You have all been so supportive of Parabolic Arc over the years. I want to thank you for your readership and comments and for spreading the word about our work through Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
But, now I need your help. We’re once again seeking donations as part of Parabolic Arc’s annual fund-raising campaign. Your contribution will help us to continue delivering all the latest news and analysis of the rapidly growing space industry.
Follow the link and, in just a few clicks, you will be able to support the valuable work we do here. Any amount will help.
VAN HORN, Texas (NASA PR) — Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard reusable space vehicle on Dec. 12 carrying a medical technology that could potentially treat chest trauma in a space environment.
The New Shepard reusable vertical takeoff and vertical landing space vehicle was launched with the experimental technology from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site. In addition to NASA funding non-government researchers to fly payloads, Blue Origin is a Flight Opportunities program launch provider for government payloads. The Flight Opportunities program, is managed under NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).
Video Caption: Footage taken from onboard cameras. Full mission recap:
New Shepard flew again for the seventh time on Dec. 12, 2017, from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site. Known as Mission 7 (M7), the mission featured the next-generation booster and the first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0. Crew Capsule 2.0 features large windows, measuring 2.4 feet wide, 3.6 feet tall. M7 also included 12 commercial, research and education payloads onboard. Crew Capsule 2.0 reached an apogee of 322,405 feet AGL/326,075 feet MSL (98.27 kilometers AGL/99.39 kilometers MSL). The booster reached an apogee of 322,032 feet AGL/325,702 feet MSL (98.16 kilometers AGL/99.27 kilometers MSL).
The Senate Commerce Committee has voted 14-13 along party lines to approve the nomination of AccuWeather co-founder and former CEO Barry Myers to become the next administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The nomination now moves to the full Senate.
“While he is clearly knowledgeable about our national weather program, I remain concerned about conflicts of interest due to his family connections with AccuWeather, whether they can and will be avoided,” Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.), the panel’s top Democrat, said before the committee vote.
“It is imperative, if he is confirmed, that he demonstrate that he will approach this position as a public service role, not as another private sector role,” Nelson said, adding that he hopes Myers “will prove me wrong.”
Nelson’s objections to Myers included Myers’s support for a 2005 GOP bill that would have largely prohibited the National Weather Service from many consumer-facing functions that compete with private forecasters.
Senate Republicans said Myers had adequately addressed conflict of interest concerns during his confirmation hearing.
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft.
Launch of the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA is targeted for no earlier than Friday, Dec. 15 at 10:36 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concern is for thick clouds.
NASA Television coverage for launch and arrival activities are as follows:
Friday, Dec. 15
10 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
12 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX
Sunday, Dec. 17
1:15 a.m. – Soyuz MS-07 launch coverage begins
4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture coverage begins
ROME, 14 December 2017 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space has signed three contracts in the frame of Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) activities with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Orbital–ATK, to develop capabilities that can meet NASA human space exploration objectives while also supporting industry commercialization plans.
Some good news for satellite Internet company OneWeb:
Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. has agreed to invest roughly $500 million more in satellite broadband provider OneWeb Ltd., according to a person familiar with the details, boosting the U.S. startup’s plan to offer significantly faster internet connections world-wide than most traditional systems, either space-based or terrestrial.
The latest commitment would boost SoftBank’s total investment in the project to about $1.5 billion, even as Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder and executive chairman, disclosed over the weekend that his company already is designing and seeking suppliers for a more powerful new generation of satellites. He said those eventually are slated to deliver ultra-high-speed connectivity, including across rural or developing regions, approximately as fast as typical fiber optic networks.
The precise size and structure of SoftBank’s additional investment could change, said the person familiar with the details and others close to the talks. But Mr. Wyler and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, they said, agreed in principle on the cash infusion during recent discussions, with the caveat that SoftBank’s stake in OneWeb would remain less than 50%.
Work on OneWeb’s previously announced initial fleet of more than 700 small, low-altitude satellites is “generally on schedule” for launches beginning next year, starting to market service over Alaska in 2019 and expanding virtually around the globe by the end of 2020, according to Mr. Wyler. During a weekend interview, he also said deployment of roughly 900 second-generation, higher-orbiting satellites by the mid-2020s—intended to create the first such large-scale, hybrid constellation on orbit—is projected to increase speeds roughly fivefold to 2.5 gigabits per second.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Three crew members who have been living and working aboard the International Space Station returned to Earth on Thursday, landing in Kazakhstan after opening a new chapter in the scientific capability of humanity’s premier microgravity laboratory.
Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos landed at 3:37 a.m. EST (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.
MOUNTAIN View, Calif., December 14, 2017 (ACE PR) — Today we are excited to announce a major breakthrough with our new electric propulsion system, Apollo Constellation Engine (ACE). Apollo recently tested ACE in an independent lab at The Aerospace Corporation where thrust, Isp, and system efficiency measurements closely matched Apollo’s own lab tests. These results showed that ACE has 3x better impulse per kg and 3x better impulse per liter than competing thrusters on the market today. These advantages can result in a launch cost savings of $250,000+ for satellite manufacturers.
Embry-Riddle experiments in space could help with cancer treatment
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Embry-Riddle PR) — For less than four minutes at the edge of space, T-cells from mice in an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University experiment in partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Medical University of South Carolina were exposed to microgravity onboard a successful Blue Origin launch in the hope of one day finding new treatments for cancer.
The payload from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus flew Dec. 12 on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle to assess how microgravity impacts the cellular processes of T-cells or T-lymphocytes, which develop from stem cells in the bone marrow and are key to the immune system.
Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight included an instrumented test dummy dubbed Mannequin Skywalker — a nod to the Star Wars moving coming out this week and a prelude to tests with human occupants that could begin next year.
VAN HORN, Texas, December 8, 2017 (NanoRacks PR)– NanoRacks is pleased to have taken part in yet another successful Blue Origin New Shepard space vehicle mission. This morning marked New Shepard’s 7th flight, and the third flight in which NanoRacks has managed customer payload integration. (more…)
New Shepard Mission 7 Test Flight Mission Fact Sheet
New Shepard flew again for the seventh time on Dec. 12, 2017, from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site. Known as Mission 7 (M7), the mission featured the next-generation booster and the first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0.
Crew Capsule 2.0 features large windows, measuring 2.4 feet wide, 3.6 feet tall.
M7 also included 12 commercial, research and education payloads onboard.
M7 Mission Details
Launch time: 10:59 a.m. CST
o 322,032 feet (AGL) (98.16 kilometers)
325,702 feet (MSL) (99.27 kilometers)
Crew Capsule 2.0 Apogee
322,405 feet (AGL) (98.27 kilometers)
326,075 feet (MSL) (99.39 kilometers)
Maximum ascent velocity: Mach 2.94
Booster maximum descent velocity: Mach 3.74
Booster re-ignition: 3,716 feet (AGL)
Controlled vertical landing of Booster: 6.75 mph
Deployment of Crew Capsule 2.0 drogue parachutes: 6,463 feet (AGL)
Landing of Crew Capsule 2.0 under parachutes: 11:10 a.m. CST
Total mission elapsed time: 10 minutes and 6 seconds
TOKYO, December 13th, 2017 (ispace PR) —ispace, a Japan-based private lunar exploration company, announced today that it has raised $90.2 million* in Series A funding—not only the largest-ever Series A raised in Japan, but also the largest to date in the global commercial space sector (as of Dec. 13th, 2017).
The financing will be used to develop a lunar lander and conduct two lunar missions by the end of 2020. The funding was joined by Innovation Network Corporation of Japan; Development Bank of Japan; Tokyo Broadcasting System; Konika Minolta; Shimizu; Suzuki Motor; SPARX; Dentsu; Real Tech Fund; KDDI; Japan Airlines; and Toppan Printing.
Praise is pouring in for Space Policy Directive 1, the Trump Administration’s document that focuses the nation’s civilian space program on returning astronauts to the moon.
Coalition for Deep Space Exploration
The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration (Coalition) welcomes Space Policy Directive-1 (SPD-1) signed today by President Trump, formalizing the commitment made by the Administration during the first meeting of the National Space Council to reinvigorate America’s deep space exploration program. The signing ceremony in the White House West Wing was attended by Coalition President and CEO Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar together with the President, Vice President, members of Congress, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and NASA astronauts – including Dr. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who together with the late Captain Eugene Cernan were the last Americans to visit the Moon during Apollo 17 exactly 45 years ago.
KOUROU, French Guiana (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace has successfully launched satellites 19, 20, 21 and 22 in the Galileo constellation, using an Ariane 5 heavy launcher on behalf of the European Commission (DG GROW) and under a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA).
The launch took place on December 12, 2017 at 3:36 p.m. (local time) from the Guiana Space Center (CSG), Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. (more…)