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Animation of New Horizons’ Flyby of Pluto

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Video Caption: The Pluto system as NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft saw it in July 2015. This animation, made with real images taken by New Horizons, begins with Pluto flying in for its close-up on July 14; we then pass behind Pluto and see the atmosphere glow in sunlight before the sun passes behind Charon. The movie ends with New Horizons’ departure, looking back on each body as thin crescents.

GLXP Updates: Aldrin & Pickens Leave Moon Express, Lunar Lion Withdraws

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moon_is_me_logo

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Two high profile executives — President Andrew Aldrin and Propulsion Vice Pesident Tim Pickens — have left Bob Richard’s Moon Express, the commercial exploration company that has been one of the favorites to win the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize for landing and operating a rover on the surface.

Meanwhile, the only student-led team in the race, Penn State Lunar Lion, has withdrawn from the prize after an independent review found it could not achieve that goal within the competition’s tight deadline of Dec. 31, 2017.

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Support The Space Show’s Website and Archives Modernization Program

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Spaceport America Signs Launch & Drone Deal With ARCA Space

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Spaceport_AmericaSPACEPORT AMERICA, NM, September 1, 2015 (NMSA PR) – Spaceport America – the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport announced today ARCA Space Corporation has selected Spaceport America as the site for its space launch vehicle and high altitude autonomous aircraft testing.

ARCA Space Corporation was founded in the United States in July 2014 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. ARCA will engineer, manufacture, test and bring to market innovative and affordable aerospace products such as the AirStrato UAS and Haas rocket series from its new global headquarters.

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Shotwell: Still a Couple of Months From Falcon 9 Return to Flight

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Gwynne Shotwell

Gwynne Shotwell

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said on Monday the company is still a couple of months away from returning the Falcon 9 booster to flight following the launch failure on June 28.

The investigation of the accident is taking longer than originally planned, Shotwell said during a panel discussion at the AIAA Space 2015 Conference in Pasadena. The company is doing a review of its supply chain.

The company has blamed the failure of a strut in the upper stage for the failure, which destroyed a Dragon cargo ship headed for the International Space Station.

The return to flight will feature the first test of the upgraded Falcon 9, which is being tweaked to improve its performance. Shotwell admitted this flight was keeping her up at night.

She said a customer has been identified for the return to flight but would not identify it.

Editor’s Note: I’ve been hearing reliable reports that something more than the strut was the cause of the accident in June. The last I heard, they were still trying to figure out exactly what happened.

Mojave Sightings: NTPS Honors Its Lost Pilots

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A plaque honoring Mike Hill and Ilam Zigante. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

A plaque honoring Mike Hill and Ilam Zigante. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

The National Test Pilot School recently unveiled two plaques honoring four lost pilots on the memorial wall in Mojave Air and Space Port’s Legacy Park. One honors NTPS test pilot instructor Mike Hill and flight test engineer student Ilam Zigante, who were killed on a training flight on Oct. 24, 2014.

(Credit: Douglas Messier)

(Credit: Douglas Messier)

The other plaque honors NTPS test pilot instructor Ron Bradley and test pilot student Maj. Kim Cheongon, who died in a training accident in 2003.

Honoring the dead: memorial plaques at Legacy Park (Cedit: Douglas Messier)

Honoring the dead: memorial plaques at Legacy Park (Cedit: Douglas Messier)

The new memorials are near a plaque honoring three Scaled Composites engineers — Eric Blackwell, Todd Ivens and Glen May — who died in a SpaceShipTwo test stand accident in July 2007. This memorial was placed on the wall in July 2008 to mark the anniversary of the accident.

A space has been left between the old memorial plaque and the new ones. My guess this is the likely location for a plaque to honor Mike Alsbury, who was killed in the crash of SpaceShipTwo last Oct. 31.

Reaction Engines Collaborates with Defence Science & Technology Laboratory

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Skylon deploys a satellite. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

Skylon deploys a satellite. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

ABINGTON, England (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines Ltd. is pleased to announce its collaboration with the United Kingdom Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (‘Dstl’).

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NASA to Build New Launch Control Center at Wallops

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Launch complexes on Wallops Island, Virginia

Launch complexes on Wallops Island, Virginia

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a contract to Harkins Contracting Inc. of Salisbury, Maryland, for the construction of a new Mission Launch Command Center (MLCC) at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.
NASA Logo.

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Satellite Applications Catapult Helps Oxford Space Systems Secure Investment

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Satellite_Applications_Catapult_logoOXFORD, England (Satellite Applications Catapult PR) — The Satellite Applications Catapult is delighted to have supported Oxford Space Systems (OSS) in securing £1.2m [$1.86 million] worth of investment from a combination of institutional and private investors.

Harwell-based OSS launched in September 2013 to develop novel hardware solutions for space that are lighter, less complex and lower cost than existing products. In the past two years, the company has worked closely with the Catapult, benefitting from initial business support and collaboration, later followed by a Business Sprint, focusing in particular on investment readiness.

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Generation Orbit Makes 2 New Hires

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Skyler Shuford (Credit: Generation Orbit)

Skyler Shuford (Credit: Generation Orbit)

ATLANTA (GO PR) — Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO) is pleased to announce the additions of Mr. Skyler Shuford to its staff as the Lead Guidance, Navigation, and Control Engineer and E. Glenn Case IV as a Senior Engineer.

Skyler Shuford
Lead Guidance, Navigation, and Control Engineer

Mr. Shuford will drive design, simulation, and testing of the guidance, navigation, and control system for the GOLauncher family of vehicles. He will also be responsible for the definition, design, development, and verification of flight and ground support software.

Previously, Mr. Shuford was Deputy Lead of Guidance, Navigation, and Control for Lunar Lion, a team competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize during his graduate studies at Penn State. He led control algorithm development while building, programming, and testing a quadcopter to serve as a controller testbed.

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