Mystery of Russia’s Doomed Progress Spacecraft May Delay Next ISS Crew Launch (Source: Planetary)
More than a month after a Progress spacecraft bound for the
International Space Station plunged to the ground during a botched
launch attempt, investigators are still unable to clear its rocket to
carry future ISS crews, industry sources said.
The Progress MS-04 spacecraft was lost December 1 after its Soyuz-U
rocket apparently experienced a catastrophic breakup during launch. The
Soyuz-U is virtually identical to the Soyuz-FG variant, the only
launcher certified to deliver cosmonauts and astronauts to orbit. The
next international crew is slated to depart for the station on March
27, but until officials clear the rocket for a return-to-flight, that
mission may not be going anywhere.
Two days after the launch accident, the Roscosmos State Corporation
promised to complete an investigation of the failure by December 20.
However, despite some progress in understanding the sequence of events
during the crash, the root cause of the failure remains elusive. (1/5)
FSDC Plans Benefit Screening of Hidden
Figures on Martin Luther King Holiday (Source: FSDC)
The Florida Space Development Council invites the public to join in a
special MLK Jr. Holiday special screening of the motion picture Hidden
Figures, at the Premier Oaks 10 Theater in Melbourne. Proceeds from
ticket sales, donations and sponsorships will help fund a rocket
competition for disadvantaged girls, in grades 7-12, interested in STEM
careers. The winner of the competition will go on to compete in the
National Competition in Huntsville, AL.
Hidden Figures, tells an untold story of African-American women, and
Brevard natives, who worked as human computers, supporting the Apollo
program. The #LaunchTheDream initiative aims to develop and promote
diversity in STEM and space sciences, by engaging Florida’s students
with hands-on STEM activities. Tickets and sponsorship donations can be
registered through the event page:
The Best Place on Earth to Fire 3,000
Rockets Into Outer Space Is... (Source: Wall Street Journal)
The next generation of satellite executives dream of firing a rocket a
week into the skies. But they’re running up against an unusual problem
for star trekkers. A lack of space. “We went to all the launch ranges
in America,” said Peter Beck, a wiry-haired engineer who a decade ago
founded Calif.-based aerospace company Rocket Lab. “They just didn’t
allow the frequency that we needed in order to make space accessible
Finding an empty corner of the world isn’t easy for an industry
expected to launch as many as 3,000 microsatellites over the next
several years. Take out flight paths of commercial airlines, shipping
routes, towns and cities and the map shrinks pretty quickly. In the
U.S., orbital launch sites are government owned, which represents
another drawback in terms of cost and access. There’s Siberia, of
course, but the idea of taking commercially sensitive technology to
Russia makes some executives uneasy, before factoring in difficulties
in getting there.
“A small island nation in the middle of nowhere,” said Mr. Beck, “is
pretty much exactly what you want.” Welcome to New Zealand:
earthquake-prone, dotted with volcanoes and containing six times as
many sheep as people. The country doesn’t even have a combat air force,
having scrapped its warplanes about 15 years ago to save money. Click here.
Should NASA Build Spacefaring
Logistics Infrastructure? (Source: Space Review)
There’s a recent, renewed push for developing space infrastructure,
including a recent commentary endorsed by Jeff Bezos. Mike Snead
supports that idea, but doesn’t believe it should be the responsibility
of NASA to do so. Click here.
Fixing the US Space Exploration Program
(Source: Space Review)
The future of NASA’s human spaceflight program is one of the key
concerns of the space community as Donald Trump prepares to take
office. Roger Handberg describes why that future will likely require
greater cooperation with other nations. Click here.
Decision Time for the Thirty Meter
Telescope (Source: Space Review)
Construction of one of the world’s largest telescopes atop a Hawaiian
mountain has been stalled by protests and legal disputes. Jeff Foust
reports that the observatory’s partners may soon have to make a
decision about staying in Hawaii or moving to an alternate site. Click here.
Mars is Awful (Source: Space
Mars is widely seen as the long-term destination for human spaceflight,
but is it the best place for people to go? J. Morgan Qualls that
there’s much more to be done in cislunar space and elsewhere before
thinking about going to Mars. Click here.