Why Does Mainstream Media Keep Censoring Frighteningly Serious Cosmic Events?

A giant fire ball smashed into the Atlantic earlier this month, which was largely unreported on by the mainstream media. Similar events have gone unnoticed in the past. All this in the round, why are major media outlets ignoring these frightening cosmic occurances?

The incident took place on February 6th when a meteor exploded in the sky approximately 620 miles off the coast of Brazil. The detonation released nearly 13,000 tons of TNT, which is equivalent to the amount of energy compressed into the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Read more at: Space.News

Jeff Bezos Company Planning Human Test Space Flights by 2017

Private space travel company Blue Origin expects its first test flights with people in 2017, company founder Jeff Bezos said during a tour of the venture’s research and development site outside Seattle.

And Bezos said Tuesday that thousands of people have expressed interest in eventually paying for a trip on a suborbital craft.

For now, the man who founded Amazon.com is spending some of the billions earned from the Seattle-based online retailer on high tech equipment and about 600 employees working in a former Boeing airplane parts facility. Bezos said he’s convinced the company — a vision of his childhood dreams, will eventually be profitable.

Read more at: Fox News

Déjà Vu All Over Again: NASA and the Question of Risk

The NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel’s (ASAP) latest report, released in January, identifies what it perceives as a potential threat to the future of the US human spaceflight program or, at least, its human exploration effort as NASA moves beyond Earth orbit. The threat grows out of the erratic pattern of funding NASA has encountered over the past decade and likely will continue to confront going forward.

Obviously, the economic turbulence of the past few years has impacted the government’s capacity to fund discretionary spending (the defense budget to the side), but what has been even more disruptive is the congressional budget process that verges at times on thet chaotic.

The danger is that this uncertainty raises yet again the specter of program delays and stretch-outs while mission objectives remain largely the same. NASA plans on moving beyond Earth orbit, but the question has become where next: Mars, the Moon, or an asteroid (either out there or captured and brought closer to Earth.)

Read more at: Space Review

NASA Tests Inflatable Heat Shield Technology for Deep Space Missions

Before NASA uses its new inflatable technology for slowing spacecraft that are entering the atmospheres of other planets, it will first need to be packed into the tight confines of a rocket.

Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, recently put the technology to the test by packing a 9-foot diameter donut-shaped test article, also known as a torus, to simulate what would happen before a space mission.

Called the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator, or HIAD, it works like a parachute, using the drag of a planet’s atmosphere to slow the space vehicle as it descends toward the surface. Slowing the spacecraft protects it from the intense heat of atmospheric entry, and allows it to land more softly.

Read more at: NASA

Introducing SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the Most Powerful Rocket in the World

When SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches later this year, it will be the largest operational rocket in the world. Its debut could mark a major shift in commercial spaceflight because it will be the only reusable, and therefore cheaper (if SpaceX can reliably land and relaunch it) heavy-lift rocket available for contract.

It’s essentially three of the company’s tried-and-true Falcon 9 rockets strapped together. It’s powered by 27 Merlin engines, which generate 4.5 million pounds of thrust when the rocket takes off, and it can carry up to 53 tons to low Earth orbit (the altitude at which most of our satellites and the International Space Station orbit). That’s about the power of 18 747 jets.

Read more at: Mic.com

Cargo Dream Chaser Providing New Life for NASA Facilities

The Thermal Protection System Facility Annex or “TPSF” served NASA’s Space Shuttle Program during the iconic spacecrafts’ 30-years of service. It is now being used by one of the newest entrants under the second phase of the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract – Sierra Nevada Corporation.

In terms of CRS, the facility has been used on Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser shuttle. One of the original versions of the spacecraft were planned for use on NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. However, when it came time for the selection of the Commercial Crew transportation Capability (CCtCap) down select (in September of 2014) – NASA opted to go with the crewed version of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner.

Read more at: SpaceFlight Insider

REL’s Skylon Spaceplane Aims to take on SpaceX with a Reusable Rocket Design

Aerospace engineers have dreamed of a spaceship that can launch like a plane, get to orbit, and land on a runway since the 1960s. A British company, Reaction Engines Limited, wants to make that dream a reality. REL’s sleek, winged spaceplane, called the Skylon, looks like something out of the retro-futuristic visions of old magazine covers.

The uncrewed spacecraft is built to fly like a jet until it gets to an altitude of about 92,000 feet at five times the speed of sound (3,800 miles per hour). Then rocket propulsion will shoot  the Skylon to orbit along with 15 metric tons of cargo. On return, it’s designed to glide down to a waiting airport, rather like the Space Shuttle.

Read more at: Verge

Russia just Broke into a Business that American Billionaires Currently Dominate

Russia just joined a new kind of space race: The race to develop reusable rockets to ferry wealthy people into space.

Space tourism is a growing business opportunity made possible by the advent of reusable rocket technology, which has only begun to take off in the last year. In the lead are the privately owned American space companies Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, but Russia’s private space company KosmoKurs could soon offer some healthy competition.

Last week, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos approved KosmoKurs’ designs for a reusable rocket and spacecraft that could transport tourists into space, 124 miles above Earth’s surface. The approval puts into motion the design for a reusable space launch system that KosmoKurs hopes to start flying in 2020.

Read more at: Business Insider

Commercial Crew: Building in Safety from the Ground Up in a Unique Way

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is set to return human spaceflight launches to the International Space Station from U.S. soil. We share accountability with our commercial providers, Boeing and SpaceX, to implement a robust process for the development of safe, reliable and cost effective commercial crew transportation systems. NASA’s critical obligation is to ensure crew safety and success for NASA missions, and the providers are each responsible for safe operations of commercial crew transportation systems.

Boeing and SpaceX are designing, developing, testing and evaluating the systems. NASA is accountable for ensuring compliance to the agency’s human spaceflight requirements, drawing from and sharing its 50 years of human spaceflight knowledge.

Read more at: Technology.org

SpaceX Rocket Misses Sea Landing After Successful Satellite Launch

After a series of delays, a SpaceX rocket soared into space to successfully deliver a commercial satellite into orbit, but couldn’t quite manage to stick the landing during an audacious attempt to touch down on a drone ship at sea.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket blasted off in a brilliant launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida tonight, March 4, at 6:35 p.m. EST (2335 GMT). It’s mission: Deliver the SES-9 commerical communications satellite into orbit for its Luxembourg-based customer SES. That part went fine, with the SES-9 satellite separating as planned from the Falcon 9 rocket and heading off toward its final orbit. The rocket landing, however, less so.

Read more at: Fox News

Space Keeps Us Safe As Air Travel Rises

ESA and UK satellite operator Inmarsat are forging ahead with the development of air–ground communications via satellite as part of Europe’s plan to keep our skies safe as air traffic increases. A new partnership between ESA and Inmarsat secures the modernisation of Air Traffic Management (ATM) and will build on developments already under way in Europe.

This Iris Service Evolution will identify the technical, commercial and operational requirements of the satcoms part of the Single European Sky ATM Research programme, which promises to boost efficiency, capacity and performance of air traffic management worldwide.

An initial set of satcom services was designed and developed under the Iris Precursor contract that ESA awarded to Inmarsat in November 2014.

Read more at: ESA

It’s Time for America to Start Worrying About Losing the Space Race

Since the United States beat the Soviet Union to the moon, America has enjoyed almost a half-century of uncontested space supremacy. Yet, if the U.S. doesn’t make an effort to finance the pursuit of new frontiers and technologies, it could find itself losing its orbital empire.

That’s the conclusion behind a report issued last Friday by a 12-group coalition at the National Press Club. The report suggests that the key to making sure the U.S. continues to maintain an unrivaled leadership in space includes completing a crewed launch system, drafting stable NASA budgets with adequate funding, and doing more with international partners on various different projects like the International Space Station.

Read more at: Inverse

Jeff Bezos Lifts Curtain on Blue Origin Rocket Factory

For the first time, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos guided a pack of journalists around his Blue Origin rocket factory today and showed off hardware that could send people on suborbital rides to outer space as early as next year.

The billionaire tech entrepreneur also laid out a vision for space commercialization that stretches out for hundreds of years, leading to an era when millions of people would be living and working in space.

“I think space is chock full of resources,” Bezos told reporters. “This is all my view, and I’ll be dead before I’m proved wrong, so it’s a very safe prediction to make. But my view is that there will be a ‘Great Inversion.’”

Read more at: Geekwire

SNC Awarded Contract to Support Orbital ATK Commercial Resupply

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems was recently awarded a contract to provide multiple Passive Common Berthing Mechanisms (PCBM) by Special Aerospace Services (SAS) of Boulder, Colorado for Orbital ATK’s Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft in support of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 1 and 2 (CRS1, CRS2) programs.

This contract follows a previous order with SNC resulting in the complete delivery of eight PCBM units in support of Orbital ATK’s CRS1 missions. With the berthing of the OA-4 Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS on December 9, 2015, three SNC PCBM units have now flown and successfully berthed with the ISS. The PCBMs provide a sealed connection between Cygnus and the International Space Station (ISS), enabling delivery and removal of critical supplies.

Read more at: Spaceref

Leaks in Instrument Force NASA to Delay Mars Mission Until 2018

NASA’s next Mars mission will remain earthbound for at least two years.

Officials at the space agency announced on Tuesday that its MarsInSight mission will miss its March 2016 launch date, because of stubborn tiny leaks in a vacuum sphere housing its seismic instrument. “We just have run out of time,” John M. Grunsfeld, the associate administrator for NASA’s science directorate, said during a telephone news conference.

During a test on Monday at ultracold temperatures, about minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, a leak was again observed.

NASA’s Mars missions so far have largely explored the surface geology and properties of Mars. The instruments aboard InSight — a shortening of Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport — are designed to listen to what is going on in the deep interior of the planet.

Read more at: NY Times

Implementing a Space Weather Strategy

To space scientists, the “Carrington event” is the equivalent of the Tunguska event for planetary scientists: an example, and a warning, of the threats solar system phenomena pose to the Earth, and modern civilization. In September 1859, a powerful solar storm struck the Earth. It created brilliant aurorae visible at low latitudes—bright enough, stories from the era go, to be confused with dawn, or to allow people to read outside at night. The solar storm also triggered surges on telegraph lines that, in some cases, shocked operators.

Fortunately, that was the extent of the impact that the Carrington event had on Victorian-era civilization, one without power grids, radio communications, and satellites. Today, a storm of similar intensity would be far more devastating. “If an event of that size were to occur today, the effects would be, by most estimates, devastating,” said Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, during a session on space weather threats at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington last month.

Read more at: Space Review

Scott Kelly Grew Two Inches in Space – But NASA is More Interested in Changes We Can’t See

When astronaut Scott Kelly arrived in Houston on Thursday morning, he was about two inches (5cm) taller than when he left for the International Space Station a year before, according to NASA representatives. That’s pretty normal for an astronaut: Without the full strength of gravity pressing down on gel-filled discs between the vertebrae, they expand and lengthen the spine. It’s a weird but temporary side effect of spaceflight.

But even if Kelly hadn’t had his vitals checked immediately upon landing, he might have noticed the slight height change: One of the first Earthlings he saw was his identical twin, retired astronaut Mark Kelly – a man now notably, if only temporarily, shorter. NASA scientists already knew that Kelly would walk a little taller when he emerged from the Soyuz capsule. But he’ll have changed in other, less obvious ways, too – and that’s the whole point of his record-breaking mission.

Read more at: Nz Herald

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Launches on 5th Attempt

After four scrubbed launch attempts, SpaceX finally launched its Falcon 9 rocket Friday night from Cape Canaveral.

The Falcon 9 rocket launched right around dusk, making for a colorful launch against the evening sky.

An attempt at landing the rocket on a barge several hundred miles off the coast, however, failed. SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the rocket landed hard on the droneship. He thinks the next flight has a good chance of landing.

The rocket is carrying the SES-9 communications satellite that, once in orbit, is expected to provide television and Internet service for more than 22 million Southeast Asia households.

Read more at: Mynews 13

No Man’s Land: Where on Mars Should Astronauts Go?

The Martians invaded Houston one morning in October of last year—although in truth some of them already lived there. As home to NASA’s astronaut corps at Johnson Space Center and the NASA-funded Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston probably has the highest per capita density of aspiring Martians on Earth. The rest of the Martians were a motley crew of scientists, engineers, physicians and bureaucrats who came from around the country and even the globe to fill the Institute’s auditorium for a historic workshop. They all were there to discuss their common dream: sending human beings to the freeze-dried desert planet right next door that, outside of our own, remains the most hospitable world in the known universe.

Some 20 years from now, if current timelines are to be trusted, that dream will at last become a reality.

Read more at: Scientific American

Intensive Training for Mars Voyage

With just days to go before the departure of ExoMars, mission teams are in the final stages of their months-long training that ensures everyone knows their job the moment the mission comes alive.

The ExoMars 2016 mission is set for launch at 09:31 GMT (10:31 CET) on 14 March from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a powerful Proton rocket, marking the start of a seven-month cruise to the Red Planet. ExoMars is a joint endeavour between ESA and Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, and comprises the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli entry, descent and landing demonstrator.

TGO will make a detailed inventory of Mars’ atmospheric gases, with particular interest in rare gases like methane, while Schiaparelli will demonstrate a range of technologies to enable a controlled landing on Mars for the 2018 rover mission.

Read more at: ESA

Flight 229 Ariane 5 – Launch Kit

This is an ARIANE 5 ECA (Cryogenic Evolution type A) launcher, the most powerful version in the ARIANE 5 range.
Flight 229 is a commercial mission for Ariane 5. The L582 launcher is the twenty-ninth to be delivered by Airbus Defence and Space to Arianespace as part of the PB production batch. The PB production contract was signed in March 2009 to guarantee continuity of the launch service after completion of the PA batch comprising 30 launchers. The PB production batch comprises 35 A5ECA launchers and covers the period from 2010 to 2016. On 14th December 2013, it was extended by an order for a further 18 ECA launchers, scheduled for launch as of 2019. L582 is consequently the fifty-ninth complete launcher to be delivered toArianespace, integrated and checked out under Airbus Defence and Space responsibility in the Launcher Integration Building (BIL).

Read more at: Airbus Defence & Space

Roscosmos Intends to Reduce Angara Rocket Costs

Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos intends to reduce the costs of the country’s new Angara carrier rocket by means of cutting the RD-191 engines’ production cost, CEO of the engines’ manufacturer NPO Energomash research and production association Igor Arbuzov said on Wednesday.

“The leadership of the Roscosmos State Corporation has set us the task to optimize the RD-191 engine’s production costs to make the Angara launch vehicle competitive on the world market of space launches,” Arbuzov said as quoted in a report posted on the website of the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Angara manufacturer).

Read more at: TASS

Exploiting Earth-Moon Space: China’s Ambition After Space Station

China will manage to exploit the space between earth and the moon for solar power and other resources after it builds a space station in 2020, Lt Gen. Zhang Yulin, said Monday.

The deputy chief of the armament development department of the Central Military Commission said preliminary work on the program had already begun. “The earth-moon space will be strategically important for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” said the national lawmaker.

China’s military authority is one of the several departments working on the national space program.

Zhang told Xinhua on the sidelines of the ongoing annual legislative session that generating solar power in space will be much more efficient than on earth. Silicon dioxide used in solar panels, is inexhaustible on the moon, while water in the moon’s polar regions and on asteroids can be electrolyzed into oxygen and hydrogen to make propellant for spacecraft.

Read more at: Xinhuanet

Canadian Researchers Take Inverted Approach to Outer Space Study

Canadian researchers are taking an upside-down approach to better understand the impact of long-term space flight on the human body. Teams at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and the University of Ottawa will monitor 20 test subjects slated to spend two months completely bedridden and lying head below feet at a slightly inverted, six-degree angle.

The researchers will head to a specialized research facility in France to gather information from the inverted test subjects, whose positions are intended to imitate the conditions experienced by astronauts in zero gravity.

Bernard Jasmin, a University of Ottawa medical researcher, wants to learn more about how muscles respond to long periods of little to no activity, for example without having to fight against gravity.

Read more at: Macleans.ca

Agile Aero CEO Jeff Greason to Receive NSS 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Entrepreneurial Business

National Space Society governor Jeff Greason is the winner of the Society’s 2016 Space Pioneer Award for Entrepreneurial Business. This award recognizes Jeff’s successes in founding and helping manage and direct technical work at XCOR and other entrepreneurial space companies. It also recognizes his bold spirit in founding Agile Aero, Inc., a new company that will seek to break through a rapid prototyping barrier that has slowed aerospace development for the last several decades.

Read more at: National Space Society

Review: Eyeing the Red Storm- Eisenhower and the First Attempt to Build a Spy Satellite

During the paranoid days of the Cold War, the United States came up with any number of projects to monitor the actions of the Soviet Union. One of the more-widely known projects – was CORONA. However, author Robert M. Dienesch took a look at the beginnings of the U.S.’ reconnaissance satellite efforts – WS-117L – with his forthcoming book Eyeing the Red Storm: Eisenhower and the First Attempt to Build a Spy Satellite.

SpaceFlight Insider spoke with Dienesch to discover the motivations and challenges he faced in producing the 296-page book. He revealed that he had a head start in developing Eyeing the Red Storm: Eisenhower and the First Attempt to Build a Spy Satellite.

Read more at: SpaceFlight Insider

Re-Entry: Soyuz Rocket Stage from Image Reconnaissance Satellite Launch

The third Stage of the Soyuz 2-1A rocket that launched the Bars-M mapping and reconnaissance imaging satellite re-entered the atmosphere over Indonesia on March 1, 2016 after one year in orbit.

NORAD ID: 40421
Origin: Russia/CIS
Object: SL-4 Rocket Body
Type: Block I (Mod), Soyuz 2-1A 3rd Stage

Read more at: Spaceflight 101

Delta 4-Heavy Goes to Launch Pad for National Security Flight

Rolling toward a mid-May deployment of a clandestine spy satellite, United Launch Alliance’s triple-body Delta 4-Heavy rocket moved from its Cape Canaveral assembly building to pad 37B yesterday.

The 170-foot-long rocket, riding horizontal aboard a 36-wheel, diesel-powered transporter, emerged from the Horizontal Integration Facility hangar and took the brief trip down the road and up the pad’s ramp, a distance of three-quarters of a mile.

Crews erected the bright orange and white rocket vertically onto the launch table this morning for the 26th Delta 4 launch from the same Cape Canaveral complex used for unmanned Apollo test flights in the 1960s.

Liftoff is planned for May 12 during an unclassified period of 1 to 5 p.m. EDT.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Invisible Warfare: Russia Touts Second-to-none Jamming Equipment

Russia’s most advanced electronic warfare systems, Borisoglebsk-2 and Rtut-BM, add significantly to the country’s defense capabilities, according to the Russian news network Zvezda. The modernization of the Russian Armed Forces has included the development of electronic warfare, the Russian news network Zvezda reported, referring to the state-of-the-art Borisoglebsk-2 and Rtut-BM systems.

The Borisoglebsk-2 is a multi-purpose electronic warfare system developed by Russia’s United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation for the Russian Armed Forces. It merges four types of jamming stations into a single system with a single control console which allows the operator to take decisions within seconds. The system is mounted on nine MT-LB armored vehicles and is designed to suppress mobile satellite communications and satellite-based navigation signals.

Read more at: Space War

Kim Jong-Un Says N. Korea has Miniaturised Nuclear Warheads

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un says his scientists have successfully miniaturised thermo-nuclear warheads to place on a ballistic missile and create a “true” deterrent, state media said Wednesday.

While Pyongyang has talked of success in mastering miniaturisation before, this is the first time Kim has so explicitly claimed a breakthrough that experts see as a game-changing step for the North’s nuclear capabilities.

Kim also stressed that the warheads were “thermo-nuclear” devices, echoing the North’s claim that the fourth nuclear test it conducted in January was of a more powerful hydrogen bomb. “The nuclear warheads have been standardised to be fit for ballistic missiles by miniaturising them,” Kim noted during a meeting with nuclear technicians, the North’s official KCNA news agency said

Read more at: Space Daily

The Economic Development of Low-Earth Orbit (NASA Book)

This collection of papers identify a number of important policy questions that will be of rising importance as NASA transitions LEO to the private sector, as well as a number of economic analysis methods of addressing those questions.

Although far from a comprehensive assessment of the opportunities and challenges inherent in the continued, private-sector-led economic development of human spaceflight in LEO, this collection represents an impressive level of knowledge and insight. It is our hope that this volume may serve to guide decisions and spark the intellectual curiosity of space policy makers, NASA managers, and economic researchers, and all others interested in the continued economic development of human spaceflight.

Read more at: Spaceref

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