June 3, 2017

SpaceX Launches ISS Cargo Mission, Sticks Landing at Spaceport (Source: SPACErePORT)
It was the 100th launch at LC-39A and the fifth one there for SpaceX. The company's Falcon-9 reusable rocket successfully lofted a Dragon capsule filled with Space Station cargo and experiments on Saturday, due for arrival at the orbiting laboratory on Monday. The Falcon-9 did a u-turn after upper-stage separation and landed successfully at a Cape Canaveral Spaceport landing pad. (6/3)

Mitsubishi Completes New Satellite Component Production Facility in Japan (Source: Space Daily)
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced that it has completed construction of a facility that will double the satellite component production capacity of its Kamakura Works' Sagami Factory in Sagamihara, Japan. The new facility, Mitsubishi Electric's core production and testing site for solar array panels, structural panels and other satellite components, is expected to help grow Mitsubishi Electric's share of the global satellite market once production starts in October (6/2)

Florida-Based MoonEx Gears Up for New Zealand Launch by Year's End (Source: Popular Mechanics)
Down by the hard-packed beaches at the edge of the country, the rumble of rocket launches has defined Florida's Space Coast for more than half a century. But the end of 2017 could mark the beginning of a new era in solar system exploration. For the first time in history, a private company is going to launch a mission to land on another celestial body.

Moon Express (or MoonEx), a space exploration company powered by industry engineers and Silicon Valley money, is making the final adjustments to its lunar lander in its facilities at Cape Canaveral. Its goal is to achieve something that has only been accomplished by the three largest superpowers in the world: a soft landing on the moon. One recent development that bodes well for Richards' dream is the first flight of Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle. The Electron rocket has been contracted to loft the first three MoonEx landers to space.

Rocket Lab has something that no one else has: a personal launch complex [in New Zealand] approved for a rocket launch every 72 hours for the next 30 years. Rocket Lab is poised to start firing off Electrons at a rate of about once a month. Its eventual plan is a launch per week, providing about 50 launches every year. The MoonEx launch, then, will be business as usual—if everything goes according to plan. (6/2)

A 'Diamond Planet,' Mining the Moon and Other Ways Billionaires Plan to Make a Fortune in Space (Source: CNBC)
There are many reasons billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are so obsessed with the space race: space tourism, to save humanity, maybe even to have the biggest "toy" in the form of a rocket. But there is also a fortune to be made out of this world, as highlighted on a recent episode of CNBC's "The Filthy Rich Guide." Click here. (6/2)

Spaceport America Cup Will Boost the Business Community (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
June is typically a slow month for most local businesses. School is out and many college students travel back home for their summer break. June is also the time of the year when people plan their summer vacations. Many families pack their belongings and travel to their favorite vacation destination. This can also cause a decline in sales for some businesses. If you are a business owner and concerned about your June sales, don’t worry because it could be a better month than expected.

June 19 through 24, Spaceport America will present their first annual Spaceport America Cup. New Mexico will be welcoming 110 teams from universities across twelve countries to compete in the first annual Spaceport America Cup. Students from Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, India, Mexico, Australia, Colombia, South Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and from states across our great nation will meet for five rocket-filled days in New Mexico. (6/3)

India Abuzz for Monday’s Heavy-Lift Rocket Launch (Source: The Hindu)
An anxious Indian space establishment is keeping its fingers crossed over the launch of its new and most powerful rocket on June 5. On that evening, the indigenous GSLV-Mark III will make a bid to breach a heavy-lift rocket club that can put four-tonne satellites into space. The U.S., Russia, Europe, China and Japan are already there. The first development vehicle, called GSLV-MkIII D-1, is slated to fly from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota at 5.28 p.m. (6/3)

Data Mining Astronomical Records Fails to Falsify Einstein (Source: Ars Technica)
Testing general relativity is a fraught business. The theory has proven to be so robust that anyone who thinks it's wrong gets slapped around by reality in a pretty serious way. Recently, some scientists decided to dig up the data and test general relativity in the vicinity of a supermassive black hole.

All of this data was combined in a consistent way to map out the orbital positions and velocities of two stars. This is quite an achievement, because for each observation, the telescope is pointing in a slightly different direction, using different exposure times, and accounting for other slight differences. Although other telescopes also have data available, the public records were not detailed enough to allow the scientists to process the data in a consistent way.

After all of this, what have we learned? General relativity is still right, and it predicted the stellar motion accurately. These measurements tested general relativity in a way that was distinct from all previous ones—in high gravitational fields over long periods of time. In particular, the new measurements helped to put boundaries on extensions to general relativity that follow a kind of modified Newtonian dynamics model. (6/2)

First Phase of Russia's New Vostochny Spaceport Complete in 2018 (Source: Tass)
The construction of the first stage of the Vostochny spaceport in the Russian Far East to create infrastructure for Soyuz-2 carrier rocket launches will be completed in 2018, CEO of the Center for Ground-based Space Infrastructure Operation Rano Dzhurayeva said. The launch pad for the Angara carrier rocket at the Vostochny spaceport and the required infrastructure will be built by 2021, Dzhurayeva said. (6/2)

Expert: Decision to Drop Angara Project Made Due to Mistakes in Space Strategy (Source: Tass)
The decision to give up the project of creating an Angara-A5P carrier and develop instead a new rocket for manned launches to lay the basis for a super-heavy rocket for lunar missions is due to strategic planning errors, a space expert said.

"I don’t think that this measure will save any funds. It is necessary to continue work on that rocket instead of starting to develop a new one. This [decision] looks strange. I believe that if expenditures on the development of a super-heavy rocket and the construction of two launch pads for the Angara rocket are calculated, the Angara project will turn out to be more advantageous. In the expert’s opinion, the change of plans is related not only to the country’s difficult economic situation but also to certain strategic miscalculations in the long-term space program planning. (6/2)

Vostochny to Get Launch Pad for Super-Heavy Rocket Before 2030 (Source: Tass)
Roscosmos plans to build a launch pad for a super-heavy rocket at the Far Eastern Vostochny space center before 2030, Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov said. According to previous plans, Roscosmos was to build a super-heavy rocket launch pad after 2030. The launch of a Soyuz-5 rocket from the Vostochny space center was scheduled for 2034, and a super-heavy rocket was expected to take off a year later.

"Considering that Soyuz-5 will be the first stage for a super-heavy rocket to deliver our payloads and conduct missions to the moon and Mars, we are now tackling this issue according to a schedule different that the one earlier mentioned in the (Roscosmos) strategy, he told reporters. (6/2)

Russia's New Spacecraft to be Launched from Baikonur in 2022 (Source: Tass)
The first launch of a new Russian spacecraft Federatsiya (Federation) will be carried out in 2022 from Baikonur, the head of the -Russian Federal Space Agency Igor Komarov said on Friday. "There is a decision that the first launch of the manned spacecraft Federation will be carried out on the Soyuz-5 carrier rocket from Baikonur," Komarov said.

He added that "we in 2022, having seen an increase in competition in the market of launch services and launch vehicles, will provide for the launch of the new carrier rocket, which will significantly reduce the cost of the payload, and seriously increase the efficiency of launch services."

According to him, the Russian Federal Space Agency is going to preserve and develop cooperation with Kazakhstan. "We have now approached specific parameters and an understanding of what we will implement, this has to do with the Zenit complex and its upgrade to the new Soyuz-5 missile, a decision that we recently adopted on accelerated development," Komarov said. He added that the Russian Federal Space Agency will "seriously cut" budget financing for cosmodromes, since Kazakhstan will take the main costs of the ground infrastructure for this project. (6/2)

Analyst Points to Reasons Behind Russia's Decision to Return to Baikonur Spaceport (Source: Tass)
The decision to carry out manned launches of the Federatsiya spacecraft from the Baikonur space site in Kazakhstan will let the Russian space corporation contain costs, but at the same time delay the first launch, a member of the Tsiolkovsky Cosmonautics Academy, Aleksandr Zheleznyakov, said. "I can say that from the economic standpoint this decision is reasonable. It will allow for saving certain funds and funnel them into research crucial to our industry. On the other hand, repeated revisions of previous decisions are not quite useful for the reputation of our space program and space rocket industry as such." (6/2)

How Hot Were Earth's Oceans When Life First Evolved? (Source: Space.com)
We know little about Earth's surface temperatures for the first 4 billion years or so of its history. This presents a limitation into research of life's origins on Earth and how it might arise on distant worlds. Now researchers suggest that by resurrecting ancient enzymes they could estimate the temperatures in which these organisms likely evolved billions of years ago.

"We need a better understanding of not only how life first evolved on Earth, but how life and the Earth's environment co-evolved over billions of years of geological history," said lead author Amanda Garcia. "A similar co-evolution seems certain to be the case for any life elsewhere in the Universe."

Earlier geological evidence has suggested that 3.5 billion years ago, during the Archean Eon, the oceans were 131 degrees to 185 degrees F (55 degrees to 85 degrees C). They cooled dramatically to current average temperatures of 59 degrees F (15 degrees C). Scientists made these estimates by examining oxygen and silicon isotopes in marine rocks. (6/2)

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