April 12, 2017

Embry-Riddle Researchers Discover How Solar Winds Heat Ions Across Earth (Source: ERAU)
A discovery made by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University researchers about space plasma might help answer one of the burning questions in solar physics: How is the sun’s corona heated? It could also someday reveal a pathway tomaking clean nuclear fusion power a reality. Katariina Nykyri, a physics professor, and Tommy Moore, a doctoral student — both researchers at Embry-Riddle’s Center for Space and AtmosphericResearch (CSAR) — published their findings on how solar wind transfers energy across Earth’s magnetic field barrier in the September 2016 issue of Nature Physics.

Together with Andy Dimmock from Aalto University in Espoo, Finland, they dug deep into sensor data from the European Space Agency’s Cluster satellites to discover how solar wind interacting with Earth’s magnetic field is responsible for heating particles in Earth’s magnetosphere. Click here. (4/12)

Telecom Wants To Revive Challenge To $20B NASA Contract (Source: Law360)
A New Jersey telecom urged the Federal Circuit Monday to revive its bid protest contesting its removal from an up-to $20 billion NASA IT contract, arguing a Federal Claims judge improperly considered evidence beyond the solicitation's “unambiguous” size standard. NASA's August 2013 solicitation clearly envisioned a small business set-aside portion for contractors of no more than 500 employees if providing goods they didn't personally manufacture, York Telecom Corp. said, meaning the Federal Claims judge should not have looked to a Q&A to find a “patent ambiguity”. (4/11)

Air Force Wants Contractors to Defend Space Systems from Cyberattacks (Source: C4ISRnet)
The Air Force is looking for defensive cyber operations contractor support to protect space weapon systems. In a request for information issued at the end of March, the 50th Network Operations Group, which falls under the 50th Space Wing, is soliciting industry cyber defense capabilities to enable protection, detection, response and sustainment of 50th Space Wing cyber defense missions.

The notice was sure to note that 50th Space Wing Space Mission Systems “are distinct from general purpose communications systems such as the NIPRNet and the SIPRNet; the subject of this acquisition is Cybersecurity and DCO for 50 SW Space Mission Systems.” (4/11)

'Blue Origin' Rocket Engine's Future Rests on Upcoming Hot-Fire Tests (Source: Defense News)
United Launch Alliance is set to make a decision this year on whether a Blue Origin or Aerojet Rocketdyne engine should power its Vulcan launch system. The outcome hinges on a series of hot-fire tests that will prove whether Blue Origin’s BE4 works, ULA’s chief executive said. "It’s a big decision, and you only get to make it once, and if you pick the wrong engine it’s very difficult to come back from that, so we’re going to be very, very careful,” said Tory Bruno. (4/11)

RD-180 Ban Thrusts Russian Manufacturer Into Uncertain Future (Source: Defense News)
Igor Komarov, director general of Roscosmos, painted a bright future for the RD-180 and other Russian rocket propulsion systems. “We have requests from some countries that are developing launchers and their expertise in space,” he told reporters April 4. “We have requests to sell engines. It's not just the United States. We have good relations, good history for our sales and successful launches, very high performance and statistics, very good statistics of these launches. No one can complain.”

Komarov’s comments depict a rosy picture, but Energomash’s situation may be more complicated, Russian space analysts told Defense News. While Energomash’s takeover of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center’s manufacturing facility in Perm, Russia, has brought in new commercial business — mostly through sales of RD-276 engines for the Proton-M launch vehicle — RD-180 sales still make up a large part of the company’s revenue.

Energomash in 2014 earned revenues of about $113.9 million, or 4.4 billion rubles, said Pavel Luzin, a space policy expert at Perm University in Russia. The company actually operated at a loss that year of about $30.4 million, or 1.7 billion rubles. The next year, Energomash’s revenue rose to $192.5 million, and it made a $26 million profit. The explanation for the sudden profitability is simple, Luzin said. After Khrunichev transferred its Perm plant to Energomash in October, it made money from the sale of 48 RD-278 engines produced there. (4/11)

ZERO-G Plans 17 More Florida Flights in 2017 (Source: ZERO-G)
ZERO-G's manifest of flights in 2017 currently includes 17 Florida-based microgravity missions, with six flying from Miami and 11 from Orlando. Four of the Orlando flights are planned for researchers and all the others are for tourism/entertainment. Click here to view the manifest. (4/11)

Italy's Avio Goes Public (Source: Bloomberg)
Italian launch vehicle company Avio started trading on the Milan stock exchange Monday. Shares in Avio rose 11 percent in the first day of trading Monday on the Borsa Italiana before falling back. Avio listed on the exchange after a merger with investment vehicle Space2 SpA and the departure of private-equity funds. Avio, which is the prime contractor for the Vega small launch vehicle and part of the Ariane 6 program, believes being publicly listed will make it easier for the company to access capital for future programs. (4/11)

Harris CapRock Exec Joins Global Eagle (Source: Space News)
The chief financial officer of Harris CapRock has joined satellite connectivity company Global Eagle. Paul Rainey because CFO of Global Eagle earlier this month, filling a position vacated in February by Tom Severson, who departed the company abruptly with CEO Dave Davis. Rainey arrives at Global Eagle as the company faces a near-term threat to its Nasdaq listing because of the delayed filing of its 2016 financial results. (4/11)

Climate Data Gap Could Result From NASA Funding Cuts (Source: New York Times)
Scientists are worried that proposed cuts to NASA's Earth science programs could create a climate data gap. Last month's budget proposal included terminating four planned or operational missions designed at least in part to collect climate-related data. Scientists were worried even before the new administration took office about the potential loss of climate data, in part because of a perceived gap in the responsibilities of NASA and NOAA to study climate and weather. (4/11)

Space Shuttle Tile Stolen From NASA Kennedy Space Center (Source: Popular Mechanics)
A thermal tile designed for the Space Shuttle was stolen from the Shuttle Atlantis's display exhibit at NASA Kennedy Space Center on Sunday April 9, according to freelance photographer Brandon Thonen who has worked on projects at NASA Kennedy before and is familiar with the situation. "It was never used on a shuttle, it was just for training purposes," Thonen told Popular Mechanics.

The thermal plate is a 6-inch square black tile encased in plexiglass that is used at Kennedy Space Center for educational purposes. It has serial number VT70—191 with three additional digits that are unknown. A Space Shuttle tile matching this description on eBay or for sale elsewhere online should be treated with suspicion and possibly reported to the authorities. (4/11)

Space Coast Scientist Wants to Study Sun Closer (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A decorated NASA physicist based in Melbourne wants to get us closer to the sun. A project pitched by Robert Youngquist, who in 2009 became the first Kennedy Space Center Engineer/Scientist of the Year, landed on a list of 22 grants being awarded by NASA. His project would research the development of a high-temperature coating that would reflect up to 99.9 percent of the sun’s radiation.

The increase in launches on the Space Coast from companies like SpaceX and United Launch Alliance has encouraged scientists, Youngquist said. "It does help us,” he said. “When you have all of these different companies launching, the general excitement level and number of applications we can work on goes up.”

If developed, Youngquist’s project would be placed on a spacecraft that could travel closer to the sun than any other craft has reached. “We want to understand this great ball of energy,” he said. “You can only make certain measurements by getting close. There are a lot of things we don’t understand about the sun.” (4/11)

A Celebration of Life, for Dr. David Webb (Source: SPACErePORT)
Friends of Dr. David Webb have issued an open invitation to a celebration of his life at 2:30 on April 22nd at the First Presbyterian Church of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. (Directions can be found at http://firstpresbyteriannsb.com) Webb, who was one of the 15 members of President Reagan’s National Commission on Space, was an avid advocate on behalf of space exploration and development. He was party to the founding of the International Space University, Zero Gravity Corporation, and many other organizations.

At the request of Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Webb created the graduate-level Space Studies program at the University of North Dakota. Born in County Tipperary, Republic of Ireland, Dr. Webb was an international outdoor adventurer before becoming a career space advocate. He raced both cars and motorcycles. He was a free-diving lobster fisherman, house-boy for a millionaire, drove 18-wheeler trucks, served time on the original build of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, and worked with a geologist for six months creating the first known map of the Arctic Red River.

The ceremony will be informal, a mix of music chosen by Dr. Webb with memories shared by those attending. After the ceremony, those who wish to do so will adjourn to Nolan’s Pub at the intersection of Route 520 and A1A in Cocoa Beach. If you are able to join us, please contact MoiraLynn Mefein, 386-212-0664, or mlmwriter@earthlink.net. If you are unable to attend and would like to share your favorite Webb recollections, email them to MoiraLynn (David’s companion for the last 16 years of his life) and your memories will be shared at the service. (4/12)

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