Monthly Archive for August, 2016

CNBC Report: Private Funding Takes Space Race To New Heights

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CNBC’s Jane Wells talks to Elon Musk of SpaceX and Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin about commercial space activities.

India to Launch 68 Smallsats

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PSLV rocket lifts off with India's Mars Orbiter Mission. (Credit: ISRO)

PSLV rocket lifts off with India’s Mars Orbiter Mission. (Credit: ISRO)

India’s launch services are attracting more customers:

Antrix, the commercial arm of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is planning to send into orbit 68 small satellites from countries across the world early next year.

“These 68 small satellites will be riding on our workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in the next six months,” said S Rakesh, chairman and managing director of Antrix, while announcing the 5th edition of Bengaluru Space Expo (BSX-2016).

“Antrix has been attracting the world’s attention for low-cost and flawless launch capabilities of satellites,” he added.

Read the full story.

Feds: Missing Money Funded Wolf of Wall Street Film

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Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. (Credit: Red Granite Pictures)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. (Credit: Red Granite Pictures)

The scandal engulfing Aabar Investments just keeps getting stranger and stranger.

The U.S. Justice Department has charged that some of the funds allegedly stolen from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB ended up funding The Wolf of Wall Street, a hit movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio as corrupt Wall Street stock broker Jordan Belfort.
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Aabar Watch: Scandal Envelops Virgin Galactic’s Abu Dhabi Partner

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Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic pilots, staffers and investors. To his right is Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO of Aabar, which made a $280 million in Virgin Galactic.

Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic pilots, staffers and investors. To his right is Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO of Aabar, during the Oshkosh airshow in 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve checked in with our friends over at Aabar Investments, the Abu Dhabi-owned sovereign wealth fund that invested $390 million into Virgin Galactic in exchange for a 37.6-percent share of Sir Richard Branson’s space line.

And boy, do I wish we had checked in sooner. There’s been some real serious [expletive deleted] going down with that investment with that fund over the past year. Real serious you know what.

Continue reading ‘Aabar Watch: Scandal Envelops Virgin Galactic’s Abu Dhabi Partner’

DNA Sequenced in Space for First Time

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NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins sequenced DNA in space for the first time ever for the Biomolecule Sequencer investigation, using the MinION sequencing device. (Credit: NASA)

NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins sequenced DNA in space for the first time ever for the Biomolecule Sequencer investigation, using the MinION sequencing device. (Credit: NASA)

 HOUSTON (NASA PR) — For the first time ever, DNA was successfully sequenced in microgravity as part of the Biomolecule Sequencer experiment performed by NASA astronaut Kate Rubins this weekend aboard the International Space Station. The ability to sequence the DNA of living organisms in space opens a whole new world of scientific and medical possibilities. Scientists consider it a game changer.

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GLXP Update: XPRIZE Verifies Launch Agreement for Team SYNERGY MOON

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The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

The moon rising over Half Moon Bay, California on Halloween 2009. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

LOS ANGELES (XPRIZE PR) — Today, XPRIZE officially verified Team SYNERGY MOON’s launch agreement as part of the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition for privately funded teams to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the moon by December 31, 2017. The SYNERGY MOON mission will use a NEPTUNE 8 rocket, built and launched by Interorbital Systems, to carry a lunar lander and at least one rover to the surface of the moon, launching from an open-ocean location off the California coast during the second half of 2017.

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NASA Sets Schedule for OSIRIS-REx Briefings, Launch Coverage

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This is an artist's concept of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft preparing to take a sample from asteroid Bennu. Image Credit:  NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney

This is an artist’s concept of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft preparing to take a sample from asteroid Bennu. (Credit: NASA/Goddard/Chris Meaney)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA is gearing up to launch the United States’ first mission to sample an asteroid, with activities at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida beginning Tuesday, Sept. 6, and culminating with the spacecraft launch Thursday, Sept. 8. Various activities are open to media and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft is scheduled to launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA)  Atlas V rocket between 7:05 and 9:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 8 from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, neighboring Kennedy in Florida.

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SES to Launch Satellite on Reused SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket

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A Falcon 9 first stage lands after launching the SES-2 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

A Falcon 9 first stage lands after launching the SES-2 satellite. (Credit: SpaceX)

LUXEMBOURG & HAWTHORNE, Calif., August 30, 2016 (SES/SpaceX PR) — SES (Euronext Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG) and SpaceX announced today they have reached an agreement to launch SES-10 on a flight-proven Falcon 9 orbital rocket booster.

The satellite, which will be in a geostationary orbit and expand SES’s capabilities across Latin America, is scheduled for launch in Q4 2016. SES-10 will be the first-ever satellite to launch on a SpaceX flight-proven rocket booster.

Continue reading ‘SES to Launch Satellite on Reused SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket’

Special Aerospace Services Named Among America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. Magazine

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SAS_logoBOULDER, Colo., August 29, 2016 (SAS PR) — Special Aerospace Services LLC (SAS), an 8(a) certified woman-owned small business specializing in tactical engineering and precision manufacturing, has been included on the 2016 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in America.

With a three-year revenue growth of 221%, SAS ranks #1,685 on the overall Inc. 5000 list, which is compiled annually by Inc. magazine. Among engineering companies nationwide, SAS ranks #18, while its impressive revenue numbers place it #44 on the list of Colorado companies and #4 in the Boulder area.

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ISRO Successfully Tests Scramjet

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Credit: ISRO

Credit: ISRO

BANGALORE, India (ISRO PR) — An important development in ISRO’s Air Breathing Propulsion Project (ABPP) occurred on August 28, 2016, which was the successful flight testing of its Scramjet.

This first experimental mission of ISRO’s Scramjet Engine towards the realisation of an Air Breathing Propulsion System was successfully conducted from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota.

After a smooth countdown of 12 hours, the solid rocket booster carrying the Scramjet Engines lifted off at 0600 hrs (6:00 am) IST.  The important flight events, namely, burn out of booster rocket stage, ignition of second stage solid rocket, functioning of Scramjet engines for 5 seconds followed by burn out of the second stage took place exactly as planned.

After a flight of about 300 seconds, the vehicle touched down in the Bay of Bengal, approximately 320 km from Sriharikota. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from the ground stations at Sriharikota.

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This Week on The Space Show

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

Monday, August 29, 2016: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back KERI KUKRAL for Raw Science TV updates.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016: 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT) We welcome back DR. DORIT DONOVIEL to discuss the Vision Impairment and Intracranial Pressure issue (VIIP).

Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016: 9:30-10:30 AM PDT (12:30-1:30 PM EDT,): We welcome back DR. PAT HYNES to discuss the upcoming Personal Spaceflight Symposium in Las Cruces, NM.

Friday, Sept. 2, 2016: 9:30-11AM PDT; (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM – 1 PM CDT) We welcome DR. GRACE WOLF-CHASE, Astronomer at the Adler Planetarium.

Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): NO SHOW TODAY DUE TO LABOR DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND.

Ah-ha! This Could Mean Something’s About to Happen

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Well…this is most interesting.

CNBC reporter at Spaceport America on Monday morning where not much is actually happening. However, Virgin Galactic is Spaceport America’s anchor tenant.

CNBC is a big fan of Richard Branson and his space company. Parent company NBC Universal  has an agreement to promote Virgin Galactic and Branson’s eventual trip into space across all its news organizations and platforms. (I think this is what they call in corporate speak synergy.)

Virgin Galactic has said it would start flying SpaceShipTwo this month with at least a captive carry. August has about three days and six hours left in it. And this is the very moment CNBC launches something called Mission: Space that appears focused, at least in part, around Branson’s 12-year effort to launch tourists into space.

Must. Mean. Something.

UPDATE: Here’s the first report. Better than I had expected, but then reporter send it back to anchor who asks inane question.

NASA’s Juno Successfully Completes Jupiter Flyby

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Jupiter's north polar region is coming into view as NASA's Juno spacecraft approaches the giant planet. This view of Jupiter was taken on August 27, when Juno was 437,000 miles (703,000 kilometers) away. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

Jupiter’s north polar region is coming into view as NASA’s Juno spacecraft approaches the giant planet. This view of Jupiter was taken on August 27, when Juno was 437,000 miles (703,000 kilometers) away. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Juno mission successfully executed its first of 36 orbital flybys of Jupiter today. The time of closest approach with the gas-giant world was 6:44 a.m. PDT (9:44 a.m. EDT, 13:44 UTC) when Juno passed about 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) above Jupiter’s swirling clouds. At the time, Juno was traveling at 130,000 mph (208,000 kilometers per hour) with respect to the planet. This flyby was the closest Juno will get to Jupiter during its prime mission.

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Video: Orion Water Landing Test

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Video Caption: Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center conducted a splashdown test of the Orion Crew Module Ground Test Article on Aug. 25, 2016. The goal of this series of tests to gather data on simulated splashdowns in stressful landing scenarios. Video credit: NASA/Gary Banziger

I Will Launch America: Brittani Sims

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i_will_launch_brittani_simsBy Joshua Finch,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Brittani Sims is one of the many dedicated employees supporting NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

An electrical engineer by education, Sims developed a passion for safety and human spaceflight in high school after watching the space shuttle on TV.

“I was just sitting on the couch watching TV and the news was covering the return of the space shuttle,” said Sims. “I wasn’t even aware what NASA did at the time. I remember asking my mom, ‘Did you know that we put people into space?’ When I went to school the next week, I told people that I wanted to work for NASA, and a lot of them didn’t really believe me.”

Sims says those doubts only served as additional motivation for her to achieve her goals.

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