House Appropriations Committee Ignores Trump, Funds NASA at $19.9 Billion

Donald Trump (Credit: Michael Vadon)

The House Appropriations Committee has ignored President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts  in NASA’s budget and has instead approved a bill that would boost the space agency’s budget.

The spending measure would fund the agency at $19.9 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2018, which officials said was a $219 million increase over the enacted level for FY 2017.  Trump has proposed cutting NASA’s budget to just over $19 billion.

Appropriators provided a $226 million boost to the space agency’s exploration budget, which funds the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew spacecraft. They also boosted the budget for NASA’s science programs by $94 million.

NASA’s Education Office, which Trump has proposed shutting down, would receive $90 million.

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Chicken Sandwich Flight Rescheduled for Thursday After Fowl Weather

KFC Zinger Stratollite (Credit: KFC)

For anyone who’s been wondering about Operation StratoChicken, it’s been rescheduled for Thursday morning. Here’s the latest update from World View CEO Jane Poynter on the KSC Zinger chicken sandwich promotion.

Hi everyone,

Another quick update for those interested in watching the live broadcast of our upcoming Stratollite launch. Weather conditions have created a nice launch window opening tomorrow and spanning the next few days, so we are officially a GO for a launch attempt early tomorrow morning (Thursday, 6/29).

Our friends at KFC are still preparing to operate the live broadcast feed and narration, so this should be interesting and fun. Again, enjoy it and take the commentary with a grain of salt! It’s a great opportunity for you to witness our launch operation.

The final timing for launch is TBD, but KFC’s live broadcast of the event will start at 5:00am PT 8:00am ET.) Keep an eye on our facebook and twitter pages for real-time updates on launch timing.

And, once again, here’s the URL where KFC will be hosting the live broadcast feed: https://yesweareactuallysendingachickensandwichto.space/.

Enjoy!

– Jane Poynter
CEO, World View

House to Hold Hearing on In-Space Propulsion


House of Representatives

Space Subcommittee Hearing

In-Space Propulsion: Strategic Choices and Options
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2017 – 10:00am
Location: 2318 Rayburn House Office Building

Hearing Purpose
NASA is pursuing several in-space propulsion technologies to advance not only human exploration, but also uncrewed spacecraft operations. The hearing will explore NASA’s current portfolio of investments in in-space propulsion technologies, the state of the various technologies, and how they fit into future space architectures.

Witnesses

  • Mr. William Gerstenmaier — Associate Administrator, Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, NASA
  • Mr. Stephen Jurczyk — Associate Administrator, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA
  • Dr. Mitchell Walker — Chair, Electric Propulsion Technical Committee, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
  • Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz — Founder and CEO, Ad Astra Rocket Company
  • Mr. Joe Cassady — Executive Director for Space, Washington Operations, Aerojet Rocketdyne
  • Dr. Anthony Pancotti — Director of Propulsion Research, MSNW LLC

Space Weather Research & Forecasting Act Introduced in House


WASHINGTON, DC (Ed Perlmutta PR) — Today, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-7) introduced the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act.  This bipartisan legislation, cosponsored by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), is the House companion to S. 141 introduced by Senators Gary Peters, Cory Gardner, Cory Booker, and Roger Wicker which passed the Senate earlier this year.

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MDA Forms Space Infrastructure Services for Satellite Servicing

Satellite refueling mission (Credit: MDA)

SAN FRANCISCO, June 28, 2017 (SSL MDA PR) — SSL MDA Holdings Inc., a global communications and information company, today announced important milestones in its progress to bring transformational on-orbit satellite servicing to market.

Space Infrastructure Services LLC (SIS), a new U.S. company, will commercialize sophisticated satellite servicing capabilities, including refueling. SIS will be majority owned by Finance Technology Leverage LLC (FTL), a global investment company headquartered in Silicon Valley, along with other U.S. investors, with SSL MDA Holdings maintaining a minority ownership share.  Full financing for the venture is expected to conclude in the coming weeks.

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NASA to Celebrate Asteroid Day With Special Broadcast

Asteroid Itokawa (Credit: JAXA)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA will mark the worldwide observance of International Asteroid Day at noon EDT Friday, June 30, with a special television program featuring the agency’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office and other projects working to find and study near-Earth objects (NEOs). The program will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

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OneWeb Inaugurates Spacecraft Assembly Line

Airbus-built OneWeb satellite (Credit: Airbus)

TOULOUSE, France (Airbus PR)  – Today, OneWeb Satellites inaugurates its assembly line in Toulouse, the beating heart of Airbus’ manufacturing expertise, to begin end-to-end validation, testing, and integration of its first satellites set for launch in just over nine months.

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Kennedy’s Transformation Paying Off in New Opportunities

Mural on Starliner assembly building. (Credit: NASA)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

A transformation begun before the space shuttles retired six years ago set the stage at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the current development underway among commercial space companies and for the infrastructure needed to support deep space exploration, Bob Cabana, Kennedy’s director, told community leaders Tuesday afternoon.

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A Q&A With NASA’s Steve Jurczyk

Steve Jurczyk (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — For much of his quarter-century career in the nation’s space program, Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, has championed the use of cutting-edge technology to advance exploration and extend human knowledge. Whether executing some of NASA’s most prestigious exploration missions or leading the agency’s first field center, he’s been a staunch advocate for the application of well-developed, mature technology to answer any challenge, overcome any obstacle.

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NASA Completes Milestone Toward Quieter Supersonic X-Plane

This rendering shows the Lockheed Martin future supersonic advanced concept featuring two engines under the wings and one on top of the fuselage (not visible in this image).

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NASA PR) — NASA has achieved a significant milestone in its effort to make supersonic passenger jet travel over land a real possibility by completing the preliminary design review (PDR) of its Quiet Supersonic Transport or QueSST aircraft design. QueSST is the initial design stage of NASA’s planned Low Boom Flight Demonstration (LBFD) experimental airplane, otherwise known as an X-plane.

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This Week on The Space Show


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

1. Monday, June 26, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back BARRY LEVIN to continue our discussions on AI, 4th Industrial Revolution mfg. processes and how all of this applies to the space industry.

2. Tuesday, June 27 , 2017: 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: No show today as am at NewSpace Conference in San Francisco.

3. Wednesday, June 28, 2016:: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details.

4. Friday, June 30, 2017; 9:30-11AM PDT, 12:30-2 PM EDT, 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT: We welcome back author LORETTA HALL regarding her new book, “Miguel & Michelle Visit Spaceport America.” Loretta has additional discussion topics for us.

5. Sunday, July 2, 2017: 12-1:30 PM DST (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): MICHAEL LISTNER, ATTY., joins us for legal news and updates.

Blue Origin to Manufacture BE-4 Engines in Huntsville

BE-4 engines (Credit: Blue Origin)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce PR) — Blue Origin announced plans to manufacture its BE-4 engine in a state-of-the art production facility to be built in Huntsville, Alabama — the Rocket City.The new facility will be in Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second-largest research park, and construction can begin once an engine production contract with United Launch Alliance is awarded. The BE-4 is America’s next rocket engine and will power United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, once down-selected. The production of this engine would end the nation’s dependence on Russia for access to space for critical national security space systems.

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Spaceport America Economic Impact Claim Lacks Actual Data

Four big thumbs up from Richard Branson and then New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at the Spaceport America runway dedication in 2010. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

NewsChannel 9 in El Paso recently looked into officials’ claims that Spaceport America had a $20 million economic impact on New Mexico’s economy in fiscal year 2016 and found a lack of support data.

However, when asked for a copy of the economic impact study or documents supporting the claim, Spaceport America’s chief financial officer, Zach De Gregorio, told NewsChannel 9 he didn’t use any documents and sent NewsChannel 9 a PowerPoint presentation with five slides.

“It’s just the PowerPoint,” said De Gregorio.

When asked how he did an economic impact study without any documents, De Gregorio said, “I had a lot of conversations and I talked with local business owners, customers and with city officials. I talked with my teammates and I got a really good sense of what was the activity in FY16.”

….When asked about exaggerating their economic impact, [Spaceport America Executive Director Dan] Hicks said, “The chart was intended to show the economic value of the activities at Spaceport America compared the funding received from the NM General Fund. It was simply a comparison chart to convey value added. An Economic Impact Study was not needed to provide a qualitative assessment of our value per NM general fund spending. The focus of the discussion was for our CFO to explain the assumptions he used to compile the information in that impact chart.”

The PowerPoint presentation showed a $20 million return based on the $944,000 the state invested in the spaceport in FY 2016. NewsChannel 9 said the figures do not show millions in taxes paid during the same fiscal year by residents of Dona Ana and Sierra counties to pay off bonds used for spaceport construction.

NewsChannel 9 also reported problems in obtaining documentation from Spaceport America. The spaceport attempted to charge the channel for documents that should be free to inspect under New Mexico law.

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Video: Roll-Out Solar Array Experiment (ROSA) Deploys on ISS

Video Caption: The Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) was deployed from the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm Sunday, June 18 outside the International Space Station. ROSA is an experiment to test a new type of solar array that rolls open in space like a party favor and is more compact than current rigid panel designs.

The ROSA investigation tests deployment and retraction,characterizes changes when the Earth blocks the sun, vibration and other physical challenges to determine the array’s strength and durability.

ROSA has the potential to replace solar arrays on future satellites, making them more compact and lighter weight. Satellite radio and television, weather forecasting, GPS and other services used on Earth would all benefit from high-performance solar arrays. The payload will remain deployed for seven days before retracting and will be stowed back inside the trunk of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo vehicle.

Note: footage of deploy is sped up 300%.