Corporations buying the naming rights to launch vehicles and space missions, and NASA astronauts with endorsements and their photos on cereal boxes were some of the commercial ideas floated this week to help the agency commercialize space activities.
“There is interest in that right now,” Administrator Jim Bridenstine said during an appearance before the NASA Advisory Council (NAC). “The question is, is it possible? And the answer is, I don’t know. But, we need somebody to give us advice on whether it is.
“Why would we want to sell the naming rights?” he added. “Well, because then those private companies can then embed in their marketing campaigns NASA. We can embed NASA into the culture and fabric of American society and inspire generations of folks that will create those next capabilities to keep America preeminent not only in space but in science and technology and discovery and exploration.”
In a move that threatens U.S. education in science, technology, engineering and math, and could have repercussions throughout the country’s aerospace industry, the FCC is proposing regulations that may license some educational satellite programs as commercial enterprises. That could force schools to pay a US$135,350 annual fee – plus a $30,000 application fee for the first year – to get the federal license required for a U.S. organization to operate satellite communications.
It would be a dramatic increase in costs. The most common type of small satellite used in education is the U.S.-developed CubeSat. Each is about 10 inches on a side and weighs 2 or 3 pounds. A working CubeSat that can take pictures of the Earth can be developed for only $5,000 in parts. They’re assembled by volunteer students and launched by NASA at no charge to the school or college. Currently, most missions pay under $100 to the FCC for an experimental license, as well as several hundred dollars to the International Telecommunications Union, which coordinates satellite positions and frequencies.
U.S. CubeSat programs have been a model for space education programs around the world. In our work in North Dakota, we’ve seen the power of satellites to excite and engage students. And we’re not alone. Hundreds of CubeSats have given students hands-on experience, even reaching elementary schools, to get younger students interested in, and connected to, engineering and space science. In my view, the FCC should protect all this by making clear what fees apply to school and university missions, and ensuring the cost is much lower than $135,350.
Despite a last minute threat of a veto, President Donald Trump signed an $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill on Friday that boosts NASA spending by about $1.1 billion to $20.7 billion.
So, with the fiscal year nearly half over, let’s take a closer look at NASA’s FY 2018 budget, which the Administration had tried to cut. The table below lays out the numbers from the omnibus bill, the Administration’s request and the FY 2017 budget.
HOUSTON (NASA PR) — In December 2015, Gabe MacPhail, a seventh grader at St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Virginia, travelled to Florida along with 100 other members of the school’s community to watch as the fourth Orbital-ATK Cygnus Commercial Resupply Service lifted into orbit atop an Atlas V rocket aimed toward the International Space Station.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 11 small research satellites from seven states and Puerto Rico to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard space missions planned to launch in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
The selections are part of the ninth round of the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. CubeSats are a type of spacecraft called nanosatellites, often measuring about four inches on each side and weighing less than three pounds, with a volume of about one quart. CubeSats are built using these standard dimensions as Units or “U”, and are classified as 1U, 2U, 3U, or 6U in total size.
Concerned the United States will lack a workforce capable of sending astronauts to Mars, Lockheed Martin has unveiled new resources to encourage students to study relevant STEM fields.
The additions to the company’s Generation Beyond program including a space-themed curriculum and new app that simulates what it’s like to explore the surface of Mars.
The expansion of the program follows a poll that shows low interest among students in studying STEM fields.
“According to the national survey of 1,000 teachers (conducted by Morar Consulting from April 5 – 11, ± 3.1% MOE), while just 38 percent of teachers report that a majority of students seem naturally interested in STEM, 83 percent see discussing space-related careers as a potential way to increase student focus on STEM,” Lockheed Martin said in a press statement.
“America’s hardworking teachers do an amazing job preparing students for success, and we owe them our support and partnership,” said Rick Ambrose, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “The new Generation Beyond curriculum connects students to the real-world exhilaration of space exploration to ignite their interest in STEM. It’s incumbent on all of us to help teachers inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers.”
Lockheed Martin partnered with Discovery Education to create the Generation Beyond curriculum resources. They are available at generationbeyondinschool.com. The Mars Walk can be download for iPhone or Android phones.
SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM, February 14, 2017 (NMSA PR) – Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport located in southern New Mexico in the USA, and FieldTripZoom, a live and interactive educational content platform for K-12 classrooms, today announced their partnership to make a range of Spaceport America STEM and other educational content available to every K-12 classroom across the State of New Mexico – free of charge.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2015, NASA explored the expanse of our solar system and beyond, and the complex processes of our home planet, while also advancing the technologies for our journey to Mars, and new aviation systems as the agency reached new milestones aboard the International Space Station.
Seed round will finance expansion of Ardusat platform, enabling K-12 and higher ed students to conduct science and technology experiments in space and on earth
Edtech startup also announces launch of an open data repository, where students can post experiment results for public academic use
SALT LAKE CITY (Ardusat PR) — Ardusat, an education company focused on enhancing student engagement through hands-on experimentation, today announced it has secured a total of $1 million in seed funding from Space Florida, Fresco Capital, Spire and other investors. The capital will finance the expansion of Ardusat’s Experiment Platform, which enables K-12 and higher education students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through custom experiments conducted in space or on earth.
HILO, Hawaii (PISCES PR) — The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) has signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), formally establishing a partnership to jointly work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) project that will give students the opportunity to develop a space experiment and send it to the surface of the Moon.
The experiment involves electrodynamic dust shield (EDS) technology. Under the Space Act Agreement, KSC will mentor the selected Hawaii students. This includes consulting them on the physics of the EDS; the design, development, and construction of mounting and integration hardware; and testing and analysis of a flight experiment configuration.
Houston, Dec. 19th, 2014 (NanoRacks PR) – DreamUp, powered by NanoRacks, is a nonprofit organization now providing a place for student project teams to raise required funds to fly a science experiment to the International Space Station (ISS).
The goal of DreamUp is to help students integrate into the commercial space community by delivering their experiments via NanoRacks to the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS.
MOJAVE, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 (VG PR) — Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, today announced a partnership with global book publisher DK to create seven exclusive titles over the next two years. The first book under the agreement, Virgin Galactic: The Ultimate Experience, will be published in October 2014 as Virgin Galactic moves toward the launch of commercial spaceflight.
1. SPECIAL TIME: Monday, July 7, 2014: 9:30-11 AM PDT; 11:30 AM – 1 PM CDT; 12:30-2PM EDT: We welcome Syracuse University Professor and author DR. HENRY LAMBRIGHT regarding his new book, “Why Mars: NASA and the Politics of Space Exploration.”
2. Tuesday, July 8, 2014:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): OPEN LINES tonight. All STEM & Space related calls welcome. First time callers welcome.
3. Friday, July 11, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12;30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. PAT PATTERSON to discus this year’s SmallSat Conference.
4. Sunday, July 13, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). DR. JIM LOGAN AND JOHN JURIST are back to discuss EVAs (space walks), Mars life support & human factors issues, and spacesuit technology plus more.
NYACK, N.Y. (SFF PR) — The Space Frontier Foundation’s Teachers in Space (TIS) project today announced that teacher’s applications are now being accepted for its Flight Experiment summer workshop.
Teachers in Space is a project to inspire student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging teachers with authentic astronaut training and real space science experiences combined with information and resources they bring into classrooms across America.
BOULDER, Colo. (CU-Boulder PR) — Want to compare a kid’s experiment you can easily conduct on Earth to a similar one on the International Space Station, which is whipping around in weightlessness 200 miles over our heads at a mind-blowing 17,000 miles per hour? Well, here’s your chance.
The University of Colorado Boulder and its educational partners are seeking K-12 teachers, students and life-long learners around the world interested in how the low gravity on the ISS, which makes astronauts float, may affect the behavior of ants up there. Dubbed “Ants in Space,” the educational ant payload was designed and built by CU-Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies and launched to the space station Jan. 9. The project involved shipping ants in specially built containers developed by BioServe, a part of the university’s aerospace engineering department, to the ISS using a commercial Cygnus spacecraft.