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Congressmen Seek Answers on SpaceX Falcon 9 Failures

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Credit: USLaunchReport.com

Credit: USLaunchReport.com

A group 10 Republican Congressmen have sent a letter to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seeking answers about the failures of SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicles over the past 15 months.

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Astronauts Open BEAM for Tests

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BEAM module (Credit: NASA TV)

BEAM module (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — BEAM, the new expandable module attached to the International Space Station, was opened up today for tests and equipment checks. The Expedition 49 crew also explored eating right in space, adapting to new technology and studied a variety of other life science and physics research.

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RemoveDebris Mission Set to Launch in 2017 From ISS

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Credit: NanoRacks

Credit: NanoRacks

HOUSTON (NanoRacks PR) — Surrey Space Centre and NanoRacks are pleased to announce the RemoveDebris mission will be deployed into low-Earth orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) using the NanoRacks Kaber Satellite Deployment System (Kaber).

Since the beginning of the space era, a huge amount of orbital debris has progressively been building up; from old rocket casings to dead satellites, there are almost 7,000 tonnes of it around the Earth. Active debris removal missions have been suggested as a way of limiting and controlling future growth by actively sending up spacecraft to capture and remove the debris from space – to date this has never been fully achieved.

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Blue Origin to Conduct In-flight Abort Test on Tuesday

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The reusable New Shepard space vehicle ascends through clear skies to an apogee of 339,138 feet. (Credit: Blue Origin)

The reusable New Shepard space vehicle ascends through clear skies to an apogee of 339,138 feet. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin will conduct an in-flight abort test of its New Shepard capsule on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The company will webcast the flight starting at 10:50 am EDT at http://blueorigin.com.

Rosetta Mission Ends With Controlled Impact on Comet

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Sequence of images captured by Rosetta during its descent to the surface of Comet 67P/C-G on 30 September. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Sequence of images captured by Rosetta during its descent to the surface of Comet 67P/C-G on 30 September. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

DARMSTADT, Germany, 30 September 2016 (ESA PR) — ESA’s historic Rosetta mission has concluded as planned, with the controlled impact onto the comet it had been investigating for more than two years.

Confirmation of the end of the mission arrived at ESA’s control centre in Darmstadt, Germany at 11:19 GMT (13:19 CEST) with the loss of Rosetta’s signal upon impact.

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Airbus Signs First Customer for New ISS Hosted Payload Platform

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bartolomeo platform on ISS. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

bartolomeo platform on ISS. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (Airbus Defence & Space PR) — Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, and Neumann Space, an Australian Space technology company, have signed the very first agreement for a hosted payload aboard the new Bartolomeo platform of the International Space Station (ISS) during this week’s IAC Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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CASIS, NSF Fund Fluid Dynamics Experiments on ISS

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casis_new_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., September 29, 2016 (CASIS PR) – The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) today announced five projects have been awarded from a joint fluid dynamics solicitation for focused research onboard the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory for Earth benefits. Through this partnership, CASIS and NASA will facilitate hardware implementation and on-orbit access to the ISS National Laboratory.  NSF will award $1.5 million total in funding for the selected projects to advance fundamental science and engineering knowledge through microgravity inquiry.

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Moraliss-Nerva Nano-satellite Launcher Development Project Commences

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polytechnic_bucharestBUCHAREST (UPB PR) — Through the National Agency for Scientific Research (NASR), the Romanian government has commenced sponsorship of NERVA, a Romanian orbital nanosatellite launcher currently in development by a team of professors and students from University “Politehnica” of Bucharest and ADDA – The Association Dedicated to Development in Astronautics, through a new 3-year grant funded by the European Union.

Project co-founded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF 2014-2020) through the Competitiveness Operational Program.

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Clyde Space Boosts Management Team

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Will Whitehorn, Jennifer Riddell-Dillet and Craig Clark. (Credit: Clyde Space)

Will Whitehorn, Jennifer Riddell-Dillet and Craig Clark. (Credit: Clyde Space)

GLASGOW (Clyde Space PR) — Clyde Space, the pioneering company which designed and manufactured Scotland’s first spacecraft, has announced two major appointments to its management team including the former President of Virgin Galactic.

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NASA TV to Air Rosetta Descent to Comet on Friday

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Comet 67P on June 25, 2015 from Rosetta. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

Comet 67P on June 25, 2015 from Rosetta. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Television and the agency’s website will air the conclusion of ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) Rosetta mission from 6:15 to 8 a.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 30, with NASA commentary, interviews and analysis of the successful mission. The Rosetta mission will end with the controlled decent of the spacecraft onto the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at around 7:20 a.m.

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Firefly Space Systems Suffers Funding Setback

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firefly_space_systems_logoUpdate: I have heard everyone was laid off at Firefly. In addition, there are reports there was an arbitrator’s ruling earlier this month in the case brought by Virgin Galactic against its former head of propulsion, Tom Markusic, who co-founded Firefly. The ruling was that Markusic had taken proprietary information when he left Virgin Galactic. This is the type of ruling that dries up funding sources for startups, which would explain the company’s financial setback.

There’s been a statement posted by Firefly Space Systems via Twitter.

“Firefly Space Systems in recent weeks experienced a setback on funding, which us to take necessary action to maintain cash-flow equilibrium and position our company for future success. We are reviewing options with our financial partners and will be communicating updates to our employees in as close to real time as possible. We will update the media as soon as a resolution is reached.”

I had heard reports of layoffs in August of about 30 people, although a source said the number was less than that total.

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Video Compilation of Bizarre Questions Asked of Elon Musk

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A compilation of the bizarre questions Elon Musk fielded during his unveiling of his Mars plan.

Elon Musk, Wernher Von Braun and Gigantism: What is Old is New Again

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Interplanetary Transport System at Enceladus. (Credit: SpaceX)

Interplanetary Transport System at Enceladus. (Credit: SpaceX)

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Elon Musk’s obsession with making giant leaps forward in technology and how the approach has likely contributed to some of the company’s problems. I posited that SpaceX needs fewer leaps and more plateaus so its employees can consolidate what they have learned and get really good at it before moving on to the next level. [SpaceX: Giant Leaps, Deep Troughs But No Plateaus].

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Boeing Unveils New Home for Starliner Trainers

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NASA Commercial Crew Program astronaut Sunita Williams demonstrates Boeing’s Crew Part-Task Trainer, which is being used to prepare crew members to fly to the International Space Station aboard Boeing's CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft. (Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett)

NASA Commercial Crew Program astronaut Sunita Williams demonstrates Boeing’s Crew Part-Task Trainer, which is being used to prepare crew members to fly to the International Space Station aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft. (Credit: NASA/Lauren Harnett)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Suddenly, you’re barreling down toward Earth at speeds 10 times faster than a bullet, headed straight for Earth—but all the nerves are gone. You’ve landed this flight 100 times before.

Nearly 250 miles below, hallways within NASA Johnson Space Center’s Jake Garn Mission Simulator and Training Facility are lined with history. Since 1965, the facility, known to JSC team members simply as Building 5, has trained the world’s greatest explorers for Gemini, Apollo, Space Shuttle and International Space Station Program missions.

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PSLV-C35 Successfully Launches Eight Satellites into Two Different Orbits

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PSLV-C35 launch (Credit: ISRO)

PSLV-C35 launch (Credit: ISRO)

BANGALORE (ISRO PR) — In its thirty seventh flight (PSLV-C35), ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle successfully launched the 371 kg SCATSAT-1 Satellite along with seven co-passenger satellites today morning (September 26, 2016) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty sixth consecutively successful mission of PSLV. The total weight of all the eight satellites carried on-board PSLV-C35 was 675 kg. PSLV-C35 is the first PSLV mission to launch satellites carried onboard into two different orbits. This PSLV mission was the longest of the PSLV missions conducted till date and was completed in 2 hours 15 minutes and 33 seconds after lift-off.

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