A Triumphant First Launch for Elon Musk’s Giant Rocket

Seven years ago, the Falcon Heavy was a model rocket, sitting on a table in a conference room in Washington, D.C., in front of some reporters and a couple empty seats.

On Tuesday, the rocket dreamed up by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk stood 230 feet tall, on the famed launchpad at Kennedy Space Center where the Saturn V flew the first humans to the moon. An estimated 100,000 people traveled here to watch the Falcon Heavy power up and rise into the sky.

At about 3:45 p.m., the rocket’s 27 engines roared into life and thick plumes of white smoke unfurled from the pad. Within seconds, it was airborne and climbing against the backdrop of a clear blue sky over Florida’s Space Coast. Along for the ride was a cherry-red Tesla convertible, with a dummy called Starman wearing a SpaceX space suit sitting in the driver’s seat. David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” blasted from the speakers.

Read more at: Atlantic

The Ferrari Club Takes a Tour of Virgin Orbit’s Rocket Factory

As fast as Ferraris are, they still can’t achieve escape velocity. For that, you need a rocket.

No, this has nothing to do with Elon Musk and SpaceX. This is a different rocket. And no, Ferrari is not getting into rocket propulsion, though I’d be happy to test one of those, should they ever decide to do that.

Let’s start a little further back. The vice president and events chairman of the Ferrari Club of America’s Southwest region, Jim Bindman, does his job with an enthusiasm unmatched perhaps anywhere on this planet — at least unmatched among car club vice presidents. A couple months ago, with Bindman’s zeal, the club was able to attend a rocket launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base. A month after that, they helped celebrate the Air Force’s 70th birthday with a car show at Edwards Air Force Base, with none other than Gen. Chuck Yeager in attendance. Now, as a fundraiser for the Navy Seal Honor Foundation the club just met at Virgin Orbit in bucolic Long Beach, California, where they held another car show of sorts.

Read more at: Autoweek

SpaceX Confirms Two First Stage Landing Attempts on Land During Upcoming Falcon Heavy Mission; Central Florida Residents May Experience Multiple Sonic Booms

SpaceX confirmed today that the company is targeting the launch of the Falcon Heavy demonstration mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The two and half-hour primary launch window opens at 1:30 p.m. EST, or 18:30 UTC on Tuesday, February 6. The public should keep in mind that with launches of any demonstration launch vehicle, schedule changes are not unexpected.

In addition to the primary mission of launching and delivering Falcon Heavy’s payload to its intended orbit, SpaceX is attempting the secondary mission of landing all three of Falcon Heavy’s first stage cores, during this mission. Following booster separation, Falcon Heavy’s two side cores will return to land at SpaceX’s Landing Zones 1 and 2 (LZ-1 & LZ-2) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Read more at: Business wire

NASA’s Safety Bureaucracy Tips the Scales Against Private Space

In the past two weeks, two separate reports have come out suggesting that the commercial manned capsules SpaceX and Boeing are building to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station for NASA have serious safety issues that could cause significant delays before either company can begin operations.

Both reports have since been used both by politicians and industry experts to attack these commercial ventures. SpaceX, in particular, has come into sharp focus as the subject of this criticism.

To all this I say, hogwash!

Read more at: amgreatness

ESA Publishes New Estimate for Tiangong-1 Uncontrolled Reentry: Mid March to Mid April

The European Space Agency’s Space Debris Office has issued an updated estimate for the uncontrolled atmospheric reentry of China’s 8.5 tonne Tiangong-1 space lab.

The current estimated window for Tiangong-1 to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere is around March 18 to around April 12 this year, with the caveat that this is highly variable.

ESA’s Space Debris Office, based at the ESOC mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, notes that determining a precise date and location will not be possible, due to the variations and fluctuations of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Read more at: GB Times

NASA to be Part of Ariane 5 Anomaly Investigation

NASA, whose James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch on an Ariane 5 next year, will be included in the European investigation into an anomaly suffered by the rocket on its most recent launch.

Arianespace announced Jan. 26 the formation of an “independent enquiry commission,” to be chaired by the European Space Agency’s inspector general, that will study the anomaly during the Jan. 25 launch that placed two communications satellites into the wrong orbits. Both satellites will be able to achieve their desired geostationary orbits, but later than planned and with some potential reduction in spacecraft lifetime.

Read more at: Space News

NASA Twins Study Confirms Preliminary Findings

The Twin Study propelled NASA into the genomics era of space travel. It was a ground-breaking study comparing what happened to astronaut Scott Kelly, in space, to his identical twin brother, Mark, who remained on Earth. The perfect nature versus nurture study was born.

The Twins Study brought ten research teams from around the country together to accomplish one goal: discover what happens to the human body after spending one year in space. NASA has a grasp on what happens to the body after the standard-duration six-month missions aboard the International Space Station, but Scott Kelly’s one-year mission is a stepping stone to a three-year mission to Mars.

Read more at: Space daily

Record-setting Spacewalk Ends With Antenna in Wrong Spot

A record-setting Russian spacewalk ended with a critical antenna in the wrong position Friday outside the International Space Station. NASA’s Mission Control reported that the antenna was still working. Nevertheless, Russian space officials were convening a special team to see whether further action would be necessary. The antenna is used for communications with Russia’s Mission Control outside Moscow.

The trouble arose toward the end of the more than 8 hour spacewalk— the longest ever by Russians and the fifth longest overall—after Commander Alexander Misurkin and Anton Shkaplerov successfully replaced an electronics box to upgrade the antenna.

The pair watched in dismay as the antenna got hung up on the Russian side of the complex and could not be extended properly. The antenna—a long boom with a 4-foot dish at the end—had been folded up before the repair work. Misurkin and Shkaplerov pushed, as flight controllers tried repeatedly, via remote commanding, to rotate the antenna into the right position. Finally, someone shouted in Russian, “It’s moving. It’s in place.”

Read more at: Phys.org

JAXA Successful in Launch of Mini Orbital-class Rocket

Soaring to new heights after failing a year ago, Japan’s space agency successfully launched one of the world’s smallest rockets here on Feb. 3. It also marked the first time the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has successfully launched a rocket using commercially available electronic parts.

The rocket, SS-520 No. 5, 9.5 meters long and weighing 2.6 tons, was constructed at a relatively low cost. The JAXA had failed to launch its predecessor, SS-520 No. 4, in January 2017.

According to JAXA, SS-520 No. 5 lifted off from the Uchinoura Space Center at 2:03 p.m., loaded with an ultra-small satellite weighing about 3 kilograms.

Read more at: Asahi

Chinese Space Company Linkspace Takes Step Towards Reusable Rocket With Landing Test

Chinese private space company Linkspace has taken a step in its development of a reusable orbital rocket with a successful vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) test.

VTVL has allowed US company SpaceX to launch, land and reuse its Falcon 9 rocket first stages, and will next week attempt the same with the new Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.

The breakthrough by Linkspace will be used for its own, much smaller rockets which will aim to provide low-cost access to space for clients looking to launch small satellites. The NewLine-1 rocket, with a reusable first stage, will be capable of carrying 200 kg of micro and nanosats to Sun-synchronous orbit up to an altitude of 500 kilometres.

Read more at: GB Times

New Research Suggests Toward End of Ice Age, Human Beings Witnessed Fires Larger than Dinosaur Killer, Thanks to a Cosmic Impact

On a ho-hum day some 12,800 years ago, the Earth had emerged from another ice age. Things were warming up, and the glaciers had retreated. Out of nowhere, the sky was lit with fireballs. This was followed by shock waves.

Fires rushed across the landscape, and dust clogged the sky, cutting off the sunlight. As the climate rapidly cooled, plants died, food sources were snuffed out, and the glaciers advanced again. Ocean currents shifted, setting the climate into a colder, almost “ice age” state that lasted an additional thousand years.

Finally, the climate began to warm again, and people again emerged into a world with fewer large animals and a human culture in North America that left behind completely different kinds of spear points. This is the story supported by a massive study of geochemical and isotopic markers just published in the Journal of Geology.

Read more at: KU News

Design Call for ‘Solar Sentinel’ Mission

UK scientists and engineers will play a leading role in developing a satellite that can warn if Earth is about to be hit by damaging solar storms. The European Space Agency has requested studies be undertaken to design the mission that would launch in the 2020s.

Explosive eruptions from the Sun can lead to widespread disruption on our planet – degrading communications, even knocking over power grids. The satellite’s observations would increase the time available to prepare.

Esa has a working name for the new mission – “Lagrange”, which reflects the position the satellite would take up in space. The plan is to go to a gravitational “sweetspot” just behind the Earth in its orbit around the Sun known as “Lagrangian Point 5”.

Read more at: BBC

Spain’s Indra Teams Up With Balloon Operator and Launch Startup Zero2Infinity

Spanish IT company Indra will assist Barcelona-based Zero 2 Infinity in developing and promoting balloon-enabled systems for reaching the stratosphere and low Earth orbit.

The two Spanish companies announced today a collaborative agreement where Indra will leverage its international presence and experience developing satellite technology for Earth observation, telecommunications and ground control centers to further Zero 2 Infinity’s customer reach and technology development.

Zero 2 Infinity, which has been operating high-altitude balloons since 2009, is developing Bloostar, a balloon-assisted launch system designed to lift 75 kilograms to low Earth orbit.

Read more at: Space News

UK-Ukrainian Launch Vehicle Developer Skyrora to Establish Smallsat Launch Site

U.K.-based Skyrora has unveiled plans to host a suborbital test flight in the fourth quarter of 2018. As part of its strategy to meet the rising demand for small satellite launches in a cost-effective manner, the company aims to set up a facility to launch smallsats from Scotland.

Daniel Smith, business development manager at Skyrora, tells SpaceNews that the company is in the process of finalizing the suborbital build and will be testing its engine in the U.K. during the first quarter of 2018.

“Things are moving very rapidly at this point. We’ve already 3D-printed various parts of our sub-orbital test vehicle and are in advanced talks about testing our engines here in Britain. We expect to grow our U.K. team substantially in Q1 2018, particularly on the manufacturing side of the business,” Smith said.

Read more at: Space News

Commercial Space Race Lifts Off in China

With more private firms and investors entering the commercial aerospace industry in China over the past three years, the sector, which is currently focused on satellites and rockets, is set to realize enormous value in the near future, industry analysts told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In 2014, the State Council, China’s cabinet, formally announced it would allow private companies to research, manufacture and launch as well as operate commercial satellites, which prompted a batch of Chinese entrepreneurs to excitedly pitch some ideas in the industry.

One of those included Yang Feng, CEO of satellite-maker Spacety, which is based in Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan Province.

Read more at: ecns

Russia to Offer Tourists Spacewalks for $100m – With Discount for First Taker

Russia is planning to send paying tourists on the International Space Station out on spacewalks for the first time, an official from the country’s space industry said Thursday. “We are discussing the possibility of sending tourists on spacewalks,” Vladimir Solntsev, the head of Russian space company Energia, told Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda.

“Market analysts have confirmed this: wealthy people are ready to pay money for this,” Solntsev told the paper. He said the cost of such a trip could be around $100m (€80m), “possibly less for the first tourist”.

Read more at: Guardian

Why are We Aiming for the Moon these Days?

In December last year, the government adopted a proposal to work toward participating in the international manned exploration of the moon. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of mankind first setting foot on the moon in 1969, under the United States’ Apollo program. The most recent manned exploration of the moon was in 1972 — so why is the prospect of launching another manned mission to the moon gaining steam now? What is the significance of Japan’s participation in such an international effort? We asked the opinions of three experts in the field.

Read more at: Japan news

Can Republicans Stop California’s Tax on Space Travel?

California’s Franchise Tax board announced last summer that it would be slapping a tax on space launch companies operating in the Golden State, to be calculated by a complicated formula taking into account miles traveled through space and frequency of launch.

Industry and political leaders in Texas, a state with a polar opposite governing philosophy to that of California, were particularly amused. The idea of taxing space travel sounded like just the sort of joke that Texans might tell about how things are done in Blue-state California, as one Texas journalist put it to me during an interview. But the rocket tax is no joke.

Some glimmer of sanity has since arisen in the California state assembly, in the form of a proposed bill, AB1874, offered by State Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This bill would repeal the application of the transportation tax to space launches, and exempt all commercial space launch income from state taxes.

Read more at: Washington Examiner

How the Columbia Tragedy Began the Age of Private Space Travel

The year 2003 began with a brutal object lesson in the difficulties of flying humans into space.

Early on the morning of Feb. 1, the space shuttle Columbia appeared to observers at the Los Angeles headquarters of SpaceX as a white streak across the sky. It flew at 23 times the speed of sound, more than 200,000 feet above the earth. The seven people on board had just completed a two-week scientific mission in orbit. But their attempt to return to earth would be a death sentence.

On the ground, in the control room at Cape Canaveral, the NASA team awaiting the returning mission watched as heat sensors in the wing failed—it could have been a typical malfunction. Next, sensors monitoring the landing gear inside the wing blinked out. Flight control then lost all signals from the orbiter.

Read more at: QZ

NASA’s Columbia Space Shuttle Debris is Still Being Examined, More Than a Decade After it Exploded

Fifteen years ago today, NASA’s Columbia space shuttle fell apart on its journey back to Earth, killing all seven astronauts on board.

As the shuttle exploded over Dallas, Texas on February 1, 2003, it left behind some valuable pieces of debris which have allowed scientists to better understand why the disaster happened. Despite the catastrophe occurring more than decade ago, debris has continued to be discovered, even as late as last year, according to collectSpace. And the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—which responded to the incident and helped coordinate disaster recovery efforts—still gets calls from the public about potential pieces from the shuttle being found.

Read more at: Newsweek

To Racine’s Laurel Clark, Killed in 2003 Columbia Shuttle Disaster, Life a ‘Magical Thing’

Laurel Clark, like all space shuttle astronauts, was very busy during her 16-day trip into space.

The Racine native and Navy doctor was a mission specialist who helped conduct some of the 80 experiments aboard the space shuttle, including the effect of gravity on humans and gene transfer of plants.

But she also took time to look out the shuttle portholes at the magnificent view moving underneath the spacecraft traveling at 17,500 mph.

“I have seen some incredible sights: lightning spreading over the Pacific, the Aurora Australis lighting up the entire visible horizon with the city glow of Australia below … rivers breaking through tall mountain passes, the scars of humanity … a crescent moon setting over the limb of our blue planet,” Clark wrote in her last email to her family from space.

Read more at: JSonline

Don’t Let Trump Kill the International Space Station

Fifteen years ago, the first day of February started out like any other quiet Saturday morning.

All around the Houston area, people picked up the newspapers on their front lawns, kids watched cartoons on television and their parents sipped their morning cups of coffee. Space shuttle flights had become so common most folks didn’t know that seven astronauts were flying home after 16 days in orbit.

Read more at: Houston Chronicle

India Plans Tricky and Unprecedented Landing Near Moon’s South Pole

Sometime this summer, a spacecraft orbiting over the moon’s far side, out of contact with controllers on Earth, will release a lander. The craft will ease to a soft landing just after lunar sunrise on an ancient, table-flat plain about 600 kilometers from the south pole. There, it will unleash a rover into territory never before explored at the surface; all previous lunar craft have set down near the equator.

That’s the ambitious vision for India’s second voyage to the moon in a decade, due to launch in the coming weeks. If Chandrayaan-2 is successful, it will pave the way for even more ambitious Indian missions, such as landings on Mars and an asteroid, as well a Venus probe, says Kailasavadivoo Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) here. Chandrayaan-2, he says, is meant to show that India has the technological prowess “to soft land on other heavenly bodies.”

Read more at: Science Magazine

Amazingly, SpaceX Fails to Expend its Rocket

On Wednesday evening, a couple of hours after the Falcon 9 rocket had successfully deployed a satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared a rather amazing photo on Twitter. “This rocket was meant to test very high retrothrust landing in water so it didn’t hurt the droneship, but amazingly it has survived,” he wrote. “We will try to tow it back to shore.” In other words, a rocket that SpaceX had thought would be lost after it made an experimental, high-thrust landing somehow survived after hitting the ocean.

Read more at: Ars technica

Human Waste Could Help Astronauts Grow Food in Space

Packing a space shuttle for flight isn’t quite like stocking a car for a road trip. Everything on board is a precious and relatively finite resource—you can’t pull off at a highway rest stop to replenish the snacks. The quarters are tight and distances are long, and to make it all run smoothly, the crew needs to eke productivity out of everything they can. That goes for bodily fluids, too.

For years, American crews stationed on the International Space Station (ISS) have harvested and guzzled the byproduct of their own urine, shower runoff, sweat, and breath. All told, they’re able to recycle more than three gallons of drinkable water each day. Once you clear any psychological hurdles, it’s not an unappetizing proposition, one staffer told Bloomberg, concluding, “It tastes like bottled water.”

Read more at: Atlas Obscura

If Elon Musk is to Colonise Mars, he’ll Need to Recruit a Crew of Genetically-modified Humans

Elon Musk dreams of creating a million-person city on Mars. But first, the SpaceX and Tesla founder is going to need a small group of people with an unusual genetic trait in common; resistance to radiation.

Radiation resistance in humans and animals is something we know little about, although we know it exists. At the moment, resistance tests are used to try and predict how much radiation cancer patients can survive, but one day this could be an important decider of who gets to venture into space.

Our Earth is protected from the harmful radiation from the Sun by our magnetic field, but astronauts that leave the planet will be bombarded with the dangerous particles.

Read more at: Wired

Putting Everyday Computer Parts to Space Radiation Test

ESA’s next mission, the miniature GomX-4B, includes a piggyback experiment to test how well everyday commercial computer memories perform in the radiation-soaked environment of space.

Ready to be launched from China this Friday, GomX-4B was built from six standard 10 cm CubeSat units by GomSpace in Denmark.

Its main goal is to test radio links between satellites and micropropulsion, but GomX-4B also carryies a small, cheap but important secondary experiment: a single 10x10cm electronics board with 12 computer flash memories, made up of three examples of four different types, each purchased for a few euros.

Read more at: ESA

IAI Sues Insurance Cos Over Amos 6 Explosion

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) today filed a NIS 300 million lawsuit at the Central District Court against Lloyd’s of London underwriters, the insurers of the Amos 6 satellite; Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MGDL) subsidiary Peltours Insurance Agency; and UK broker Marsh.

The lawsuit involves the explosion of the Amos 6 satellite in September 2016 before its scheduled launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the insurance compensation due to IAI from the satellite’s loss. Following the explosion of the satellite and negotiations between the parties, the insurers paid IAI $215 million in compensation. A dispute remains between the parties over the NIS 300 million not yet paid to IAI, for which a lawsuit has now been filed.

Read more at: Services globes

Brexit Prompts EU to Move Satellite Site to Spain

The EU formally decided on Wednesday to move a satellite monitoring base from Britain to Spain after Brexit to “preserve security”.

The back-up site for the bloc’s Galileo satnav system in Swanwick, southern England, is set to move to Madrid, where it will reportedly employ dozens of people. It is a third major loss for Britain after the EU decided last year to shift its medicines agency to Amsterdam and its banking regulator to Paris.

EU Commissioners on Wednesday endorsed a vote last week by the remaining 27 EU states to relocate the satellite centre, which backs up the main site in France.

Read more at: Space Daily

Trump Administration Continues Support of Outer Space Norms of Behavior

A former Obama administration official is optimistic that the Trump administration will continue to pursue the development of non-binding international agreements to promote norms of behavior in outer space.

In a Feb. 1 speech at a U.S.-Japan space policy forum here, Frank Rose, chief of government relations at the Aerospace Corporation and a former assistant secretary of state and deputy assistant secretary for space and defense policy, said he was encouraged by statements by administration officials calling for continued development of such agreements on issues like orbital debris and proximity operations.

Read more at: Space news

It’s Not Science Fiction – 45th Space Wing “Triad” Enables Space-based Orbital-Defense Capability

On Jan. 18, the fourth piece in the Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, was successfully launched into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, completing the SBIRS ‘constellation’ – a network of satellites allowing unparalleled defense capability for the United States.

Hundreds of hands, ranging from engineers, Airmen, generals, technicians, rocket scientists, electricians, programmers and many more, assisted in this launch. But how did Team Patrick-Cape lend a hand?

From accepting the payload, to delivering it to the launch site, to assisting with processing the satellite and then executing the actual launch – the 45th Launch Group has a team, named “The Mission Assurance Triad,” who ensures launches are executed flawlessly.

Read more at: AFSPC

SN Military.Space | Vice Chief Selva: With No budget ‘We’re Gambling’ – Why it’s Hard to Defend Space – Space Industry Adapts to Changing Market

With still no budget four months into fiscal year 2018, the Pentagon is waiting to see where the chips fall. Defense officials are ready to take the FY19 budget proposal up to Capitol Hill but that may prove a tricky bet not knowing what Congress will appropriate for FY18.

“This is called gambling,” Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva, commented Tuesday during a meeting with reporters.

Cue the irony. “We’re trying to deliver a proposed budget on time to the Hill when we don’t’ know what we’re actually going to get for fiscal year 2018.”

Read more at: Space News

Nuclear Strategy Raises New Questions About the Security of Critical Communications Networks

It’s a question that lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been asking the Pentagon for years: Are the command-and-control systems between the president and the nation’s nuclear forces totally secure and defendable from cyber or electronic attacks?

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review the Pentagon released on Friday says systems today remain “assured and effective” but the report warns of growing risks. The nuclear command and control networks that were on the cutting edge in the 1970s are now “subject to challenges from both aging system components and new, growing 21st century threats,” the NPR says. “Of particular concern are expanding threats in space and cyber space.”

Read more at: Space News

No Treaty will Stop Space Weapons

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is fired up. In comments to the Russian media this month, Lavrov excoriated the United States for refusing to back the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), a treaty to ban the placement of conventional weapons in space. “The United States continues nurturing plans to militarize outer space, I mean the deployment of weapons in outer space,” Lavrov said. “Which will, naturally, have very adverse consequences for problems of international security.”

The Obama administration wouldn’t go for the treaty, and neither will the Trump White House. It’s not hard to see why. The Air Force has flown a secretive unmanned space plane into orbit and tested hypersonic weapons that, if they ever work, could strike targets worldwide. The Pentagon has launched satellites that can maneuver to keep an eye on other spacecraft, which is a defensive move—but also could be the first step toward attacking them.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

America’s Air Force: Defenders of Air, Space and Cyberspace

In this daily deluge of information that shapes our American way of life, we continue to see headline after headline of cyberattacks affecting our trusted government agencies, commercial corporations — large and small — and in some cases, our very own personal data.

In fact, in 2017 alone, the Center for Strategic and International Studies lists dozens of examples of such cyberattacks, including a Russian operation to send malicious spear-phishing messages to more than 10,000 Twitter users in our Defense Department; a ransomware campaign that spread to 99 countries; denial-of-service attacks widely attributed to North Korea that targeted media, financial, aerospace and critical infrastructure organizations; and the Equifax data breach that revealed the Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information of more than 143 million Americans.

Read more at: AFSPC

Genius or Joker: Elon Musk Flamethrowers Spark Controversy

After raising $1 million by hawking baseball caps, the visionary entrepreneur behind electric carmaker Tesla and private space firm SpaceX says he’s set the market alight with his latest idea.

Elon Musk announced on his Twitter account Thursday that he has sold out 20,000 flamethrowers, which he joked are useful against a “zombie apocalypse,” at $500 each over about five days. He did not specify what the proceeds will be used for but the previous sale of 50,000 ball caps at $20 a piece financed his latest startup, The Boring Company.

Read more at: Space Daily

The Real Reason Why NASA Created Makeup for Women Astronauts

Twitter was awash in horror and humor on January 16th. You may be thinking, “That’s not unusual for Twitter whatsoever,” but the reason for it was unique. The account of NASA’s history office shared a photo of an unused astronaut grooming kit for female space crew members, complete with an entire stash of makeup. The image was accompanied by a quote from astronaut Sally Ride expressing incredulity at the idea of NASA’s top male engineers pouring their sweat into the creation of a little yellow cosmetics case. When the First American Woman to Go to Space speaks, you listen, and naturally, voices erupted. But the truth behind how kits like this came to be is slightly less controversial and not a little patriotic.

Read more at: Racked

The Secret Cold War History of the Missile that Launched America’s First Satellite

In 1950, a group of scientists proposed the International Geophysical Year (IGY), a sort of “Science Olympics” in which nations of the world would embark on ambitious experiments and share results openly and in the spirit of friendship. The IGY, they decided, would be celebrated in 1957.

As part of the IGY, the Soviet Union vowed that it would launch an artificial satellite for space science. The U.S., not to be left behind, said that it, too, would launch a satellite. Both countries had ulterior motives, of course; the ostensibly friendly rivalry in the name of science allowed the two superpowers, already engaged in the Cold War, to quite openly develop and test long-range ballistic missiles under the guise of “friendship.”

Read more at: Mentalfloss

Explorer 1 at 60: How has Space Travel Changed Us?

Rocket fire streaked across the dark evening sky over Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Jan. 31, 1958. The United States had just launched a satellite into orbit, piercing the barrier between our world and the rest of the universe.

The oblong Explorer 1 satellite wasn’t the first human-made object in space. The Soviet Union’s Sputnik claimed that title on Oct. 4, 1957. But the first successful launch of an American satellite made space exploration an international endeavor, paving the way for scientific discoveries of cosmic proportions.

In the 60 years since, our mechanical envoys and human voyagers have gone to places previously imagined only in science fiction. But it hasn’t all been about studying other worlds.

Read more at: csmonitor

Missed Warnings: The Fatal Flaws Which Doomed Challenger 32 Years Ago (Part 1)

On 7 March 1986, six weeks after the loss of Challenger, divers from the U.S.S. Preserver found the remains of the ill-fated shuttle’s crew cabin. It “was disintegrated, with the heaviest fragmentation and crash damage on the left side,” read the Rogers Commission’s final report into the cause of the disaster. “The fractures examined were typical of overload breaks and appeared to be the result of high forces generated by impact with the surface of the water.”

U.S. Navy spokesperson Deborah Burnette told a Washington Post journalist that “we’re talking debris, not a crew compartment, and we’re talking remains, not bodies.” The last vestiges of Challenger lay in 100 feet (30 meters) of water, about 16 miles (27 km) northeast of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), and their discovery would help to unlock many of the mysteries of what happened on the tragic morning of 28 January, when America’s dreams of space exploration were cruelly shattered in the Florida sky and on millions of television screens around the world.

Read more at: America Space

Missed Warnings: The Fatal Flaws Which Doomed Challenger 32 Years Ago (Part 2)

At 11:39 a.m. EST on 28 January 1986, the unthinkable happened, when shuttle Challenger was lost, a mere 73 seconds after liftoff. All seven astronauts of Mission 51L, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, were killed in the tragedy.

Yet, as outlined in yesterday’s “PART 1” commemorative AmericaSpace feature, the human tragedy was accompanied by another: for it was equally tragic that the catalog of calamities which befell the shuttle program in its early years and eventually brought down Challenger could have been avoided. Warning signs had been thrown up repeatedly by previous missions, but were either dismissed or not treated with timely seriousness. In this second article, AmericaSpace looks back at the fateful decisions made on the eve of Challenger’s final flight and the incessant schedule pressures and “Go-fever” which eventually destroyed a flawed belief in the shuttle’s invincibility.

Read more at: America Space

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