Trump Signs New Space Policy Directive to Send Americans to Moon, Mars

Read more at: CBS News

Russia Says ‘Satellite’ Could have Caused Radioactive Pollution

Russian scientists on Friday said radioactive pollution detected in Europe in September was not linked to one of the country’s nuclear facilities and speculated that a satellite could be the cause.

Russia’s Rosatom nuclear agency in November asked scientists at the Nuclear Safety Institute to look into the origin of “extremely high” readings of radioactive ruthenium reported in some parts of Russia by the meteorological service.

Results shown to journalists in Moscow on Friday did not pinpoint the source of the pollution, but scientists dismissed suggestions that Mayak, a facility in the Russian Urals that processes spent nuclear fuel, was the origin. “Our conclusion is that Mayak could not be the source of the radioactive ruthenium-106,” said Vladimir Boltunov, who headed the investigation.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Astronauts Suffer ‘Space Fever’ from Unusually Elevated Core Body Temperatures

Space fever. It doesn’t sound good. A new Nature Science Reports study has examined the medical records of 11 different astronauts who undertook long stays in orbit. What it was looking at was their core body temperatures. It found a new challenge to add to the quest to get astronauts to Mars — alive.

Over the course of 2.5 months, astronaut bodies become a full 1C hotter. That’s the equivalent to a significant fever. The human body is designed to run at an optimal 37C. It’s the sweet spot at which our bodily organs hum. At 38C, things are revving too high. At 40C — as recorded on some astronauts — it’s a medical emergency in the making.

“Since even minor increases in (core body temperature) can impair physical and cognitive performance, (these) findings have a considerable impact on astronauts’ health and wellbeing during future long-term spaceflights.”

Read more at: AU News

Russia Looks Past Soyuz-2 Failure to Soyuz-5

Try as they might, the Russian space program is having a hard time sustaining a positive news cycle. For every small step forward, it seems they take one giant leap back. Budget cuts, program delays, and regular launch failures dog Russia’s space industry at every turn — making small victories and promises of glories still to come harder and harder to swallow.

With the latest setback, last week’s botched launch of a new weather satellite and 18 secondary payloads, fate seems to be piling on. After Roscosmos claimed a successful Nov. 28 launch of a Soyuz-2.1b rocket from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East, reports surfaced that contact with the rocket’s Fregat upper-stage, which transports the payload, was lost.

Russian officials took more than a day to acknowledge the mission had failed, but said little beyond vowing to complete an investigation by mid-December.

Read more at: Space News

Previously Undetected Software Bug Potential Cause for Soyuz/Fregat Failure

The failure of a Soyuz 2-1B/Fregat-M rocket launching the Meteor-M 2-1 weather satellite and 18 international secondary payloads was traced back to a software bug on the rocket’s Fregat upper stage brought on by the unique parameters for Soyuz launches out of the Far Eastern Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Loaded with the 2,750-Kilogram Meteor satellite, four MicroSatellites weighing between 6.5 and 86 Kilograms and fourteen CubeSats, Soyuz lifted off from the 1S Launch Complex at the Vostochny Cosmodrome on November 28 at the precise instant of 5:41:45.965 UTC.

Read more at: Spaceflight 101

The Moon Shines Brightly Among NASA’s 2017 Highlights

The Moon became a key focus point for NASA in 2017, whether it was blocking out the Sun during one of the most-viewed events in U.S. history, or reinvigorating the agency’s human space exploration plans.

One of the numerous NASA-related activities and actions the Trump Administration did in 2017 was to reconstitute the National Space Council. During its first meeting on Oct. 5, Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to develop a plan to help extend human exploration across our solar system, and return astronauts to the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars and other destinations.

Read more at: NASA

Confirming the Next NASA Administrator

This White House event could serve to put some wind into Rep. Bridenstine’s sails as he awaits a vote to confirm him as NASA administrator. If the White House is going to continue to throw its strong support toward NASA one can argue that this would only serve to suggest that Bridenstine will have the strong backing of the Administration in the implementation of its new space policies. In the past 11 months there have been a number of high-visibility NASA-related events with overt White House participation – more than what happened in the previous Administration’s two terms. So, at this point, no one can accuse this White House of not being willing to expend political capital on NASA.

Senate Democrats and Independents (46+2=48) are expected to solidly oppose Bridenstine’s confirmation due to direction from party leadership – even if they wanted to vote for Bridenstine (and there are a number of Democratic Senators who would otherwise vote for Bridenstine).

Read more at: NASA watch

Muratore: Safety and Efficiency went Hand-in-hand in Rebuild of SLC-40

SpaceX hosted a briefing to members of the media on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, to provide an overview of work that has been done to return to service Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) after the Sept. 1, 2016, explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket caused severe damage to the site. According to John Muratore, director of SLC-40, the NewSpace firm tied safety and efficiency to improve the effectiveness of launch operations at SLC-40.

When asked, Muratore noted that the accident which caused the total loss of the $185 million Amos 6 satellite, the Falcon 9 rocket, and much of the launch site was used as an opportunity to remake SLC-40 to improve it.

“From the very start, after we kind of dusted off ourselves after the accident, we really looked at this as an opportunity to not only rebuild the pad but [also] to make it better. We’ve gone in and done a lot of work reinforcing the structures, improving the ground systems, and making the systems common with our other pads so that people and tools can be used across all the pads in SpaceX,” Muratore noted in response to a query by one of the media.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

Rocket Lab Launch Cancelled Six Minutes into Window

Rocket Lab postponed the launch of its second trial rocket until Tuesday after cancelling its launch on Monday afternoon. Rocket Lab spokeswoman Morgan Bailey said the launch was cancelled due a mix of atmospheric conditions and space traffic.

The International Space Station flying through orbit coupled with the weather conditions gave a tight six minute window to attempt launch at 2.30pm, she said. Rockets can be launched to fly around other spacecraft but that was too difficult with the weather, she said. Rocket Lab made the call to postpone Monday’s launch to give a bit more breathing room, she said.

Read more at: Stuff

The International Space Station is Swarming with Bacteria

You might not immediately find yourself comparing the International Space Station with your lounge room, but it turns out that the triumph of cutting-edge engineering and international goodwill has a lot in common with the place you eat chips and fall asleep – at a microbiological level, at least.

It’s well known that we humans carry a rich ecology with us – there are billions of microbes swarming all over you right this second – but the way microbes are transferred into the places we live and work is proving a rich area of study.

The latest habitat to come under scrutiny, as described in a paper in the journal PeerJ, is the ISS. What the researchers found on the orbiting laboratory was rich and diverse microbial community, similar to the microbiology of a private home.

Read more at: Cosmos Magazine

Orbital ATK’s Cygnus Spacecraft Departs International Space Station, Begins Secondary Mission in Space

Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced that its Cygnus™ spacecraft, following a highly successful stay as a part of the International Space Station, has departed from the station to begin the next phase of its mission. The “S.S. Gene Cernan” is now set to deploy a record number of cubesats in orbit before reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The OA-8 mission marks the fourth time that Cygnus has been used for NanoRacks cubesat deployments during its secondary payload mission phase.

Cygnus departed from the International Space Station at 8:11 a.m. EST, one day after being unberthed by the station’s robotic arm and conducting a test for NASA while still grappled. The spacecraft spent 22 days at the orbiting laboratory before leaving with approximately 6,400 pounds (2,900 kilograms) of items for disposal, marking the largest amount of material removed by Cygnus during its cargo resupply missions.

Read more at: Orbital ATK

Watch a Brilliant Fireball Light Up the Sky in This NJ Police Dash-Cam Video

When Sgt. Michael Virga went out on patrol last weekend in Hamilton, New Jersey, he wasn’t expecting to see something truly out-of-this-world. But thanks to a spectacular fireball, that’s exactly what the officer saw.

The fireball streaked across the early-morning sky at 3:09 a.m. EST (0809 GMT) on Saturday, Dec. 2, and Virga’s vehicle dash cam recorded the dazzling sight, according to a statement from the Township of Hamilton Police Department. “It kind of took me by surprise,” Virga told, adding that the fireball “lit up the entire sky like a lime-green streak.”

Read more at:

You Only Have to Be Rich, Not Healthy, to Fly in Space

The so-called “space billionaires”—Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk—imagine a day when people will live and work in space, gradually transforming humanity into a multi-planet species. The next step in that direction is the development of a space tourism industry, and that’s about to become a reality.

The rich will go first, of course, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to be astronauts—if only for a few minutes. These extreme-tourism-style flights by Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are seen as a precursor to an era when blasting to and from space will be considered as routine as flying from New York to Chicago. The preparation needed to make these civilian rides work is also crucial for the kind of point-to-point hypersonic flights that Musk and others have envisioned as a way to shrink travel times across the Earth.

Read more at: Bloomberg

Blue Origin Set to Launch Next New Shepard

Blue Origin is getting ready to fly a New Shepard suborbital rocket sometime between Dec. 11–14. On Dec. 9, 2017, the company issued a notice to airmen, also called a NOTAM, for the area around its rocket site near Van Horn, Texas.

New Shepard is a fully reusable rocket system designed to take experiments and eventually people on suborbital hops above the Karman line – an imaginary boundary 62 miles (100 kilometers) above Earth that represents the beginning of space. After the launch, the capsule separates and lands back on Earth with a parachute while the booster performs a powered descent and landing.

Altogether, the system is some 60 feet (18 meters) tall and is powered by a single Blue Origin-built BE-3 engine that burns liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The capsule has an interior volume of about 530 cubic feet (15 cubic meters) and has an emergency escape motor built by Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

NASA’s SuperTIGER Balloon Flies Again to Study Heavy Cosmic Particles

A science team in Antarctica is preparing to loft a balloon-borne instrument to collect information on cosmic rays, high-energy particles from beyond the solar system that enter Earth’s atmosphere every moment of every day. The instrument, called the Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder (SuperTIGER), is designed to study rare heavy nuclei, which hold clues about where and how cosmic rays attain speeds up to nearly the speed of light.

The launch is expected by Dec. 10, weather permitting.

“The previous flight of SuperTIGER lasted 55 days, setting a record for the longest flight of any heavy-lift scientific balloon,” said Robert Binns, the principal investigator at Washington University in St. Louis, which leads the mission. “The time aloft translated into a long exposure, which is important because the particles we’re after make up only a tiny fraction of cosmic rays.”

Read more at: NASA

Spaceflight Prepares to Launch Eleven Spacecraft on India’s PSLV-C40

 Spaceflight, the leading satellite rideshare and mission management provider, today announced it will be launching 11 spacecraft in early January from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Spacecraft include Finland’s ICEYE-X1 SAR microsatellite, Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-6 6U asteroid prospecting demonstration cubesat, four Spire Global Lemur-2 cubesats, Astro Digital’s Landmapper-BC3, AMSAT’s Fox-1D cubesat, and others.

Spaceflight performed the cubesat integration at its Seattle Integration Facility and is in the process of shipping the spacecraft to India for the PSLV-C40 mission. The PSLV rocket is scheduled to lift off from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in early January 2018 with the Cartosat-2ER navigation satellite, in addition to Spaceflight’s rideshare customers.

Read more at: Spaceflight

Tiny Space-Debris Detector will Fly to Station this Week

How many tiny bits of space debris are pummeling the International Space Station day after day? A new experiment headed into orbit this week will find out.

NASA’s Space Debris Sensor is scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule on Tuesday (Dec 12). The sensor is designed to gather data on micrometeoroids and pieces of space debris, each about the size of a sand grain — far too small to be tracked from the ground. The sensor will reveal how frequently these bits of material collide with the station, how fast they are moving when they hit and the direction they came from.

While a few grains of sand pelting a window might not pose a threat on Earth, even miniature bits of space debris can be hazardous in orbit. These objects typically move through space at speeds ranging from 6.2 to 8.6 miles per second (10 to 14 kilometers per second), according to Joseph Hamilton, principal investigator for the Space Debris Sensor at NASA. That means the particles carry enough energy to damage satellites or leave small cracks on space station windows.

Read more at:

Mysterious Object Flashes Across the Sky at Heathrow Airport

People at London’s Heathrow Airport were treated to an unusual light show on November 19.

In a footage captured by aviation website Airlive, a bright light was seen flying across the sky of the busy airport on Sunday. The video, which has since gone viral on social media, recorded the object appearing ahead of a passenger aircraft that was approaching the airport for landing, with it coming very close to a collision course with the said aircraft. Scenes from the video showed the object plummeting to the ground and burning up right before the jet passes it.

It was unknown if the streak was a meteor or created by other space debris.

Read more at:

Firm Wants to Launch New Space Centers

China Great Wall Industry Corp, the country’s largest space contractor on the international market, is considering using existing overseas launch facilities or building new ones in foreign territories to lift Chinese carrier rockets, executives said.

Yin Liming, the company’s president, said on the sidelines of the fifth China Space Forum held by the company in Beijing on Tuesday that working with foreign nations to use or construct launchpads or launch centers will strengthen China’s international space cooperation.

He said that this will allow China to use launch facilities that have geographic advantages such as those located near the equator.

Read more at: ECNS

NASA Sets Road Map for Orion Launch

NASA officials working on revolutionary spacecraft at the Plum Brook Station in Erie County didn’t just make a new year’s resolution for next year.

They mapped out their goals for Orion, the initiative aiming to carry astronauts into deep space and possibly land on Mars, over a four-year period: In 2018, they want to perform a minor test at Plum Brook. In 2019, they want to perform major tests at Plum Brook. In 2021, they want to launch the vehicle, with crew aboard, from Florida.

Read more at: Sandusky register

FAA Offers National Space Council Ideas for Launch Licensing Reforms

The Federal Aviation Administration submitted to the National Space Council a set of regulatory reforms that one official said would create a “21st century licensing process” for commercial spaceflight.

The proposed changes, intended to streamline licensing of expendable and reusable launch vehicles, were submitted to the Council as one of the 45-day reports requested by its chairman, Vice President Mike Pence, at its first meeting Oct. 5.

“What we turned in was a list of ideas that we had identified as things that might be helpful in terms of regulatory streamlining,” said George Nield, FAA associate administrator for commercial space transportation, during a panel discussion about commercial space policy at the SpaceCom Expo here Dec. 5.

Read more at: Space News

Voyager 1 just Fired Up Some Thrusters for the First Time in 37 Years

When Voyager 1’s trajectory correction maneuver thrusters last fired, Ronald Reagan had just been elected president. Over 30 years ago, about a decade into the spacecraft’s journey out to the edge of our solar system and beyond, the thrusters had officially served their purpose. The trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) thrusters sent out little puffs of power to correct the object’s course, allowing Voyager 1 to explore Jupiter, Saturn, and several moons orbiting them. After the last course correction for Saturn on November 8, 1980, the TCMs went silent.

Last week, NASA scientists fired them up again. And 37 years after being put out to pasture, the thrusters worked. They could even extend the mission of the invaluable space probe by several years.

Read more at: Popsci

China Plans Robot Moon Base

Scientists are mulling a robot moon station, Chinese space experts said on Tuesday. The base can conduct bigger, more complicated research and experiments, according to space officials who announced the plan at an international symposium in Shanghai at the end of November. Such a station could slash the costs of returning rock samples to Earth, Jiao Weixin, a Peking University space science professor, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

A sustainable station would enhance lunar geography studies and “have better energy efficiency than lunar rovers as the station can deploy a much bigger solar power-generator,” he said.

In support of the lunar landing program, China will launch a carrier rocket with a 100-ton-plus payload for the first time by about 2030, according to a report of the symposium published on the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council website on Monday.

Read more at: Global times

Smart Spacesuit Could Save Lost Astronauts with ‘Take Me Home’ Button

Being “lost in space” is a nightmare scenario for astronauts, but they soon could be sleeping easier. Engineers have filed a patent for a spacesuit self-return system to ensure spacewalking astronauts are safe, even if none of their crewmates can rescue them. This system is, essentially, a “take me home” button.

Lead inventor Kevin Duda, a space systems engineer at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has studied astronauts and life on the International Space Station a great deal.

The self-return spacesuit system, Duda explained, had to be capable of determining a precise location in a harsh space environment where GPS is unavailable. It had to compute an optimal return trajectory that accounts for time, oxygen consumption, safety and clearance requirements, and it had to be able to guide a disoriented and possibly unconscious astronaut to safety effectively.

Read more at:

China Turns Space Debris into In-orbit Internet of Things

Chinese scientists have turned the final stage of a launch rocket, which is discarded in space after sending a satellite into orbit, into a smart application platform by fitting it with intelligent chips.

A program carried out by Shanghai-based Fudan University installed several intelligent chips on the final stage of the Long March 4C rocket, which sent the Fengyun-3D satellite into orbit in November.

Fudan University’s Zheng Lirong, the chief scientist of the program, said discarded rocket sections during space launches constitute the largest percentage of space debris. By installing multiple chip systems on the rocket, the team has established the initial stage of a space-based Internet of Things.

Read more at: Xinhuanet

Orbital Tow Truck for Satellites Among Ideas Pitched at SpaceCom

Former astronaut Carl Walz, who logged 231 days in space during four flights, was trained to operate the robotic arm on the International Space Station. Now in the private sector, his company is developing autonomous robots that could one day repair satellites or prepare Mars for human arrivals.

The work could solve communication lags or disconnection issues that plague human-controlled space robotics. “If you can figure out a way to enable the robot to understand what they’re doing to automate some of those tasks, you can accomplish things even with breaks in communications,” said Walz, director of business development for space systems at Oceaneering.

Read more at: Chron

Fashion on the Final Frontier: The Story of the Spacesuit

Ever since NASA retired the silver lamé Mercury spacesuits of the early 1960s astronauts have fallen a little behind in the fashion department, but now a new generation of spacesuits is being developed for both the public and private sectors. Suiting up for the final frontier isn’t just about looks of course, it’s about surviving and working in one of the harshest environments possible – an environment that will kill you in just 20 seconds without some high-tech protection. So what exactly is a spacesuit, and what will the spacefaring fashionistas of the future be wearing?

The next decade will see a major return to manned spaceflight as NASA starts its Orion deep space missions, China develops its own space station, and commercial companies compete with the Russian space agency to ferry crews to the International Space Station (ISS). Then there’s plans to send tourists into space on suborbital junkets or to visit hotels in low Earth orbit, as well as return astronauts to the Moon or land on Mars.

Read more at: Newatlas

Scientists Want in on Humanity’s Next Big Space Station

As the world’s leading spacefaring nations plan for their next big outpost in space — a successor to the International Space Station — scientists are drafting a wish list of experiments for the most remote human laboratory ever built. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are hosting meetings to discuss the science plans, the first of which are taking place on 5–6 December in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

No nation has yet committed to fully funding the project, which does not yet have an estimated cost but is slated for the 2020s. But the space agencies are working on a plan to build an outpost in orbit around the Moon. Scientists are already jockeying for room on the platform. “I have been taken aback by the extent and the quality of proposals,” says James Carpenter, human and robotic exploration strategy officer at ESA in Noordwijk, who organized the event and had to double the capacity of the agency’s event to 250 people, owing to the level of interest.

Read more at: Nature

Some Question Heavy Taxpayer Investment in Spaceport America

Virgin Galactic says that more jobs are heading to New Mexico. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the company was planning to move 85 more employees to the Las Cruces area, signaling the company may be closer to launching from Spaceport America.

This past summer the facility hosted local business and government officials to gather feedback for a major event for Virgin’s first launch.

Spaceport America officials are touting this as a positive step in bringing jobs to Sierra and Doña Ana Counties. Two counties that have already invested heavily in what some say are long term, risky investments.

Read more at: krwg

SpaceCom Panelists Ponder Regulatory Future of Private Space

Boundary-pushing companies seeking to mine asteroids or build moon bases could face a stubbornly terrestrial challenge: getting regulatory approval for activities that are more common in science fiction than traditional business plans.

By international treaty, the federal government is responsible for regulating private U.S. commercial activity in space. But while specific agencies oversee launches, satellite operations and the collection of data through remote sensing from Earth’s orbit, it is unclear who has jurisdiction over other endeavors.

“What we’re starting to see now is a lot of companies coming up with new ideas … moon bases, asteroid mining, lots of exciting ideas,” George Nield, associate administrator for commercial space transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration, said Tuesday. “But the question then becomes: Who in government is responsible to authorize and continuously supervise those kind of activities?”

Read more at: Houston Chronicle

US Must Rethink Space Policy in Face of Enormous Change

In the vast swirling enterprise of global security space, the United States must come to terms with the tectonic shifts occurring as commercial companies come to dominate launch, the building of satellites and the sensors and software on which they depend, and figure out how to lead the way.

That’s the conclusion of what may become a touchstone study by two of the brightest lights in national security space, Jim Vedda and Pete Hays. Vedda is a space strategist with the Aerospace Corporation and Hays works with the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. They surveyed more than 30 experts on major areas of concern within the U.S. space enterprise to help leaven the study’s guidance.

Read more at: Breaking Defense

Aerospace and Mitchell Institute Release New Report on Policy Needs for Space Operations

The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) and the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute today released the results of a wide-ranging survey highlighting the perceptions and recommendations of more than 30 experts on major areas of concern within the U.S. space enterprise.

The report, Major Policy Issues in Evolving Global Space Operations, takes a multi-faceted look at the current state of the space industry and how it might evolve. In particular, the authors examine how future endeavors in space will be shaped by the proliferation of new space entrants and the growing clout of the commercial sector in an increasingly crowded and democratized space domain.

The study covered 11 areas of concern affecting multiple stakeholders, including these key issues: establishing space tracking roles, improving surveillance of small satellites and mitigating orbital debris, enforcing behavioral norms, preparing for proximity operations, addressing foreign counterspace activities, and protecting commercial and foreign assets.

Read more at: Aerospace

Video: See Our Full Interview with NASA legend Christopher C. Kraft

We’ve just kicked off our celebration of 50 years of Apollo, “The Greatest Leap,” with the first of a seven-part series on the people and technology that put 12 humans on the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The first part, which we ran yesterday, examined the accident that claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee—a tragedy known within NASA simply as “the Fire.” The piece is based around dozens of hours of interviews with the men and women who were at NASA and witnessed the events as they happened.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Fundamental Rethink for Galileo Commercial Service

At the lavish European Satellite Navigation Competition Awards Ceremony, we caught up with Carlo des Dorides, general director of the European GNSS Agency (GSA), who updated us on the status of the much-anticipated Galileo Commercial Service (CS).

“On the CS, we are dialoging extensively with EU member states, because there is a more and more consolidated view that there could be an advantage to providing the service for free,” des Dorides said.

For those who don’t know, the CS, from its conception and now for many years, has always been described and planned for as a fee-based, revenue-generating service. Indeed, the revenues to be generated by the CS have been described as offsetting to a measurable degree to the overall investment in the Galileo system.

Read more at: Inside GNSS

Fifty Years of Shared Space

In January 1967, the Outer Space Treaty was opened for signature by the three depository governments—the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Entering into force in October 1967, the treaty provided a basic framework of international space law.

This framework includes many principles which signatory nations need to follow. It states that the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, and shall be the province of all mankind. It also outlines that states shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit, or on celestial bodies, or station them in outer space in any other manner.

Read more at: Live Mint

UK Aims to Become Space Startup Haven to Achieve Growth Target

The U.K. plans to become a haven for space startups from all over the world as it aims to grow its space industry to control 10 percent of the global market by 2030.

According to Graham Turnock, the chief executive officer of the U.K. Space Agency, to achieve the ambitious growth target the U.K. will look to grow existing companies, support the creation of new ones, as well as encourage firms funded elsewhere to relocate to the U.K. by providing competitive early stage financing.

“We are looking for a large number of new startups, inward investment in particular,” Turnock told SpaceNews on the sidelines of the 13th Appleton Space Conference that took place  Dec. 7 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) here.

Read more at: Space News

Space Modernization Up in the Air as Budget Fight Continues

Congressional leaders on Thursday agreed to fund the federal government until Dec. 22 while parties continue to hash out major disagreements over spending priorities.

A stopgap measure means the Defense Department must continue to operate at the 2017 base budget level of $523.2 billion, far less than the $574.5 billion requested by the Trump administration for the 2018 budget year that began Oct. 1.

The temporary funding also means the Pentagon cannot start new procurements or technology development programs. Further complicating the negotiations is that for the Pentagon to get the $574.5 billion requested for 2018, Congress would have to lift spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act. For defense, the cap is $549 billion.

Read more at: Space News

DoD Space Policy Chief: ‘It’s Imperative that we Innovate’

As competition ratchets up for space dominance, adversaries are poised to challenge the United States, causing real concern among policy makers at the Pentagon.

“The threats are moving fast and we need to stay ahead of it,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy Stephen Kitay. “We absolutely need to move with urgency,” Kitay told SpaceNews in his first media interview since taking office. “Space is not a sea of tranquility.”

Kitay came to the job with a deep background in military space issues. In his previous post as a professional staff member on the House Armed Service Committee strategic forces subcommittee, he advised Chairman Mike Rogers and was closely involved in the oversight of national security space programs, policies and budgets. The strategic forces subcommittee over the past year has led a push for reforms in military space that are about to become law.

Read more at: Space News

IAASS to Offer New Training Course

We are excited to offer a new course offering this February in conjunction with the 2018 offering of the ISS Payload Design and Payload Operations.  This new course covers the various aspects of Risk Management and is being taught by the University of Pisa.

The plan is to offer both course in the same week with the Risk Management portion being offered on Monday and Tuesday with the ISS Payload portion following on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Personnel can sign-up for either course or both.  The courses will be held in Livorno (Tuscany), Italy.  The tentative dates are 12 – 16 February 2018.

To accommodate this new course, the ISS Payload course will be reduced from its current 3.5 days to 3 days.  This will be accomplished by reducing the focus on some areas that have are not as relevant as in the past while retaining that information that makes a successful ISS Payload mission.

If information about either course is desired, please email [email protected]