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NASA Awards Funding to Five Teams in Cube Quest Challenge


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded $30,000 to each of the five top-scoring teams in Ground Tournament-3 of the agency’s small satellite Cube Quest Challenge.

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Cygnus Arrives at ISS


iss_10-23-16HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft was berthed to the Unity module of the International Space Station at 10:53 a.m. EDT. The Expedition 49 crew will begin unloading approximately 5,000 pounds of science investigations, food and supplies when the hatch between the newly arrived spacecraft and the Unity module of the space station is opened. The spacecraft is scheduled to spend a little more than a month attached to the station.

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus was launched on the company’s Antares rocket Monday, Oct 17, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Cygnus will remain attached to Unity until a planned departure in November sends the spacecraft toward a destructive re-entry in Earth’s atmosphere.

For more information about newly arrived science investigations aboard the Cygnus, visit:

New Research Hardware Delivered to ISS by Cygnus


casis_new_logoWALLOPS ISLAND, VA., October 24, 2016 (CASIS PR) The most recent series of payloads berthed with the International Space Station (ISS)Sunday morning onboard the Orbital ATK Cygnus capsule. Many of the investigations launched from Wallops Island, VA onboard the Antares rocket are sponsored by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is tasked by NASA with managing and promoting research onboard the ISS National Laboratory for the benefit of Earth.

Below provides a summary of the ISS National Laboratory-sponsored payloads delivered today:

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This Week on The Space Show


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

1. Monday, Oct. 24, 2016: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): NO SPACE SHOW PROGRAM TODAY.

SPECIAL TIME: 2. Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016: ; 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome BARRY LEVIN to discuss the Back of the Envelope segment for The Space Show. Make sure you see his spreadsheets uploaded to the blog for this show.

4. Friday, Oct. 28, 2016: 9:30-11AM PDT; (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM – 1 PM CDT) We welcome special author JULIAN GUTHRIE regarding her new book, “How To Make A Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, An Epic Race, And The Birth Of Private Spaceflight.”

SPECIAL TIME: 5. Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016: 11 am -12:30 PM PDT (2-3:30 PM EDT, 1-2:30 PM CDT): OPEN LINES today. All space and STEM calls welcome. First time callers welcome.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program By the Numbers


With the recent news that commercial crew flights to the International Space Station will likely slip to the end of 2018, I thought it would be a good time to review what NASA has spend on the program since it began in 2010. And, since NASA has separated cargo and crew, we will also look at the space agency’s commercial cargo programs.

The table below shows that NASA has given out nearly $8.4 billion in contracts to Commercial Crew Program partners over the past six years. These figures do not include NASA’s overhead.

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Musk Talks About Mars Plans, Upgraded Falcon 9 During Reddit AMA

Interplanetary Transport System (Credit: SpaceX)

Interplanetary Transport System (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk did an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit on Sunday afternoon about his Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) and plans to colonize Mars. Musk also provided an update on upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 booster which SpaceX expects to launch for the first time next year.

Below are some key excerpts. You can find the full session here.

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Elon Musk to Host “Ask Me Anything” Session on Reddit Sunday Afternoon


Elon Musk will host an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit today at 6 p.m. EDT (3 p.m. PDT). The thread will be on the SpaceX subreddit.

CSA Awards Contract to Carre Technologies for Astroskin System


Astroskin – A smart shirt for space (Credit: CSA)

LONGUEUIL, QC, Oct. 21, 2016 (CSA PR) — The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is awarding a new contract to Carré Technologies of Montreal, Quebec, to continue advancing technology on Astroskin, an innovative bio-monitoring system for use aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Consisting of a “smart shirt” and related software, Astroskin will collect valuable scientific data on astronauts’ vital signs, sleep quality and activity levels during their missions. Canadian Space Agency Astronaut David Saint-Jacques will test Astroskin during his six-month mission aboard the ISS in 2018-19.


“Astroskin is a perfect example of how our government works with small, innovative, Canadian businesses on space technologies that lead to commercial versions for use by Canadians.”

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Astroskin may have many applications on Earth, such as medical monitoring of those confined to their homes by illness, people living in remote areas with limited medical access, and those working in hazardous environments. It is another in a long list of space technologies brought down to Earth for all of us.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“Our team is proud of the role we are playing to support human space travel. One day, thousands of space travelers bound for Mars will need simple reliable medical systems to ensure their health. Deploying our wearable sensors and software to the ISS is significant as this represents the ultimate remote patient monitoring scenario. The findings from tracking the health of astronauts will be used to make our healthcare system more accessible and support new home care and telemedicine services.”

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier, CEO and co-founder, Carré Technologies



Smith, Babin Examine Policy Governing Indian Launch Vehicles

Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin (R-Texas) yesterday sent letters to four senior officials following up on requests for information about the current U.S. policy governing the export of U.S. commercial satellites for launch on Indian launch vehicles.

On July 6 Chairmen Smith and Babin wrote Director of Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, Secretary of State John Kerry, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, seeking this information.

Yesterday’s letters reiterate requests for a briefing and documentation on the current U.S. policy. The letters can be found here.

NASA Still Working on Releasing Report 16 Months After Falcon 9 Failure

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

Dragon capsule separated from Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

I checked in again this week with NASA to see how they were coming on releasing the results of an the space agency’s independent investigation into the Falcon 9 in-flight failure in June 2015. I received the following reply:

NASA completed an independent analysis of the SpaceX CRS-7 mishap in support of high-value payload launches planned under the NASA Launch Services II contract. In accordance with the NLS II contract, the NASA Launch Services Program reviewed SpaceX’s readiness to launch the Jason-3 mission and led an independent investigation of the incident as part of the Flight Readiness Review process. The Launch Services Program independent investigation yielded an in-depth understanding of the mishap event; consequently, NASA’s final report on its investigation into the SpaceX CRS-7 mission is still in work. The official report of the independent review team contains information restricted by U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations and company-sensitive proprietary information. As a result, NASA will provide a summary of publicly releasable information when the final report is completed.

New Crew Arrives on International Space Station


Video Caption: After launching on Oct. 19, in their Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 49/50 Soyuz Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos and Flight Engineer Shane Kimbrough of NASA arrived at the International Space Station on Oct. 21 to complete their two-day journey.

NASA Establishes the Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute

Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)

Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA announces the addition of its newest virtual institute to advance the field of small spacecraft systems. The Small Spacecraft Systems Virtual Institute (S3VI), hosted at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, will leverage the growing small spacecraft community, promote innovation, identify emerging technology opportunities, and provide an efficient channel for communication about small spacecraft systems with industry, academia, and other government agencies.

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Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution

Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)

Members of the NASA Ames Nodes Integration & Test team ready to integrate the Nodes 1 and 2 spacecraft (forefront) into the Nanoracks dispenser.(Credit: NASA)

by Steve Fetter and Tom Kalil
White House OSTP

Today, astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are visiting the White House to talk to the President about developing innovative new space technologies. One critical area for technology development is making satellites more affordable, adaptable, and adept at providing the sorts of real-time information that will help advance knowledge out in space and on Earth.

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View of ESA Mars Probe on Surface

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site. (Credit: NASA)

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter view of Schiaparelli landing site. (Credit: NASA)

DARMSTADT, Germany, 21 October 2016 (ESA PR) — NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has identified new markings on the surface of the Red Planet that are believed to be related to ESA’s ExoMars Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing technology demonstrator module.

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NASA Orbiter Finds Evidence of ESA Lander on Martian Surface


This is a really cool image.