Zaiput’s Separators Sent to ISS to Understand Pharmaceutical Production

Zaiput’s gravity-independent liquid extraction technology will be tested in space. This will help to further our understanding of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial applications, particularly in pharmaceutical production.

Cambridge, MA (Zaiput Flow Technologies PR ) — As space travel and extraterrestrial habitation becomes a reality, it is becoming important to be able synthesize chemicals in space. Liquid separation is a key step in liquid extraction, one of the common steps in pharmaceutical production.

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Baylor College Center for Space Medicine Launches Commercial Transportation Initiative

Jeffrey P. Sutton, M.D., Ph.D. (Credit: Baylor College of Medicine)

HOUSTON (Baylor College of Medicine PR) — Baylor College of Medicine is expanding its renowned research and education programs in the Center for Space Medicine to include cutting-edge aerospace medicine for commercial space missions.

“We are thrilled about this new frontier and uncharted territory that we are moving in to,” said Dr. Jeffrey Sutton, director of the Center for Space Medicine. “This positions the Center for Space Medicine to become a leader in integrated research, education and clinical activities related to space medicine in an academic setting.”

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ESA, ArianeGroup Sign Contract for Prometheus Engine Demonstrator

 

Prometheus rocket engine (Credit: ArianeGroup Holding)

PARIS, 14 December 2017 (ESA PR) — An ultra-low cost reusable rocket engine, Prometheus, using liquid oxygen–methane propellants, is set to power Europe’s future launchers.

Today, ESA and ArianeGroup signed a contract to develop a full-scale demonstrator to be ground tested in November 2020.

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Rocket Lab Scrubs Again

First Electron rocket at launch site. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab scrubbed the second launch of the Electron rocket from New Zealand yesterday due to a technical problem.

“Today’s launch attempt has been scrubbed following the identification of a power fault during ground checkouts,” the company said in a tweet. “Team will work the issue tomorrow before a new target launch time is determined in coming days.”

It was the third scrub of the week. The first one was due to a problem with the booster, and the second due to excessive high-level winds.

NASA Sends Critical Science, Instruments to Space Station

Falcon 9 carries the Dragon cargo ship into orbit. (Credit: NASA TV)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft into orbit for its 13th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on Friday morning. Dragon was lifted into orbit atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida carrying crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to crew members living and working aboard the station.

This science-heavy flight will deliver investigations and facilities that study and/or measure solar irradiance, materials, orbital debris and more.

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NASA Funds Flight for Space Medical Technology on Blue Origin

New Shepard capsule after landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

VAN HORN, Texas (NASA PR) — Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard reusable space vehicle on Dec. 12 carrying a medical technology that could potentially treat chest trauma in a space environment.

The New Shepard reusable vertical takeoff and vertical landing space vehicle was launched with the experimental technology from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site.  In addition to NASA funding non-government researchers to fly payloads, Blue Origin is a Flight Opportunities program launch provider for government payloads. The Flight Opportunities program, is managed under NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

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Video of Mannequin Skywalker’s Flight Aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard

Video Caption: Footage taken from onboard cameras. Full mission recap:

New Shepard flew again for the seventh time on Dec. 12, 2017, from Blue Origin’s West Texas Launch Site. Known as Mission 7 (M7), the mission featured the next-generation booster and the first flight of Crew Capsule 2.0. Crew Capsule 2.0 features large windows, measuring 2.4 feet wide, 3.6 feet tall. M7 also included 12 commercial, research and education payloads onboard. Crew Capsule 2.0 reached an apogee of 322,405 feet AGL/326,075 feet MSL (98.27 kilometers AGL/99.39 kilometers MSL). The booster reached an apogee of 322,032 feet AGL/325,702 feet MSL (98.16 kilometers AGL/99.27 kilometers MSL).

Senate Committee Narrowly Approves NOAA Nominee

The Senate Commerce Committee has voted 14-13 along party lines to approve the nomination of AccuWeather co-founder and former CEO Barry Myers to become the next administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The nomination now moves to the full Senate.

“It is imperative, if he is confirmed, that he demonstrate that he will approach this position as a public service role, not as another private sector role,” Nelson said, adding that he hopes Myers “will prove me wrong.”

Nelson’s objections to Myers included Myers’s support for a 2005 GOP bill that would have largely prohibited the National Weather Service from many consumer-facing functions that compete with private forecasters.

Senate Republicans said Myers had adequately addressed conflict of interest concerns during his confirmation hearing.

Weather Looks Good for SpaceX Dragon Launch on Friday

Dragon spacecraft in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Meteorologists with the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft.

Launch of the company’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to the International Space Station for NASA is targeted for no earlier than Friday, Dec. 15 at 10:36 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. On launch day, the primary weather concern is for thick clouds.

NASA Television coverage for launch and arrival activities are as follows:

Friday, Dec. 15

  • 10 a.m. – Launch commentary coverage begins
  • 12 p.m. – Post-launch news conference with representatives from NASA’s International Space Station Program and SpaceX

Sunday, Dec. 17

  • 1:15 a.m. – Soyuz MS-07 launch coverage begins
  • 4:30 a.m. – Dragon rendezvous at the space station and capture coverage begins
  • 7:30 a.m. – Installation coverage begins

Watch live on NASA Television and the agency’s website: www.nasa.gov/live.

Thales Alenia Space Partners with NextSTEP-2 Companies

Habitat in lunar orbit. (Credit: Orbital ATK)

ROME, 14 December 2017 (Thales Alenia Space PR) — Thales Alenia Space has signed three contracts in the frame of Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) activities with Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Orbital–ATK, to develop capabilities that can meet NASA human space exploration objectives while also supporting industry commercialization plans.

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SoftBank to Invest $500 Million More in OneWeb

Some good news for satellite Internet company OneWeb:

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. has agreed to invest roughly $500 million more in satellite broadband provider OneWeb Ltd., according to a person familiar with the details, boosting the U.S. startup’s plan to offer significantly faster internet connections world-wide than most traditional systems, either space-based or terrestrial.

The latest commitment would boost SoftBank’s total investment in the project to about $1.5 billion, even as Greg Wyler, OneWeb’s founder and executive chairman, disclosed over the weekend that his company already is designing and seeking suppliers for a more powerful new generation of satellites. He said those eventually are slated to deliver ultra-high-speed connectivity, including across rural or developing regions, approximately as fast as typical fiber optic networks.

The precise size and structure of SoftBank’s additional investment could change, said the person familiar with the details and others close to the talks. But Mr. Wyler and SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, they said, agreed in principle on the cash infusion during recent discussions, with the caveat that SoftBank’s stake in OneWeb would remain less than 50%.

Work on OneWeb’s previously announced initial fleet of more than 700 small, low-altitude satellites is “generally on schedule” for launches beginning next year, starting to market service over Alaska in 2019 and expanding virtually around the globe by the end of 2020, according to Mr. Wyler. During a weekend interview, he also said deployment of roughly 900 second-generation, higher-orbiting satellites by the mid-2020s—intended to create the first such large-scale, hybrid constellation on orbit—is projected to increase speeds roughly fivefold to 2.5 gigabits per second.

NASA Astronaut Bresnik & Crew Mates Return to Earth From Space Station

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik is helped out of the Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft just minutes after he, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Three crew members who have been living and working aboard the International Space Station returned to Earth on Thursday, landing in Kazakhstan after opening a new chapter in the scientific capability of humanity’s premier microgravity laboratory.

Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik of NASA and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency) and Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos landed at 3:37 a.m. EST (2:37 p.m. Kazakhstan time) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

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Apollo Constellation Engine Breakthrough Saves $250K Per Satellite

A complete ACE thruster unit being tested at The Aerospace Corporation. (Credit: Apollo Constellation Engine)

MOUNTAIN View, Calif., December 14, 2017 (ACE PR) — Today we are excited to announce a major breakthrough with our new electric propulsion system, Apollo Constellation Engine (ACE). Apollo recently tested ACE in an independent lab at The Aerospace Corporation where thrust, Isp, and system efficiency measurements closely matched Apollo’s own lab tests. These results showed that ACE has 3x better impulse per kg and 3x better impulse per liter than competing thrusters on the market today. These advantages can result in a launch cost savings of $250,000+ for satellite manufacturers.

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Embry-Riddle Research Payloads Flew Aboard New Shepard

New Shepard capsule after landing. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Embry-Riddle experiments in space could help with cancer treatment

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ­(Embry-Riddle PR) — For less than four minutes at the edge of space, T-cells from mice in an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University experiment in partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center and the Medical University of South Carolina were exposed to microgravity onboard a successful Blue Origin launch in the hope of one day finding new treatments for cancer.

The payload from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus flew Dec. 12 on Blue Origin’s New Shepard space vehicle to assess how microgravity impacts the cellular processes of T-cells or T-lymphocytes, which develop from stem cells in the bone marrow and are key to the immune system.

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Blue Origin New Shepard Flight Included Mannequin Skywalker

Mannequin Skywalker — an instrumented test dummy — flew aboard the New Shepard capsule. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Blue Origin’s New Shepard flight included an instrumented test dummy dubbed Mannequin Skywalker — a nod to the Star Wars moving coming out this week and a prelude to tests with human occupants that could begin next year.

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