February 25, 2017

China and Italy Agree on Human Spaceflight Cooperation (Source: GB Times)
The space agencies of China and Italy have signed an agreement to cooperate on human spaceflight. The agreement between the China Manned Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency will include cooperation in research on human spaceflight issues, mutual use of technical facilities and the exchange of personnel. The efforts could aid China's development of a permanent space station set to be operational by the early 2020s. (2/22)

NASA Increases Funding Available to Virginia Spaceport for Military Launches (Source: NASA)
NASA plans to issue a modification to increase the contract ceiling on a task order contract with the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) for launch site services supporting government-sponsored missions. This modification will increase the contract ceiling value by from $53.9M by $16M to $69.9M.

This action will expand the scope of NASA's existing contract with VCSFA for supporting expanded UnManned Systems (UMS) Activities not originally anticipated. The increase will allow unanticipated but now planned missions for the National Security Space Program Spaceport Enhancements Services, Excess ICBM Demonstration/Validation Launch Services Capabilities Enhancements. Click here. (2/16)

Aerojet Rocketdyne Coleman Aerospace Opens New Facility on Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Aerojet Rocketdyne)
Aerojet Rocketdyne announced that Coleman Aerospace unveiled its new Space Coast Integration & Test Facility at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The new facility location was previously used by the Air Force for rocket processing. The 45th Space Wing made the facility available to Space Florida to sublease to a company that would bring new work onto Cape Canaveral and create jobs. Coleman Aerospace worked with Space Florida to refurbish the facility so it could be used once again for production. (2/24)

Under Obama, NASA Loses A Planet. Under Trump, NASA Finds Seven In One Month (Source: Daily Caller)
Trump’s NASA announced the discovery of seven new exoplanets on Wednesday after the space agency lost one planet under Obama. Under Obama, Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status. Under Trump, NASA announced the discovery of the seven planets, around the star TRAPPIST-1. Some Twitter users joked that this showed the new administration’s competence.

Editor's Note: This is silly and wrong. Pluto was 'demoted' during GW Bush's presidency in 2006. And most of the TRAPPIST planets were identified during President Obama's term in office. (2/24)

Cislunar Space: The Next 30 Years (Source: Air & Space)
Up to speed and thinking about the future, ULA hosted a unique gathering in Colorado last week. Approximately 70 invited engineers, scientists and space entrepreneurs gathered at ULA corporate headquarters to consider the pathways and connections of future activities envisioned for cislunar space. Working from ULA’s concept of 1000 people working in cislunar space within the next 30 years, we were tasked to consider and work out what these people will do and how the ULA Cislunar 1000 vision will come to pass.

Those who’ve been following changes within NASA and the growing arena of commercial space have noticed the increasing attention paid to cislunar space. ULA developed Cislunar 1000 because they foresee a wide variety of potential commercial activities in space built around the manufacture and sale of space resources—specifically water and the propellant derived from it to fuel transfer stages that move payloads around and through cislunar space. (2/22)

Asian Space Race Intensifies (Source: Straits Times)
The 21st century is touted to be the Asian Age and this could be defined through the eyes of two nations leading the new global space race. China, the world’s second largest economy, and India, the world’s seventh, have become the unlikely new space age leaders. China owns and manages the second largest fleet of spacecraft in orbit, operating several constellations of navigation satellites, remote sensing satellites, communication satellites and surveillance spacecraft. It is also one of three nations with the capability to recover satellites and conduct a manned space flight.

Close behind is India, which sent into orbit its first satellite, the Aryabhata, in 1975. Since this initial foray into space, it has put in orbit 142 satellites aboard 59 rockets. Its space-based programmes are a profitable venture — at a fraction of the cost that other nations had spent. Their aggressive foray into the big blue yonder comes at the expense of two traditional space rivals — the United States and Russia, formerly the Soviet Union. (2/24)

Collaboration with NASA and SpaceX Gives ASU a Competitive Edge (Source: State Press)
To innovation and beyond, ASU's collaboration with NASA and SpaceX inspires students to reach for the stars. In early January, NASA announced that ASU will lead its first major space exploration mission called “Psyche," which marks the beginning of the University's serious commitment to the ever-expanding space race to discover more information about our vast solar system.

Principal investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton, director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), spent over five years developing the scientific proposal behind Psyche along with a team of 150 people. Tanton’s proposed mission will help scientists understand how planets form and gain more insight into the complicated past of the solar system. (2/23)

How Bright is the Future of Space Food? (Source: University of Hawaii)
Research at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa could play a major role in NASA’s goal to travel to Mars in the 2030s, including what the astronauts could eat during that historic mission. A trip to Mars and back is estimated to take about two and half years, and ideally, their diet would be healthy while requiring minimal effort and energy. UH Mānoa mechanical engineering student Aleca Borsuk may have the solution.

She determined that she could significantly increase the edible parts, which is basically the entire plant, by changing the lighting. “If you move the lights and have some of them overhead and some of them within the plant leaves, it can actually stimulate them to grow faster and larger.” This is without adding more lights and by using energy efficient LEDs. (2/23)

World View Unveils New Global Headquarters & Spaceport Tucson (Source: World View)
World View, the stratospheric exploration company, today announced the grand opening of its new Global Headquarters campus, collocated with Spaceport Tucson. The 142,000-square-foot facility is the world’s first purpose-built commercial gateway to the Stratosphere. "World View and Spaceport Tucson are at the forefront of opening an entirely new economy in the stratosphere,” said Jane Poynter. (2/23)

ESA Deal Hinges on What Trump Does with NASA’s Human Spaceflight Plans (Source: Space News)
A barter agreement the European Space Agency hopes to reach with NASA next year assumes the Trump administration won’t drastically change the deep space exploration plans set in motion by the Obama administration.

That assumption is now being put to the test as NASA studies putting astronauts on the first flight of the Space Launch System instead of waiting for the heavy-lift rocket’s second mission for Orion’s crewed debut. What’s more, a NASA authorization bill headed toward final passage next week calls for a 60-day look at what it would take to launch crew on Orion to the International Space Station using rockets other than SLS. (2/23)

MDA to Acquire DigitalGlobe (Source: Space News)
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates announced Feb. 24 that it will acquire commercial remote sensing company DigitalGlobe for $2.4 billion, the biggest deal to date in the ongoing consolidation in the Earth imaging market.

MDA said it is offering $17.50 in cash and nearly one third of an MDA share per share of DigitalGlobe, for a combined value of $35 per DigitalGlobe share. That deal values DigitalGlobe at $2.4 billion, plus the assumption of $1.2 billion in DigitalGlobe debt. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which they expect to close in the second half of this year. (2/24)

Stephen Colbert Suits Up, Starliner-Style (Source: Boeing)
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is about to go from one-liners to Starliner during its Friday, Feb. 24, episode. Comedian and host Colbert tried on the newly unveiled Starliner spacesuit during a recent visit to Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. “How does it feel to be the first honorary Starliner astronaut?” Colbert said. “I’ve made it. This is what all this comedy work has been leading up to.” (2/24)

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