June 11, 2017

Q & A: From Concept to Reality – KSC as a Multi-User Spaceport (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
Anyone who spends time in or around Florida’s Space Coast has heard one phrase repeatedly use in the past few years – Multi-User Spaceport. What does that mean? To find out, SFI spoke with two NASA representatives intimately aware with the agency’s efforts to expand the diverse array of organizations operating out of the center. Click here. (6/11)

Next SpaceX Launch Now Set for June 17 (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The launch of the first-ever Bulgarian satellite, expected to come from Florida’s Space Coast, will have to wait a couple more days. SpaceX this week announced that BulgariaSat-1, which represents the country’s first geostationary telecommunications satellite, will launch no earlier than June 17. Previously, the launch had been slotted for no earlier than June 15. (6/10)

Cape Canaveral Luncheon will Focus on Space Coast Workforce (Source: Florida Today)
Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast, will be the featured guest speaker for this month's National Space Club Florida Committee luncheon. Weatherman on Tuesday will discuss solutions for workforce challenges facing the Space Coast at the Radisson Resort at the Port in Cape Canaveral. The luncheon, which runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m, is priced at $20 for members and $30 for non-members. (6/10)

SpaceX Restoring Damaged LC-40 With Help From Space Florida (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
Construction crews at Launch Complex 40 are busily repairing and upgrading the facility after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded there last year, with the pad’s return to service scheduled before the end of the summer, clearing the way for final preparations for the triple-core Falcon Heavy’s maiden flight late this year. Once LC-40 is ready for launches again, SpaceX will have two active pads in Florida to help the company ramp up its launch rate.

All of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 flights from Florida since a rocket explosion at LC-40 on Sept. 1 have taken off from LC-39A, an Apollo- and shuttle-era launch complex. The resumption of launches from LC-40 will allow SpaceX to complete modifications of LC-39A. SpaceX is expected to outfit LC-40 for a higher launch rate, using lessons learned at LC-39A, which can support launches in as little as every two weeks.

The state of Florida is contributing $5 million through Space Florida for the LC-40 upgrades. The money was approved at a Space Florida board meeting June 1 to go toward an improved flame trench and enhanced acoustic suppression capability. Editor's Note: With two Florida pads each capable of ~24 launches per year, and an Eastern Range clearly improving its throughput and costs, the Cape Canaveral Spaceport could render SpaceX's Boca Chica launch site unnecessary before it is built. (6/10)

A Home For The Thirty Meter Telescope (Source: Science Friday)
The Thirty Meter Telescope, when completed, could be the most advanced optical telescope to date, able to see 10 to 100 times farther and more clearly than older telescopes. The instrument’s backers hope that its sharper vision will enable them to examine some of the oldest objects in the universe and gain insights into the evolution of other stars and their planets. The telescope (TMT for short) was supposed to be built atop Mauna Kea, a mountaintop that is also one of the most sacred spots in Hawaii. But in 2015, a lawsuit from indigenous Hawaiians left the project in limbo.

The TMT could still find a home at a backup site in the Canary Islands of Spain. Now, a group of Canadian scientists on the project are reporting on the pros and cons of switching sites. The good news: Moving to the Canary Islands would guarantee that the telescope could be built quickly enough to remain scientifically relevant. But, as Space.com senior reporter Michael Wall explains, the move wouldn’t be a cost-free decision. (6/10)

Iran Set To Join Eurasian Economic Union, Participate in Bloc’s Space Activities (Source: SpaceWatch Middle East)
Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are close to cementing a free trade deal that would see Tehran join the trade bloc built around former Soviet republics by the end of 2017. Once this happens, Iran will also be poised to participate in the EAEU’s nascent space activities. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) plans to create a joint remote earth sensing system by integrating the space- and ground-based capabilities of its member states, to include Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, by 2019. (6/11)

Alaska Spaceport to Host Israeli Missile Defense Tests (Source: Washington Times)
Officials from the spaceport on Kodiak Island will host a town hall meeting Wednesday to answer questions about the Missile Defense Agency’s plans to test a U.S.-Israeli anti-ballistic missile system in Alaska. Testing of the Arrow-3 missile system will begin in 2018, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported (http://bit.ly/2rX3vuM ). The system was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing Co., and is co-managed by the Missile Defense Agency and the Israel Missile Defense Organization. (6/10)

Branson: Virgin Galactic in Space by December (Source: GQ)
Three years after its spaceship exploded in a tragic accident, Virgin Galactic has regrouped. "I certainly would be very disappointed if I don't go up next year. And I would hope it's earlier than later in the year," Richard Branson says. "The program says that we should be [testing] in space by December, as long as we don't have any setbacks between now and then."

Would Virgin Galactic continue if there were a second crash? "That was the most difficult conversation that George [Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic] and I had with each other the day after the last accident. We can't guarantee that there won't be another one, and we can't guarantee that the next one won't be technical. What would we do if that happened? How would we all feel?" says Branson. "We'd have to look at what had gone wrong and then decide at the time." (6/11)

'Rocket Man' Peter Beck Inducted into World Entrepreneur Hall of Fame (Source: New Zealand Herald)
Kiwi "Rocket man" Peter Beck has been inducted into the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. But he missed out on the top honour at the prestigious annual EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards held in Monaco. Beck and his company Rocket Lab last month successfully launched an orbital-class rocket into space, the first time this has been achieved from a private site. (6/11)

US Mint Wants You to Design a Commemorative Coin for 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11! (Source: US Mint)
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon, Public Law 114-282 authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue curved $5 gold coins, curved $1 silver coins, curved half-dollar clad coins, and curved 5 ounce $1 silver proof coins. This commemorative coin program offers an opportunity for our nation to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and to honor the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. Click here. (6/8)

Sneaker-Obsessed French Designer has Mocked Up the Next Generation of Space Suits (Source: Quartz)
If SpaceX is going to send humans to Mars, those people are going to need special clothes. The company reportedly hired Jose Fernandez, who is responsible for designing several of Hollywood’s superhero costumes (e.g. Spiderman and Batman), to design a suit for its mission to Mars, though it’s not clear what it will look like.

French designer Clément Balavoine has ideas of his own. Balavoine isn’t connected to SpaceX, but says he is “fascinated by SpaceX’s vision.” The designer, who also works as an art director for brands such as United Nude, is developing a reputation for dreaming up new products.

Balavoine’s flight-suit concept is designed to address the major stresses humans would face on a Mars journey. SpaceX estimates the trip would take 80 to 150 days, so Balavoine studied NASA research and numerous articles to understand how the body would react in a low-gravity environment for such a long time. Click here. (6/9)

Virgin Galacitc Gives Glimpse at Would-Be Corporate Space Jet: SpaceShip Two in Flight (Source: Quartz)
The newest incarnation of SpaceShipTwo is deep into its second attempt to be certified as safe for passengers. When will that happen? “When we’re ready,” says Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides. This is how they’ll get there. So far, executives say, the glide tests have been progressing as hoped for. A successful test of the feathered wing system a month before had given the design team confidence. The “feather,” which caused the fatal crash in 2014, is the most unique part of Unity’s design.

Flying six people on tourist jaunts to space isn’t the end goal but “phase one of a bigger strategy,” he says. If the Ansari X-Prize that birthed this design was the equivalent of Charles Lindbergh’s prize-winning transatlantic flight, then SpaceShipTwo could be the equivalent of barnstorming pilots who flew planes around the country, demonstrating their capabilities to a wide range of people in a way that wasn’t obviously productive.

The next step is actually transporting people from point to point. Virgin has the somewhat contradictory reputation of being an earth-focused space company: Suborbital flights could drastically speed up long journeys, if the economics works. Such a business would need a new vehicle, but the lessons learned from developing SpaceShipTwo would help with that. (6/10)

Of 18,000 Astronaut Applicants, NASA Picked 12. One is From Miami (Source: Miami Herald)
When Frank Rubio was a student at Miami Sunset Senior High, he loved physics. And math. And the natural sciences. But becoming an astronaut? “I wasn’t a kid who dreamed of becoming one,” Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio, 41, who graduated from Miami Sunset in 1994, said in an interview Thursday. “It wasn’t in my realm of possibility.”

Rubio was picked last week to be one of 12 astronaut candidates from NASA’s largest pool of 18,000 applicants, surpassing the previous record of 8,000 in 1978. He started considering an astronaut career during medical school, when a guest speaker mentioned the types of people NASA recruits — engineers, pilots and medical professionals. (6/10)

ISRO Staff Alleges Discrimination (Source: The Hindu)
An employee of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has moved the Madras High Court Bench here challenging the refusal of a Judicial Magistrate in Valliyoor in Tirunelveli district to order registration of a case against two top officials of the organisation under the provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989.

B. Anna Thurai (47), serving as Senior Technical Assistant ‘A’ at ISRO’s Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri hills in Tirunelveli district, alleged that he was being harassed by his superiors in numerous ways for long since he had created an association for Dalit employees in the organisation, got it registered and was functioning as its general secretary.

Claiming that technical staff of the organisation could not be transferred from one station to another without a voluntary request made by them, the petitioner accused his superiors of having prepared a fabricated requisition to get him transferred from Mahendragiri to ISRO’s Space Applications Centre at Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Since the act of the officials amounted to perpetrating atrocities against a Dalit, he lodged a criminal complaint. (6/9)

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