DARPA to Establish Satellite-servicing Consortium to Discuss On-orbit Repair Standards

The U.S. Defense Research Projects Agency plans to establish a consortium to discuss standards and practices for on-orbit satellite servicing as a corollary to Robotic Servicing of Geostationary Satellites (RSGS), an effort to develop robotic spacecraft to inspect, repair and move other satellites.

“Our fear was that we would create a robotic servicing capability through RSGS and when our industry partner went to Lloyds of London for insurance, someone would say, ‘You have no authority to conduct that mission,’” said Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.

Through the construction and operation of the International Space Station, the international community has established laws and regulations concerning government spacecraft conducting rendezvous and proximity operations with other government spacecraft as well as government spacecraft conducting rendezvous and proximity operations with commercial spacecraft.

Read more at: Space News

A Way to Cope with Increasing Competition in Space

In an analysis done for NASA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Science and Technology Policy Institute warns of increased competition in space. The institute then offers a plan for the U.S. to maintain the leadership in space that it has enjoyed for more than half a century.

The report is entitled “Global Policy Issues” and details how the number of nations with financial interests in space has grown to nearly 170. U.S. government agencies and departments spend more than $43 billion annually on space-based activities, and spending by other nations totals more than $250 billion, according to the report. Much of the international space spending is driven by leveraging new technology developed by commercial industry.

Read more at: Space Daily

NASA Tests Orion Capsule With a Splash

On Thursday, NASA’s Orion Spacecraft live-streamed a water drop test of its crew capsule at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The test was the ninth of ten tests implemented to perfect the design of the module that is set to send the first crewed flight to Mars in 2023.

After each test, engineers at Lockheed Martin measure the impact of the load on crash-test dummies inside the spacecraft and alter the altitude of the vehicle according.

Orion comes equipped with an impact attenuation system that adjusts for each crew member’s body weight. Because the Orion will be taking crews much further into space than previous models, engineers had to account for the effects of space “deconditioning” on an astronaut’s body’s ability to handle impact.

Read more at: Inverse

Earth-like Planet Discovered Orbiting Proxima Centauri

Astronomers have found evidence of an Earth-mass planet, with a temperature suitable for the existence of liquid surface water, orbiting in the habitable zone of the star closest to Earth, Proxima Centauri, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Nature.

The newly-discovered planet, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red host star once every 11 days, is slightly more massive than Earth and is the exoplanet located closest to our homeworld, and Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escudé of Queen Mary University of London and his colleagues said that it might also be the nearest possibly life-bearing planet beyond the solar system.

Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf located just four light-years from the solar system, and while it is too faint to be observed by the naked eye, the study authors explained. However, using a series of instruments including the European Southern Observatory (ESO) 3.6-metre telescope in Chile, the astronomers were able to identify the potentially habitable planet by searching for the minute wobbling from the star indicative of an orbiting world’s gravitational pull.

Read more at: Red Orbit

A Russian Billionaire has a Crazy Plan to Reach a Nearby Planet that Might Harbor Life

Back in April, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner pledged $100 million toward a crazy plan to visit another star system. The mission — Breakthrough Starshot — aims to get this done by propelling teeny, tiny spaceships to 20% the speed of light with powerful lasers.

Milner and famed physicist Stephen Hawking initially said their destination would be Alpha Centauri: the second-closest star system to Earth, located some 4.37 light-years (25.7 trillion miles) away. But as far as anyone knows, Alpha Centauri is bereft of habitable worlds.

This is precisely why the recent and groundbreaking discovery of a nearby planet could switch things up for Starshot. Astronomers on Wednesday announced they’d discovered an Earth-like and potentially habitable world, called Proxima b, circling Proxima Centauri — a red dwarf star that’s closer than Alpha Centauri by about 1 trillion miles.

Read more at: Business Insider

Planetary Researchers Find Evidence of Ancient River Systems in Mars’ Arabia Terra

Since the 1970s, planetary researchers have identified valleys and channels on Mars which they think were carved out and eroded by rain and surface runoff, just like on Earth. Similar structures had not been seen on Arabia Terra until Dr. Davis and co-authors analyzed high resolution imagery from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The team examined images covering an area roughly the size of Brazil at a much higher resolution than was previously possible – 20 feet (6 m) per pixel compared to 330 feet (100 m) per pixel. While a few valleys were identified, the scientists revealed the existence of many systems of fossilized riverbeds which are visible as inverted channels spread across the Arabia Terra plain.

The inverted channels are similar to those found elsewhere on Mars and Earth. They are made of sand and gravel deposited by a river and when the river becomes dry, the channels are left upstanding as the surrounding material erodes.

Read more at: Sci-news

Submarine in Space Among NASA’s Coolest Ideas

While we may not get to that earth-like planet around Proxima Centauri anytime soon, NASA scientists are proposing all kinds of ways to explore the planets, moons, asteroids and various other rocky and icy things floating in and around our own solar system.

One of the coolest involves a proposal to explore the seas on Saturn’s moon, Titan. The plan to head to Titan was laid out at NASA’s annual Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program Symposium held this week. The NIAC program is intended to fund visionary ideas that go way beyond things as mundane as going back to the moon or putting a colony on Mars. In fact, some of the ideas on display seem like science fiction, but this is all real, and while the missions and concepts can boggle the mind, they show just how deep into space NASA is looking.

Read more at: Voa news

Successful Homecoming for SpaceX Dragon After Month-long ISS Mission

The SpaceX Dragon SpX-9 spacecraft departed the International Space Station on Friday and parachuted to a safe splashdown in the Pacific Ocean after dropping over two metric tons of cargo off at ISS and picking up over one ton of return items, eagerly awaited by scientists and engineers.

Dragon’s journey into orbit began just over one month ago with a flawless launch atop a Falcon 9 rocket on July 18. While Dragon began is chase of ISS, the first stage booster managed to complete a boost back to a successful landing at Landing Zone 1, the second Falcon 9 landing at the new Cape Canaveral landing facility. For Dragon, the mission began with a series of maneuvers to arrive in the Station’s vicinity two days after launch, approaching from directly below.

Read more at: Spaceflight 101

At Least 8 Space Tourists Eye $150Mln Moon Trip on Board Russia’s Soyuz

Energia has been cooperating with the US-based Space Adventures space tourism company to find potential tourists wishing to fly around the Moon. The renowned filmmaker James Cameron was among the first to express interest in the trip, Solntsev added. Tickets have been priced at $150 million per person, a Space Adventures source told the newspaper, noting that there has been substantial interest in the trip. Potential tourists have been told that the spaceflight may take place by 2020.

Read more at: Sputnik News

NASA Astronauts Successfully Install New Docking Ports at ISS

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Kate Rubins of NASA have successfully installed the first of the two new docking ports for commercial space ships at the International Space Station (ISS). During a spacewalk of 5 hours and 58 minutes on Friday, the two astronauts fixed the first two points of the International Docking Adapter (IDA), EFE news reported.

The IDA’s will be used for future arrivals of manned commercial aircraft from Boeing and SpaceX, developed under the NASA manned commercial programme, the agency said in a statement. The installation will give NASA an independent access to the ISS for the first time since the withdrawal of its fleet of space shuttles in 2011. So far, NASA depends on the Russian Soyuz vessels.

Read more at: Zee News

Russia to Design Super-heavy Carrier Rocket

Russia’s S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia General Director said that state space corporation Roscosmos has started work on designing a new super-heavy class carrier rocket on the basis of the RD-171 liquid-fuel rocket engine.

Russian state space corporation Roscosmos has started work on designing a new super-heavy class carrier rocket on the basis of the RD-171 liquid-fuel rocket engine, Russia’s S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia General Director Vladimir Solntsev said Monday.

“We are working on a super-heavy class rocket with an engine that we already have – the RD-171, which will serve as the basis for the super-heavy carrier, with the general designer of the rocket corporation Roscosmos Alexander Medvedev,” Solntsev told the Moscow-based Izvestia newspaper.

Read more at: Space Daily

China Unveils Mars Rover Concept due to Launch in 2020

China has showed off its first images of a rover it plans to send to Mars in mid-2020, which is designed to explore the planet surface for three months, state media said, the latest aim of China’s ambitious space program.

In 2003, China became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States. It has touted its plans for moon exploration and in late 2013 completed the first lunar “soft landing” since 1976 with the Chang’e-3 craft and its Jade Rabbit rover. China’s latest manned space mission is due in October and is aiming for a manned moon landing by 2036.

State news agency Xinhua, in a report, said the 200kg rover set for Mars would have six wheels and be powered by four solar panels, two more than the rover China shot to the moon and 60kg heavier.

Read more at: AU News

With Operational Acceptance Complete, Western Range is Ready for Launch

The Western Range is back in the launch business following an operational acceptance decision held by the Operations Acceptance Board at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Aug. 18, 2016. “It is exciting,” said Col. Jennifer Grant, 30th Operations Group commander and OAB chair. “The team has invested a lot of time, energy and copious amounts of planning, coordination, and vested interest in ensuring a successful outcome.”

Much of the coordination and teamwork was required due to the large scale of the project that led to the range downtime, which included the relocation of key range systems to a different building. The relocation required over 1,100 critical components of the operational range systems to be disconnected and reconfigured, many of which were decades old and had not been powered down in years – adding a layer of complexity to the move.

“Given the age and fragility of the range equipment, we have been fortunate to not have any major breaks or failures,” said Grant. “I attribute that to planning and risk reduction measures employed by the government and contractor. Many of us expected there to be more complications and challenges than we encountered. The range equipment relocation, and its associated downtime, have been the number one priority for us during this last year. This is clearly one of the most highly visible, complex and unique operations I have been involved in to date, and the key to this successful process entering and exiting the range downtime on schedule was, is, and will continue to be, accountability, transparency, and frequent communication amongst all of the stakeholders.”

Read more at: Vandenberg

Chinese Scientists Study Viability of Manned Radar Station on the Moon

China has commissioned a group of scientists to study the feasibility of building a manned radar station on the moon, but many experts on the mainland have questioned the potentially massive cost of the project and the usefulness of building such a base. The government project was launched earlier this year and received kick-start funding of 16 million yuan (HK$18.7 million) from the National Natural Science Foundation of China, according to its website.

The proposed facility, which may include quarters for astronauts and a powerful radar antenna array at least 50 metres high, could monitor wider areas of our planet than existing satellites, according to scientists involved in the study.

The base, which would be used for scientific research and defence monitoring, could also produce more powerful and clearer images of earth as the high-frequency microwaves emitted by the radar station could not only penetrate cloud, but also the earth’s surface, allowing it to monitor areas on land, under the sea and underground.

Read more at: scmp

Kodiak Island Spaceport Reopens Following 2014 Launch Failure

A rededication and ribbon cutting ceremony has taken place at the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska (PSCA) to reopen the dual use commercial spaceport after a devastating launch failure in 2014. The failure of the STARS-IV missile resulted in heavy damage to the Integration Processing Facility (IPF) and launch pads 1 and 2.

Shortly after 4 am EDT on August 25, 2014 – the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, as part of the Defense Department’s Conventional Prompt Global Strike technology development program, conducted a flight test of its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon. The weapon was aboard a STARS-IV missile (modified Polaris-A3 SLBM) and was launched from Kodiak Launch Complex’s Launch Pad 1.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

A First Peek at Russia’s New Space Cargo Ship

Russian engineers are finishing the design of a brand new space freighter that would replace the veteran Progress cargo ships supplying the International Space Station (ISS) with propellant, food, water and other goods, industry sources tell Popular Mechanics.

The new vehicle will be about a ton heavier than its predecessor and will feature a radical new design. If it’s actually built, the next-generation cargo ship will allow Russia to reduce the number of annual cargo shipments to the ISS from four to three while still delivering all necessary provisions for three people to live more or less permanently aboard the ISS.

Not coincidently, all of these ISS problems have acquired added political significance this year. Faced with latest economic problems, and the need to reduce the number of Progress cargo launches, Russia’s space agency Roskosmos made plans to cut the permanent crew of ISS cosmonauts from three to two people. However the full international crew on the ISS is supposed to include six people with half of it reserved for Russia.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

On the Road Again: SpaceX Reuses Shuttle Transporter for Falcon Stages

SpaceX’s new chariot for moving its rocket stages after they return to land is uniquely suited for the job, having been used to carry reusable space vehicles for close to 30 years.

The company on Wednesday (Aug. 24) delivered its latest launched and recovered Falcon 9 first stage from the port at Cape Canaveral to a hangar at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida using a bright yellow, 76-wheel motorized vehicle. The specialized conveyor, which SpaceX acquired from NASA, was formerly employed to move space shuttle orbiters.

Previously referred to by NASA as the Orbiter Transporter System (OTS), the 106-foot-long (32 m) vehicle was last used in November 2012 to move the retired space shuttle Atlantis to its museum home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Read more at: Collect Space

China’s Huge Long March 5 Rocket Sets Off for Spaceport

Ships carrying China’s first Long March 5 rocket have departed from Tianjin and are headed for a new spaceport on the southern island province of Hainan for an expected early November launch.

Long March 5 is country’s largest ever rocket and is comparable to the most powerful launch vehicles in operation today, including such as the Delta IV Heavy, manufactured by United Launch Alliance of the United States, and Europe’s Ariane 5.

At over 50m high and with a diameter of 5m, the Long March 5 will have a mass at liftoff of around 800 metric tonnes, with the heaviest lift configuration capable of putting a 25 tonne payload into low Earth orbit or 14t to geostationary transfer orbit, greatly boosting China’s space capabilities.

Read more at: Gb Times

SpaceX Founder Set to Unveil Humans-to-Mars Plan in September

SpaceX founder, CEO and lead designer Elon Musk is unveiling his humans-to-Mars plan at next month’s 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The world space meeting runs from Sept. 26-30.

On the second day of the IAC, during a special keynote entitled “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species,” Musk will discuss the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars.

The technical presentation will focus on potential architectures for colonizing the Red Planet that industry, government and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead.

Read more at: Scientific American

ISRO to Test Scramjet Engine

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to test its scramjet engine on Sunday while the launch of weather satellite INSAT-3DR with the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-MkII) has been postponed to September, a senior official said on Saturday. India’s rocket port is located at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh around 80km from here.

“The launch of RH-560 sounding rocket to test the scramjet (air breathing) engine is slated for 6 a.m. on Sunday,” P. Kunhi Krishnan, director of SDSC told IANS. The rocket will take off at 6 a.m. if the wind speed is conducive for the launch or it may be launched bit later.

The scramjet engine, used only during the atmospheric phase of the rocket’s flight, will help in bringing down the launch cost by reducing the amount of oxidiser to be carried along with the fuel.

Read more at: Zee News

Concrete Poured for Blue Origin’s Orbital Space Complex in Florida

Work is progressing on the facility in Florida where Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture plans to build its orbital spaceships.

Bezos called attention to the groundbreaking milestone for the 750,000-square-foot rocket factory in June. Today, Space Florida, the state development agency that’s leasing the property and Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 36 to Blue Origin, tweeted that concrete is being poured for the campus’ first building.

The $200 million manufacturing and launch facility at Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park is expected to open by early 2018 and employ about 300 people. That’s in addition to the folks who work at Blue Origin’s headquarters and production facility in Kent, Wash., and at its suborbital launch complex in West Texas. The company says it has about 700 employees today.

Read more at: Geek Wire

NASA’s Williams Sets U.S. Space Record

Scott Kelly is widely known as the Ironman of U.S. astronauts after his recent yearlong mission aboard the International Space Station, during which he set a NASA record for most cumulative days in space with 520 over four flights. But as of Wednesday, that career record will belong not to Kelly but Jeff Williams, an unassuming NASA veteran who doesn’t mind if his six-month tour lacks the promotion and buzz of Kelly’s “#YearInSpace.”

The commander of the station’s six-person Expedition 48 crew marks his 521st day in space Wednesday, a total expected to reach 534 days by the time he returns to Earth on Sept. 6 to conclude his fourth spaceflight.

Read more at: Florida Today

Six Scientists Wrapping Up a Year of Near Isolation in a Mars Simulation on a Hawaii Mountain

Six scientists are close to wrapping up a year of near isolation in a Mars simulation on a Hawaii mountain.

The scientists are housed in a dome on Mauna Loa and can go outside only in spacesuits, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. They manage limited resources, while conducting research and working to avoid personal conflicts. Communication is delayed 20 minutes, the length it would take to relay messages from Mars.

Kim Binsted, principal investigator for the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, said this simulation is the second-longest of its kind after a mission that lasted 520 days in Russia. “They’re doing OK as far as we can tell,” Binsted said of the scientists. Previous simulations in the Mauna Loa dome have lasted four to eight months.

Read more at: AU News

Brave New Worlds

IT MAY turn out to be a bare and barren rock. The fact that liquid water could be flowing across the surface of the planet just discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the sun, does not mean that any actually is—nor for that matter that it has an atmosphere. The fact that water and air, if present, could make this new world habitable does not mean that it is, in fact, a home to alien life.

But it might be. What is exciting about this new world is not what is known—which, so far, is almost nothing. It is what is unknown and the possibilities it may contain. It is the chance that there is life beneath that turbulent red sun, and that humans might be able to recognise it from 40 trillion kilometres away. In the immense distances of space that is close enough to mean that, some day, perhaps, someone might send probes to visit it and in so doing glimpse a totally different form of life. In the thrill of such possibilities sits all that is most promising about the exploration of space.

Read more at: Economist

Where the Candidates Stand on NASA and Space Exploration

If we’re going to send the first humans to Mars in the early 2030s, NASA is going to need the next President of the United States to be a strong supporter of space exploration.

While Congress controls the federal government’s purse strings, the president plays a key role in shaping the future of NASA by proposing a budget, which is then discussed by key stakeholders for months before it’s put to a vote.

“Historically we all tend to remember the Kennedy moment of giving a big speech and announcing a goal for the nation,” James Muncy, co-founder of the Space Frontier Foundation told NBC News. “Space is now increasingly commercial as well as a government endeavor.” The current proposed budget for NASA in 2017 is $19 billion — down $300 million from the previous year but still an improvement from the past decade which saw the end of the space shuttle program.

Read more at: NBC News

Rubio: U.S. Space Program Not ‘Third World’ as Trump Says

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Friday said the nation’s space program needs a clear goal and long-term funding, but disagreed with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s recent criticism of it as worthy of a Third World nation. “I wouldn’t say we have a Third World space program,” Rubio said at Space Florida’s offices in Exploration Park at Kennedy Space Center. “We have very talented and capable people.”

Rubio spoke to reporters Friday morning after a roundtable discussion with local aerospace industry leaders hosted by the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast.

He broadly backed NASA’s goal to send astronauts to Mars and support for the commercial space sector, but warned that both Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could upend progress made in the five years since the space shuttle’s retirement.

Read more at: Florida Today

Van Hollen Vows to Continue Mikulski’s Passion for Space

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) vowed to continue the strong support for NASA and NOAA evidenced by Sen. Barbara Mikulski if he is elected as her successor in November.   Mikulski is retiring and Van Hollen is widely considered to be the front runner to replace her.

Overall, Van Hollen’s message today at a luncheon sponsored by the Maryland Space Business Roundtable (MSBR) was one of reassurance.  Mikulski’s advocacy for NASA and NOAA, especially, but not only, earth science missions, is legendary.  Many in the space community are apprehensive about what her departure will mean for NASA and NOAA space programs and budgets.  Van Hollen is a relative unknown in space circles and today he clearly wanted to convey his enthusiasm and dedication to continue the fight.

Van Hollen currently represents a district that runs from the Washington suburbs to the border with Pennsylvania.  His views on the space program are not well known, though he said today that he meets annually with the Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (in Greenbelt, MD) to discuss programs and budgets.  He mentioned that he had met with GSFC Director Chris Scolese this morning prior to the luncheon.  He also noted that he was on hand to watch the arrival of the New Horizons spacecraft at Pluto last summer from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab (APL) in Laurel, MD.

Read more at: Space Policy online

Judge: Suit Over $15 million Space Balloon Port Deal can Proceed

A lawsuit filed against Pima county over a multi-million-dollar deal it made with a balloon spaceflight company can proceed, a judge ruled Monday.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Catherine Woods denied the county’s attempt to have three of four counts in a suit brought by the conservative Goldwater Institute dismissed. Woods said she would rule on the remaining count, which alleges that the county violated the Arizona constitution’s gift clause, later. That clause bars state government entities from giving their “credit in the aid of … any company or corporation,” among other prohibitions.

In February, the board of supervisors approved a $15 million deal in which the county would build a manufacturing center, headquarters and balloon launch pad for the for-profit firm World View, which makes helium-filled balloons for space tourism and research. Regina Nassen, a deputy county attorney, argued that the company would pay back that sum and more over the course of a 20-year lease, according to the terms of the deal.

Read more at: Tucson.com

Former NASA Astronaut Joins World View as Chief Pilot

Former NASA astronaut Ron Garan has joined high-altitude balloon company World View as its chief pilot, the company announced Feb. 23, making him the latest astronaut to seek a post-agency career in the commercial spaceflight field.

Garan, a former U.S. Air Force test pilot who spent nearly six months in space on two missions, will oversee flight operations for World View. The Tucson, Arizona-based company is developing balloons to take payloads, and eventually people, to altitudes of 30 kilometers or more, giving them at least some of the experience of a full-fledged space flight.

In an interview, Garan said he joined World View in large part because both he and the company have a goal of sharing the view from space with the public. “They are really aligned with the reason I left NASA in the first place, sharing this perspective of our planet,” he said.

Read more at: Space News

Deep Space Industries Announces First Commercial Interplanetary Mining Mission

Deep Space Industries announced today its plans to fly the world’s first commercial interplanetary mining mission. Prospector-1™ will fly to and rendezvous with a near-Earth asteroid, and investigate the object to determine its value as a source of space resources. This mission is an important step in the company’s overall plans to harvest and supply in-space resources to support the growing space economy.

“Deep Space Industries has worked diligently to get to this point, and now we can say with confidence that we have the right technology, the right team and the right plan to execute this historic mission,” said Rick Tumlinson, chairman of the board and co-founder of Deep Space Industries. “Building on our Prospector-X mission, Prospector-1 will be the next step on our way to harvesting asteroid resources.”

Read more at: NSS

China’s Mars Exploration Program on the Red Planet in 2020 Keeps Time With Tag Heuer!

History of spaceflight became part of human achievement in the 20th century following theoretical and practical breakthroughs. China has emerged with a significant spaceflight capability, including manned missions.

China’s Mars Exploration Program is now officially on time with TAG Heuer, kicking off with its global solicitation for program logo design and the unveiling of the exterior design of the long-awaited, first-ever Mars rover of China.

Today at the press conference, in the presence of Jean-Claude Biver, TAG Heuer CEO and President of the LVMH Watch Division, with the Director of the lunar exploration program and space engineering center under the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, Mr. Jizhong Liu and the Chief Designer of The Mars Exploration Mission, Mr Rongqiao Zhang, TAG Heuer is honored to become the partner of this global solicitation event, demonstrating TAG Heuer’s full support towards the China’s Mars Exploration Program.

Read more at: Tag Heuer

Why Didn’t Russia Ever Make it to the Moon?

It’s a basic fact of history that on July 20, 1969, NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on another celestial body, making history and defeating the Soviets in the space race.

The Soviets, of course, never made it to the moon at all. But why is that? After all, for most of the space race the Soviets were in the lead. They were the first to put a satellite into orbit, the first to send a man into space, and the first to send a spacecraft around the moon, taking pictures of the far side. Surely, even if they ultimately didn’t win the race, they were close to the finish line. So what happened?

This new video from Curious Droid explains. Essentially, the answer is a combination of political intrigue, poor infrastructure, and unstable technology.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Uninternational Space Station

On December 15, 2014, answering questions from journalists at the end of an annual press-conference, the head of Roskosmos, Oleg Ostapenko said that the agency had been considering options for the development of the High-Latitude Orbital Station, also known by its Russian abbreviation as VShOS. According to Ostapenko, the new space station would enable to monitor more than 90 percent of the nation’s territory (thanks to the higher inclination of its orbit toward the Equator than that of the ISS). In the future, the station would also serve as a foundation for the Russian lunar exploration program, Ostapenko said. The orbital outpost could function as a permanently inhabited facility or as a fully automated spacecraft with periodic visits by the crew, according to Ostapenko.

Peculiarly, the Earth-orbiting station concept seemingly contradicted a recently proclaimed Russian strategy to explore the Moon. During his introduction to the event, Ostapenko himself called the Moon the first priority for the manned space program. Obviously, building such a station would divert resources and time from any lunar expedition, observers said.

As often happens in human space flight, the projects are driven forward by reasons other than those officially announced.

Read more at: Russian space web

UN chief Says N.Korea Missile Launch ‘Deeply Troubling’

North Korea’s test-firing of a missile from a submarine towards Japan is “deeply troubling” and undermines stability on the Korean peninsula, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday.

The UN Security Council scheduled urgent consultations on the latest test-firing, at the request of the United States and Japan. The emergency talks are to be held around 2100 GMT. North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic-missile technology, but Pyongyang has carried out several launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

Read more at: Space Daily

Airlander Airship Crashes During Test Flight

A huge airship being developed by British company Hybrid Air Vehicles crashed Wednesday as it attempted to land at the end of its second test flight in the UK.  The cockpit was damaged but there were no injuries to the crew after the 92m long Airlander 10 vehicle crashed at HAV’s base at Cardington, southern England.

The vehicle, part airship,part aircraft, was landing after‎ a 100 minute test flight Aug 24.

Read more at: Defense News