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Laser-based Navigation Sensor Could Be Standard for Planetary Landing Missions

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Bruce Barnes, who does electronics engineering and system integration for the Navigation Doppler Lidar, makes final preparations to the sensor in a lab at NASA's Langley Research Center. (Credit: NASA/David C. Bowman)

Bruce Barnes, who does electronics engineering and system integration for the Navigation Doppler Lidar, makes final preparations to the sensor in a lab at NASA’s Langley Research Center. (Credit: NASA/David C. Bowman)

HAMPTON, Va. (NASA PR) — A laser-guided navigation sensor that could help future rovers make safe, precise landings on Mars or destinations beyond will soon undergo testing in California’s Mojave Desert.

The Navigation Doppler Lidar, or NDL, which was developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will be flight tested aboard a rocket-powered Vertical Take-off, Vertical Landing (VTVL) platform, named Xodiac, developed by Masten Space Systems, in Mojave, California.

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UK Space Agency Allocates 1.4 Billion Euros to ESA Budget

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UK_space_agencySWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — UK Space Agency allocates more than €1.4 billion over the next five years to European Space Agency programmes at the Council of Ministers in Lucerne, Switzerland.

  • €670.5 million investment in satellite technology for UK industry and science, including telecommunications, Earth observation, navigation and satellite services supporting every sector of the economy, including
  • €23 million to build on UK leadership of ESA’s climate change monitoring programme, based at the ECSAT facility in Harwell, Oxford.
    €82.4 million for the next phase of the ExoMars programme, to put a British-built rover on the surface of Mars.
  • €71 million for ESA’s International Space Station programme to 2021 and for the future of deep space exploration, building on the legacy of Tim Peake’s Principia mission

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Trump Threatens Boeing Air Force One Contract After CEO Criticizes Trade Policies

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In what could be a preview of things to come, Donald Trump today threatened The Boeing Company with the cancellation of a $3 billion U.S. Air Force contract to replace the fleet of Air Force One aircraft.

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New Glenn Production Facility Under Construction in Florida

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New Glenn production facility under construction in December 2016. (Credit: Blue Origin)

New Glenn production facility under construction in December 2016. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Just a very short note to update you on the 750,000 square-foot New Glenn rocket factory we’re building in Florida. The team has made extraordinary progress—as you can see here, the first steel is now going up.

And again, here’s an image of what it will look like by the end of 2017.

New Glenn production facility. (Credit: Blue Origin)

New Glenn production facility. (Credit: Blue Origin)

I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

Gradatim Ferociter!

Jeff Bezos

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XCOR Loses Co-Founder Aleta Jackson

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Aleta Jackson DeLong (Credit: Mike Massee)

Aleta Jackson DeLong (Credit: Mike Massee)

“She was the den mother to the XCOR family, and we loved her – but not as much as she loved us. I miss her.”

Doug Weathers
former XCOR employee

XCOR lost one of its four founders on Sunday.

Loretta “Aleta” Jackson DeLong passed away in Midland, Texas, after a losing a battle with ovarian cancer. She was 68.

Aleta had founded XCOR in 1999 with Jeff Greason, Doug Jones and her partner and future husband Dan DeLong. The four had been laid off from Rotary Rocket and decided to found XCOR.

I got to know Aleta during my interactions with XCOR. She was an extraordinary person. I will miss her spirit.

One of her former XCOR co-workers, Mike Massee, published a moving tribute to Aleta on Facebook. I’ve reproduced it below with his permission.

By Mike Massee

Aleta Jackson

Aleta Jackson

Yesterday I lost a very good friend and the world lost an extraordinary and unique woman.

Loretta L. Jackson, or Aleta as we all knew her, had the fortune to participate in the entire breadth of the modern space age beginning with Gemini and ending with the founding or operation of no less than three successive NewSpace companies.

Born in 1948 in Tuscon, Arizona, a young Aleta became an engineering intern at McDonnell Corporation in the mid-1960s. She was a draftswoman who was also called upon to help fit instruments into the Gemini space capsules on account of having very small hands which could fit around the tight spaces.

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Germany Provides Approximately 2 Billion Euros to ESA Space Projects

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Dlr_logo1LUCERNE, Switzerland (DLR PR) — The highest decision-making body of the European Space Agency (ESA) met this year on 1 and 2 December at the Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) in Lucerne, Switzerland, to set the financial and programme-based course for European space travel for the coming years. Ministers in charge of space in Europe last came together exactly two years ago on 2 December 2014 in Luxembourg.

The German Federal Government was represented by Brigitte Zypries, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Brigitte Zypries, who is also aerospace coordinator, was supported by Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Executive Board and Gerd Gruppe, Member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for the Space Administration, which, in close collaboration with the BMWi, prepared the German position for the ESA Council meeting at ministerial level.
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NASA Announces Early Stage Innovation Space Technology Research Grants

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NASA LOGOWASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 13 university-led proposals for the study of innovative, early stage technologies that address high priority needs of America’s space program.

The Early Stage Innovations (ESI) grants from NASA’s Space Technology Research Grants Program are worth as much as $500,000 each. Universities have two to three years to work on their proposed research and development projects.

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Virgin Galactic Working to Make Supersonic Aircraft Go Boom

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Video Caption: Yesterday in Denver, The Spaceship Company’s chairman Doug Shane spoke at Boom’s unveil of its XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, a subscale prototype of the Boom supersonic passenger airliner. The Spaceship Company is a proud partner of Boom Supersonic and will provide engineering and manufacturing services, along with flight test support and operations. Doug introduced a congratulatory message from Sir Richard Branson.

Delta IV Set to Launch Air Force Satellite on Wednesday Night

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The U.S. Air Force's eighth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite, encapsulated in a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV booster at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37. (Credit: ULA)

The U.S. Air Force’s eighth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite, encapsulated in a 5-meter payload fairing, is mated to a Delta IV booster at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37. (Credit: ULA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (ULA PR) — Everything is progressing toward the ULA Delta IV launch carrying the WGS-8 satellite for the US Air Force. The mission is set to lift off on a ULA Delta IV rocket on Wednesday, Dec. 7 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch window is 6:53-7:42 p.m. EST. Today’s L-2 forecast shows a 80 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch.

Webcast available at www.ulalaunch.com and www.youtube.com/unitedlaunchalliance

Weather Forecast

Overall probability of violating launch weather constraints: 20%
Primary concern: Thick Cloud Layers
Overall probability of violating launch weather constraints for 24-hour delay: 40%
Primary concern: Thick Cloud Layers

This Week on The Space Show

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

1. Monday, Dec. 5, 2016: 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST, 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome Jim Muncy back to the show to discuss space policy in the Trump administration.

2. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016: 2016: 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: OPEN LINES. All space and STEM calls welcome. First time callers welcome. Remember, phone calls are more interesting and fun than emails for the Open Lines shows.

4. Friday, Dec. 9, 2016: 9:30-11AM PST; (12:30-2 PM EST; 11:30 AM – 1 PM CST) No show as am at the Raw Science Film Festival. Check it out at www.rawcience.tv.

5. Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016: 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 5PM CST):No show as am at the Raw Science Film Festival. Check it out at www.rawscience.tv.

NASA Awards Restore-L Satellite Servicing Contract to Space Systems/Loral

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Artist's conception of Restore-L servicing satellite with Landsat 7. (Credit: NASA)

Artist’s conception of Restore-L servicing satellite with Landsat 7. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded the Restore-L Spacecraft Bus and Support Services contract to Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California. Restore-L is a robotic spacecraft equipped with the tools, technologies and techniques needed to service satellites currently in orbit.

The contract has a firm-fixed-price and includes a three-year core period and a two-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity portion. The total maximum value of the contract is $127 million.

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Canada Narrows List of Astronaut Candidates

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Credit: CSA

Credit: CSA

On December 1, 2016, the Canadian Space Agency published the latest numbers on Canada’s 2016 astronaut recruitment campaign.

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Bolden Praises ESA Commitment to Space Station Extension

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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on ESA’s (European Space Agency’s) decision to continue its operations aboard the International Space Station:

“I’m excited all the International Space Station partners have now joined us in committing to operation of this invaluable resource through at least 2024.

“The European Space Agency contributions to station are essential, and we look forward to continuing to work with ESA, the Canadian Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and Roscosmos for extended operations, and to collaborating with other nations to push the boundaries of human exploration, and extend our reach farther into the solar system as part of the ongoing Journey to Mars.”

For more information about the International Space Station, its research and crews, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station

Obama Signs Law to Prevent Encroachments on Nation’s Spaceports

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us_spaceports_2016
President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure that will help the nation’s growing legion of spaceports fight the encroachment of obstacles such as transmission lines that could endanger suborbital spacecraft.

The measure, sponsored by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), was inspired by a problem experienced by the Mojave Air and Space Port, which is in the Congressman’s district. A utility company built extra tall transmission towers near the airport, sparking safety concerns among officials there.

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Roscosmos COO Arrested on Theft Charges

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Roscosmos_logoFrom the Here We Go Again Department:

Roscosmos COO Vladimir Evdokimov has been arrested Thursday on fraud charges. He has been accused of stealing over $3 Mln, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported from the court proceedings on Thursday.

On Thursday, Moscow’s Basmanny district court arrested Roscosmos COO Vladimir Evdokimov for two months until January 30. “Meet the investigator’s request and implement a measure of restraint in the form of detention,” judge Artur Karpov said when announcing the court’s decision.

Evdokimov faces up to 10 years of imprisonment under large scale fraud charges if found guilty. The investigation has found that Evdokimov has committed fraud, stealing more than $3 million from the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG.

The investigator said that Evdokimov should be put into a pre-detention center as he could flee the country to hide elsewhere like other defendants in this case have done.

Evdokimov himself said that he does not admit his guilt. He pointed out that he provide his testimony and is willing to cooperate with the investigation.

The Russian space program has been plagued by repeated corruption scandals and numerous launch failures in recent years. On Thursday, a Progress supply ship bound for the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere after its Soyuz booster failed.

Read the full story.

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