Secret Russia Weapon Project: Gamechanger Or PR Stunt?

A deadly explosion at a Russian testing site has focused attention on President Vladimir Putin’s bid to build a nuclear-powered missile that the Kremlin hopes would give Moscow the edge in a new arms race.

Western experts have linked the blast at the Nyonoksa test site on August 8, which caused a sharp spike in local radiation levels, to the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile first revealed by Putin in 2018.

The Kremlin has, however, not confirmed that the accident was linked to the Burevestnik project and the identity of the missile that exploded remains uncertain.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Exomars Parachute Failures Could Jeopardize 2020 Launch Date

The European Space Agency has confirmed a parachute for the ExoMars rover mission set for launch next July failed during a test over Sweden earlier this month, the project’s second parachute test accident since May.

The failure during a high-altitude parachute test Aug. 5 was a setback for the ExoMars team as engineers work toward a 19-day launch window that opens July 25, 2020. It was the second parachute failure ExoMars engineers have encountered in pre-launch testing, following a similar accident May 28.

Four parachutes — two pilot chutes and supersonic and subsonic main chutes — will slow the ExoMars lander after it enters the Martian atmosphere. The lander will jettison the parachutes and ignite braking rockets to slowly settle onto the surface of Mars.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Nuclear Reactor for Mars Outpost Could Be Ready to Fly by 2022

A new type of nuclear reactor designed to power crewed outposts on the moon and Mars could be ready for its first in-space trial just a few years from now, project team members said.

A flight test is the next big step for the Kilopower experimental fission reactor, which aced a series of critical ground tests from November 2017 through March 2018. No off-Earth demonstration is on the books yet, but Kilopower should be ready to go by 2022 or so if need be, said Patrick McClure, Kilopower project lead at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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India Orders Russian Equipment for First Manned Space Mission – Russian Manufacturer

India has ordered Russia’s space equipment as it is preparing to send its first manned mission to orbit, according to Sergey Pozdnyakov, general director and chief designer of Research & Development Production Enterprise Zvezda, a Russian company manufacturing life-support systems for human spaceflights.

“India is developing its own space suits and life-support systems for the manned spacecraft. On the other hand, they plan the launch for 2022, there is not much time left. So, we have received a request from Roscosmos structures to deliver relevant equipment to India”, Pozdnaykov said, without providing any details about the equipment.

Read more at: Sputnik news

The Rocket Engine for NASA’s New Orion Spacecraft Just Aced a Critical Test (Video)

The main rocket engine for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which the agency will launch around the moon in 2020 as part of the Artemis program, has just aced another milestone test. 

In a test on Aug. 5, the propulsion system for Orion’s service module fired continuously for 12 minutes, which simulated engine activity during an abort-to-orbit scenario. In this possible scenario, which would take place if Orion’s interim cryogenic propulsion stage (ICPS) didn’t correctly put the craft on a path to the moon, the service module would separate early from the ICPS and fire its boosters to get to a temporary orbit. 

Read more at:

Watch SpaceX Dragon launch pad escape system testing

A slide wire escape system has been undergoing tests at launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in readiness for the first SpaceX Crew Dragon flight to carry astronauts to the International Space Station. The system could be used by astronauts and ground crews to evacuate the launch pad in an emergency and is based on the one fitted during the Space Shuttle era but has been relocated further up the tower. The ride in the slide wire’s basket from the 265-foot level of the launch pad tower takes approximately 20 seconds to reach a landing zone about 1,200 feet (366 meters) away. From there crews could escape the pad area in an armored vehicle or seek shelter in a bunker.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Astronauts Test Out Their Sleek New SpaceX Flight Suits

Last week NASA released images of astronauts testing out SpaceX’s sleek, white and gray spacesuits.

Since NASA shuttered its space shuttle program in 2011, astronauts have hitched rides to the International Space Station on spacecraft launched from Russia. Now, the space agency is preparing to once again send astronauts into space aboard American rockets, likely in 2020 as part of its commercial crew collaboration with private companies SpaceX and Boeing. But unlike space shuttle crews of the past, the newest astronauts won’t be wearing those spiffy orange flight suits.

Read more at: Smithsonian

Chinese Linkspace Reaches 300 Meters With Launch And Landing Test

Chinese private firm Linkspace has performed its most ambitious launch and landing test so far amid a flurry of activity in the commercial launch vehicle sector.

Linkspace Aerospace Technology Group, a private launch company established in 2014, carried out its third low-altitude untethered launch and landing test of its RLV-T5 tech demonstrator 10:30 p.m. Eastern August 9, in the latest step in developing a reusable orbital launch vehicle.

Read more at: Spacenews

US Detect Explosion Of Old European Ariane 4 Rocket In Space

The Ariane-4 is a European disposable medium-class carrier rocket, which was used from 1988 to 2003. The rocket design was developed by the French National Centre for Space Research (CNES), produced by Arianspace.

The US Air Force’s Outer Space Monitoring Service spotted the explosion, in orbit, of the third stage of a European Ariane 4 space rocket, the 18th US Air Force’s outer space control squadron reported.

According to the report, the third stage of the Ariane 4 rocket exploded in orbit on 22 July; seven fragments were discovered. The stage exploded on its own, rather than due to a collision with some other object.

Read more at: Spacedaily

A New Timeline Of Earth’s Cataclysmic Past

Welcome to the early solar system. Just after the planets formed more than 4.5 billion years ago, our cosmic neighborhood was a chaotic place. Waves of comets, asteroids and even proto-planets streamed toward the inner solar system, with some crashing into Earth on their way. These impacts were so violent that they melted the rocks at the planet’s surface.

Now, a team led by CU Boulder geologist Stephen Mojzsis has laid out a new timeline for this violent period in our planet’s history.

Read more at: Colorado

Smallsat Companies Teaming Up On Deorbit Experiment

TriSept Corp. has announced plans for a commercial technology demonstration mission set for launch next year on a Rocket Lab Electron vehicle to test a deployable conductive tape, made by Tethers Unlimited, that could help small satellites more quickly fall out of orbit at the end of their missions.

The Dragracer mission, announced Aug. 5, will test a Terminator Tape device developed by Tethers Unlimited, headquartered near Seattle. TriSept, based in Virginia, specializes in planning, integrating and managing small satellite missions.

The Terminator Tape is a thin extendable tether designed to generate aerodynamic drag to accelerate the re-entry of small satellites, helping to prevent the creation of space junk.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Elon Musk Floats ‘Nuke Mars’ Idea Again (He Has T-Shirts)

Nuking Mars is still on Elon Musk’s wish list, it would seem.

Four years ago, the SpaceX founder and CEO went on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and discussed a strategy for making the Red Planet more livable: detonating nuclear bombs over its poles. The explosions would vaporize a fair chunk of Mars’ ice caps, liberating enough water vapor and carbon dioxide — both potent greenhouse gases — to warm up the planet substantially, the idea goes.

This terraforming concept is apparently still bouncing around in Musk’s head, because on Thursday (Aug. 15), he tweeted, seemingly unprompted, “Nuke Mars!” A few hours later, he followed up with another tweet: “T-shirt soon.”

Read more at:

Cosmic Radiation Levels Limit Mars Visits To Just Once-In-A-Lifetime Tour, Says Scientist

During the flight to Mars astronauts receive the maximum permissible dose of radiation of 1,000 millisieverts (mSv), so it would be possible to travel to the Red Planet only once in a lifetime, Head of radiation safety of space flights at the Institute of Biomedical Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, Vyacheslav Shurshakov said in an interview with TASS.

According to him, today there are strict standards for how much radiation an astronaut can take in his entire career – 1,000 mSv. “Strictly speaking, if you take these standards, astronauts can fly to Mars only once in their lifetime – there and back again.

Read more at: TASS

Russian Scientists Propose Polyethylene Helmet To Protect Cosmonauts From Cosmic Rays

Scientists believe that a helmet made of polyethylene will help protect cosmonauts’ brain from the impact of cosmic rays, Head of the Section for Manned Space Flight Radiation Safety at the Institute of Biomedical Problems, Candidate of Physico-Mathematical Sciences Vyacheslav Shurshakov told TASS on Thursday.

The success of deep space missions depends on the need to develop individual gear to protect cosmonauts from the impact of cosmic radiation. For example, heavy charged particles affect hippocampus in the brain, which causes central nervous system disorders, the scientist said.

Read more at: TASS

Adrian Steckel: The Rocketman Who’ll Launch 34 Satellites Every MONTH – And Beam Broadband Across Britain

Adrian Steckel does not seem like someone you would put your money on in a space race against billionaire rocketmen Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

The chief executive of British internet satellite company OneWeb does not sport a rock star leather jacket, nor lead a luxury lifestyle. And he has not harboured dreams of voyaging to space since he was a child. ‘I could see how space travel would be very appealing,’ says the 52-year-old New York-born businessman with a wry smile, hinting at the ambitions of his brash rivals.

Read more at: money

Extremely Bright Meteor In The Skies Over The Western-Central Mediterranean – August 16th, 2019

A very bright meteor appeared in the skies over the western-central Mediterranean yesterday evening, August 16th at around 22:43 CEST. Videos indicate a very significant event.

The fireball was likely significantly brighter than the full Moon, indicating a sizeable incoming meteoroid. It was a long-duration event, lasting over 4 seconds. The meteor reached peak brightness in a series of bright flares, which appear to have resulted in fragmentation of the meteoroid – several fragments are visible towards the end of the luminous path. It appears likely that the incoming meteoroid was comparatively slow and that the event may have resulted in a meteorite fall – into the Mediterranean sea.

Read more at: severe weather

Here Are Some Of The Gaping Holes In Elon Musk And Jeff Bezos’ Plans To Conquer Space

We are currently in the middle of a new space race, except this time it’s not between conflicting nation-states — it’s battling tech billionaires.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk both have their own space exploration companies: Blue Origin and SpaceX respectively. Both are seeking to pioneer re-usable rocket technology, and both have patterned with NASA for further research into space-flight.

But neither men are content to talk about near-term goals. Both have laid out grandiose visions for space colonization, and have even sparred with each other in trying to assert that their own plan is the best.

Read more at: business insider

Rockets, Risks, Rewards: A Look At The Economics Of Building Spaceport Camden

Camden County, on the Georgia coast, is known as the home of Cumberland Island and a naval submarine base, Kings Bay.

But the government wants to be known for something else, too: launching rockets.

Camden has spent about $6.7 million and about seven years on a plan for a spaceport. But the county is taking a big economic development bet on this vision of space jobs in coastal Georgia, despite little proof their proposed business model will work.

Read more at: wabe

NASA to Seek Review of International Space Station As National Laboratory

NASA has ordered a review of the nonprofit organization that oversees the U.S. laboratory on the International Space Station to evaluate its commercial strengths and weaknesses.

That organization, called the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space(CASIS) and sometimes known as the ISS National Laboratory, took over managing the facility in 2011. The review’s goal includes a “strategic pause” in the organization’s activities, according to a NASA document acquired by Space News. 

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The Human Side Of Space Exploration: Societal Benefits Of Spaceonomics

Many viewpoints of space exploration say that millions are being wasted on space programs, while societies are still struggling for basic amenities and rights, but spaceonomics has its societal benefits.

Space programs are increasing economic benefits, and not just in the commercial sector but also the social. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the implementation of space activities created new revenue streams for firms, often beyond the space sector. It’s spaceonomics with societal benefits.

Read more at: sociable

NASA Descends On Icelandic Lava Field To Prepare For Mars

To prepare for the next mission to Mars in 2020, NASA has taken to the lava fields of Iceland to get its new robotic space explorer ready for the job.

With its black basalt sand, wind-swept dunes and craggy peaks, the Lambahraun lava field at the foot of Iceland’s second biggest glacier, Langjokull, was chosen as a stand-in for the Red Planet’s surface.

For three weeks, 15 scientists and engineers sent by the US space agency descended on the site, 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the capital, Reykjavik, last month to develop a prototype.

Read more at: mars daily

Vulcan Centaur Rocket on Schedule for First Flight in 2021

At the United Launch Alliance (ULA) factory in Decatur, Alabama, production of the first Vulcan Centaur rocket continues, with shipment to the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida scheduled for late next year for processing in preparation for its first launch in 2021. 

“Atlas and Delta rockets have been the backbone of national security space launch for decades, building on a progressive history of technology development and advancement — Vulcan Centaur will advance this rich heritage,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. 

Read more at: ULA launch

China Successfully Conducts First Launch Of Smart Dragon-1 Small Satellite Launch Vehicle

For the fourth time in less than 10 months – and the second one to claim a successful flight – China has debuted a new small satellite launch vehicle based on solid rocket motors with a payload of less than one tonne to Low Earth Orbit. The Smart Dragon-1 (SD-1) rocket, also known by its Chinese name Jielong-1, lifted off from the mobile launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China today at 04:11 UTC. Chinese media has later declared the launch a success.

The Smart Dragon-1 (Jielong-1) is a small solid-fueled quick-reaction launch vehicle developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), complementing with the larger Long March 11 that has flown seven successful flights since September 2015.

Read more at: NASA Spaceflight

Mini-Shuttle Dream Chaser To Land At Kennedy Space Center

A familiar looking spaceplane will be seen around the Space Coast in the coming years. 

On Wednesday, Sierra Nevada Corporation announced its Dream Chaser “mini-shuttle” will launch on ULA’s future Vulcan Centaur rocket for the spacecraft’s six cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station. 

“SNC selected ULA because of our strong collaboration on the Dream Chaser program, their proven safety record and on-time performance,” SNC CEO Faith Ozmen said. “This is bringing America’s spaceplane and America’s rocket together for best-of-breed innovation and exploration.”

Read more at: Florida today

Catch Rockets With A Helicopter? Yep, That’s The Plan

IN THE SPAN of just four years, reusable rockets have gone from never-been-done to almost routine, at least at SpaceX. Blue Origin was the first to land a rocket booster, in 2015, after a suborbital flight to space. The following month, SpaceX landed the first-stage booster of a Falcon 9 rocket that had gone into orbit. Since then, SpaceX has landed boosters on drone ships in the ocean, and earlier this year it landed all three boosters from its Falcon Heavy rocket for the first time. If any other rocket maker hopes to compete, it has to figure out how to recover its own rockets too.

Read more at: Wired

BAE Wins DARPA Contract To Develop Machine Learning Technology For Space Operations  

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BAE Systems the second phase of an existing $12.8 million contract to develop digital tools to test and evaluate technologies for space command and control. The second phase focuses on the use of machine learning for space and situational awareness, the company announced Aug. 13.

BAE Systems originally won the contract for the Hallmark Tools, Capabilities, and Evaluation Methodology (Hallmark-TCEM) program in November 2017. The program is to help operators improve their understanding of space events and their ability to take actions in response to situations that might affect U.S. satellites in space.

Read more at: Spacenews

NASA Scientists and Astronauts Practice for Space Missions on the Seafloor

Since the earliest days of space training, NASA has submerged astronauts underwater to simulate the weightless experience of moving in microgravity. In 1966, for example, Buzz Aldrin practiced spacewalks with a mockup of a Gemini spacecraft in a large pool in Maryland to prepare for the Gemini 12 mission. In 1983, astronauts practiced moving around a full-scale model of the space shuttle’s cargo bay using the Johnson Space Center’s weightless environment training facility (WETF). The success of underwater training eventually prompted the creation of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory in Houston, the largest indoor body of water in the world, capable of holding models of major sections of the International Space Station. 

Read more at: Smithsonian

Newt Gingrich: We’re In A Space Race With China – We Must Win To Protect Our Economic And National Security

As the 2020 election campaign heats up, our trade conflict with China evolves, and we all become absorbed in other world events, it’s important that we do not lose track of a critical opportunity America has now to continue to lead the future of space travel.

Frankly, we are potentially at a turning point that could determine the future of our country – and all humankind. This is the topic of this weeks’ episode of my “Newt’s World” podcast.

As our legacy space companies and NASA continue to fumble around and protect their prized projects, China is aggressively seeking to overcome the United States as the dominant space- faring nation.

Read more at: Foxnews

‘We Want Our Country To Do It First’: A NASA Executive Says A US-China Mars Mission Is Not In The Cards

NASA is pressing to return astronauts to the moon in just five years, then launch the first crew to Mars in the 2030s.

The latter journey may cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars. But an agency executive says the US has no plans to share the hefty cost – and the immortal glory – of such a feat with China, a nation that has similar ambition and resources to put people on the red planet.

“There is still a space race where we want our country to do it first,” Jeff DeWit, NASA’s chief financial officer, recently told “Business Insider Today,” a top daily news show on Facebook, in July.

Read more at: Business insider

NASA Chief Alienates Senators Needed To Fund The Moon Program

When Jim Bridenstine became administrator of NASA 16 months ago, critics questioned his willingness to defend NASA’s climate science portfolio and his ability to move beyond the partisan politics that characterized his nearly three terms as a Republican from Oklahoma. Since that time, Bridenstine has largely answered those questions. He has stood up for science and sought to work across the aisle.

However, Bridenstine has stumbled where most thought he would succeed—selling and communicating NASA’s programs to Congress. In particular, the administrator appears to have angered some key Republican legislators who will be needed to support increasing funding for the agency’s Moon plans.

Read more at: Arstechnica

MSFC Wins Lunar Lander Program Despite Objections From Jsc Congressional Supporters

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will be in charge of developing landers to put humans back on the Moon despite objections from key members of Congress who wanted it assigned to Johnson Space Center (JSC) instead.  Marshall is in Alabama; JSC is in Texas. The clash is largely between politicians from those two states who want the jobs and prestige for their constituents.  NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine chose Marshall to manage the overall program plus two of the three vehicles needed for landing.  JSC will manage acquisition of the third vehicle.  Bridenstine sees it as a win for both Centers.

Read more at: Spacepolicy online

Duterte Signs Law Creating Philippine Space Agency

President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed into law Republic Act No. 11363 or the Philippine Space Act, which establishes both the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy.

Presidential Legislative Liaison Office Undersecretary Ryan Esteves confirmed this to Rappler on Tuesday, August 13, saying the law was signed on August 8.

Dr Rogel Mari Sese, astrophysicist and the prime advocate of the policy, said on his Facebook post, “This landmark law is unique since it creates both Agency and Policy at the same time.”

Read more at: Rappler

A More Secure Space Weapons System Starts with Cyber

As modern weapons systems become more automated and connected, they become more vulnerable to cyber threats: attacks on IP addresses, radio frequency (RF) manipulation, supply chain risk, human error (e.g., downloading a malicious attachment), and more. Unfortunately, much of today’s systems were never designed with these kinds of attacks in mind—or even cybersecurity in general.

Cybersecurity is particularly complicated for defense systems in the space sector. For starters, the attack surface presents a unique cybersecurity challenge. 

Read more at: Spacenews

Will Small Satellites Help Stop Big Threats?

The Air Force’s primary early warning missile system could one day use small satellites to assist in the work,.

Speaking at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event, Col. Dennis Bythewood, program executive officer for space development at the Space and Missile Systems Center. said DATE that the service was considering using a setup comprised of hundreds of satellites for the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system.

Read more at: c4isrnet

N. Korea Fires Missiles, Rejects Further Talks With South

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles into the sea on Friday and launched a scathing attack on “foolish” calls for dialogue from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, rejecting further peace talks with Seoul.

It was the sixth round of launches in recent weeks in protest at ongoing joint military drills between Seoul and the US. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has described the tests as a “solemn warning” to the South.

Pyongyang has routinely expressed anger at the war games, which it considers rehearsals for invasion, but in the past has avoided carrying out tests while the manoeuvres are taking place.

Read more at: Spacedaily

Milestone For The Future Of Networked Satellite Communications

With the launch of the first EDRS-C communications satellite on 6 August 2019, a milestone has been reached for the EDRS system. EDRS is a globally unique network of geostationary relay satellites that can deliver data volumes of up to 1.8 gigabits per second to Earth with minimal delay using laser communications. The system is a public-private partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Prime Contractor, Airbus.

With an investment of approximately 235 million euro (61 percent), Germany is the main contributor to this ESA programme. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Space Administration manages this contribution, using funds made available by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), on behalf of the German Federal Government.

Read more at: Spacewar

With Congressional Blessing, Space Force Is Closer To Launch

It started as a joke. Early last year, President Trump riffed on an idea he called “Space Force” before a crowd of Marines in San Diego.

It drew laughs, but the moment was a breakthrough for a plan that had languished for nearly 20 years.

“I said maybe we need a new force, we’ll call it the Space Force,” Trump said at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in March 2018. “And I was not really serious. Then I said, ‘What a great idea, maybe we’ll have to do that.'”

Read more at: NPR

Russia Urges All Countries To Prevent Arms Race In Outer Space — Diplomat

Moscow calls on the global community to develop consensus measures to keep outer space free from weapons, which will contribute to strengthening peace and security, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other international organizations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said at a plenary meeting of the Conference on Disarmament on Wednesday.

“We call on all states to have a meaningful, constructive conversation to prevent an arms race in outer space with a view to jointly developing consensus measures to keep outer space free from weapons and thereby strengthen international peace and global security,” the diplomat said.

Read more at: TASS

A New Military Branch For The Final Frontier

Both the House and Senate are moving legislation to stand up a military branch focused on space operations. The House wants a Space Corps that falls under the Air Force (similar to the Navy-Marine Corps model), while the Senate wants a fully independent Space Force (similar to how the Air Force was separated from the Army after World War II). Those differences will be worked out in the conference-committee process. The good news is that, whether Congress labels it a “Space Corps” or “Space Force,” the United States will soon have a branch solely dedicated to defending America’s interests and assets in space.

Read more at: Legion

Russia Space Agency Develops Stealth Technology for Satellites

Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos has patented the technology protecting satellites from being detected by optical means, according to the database of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property (Rospatent).

“The invention relates to methods of concealment and can be used to reduce a spacecraft’s signature in the visible spectrum”, the description of the invention in the patent says.

Read more at: Sputnik news

Air Force, Anticipating 48 Launches A Year, Making Changes At Cape Canaveral

In the 1960s, after a World War II-era V-2 rocket launched from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and crashed into a cemetery three miles away from a populated business district, the federal government decided to step in. 

From then on, the government would oversee every launch. The Eastern Range, which oversees Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center, was born.

“The government stepped in and said, ‘Hey, we don’t want this crashing in any buildings or any people, so let’s get somebody involved,'” the 45th Space Wing’s Lt. Jack Brown said during a media event at the Cape’s Morrell Operations Center. “So that’s kind of where the range started.” 

Read more at: Florida today

Regional Leaders Meet To Discuss Vandenberg Spaceport 

As the race into space accelerates between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, the competition to become the next space-launch site is ramping up as well.

Alarmed by competitors who are chipping away at California’s dominance in the space industry, 40 Central Coast regional leaders met Friday (Aug. 9) to map out strategic actions to ensure a prominent role for the Central Coast in the fast-growing commercial space-launch industry.

The workshop and the underlying research informing the group was conducted by Deloitte and sponsored by the Hourglass Project.

Read more at: Pasorobles

Blue Origin Protests Plan To Pick 2 Defense Launch Providers

Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin filed a formal protest with the Government Accountability Office today over the Air Force’s plan for the next round of federal funding for national security satellite launches.

Under an Air Force Request for Proposals (RFP), two companies would split new five-year launch contracts worth billions of dollars to launch 34 satellites to upgrade American defense assets in space. Having that assured market will also provide financial security to the selected companies as the satellite launch market shakes out.

Read more at: Al

Bolton Says Russia ‘Stole’ Us Hypersonic Technology

The senior White House official made the highly contentious claims while commenting on the recent explosion at a military facility in Russia’s Arkhangelsk region involving the testing of an unspecified “new piece of armament,” which the US has alleged was a new Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile.

Russia’s new hypersonic glide vehicle and hypersonic cruise missile systems are “largely” a rip-off of American technology, US National Security Advisor John Bolton has claimed.

In an interview with US media on Wednesday on the recent deadly explosion during work on a liquid-propellant rocket engine at a military test site in northwest Russia, Bolton suggested that while the test demonstrated that “something obviously has gone badly wrong here,” it also showed that Russia was “still spending enough on defence to not only modernise their nuclear arsenal, to build new kinds of delivery vehicles, hypersonic glide vehicles, hypersonic cruise missiles, largely stolen from American technology.”

Read more at: Spacedaily

The Small Sat Solution To Hypersonic Weapons, Explained

Hypersonic weapons break all the rules of the missile defense game.

With speeds surpassing Mach 5 and the ability to maneuver mid-flight, hypersonic weapons defy the missile defense status quo, potentially making the United States’ current defenses obsolete. China and Russia are vigorously pursuing hypersonic weapons, and the United States is desperate to neutralize them.

“China is also developing increasingly sophisticated ballistic missile warheads and hypersonic glide vehicles in an attempt to counter ballistic missile defense systems,” Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley said in his March 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment.

Read more at: c4isrnet

Disgraced Aabar Investments CEO Sentenced to Prison

You might call him the crook that fell to Earth.

Ten years ago, Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny was sitting next to Sir Richard Branson at the Oshkosh air show signing a deal on behalf of Abu Dhabi to invest $280 million in the British billionaire’s space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic.

The wealthy CEO of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, aabar investments, likely had dreams of gazing down on Earth while floating in space aboard Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo.

Read more at: Parabolic arc

SpaceX’s Elon Musk Endorses Democratic Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang just picked up a big endorsement for his underdog 2020 presidential bid.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk voiced his support over the weekend for Yang, a 44-year-old entrepreneur who’s seeking to become the Democratic Party’s candidate in the 2020 presidential election.

“I support Yang,” Musk said via Twitter on Saturday (Aug. 10), in response to a tweet from Dan Carlin, the host of the popular “Hardcore History” podcast.

Read more at:

Before He Was a Rocket Engineer for Nazi Germany, Von Braun Was a Student Experimenting on Mice

Today, Wernher von Braun is remembered as a rocket engineer who spent his career singlemindedly focused on enabling human spaceflight, first for Nazi Germany and then for the U.S.

But everyone has a past, and long before his career took off, von Braun was a student, unsurprisingly enough. Even then, he was obsessed with spaceflight, according to an account written decades later by a friend he met in 1931 that recently stumbled upon.

That friend, Constantine D. J. Generales Jr.,  recounts that at first he was overwhelmed by von Braun’s focus on spaceflight during a brief meeting over lunch in Zurich. “After the usual exchange of amenities, he unexpectedly turned the conversation to rockets, and of all things, of using them to get to the moon,” Generales later wrote.

Read more at:

American, Southwest Airlines Bump More Passengers After 737 MAX Grounding

American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co are bumping thousands of passengers off airplanes after their Boeing 737 MAX fleet’s was grounded in mid-March following two fatal crashes.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported Thursday that American denied seats to 69,924 passengers voluntarily in the first six months of 2019, up from 28,409 in the same period last year, while involuntarily denying boarding to 5,022 passengers, up from 678 in the same period last year.

Read more at: Reuters

New FAA Head: Boeing 737 Max Won’t Fly Until I’m Assured It Is Safe

The new FAA head gave comments on Boeing’s 737 Max and when it could return to the skies. CNBC Phil LeBeau reports.

Read more at: CNBC

11th IAASS conference