January 18, 2017

China's First Cargo Spacecraft to Leave Factory (Source: Xinhua)
China's first cargo spacecraft will leave the factory, according to the website of China's manned space mission. A review meeting was convened last Thursday, during which officials and experts unanimously concluded that the Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft had met all the requirements to leave the factory. The take-off weight of Tianzhou-1 is 13 tonnes and it can ship material of up to six tonnes. The spacecraft, which is scheduled to be launched in April from the southern province of Hainan, will dock with the Tiangong-2 space lab and refuel it. (1/17)

Nine Prominent Early Astronauts Carrying on U.S. Space History (Source: OC Register)
Early U.S. space history is fading with the deaths of Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, John Glenn, the last of the Mercury 7 astronauts, and Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. But others survive, veterans of a time when Americans were glued to their television sets to watch their heroics, from fiery Saturn V launches to ocean splashdowns.

More than half of the first 30 astronauts NASA hired have died. “There’s going to come a time and it’s probably going to be in the next decade or so when none of the moonwalkers are going to be left,” said National Air and Space Museum associate director Roger Launius. (1/16)

Prestwick Airport's Spaceport Hopes are Flight of Fancy (Source: Daily Record)
A leading aviation expert has branded transforming Prestwick into a spaceport as complete pie in the sky. Our airport is claimed to be the front runner to become the UK’s first base for firing satellites and tourists into orbit. But Laurie Price MBE suspects the space lure is now just a convenience – to allow the Scottish Government to continue ploughing millions of pounds of public money into it. He said firmly: “It will never happen and is just a fanciful notion.” (1/16)

NASA Considering Boeing Offer for Additional Soyuz Seats (Source: Space News)
NASA is proposing to purchase, through Boeing, additional Soyuz seats for International Space Station missions to both take advantage of Russian plans to decrease the size of its crew and as insurance against potential additional commercial crew delays.

In a “sources sought” procurement filing Jan. 17, NASA said it considering plans to acquire from Boeing two Soyuz seats on missions to the ISS in the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018, and options for three additional Soyuz seats in 2019. Boeing, the filing stated, had obtained the rights to the seats from Soyuz manufacturer RSC Energia.

The two near-term seats take advantage of seats the Russians are vacating as a cost-saving measure. Roscosmos, the Russian state space corporation, announced in September it was reducing its crew on the ISS from three to two, starting in March and until the launch of a new laboratory module, expected some time in 2018. (1/17)

Boeing CEO Touts Contract Progress After Trump Meeting (Source: Law360)
Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Tuesday he and President-elect Donald Trump had discussed driving down costs on the pending Air Force One replacement contract, as well as the possibility of the Pentagon buying Boeing’s F/A-18 instead of Lockheed Martin’s F-35, days after Trump held a similar meeting with Lockheed’s CEO. (1/17)

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