New Crew Arrives Safely On ISS, Hague And Ovchinin Get A Second Chance

The launch of Soyuz MS-11 took place without incident today, delivering three new crew members to the International Space Station (ISS). This was the first crew launch since the October 11, 2018 Soyuz MS-10 failure. The two-man Soyuz MS-10 crew, NASA’s Nick Hague and Roscosmos’s Aleksey Ovchinin, did not make it to ISS that day, but they will get a second chance in February on Soyuz MS-12.

Liftoff of Soyuz MS-11 was on time at 6:31 am ET this morning, carrying NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.  They docked with the ISS six hours and two minutes later at 12:33 pm ET and opened the hatch into the ISS at 2:37 pm ET.  They joined the three crew members who have been aboard since June: NASA’s Serena Auñón-Chancellor, ESA’s Alexander Gerst, and Roscosmos’s Sergey Prokopyev.

Read more at: Space policy online

A Spacex Delivery Capsule May Be Contaminating The Iss

IN FEBRUARY 2017, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted through low clouds, pushing a Dragon capsule toward orbit. Among the spare parts and food, an important piece of scientific cargo, called SAGE III, rumbled upward. Once installed on the International Space Station, SAGE would peer back and measure ozone molecules and aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere. Its older siblings (SAGEs I and II) had revealed both the growth of the gaping ozone hole and, after humans decided to stop spraying Freon everywhere, its subsequent recovery.

This third kid, then, had a lot to live up to. Like its environmentally conscious predecessors, SAGE III is super sensitive. Because it needs unpolluted conditions to operate optimally, it includes contamination sensors that keep an eye on whether and how its environment might be messing up its measurements. Those sensors soon came in handy: When the next three Dragons docked at the Space Station, over the following months, SAGE experienced unexplained spikes in contamination. Something on these Dragons was outgassing—releasing molecules beyond the expected, and perhaps the acceptable, levels. And those molecules were sticking to SAGE.

Read more at: Wired

NASA Doesn’t Want To Talk About A Messy Dragon

“Part of the problem here, though, is NASA’s reluctance to talk about both the problem and the plans to fix it. The presentation, shared during the Payload Operations Integration Working Group meeting back in April, was approved for unclassified and unlimited public release and placed on the NASA Technical Reports Server in early September. I asked for an interview about it on September 25. The next day, the presentation was gone. “The record details page you tried to access cannot be found on this server,” the page now says. I inquired about the dead link, and more than three weeks later, I received a response: “The document is under review,” wrote Meagan Storey, of the NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program, “and we advise that you make a FOIA request for the item.” Statistically, that’s probably a losing prospect.”

Read more at: NASA Watch

Astra Space Suborbital Launch Fails

A test flight in Alaska of a small launch vehicle by a stealthy startup company ended in failure in late November, the Federal Aviation Administration has revealed.

In a speech Dec. 6 at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce space conference here discussing the agency’s approach to commercial spaceflight safety, FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell mentioned a recent, but previously unreported, accident involving a launch taking place from Alaska one week ago.

“The recent launch mishap is an example of why I’m confident we’re on the right track,” he said. “Look, rockets are complex, powerful vehicles that fail every now and again. But because of our approach to licensing and the precautions operators take, no one in the public has ever been hurt.”

Read more at: Spacenews

SpaceX NASA Launch Is Successful Despite Rocket’s Water Landing

Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. launched a rocket carrying more than 5,600 pounds of crew supplies, science investigations and spacewalk equipment Wednesday as part of its longstanding contract with NASA to ferry cargo to the International Space Station.

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:16 p.m. local time. The payload in the Dragon capsule includes technology to test robotic spacecraft refueling and to map the world’s forests, along with two student experiments inspired by Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” series, according to NASA.

Read more at: Bloomberg

Here’s What Happened As Spacex’s Falcon 9 Rocket Met A Wet And Salty Destination

SpaceX’s successful Wednesday Falcon 9 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station proved to be quite a spectacle for viewers.

After the 1:16 p.m. blastoff on a mission to resupply the International Space Station, viewers soon noticed that something was off when the rocket’s first stage plummeted toward the Cape for its usual landing attempt.

Though the cargo-packed Dragon spacecraft made it safely to orbit and is scheduled to arrive at the ISS around 6 a.m. Saturday, the 156-foot-tall rocket stage did not share the same fate – instead of Landing Zone 1, it automatically targeted a wet landing in the Atlantic Ocean about two miles offshore.

Read more at: Florida today

China Launches Lunar Rover In Historic Mission To The Dark Side Of The Moon

China launched the Chang’e 4 spacecraft atop a Long March 3B rocket on Friday in a milestone mission to land a rover on the far side of the moon.

While the dark side of the moon has been seen and mapped before, the successful landing of Chang’e 4 would represent the first time any spacecraft has touched down there. The mission is part of China’s heavy investment in lunar exploration and growing capabilities in space through the China National Space Administration.

Chang’e 4 comes about two years after China made the first soft landing on the moon since 1976. Similar in design to that Chang’e 3 craft and its “Jade Rabbit” rover, the Chang’e 4 spacecraft will carry a bigger payload and more capabilities. The space agency will use the craft to study geological conditions on the far side of the moon.

Read more at: CNBC

Delta IV Heavy Rocket Launch Attempt Aborted at Vandenberg Air Force Base

For the second night in a row, technical troubles have forced the Delta IV Heavy team to scrub a launch attempt at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Seven seconds before blastoff at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, a problem detected by the “terminal countdown sequencer rack” prompted a team member to call for a hold, aborting the planned launch.

A short time later, United Launch Alliance representatives confirmed the team had ended the countdown and began chores to safe the 233-foot-tall rocket at Space Launch Complex-6 on South Base.

“The team is currently reviewing all data and will determine the path forward,” ULA representatives said. “A new launch date will be provided when available.”

Read more at: Noozhawk

Space Travel Does Not Damage A Major Part Of The Human Immune System, New Study Says

Space flight does not have a detrimental effect on a major part of the human immune system, according to new research which may alter how astronauts approach future missions.

Scientists tested blood samples taken from 23 crew members who spent six months at the International Space Station (ISS), taken before, during and after their trips. Researchers examining the samples discovered that time in space caused no changes to levels of B-cell immunity – the white blood cells that produce antibodies to fight off infections. It had previously been thought that spending time in space negatively affected this.

The new data could decide whether astronauts making longer trips into space, including those one day travelling to Mars,should receive vaccines while in flight.

Read more at: Independent

Shingles In Space? Research Probes Immune System Risks To Astronauts

In new research that delivers a blow to hopes of finding safe ways to send humans back to the moon or on to Mars, scientists have found that as little as a month in space can significantly depress the immune systems of mice, potentially making astronauts susceptible to ailments that their bodies would easily brush off on Earth.

But other research, published only a week before, suggests that other aspects of immune function might not suffer as badly from weightlessness as had previously been thought.

Scientists have been trying to unravel the health effects of space travel, and figure out ways to combat them, since at least 1966.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

Spacex Christmas Delivery Arrives At Space Station

A SpaceX delivery full of Christmas goodies arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday, following a slight delay caused by a communication drop-out.

The Dragon capsule pulled up at the orbiting lab three days after launching from Cape Canaveral. Commander Alexander Gerst used the space station’s big robotic arm to grab the cargo carrier, as the two craft soared 250 miles above the Pacific.

It took two tries to get the Dragon close enough for capture.

NASA called off the Dragon’s first approach because of trouble with the communication network that serves the space station. Equipment failure in New Mexico for NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite system resulted in a temporary loss of communication with the station. For safety, Mission Control ordered the Dragon to back up.

Read more at: Washington Post

HHS and NASA Team Up to Explore Health on Earth and in Outer Space

My father was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War and he shared his fascination with planes, NASA and anything to do with space with me. One of my first memories was of watching a rerun with him of Neil Armstrong’s landing on the Moon.

Even though my career has kept me Earth-bound, dealing with health and human services at HHS, I’ve remained fascinated with space. I have no regrets, but, interestingly, my job at HHS occasionally gives me the opportunity to interact with space issues.

Recently, I had the privilege of signing on HHS’s behalf an interagency agreement with NASA, covering cooperation on scientific research that would benefit humanity on Earth and on individuals traveling to the Moon and beyond. The National Institutes of Health already had its own agreement with NASA, but this new interagency agreement is an umbrella arrangement designed to cover the entire Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more at: HHS

Astronaut Nick Hague Describes “Violent Shaking” During Failed Soyuz Rocket Launch

For the first time, both astronaut Nick Hague and his wife are sharing dramatic details about a failed rocket launch in October. Hague was in a Soyuz rocket headed for the International Space Station when a violent booster failure forced them to abort the mission mid-flight, 31 miles above earth.

“It was going perfect for the first two minutes,” Hague told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann. “And then all of a sudden there was this violent shaking side to side. … And the alarm’s going off. And I see a red light that’s lit up and it says that you’ve had an emergency with the booster.” 

Hague now sees October’s launch as a success wrapped inside a failure. A faulty sensor had cost him his mission, but he was alive. He and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin landed safely.

“You were supposed go up for six months. You were back on Earth in 20 minutes,” Strassmann said. “What was that like?”

Read more at: CBS news

Musk Meets With NASA on SpaceX Launch Key to Flying Astronauts

Elon Musk met with a high-level NASA official about an upcoming launch that’s key to SpaceX becoming the first company flying astronauts for the U.S. agency.

Musk met with Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, in Washington on Thursday. The two discussed SpaceX’s Demo-1 launch slated for January, NASA spokeswoman Megan Powers wrote in an email.

Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Boeing Co. have contracts to ferry American astronauts to the International Space Station as part of what’s known as the Commercial Crew program. The agency’s latest schedule has SpaceX’s first uncrewed demonstration flight on Jan. 7, and the first flight with astronauts on board in June, though timelines often slip.

Read more at: Bloomberg

How To Handle A Medical Emergency On A Deep Space Mission

Here on Earth, having a medical emergency means calling an ambulance and getting to a nearby hospital as soon as possible. In space, that’s not really an option. For astronauts living on the International Space Station, Earth is several hours away, and the only way to get back is on a capsule that plunges through the planet’s atmosphere. That’s why astronauts have basic medical training so they can deal with a medical emergency if one arises.

However, there is always the option to evacuate the ISS if a medical situation is dire enough. On a trip to the Moon or Mars, that won’t be a possibility. A trip to the Moon takes several days, while a trip to Mars could take several years. Astronauts on those missions will need to work autonomously to address any major health problems, especially those traveling to Mars, who will have limited communication with ground control. Radio signals could be delayed by up to 20 minutes each way on a Mars mission, which means they’ll be on their own.

Read more at: Verge

Tiny Satellites Pose a Swarm of Opportunities — And Threats

Spaceflight favors big rockets and small technology — but when technology gets small enough, it may act very differently from traditional satellites and spacecraft.

And that tipping point may not be all that far away, with engineers having already flown tiny satellites that stretch just 1.3 inches (3.5 centimeters) across. With these tiny satellites come the potential opportunity to produce hordes of them, turning one large device into a host of smaller, cheaper ones.

“Right now these things are toys, but if folks decide to work on it, we can turn them into tools — it just takes effort,” Pete Klupar, director of engineering for Breakthrough Starshot, the initiative to send a credit-card-size satellite to a neighboring solar system at incredibly fast speeds, told Space.com.

Read more at: Space.com

U.K. Govt. Agency Warning That Coming Massive Space Storms Will Wipe Out Modern Society By Killing All Electronics

The Met Office in the United Kingdom is warning that massive solar storms that occur on an average of about once every 100 years are coming and that, without adequate warning, they could wipe out most technology on earth, hurling much of the world back to the 18th century. 

The country’s national weather service says Britain could be “crippled by huge electrical disturbances caused by storms in space unless a satellite network is built that can detect them coming,” The Sunday Times reported last week.

Naturally, the U.K. would not be the only country affected. Such massive solar storms would also wreak havoc on technology the world over, having the greatest negative impact on the most technologically advanced countries. 

Read more at: space.news

2019 Could Be Huge For Private Spaceflight

The upcoming year is shaping up to be a big one for private spaceflight. A number of big players in the race to get paying passengers to space seem poised to actually make that happen, and companies like Boeing and SpaceX have announced a number of ambitious goals.

It looks like they might be beat by the Brit, though. Last week, billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson claimed that his company Virgin Galactic will send astronauts into space by Christmas of this year. Branson told CNN that he is “pretty confident” about this goal.

“We have a brilliant group of astronauts who literally believe 100% in the project, and give it their everything,” Branson said to CNN.

Read more at: Astronomy.com

Inmarsat To Be First Commercial Customer For The New H3 Launch Vehicle Provided By MH

This is the second agreement entered by Inmarsat and MHI, following the launch services contract awarded to MHI’s H-IIA Launch Vehicle in 2017. These agreements underline the growing partnership between the two companies in the area of launch services.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “Inmarsat is the world leader in global mobile satellite communications; a position we have achieved by building an exceptional ecosystem of partners. As our company grows – expanding into new markets and opening up new opportunities for our customers to develop their businesses – we continually seek new technology partners that display an outstanding commitment to innovation and excellence.

Read more at: MHI

SpaceX Crew Dragon Debut on Demo-1 Pushed to NET Jan 17, 2019

NASA and SpaceX today pushed back the launch date for the debut orbital flight test of Crew Dragon to the International Space Station (ISS), from January 7, 2019 to Thursday, Jan 17, launching atop a Falcon 9 rocket from storied Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“This adjustment allows the return of the Dragon spacecraft from the company’s 16th commercial resupply services mission,” stated NASA in a press release.

SpaceX already launches cargo for NASA to and from the ISS, and was awarded a $2.6 billion Commercial Crew contract in September of 2014, as part of NASA’s efforts to stimulate development of privately built and operated American-made space vehicles for transporting astronauts to and from the ISS, following retirement of America’s space shuttle fleet in 2011.

Read more at: America space

Want To Go To Space In 2019 With Virgin Galactic? Pack Courage And $250,000

Deep inside The Spaceship Company’s secretive Building 79, a man points to a rigid but lightweight panel made from carbon fiber that is the thickness of two decks of cards.

The absurdity of what he’s about to say makes him smile.

“There’s just about 1 inch between you and space,” says Enrico Palermo, president of Virgin’s The Spaceship Company, which is tasked with building the plane-like crafts that Virgin Galactic plans to use to take paying customers on a joy ride into the cosmos next year.

“That’s it, 1 inch,” says Palermo, pointing at the thin hull material and shaking his head. “Amazing what humans can do.”

Read more at: USA Today

Opinion: Reagan’s Space Revolution Continues To Grow Today

Thirty-four years after Ronald Reagan opened NASA to free market forces, it’s finally becoming what he envisioned — contractors, old and new, working together to slash prices and make America more competitive with the rest of the world.

In 1984, Reagan signed an executive order to make the Department of Transportation “encourage, facilitate and coordinate” private sector companies to create expendable launch vehicles in tandem with the government, undercutting the old process that often required obtaining a launch permit from over a dozen different federal agencies.

Fast-forward to the present; the rewards of Reagan’s foresight have become as palpable as they have ever been.

Read more at: Daily caller

Health Experiments Launch For Space Station

Bacteria will be soon be under the microscope in outer space as four new CU Boulder-led biological experiments are set to begin aboard the International Space Station.

The research projects, which are supported by CU Boulder’s BioServe Space Technologies, will examine how the human immune system changes as people get older, the danger that bacteria pose to mechanical equipment and more. Payloads for the four experiments launched Dec. 5 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and will berth at the space station on Saturday.

Read more at: Colorado

After Botched Launch, Orbiting Atomic Clocks Confirm Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity

Making lemonade from lemons, two teams of physicists have used data from misguided satellites to put Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity, to an unexpected test. The opportunistic experiment confirms to unprecedented precision a key prediction of the theory—that time ticks slower near a massive body like Earth than it does farther away.

As Einstein explained, gravity arises because massive bodies warp space-time. Free-falling objects follow the straightest possible paths in that curved space-time, which to us appear as the parabolic arc of a thrown ball or the circular or elliptical orbit of a satellite. As part of that warping, time should tick more slowly near a massive body than it does farther away. That bizarre effect was first confirmed to low precision in 1959 in an experiment on Earth and in 1976 by Gravity Probe A, a 2-hour rocket-born experiment that compared the ticking of an atomic clock on the rocket with another on the ground.

Read more at: Sciencemag

A Startup Is Developing A 100-Gigawatt Laser To Propel A Probe To Another Star System. That May Be Powerful Enough To ‘Ignite An Entire City.’

An initiative called Breakthrough Starshot wants to explore another star system using ultra-powerful laser beams and wafer-thin spaceships.

It’s a goal that sounds so fantastic, you’d be forgiven for dismissing it as science fiction. But it’s no joke, and the project’s chief engineer says millions of dollars’ worth of work is moving along without any major snags.

Starshot’s founders and collaborators include the late Stephen Hawking, Harvard University astronomer Avi Loeb, and Russian-American billionaire Yuri Milner. The concept is based on more than 80 scientific studies about interstellar travel.

Read more at: Business insider

Want to Go to Mars? First, Learn How to Hibernate

The movie Passengers was far from the most scientifically sound space adventure movie of the last few years. But for all its weaknesses and mediocrity, the plot—where interstellar space travelers “hibernate” to conserve energy as they travel to colonize a distant planet—was on to something.

“It stands to reason if you lower metabolic rate of the body, you lower energy usage,” said Hannah Carey, a researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, whose lab has extensively investigated hibernation in mammals on Earth. “When we want to think about how humans might exist in the final frontier, hibernation may be a key part of that journey.”

Read more at: Daily beast

Launcher Takes Long-Term View Of Small Launch Market

A startup that recently hired an experienced Ukrainian engineer is taking a long-term view for development of a small launch vehicle, believing that performance will win out over time.

New York-based Launcher announced Dec. 4 that it hired Igor Nikishchenko as its new chief designer. Nikishchenko has more than 30 years of experience in liquid-fuel engine development, working as deputy chief designer in the liquid propulsion department of Ukrainian aerospace company Yuzhnoye and, more recently, for Italian launch vehicle company Avio.

Max Haot, founder and chief executive of Launcher, said Nikishchenko will have a role similar to chief engineer or chief technology officer. “He’ll be responsible for all of our design and engineering,” he said in an interview.

Read more at: Spacenews

Culberson Optimistic Restrictions On Us-China Space Cooperation Will Remain

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) said today that he is optimistic Congress will continue to prohibit NASA from engaging in bilateral cooperation with China unless certain conditions are met after he leaves Congress.  Culberson chairs a key subcommittee and has included that restriction in each of NASA’s appropriations bills since he became chairman four years ago, continuing a practice begun by his predecessor Frank Wolf.  Culberson lost his reelection race, however, so will not be returning in the 116th Congress.

Culberson received a Leadership Award from the Space Transportation Association (STA) at a luncheon today.  It recognizes his strong support of NASA as chairman of the House Appropriations Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) subcommittee.

Read more at: Space policy online

A Civilian Space “Guard” Is Not A Military Space “Force”

Last July NASA Administrator Bridenstine described how reliant we are on space technology, saying that “our very way of life depends on space… the way we navigate… communicate… produce food and energy… the way we do disaster relief and banking.” When Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked about Bridenstine’s comment during a recent CBS News interview, he called it an “understatement” and added that almost everything we care about in modern civilization is enabled, magnified, distributed, or contributed to by space assets. Tyson went on to stress that protecting the nation’s space assets is a “fundamental part of what it is to be a sovereign country” and that the administration’s proposed Space Force is “not a crazy idea,” although its mandate should be expanded to include problems like orbital debris removal and protecting citizens from rogue asteroids.

Read more at: Space review

Pentagon Analyzing Possible Missions For A New Space Development Agency

Military space programs that are just getting off the ground and are targets for use of commercial technologies might end up in the portfolio of a new DoD agency that could be up and running in early 2019.

The Space Development Agency is a high priority of Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin. Both have been critical of the sluggish pace of innovation in military space programs and have argued that a brand new agency, untethered from the traditional procurement process, is the answer.

Read more at: Spacenews

Department Of The Air And Space Force? Catch Up On Space Force Developments This Week

President Trump has been insistent that a Space Force should be a completely independent military department. One way to organize the new service would be by establishing a Space Force under a larger Department of the Air and Space Force,according to sources. That idea was discussed last week at a White House meeting. The challenge for the White House is ensuring that the legislative proposal that goes to Capitol Hill next year gets enough support so it is not dead on arrival. Democrats are widely opposed to establishing a new service. The proposal would have to be specific about the scope of the Space Force as that would determine how much money the Pentagon has to request in the fiscal year 2020 budget.

Read more at: Spacenews

U.S. Seeking To Dismantle System Of Non-Proliferation In Outer Space – Russian Foreign Ministry

The Russian Foreign Ministry has considered the U.S.’s negative stance on a UN General Assembly resolution as the desire to dismantle the modern-day system of arms control and non-proliferation of weapons in outer space.

“The warning signal is Washington’s dismantling the consensus on the joint resolution on transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities, which existed over the past few years,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Russian diplomats have noted “dramatic changes in Washington’s stance on this document and a transition from the higher form of its support – co-sponsoring – to voting against as another vivid demonstration of Washington’s focus on dismantling the modern-day system of arms control and non-proliferation, and a strong opposition to any positive steps in this area.”

Read more at: Interfax

The Old Guard May Be Turning Against The Russian Space Program

Valery Ryumin has had a long career as an engineer and cosmonaut: he was twice named a Hero of the Soviet Union, a veteran of two long stints on the Salyut-6 space station (remarkably, he spent 175 days there in 1979 and returned again in 1980 for another 180 days), and eventually a crew member of space shuttle Discovery‘s mission to the Mir space station in 1998.

Now 79 years old but still a respected figure in Russian space circles, Ryumin has given a highly critical interview about the present and future of Roscosmos and the Russian space program. The interview was published on Pravda.ru, a pro-government news website with a nationalistic bent that is not related to the long-time newspaper of the Russian Communist Party, Pravda. It seems significant that this publication would feature such a negative view of Russia’s activities in space.

Read more at: Arstechnica

Why Spaceplanes Are Not Flying

Despite over 80 attempts taking place over seventy years, a true spaceplane has never been flown. No clear answer has emerged thus far why this concept is so elusive in its realization. Buffo[1] characterized “True Spaceplanes” as: Horizontal take-off and landing systems Using conventional or slightly modified aircraft runways Reusable Being Single-Stage-To-Orbit (SSTO) or Two-Stage-To-Orbit (TSTO) concepts with air-breathing propulsion Using advanced materials Re-entering the atmosphere and landing with or without propulsion power Being either manned or unmanned

Spaceplanes are visualized as taking off horizontally from a conventional runway, ascending directly into space, and re-entering to loiter and land on a runway in an easy, seemingly effortless manner like a conventional transport aircraft.

Read more at: space tech asia

George H.W. Bush’s Overlooked Legacy In Space Exploration

On July 20, 1989, the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, President George H. W. Bush stood on the steps of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and, backed by the Apollo 11 crew, announced his new Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). He believed that this new program would put America on a track to return to the moon and make an eventual push to Mars.

“The time has come to look beyond brief encounters. We must commit ourselves anew to a sustained program of manned exploration of the solar system and, yes, the permanent settlement of space,” he said.

Read more at: Conversation

Mathematician Inducted Into Space And Missiles Pioneers Hall Of Fame

Lt. Gen. David Thompson, Air Force Space Command vice commander, presented Dr. Gladys West with the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers award for her decades of contributions to the Air Force’s space program. West was unable to attend the formal induction ceremony that took place August 28, where three others joined the elite list of professionals who have greatly impacted the Air Force space program.

Dr. Gladys West is among a small group of women who did computing for the U.S. military in the era before electronic systems.  Hired in 1956 as a mathematician at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, she participated in a path-breaking, award-winning astronomical study that proved, during the early 1960s, the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune.  Thereafter, from the mid-1970s through the 1980s, using complex algorithms to account for variations in gravitational, tidal, and other forces that distort Earth’s shape, she programmed an IBM 7030 “Stretch” computer to deliver increasingly refined calculations for an extremely accurate geodetic Earth model, a geoid, optimized for what ultimately became the Global Positioning System (GPS) orbit.

Read more at: AFSPC

Northrop Grumman Elects Lucy C. Ryan Corporate Vice President, Communications

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced today that its board of directors has elected Lucy C. Ryan corporate vice president, communications, effective Jan. 1, 2019. She will report to Kathy J. Warden, the company’s chief executive officer and president, and she will serve as a member of the company’s Corporate Policy Council.

In her new role, Ryan will be responsible for the Corporation’s worldwide communications strategy and execution, including media relations, employee communications, advertising, digital communications, executive communications and branding/corporate image.

Read more at: Northrop Grumman

A Pig In A Rocket. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Little Joe was the name of a booster rocket designed by NASA in the early days of space travel research. The solid-fuelled device was used for eight launches between 1959 and 1960.

The series was a key element in the development of larger, more powerful rockets that would, with the Apollo series, eventually carry humans to the moon. At one point, however, the researchers at NASA contemplated using a Little Joe as the vehicle to launch the first pig into space, as this pen and ink conceptual drawing shows.

Luckily for the pig, the idea was eventually nixed.

Read more at: Cosmos magazine

NASA’s Administrator Uses Technology Better Than The Space Industry Does

There is yet another space policy event in Washington, DC today aimed at another session of choir practice in an echo chamber by the proverbial usual suspects in the space policy clique. Its an event by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launching some sort of commercial space thing. Registration for the even closed a while back and only a few media representatives were allowed in. Of course, as is typical of these events the sponsors did not bother to webcast anything. Who cares. These events are all about talking about doing things instead of actually doing the things that they talk about.

Read more at: NASA Watch

“Safe Passage to Mars” Design Challenge

“Safe Passage to Mars” is a design challenge for undergraduate students. Enabling safe space exploration of Moon, Mars and beyond requires the application of the concepts of Engineering Psychology to design and build hardware (tools, devices, or equipment) which can mitigate critical human performance issues associated with long-duration spaceflight.

Read more at: ISSF

Abstract Deadline for 10th IAASS Conference

DEADLINE: 14 December 2018

Read more at: 10th IAASS Conference