Author: Doug Messier

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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