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GLXP News: Earthrise Space Tests Out Rover at NASA Facility

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Sagan performing mobility tests in NASA Lunar Regolith Bin. (Credit: ESF)

Sagan performing mobility tests in NASA Lunar Regolith Bin. (Credit: ESF)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. (ESF PR) – Earthrise Space Foundation (ESF) recently ventured out to Cape Canaveral to perform a series of tests on Sagan in NASA’s very own Lunar Regolith Bin.

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Putin Approves Roscosmos Reorganization as Officials Eye Export Sales to China

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Roscosmos_logoRussian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law to consolidate the nation’s space industry under the control of a revamped Roscosmos as officials eye export sales to China as a way to offset budget cuts in the nation’s space program.

The law will combine the United Rocket and Space Corporation with Roscosmos, which will become a state corporation. The new company will be led by former auto industry executive Igor Komarov.

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NASA’s New Horizons Team Finds Haze, Flowing Ice on Pluto

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Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s atmosphere rings its silhouette like a luminous halo in this image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15. This global portrait of the atmosphere was captured when the spacecraft was about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Pluto and shows structures as small as 12 miles across. The image, delivered to Earth on July 23, is displayed with north at the top of the frame. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

Backlit by the sun, Pluto’s atmosphere rings its silhouette like a luminous halo in this image taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft around midnight EDT on July 15. This global portrait of the atmosphere was captured when the spacecraft was about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) from Pluto and shows structures as small as 12 miles across. The image, delivered to Earth on July 23, is displayed with north at the top of the frame. (Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

LAUREL, Md. (NASA PR) — Flowing ice and a surprising extended haze are among the newest discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which reveal distant Pluto to be an icy world of wonders.

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Fly Over Pluto’s Icy Plains & Hillary Mountains

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Video Caption: This simulated flyover of two regions on Pluto, northwestern Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain) and Hillary Montes (Hillary Mountains), was created from New Horizons close-approach images. Sputnik Planum has been informally named for Earth’s first artificial satellite, launched in 1957. Hillary Montes have been informally named for Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first two humans to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. The images were acquired by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14 from a distance of 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers). Features as small as one-half mile (1 kilometer) across are visible. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Space Frontier Foundation Poll Finds Optimism About Future in Space

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sff_logoSAN JOSE, Calif., July 23, 2015 (SFF PR) — Private space stations will be constructed within the next 10 years, and escalating tensions between China, Russia and the United States will not result in a new space race, according to a new survey of the space industry conducted by the Space Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to opening the space frontier to permanent human settlement through free enterprise.

Over two-thirds of survey respondents said they expect construction on private space stations to either be well under way or completed within the next decade. However, 44% of respondents indicated it would take more than 15 years for humans to reach Mars.

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JAXA Wants You — Yes You! — to Name Hayabusa2’s Target Asteroid

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Hayabusa2 approach target. (Credit: JAXA)

Hayabusa2 approach target. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) started invite of naming proposals for the near Earth asteroid 1999 JU3, which is the target of Hayabusa2, the mission to return samples from the asteroid.

  1. Fill out the application form below before the deadline, August 31, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. (Japan Standard Time).
  2. No conditions are required. Applying multiple times is also possible.
  3. Asteroid naming guidelines:
    Asteroids can’t be named just anything; the International Astronomical Union IAU) has rules. The following are conditions stipulated by IAU for naming an asteroid.

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Report: Global Satellite Manufacturing & Launch to Grow 5 Percent

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DUBLIN, July 20, 2015 (Research & Markets PR) –Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/ftfpq7/global_satellite) has announced the addition of the “Global Satellite Manufacturing and Launch Market 2015-2019″ report to their offering.

The analysts forecast the global satellite manufacturing and launch market to grow at a CAGR of 5.14% during the period 2014-2019.

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Firefly Space Systems Releases Payload User’s Guide

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firefly_space_systems_logoCEDAR PARK, Texas, July 16, 2015 (Firefly PR) — Firefly Space Systems, Inc., developers of dedicated launchers for the small satellite market, announced today the release of its Payload User’s Guide for its Alpha vehicle. Alpha represents a revolution in small satellite launcher design. It’s the first vehicle in a scalable family of launchers specifically designed to address the diverse needs of customers in the fast-growing worldwide small satellite market.

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Virgin Galactic Girds Customers for NTSB Findings

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Part of SpaceShipTwo's fuselage. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Part of SpaceShipTwo’s fuselage. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

The following communication was sent from Virgin Galactic to its ticket holders today. Nothing really earth shattering here; a basic heads up to the customers and some instruction about how to deal with press inquiries.

In the first paragaph, they put the responsibility for the fatal flight on Scaled Composites. That might be legally true since the spaceship was still in Scaled’s possession. By contrast, Scaled had turned over WhiteKnightTwo to Virgin Galactic by that time.

But, I can’t imagine that’s going to go over real well here in Mojave. Previous flights that didn’t crash and kill the co-pilot were always promoted as joint Virgin/Scaled achievements in Virgin’s press releases. Virgin started calling it Scaled’s test flight immediately after the ship broke up.

Dear all,

As you’ll recall, over the past nine months the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been conducting a thorough investigation into last October’s test flight accident, with the full and open support of our contractors at Scaled Composites who were responsible for the flight, as well as the team at Virgin Galactic. While that accident investigation (as well as our own internal and external reviews of the SpaceShipTwo design and operations) is on-going, we have not been permitted to comment publicly about the cause of the accident. However, the NTSB is announcing today that the investigation will effectively conclude at a public NTSB Board meeting to be held in Washington DC next Tuesday 28th July. We therefore thought it would be a good moment to clarify what you should expect from the NTSB, ourselves and the media as the investigation comes to an end.

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Virgin Galactic Video Explains SpaceShipTwo Feather Safety Feature

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Video Caption: An introduction to our reentry system, the feather, SpaceShipTwo’s most innovative safety feature.

Editor’s Note: Just in time for the NTSB hearing next week, Virgin Galactic has published this video explaining how the feather system that deployed prematurely and caused last year’s fatal SpaceShipTwo accident works to make the spacecraft safer.

I guess the one question that I have after watching this video is: What if this feather mechanism deploys properly during re-entry but fails to return to its upright and locked position when the ship needs to become a glider again? The ship would crash, of course. What tests have they done to ensure that doesn’t happen?

They’ve always promoted the feather as a brilliant safety feature that would ensure safe re-entry. But, reconfiguring a winged vehicle in flight is a complicated matter that adds its own safety risks. We saw that when SpaceShipTwo crashed.

Sources say the NTSB report will blame pilot error on the part of Mike Alsbury for unlocking the feather too early and a design flaw that failed to keep the feather in place during powered ascent. The report will include recommended changes to the prevent a recurrence of this incident, according to sources.