February 21, 2017

Spaceflight is Next Frontier for UK Under New Powers (Source: AOL)
Space ports could be set up and satellites launched from regions across the UK under new powers to be unveiled this week. The Spaceflight Bill will also allow scientists to fly to the edge of space and conduct experiments in zero gravity, which could help develop vaccines and antibiotics, the Department for Transport (DfT) said. Science minister Jo Johnson said the bill would "cement the UK's position as a world leader in this emerging market".

The first commercial flight from a UK space port could lift off by 2020 under the powers, the DfT said. "With this week's Spaceflight Bill launch, we will cement the UK's position as a world leader in this emerging market, giving us an opportunity to build on existing strengths in research and innovation." The Bill will be unveiled in parliament this week. (2/20)

GKN Aerospace. UK's GKN Aerospace Investing $50 Million in Northwest Florida (Source: WJHG)
The St. Joe Company and the Bay Economic Development Alliance announced Tuesday that one of the world's largest independent first-tier suppliers to the international aviation industry will locate a new manufacturing facility in Bay County, Florida. GKN Aerospace plans to make a capital investment of approximately $50 million and create 170 new jobs for highly skilled employees. (2/14)

China Needs to Cut Commercial Space Costs to Compete with India (Source: Global Times)
Over the past few days, some people have keenly followed the debate on whether China has lagged behind India in its space race. India's successful launch of a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit could serve as a wake-up call for China's commercial space industry and there are a number of lessons for the country to learn.

Of the 104 satellites, 96 belong to the US, which makes India a fierce competitor in the global market for commercial rocket launch services. The South Asian nation's achievements are largely driven by its low price advantage, a weak point for China's commercial space sector.

Although China is developing rapidly into a major player in the space industry, the country's commercial space sector is still in its infancy. Many of the world's satellites are made in or use parts from the US. However, satellites and components made in the US are prohibited from being exported to China, making it very difficult for China to get contracts for commercial satellite launches with other countries. (2/20)

Asian Space Race Intensifies as India Sets Satellite Launch Record (Source: Independent)
India successfully launched 104 satellites in a single mission on Wednesday, setting what its space agency claims is a new world record for launching the most satellites at one go. Of the 104 satellites sent up this week, 101 are foreign satellites to serve international customers as the South Asian nation seeks a bigger share of the $300bn (€281bn) global space industry.

India wants to become a player in the multibillion-dollar space launch market, and has successfully placed light satellites into orbit in recent years. It hopes to eventually send astronauts into space. In September 2014, India successfully guided a spacecraft into orbit around Mars. Only the United States, the former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency had been able to previously do that. Unlike India, China has sent astronauts into space - the first in 2003.

On Tuesday, China said it plans to launch its first cargo spacecraft in April, taking a step toward its goal of establishing a permanently manned space station. Plans for the maiden voyage of the cargo spacecraft were reported on the front page of 'the People's Daily', the official Communist Party newspaper. (2/17)

SpaceX Could Pass a Number of Significant Milestones in 2017 (Source: Ars Technica)
SpaceX launched from the most hallowed ground of the US space enterprise on Sunday—the place where nearly all of the Moon launches occurred, and about 80 percent of all the space shuttle missions, including the vehicle's final flight in 2011. Just as SpaceX brought the pad back to life with its launch this weekend, so too could Launch Complex 39A rejuvenate the innovative rocket company based in California. Click here. (2/19)

NASA Selects New Technologies for Flight Tests for Future Space Exploration (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected five space technologies to test on low-gravity-simulating aircraft, high-altitude balloons or suborbital rockets. The opportunity to fly on these vehicles helps advance technologies closer to practical use by taking them from a laboratory environment to the real world.

The selections were made for NASA’s Flight Opportunities program which organizes chances to fly and selects experiments for NASA support twice each year. The program selects promising space technologies to test through relatively low-cost ways that simulate spaceflight or just reach the edge of “space” on commercial suborbital launch vehicles, reduced gravity aircraft and high-altitude balloon flights. (2/17)

NASA to Host Major Press Conference on 'Discovery Beyond our Solar System' (Source: Independent)
NASA is to host a major press conference on Feb. 22 about a "discovery beyond our solar system". The event will see the revelation of major information about exoplanets, or planets that orbit stars other than our sun, according to a release. It made no further mention of the details of what would be revealed. (2/20)

For These Private Space Companies, the Future is Now, and the Final Frontier is In Reach (Source: CNBC)
Not to be outdone by SpaceX are two companies that lack Musk's star power but have become active players in a new space race that many observers speculate will become the next major source of wealth creation. Moon Express and Planetary Resources are two start-ups in the white-hot global space sector that the FAA estimates is a combined $324 billion, and what some argue could become the first trillion-dollar industry.

Industry players believe space exploration is due for a quantum leap, with commercial test launches abounding this year. "This is the first post-global enterprise," said Chris Lewicki, president and CEO of Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company. While asteroid mining tends to conjure images of video games from the 1980s, Planetary Resources has its sights zeroed in on a future likely to be pioneered, if not dominated, by private companies. (2/18)

A New Push for Missile Defense in Space Under Trump? (Source: Defense News)
Ahead of the release of the new administration’s first budget request, U.S. defense officials are pushing to renew the effort to get missile-tracking sensors into space. President Trump made a campaign statement touting the need to pursue space-based missile defense in an October 2016 memo. In the memo, he said he wanted a ballistic missile defense system with “a heavy emphasis on space-based early warning and missile tracking technologies.”

Each of the last five administrations have had a space-based sensor layer as a critical component of its missile defense architecture on paper. But it’s never gone beyond that; usually dampened by bigger priorities and shrinking budgets, according to Tom Karako, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (2/19)

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