April 22, 2017

How the US is Gearing Up as Fear of a Space War Mounts (Source: CNBC)
Tapping Elon Musk's SpaceX to launch some of its satellites is only the beginning in a larger top-to-bottom rethink of the way the U.S. Air Force approaches its operations in space. Air Force officials want to move faster when addressing emerging threats and future missions in orbit, and it's increasingly looking to start-ups to address a deepening sense that America's dominance in space is eroding. Click here. (4/20)

SpaceX's Sex Bias Lawsuit Cost Recovery Bid Throttled Back (Source: Law360)
A California judge ruled Thursday that SpaceX was justified in requesting over $100,000 in litigation costs from a former SpaceX welder after defeating her claims of sexual harassment and bias at trial, but said he would “scale down” the amount to avoid scaring off future employee litigants. The judge issued a written tentative ruling indicating he would partially grant plaintiff Zhoei Teasley's motion to tax the roughly $113,000 SpaceX had requested she pay to cover its litigation. (4/20)

The Five Best Exoplanets in the Galaxy to Check for Alien Life (Source: New Scientist)
There’s another “Earth-like” world in our galaxy. Today, Jason Dittmann at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and his colleagues announced the discovery of LHS 1140b, a rocky, temperate super-Earth orbiting a small nearby star.

Most of the worlds we have spotted so far are either blazing hellscapes or frozen tundras. But a few, like LHS 1140b, reside in the habitable zones around their stars – where they could theoretically retain liquid water – giving them the potential to host life as we know it. Click here. (4/20)

Intelsat Extends Deadline Toward Merger Plans with OneWeb (Source: Reuters)
Intelsat is extending a deadline for a debt exchange in order to keep alive a planned merger with OneWeb. Sources said Thursday that the company planned to extend the deadline for bondholders to exchange current bonds with new ones until mid-May. The debt exchange was due to expire late Thursday, but Intelsat confirmed early Friday that it has extended the deadline to May 10. The company required at least 85 percent of current bondholders to participate in the exchange, which is tied to the company's planned merger with OneWeb, but some observers speculate existing bondholders may be holding out for a better deal. (4/20)

Arianespace Wins Intelsat Launch Contract (Source: Arianespace)
Arianespace announced a launch contract Thursday with an Intelsat-Sky Perfect JSAT joint venture. Intelsat said it will launch the Horizons 3e satellite for Horizons, the joint venture of Intelsat and Sky Perfect JSAT, on an Ariane 5 in late 2018. The Boeing-built 6,500-kilogram satellite will provide high-throughput communications as part of Intelsat's EpicNG network. (4/21)

Senate Hearing to Focus on Expanding US Free Entrprise in Space (Source: Senate Commerce Committee)
The Senate will hold a hearing next week on "expanding American free enterprise in space." The hearing next Wednesday, by the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, will include as witnesses the heads of Bigelow Aerospace, Blue Origin, Made In Space and Virgin Galactic. The hearing is intended in part to examine "potential regulatory barriers" that could be addressed in future bills. (4/20)

NOAA Now Authorized to Purchase Commercial Weather Sat Data (Source: Space News)
President Trump signed into law this week a weather bill that formally authorizes commercial satellite weather data efforts. The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act instructs NOAA to proceed with pilot programs to purchase data from commercial satellites to determine if such data can support weather forecasting. NOAA already started on that effort last year using money in a fiscal year 2016 spending bill, awarding pilot contracts to two companies to provide GPS radio occultation data. The act also directs NOAA to carry out a study of future weather satellite needs. (4/21)

SpaceX Seeks to Benefit From Los Angeles Tunneling (Source: Daily Breeze)
SpaceX might be the next stop for a tunneling machine in Los Angeles. The machine, named Harriet, has been working for the last year on tunnels for a new section of the city's light rail system. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has shown an interest in tunneling technology in recent months, and SpaceX submitted plans to city officials in Hawthorne earlier this month to build a pedestrian tunnel under a busy street linking the company's headquarters with a parking garage. (4/20)

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