May 28, 2017

Space Florida Board to Address Spaceport Improvements, Business Deals, at June 1 Public Meeting (Source: SPACErePORT)
Space Florida's board of directors will hold a public meeting in Tallahassee on June 1 to discuss various several contracts, investments, and economic development projects. Included on the agenda are updates on recent deals with Firefly and Made In Space; improvements at the Shuttle Landing Facility; projects with Matrix Composites, GKN Aerospace and JOI Scientific; spaceport infrastructure improvements with FDOT at LC-40 for SpaceX and LC-46 for Orion and Minotaur; and a lease renewal for ULA. Click here for the agenda. (5/28)

NASA’s Latest Capsules May Pose Greater Risks Than Projected (Source: Wall Street Journal)
NASA’s next-generation manned spacecraft, initially envisioned to be roughly 10 times safer than the retired space shuttle fleet, will fall significantly short of that goal, according to industry and former agency officials. Two fleets of commercially developed crew taxis separately being built by Boeing SpaceX, as well as the Orion deep-space capsule under development by a Lockheed Martin-led team, still are expected to meet minimum government risk standards, according to NASA. (5/26)

What Does Trump Think of America’s Space Launch Industry? (Source: National Interest)
What would President Trump think about the current state of the U.S. space launch industrial base and the Department of Defense’s plan for a next generation of rocket motors and boosters? How might he react when told that the U.S. is dependent on Russian engines to operate one of its two primary satellite launchers, the Atlas V?

On the one hand, the president’s emotional side might resonate to the idea of the U.S. and Russia cooperating on something even as relations between them have worsened. On the other hand, the businessman in him would ask the question why isn’t the Pentagon buying American and hiring Americans when it comes to a critical national security capability. Click here. (5/26)

Scotland "On the Cusp" of Launching Spacecraft Into Orbit (Source: Herald Scotland)
The final frontier is closer than ever as a new golden age of space dawns and Scotland is on the launch pad, ready for lift-off. And competition is intense. An American company recently launched a rocket into space from New Zealand, the first from a private launch facility. The private space company SpaceX also sent up a rocket to deliver a Japanese communications satellite into orbit earlier this month.

And closer to home, a communications satellite will be launched from the European Space Agency Spaceport at Kourou on Thursday. This week’s UK Space Conference will be told that Scotland is now the “most space intensive part of the UK” as we move ever closer to launching our own satellites into Earth’s orbit. The sector employs more than 7,000 people north of the border – up from 5,500 last year – and is estimated to be worth upwards of £130 million to our economy. (5/27)

India's Own GPS Set to Hit the Market Early Next Year (Source: Times of India)
From next year onwards if you ever lose your way in any part of the country or anywhere in the Arabian sea, 'NavIC' will come to your rescue+ and help you find your bearings. Yes, India's very own desi Global Positioning System (GPS) is operational and is set to hit the market for public use in early 2018.

"The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) with an operational name of NavIC is currently being tested for its accuracy and is most likely to be available in the market for public use early next year," said Tapan Misra, the director of Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre (SAC).

India needed a constellation of seven satellites in space to complete its Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System+ (IRNSS), a feat the country was able to achieve on April 28, 2016, when Indian Space Research Organization successfully launched IRNSS-1G, the seventh satellite in the series, and guided it to its orbit. (5/28)

ISRO Braces to Tame Monster Rocket that Could Launch Indians Into Space (Source: The Hindu)
An indigenous rocket as heavy as 200 full-grown Asian elephants could well be the one taking “Indians into space from Indian soil” as the country inches closer to joining the big boy’s space club. Standing tall on the rocket port at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh is the country’s latest rocket called the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk— III), the heaviest rocket ever made by India that is capable of carrying the heaviest satellites till now.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) enters into a bold new world muscling its way to make its mark in the world’s heavy weight multi—billion dollar launch market. It is the maiden experimental launch of GSLV—Mk III earlier named Launch Vehicle Mark—3, but if all goes on well in a decade or after a slew of at least half a dozen successful launches, this rocket could be India’s vehicle of choice to launch “Indians into space, from Indian soil using Indian rockets.“ This heavy lift rocket is capable of placing up to 8 tons in a low Earth orbit, enough to carry India’s crew module. (5/28)

SpaceX Targeting Thursday Falcon 9 Launch From KSC and Cape Landing (Source: Florida Today)
The Space Coast can expect the roar of a Falcon 9 rocket launch and the sonic boom of a first stage landing on Thursday when SpaceX embarks on a mission to the Space Station. A Dragon spacecraft loaded with nearly 6,000 pounds of supplies, science experiments and equipment is scheduled to launch atop the Falcon 9 from pad 39A at 5:55 p.m. A first stage landing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Landing Zone 1 is expected less than 10 minutes after liftoff. (5/26)

Over 40 U.S. National Laboratory Sponsored Experiments on SpaceX CRS-11 (Source: CASIS)
Onboard the Falcon 9 launch vehicle is the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, which will carry more than 40 ISS U.S. National Laboratory sponsored experiments. This mission will showcase the breadth of research possible through the ISS National Laboratory, as experiments range from the life and physical sciences, Earth observation and remote sensing, and a variety of student-led investigations. Click here. (5/26)

This Time, Not for Prestige: The Space Race in the 21st Century (Source: National Review)
Why is everyone in such a rush to take giant leaps with space? NASA is examining the possibility of sending a crew on its first Space Launch System–Orion test flight. China and the European Space Agency are joining in an effort to colonize the moon. Private companies are aiming for Mars and asteroid mining. The debate over the practicality of space operations rages on. It isn’t new. In fact, it parallels the debate between 1958 and 1962.

The argument during the Cold War entailed the same concern for cost and return that we see today. There is, however, a key difference between then and now — the cost of apathy today would cost the U.S. not just prestige but also resources and strategic opportunities. Understanding this difference is crucial when calculating the value of investments in space in light of broader U.S. strategy.

Today, operations in space are more routine and the competition between states is more diffuse. While generally still important in international politics, prestige plays only a small role in the current international dynamic. To be clear: There is still competition between the U.S. and rising powers. However, unlike the Cold War, which was a battle of opposing political philosophies, here we see competition primarily over economic and strategic opportunity. (5/26)

UCF Has Role in NASA Experiment on SES Satellite (Source: Florida Today)
A NASA investigation with ties to the University of Central Florida was recently integrated into the payload of a commercial communications satellite. NASA's Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, will employ instruments to measure densities and temperatures in Earth's thermosphere and ionosphere. Scientists hope GOLD will fill a gap in understanding of Sun-Earth connections.

UCF's Florida Space Institute is the principal investigator for the project. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Colorado Boulder Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics are also involved. (5/26)

Lockheed Wins $46 Million Contract Addition for Missile Warning Satellites (Source: Space News)
The Air Force announced May 26 it is adding $45.99 million to an existing Lockheed Martin contract for construction of two missile warning satellites. The announcement adds to the $1.86 billion Lockheed won in 2014 to build the fifth and sixth geostationary satellites for the Air Force’s Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), the service’s primary missile warning, launch detection, and tracking constellation. (5/26)

Jupiter May Have Huge, 'Fuzzy' Core (Source:
Jupiter's deep interior appears to be as strange and otherworldly as the gas giant's storm-studded exterior, new observations by NASA's Juno spacecraft suggest. Scientists have generally thought that Jupiter either harbors a relatively compact core 1 to 10 times as massive as Earth or no core at all, said Juno principal investigator Scott Bolton.

But neither of these hypotheses fits with the gravity data collected so far by Juno, which has been orbiting Jupiter since July 2016. "There seems to be a fuzzy core, and it may be much larger than anybody had anticipated," Bolton said. (5/26)

Russian Space Budget May Grow This Year (Source: Tass)
The budget of the state program on Russia's Space Activity for 2013-2020 may be increased this year by 8.57 billion rubles ($150.9 million), says an explanatory note to budget amendments for 2017 and for the planned period of 2018-2019. It said the federal law envisaged 173.2 billion rubles for the state program on Russia’s space activity in 2013-2020. Thus, the financing of space ports Vostochny and Baikonur is expected to grow. (5/26)

SpaceX Booster May be Displayed at Entrance to Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Florida Today)
Discussions between the Air Force and SpaceX could result in a rocket stage taller than the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse decorating the skyline near Port Canaveral. The nearly 16-story Falcon 9 booster made history this spring when it became the first orbital-class rocket to be re-used, launching a second mission to orbit and then landing for a second time.

“We think this one sort of has some historic value,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said after the March 30 launch of the SES-10 satellite from Kennedy Space Center. “We’re going to present it as a gift to the Cape.” Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, confirmed he would welcome the booster's display outside the south gate to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (5/26)

Egyptian Space Agency Planned (Source: SpaceWatch Middle East)
The Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has submitted a formal proposal for the creation of an Egyptian Space Agency to the cabinet in Cairo. According to Deputy Minister of Higher Education for Scientific Research Essam Khamis, the ministry submitted text for a law that would establish the space agency once the Egyptian cabinet and parliament give their approval. (5/26)

Dream Chaser Passes 3rd Integration Review Milestone (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Sierra Nevada Corp. announced May 25 that its Dream Chaser spacecraft passed its third integration review under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 (CRS2) contract. This latest review evaluated whether the spacecraft's system design met NASA’s key mission requirements to send crew to the International Space Station. (5/26)

Loser of  ULA’s Vulcan Engine Downselect Likely to Lose Air Force Funding (Source: Space News)
Whichever engine is not selected by United Launch Alliance to power the Vulcan rocket could lose its Air Force funding, although top acquisition officials declined to say Wednesday whether they would definitely take that action. “Once ULA makes their decision, that’s a choice that ULA makes, I’m interested in the launch service capability,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, the director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Teague declined to say whether the Air Force would cancel funding for the development of whichever engine ULA does not select, but said that the service is focused on launch services rather than engine development. (5/26)

Companies, Lawyers Argue Against Changing Outer Space Treaty (Source: Space News)
Commercial space companies and space law experts recommended against any changes in the Outer Space Treaty at a recent hearing, arguing regulatory issues can be better addressed through laws and regulations. The May 23 hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s space subcommittee examined whether the 50-year-old treaty, widely considered the foundation of international space law, should be updated to reflect growing commercial space activities, and the potential for conflicts they may generate.

Treaty obligations “are very minimally burdensome, and quite flexible in how they can be interpreted,” said Matthew Schaefer, co-director of the space, cyber and telecommunications law program at the University of Nebraska College of Law, in testimony at the hearing. “It’s a basic set of principles and minimally burdensome rules, which, by the way, help advantage U.S. companies as well.” (5/26)

Is North Korea Using China’s Satellites to Guide its Missiles? (Source: National Interest)
As North Korea fires more missiles in its drive to build and test rockets to reach the US mainland, one issue largely overlooked is that satellites are among methods used to guide such weapons to their targets. Pyongyang doesn’t have a satellite navigation network, raising speculation that it may be tapping into China’s. (5/26)

Florida's Space Coast Emerges as a Hardware Mecca (Source: Swell Startups)
Representatives at the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast (EDC) say that they are making efforts to incentivizing early-companies to stay here by increasing access to certification and trainings for emerging manufacturing talent in-addition to offering tax incentives to companies seeking to ramp up production.

“The Made in Brevard initiative is designed to help elevate manufacturing within the community within Central Florida,” EDC senior business development director, Greg Weiner said. The deadline for startups to apply to the EDC’s first Prototype Series cohort and receive support from Groundswell mentors is June 23. (5/1)

Construction Begins on World's Largest Telescope in Chilean Desert (Source: Reuters)
Construction began in Chile on Friday on the European Extremely Large Telescope, which when completed will be the world's largest optical telescope, some five times larger than the top observing instruments in use today. The size of the ELT has the potential to transform our understanding of the universe, say its backers, with its main mirror that will measure some 39 meters across. (5/26)

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