Monthly Archive for January, 2015

ULA Delta II Launches NASA Environmental Satellite

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Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., (Jan. 31, 2015) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket carrying the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) payload for NASA lifted off from Space Launch Complex-2 at 6:22 a.m. PST today. This launch marks ULA’s second launch of 13 planned for 2015, and the 93rd successful mission since the company was formed.

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GLXP Update: Team Synergy Moon Announces T & L Publications as DIY/STEAM Outreach Sponsor

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nuts_and_volts_logoSan Francisco (Team Synergy Moon PR) – Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Synergy Moon announces T & L Publications as our DIY/STEAM Outreach Sponsor.

T & L Publications is an American consumer-magazine publisher serving Hobbyist Electronics, Robotics, and Science & Technology enthusiasts. Their focus and readership is a perfect match for Synergy Moon’s Do-It-Yourself methodologies focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) through the lens of civilian space exploration. T & L Publications produces and operates Nuts & Volts and SERVO magazines.

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Rogozin Looks to Put Vostochny Back on Schedule as Russia Mulls BRICS Space Station

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Russia’s Josef Stalin-worshiping Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin paid another one of his periodic visits to Vostochny this week, where he did not like what he found.

“My view after the examination of cosmodrome facilities and talks with representatives of Roscosmos and Spetsstroi (state construction company) is the following: the state of affairs at ‘minimum launch’ facilities leaves much to be desired. The builders for the present are behind the schedule,” Rogozin told a meeting of the commission for control over the country’s most important construction site.

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ASAP Says SpaceX, Orbital Need to Up Their Games on ISS Resupply

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SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX Dragon freighter at ISS. (Credit: NASA)

SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation will now have to deliver the majority of supplies needed to maintain the U.S. segment of the International Space Station (ISS) given ESA’s decision to retire its ATV freighter and JAXA limiting HTV cargo ship flights to one per year, NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) said in a report this week.

The increased responsibilities come amid a 16-month gap in Orbital Science’s Cygnus flights to the space station that resulted from the explosion of the company’s Antares rocket on Oct. 28. The loss puts much more pressure on SpaceX, which has an aggressive schedule of five Dragon resupply flights to the space station this year.

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NASA, Partners Work to Avoid Water Shortage on ISS

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A massive explosion occurred right after the Antares rocket hit the ground.

A massive explosion occurred right after the Antares rocket hit the ground.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Following the loss of a Cygnus freighter when its Antares booster exploded after launch on Oct. 28, NASA officials emphasized the International Space Station (ISS) crew was in good shape on supplies, which could last into March without any other ships visiting the facility. As if on queue, a Russian Progress freighter blasted off for the station the following morning, which officials said demonstrated the wisdom of redundant supply systems.

All that was true enough. Behind the scenes, however, officials were concerned over one critical item aboard station: water. The suspension of Cygnus flights for at least a year threw a monkey wrench into NASA’s plan to use the cargo ship to resupply the station with H2O. It also left station astronauts dependent upon the success of a Japanese HTV freight set for launch only weeks before they would ran out of water on Sept. 2.

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CSA Partners With SickKids Centre to Develop KidsArm

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LONGUEIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — Not much rivals the dexterity of a good surgeon’s hands. But humans being humans, fatigue or even tremors after a long day at the hospital can make things challenging, especially when operating on small children.

That is why Toronto’s SickKids Centre for Image-Guided Innovation & Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) turned to the Canadian space technology behind Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre and partnered with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to develop KidsArm.

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SpaceWorks Releases Annual Nano- & Microsat Market Assessment

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CubeSat

CubeSat

ATLANTA (SEI PR) — SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) released the annual update to its nanosatellite and microsatellite market assessment. The assessment presents the latest observations and trends for the nano/microsatellite market. The study summary is available in presentation form as a free download on the website, http://www.spaceworksforecast.com.

Since 2008, SpaceWorks has actively monitored global satellite activities to provide its clients with valuable insight into this growing market. For example, SpaceWorks is currently tracking almost 1,100 future (2015 – 2017) nano/microsatellites with masses between 1 kilogram and 50 kilograms in various stages of planning or development. Historical launches and publicly announced plans for future launches, as well as estimated market growth serve as a basis for projection of the quantity of satellites that will launch between 2015 and 2020. Data concerning future launches is sourced from public announcements by small satellite operators, launch vehicle providers, government agencies, and other industry sources, as well as from additional market research.

“The small satellite market continues to flourish, bolstered by increased commercial activity. The commercial sector remains highly interested in using small satellites to provide customers with valuable imagery and data services for a wide variety of applications,” stated Ms. Elizabeth Buchen, Director of SpaceWorks’ Engineering Economics Group. “We offer our study’s summary presentation as a resource for the community and for those interested in better understanding this dynamic market.”

SpaceWorks internally maintains a broad Launch Demand Database (LDDB) to track historical and future satellites in all size classes. Detailed analyses and custom assessments of the nano/microsatellite market and larger satellite classes are available to interested clients.

News and information about SpaceWorks can be found at www.sei.aero.

For Sale: One Slightly Used Spaceport

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WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

New Mexico State Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallop, has introduced a bill that would get New Mexico out of the space business by putting Spaceport America up for sale.

The measure, SB-267, would require the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to develop a plan for selling the $225 million facility located outside of Truth or Consequences.

Funds from the sale would go toward early pay back of bonds used to fund the spaceport. Special taxes imposed in Sierra and Dona Ana counties to help pay for the spaceport would be rescinded. And the spaceport authority would be put out of business.

The spaceport was developed with Virgin Galactic as its anchor tenant. However, Virgin has experienced years of delay in getting its space tourism business up and running. SpaceX has a test facility at Spaceport America, and a number of sounding rockets have been launched from the location.

Spaceport America to Host Valentine’s Day Fly-in

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The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space building with a security fence around it. (Credit: Alex Heard)

The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space building with a security fence around it. (Credit: Alex Heard)

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NMSA PR) – Spaceport America will host its first-ever Private Pilots Fly-in on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. This is the first time that the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) will open up the spaceport to this kind of event. The spaceport currently has over 5,000 annual visitors that see the spaceport by taking one of the weekly public bus tours. Holding a fly-in event like this was a result of the growing number of requests from private pilots to fly into the spaceport to take a tour.

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Elon Musk to Headline Space Station Research and Development Conference

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Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Independence Day is not the only important fourth this July. Hot on the heels of the holiday is the fourth annual International Space Station (ISS) Research and Development Conference, which takes place in Boston July 7 to 9. Launching this year’s event is a keynote speaker who lives up to one of the core conference themes of gaining a new perspective: Elon Musk, chief executive officer and lead designer at SpaceX.

“To welcome this diverse set of new and existing ISS users we were looking for a keynote speaker whose name is synonymous with the future of innovation,” said Brian Talbot, marketing and communications director with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). “Elon Musk is an ideal fit for this role. Elon’s passion for discovery and exploration appeals to business leaders, research and development professionals, and the space community.”

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ULA Awarded $383 Million for 3 Additional Launches

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WASHINGTON (DOD PR) — United Launch Services LLC, Littleton, Colorado has been awarded a $382,926,946 firm-fixed-price modification (P00061) to FA8811-13-C-0003 to order Launch Vehicle Production Services (LVPS) under the requirements contract terms of the basic contract.

This modification executes a requirement for fiscal 2015 LVPS in support of the launch vehicle configuration of one Air Force Delta IV (5,4), one Navy Atlas V 551, and one National Reconnaissance Office Atlas V 401.

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ASAP Criticizes NASA Commercial Crew Program on Transparency

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commercial_crew_cst100_dragon_iss

In its 2014 Annual Report, the NASA Aerospace Advisory Panel (ASAP) slammed the space agency for “less-than-candid and -transparent communication” over the multi-billion dollar Commercial Crew Program.

“There are certain areas where this exemplary behavior of candid, timely, and transparent communication of risk has been insufficient,” ASAP said in its report. “The Commercial Crew Program (CCP) has been notably less forthcoming. This lack of transparency has been a concern for a number of years and, despite numerous discussions with the Director of Commercial Spaceflight Development (DCSD) and with senior leadership at NASA Headquarters, this less-than-candid and -transparent communication with the ASAP regarding the CCP has persisted.

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UrtheCast Expands After Signing $65 Million Contract

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urthecast-logoThe Earth-imaging company UrtheCast has opened a second office in Vancouver, Canada, with the help of a recently signed deal. And the company is hiring.

“With an infusion of data, projects, and engineers, it was time to expand our office. Our Vancouver headquarters has been busting at the seams for quite some time now, so we’re looking forward to having more room and welcoming even more people to our team,” said UrtheCast’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Larson. “Our entire system continues to grow as we look for video specialists, GIS experts, and infrastructure experts to help build out our cloud for the data we are collecting.”

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Sarah Brightman Undergoes Wilderness Survival Training

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Sarah Brightman and crew mates undergo wilderness survival training. (Credit: Roscosmos)

Sarah Brightman and crew mates undergo wilderness survival training. (Credit: Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — The autonomous training for surviving in a case of emergence landing in marshy-wooded area in the winter will take place since Jan 19 till Feb 9.

Crewmates of ISS crew 48/49: Anatoly Ivanishin (Roscosmos), Takuya Onishi (JAXA), Kathleen Rubins (NASA) and ISS crew 49/50: Sergey Ryzhikov & Andrey Borisenko( Roscosmos), Robert Kimbrough (NASA) and spaceflight participants Sarah Brightman and Satoshi Takamatsu take part in this training.

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NASA Honors Fallen Astronauts on Day of Remembrance

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Challenger crew. Back row, left to right: mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, payload specialist Christa McAuliffe, payload specialist Gregory Jarvis, mission specialist Judith Resnik. Front row left to right: pilot Michael J. Smith, commander Francis "Dick" Scobee, mission specialist Ronald McNair. (Credit: NASA)

Challenger crew. Back row, left to right: mission specialist Ellison Onizuka, payload specialist Christa McAuliffe, payload specialist Gregory Jarvis, mission specialist Judith Resnik. Front row left to right: pilot Michael J. Smith, commander Francis “Dick” Scobee, mission specialist Ronald McNair. (Credit: NASA)

Message from the Administrator:
Day of Remembrance – Jan. 28, 2015

Today we remember and give thanks for the lives and contributions of those who gave all trying to push the boundaries of human achievement. On this solemn occasion, we pause in our normal routines and remember the STS-107 Columbia crew; the STS-51L Challenger crew; the Apollo 1 crew; Mike Adams, the first in-flight fatality of the space program as he piloted the X-15 No. 3 on a research flight; and those lost in test flights and aeronautics research throughout our history.

The crew of STS-107. From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon. (Credit: NASA)

The crew of STS-107. From left to right are mission specialist David Brown, commander Rick Husband, mission specialist Laurel Clark, mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist Michael Anderson, pilot William McCool, and Israeli payload specialist Ilan Ramon. (Credit: NASA)

These men and women were our friends, family and colleagues. They still are. As we undertake a journey to Mars, they will be with us. They have our eternal respect, love and gratitude.

Today, their legacy lives on as the International Space Station fulfills its promise as a symbol of hope for the world and a springboard to missions farther into the solar system. Our lost friends are with us in the strivings of all of our missions to take humans to new destinations and to unlock the secrets of our universe. We honor them by making our dreams of a better tomorrow reality and taking advantage of the fruits of exploration to improve life for people everywhere.

Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. (Credit: NASA)

Apollo 1 astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. (Credit: NASA)

Let us join together as one NASA Family, along with the entire world, in paying our respects, and honoring the memories of our dear friends. They will never be forgotten. Godspeed to every one of them.

Charlie B.