March 11, 2017

Space Florida Approves Loan to Get OneWeb Factory Under Construction (Source: Florida Politics)
With a $17.5 million, third-party loan arranged and approved Friday by Space Florida, OneWeb expects to begin construction of its satellite factory next week outside the gates of Kennedy Space Center. OneWeb already had received approval for a $17.5 million package of state incentives through the Florida Department of Transportation in a deal SpaceFlorida worked out last year. The loan, through SunTrust Bank, expedites the flow of that money to get construction started, while OneWeb and its partners, principally Airbus, work through some corporate arrangements on longterm financing.

The company is committed to building a $300 million satellite factory in Exploration Park, a business park operated by SpaceFlorida. OneWeb’s factory will go in across the street from another space factory already being built there by Blue Origin, for the construction of that company’s next generation rocket, the New Glenn. (3/10)

SpaceX Helps Draw Other Businesses to California Town (Source: Daily Breeze)
“It’s really an amazing story about a building that could have gone the other way and just been offices or something,” said Smith, who lives in Gardena. “We’re right down the street from SpaceX and a new brewery. It’s so up and coming. I think Hawthorne itself is trying very hard to elevate and develop and grow. I think it’s really the happening place.”

Los Angeles Ale Works, the city’s first brewery, opened last month in eyeshot of the Hawthorne Arts Complex. Two brews — Space XPA and Space XPA Full Thrust — are named in honor of nearby SpaceX headquarters, where a 16-story-tall Falcon 9 rocket booster stands outside as a testament to the commercial spaceflight company’s groundbreaking achievements.

Since coming to the city in 2008, SpaceX has helped buoy new eateries in a downtown that was struggling to attract upscale tenants. Eureka! Tasting Kitchen and Flights Beer Bar are now doing bustling business. But that was just the beginning. Today, city planners are busily fielding calls from interested developers. (3/10)

Aldrin Visits White House, Talks Space with Vice President Mike Pence (Source:
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person ever to walk on the moon, stopped by the White House Friday (March 10) to talk space with Vice President Mike Pence. Aldrin's visit, which Pence unveiled in a Twitter post, comes as President Donald Trump's administration works to develop a new space policy for NASA and other government agencies.

The Trump administration has not yet formally announced any space policy goals, though there has been some discussion of reviving the National Space Council to coordinate the nation's space activities. If that comes to pass, Pence could oversee the NSC as its leading it has traditionally been a role for the vice president. Aldrin, meanwhile, has been a staunch advocate for human spaceflight and sending astronauts to Mars. (3/10)

The NASA-Hollywood Bromance (Source: Men's Journal)
You could argue that the head of a $1.6 billion NASA division has better things to do than answer endless questions from a movie studio, but NASA's investment in The Martian paid off: In addition to seven Oscar nominations, the film generated priceless publicity for the space program, something the agency believes is crucial to maintaining public interest in its missions, which are sometimes hard to explain or even see. After the movie was completed, Damon even visited JPL facility in California for a press event alongside real-life astronaut Drew Feustel and other NASA employees.

As you may have noticed, Hollywood has been bingeing on space movies as of late: Gravity, Hidden Figures, and Passengers, among others. February saw the release of The Space Between Us, about a boy born on Mars, and in March, Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson starred in Daniel Espinosa's Life, a sci-fi thriller about a rogue martian life-form. In many of these cases, NASA offered expertise and personnel, even shooting locations, to help bring these films to life. The goal, simply, is to promote the space agency and its next big-picture mission: a manned flight to Mars. (3/10)

Neil Armstrong Biopic 'First Man' Gets 2018 Release Date (Source:
"First Man," the upcoming biographical film on the life of Neil Armstrong, has a release date: Oct. 12, 2018, according to Deadline. Based on the book "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" by James Hansen, "First Man" will chronicle the life and career of the first person to walk on the moon. Actor Ryan Gosling ("La La Land") will portray Armstrong in the Universal film, which will be directed by Damien Chazelle ("La La Land"). Hansen's book is being adapted for screen by Oscar winner Josh Singer ("Spotlight"). (3/10)

SpaceX Targeting Early Tuesday Falcon 9 Launch at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX is targeting an early Tuesday morning launch of a commercial communications satellite from Kennedy Space Center. A Falcon 9 rocket completed a test-firing of its nine main engines Thursday evening at KSC's Launch Complex 39A. If preparations stay on track, SpaceX will attempt a liftoff at 1:34 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, with the EchoStar 23 satellite bound for a geostationary orbit more than 22,000 miles over the equator. There's a 70 percent chance of favorable weather during a window extending until 4:04 a.m. (3/10)

Only on Falcon 9: Automated System Can Terminate SpaceX Rocket Launches (Source: Florida Today)
It could be the most critical position during a launch: the military officer ready to push a button to blow up a rocket if it veers off course and endangers the public. But when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off Feb. 19, the seat at the Mission Flight Control Officer’s console at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station was empty — on purpose.

For the first time in decades of launches from the Cape, responsibility for commanding the rocket to self-destruct, if necessary, lay with computers on board the Falcon, not a “human in the loop.” Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, said the successful launch with an Automated Flight Safety System, or AFSS, was a historic “game-changer,” demonstrating technology that will improve safety, lower costs and enable more launches from the Eastern Range.

“It was tested extensively, and is actually safer than having an individual in the loop,” Monteith said in a recent interview. “It fundamentally changes the way we are doing business.” SpaceX is the first and only U.S. launch company approved to fly such a system, after it was tested on 13 previous flights in “shadow mode.” The company’s next launch, targeted for 1:34 a.m. Tuesday, is expected to be the last time a Falcon rocket relies on an officer ready at the console as part of a traditional flight termination system. (3/11)

Boeing CST-100 Starliner Parachute System Test Launch Lifts off Successfully from Spaceport America (Source: Spaceport America)
Spaceport America hosted a successful Boeing CST-100 Starliner Parachute System Test Launch from the spaceport's horizontal launch complex. In collaboration with teams from Boeing and White Sands Missile Range, a giant helium-filled balloon lifted off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, carrying a flight-sized boilerplate Starliner spacecraft up to about 40,000 feet where it floated across the San Andres Mountains for a parachute landing on the other side.

The goal was for the spacecraft to reach the same velocity it would experience during a return from space and for the parachutes to deploy as planned. Data collected from these tests will be used to verify the parachute inflation characteristics and landing system performance, as well as the altitude and descent rate of the Starliner at touchdown. (3/10)

Space Tourism and Business Looking Up (Source: Space Daily)
Some question whether private companies will be safe as they race into orbit. Stallmer answers that safety comes first for these companies, and that much "attention to detail has to be paid to everything" that they do. If a company does not have the safest vehicle out there, he says, "you're not going to be in business very long." Companies that have had failures, like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, have worked to fix their technology.

Elon Musk's plan to go to the moon is "a very risky mission," says Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer with The Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia. He says that while people may question whether a non-government group can achieve this goal, he thinks SpaceX can. The trip to the moon fits into Musk's "very clear plan" to build a colony on Mars, Pitts explains. (3/9)

Teal Group Pegs Value of Space Payloads Through 2036 at Over $250 Billion (Source: Space Daily)
Coinciding with the Satellite 2017 Conference and Exhibition held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC during March 6-9, 2017, Teal Group space analysts have identified 8,607 satellites, probes and capsules to be built and launched to earth or deep space orbits between 2017 and 2036. They estimate the value of these space payloads at more than $250 billion.

The payload count for 2017-2036 reflects a 41% increase compared to the 5,095 payloads identified last year for 2016-2035 and 46.5% more than the 4,067 payloads for the 20-year look forward in 2015. The trend in the future market for space payloads continues upward, and it is being driven largely by the introduction of thousands of small, nano and pico (mainly "Cubesats") commercial satellites designed to provide everything from broadband and mobile communications to meteorological, imaging and position location and tracking services. (3/7)

How Low Can You Go? New Project to Bring Satellites Nearer to Earth (Source: Space Daily)
The University of Manchester is leading a multi-million pound project to develop satellites which will orbit much closer to the Earth - making them smaller, cheaper, helping to dodge space debris and improving the quality of images they can send back.

Remote sensing satellites currently operate at about 500-800km above the Earth, above the residual atmosphere that exists at lower altitudes. But this means that observations of the ground must also take place over this range, either limiting resolution or requiring large telescopes to be used.

The 5.7m euro grant from the European Union's Horizon 2020 fund will allow the research team to design new technologies to build satellites that can operate at 200-450 km above the Earth's surface - lower than the international space station. (3/7)

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