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Is this Space Florida’s Mysterious Project Sabel?

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space_florida_logoAt a meeting last week, Space Florida’s Board of Directors agreed to allow staff to proceed with Project Sabel, an initiative to bring an unnamed company interested in establishing a “major aerospace presence” in the Sunshine State.

The project would involve an initial capital investment of $80 million, including a $36 million manufacturing facility, and generate approximately 250 high-paying jobs. Space Florida would finance, build and own the manufacturing facility and lease it to the company under a long-term agreement, according to board documents. The project would be eligible for $17.5 million in matching funds from the Florida Department of Transportation.

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Legislative Fiscal Impact Analysis on Spaceport America Measure

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Sunset at the "Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space" terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

Sunset at the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

The following is the New Mexico legislative fiscal impact report for SB-157, a measure introduced by State Sen. Lee Cotter (R-Las Cruces) to restrict use taxes collected in Sierra and Dona Ana counties to paying off Spaceport America bonds. Revenues in excess of what is needed to pay off the bonds are being used to fund spaceport operations.

The analysis indicates that excess revenues could be used to pay off the two bonds one year earlier than their 2029 maturation date. However, the restriction would put a gap in the spaceport’s operating budget that would have to be paid by state taxpayers. Spaceport officials are already seeking $2.26 million from the state government for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year to fund operations.

The revenue gaps at the $225 million spaceport have been caused by delays by anchor tenant Virgin Galactic, which plans to fly tourists to space from the facility. New Mexico officials are hoping flights begin in Fiscal Year 2018, which will begin on July 1, 2017. Virgin Galactic has not given an estimate for when service will begin.

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New Horizons, New Shepard & Dawn Project Teams Vying for Collier Trophy

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NASA’s New Horizons captured this high-resolution enhanced color view of Charon just before closest approach on July 14, 2015. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

NASA’s New Horizons captured this high-resolution enhanced color view of Charon just before closest approach on July 14, 2015. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

Washington, DC, February 2, 2016 (NAA PR) – The National Aeronautic Association announced today that nine aerospace projects and accomplishments will compete for the 2015 Robert J. Collier Trophy.

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State Senator Seeks Spaceport America Tax Relief for Local Residents

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The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space terminal hangar facility (center), Spaceport Operations Center (Left) and "Spaceway" (Runway) at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space terminal hangar facility (center), Spaceport Operations Center (Left) and “Spaceway” (Runway) at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

New Mexico State Sen. Lee Cotter (R-Las Cruces) has renewed efforts to bring tax relief to residents of Dona Ana and Sierra counties relating to their support of Spaceport America.

In 2007, residents of the two counties agreed to increase their taxes to help fund the construction of the facility, which is located outside of Truth or Consequences. The taxes remain in place to pay off bonds sold to fund Spaceport America’s construction.

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Luxembourg’s Bold Move into Space Mining

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ESA's Asteroid Impact Mission is joined by two triple-unit CubeSats to observe the impact of the NASA-led Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) probe with the secondary Didymos asteroid, planned for late 2022. (Credit: ESA - ScienceOffice.org)

ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission is joined by two triple-unit CubeSats to observe the impact of the NASA-led Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology (DART) probe with the secondary Didymos asteroid, planned for late 2022. (Credit: ESA – ScienceOffice.org)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Luxembourg’s announcement of its space resources initiative provides three things that companies like Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries (DSI) need to make their dreams of mining asteroids a reality.

Legal Recognition. The United States is alone in the world in recognizing space property rights. There is some dispute over whether the law violates the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.
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Deep Space Industries Praises Luxembourg Space Resources Mining Initiative

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dsi_logoMOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (DSI PR) — Deep Space Industries (DSI) congratulates Luxembourg’s Economic Ministry on their announcement today that they will be actively pursuing space resource utilization. Spaceresources.lu is a government-sponsored initiative, planning the exploration, use, and commercialization of valuable minerals and other resources from Near Earth Objects (NEOs), like asteroids. Luxembourg’s Spaceresources.lu initiative – to be conducted in cooperation with commercial partners – is destined to facilitate and support the creation of an entire new space industry.

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Luxembourg Launches Space Resources Mining Initiative

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Schematic view of asteroid (25143) Itokawa. (Credit: ESO)

Schematic view of asteroid (25143) Itokawa. (Credit: ESO)

LUXEMBOURG CITY (Luxembourg Government PR) — The Luxembourg Government announced a series of measures to position Luxembourg as a European hub in the exploration and use of space resources. Amongst the key steps undertaken, as part of the spaceresources.lu initiative, will be the development of a legal and regulatory framework confirming certainty about the future ownership of minerals extracted in space from Near Earth Objects (NEO’s) such as asteroids.

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Video: SLS-Orion Flight to Carry CubeSats to Deep Space

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Video Caption: The Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft will not only take people on the most distant journeys to date but also open new frontiers for science and technology missions to deep space destinations. This animation shows how the SLS will transport CubeSats as secondary payloads on the Orion stage adapter during its first mission. For more information on SLS secondary payloads: http://www.nasa.gov/launching-science… (Video: NASA/MSFC)

Luxembourg Set to Become Asteroid Mining Power

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These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions

Three asteroids (Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions)

Well, this is interesting:

The country is home to one of the world’s biggest satellite firms, SES, and is now planning to create a space mining industry that could both advance science and make investors wealthy, according to a report in the Financial Times.

The Grand Duchy is partnering with the dramatically-named commercial space mining firms, Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources of the US.

Luxembourg‘s Economy Minister Etienne Schneider is set to provide details on Wednesday about the joint venture, which seeks to mine gold, platinum and other minerals. Former ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain is an adviser to the effort.

Magna Parva Launches In-Space Manufacturing Website

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Magna_Parva_logoLEICESTER, England (Magna Parva PR) — We have launched a dedicated In-Space Manufacturing microsite, please visit it here (opens new tab)

Magna Parva has produced a prototype in-orbit manufacturing system that should provide a method of producing huge carbon composite 3D structures in space. A prototype COPMA system has been successfully built and tested under ‘near space’ conditions at Magna Parva’s Leicester development facility. It demonstrates the potential for the production of assemblies, equipment or even buildings from fully cured and consolidated carbon fibre materials, potentially miles in length.

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First SLS Orion Flight to Carry 13 CubeSats into Deep Space

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The Lunar Flashlight, flying as secondary payload on the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, will examine the moon’s surface for ice deposits and identify locations where resources may be extracted. (Credit: NASA)

The Lunar Flashlight, flying as secondary payload on the first flight of NASA’s Space Launch System, will examine the moon’s surface for ice deposits and identify locations where resources may be extracted. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The first flight of NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), will carry 13 CubeSats to test innovative ideas along with an uncrewed Orion spacecraft in 2018.

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Scotland’s Clyde Space Expands to the States

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clyde_spaceGLASGOW, Scotland, 27 January 2016 (Clyde Space PR) — Clyde Space, the pioneering company which designed and manufactured Scotland’s first satellite, today announced it is opening its first subsidiary company in the United States

As First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the company’s Glasgow headquarters today, CEO Craig Clark also revealed that to meet rising demand for the company’s pace-setting products, it has increased its current manufacturing capacity by creating an additional 2500 square feet ‘clean room’ for building and testing satellites.

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Space Foundation Honors SpaceX for Falcon 9 First Stage Landing

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Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 1, 2016) – In December 2015, SpaceX, a known pioneer in the space industry, successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket. The Falcon 9 left Cape Canaveral in Florida, delivered 11 satellites to orbit and historically landed the first stage minutes later. For that achievement, the Space Foundation has selected SpaceX to receive one of its top honors, the 2016 Space Achievement Award.

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Customers Edgy as SpaceX’s Schedule Slips; Falcon Heavy Flight Delayed Again

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Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

Falcon 9 launch (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX’s customers are again experiencing the effects of Elon Musk’s focus on continuous upgrades to its Falcon 9 rocket as launch dates slide to the right. Meanwhile, the long-delayed debut of the company’s 28-engine Falcon Heavy vehicle has been postponed by at least five more months.

SpaceX’s silence on the schedule delays of its Falcon 9 Upgrade rocket, whose inaugural flight on Dec. 21 was a success, is causing ripples of concern among commercial customers, which like NASA are counting on a high launch cadence in 2016 to meet these companies’ schedule milestones, industry officials said.
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This Week on The Space Show

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

1. Monday, Feb. 1, 2016: 2-3:30 PM PST (5-6:30 PM EST; 4-5:30 PM CST): We welcome back DR. JOHN BRANDENBURG Mars update and his challenge for a debate.

2. Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016,7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): We welcome back ROBERT (BOB) ZIMMERMAN for space news updates and more.

3. Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, 2016; 9:30-11AM PST; (12:30-2 PM EST; 11:30AM – 1 PM CST. We welcome DR. JENS HAUSLAGE from the DLR in Germany to discus his C.R.O.P. project.

4. Sunday, Feb., 2016: 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): We welcome back JIM FUNARO to tell us about the upcoming Contact Conference.