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BEAM Work and Vision Checks for Crew Today

BEAM module interior (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — More CubeSats were ejected from the International Space Station today to demonstrate and validate new technologies. Back inside the orbital lab, the Expedition 53 crew continued outfitting an experimental module and studying life science.

Two more tiny satellites were deployed from the Kibo laboratory module into Earth orbit today to research a variety of new technologies and space weather. One of the nanosatellites, known as TechEdSat, seeks to develop and demonstrate spacecraft and payload deorbit techniques. The OSIRIS-3U CubeSat will measure the Earth’s ionosphere in coordination with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Commander Randy Bresnik was back inside the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) today with Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli and Joe Acaba. The astronauts are converting the experimental habitat into a cargo platform by replacing old BEAM hardware with new electronics and stowage gear.

Eye exams are on the schedule this week as two cosmonauts and two astronauts took turns playing eye doctor and patient today. Alex Misurkin and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos started first with the optical coherence tomography hardware using a laptop computer. Next, Nespoli and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei took their turn to help doctors on the ground understand the vision changes that take place in space.

XCOR Owes $27.5 Million to Creditors, Orbital Outfitters Out of Business

Lynx engine hot fire. (Credit: XCOR)

The numbers are in on XCOR Aerospace’s bankruptcy, and as one would expect, they’re not real pretty.

The company has $1.1 million in assets and $1,424.66 in cash, according to documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California. XCOR owes $27.46 million to creditors, with $23.6 million in unsecured debts and $3.86 million in liabilities secured by assets.

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Learn About Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-6 CubeSat

Video Caption: We’d like to introduce the Arkyd-6 spacecraft! This 6U cubesat is packed with power including 17 computing elements. The Arkyd-6 is part of our R&D program assisting us in the design of the Arkyd-301 spacecraft that will detect water on near-Earth asteroids.

ICEYE Announces Award with DIUx for Earth Observation Data Support Services

ESPOO, Finland, November 20, 2017 (ICEYE PR) – ICEYE, the leader in synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology, today announced an agreement with the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) to purchase airborne earth observation (EO) data support services from ICEYE U.S.

“Having just opened our U.S. subsidiary, ICEYE U.S. is on a fast-track in providing services that will help the public sector,” said Mike Lyons, CEO of ICEYE U.S. “DIUx is tackling some of the nation’s most challenging problems, and we’re eager to provide them with data support services that will help in solving those problems.”

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) launched DIUx in 2015 to build a bridge between commercial technological innovation and national security endeavors. Headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Boston, Austin, and the Pentagon, DIUx facilitates DoD’s efforts to identify and work with commercial companies, including ICEYE U.S., to help solve national defense problems.

Earlier this year, ICEYE announced its expansion into the U.S. with an entity focused on delivering EO data in long-form to its current and prospective clients. ICEYE U.S. is also developing data analytics capabilities to support more varied industry specific services.

About ICEYE

ICEYE aims to provide democratized access to reliable Earth Observation data through developing efficient SAR sensors and microsatellites, enabling everyone to make better decisions. Through an imaging service available anywhere around the globe, anytime, and with response times measured in just few hours, ICEYE helps clients resolve challenges in segments such as maritime, disaster management and security and intelligence. ICEYE is on track to be the first organization in the world to launch SAR microsatellites and expects to commence its commercial data operations in the first half of 2018. For more information, please visit: www.iceye.com 

Solar System’s First Interstellar Visitor Dazzles Scientists

Artist’s concept of interstellar asteroid 1I/2017 U1 (‘Oumuamua) as it passed through the solar system after its discovery in October 2017. The aspect ratio of up to 10:1 is unlike that of any object seen in our own solar system. (Credit: European Southern Observatory / M. Kornmesser)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Astronomers recently scrambled to observe an intriguing asteroid that zipped through the solar system on a steep trajectory from interstellar space-the first confirmed object from another star.

Now, new data reveal the interstellar interloper to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named ‘Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated-perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solar system, it may provide new clues into how other solar systems formed.

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Rubio Still Concerned Over Bridenstine’s Nomination to Run NASA

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s (R-OK) confirmation hearing apparently did nothing to assuage the doubts of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) over his suitability to serve as NASA’s next administrator.

“I remain very concerned about the politicization of NASA, not even because he would do it on purpose but just given some of the resistance he’s already engendered,” Rubio said in an interview Friday. “I don’t think NASA at this critical stage of its history can afford that … As of this moment, I can’t assure anyone that I would support his nomination if it came to a vote.”

Rubio’s comments are his strongest yet and suggest that his initial misgivings when President Donald Trump announced Bridenstine’s nomination in early September have only grown.

A broad swath of Democrats from Washington Sen. Patty Murray to Florida Sen. Bill Nelson have already announced their opposition to Bridenstine over a range of his past statements, including ones skeptical of climate science and opposing same-sex marriage.

Bridenstine’s nomination requires approval of the full Senate. Republicans hold a 52-48 advantage in the upper chamber, which means the Congressman cannot afford to lose many GOP votes.

ELaNa XIV CubeSats Launch on JPSS-1 Mission

Microwave Radiometer Technology Acceleration (MiRaTa) CubeSat (Credit: MIT)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA has launched four small research satellites, or CubeSats, developed by four universities as part of a broader mission launching the next generation polar-orbiting satellite to space. These CubeSat missions were selected through the CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) as part of the 14th installment of the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) missions.

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This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Nov. 20, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PST (4-5:30 PM CST, 5-6:30 PM EST): We welcome back JON GOFF of Altera Space to provide us with updates and happenings in his space R&D activities.

2. Tuesday, Nov. 21 2017: 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: We welcome back BOB ZIMMERMAN for policy, news, and space project updats. Let’s make the phone ring. and challenge Bob with your questions and comments.

3. Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2017: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, Nov. 24, 2017; 9:30 AM-11 AM PST, (12:30 -2 PM EST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST
):No show due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.

5. Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017: 12-1:30 PM PST; 2-4:30 PM EST; 2-3:30 PM CST. We welcome author KEN THOMAS to the show to discuss his new book “The Journey to Moonwalking.”.

The Votes Are In: Elon Musk’s BFR Point-to-Point Plan is Wackadoodle

The people have spoken. And, by a narrow margin, they think that Elon Reeve Musk’s BFR point-to-point commercial travel plan is wackadoodle.

There were 129 votes for Wackadoodle — It’ll Never Happen, which represents 28 percent of the total.

Great Idea — But I Have REALLY Serious Doubts came in a close second with 171 votes (27 percent).

Awesome Sauce — Let’s Do It! came in third with 26 percent or 165 votes.

That was followed by Great Idea — But I have Some Doubts (115 votes, 18 percent) and Not Sure (13 votes, 2 percent).

I want to thank all the Parabolic Archers who voted. Please remember to vote in our new poll. And remember: vote early! Vote often! Just vote, dammit! Vote!

 

Team Indus Down to the Wire in Effort to Win Moon Prize

Lunar rover (Credit: TeamIndus)

Team Indus is short of time and money as the March 31 deadline looms for winning the Google Lunar X Prize.

While TeamIndus – consisting of several engineers, specialists and finance experts – has signed a deal with the Indian Space Research Organisation to book the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle for a potential launch, funding issues have even resulted in a few missed payments, sources said.

Rahul Narayan of TeamIndus admitted that a part of the budget is yet to be raised, although he did not directly comment on the missed payments.

“TeamIndus inked its launch services agreement with Antrix (the commercial arm of ISRO) in late 2016. The entire TeamIndus moon mission programme is expected to cost approximately $70 million, of which nearly two-thirds has already been committed. We do not comment on individual cost line items in accordance to our agreements with various partners,” Narayan said.

Sources in TeamIndus told ThePrint that meeting the March deadline may not be possible due to both technical and financial barriers. However, an extension in deadline and significant fund raising could give new life to the initiative.

 

University of Surrey to Lead new £29 Million AI and Robotics Space Hub

SURREY, England (University of Surrey PR) — The University of Surrey is set to lead the country’s efforts in breakthrough, space-focused artificial intelligence and robotics research, thanks to a new £29million [$38.3 million] hub.

The Future AI and Robotics for Space (FAIR-SPACE) Hub will be funded through a £6.7 million [$8.85 million] grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA), as well as £22.3 million [29.47 million] from over twenty space organisations.

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NASA CubeSat to Test Miniaturized Weather Satellite Technology

The Microwave Radiometer Technology Acceleration (MiRaTA) satellite, a 3U CubeSat, is shown with solar panels fully deployed, flanking the body of the spacecraft, which has a circular aperture at the top for the microwave radiometer antenna, used for atmospheric science measurements. There are also two small, thin tape-measure antennas on the top, used for UHF radio communication with the ground station. (Credit: MIT Lincoln Laboratory)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (NASA PR) — Behind every weather forecast—from your local, five-day prediction to a late-breaking hurricane track update—are the satellites that make them possible. Government agencies depend on observations from weather satellites to inform forecast models that help us prepare for approaching storms and identify areas that need evacuating or emergency first responders.

Weather satellites have traditionally been large, both in the effort needed to build them and in actual size. They can take several years to build and can be as big as a small school bus. But all of that could change in the future with the help of a shoebox-sized satellite that will start orbiting Earth later this month.

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Arrested ARCA Space CEO Maintains Innocence

Dumitru Popescu

A statement from ARCA Space:

ARCA Space Corporation will continue the development of its aerospace technology as scheduled.  The company has full confidence in CEO Dumitru Popescu and expects him to lead the efforts.  Mr. Popescu was charged in New Mexico state courts with alleged embezzlement and securities issues.  However, Mr. Popescu maintains his innocence and expects to prevail in court proceedings.

Meanwhile the work of the company will proceed with a goal of presenting a successful aerospike rocket engine.

ARCA Space will keep the public updated on the progress of the company.

JPSS-1 to Improve U.S. Weather Forecasting

This illustration depicts the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft designed to provide forecasters with crucial environmental science data to provide a better understanding of changes in the Earth’s weather, oceans and climate. (Credit: Ball Aerospace)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., November 18, 2017 (NOAA PR) — The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, the first in a new series of four highly advanced NOAA polar-orbiting satellites, lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, at 1:47 a.m. PST this morning. The satellite’s next-generation technology will help improve the timeliness and accuracy of U.S. weather forecasts three to seven days out.

“The value of the new JPSS satellite cannot be understated after this tragic hurricane season,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “JPSS offers an unparalleled perspective on our planet’s weather, granting NOAA advanced insights which will be used to guard American lives and communities.”

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Delta II Launches New JPSS-1 Weather Satellite

 

Delta II launches the JPSS-1 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., Nov. 18, 2017 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1) for NASA and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 on Nov. 18 at 1:47 a.m. PST. The JPSS program provides the nation’s next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, delivering key observations for the nation’s essential projects and services, including forecasting weather in advance and assessing environmental hazards.

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