NASA Reports Problem with Newly Installed Robotic Arm ‘Hand’

Just days after installing a new grapple fixture on the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2, NASA is working on a plan to re-install the old latching end effector (LEE) on an upcoming spacewalk after a problem was found with the new mechanism.

U.S. EVA-48 was already planned for Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, less than a week after the previous spacewalk installed the new LEE. Now with an issue NASA says is preventing the grapple fixture from “transitioning to an operational state on one of two redundant sets of communications strings,” the space agency will send two astronauts outside to undo the work done on U.S. EVA-47.

Hints of an issue cropped up during the previous spacewalk when two of the six Expedition 54 astronauts—NASA’s Mark Vande Hei and Scott Tingle—replaced the end effector, called LEE-B, but ground teams were unable to communicate with the mechanism.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

NASA Reports Successful Test Recovery of Orion Spacecraft Off San Diego

NASA and the Navy have reported the successful recovery of a mock-up of the Orion spacecraft in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego.

In the sixth of a series of tests since 2014, the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage successfully completed a test recovery on Tuesday. NASA engineers worked alongside Navy personnel to test recovery operations in varying sea states, both day and at night. “Testing this week went very well,” said NASA’s Recovery Director Melissa Jones. “We’ve actually shaved about 15 minutes off our timeline already with one run, which is important to us because when we recover crew, we have to get them out as quickly as possible.”

The San Antonio-class ships are uniquely suited to recovery operations because they have well decks into which capsules can be floated.

Read more at: Times of sandiego

32 Years After Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, NASA, America Remembers the Fallen Astronauts

Jan. 28, 1986, marked a day when space flight truly was open to any civilian with a dream, stirring excitement in children across America:  Christa McAuliffe, a teacher and mother of two, was strapped into the Challenger, with plans of giving lessons in orbit.

But she and her six crewmembers never made it. Just 73 seconds into its flight, Challenger exploded over the Atlantic Ocean, killing the entire crew and rocking America to its core.

The accident, traced back to the day’s unusually cold temperatures degrading the seals on the boosters, grounded the Space Shuttle program for three years as the country grappled with what had happened.

Read more at: Chron

Ranking Member Johnson Statement on NASA’s Day of Remembrance

Today is NASA’s Day of Remembrance, a day designated to honor those NASA employees who lost their lives “while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery.”

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) issued the following statement: “This year marks 60 years of America in space. Over those 60 years, we have lost 17 astronauts in the tragic accidents of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. It is with a heavy heart that we honor these American heroes and their families on NASA’s Day of Remembrance. We are forever grateful for their bravery, their dedication, and their sacrifice.”

Read more at: Democrats-science

NASA-JAXA Joint Statement on Space Exploration

On January 24, 2018, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) met to exchange their views on space exploration. The agencies signed a joint statement affirming their strong mutual interest in continued future cooperation in space exploration.

Both agencies have established a strong and committed partnership throughout the many years of cooperation in all mission areas, including human exploration, Earth and space science, fundamental aeronautics, and especially through the International Space Station (ISS) Program.

Both agencies affirmed to expand this partnership in the field of space exploration, upon sharing their long-term vision for expanding human presence deeper into the solar system, by starting with extending human presence to an orbiting platform around the moon, that can benefit from contributions and technological expertise from both agencies, acting as an important piece of infrastructure for human access to the lunar surface and eventually to Mars.

Read more at: JAXA

Three Types of Extreme-energy Space Particles May have Unified Origin

One of the biggest mysteries in astroparticle physics has been the origins of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays, very high-energy neutrinos, and high-energy gamma rays. Now a new theoretical model reveals that they all could be shot out into space after cosmic rays are accelerated by powerful jets from supermassive black holes, and they travel inside clusters and groups of galaxies.

The model explains the natural origins of all three types of “cosmic messenger” particles simultaneously, and is the first astrophysical model of its kind based on detailed numerical computations. A scientific paper that describes this model, produced by Penn State and University of Maryland scientists, will be published as an Advance Online Publication on the website of the journal Nature Physics on Jan. 22.

Read more at: PSU

Air Force Maintains Trust in SpaceX After Secret Zuma Mission: Report

The U.S. Air Force has given SpaceX a qualified vote of confidence in the wake of the presumed loss of the mysterious Zuma satellite, according to Bloomberg News.

The news bolsters SpaceX’s claim that its Falcon 9 rocket performed just fineduring the Jan. 7 launch of Zuma, which apparently never reached orbit, according to unconfirmed reports.

“Based on the data available, our team did not identify any information that would change SpaceX’s Falcon 9 certification status,” Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, told Bloomberg News in a statement

Read more at: Space.com

SpaceX has Test Fired its Falcon Heavy Rocket

There was smoke, there was fire—and, most importantly, nothing on the launch pad appeared to blow up. Shortly after noon ET on Wednesday, SpaceX test fired all 27 engines on its Falcon Heavy rocket, a key step toward launching the massive booster from Florida.

The company did not immediately provide details about the technical performance of the booster during the test. On Twitter, however, company founder Elon Musk said the test fire was “good,” and that this cleared the way for a launch within “a week or so.” Although the company has not provided a date for launch, it is likely to occur no earlier than some time in early February.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Successful First Test for the Ariane 6 Vulcan Engine

The Vulcain® 2.1 engine, developed by ArianeGroup to power the main stage of the Ariane 6 launcher, for which the maiden flight is scheduled for 2020, has just been successfully tested by the DLR (German Aerospace Center) on the P5 test facility at its site in Lampoldshausen, Germany on behalf of ArianeGroup.

This is a version of the Ariane 5 Vulcain® 2 engine especially adapted for the Ariane 6 main stage, to simplify production and to lower costs. To reach these objectives the engine integrates technologies such as a gas generator built using 3D printing, a simplified divergent nozzle, and an oxygen heater for tank pressurization. These adaptations contribute to achieving the cost targets set for the Ariane 6 launcher, while retaining the efficiency and reliability demonstrated on Ariane 5.

Read more at: Ariane

Spaceport America Launch Appears Closer

Spaceport America will be the site of the launch of a new suborbital rocket developed by EXOS, a Texas-based company that specializes in suborbital reusable vehicles.

Spaceport America and EXOS made a joint announcement Tuesday of the successful “tie down test” of the Suborbital Autonomous Rocket with Guidance, known as SARGE, at the Caddo Mills airport in Texas.

The test “connected all systems required for flight, and in full launch operations, fired the rocket engine using steel cables to hold the rocket to the test pad” in December, according to the new release.

Read more at: abq journal

Medics Clear Russian Cosmonauts for Flight to World’s Sole Orbiter

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Alexei Ovchinin have been cleared by medics for their flight as members of a new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled for March 15, the press office of Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos reported on Wednesday.

“The main medical commission held a session at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, which analyzed the data of medical examinations of cosmonauts from the basic and back-up crews of the 55/56th long-term expedition to the ISS over the period of their pre-flight training,” Roscosmos said.

“Following the results of the commission’s session, Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Alexei Ovchinin have been cleared for a space flight by their health condition,” the press office said.

Read more at: TASS

Air Force Pushes Ahead With Rocket Engine Efforts

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s initiative to help lessen the service’s reliance on Russia’s RD-180 rocket engine has passed a major milestone, according to service officials.

The kick pump of the hydrocarbon boost program recently completed testing at different power levels, said program manager Robert Bernstein. The program is aimed at developing advanced staged combustion cycle technologies. The kick pump raises the pressure of the fuel for use by the other components of the engine.

“By the implementation of this kick pump, we’re basically able to tailor the amount of fuel that we want to raise to the extreme high pressures, making us more efficient by reducing the amount of horsepower we actually need,” said Nils Sedano, technical advisor for AFRL’s liquid engines branch.

Read more at: National Defense Magazine

Russia to Continue Supplies of RD-180 Rocket Engines to US — Security Official

Russia will continue its deliveries of RD-180 rocket engines to the United States, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev told reporters on Saturday.

“We are taking the high road in our relations with foreign countries and implement the previously agreed decisions. I don’t think the deliveries of those engines need to stop. I think we will continue them,” he said when asked whether US sanctions may affect the RD-180 contract, in effect through 2019.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of the space and defense industry, said that Russia is highly likely to continue supplies of RD-180 and RD-180 rocket engines after 2020.

Read more at: TASS

Trump’s NASA Budget will Say Goodbye to the Space Station and Send Us Back to the Moon

It should come as no shock that President Donald Trump wants NASA to send its astronauts to the moon. Trump revived the National Space Council with Vice President Mike Pence as its head in part to redirect NASA toward sending humans back to the moon for the first time in decades. But in order to do that, they need money.

NASA’s budget isn’t unlimited, obviously, so the administration will need to set priorities when examining where the agency’s relatively small resources go in the future.

According to a leaked document first reported by The Verge and later obtained by Mashable, those fiscal priorities will likely begin to move away from the International Space Station and start looking toward the moon.

Read more at: Mashable

Administration ‘will have a Fight on their Hands’ if they Stop Funding Space Station, Florida Senator Says

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), ranking member of the Senate committee that oversees NASA, had some harsh words about the Trump administration’s alleged proposal to stop funding the ISS by 2025, vowing to fight such an endeavor.

“If the administration plans to abruptly pull us out of the International Space Station in 2025, they’re going to have a fight on their hands,” Nelson said in a statement. “Such a move would likely decimate Florida’s blossoming commercial space industry, which is one of the reasons why Congress has directed NASA to look at extending the ISS to 2028 and to provide a plan to help scientists and researchers continue experimenting in low-Earth orbit beyond that.”

Read more at: Verge

This Was a Huge Week for the NASA-Russia Lunar Space Station and the Future of Spaceflight

Top NASA officials and their partners in the International Space Station program gathered in Tokyo this past Friday and Monday, Popular Mechanics has learned, for behind-closed-doors talks on the next big step in human spaceflight: the lunar orbiting station. Officially known as the Deep Space Gateway, or DSG, the modular outpost will occupy an egg-shaped orbit around the moon in the 2020s, when it replaces the ISS and becomes the main destination for astronauts and cosmonauts.

Although all partners generally agree on the idea of the DSG, the exact design and use of the future outpost is still up for debate. NASA hoped to use the outpost as a springboard for missions to Mars, while others are pushing for the exploration of the lunar surface. These diverse goals will be hard to reconcile in one space station because of technical and financial differences and limitations.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

A Bizarre Failure Scenario Emerges for Ariane 5 Mission Anomaly with SES 14 & Al Yah 3

Europe’s Ariane 5 appears to have gotten away with a black eye on Thursday when its 97th mission veered off course from the onset of the rocket’s climb, but still managed to deploy two innovative communications craft in a stable, but off-target orbit from where it will be up to the SES 14 and Al Yah 3 satellites to rectify the situation and maneuver into their operational slots above the equator.

Bizarre appears to be a good descriptor for the (partial) failure scenario that transpired in the night skies off the South American coast. Per information available in the orbital parameters for the VA241 mission and real time insights provided during the Ariane 5 launch webcast, it appears Ariane 5 entered an incorrect flight azimuth very early during its flight, possibly right after liftoff – taking the 55-meter tall rocket south of its planned route and outside the visibility of tracking stations that expected Ariane 5 on an equator-hugging path.

Read more at: Spaceflight 101

Probe into Off-target Ariane 5 Launch Begins, SES and Yahsat Payloads Healthy

Arianespace will convene an independent inquiry board chaired by a top European Space Agency official to investigate why an Ariane 5 rocket flew off course Thursday night after liftoff from French Guiana with the SES 14 and Al Yah 3 telecom satellites, but both payloads will be salvaged to accomplish their planned missions, officials said Friday.

SES and Yahsat, owners of the two satellites launched by the Ariane 5 rocket, confirmed Friday their spacecraft were delivered to suboptimal orbits following liftoff from French Guiana.

But both payloads are healthy and in contact with ground controllers, and SES and Yahsat said the satellites will be able to make up the altitude shortfall caused by an anomaly that occurred during the Ariane 5 flight.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Arianespace Launches Inquiry into Ariane 5 Anomaly

Arianespace has established an independent commission to investigate an anomaly that occurred during the Ariane 5 launch of two commercial communications satellites last night.  The satellites were placed into the wrong orbits, but their operators expect to be able to get them to their intended destinations anyway.

The two satellites, SES-14 and Al Yah 3, are fine other than being in the wrong orbits.

The Ariane 5 rocket was supposed to place them into an intermediate Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) on their way to their final destinations in Geostationary Orbit (GEO) above the equator.  The satellites have their own propulsion systems to take them from GTO to GEO and both satellite operators indicated today that they will be able to get to GEO nonetheless, but it will take longer.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Russia’s Proton Rocket Falls on Hard Times

The Proton rocket, Russia’s primary commercial launch vehicle, faces a life-and-death struggle to remain a competitive player on the international launch market, industry sources say. The veteran Soviet space rocket has spent nearly a quarter of a century as the vehicle of choice for operators of communications satellites all over the world. But it has fallen to near-irrelevance in just a matter of two years. After reaching a peak of 12 launches in 2010, the Proton is now staring at a real possibility of flying just a couple of missions this year and not delivering a single commercial payload.

What could cause Proton’s dramatic fall from grace? It looks like a convergence of multiple factors has created a perfect storm for the Russian workhorse rocket.

The 700-ton Proton traces its roots to the Moon Race between the United States and the USSR, and the design became the locomotive of the Soviet space program. Then came the 1990s, when the Russian rocket industry faced the chaos of the post-Soviet economic transition, combined with falling oil prices and the shrinking military budget.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Rocket Lab Shoots Humanity Star into Orbit, Annoys Astronomers with ‘Space Graffiti’

Earlier this month, the New Zealand-based private spaceflight company Rocket Lab successfully delivered its first orbital payload. Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket released, along with three commercial satellites, an art installation-as-satellite called the Humanity Star.

The satellite, a highly reflective 65-faced ball crafted of carbon fibre, will orbit Earth for nine months. Around October, its orbit will decay, and the satellite will disintegrate as it descends in the atmosphere.

Until its destruction, the Humanity Star will twinkle so brilliantly it can be witnessed by observers below. It will be most visible at dawn or dusk, creating an effect Rocket Lab likened on its website to a “bright flashing shooting star”.

Read more at: Stuff

Are we Trashing the Final Frontier?

As we push into the final frontier, we are leaving our mark. We have already left more than 400,000 pounds of human-made material on the moon. Rovers and bits of defunct orbiters litter the surface of Mars. And scientists have sent robotic spacecraft hurtling out past Pluto with no final destination.

In our own cosmic backyard, space trash abounds. Between abandoned satellites, pieces of old spacecraft, and spent rocket stages, more than 21,000 pieces of debris orbit Earth. The threat of such debris colliding with expensive satellites or careening to Earth has prompted some wild ideas to tidy the immediate area of space surrounding our planet. Those ideas have ranged from slingshots and nets to gecko-like sticky pads and lasers.

Read more at: csmonitor

ASU Student Payloads Selected to Fly on Blue Origin Space Vehicle

Three Arizona State University student-led payload projects have been selected to launch into space on Blue Origin’s “New Shepard” space vehicle later this year.

The projects were selected during a competitive pitching competition Monday night at the School of Earth and Space Exploration. To earn a spot on “New Shepard,” students were challenged to do one of three things for their payload project: answer a science question, test technology development, or engage the five senses (smell, taste, sight, touch, sound) in space.

Three Arizona State University student-led payload projects have been selected to launch into space on Blue Origin’s “New Shepard” space vehicle later this year.

The projects were selected during a competitive pitching competition Monday night at the School of Earth and Space Exploration. To earn a spot on “New Shepard,” students were challenged to do one of three things for their payload project: answer a science question, test technology development, or engage the five senses (smell, taste, sight, touch, sound) in space.

Read more at: ASU Now

Move Over Musk: Russia Working On Own, 100-Use, Environmentally Friendly Rocket

Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau deputy general designer Sergei Molchanov has provided reporters with new information on the KORONA, Russia’s totally-new reusable single-stage rocket.

Work on the KORONA, a launch vehicle designed for vertical takeoff and landing, started in the 1990s, but was frozen in 2012 due to lack of funding. However, earlier this month, it was confirmed that the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau was resuming development.

 Speaking to Russian media on Tuesday, the design bureau’s deputy general designer clarified that the KORONA project calls for the creation of a single-stage, completely reusable carrier rocket which has no detachable intermediate stages.

Read more at: Sputnik news

Spinoff 2018 Highlights Space Technology Improving Life on Earth

The 2018 edition of NASA’s annual Spinoff publication, released Tuesday, features 49 technologies the agency helped create that are used in almost every facet of modern life. These include innovations that help find disaster survivors trapped under rubble, purify air and surfaces to stop the spread of germs, and test new materials for everything from airplanes to athletic shoes.

“NASA’s work represents an investment in the future, not just for air and space travel, but for the nation,” said Stephen Jurczyk, associate administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “At the same time that NASA’s space exploration missions are inspiring young people to become scientists and engineers, the agency’s work in support of those missions is creating jobs for them across many industrial sectors. Commercial technology spun off from NASA research and technology programs, and missions creates new companies, grows the economy, saves money, keeps us safer, and even saves lives.”

Read more at: NASA

Prototypes for the New Space Age

What happens when 20 researchers conduct 14 projects from entirely disparate fields of research over the course of 90 minutes — while floating in zero gravity? Thrills, learning, magic — and results.

This past November, the Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative chartered a flight with the Zero Gravity Corporation to conduct experiments that relied on the unique affordances of microgravity. Projects ranged across disciplines: design, architecture, engineering, biology, music, robotics, and beyond — manifesting the Initiative’s goal of democratizing access to space. On Jan. 23, the group reassembled to share the results of their projects and celebrate the success of the first flight, at a symposium for the MIT community.

Read more at: MIT

Foreigners will Pay For China’s Latest Gains in The Race for Outer Space

China’s getting better at building a lot of things. The made-in-China product label doesn’t quite turn heads, but it doesn’t make heads shake today like 10 or 20 years ago. Eager to secure its hold as a dominant world economic player, China is shopping out its first mid-sized commercial airliner now. Last year it developed several advanced pieces of weaponry. Now the country that’s also competitive, though secretive, about its mission in outer space is speeding ahead with a satellite program that rates as well as anyone else’s.

China launched January 19 a homegrown Long March 11 carrier rocket to send six satellites into space, state-run China Daily says. A Canadian company’s satellite was among them, the news website says. It called the launch a first for Chinese “solid propellant” rocket as opposed to more complex liquid propellant models and much earlier ones that rely on something like gunpowder.

Read more at: Forbes

Russia to Launch 150 Satellites by 2025 – Roscosmos

Russia will launch 150 satellites by 2025, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said at the Korolyov Readings in Moscow.

“We are planning the profound modernization of our satellite network and 150 satellite launches by 2025 within the framework of the federal space program. The Russian [satellite] network will be significantly expanded,” Komarov said.

Read more at: Interfax

What Trump Gets Right About NASA, Space Exploration

In mid-December, President Donald Trump directed NASA to revisit the moon — and to send astronauts to Mars and beyond. In his directive, the president acknowledged that NASA won’t be able to accomplish this mission by itself, noting that commercial companies will play a key role in future space exploration.

The president is right. Embracing the private sector’s innovations will allow America to conquer the universe’s farthest reaches. It also will save taxpayers money and boost our economy.

Today, a new generation of commercial space companies is taking the lead on space exploration and aerospace innovation. SpaceX has successfully launched and landed its reusable orbital rocket back on earth nearly 20 times and re-launched previously flown rocket boosters, including for NASA. Blue Origin has successfully launched and landed its reusable suborbital rocket and crew capsule back to earth seven times and is also developing a reusable orbital launch vehicle. Sierra Nevada Corporation is nearly finished with a reusable cargo space plane that can land on regular runways.

Read more at: IB Times

The Long Road to Mars

In most Hollywood movies, interplanetary travel seems fairly straightforward: hop on a spaceship, blast off, fly through space (with or without hibernation that may or may not go awry), land on foreign soil. But throw in the known and unknown hazards of deep space physics, multiplied by the limitations of the human body, and the adventure becomes decidedly more complicated.

Yet something about going to Mars has captivated the space-curious for generations; from scientists who want to build the spaceships and go, to politicians who can approve the spending. “Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea,” said US President George W Bush in 2004, when he proposed spending $12bn to get to the Moon by 2020 as a stepping stone to Mars. Not to be outdone, President Barack Obama announced in 2016 that he wanted to get people to Mars by 2030, and more recently, President Donald Trump signed a bill authorizing $19.5bn to go towards NASA’s quest to have humans visit Mars. (“You could send Congress to space,” one senator quipped at the signing.)

Read more at: live.iop

Space Agency to Pick those with the Right Stuff

China will begin its selection process this year for the next generation of astronauts who will train to work on the country’s planned space station, a senior official said.

Yang Liwei, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency and the first Chinese astronaut in space, said the selection work will begin soon and that Chinese scientists and engineers will be eligible to apply.

“We plan to select suitable candidates from space industry companies, research entities and universities and train them into engineers and payload specialists capable of working on the space station,” he said during an open day at Beijing’s Astronaut Center of China.

Read more at: Space daily

China’s Human Spaceflight Centre Releases Astronaut Training Footage

The Astronaut Centre of China has released footage of its astronauts undergoing a range of tests and training, giving a rare insight into the preparations for the country’s human spaceflight missions.

Footage shows high-G endurance, launch vibration, neutral buoyancy and sea survival training, as well as vestibular function, listening and landing impact tests.

The video features the 11 Chinese astronauts who have been to space, aboard six Shenzhou crewed missions. A further five qualified and actively training astronauts are not shown, including Ye Guangfu who trained with ESA in an international CAVES mission.

Read more at: GB Times

Outer Space Laws and Legislation: Regulating the Province of All Mankind

Outer space is fascinating. It excites us, makes us wonder what is out there and how far we can reach. Outer space is practical. It makes our daily lives easier with the various satellites that provide telecommunication, broadcasting, observational and positioning services. Outer space is challenging. It demands development of new technologies and new activities. What outer space is not, however, is a lawless void.

One-hundred-and-seven countries are party to the constitution of international space law, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. This means that virtually every nation that plans to undertake space exploration agrees to follow and implement the Outer Space Treaty through its own regulations and enforcement procedures.

Read more at: eandt

How to Reduce US Space Expenses through Competitive and Cooperative Approaches

The significance of US space policy was emphasized during the John F. Kennedy administration, but the de-prioritization of space policy under the Nixon Administration inclined policy makers to seek more on beneficial rationales, or what Michael Griffin, a former NASA administrator, described as “Acceptable Reasons” (Griffin, 2007). The acceptable reasons should satisfy relevant criteria, such as cost effectiveness, that are often required in decision-making process to justify policy and program goals (Bardach, 2012). This was a big transition in the US space policy, where non-logically convincing rationales (what Griffin called “Real Reasons”) were major justifications of space programs. Today, for the policy makers, it is a challenging task to formulate a US space policy that is admitted to being more about Acceptable Reasons than Real Reasons to compete among other national priorities.

Read more at: Space review

Air Combat Commander: We Depend on Space Systems, and we Train to Fight Without Them

In a future war against a technologically advanced military foe, the U.S. Air Force may have to fight as it did in the industrial age: With little to no access to high-speed communications or big data pipes.

Air combat forces are hugely reliant on information networks and space systems, and adversaries are expected to target those capabilities regardless of how hard the U.S. military tries to defend them, said Air Force Gen. James Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command.

“It’s not something that we’ll ever solve,” he said Thursday during a talk at the Brookings Institution. It is now assumed that enemies of the United States will use cyber and electronic weapons to attack American satellites and communications systems. The newly released National Defense Strategy recognizes that problem and specifically identifies Russia and China as nations that would seek to exploit U.S. vulnerabilities in cyber and outer space.

Read more at: Spacenews

Foreign Governments are Approaching French Satellites in Orbit, Says Space Commander

Read more at: c4isrnet

USAF is Jamming GPS in The Western U.S. for Largest Ever Red Flag Air War Exercise

The year’s first iteration of the USAF’s premier set of aerial war games, known commonly as Red Flag, is kicking off today at Nellis Air Force Base just outside of Las Vegas, but this exercise will be different than any in the past. Not only is it the largest of its kind in the exercise’s 42 year history, but the USAF is going to blackout GPS over the sprawling Nevada Test and Training Range to challenge aircrews and their weaponry under realistic fighting conditions. The tactic will spill over throughout the region, with warnings being posted stating inconsistent GPS service could be experienced by aircrews flying throughout the western United States.

Read more at: Drive

Analysts: U.S. Nuclear Modernization Plan Under-invests in Cybersecurity

Since a leaked draft of the Defense Department’s nuclear posture review was revealed by the Huffington Post, analysts and arms control experts have sounded alarms about language in the document that suggests the Trump administration would broaden the scenarios where it would be acceptable to use nuclear weapons.

“For the first time in a long time there is an expansion of the circumstances under which a president would use nuclear weapons,” said Tom Countryman, chairman of the board of the Arms Control Association. One of those circumstances is a cyber attack.

The idea that the United States would respond to a non-nuclear threat — like a cyber attack — with a nuclear strike has baffled policy experts. It also has stirred concerns that if the cyber threat is indeed that serious, why not do more to protect military command networks and communications satellites so they are not so vulnerable to begin with?

Read more at: Spacenews

The First Chinese Astronaut Thought he was Going to Die

Later this year, China will mark the 15th anniversary of its first human spaceflight. On October 15, 2003, Yang Liwei launched into space on a Long March 2F rocket. After making 14 orbits around Earth, Liwei returned to the planet as China received congratulations from countries around the world. It had succeeded where only the United States and Russia had before.

At the time, the secretive Chinese government released few technical details about the spaceflight. But apparently there were some serious problems, especially during the launch of the rocket. In a new interview with Xinhua, the official Chinese news media, Yang revealed that he experienced extreme vibrations between 30 and 40km above the ground.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Why NASA’s Mission Control Consoles, used for the First Moon Landing, will be Restored

The NASA mission control consoles that were used for the first moon landings will be brought back to life by a Kansas museum that restored the Apollo 13 spacecraft and conserved the recovered rocket engines that launched Apollo 11.

When it is finished, what will the historic mission control look like?

The mission control that was used for the Gemini, Apollo and the space shuttle launches into the 1990s will look like it did when Americans landed on the moon nearly 50 years ago on July 20, 1969.  The consoles are being packed up now and will be carried to Kansas for restoration work.

Read more at: click2houston

Virtual Reality Program Allows for Immersive SLS Experience

A new virtual reality software program will allow users to experience the excitement of standing on the launch pad beneath NASA’s massive new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) and see the breathtaking visual of the rocket bursting through clouds. The software is available for anyone with an Oculus Rift to download for free in the Oculus store.

The software focuses on the SLS as it sits on the mobile launcher prior to lift-off from Kennedy Space Center. Through virtual reality, people will be able to experience the scale of SLS — looking up to see to the top of the rocket, straight ahead to see the details of the solid rocket boosters and engines or from above to take in an aerial view of the launch pad. Those using the software can explore the rocket from the ground and fully grasp its massive scale before sitting in the cockpit during pre-launch activities to see what it’s like to be an astronaut inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

Read more at: NASA

IAASS to Offer New Training Course

ISS Payloads Design and Operations Safety
14-16 February 2018 – Livorno (Tuscany), Italy

The course is designed to provide the participant with an understanding of safety requirements, procedures and processes that are used for design and operations of payloads for the International Space Station. The target audience are safety engineers and managers, system engineers, QA personnel, project managers responsible for development, integration and operation of payloads/cargo for ISS. To learn more about the course and on how to register, download the Course Brochure.

Please complete the registration form (in the brochure) and email to: [email protected] later than 1 February 2018.

Read more at: IAASS