (12/7)

To Mars with Standards (Source: ASTM)
NASA’s unmanned Space Launch System is scheduled to lift off in 2018 on its first step to a subsequent manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. A recent milestone in the Mission to Mars is the completed welding on the SLS’s core stage liquid hydrogen tank. The tank stands more than 40 metres tall, and according to NASA, is the largest cryogenic fuel tank for a rocket in the world.

The system’s hydrogen tank, together with another tank for liquid oxygen, will hold a total of 2,770 cubic metres of the fuel, and send the advanced launch vehicle into deep space. And, as has been true for many missions, SLS and its Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle will burst from the Earth’s atmosphere and enter deep space with the support of countless engineering standards, including those from ASTM. Click here. (12/7)

Nordic Entrepreneurial Spirit Boosted by Space (Source: Space Daily)
More than 17 000 people converged on Helsinki in Finland this week to create businesses - and ESA was there to add its space expertise. The 'Slush' event helps the next generation of companies by promoting a worldwide start-up community.

"Having already fostered more than 430 new companies at our 16 business incubators in 13 countries to recycle space technology and satellite data to everyday use down here on Earth,we can support entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into successful new European companies," noted ESA's Frank Salzgeber at the event.

One stage was dedicated to pitches by young entrepreneurs, while others were filled with tech experts sharing their stories and sparking discussions on the future. Norway's Crown Prince Haakon added,"It was really interesting to learn about ESA and the fascinating and innovative ways how space technology and data acquired from space can benefit us." (12/6)

Space Has Potholes Too! (Source: Space Daily)
Recently, when President-elect Donald Trump was asked about his plans for NASA he reportedly said "space is terrific, but we've got to fix our potholes too." Well, this may be a revelation, but space and the space program have potholes. These are not simple terrestrial potholes. They are potentially big showstoppers, the kind that can really mess up our economy and national security. Space potholes are like highway potholes, but turned inside out.

Near-earth space is quickly getting filled up with these inverted obstructions. We called them orbiting debris objects, i.e., objects that are in orbit around the Earth as the result of space initiatives that no longer serve any function. Examples of such debris include expired spacecraft, upper stages of launch vehicles, debris released during spacecraft separation from its launch vehicle or during mission operations, debris created as a result of (spacecraft or upper stage) explosions or collisions, solid rocket motor effluents, paint flecks and thermal blankets. (12/6)

Could Dark Matter Be Powering The EMdrive? (Source: Forbes)
For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. This formulation of Newton's third law has two very important modern consequences: one, that there's a physical quantity that's always conserved in the Universe (momentum), and two, that the laws of physics are the same irrespective of your position in space. This has a huge slew of implications, including that if you want to power a device to change its motion, you need to push against something. This could be exhaust from a rocket, tires pushing against a road, train wheels on a rail-line or even photons reflected off a sail.

The one thing that's forbidden is a reactionless drive: an action without a reaction. That's exactly what the EMdrive -- the "impossible" space engine just verified by a NASA test -- claims to be. If it truly works as advertised, it violates the laws of physics. But there's a possible loophole: perhaps there is a reaction, and we just don't detect it. Perhaps the reaction occurs, but it's occurring due to dark matter. Click here. (11/30)

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