April 18, 2017

Terrifying North Korean Missiles are Fake and Were Wobbling During Parade (Source: News.com.au)
Terrifying new missiles proudly unveiled in a parade by North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un may be fake, experts claim. The weapons, unveiled during a parade marking 105 years since the state’s found Kim Il-sung was born, caused fears around the world that the secretive nation’s nuke program is far more advanced than previously thought.

But Chad O’Carroll, managing director of specialist service NK News, expressed doubts after seeing the nose cone of one of the final group of missiles “wobbled quite noticeably”, reports The Sun. And Lee Il-Woo, a senior analyst at the private Korea Defence Network, told AFP: “I suspect they all might be mock-ups aimed to impress the outside world.” (4/17)

North Korea's Missile Launch 'May Have Been Thwarted by US Cyber Attack' (Source: Sydney Morning Herald)
North Korea's botched missile test on Sunday may have been disrupted by a secretive US program of cyber and electronic warfare designed to sabotage launches. The attempted test, and a weekend parade of Pyongyang's military hardware, prompted international condemnation and an American promise of further action if the hermit state failed to end its provocations.

It came as the US's national security adviser confirmed for the first time that Washington was working with China to rein in North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Pyongyang spent the weekend showing off its arsenal of ballistic missiles alongside thousands of goose-stepping troops in a military parade. But the regime suffered a humiliating setback when a test-launched medium-range missile exploded four to five seconds into its flight. Its destruction raised immediate suspicions that it had fallen victim to sabotage.

"It could have failed because the system is not competent enough to make it work, but there is a very strong belief that the US - through cyber methods - has been successful on several occasions in interrupting these sorts of tests and making them fail," Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Conservative foreign secretary, told the BBC. (4/17)

'Friends of NASA Plumbrook' Make Case for Continued Funding (Source: Sandusky Register)
Each year, the Friends of NASA Plum Brook make personal visits to the Ohio congressional delegation in Washington in addition to visiting with our state lawmakers in Columbus. We recently returned from our seventh annual trip to Washington to advocate on behalf of the unique, world class aerospace testing done here.

When the organization was first formed, the objective of our visits was very simple. Plum Brook was unknown to many of our lawmakers. Our job was to educate them about the importance of the station and why it makes sense to fund its parent, the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

There is a constant threat to federal facilities. Those that are forgotten, or are unable to justify their existence, face uncertain futures. We never ask for funding without making a compelling reason why. The testing that takes place at Plum Brook is beneficial to national security and mission safety — and it actually saves tax dollars. (4/17)

An Alternative Architecture for Deep Space Exploration Using SLS and Orion (Source: Space Review)
NASA has started to disclose more details about how the Space Launch System and Orion can be used in the 2020s to develop a “gateway” in cislunar space to support operations of a transport vehicle for missions eventually to Mars. Ari Allyn-Feuer explains some issues with that architecture and proposes an alternative, and potentially more effective, approach. Click here. (4/17)
Passing in Silence, Passing in Shadows (Source: Space Review)
An updated version of a recent book about the first shuttle mission provides new details about efforts to collect images of the shuttle in orbit by a reconnaissance satellite. Dwayne Day examines those revelations as part of a broader effort to use spysats to spy on other satellites. Click here. (4/17)
The Roscosmos View of the Future of Human Spaceflight (Source: Space Review)
There’s been considerable speculation about Russia’s plans for the future of the ISS as well as potential participation in missions to the Moon and Mars. Jeff Foust reports on what the head of Roscosmos recently said about those issues in a rare press conference with Western reporters. Click here. (4/17)
Which Comes First for a New National Space Council: Organization or Vision? (Source: Space Review)
As the Trump Administration continues to show interest in reestablishing the National Space Council, many wonder what such an entity can achieve. Roger Handberg argues that it will depend if the council is preceded by an overarching vision for the country’s space policy. Click here. (4/17) 

No, Russia Isn’t Sending a Terminator Robot to ISS (Source: Ars Technica)
The reports this weekend were breathless. Mashable said Russia was sending a "death dealing" robot with the power to shoot guns to the International Space Station. Pravda reported that the Russian cyborg, Fyodor, had frightened the West. It was like the Terminator, only in space, and only for reals.

In reality, probably not. The stories were written after the Russian deputy prime minister overseeing military and space activities, Dmitry Rogozin, posted on Facebook and Twitter about the country's humanoid robot, Fyodor. Rogozin was proud that the robot had demonstrated the ability to shoot from both hands. "Fine motor skills and decision-making algorithms are still being improved," he tweeted. (4/17)

How a NASA Astronaut’s Treasure Map Could Make History (Source: Vanity Fair)
Who wouldn’t be captivated by the idea of fortune and glory hidden right under our very noses? On the Discovery Channel’s new docu-series Cooper’s Treasure, professional treasure hunter Darrell Miklos is on the trail of an unbelievable discovery: a series of shipwrecks—hundreds of them, in fact—discovered by the late astronaut Gordon Cooper during a space expedition. And yes, there is a treasure map. Cooper died somewhat suddenly in 2004 from heart failure—but not before he gave Miklos a life-changing piece of information.

While on the Mercury 9 Faith 7 expedition, Cooper discovered a series of anomalies, which he deduced might be shipwrecks. When he arrived back on Earth, the astronaut began a decades-long research process, making a map of his discoveries and tracking down any information he could about which sunken ships might correspond to the locations he had seen. Now Miklos is picking up the trail where he left off. “I’m probably the only person on the planet that’s in this particular situation,” Miklos told Vanity Fair. “It’s a one-off story. There is nothing like it. I doubt there will be anything like it in the future."

According to Miklos, Cooper said he discovered the treasure while using equipment to spot nuclear threats according to magnetic anomalies. Cooper discovered several anomalies that were too small to be nuclear silos, Miklos explains in the first episode of the series, which premieres April 18. He soon deduced that they must be shipwrecks. (4/17)

How 3D Printing is Changing the Future of the Space Industry (Source: Virgin.com)
In aerospace, parts are complicated, and manufacturing them can be very expensive and time consuming. When rocket engine parts can take up to a year to make, it is very difficult to start a new rocket company and for aerospace companies to be cost effective, innovative and nimble. These barriers to entry are why you don’t see many start-up space companies and why the industry has relied on the same basic engine designs as those built during the Apollo program.

3D printing is changing all that. At Virgin Orbit, we are building a rocket system that will send small satellites into orbit. We aim to open access to space for small satellites to improve life on earth through services such as internet connectivity to the under connected and data for planning, production, disaster mitigation etc. And we are going to use 3D printed rocket engine parts to launch them to space. (4/17)

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