US BE-4 Rocket Engines to Replace Russian RD-180 on Atlas Carrier Rockets

BE-4 rocket engines developed by the Blue Origin company will eventually replace Russian RD-180 engines on US Atlas space launch vehicles, head of Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos, Igor Komarov, told Sputnik Thursday.

Blue Origin has been developing BE-4 engines, working on liquid oxygen and liquid methane, since 2011. The flight tests are expected to take place in 2019. “It’s not a secret that the United States aims at replacing our engines by probably less reliable and more expensive but indigenous US engines… You have to understand that one day they will do this,” Komarov said.

Read more at: Space Daily

Should Commercial Space Activities be Permissionless?

Witnesses at a House subcommittee hearing last week debated how – and whether – the U.S. government should regulate commercial space activities to ensure compliance with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty while not stifling innovation.  No consensus emerged other than if there is governmental regulation, it should have a light touch.

Today, the only commercial space activities that are regulated are launch and reentry (FAA), use of the electromagnetic spectrum (FCC), and remote sensing satellites (NOAA).  With the emergence of ideas for private sector activities ranging from satellite servicing to mining asteroids, the issue of the government’s role in overseeing what companies do in space has taken on new urgency.

Section 108 of the 2015 Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA) required a report from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on possible approaches to dealing with the issue while ensuring U.S. compliance with Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty.  Article VI requires governments to authorize and continually supervise activities of their non-government entities, like companies.

Read more at: Space Policy online

Zero 2 Infinity Launches Rocket From the Edge of Space

Zero 2 Infinity, a company specialized in Space transportation systems, successfully launched its first rocket from the Edge of Space on March 1st.

Part of the Zero 2 Infinity team sailed a few miles off the Spanish coast to launch the balloon carrying the rocket. After soaring to 25 km (more than twice the cruising altitude of commercial airplanes), the other part of the launch team gave the order of the controlled ignition of the first Bloostar prototype from the facilities of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) in El Arenosillo (Huelva, Spain).
The goals of the mission were: (i) validation of the telemetry systems in Space conditions, (ii) controlled ignition, (iii) stabilization of the rocket, (iv) monitoring of the launch sequence, (v) parachute deployment, and finally, (vi) sea recovery. All these goals were achieved in full.

This mission is part of the development of Bloostar, the first small satellite launcher to use a stratospheric balloon as a first stage. By initiating the rocket ignition from above airspace, the targeted orbit can be reached with expediency and efficiency.

Read more at: Spaceref

International Space Docking Standard Updated

The International Space Station Multilateral Coordination Board has approved a major update to the station docking system standard. First released in 2010, the docking standard established a common standard to enable spacecraft of multiple types to dock to space stations and with each another in space.

The latest revision, E, solidifies the International Docking Standard (IDSS) as an internationally recognised and accepted standard for both docking system design and rendezvous targets for both the International Space Station and further exploration around the Moon and beyond.

“The latest revision to the docking standard further opens the door to contributions by international agencies, as well as commercial enterprises for both the International Space Station and exploration,” said William Gerstenmaier, chair of the Multilateral Coordination Board (MCB) and associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission.

Read more at: ESA

Roscosmos Starts Recruitment of Cosmonauts for Future Lunar Missions

Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos has declared an open contest for admission to a team of aspirants who will take part in the first space missions on board the Federatsiya spacecraft to the Moon, Roscosmos First Deputy CEO Aleksandr Ivanov told a news conference.

“The selection begins today and it will last till the end of the year. The results will be summarized at the end of December. A group of six to eight trainees is to be selected,” he said.

The Roscosmos press-service said the selected specialists will be the first to fly the new generation spacecraft Federatsiya. Also, they will be the first Russians to go to the Moon. “The purpose is to select the best specialists who already have certain knacks of operating space or air technologies. They will be the first pilots of Russia’s future spacecraft Federatsiya. All will be trained under the International Space Program and will be the first Russians to fly to the Moon,” the Roscosmos press-service said.

Read more at: TASS

Designing New Rocket Engines That Don’t Blow Up

The problem has haunted the space program since Apollo: the flame inside the rocket engine literally spirals out of control, producing forces that can cause the engine to explode. It’s one of the reasons why some U.S. military and commercial satellite launches rely on Russian rocket engines to take them to space.

Now, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan, Purdue University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will try to get to the root cause with a $4.2 million grant from the Air Force Research Laboratories and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

New rocket designs needs new rocket engines, but combustion instabilities make it difficult to develop rocket engines without blowing up some prototypes along the way. These wild flames go back to the prototype for the rocket that took astronauts to the moon. That engine exploded during a test.

Read more at: Space Daily

Virgin Galactic Announces New Commercial Space Company Virgin Orbit

Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic are pleased to announce Virgin Orbit, a new commercial space company, and the appointment of Dan Hart as the first President of the newly created company. Virgin Orbit will offer flexible, routine and low cost launch services for small satellites via the LauncherOne system. Virgin Orbit’s activities were previously conducted as a division of Virgin Galactic.

Dan Hart joins Virgin Orbit after a distinguished 34 years at Boeing, where he was responsible for all of the company’s satellite programs for the US government and several allied countries. As Boeing’s Vice President of Government Satellite Systems, he led efforts in all phases of the aerospace product life cycle, from R&D through development, production and flight operations, and has supported numerous space launch missions across human spaceflight, satellite development, launch vehicle development, and missile defense.

Read more at: Spaceref

Watch a Fireball Light Up Seattle’s Skies

Dozens of reports have streamed in about a fireball that was seen in the skies over Washington state, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia on Thursday night.

The American Meteor Society’s online tracker lists more than 70 reports from locales over a wide area, ranging southward to Eugene, Ore., northward to Vancouver and Enderby, B.C., and eastward to Grangeville, Idaho. Most of the reports were registered around 9:40 p.m.

Michael Lee, one of the founders of the Seattle-based Jobscan resume service, captured the pop and flash of the fireball in a dashcam video. Witnesses traded reports on Q13 Fox’s Facebook page. “I saw it in Snohomish, thought it was a falling star but then there were three explosions that lit up the sky,” one commenter wrote. “So cool.” Tammy Kwan, a staff writer for The Georgia Straight in Vancouver, snagged her own dashcam video on the road in British Columbia.

Read more at: Geekwire

SpaceX is Pushing Hard to Bring the Internet to Space

For months, SpaceX has been quietly meeting with the FCC to advocate for one of its least-known projects. According to recent disclosures, the company met with FCC officials twice in recent weeks: first with a wireless advisor on February 28th and again on March 10th with Chairman Pai himself. The same two topics came up at each meeting: the first was a stalled proposal to ease the regulatory demands on commercial space launches. The second was far more ambitious: SpaceX is seeking a license for a lucrative, globe-spanning satellite network that would bring terrestrial internet into space. Musk didn’t attend either meeting, but SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell was there in his place. (SpaceX declined to comment beyond its public filing.)

Musk has been batting around the idea of a “space internet” for years, initially proposing it as a way to connect SpaceX’s Martian colonists. In the near-term, the system can be adapted to deliver easy, continuous access to base stations around Earth, providing simple connectivity to the planet’s most remote communities.

Read more at: Verge

FAA Mandating Higher Insurance Coverage for SpaceX Rockets

A SpaceX rocket that was scheduled to lift a commercial satellite into orbit from Florida before dawn on Tuesday carried five times as much liability coverage for prelaunch operations as launches in previous years.

The higher limit, mandated by federal officials, reflects heightened U.S. concerns about the potential extent of damage to nearby government property in the event of an accident before blastoff.

Read more at: WSJ

S.S. John Glenn Vessel Mounted Atop Atlas 5 Rocket for Launch Next Week

An eight-ton cargo ship destined for the International Space Station was hoisted aboard its United Launch Alliance Atlas-Centaur booster rocket today in preparation for liftoff to the orbiting laboratory next week.

The commercial Cygnus freighter — christened the S.S. John Glenn in tribute to America’s first man to orbit Earth — is scheduled for launch either Thursday, March 23 or Friday, March 24 from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral. A final determination of the date is expected Monday, based on Range availability. ULA is boosting its third Cygnus payload for Orbital ATK, allowing the vessel to carry its maximum amount of cargo to the station.

Liftoff was delayed a few days to replace a component in the first stage hydraulics that showed suspect behavior in pre-flight testing. Further date uncertainty was created by two SpaceX postponements and the ripple effects that had with scheduling on the Eastern Range.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Russian Space Firm Launches Production of New Spacecraft for Lunar Missions

Russia’s Energiya Space Rocket Corporation has launched the production of a new spacecraft called Federatsiya (Federation) and intended for near-Earth flights and lunar missions, Energiya CEO Vladimir Solntsev said on Friday. “It is in the active stage of work. Actually all design documentation has been issued and we are now producing separate assembly units,” he said. The first Federatsiya spacecraft is designed for a flight into a low-Earth orbit, he added.

The Federatsiya spacecraft will be 80% made of composite materials and the descent vehicle of aluminum, he said. “The question is what the descent vehicle should be made of. Today we are working with aluminum but simultaneously it is important not only to produce the spacecraft but also to make it competitive,” Solntsev said.

Read more at: TASS

How Urine Could Help Astronauts Grow Food in Space

If you want to be one of the first human beings to visit Mars, you better have a strong stomach. Scientists in Germany are testing ways in which urine and sweat could help astronauts grow food on the Red Planet.

Most food for missions to the International Space Station are brought as cargo from Earth. However, longer-duration space missions, such as those to Mars, will need a self-sustaining food supply, scientists have said. Jens Hauslage, a plant physiologist at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), is researching how to grow food in space, including a test system that involves a tank of urine and a tomato plant, the BBCreported.

“The Earth is a closed biological system with plants producing oxygen and food; then you have the animals and the microbes to produce all the degradation processes in the soil,” Hauslage told the BBC. “Without these systems, no sustainable long-term life-support system will be viable.”

Read more at:

Air Force’s Mysterious X-37B Space Plane Nears Orbital Record

The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane is just eight days away from setting a record on its current clandestine mission. If the robotic vehicle stays aloft until March 25, it will break the X-37B mission-duration mark of 674 days, which was established back in October 2014. It’s unclear whether that will actually happen, however; the Air Force is tight-lipped about most X-37B payloads and activities, including touchdown plans.

“The landing date will be determined based on the completion of the program’s on-orbit demonstrations and objectives for this mission,” Capt. AnnMarie Annicelli, an Air Force spokeswoman, told via email when asked when the current mission might end.

Read more at:

Next Generation will Learn About Space From Private Companies

President Donald Trump released his blueprint budget for the 2018 fiscal year on Thursday, and with it came the end for NASA’s Office of Education.

The budget calls for the elimination of the office, currently funded at $115 million annually, in exchange for “a more focused education effort” that will be led by another branch of the administration. “While this budget no longer funds a formal Office of Education, NASA will continue to inspire the next generation through our missions and channel education efforts in a more focused way through the robust portfolio of our Science Mission Directorate,” NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a release. “We will also continue to use every opportunity to support the next generation through engagement in our missions and the many ways that our work encourages the public to discover more.”

NASA’s Office of Education works to stimulate interest in space science among high school and university students by doing things like arranging actual phone calls between young people and astronauts on board the International Space Station. The office encourages students to get involved in NASA research by participating in competitions or otherwise connecting with the administration’s activities.

Read more at: Inverse

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Plans Crewed Launch Within a Year

The spaceflight company Blue Origin, which was founded by CEO Jeff Bezos, plans to launch its first crewed flight to suborbital space soon.

“We’re trying to get to our first human flights within the next year. That’s a laser focus for the team right now,” Erika Wagner, Blue Origin’s business development manager, told the audience at the New Space Age Conference on Saturday (March 11) here at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.

In November 2015, Blue Origin made history when it landed its New Shepard rocket after an uncrewed test flight to suborbital space. This was the first time that any company or country had successfully completed a vertical takeoff and landing with a reusable rocket during a mission to space.

Read more at:

World View and Ball Aerospace Demonstrate Persistent Remote Sensing from Stratollite Platform

World View and Ball Aerospace successfully completed a Stratollite mission earlier this month, demonstrating early capabilities for remote sensing applications from the stratosphere, nearly 70,000 feet above Earth.

This latest mission is a pathfinder for a commercial offering of low-cost, persistent, high-resolution imagery data from the stratosphere and is part of the collaboration between the two companies.

World View has developed Stratollites, a new category of above-earth vehicles that are high-tech balloons offering long-duration, persistent flight above specific geographical areas of interest. Stratollites, as the name suggests, operate in the stratosphere and can maintain station and directionally navigate. They utilize a proprietary method of altitude control to channel directional wind patterns at various altitudes.

Read more at: Spaceref

How Do NASA’s Apollo Computers Stack Up to an iPhone?

Yes, the modern smartphone is more powerful than the computer used by NASA during the Apollo mission, but that overlooks how impressive the Apollo computers actually were. For starters, there wasn’t just one computer, there were four.

NASA’s computers, specifically the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), were at least ten years ahead of their time from a commercial tech perspective—their strength unmatched until a decade later with the advent of computers like the Apple II. Youtuber Curious Droid works through the misconceptions and gets to how impressive these computers really were.

While an iPhone does have more computing power than all of NASA had during the Apollo days, the AGC, designed at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, had one crucial advantage: it was crash-proof. Operating systems that we’re familiar with today, like Apple iOS and Android, control the computer and dole out energy and attention to various programs. In the AGC, the programs controlled the computer in a hierarchical structure, and a program’s specific importance would dictate how much attention it got. In the case of an emergency, this would allow for a quicker focus on crucial systems.

Read more at: Popular Mechanics

Commercial Space Industry can Deliver Agility and Innovation for Better Space Resilience

On February 14, 2017, an Indian Space Research Organization rocket launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre carrying a record-breaking 104 satellites into orbit. These satellites have now joined more than 22,000 additional objects in space that are tracked by the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), where they are cataloged and screened for possible collisions with other space objects. The JSpOC has provided this data at no-cost to U.S. satellite owner-operators as well as international commercial and government entities for nearly 20 years. Sharing this data has been essential in preventing satellite collisions in space by allowing owner-operators to perform further conjunction analysis for close approaches and execute risk mitigation maneuvers, if necessary.

While the JSpOC’s service is undeniably vital for keeping space accessible for years to come, its role has become decidedly non-military in nature. As such, multiple federal government entities and personnel are now advocating to move the JSpOC’s role of space catalog tracking and screening services over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Read more at: SpaceNews

Legislators Ask for Spaceport Study

Four state representatives have filed a resolution asking for a careful study to the determine the impacts of a proposed spaceport in Camden County. State Rep. Jason Spencer, sponsor of a bill to protect the space industry from lawsuits by injured employees, said the resolution, if passed, will send “conflicting messages” to the space industry.

The resolution calls for careful study and consideration a commercial spaceport in Camden County would have on Georgia ports, commercial fishing and shrimping, tourism and recreation and property rights.

Opponents of a spaceport in Camden County say launch trajectories could endanger people and property living on little Cumberland Island and potentially harm marshland, the ocean and maritime forest in the area in the event of a failed launch.

Read more at: Goldenisles

Update: Canada Chosen for New Spaceport

It’s official Canada has been chosen for development of a new spaceport.

An official press release today states, “Maritime Launch Services (MLS) Ltd., established in Halifax, is pleased to announce it has committed to a launch site location following a study of prospective sites across North America. An exhaustive review was conducted which assessed 14 potential locations over the last year. The preferred site is located in the Guysborough Municipality near Canso and Hazel Hill in Nova Scotia”.

The site would use Ukrainian developed rockets to launch commercial satellites into orbit.

Read more at: Rcinet

Commercial Space: Can We Privatize Our Way to the Stars?

The new space race is on. Since the early 2000s, multiple private companies — such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin — have been developing and deploying rockets and other technologies to enable space exploration, a sector historically controlled and funded by the federal government.

At this weekend’s New Space Age Conference, private space industry entrepreneurs and innovators descended on MIT’s campus to showcase their novel — and at times science-fiction-like — commercial ideas and innovations that could help humanity explore the stars and planets, and benefit people here on Earth.

Conference speakers enthusiastically highlighted how far the private space industry has come but also emphasized how far we’ve yet to go — with some ideas, such as asteroid mining or crewed Mars missions, still many years and billions of dollars away.

Read more at: MIT

Bodies Freed from Gravity’s Grip

There’s one force whose effects are so deeply entrenched in our everyday lives that we probably don’t think much about it at all: gravity. Gravity is the force that causes attraction between masses. It’s why when you drop a pen, it falls to the ground. But because gravitational force is proportional to the mass of the object, only large objects like planets create tangible attractions. This is why the study of gravity traditionally focused on massive objects like planets. The Conversation

Our first manned space missions, however, completely changed how we thought about gravity’s effects on biological systems. The force of gravity doesn’t just keep us anchored to the ground; it influences how our bodies work on the smallest of scales. Now with the prospect of longer space missions, researchers are working to figure out what a lack of gravity means for our physiology – and how to make up for it.

Read more at: Earth Sky

Russia’s Private Space Travel Company Plans to Create Launch Pad at Baikonur

Russia’s private company CosmoCourse, having ambitious plans for space tourism in Russia, is in talks with Russia’s space corporation Roscosmos and the center responsible for operating ground space infrastructures over plans for creating its own launch pad at the Baikonur space site in Kazakhstan, CosmoCourse chief Pavel Pushkin told TASS.

“We have been offered to use several older launch pads, mothballed a while ago, or to build new infrastructures. There was also a proposal for using the Vostochny spaceport, but we need unpopulated desert areas to make landings,” Pushkin said. Previously, some proposed using the Kapustin Yar proving ground in the Astrakhan Region. Pushkin says the company hopes to make 115 launches a year.

Read more at: TASS

Miniature Lab Begins Science Experiments in Outer Space

Orbiting the earth at more than 500 kilometers (300 miles), a tiny satellite with a laboratory shrunk to the size of a tissue box is helping scientists carry out experiments that take gravity out of the equation. The technology was launched into space last month by SpacePharma, a Swiss-Israeli company, which on Thursday announced that its first experiments have been completed successfully.

In space, with hardly any interference from earth’s gravity, cells and molecules behave differently, helping researchers make discoveries in fields from medicine to agriculture. Nestle turned to zero gravity – or what scientists refer to as microgravity – to perfect the foam in its chocolate mousse and coffee, while drugmakers like Eli Lilly have used it to improve drug designs.

Read more at: Reuters

Italy’s Team Space4Life Wins Lab2Moon Challenge

Italy-based Team Space4Life has won the first opportunity in more than 40 years to send an experiment to the lunar surface under the Lab2Moon Global Challenge for youth, called out by TeamIndus, in a privately funded initiative. Earlier, Team Indus became the only Indian team to qualify for the $30-million Google Lunar XPrize, that will land a rover on the Moon by the year end.

Team Space4Life comprising Mattia (16), Dario (22) and Altea (18) proposed an experiment to test the effectiveness of using a colony of Cyanobacteria as a shield against harmful radiation in space. The team’s prototype met the stringent criteria of weighing less than 250 gm, being the size of a regular soda can and being able to connect to the spacecraft’s on-board computer.

Team Zoi from India, comprising a brother-sister duo — Santosh (25) and Sukanya Roychowdhury (22) along with Arizona-based Autumn Conner (24), which proposed an experiment to explore photosynthesis on the Moon, was placed second; their experiment will also fly to the Moon. Both the teams will now work closely with TeamIndus engineers to make their experiments space worthy, for the journey of a lifetime.

Read more at: Hindu Business Line

Trump Administration Proposes 2018 NASA Budget

The recent release of the Trump administration’s 2018 budget blueprint reveals that many of the items he said he would cut for NASA are actually being cut in favor of continuing other NASA priorities. The overall cut to the NASA budget is less than 1 percent of the 2017 budget which is good news for the space agency. The total NASA budget as proposed is $19.1 billion.

Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement: “While more detailed budget information will be released in May, we have received a top line budget number for the agency as part of an overall government budget rollout of more than $19 billion. This is in line with our funding in recent years, and will enable us to effectively execute our core mission for the nation, even during these times of fiscal constraint.”

Overall, the budget proposal is both good news and bad news for NASA. The bad news is that among the items on the cut list is NASA’s Office of Education, which is cut completely from the proposed budget. NASA will now focus its education and outreach solely through Science Mission Directorate.

Read more at: Spaceflight Insider

Trump Low-orbit Space Budget Clips High Expectations

When President Trump unveiled the outline of his first federal budget proposal this past week, many analysts described it as a mixed bag for America’s space program. We’d call it a missed opportunity.

There’s bad news and good news for space. While Trump proposed cutting $200 million, or about 1 percent, from NASA’s $19.3 billion budget this year, the space agency would fare much better than other non-defense agencies; the EPA, for example, is the target of a proposed 31 percent cut. The president called for canceling NASA’s mission to send astronauts to an asteroid, but preserving funding to develop the agency’s next rocket and crew vehicle. He advocated a deep cut in NASA’s Earth science programs, but maintained support for a robotic mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa.

However, the president’s plan falls short of revitalizing and redirecting the manned space program after years of sluggishness and drift under President Obama. It fails to meet the high expectations Trump created last month in his first speech to Congress, when he declared, “American footprints on distant worlds are not too big a dream.”

Read more at: Orlando Sentinel

Space is Bigger Than NASA

Space exploration, from the iconic Apollo lunar missions and robotic explorations of Mars to the discovery of distant Earth-like planets, has long been a symbol of American leadership and prestige.

Today, the United States leads the world in entrepreneurial space ventures, ranging from new satellite services to space tourism. In his inaugural address, President Trump referred to this unifying power of space challenges when he said, “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow. A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights and heal our divisions.”

But dark clouds threaten this optimistic view, in the form of actions by nations that could extend conflict from the Earth into space. Russia and China have tested anti-satellite weapons that could create space debris lasting thousands of years. At the same time, our security and the global economy are more reliant than ever on space-based information services, like the Global Positioning System.

Read more at: The Hill

Budweiser is Totally Serious About Bringing Beer to Space

In space, no one can hear you crack open a cold one. Astronauts have lamented this for years, but it’s just basic science: carbonated beverages don’t work so well in a zero-gravity environment. The pressure inside the container is different than the pressure outside the container, and things get messy.

Without gravity, the bubbles in the drink aren’t buoyant, so they don’t float to the top. NASA experimented with soda back in the ’80s (hey, man, who didn’t?), but so far, no one has made it possible to drink anything in microgravity that doesn’t come in a bag with a straw, like a Capri Sun.On Saturday evening at SXSW, though, Budweiser announced plans to change all of that.

At an official panel the brand hosted in downtown Austin, they recruited retired astronaut Clay Anderson, Anheuser-Busch vice president of innovation Valerie Toothman, and Center for the Advancement of Science in Space marketing & communications manager Patrick O’Neill (whose organization manages the U.S. lab at the International Space Station).

Read more at: fastcocreate

China Takes Giant Step Toward Launching its Space Station –“Will it Replace the ISS When its Retired in 2024?”

In 2024, China’s space station will become operational at the same time when the International Space Station (ISS)  shown above will retire, according to its current plans on development. The ISS is the most well-known artificial science laboratory on a worldwide scale, but China is currently working on taking its place with a space-based science lab. It’s currently unknown if China is going to be the only country in the world to detain such a facility by that time.

By 2024, the International Space Station will be retiring. As such, China believes it will be the only country to have a space station in service by that time. The country has already sent out two modules of its space laboratory, the Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2, with the latter having been launched on Sept. 2016 using the Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. After the successful launch, two astronauts spent 30 days in the station to conduct experiments.

Read more at: Daily Galaxy

Will Collaboration or Competition Propel Humans to Mars and Beyond? A Future Tense Event Recap.

Very soon, the United States won’t be the only player to have sent humans to the moon. There’s a new space race emerging—one that looks very different from the Cold War competition that gave Americans the triumph of the Apollo program. From SpaceX to Blue Origin, China to India, Luxembourg to Nigeria, the UAE to the EU, new nations and institutions have been getting in on the extraterrestrial game. They might take tourists to the moon. Fly corporations to asteroids. Transport taikonauts or vyomanauts to Mars.

But will they be competing or collaborating to get to these new frontiers? And how will their successes or failures shape our future in space—and alter life back on Earth?

Read more at: Slate

War in Space is Becoming a Real Threat

Among the memorabilia in Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s office is a fragment of the Wright brothers’ first airplane. But the most intriguing items may be two small plastic satellites on sticks that can be maneuvered to simulate a dogfight in space.

Space is now a potential battle zone, Goldfein explains in an interview. The Air Force wants to ensure “space superiority,” which he says means “freedom from attack and freedom to maneuver.”

If you think cyberwar raises some tricky issues, get your mind around this next big threat worrying the Pentagon. Similar problems exist in both the cyber and space domains: U.S. commercial and military interests are interwoven but deeply suspicious of each other; the technologies are borderless but are being weaponized by hostile nation-states; and attacks on satellites and other systems may be invisible and difficult to attribute.

Read more at: Washington Post

America Needs a Space Corps

American space power stagnated under US Air Force stewardship a long time ago. 1 Congress observed this situation nearly 25 years ago, as the epigraphs above indicate. However, nothing substantive was done to fix the problem.

This article recommends the creation of a US Space Corps in the Department of the Air Force as an initial step to set American space power on a path to reach its full potential. Ultimately, America’s national security interests in space will best be served when Congress creates an independent Space Corps, just as it created independent services for land, sea and air, uniting them under the Department of Defense.

Space operations are becoming ever more critical to American and global economic interests and military power projection to a degree that warrants a devoted service. The expertise required to operate in space is so fundamentally different and specialized, and the space-minded perspective so altogether different, that it will never serve the nation to have this expertise and perspective under-resourced and buried under another service.

Read more at: Space Review

The Perfect Job? Work’s Great and Life is Relaxed for Space Engineers in the Tropics

DW: We’re in this wonderful place in Kourou, French Guiana. You’re an engineer with the French Space Agency, CNES, and you live and work here?

Tamara Tezzele: Yes, in fact I was born here. I grew up here. And I work here on what we call a “local contract,” which means I’m here permanently in French Guiana. That’s not the case for everybody.

So living and working here would be normal for you. What about other people, do most people here work in the space industry?

Yes. I might be wrong, but I’d say in Kourou about 80 percent of people work in the space industry – as a support contractor, or for CNES, or for Arianespace and so on.

Read more at:

Turkey’s Parliament Deliberates on Space Agency Law

The Turkish parliament is deliberating on a draft bill to create a space agency  to boost the country’s space industry and facilitate Ankara’s expansion within the global space industry. The draft was recently debated by the parliament’s Committee on Industry, Trade, Energy, Natural Resources, Information and Technology.

Speaking to the committee March 2, Turkish Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan told lawmakers that the government aimed to launch the world’s 39th space agency. The move would allow Turkey to reduce its dependence on foreign technology suppliers, according to the minister.

“With Türksat 5A and 5B, by increasing the share of the local, national supply [of components], we will manage to produce satellite parts in our country, and with Türksat 6A, I hope we will produce it completely from the local, national supply [of components].”

Read more at: Space News

Space Debris: Risk Analysis & Mitigation

5-6 April 2017 – Toulouse, France

The course is designed to provide the participant with an understanding of space debris risks and of mitigation standards, techniques and practices that are used for design and operation of space systems. You will find the description of the course in the IAASS Professional Training Courses Catalog 2017 – Course Code 008. To register, download the Registration Form, fill in and return not later than 6 March 2017.

Read more at: IAASS

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