April 10, 2017

Soyuz Returns ISS Crewmembers to Earth (Source: CBS)
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three space station crew members landed safely this morning. The Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft landed in Kazakhstan at 7:20 a.m. Eastern, nearly three and a half hours after undocking from the ISS. The Soyuz returned to Earth NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko after spending almost six months in space. On Sunday, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson formally took command of the station from Kimbrough. She remains on the ISS with ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy. A Soyuz carrying two new crew members will launch to the station April 20. (4/10)

Japanese Microsatellite Launcher to Get Second Chance (Source: Nikkei)
A Japanese small launch vehicle will get a second launch attempt within the next year. The president of the Japanese space agency JAXA said Friday that the agency would make a second launch attempt of the SS-520-4 rocket, a converted sounding rocket, some time during the current Japanese fiscal year, which started April 1. The first SS-520-4 launch, in January, ended in failure because of wiring problems with the rocket. (4/10)

Perlmutter Enters Race for Colorado Governor (Source: Denver Post)
A congressman noted for his advocacy of human missions to Mars is mounting his own mission to become governor of Colorado. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) announced Sunday he will seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018. The state's current governor, John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is not eligible to run again because of term limits. Perlmutter, a member of the House Science Committee, has supported plans for human missions to Mars, frequently holding up a bumper sticker at hearings calling for a mission there in 2033. (4/10)

Mitsubishi Electric to Build New Satellite Production Facility (Source: Space Daily)
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. will invest approximately 11 billion yen to construct a new facility for the production of satellites in Kamakura, Japan. Together with existing facilities, Mitsubishi Electric's production capacity will increase to 18 satellites in parallel, up from 10 in parallel at present, which will enable the company to satisfy growing demand for governmental satellites in Japan and commercial communication satellites worldwide. Mitsubishi Electric is targeting space-related revenue of 150 billion yen by 2021. (4/10)

No Roscosmos Plans to Send Space Tourists to ISS Before 2020 (Source: Space Daily)
Russia's Roscosmos state corporation has no plans to send space tourists to the country's segment of the International Space Station before 2020, Roscosmos deputy director general said. "As for sending tourists to the Russian segment of the ISS, Roscosmos has no plans to implement such flights before 2020 because of the absence of the relevant capabilities," Sergey Savelyev said. He added that space tourism was not limited by ISS-related projects and Russia's corporation was interested in attracting tourists. (4/10)

BRICS States Want to Expand Cooperation to Space Science (Source: Space Daily)
Secretary-General of China's National Space Administration Yulong Tian said that the BRICS countries are interested in broadening the space cooperation to space science mission and telecommunication. The BRICS countries are interested in broadening the space cooperation to space science mission and telecommunication, Secretary-General of China's National Space Administration Yulong Tian said.

BRICS is an association of five developing economies - Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa - which comprises over one third of the world's population. The five nations have a combined nominal GDP equivalent to approximately 20 percent of gross world product. (4/10)

Ukraine in Talks with ESA to Become Member (Source: Space Daily)
Ukraine's State Space Agency is currently in accession discussions with the European Space Agency (ESA) to become its member, Chairman Yuriy Radchenko said. Last Tuesday, Radchenko said that Ukraine was actively cooperating with ESA with a goal to become a member of the agency. When asked whether Ukraine is holding discussions on the accession with the ESA, Radchenko said, "Yes." (4/10)

Europe's Largest Suborbital Rocket Launched from Sweden's Spaceport (Source: Space Daily)
MAXUS 9, Europe's largest suborbital rocket for experiments in microgravity, successfully lifted off from SSC's (Swedish Space Corporation's) launch facility Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. The rocket was launched with nine scientific experiments and a technology demonstrator, all together 579 kg, to an altitude of 678 km which enabled slightly more than 12 minutes and of stable microgravity, 10-5 g.

The payload landed with a parachute within the impact area and will be recovered by helicopter. The rocket engineers will then disassemble the payload to enable for the scientists to perform further analyses of their experiments. (4/10)

Could Jeff Bezos, The World's Second Richest Man, Be Humanity's Last Hope? (Source: Forbes)
If anything, most tech moguls are spending more energy hiding than exploring. “I keep a helicopter gassed up all the time, and I have an underground bunker with an air-filtration system.” So says the head of an investment firm preparing for the collapse of civilization, as noted in The New Yorker. LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman estimates that more than 50 percent of Silicon Valley’s billionaires have bought some level of “apocalypse insurance,” such as an underground bunker.

And the best example is none other than Peter Thiel, the San Francisco venture capitalist who cofounded PayPal. Thiel controversially acquired citizenship in New Zealand by making an undisclosed amount of business investment. New Zealand, which once suffered from its isolation from the rest of the world, has now seen “the tyranny of distance” turned into its greatest advantage. Click here. (4/10)

CU Boulder Researcher Lands NASA Grant to Advance Asteroid Mining (Source: Daily Camera)
If humans in future decades realize a goal of mining asteroids for water, Jay McMahon may very well be able to take credit for helping to make it happen. McMahon, 34, is the recipient of one of 15 Phase I proposals receiving awards announced Thursday by NASA for early stage technology projects considered visionary concepts in future space exploration.

McMahon's proposal is titled "Dismantling Rubble Pile Asteroids with Area-of-Effect Soft-bots," and like the other 14 Phase I grant recipients, he will receive about $125,000 to cover nine months of work starting in May. (4/10)

Humans to Mars Official NASA Goal, But What About Radiation? (Source: Voice of America)
Scientists are working on ways to protect astronauts from the radiation they will face while traveling outside Earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere and Earth’s magnetic fields protect us from the damaging and possibly deadly effects of cosmic and gamma rays from our sun and outer space. High levels of radiation can lead to cancer and sometimes death.

If there were a nuclear disaster here on Earth, it would take several meters of lead or thick concrete to keep us safe from the radiation. The same is true for astronauts in space. The thin atmospheres of the moon and Mars will not provide protection for the people who might travel or live there. So shielding human beings from radiation is a critical part of colonizing space. Click here. (4/10)

New Embry-Riddle Degree Explores What Happens to Body in Space (Source: Daytona Beach News Journal)
Strange things happen to the body in space. When astronaut Scott Kelly returned home after spending almost a year aboard the international space station, he was 2 inches taller. Kelly later reverted to his normal height, but not all the effects were benign. His muscles weakened, he had eye problems and no one knows how cosmic radiation will affect him in years to come.

“Astronauts come back down pre-diabetic, with higher blood pressure — basically aged,” said Karen Gaines, dean of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “The question is ‘Why?’ and we don’t have all the reasons why.”

A new aerospace physiology program at ERAU could one day better explain — or even prevent or cure — aliments caused from time in the final frontier. The program examines how being in space affects the body, melding physiology fundamentals with aerospace anomalies. ERAU is collaborating with Florida Hospital to provide students with hands-on experience in clinical settings. Click here. (4/10) 

Lockheed Martin Debuts System to Protect Space Assets (Source: Lockheed Martin)\\\\
A growing number of satellite system owners and operators need new capabilities to protect their assets and missions in space. To address this need, Lockheed Martin introduces iSpace – intelligent Space - which provide defense, civil, commercial, and international customers with sensor data processing, space domain awareness, command and control, and battle management capabilities for the space domain.

"Space is an important and valuable domain that has changed from a safe environment to one that is congested and threatened," said Dr. Rob Smith, vice president of C4ISR for Lockheed Martin. "Through the predictive analytic capabilities provided by iSpace, the unknown becomes known, providing decision makers with the ability to quickly understand the operational picture and respond appropriately."

The iSpace software tasks, processes, and correlates data from a worldwide network of government, commercial, and scientific community sensors and command centers. After gleaning information from optical, radar, infrared, and radio sensors, iSpace automatically provides information to users about what is happening in real-time and recommends the best course of action. (4/4)

Canada Plans Space Advisory Board (Source: SpaceQ)
The Government of Canada is seeking candidates for a Space Advisory Board that is inclusive, forward-thinking and positioned to drive innovation and science in Canada, and that will help identify future opportunities for economic growth that will benefit all Canadians.

Consideration will be given to individuals from industry, the academic and research community, and not-for-profit sector that can provide specific knowledge on Canada’s current and potential niche strengths in space science and technology, including emerging technologies and space-related applications both within and beyond the space sector.”

Industry representation from large, medium-sized, and smaller firms is also desired, taking into account the need to identify positive economic impacts throughout the value chain, including a wide range of products and technology applications. (4/10)

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