Marc Boucher: July 2014 Archives

AIAA Town Hall: We Need Talent for the Vision, SpaceRef Business

"After a long day of plenaries and technical sessions there was one last event in the evening for participants at this years AIAA Propulsion and Energy Conference, the Town Hall with a theme of "Where's MY Apollo Vision for the Future?"

... The young professionals in attendance, mostly engineers, were treated to an expert panel of rocket engineers who came to share their experience and offer some practical career tips."

Related:

- AIAA Propulsion and Energy Conference: Relevance Drives the Speed of Technology Development and Transition

- AIAA Propulsion and Energy Conference: For Systems Engineers, It's all About the Architecture

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Sunshield Stacks Up to Test, NASA

"The Sunshield on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is the largest part of the observatory--five layers of thin membrane that must unfurl reliably in space to precise tolerances. Last week, for the first time, engineers stacked and unfurled a full-sized test unit of the Sunshield and it worked perfectly."

NASA Seeks Proposals for Commercial Mars Data Relay Satellites, NASA

"NASA has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to investigate the possibility of using commercial Mars-orbiting satellites to provide telecommunications capabilities for future robotic missions to the Red Planet.

"We are looking to broaden participation in the exploration of Mars to include new models for government and commercial partnerships," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "Depending on the outcome, the new model could be a vital component in future science missions and the path for humans to Mars."

AGU: Voyager Spacecraft Might Not Have Reached Interstellar Space, AGU

"In 2012, the Voyager mission team announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft had passed into interstellar space, traveling further from Earth than any other manmade object.

But, in the nearly two years since that historic announcement, and despite subsequent observations backing it up, uncertainty about whether Voyager 1 really crossed the threshold continues. There are some scientists who say that the spacecraft is still within the heliosphere - the region of space dominated by the Sun and its wind of energetic particles - and has not yet reached the space between the stars."

NASA Responds: NASA Voyager Statement About Solar Wind Models

"A paper recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters describes an alternate model for the interaction between the heliosphere -- a "bubble" around our planets and sun -- and the interstellar medium. It also proposes a test for whether Voyager 1 has, indeed, left the heliosphere.

NASA's Voyager project scientist, Ed Stone of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, responds."

Related: Voyager 1 stories on SpaceRef

Landsat's Global Perspective Over 40 Years, NASA

"On July 23rd, 1972, the first Landsat spacecraft launched into orbit. At the time, it was called "Earth Resources Technology Satellite," or ERTS, and was the first satellite to use a scanning spectrophotometer.

...

Celebrating this anniversary, this video is a "greatest hits" montage of Landsat data. Throughout the decades, Landsat satellites have given us a detailed view of the changes to Earth's land surface."

SpaceX Releases ORBCOMM First Stage Return Video, SpaceRef Business

"Following last week's successful launch of six ORBCOMM satellites, the Falcon 9 rocket's first stage reentered Earth's atmosphere and soft landed in the Atlantic Ocean. This test confirms that the Falcon 9 booster is able consistently to reenter from space at hypersonic velocity, restart main engines twice, deploy landing legs and touch down at near zero velocity."

Budget Stalled, Again

Republicans Prep Short-Term Funding to Keep Government Open Through Election Day, National Journal

"Abandoning all pretense of the House and Senate agreeing on appropriations bills on time, House GOP leaders are tentatively planning to vote next week on a resolution keeping the government temporarily funded at current levels beyond the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year--and probably past Election Day."

Marc's note: Here we go again. Thanks to Jeff Foust for the tip.

VIDEO: Russian Cargo Ship Departs the International Space Station

"Three months after delivering 2 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 40 crew, the unpiloted Russian ISS Progress 55 cargo ship undocked from the International Space Station July 21."

VIDEO: NASA Renames Historic Facility in Honor of Neil Armstrong, NASA

"During a ceremony at Kennedy Space Center on Monday, July 21, NASA renamed the center's Operations and Checkout Building in honor of late astronaut Neil Armstrong, who passed away in 2012."

SpaceWorks Releases Global Launch Vehicle Market Assessment Report for Nano and Microsatellites, SpaceRef Business

"SpaceWorks has released a mini-study "Global Launch Vehicle Market Assessment, A study of launch services for nano/microsatellites in 2013". The reports aims to capture the growing number of future nano/microsatellite missions requiring a launch."

Marc's note: I received an email from Spaceworks to clarify that is not their annual assessment but rather a mini-study they conducted.

NASA Releases Space Commerce Monograph

"NASA has released a new monograph "Historical Analogs for the Stimulation of Space Commerce" in the Monographs in Aerospace History series (no. 54)."

The Eagle Prepares to Land, NASA

"The Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle, in a landing configuration was photographed in lunar orbit from the Command and Service Module Columbia. Inside the module were Commander Neil A. Armstrong and Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin."

National Research Council Report Says It's Too Soon for 3-D Printing to Significantly Enhance Space Operations, SpaceRef Business

"A National Research Council report, 3D Printing in Space, says it's too soon for 3-D Printing to significantly enhance space operations. Released today, the report includes several recommendations including that NASA and the Air Force should jointly cooperate, possibly with other agencies and industry, "to to research, identify, develop, and gain consensus on standard qualification and certification methodologies for different applications."

"Many of the claims made in the popular press about this technology have been exaggerated." said Robert Latiff, chair of the committee that wrote the report, president of Latiff Associates, and a former Air Force Major General. "For in-space use, the technology may provide new capabilities, but it will serve as one more tool in the toolbox, not a magic solution to tough space operations and manufacturing problems. However, right now NASA and the Air Force have a tremendous resource in the form of the International Space Station," Latiff added. "Perfecting this technology in space will require human interaction, and the Space Station already provides the infrastructure and the skilled personnel who can enable that to happen."

Related: Too Soon for 3-D Printing to Significantly Enhance Space Operations, Report Says, National Research Council

Made In Space 3D Printer Gets Green Light from NASA for Launch, SpaceRef Business

A Few Apollo 11 Videos

Video Archive: Looking Back at Apollo 11 45 Years Ago, SpaceRef

"NASA is marking the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing this month. Here in a series of videos from the archives are some of the events of that fateful mission."

Marc's note: The post now includes a restored Apollo 11 EVA just released today.

House members press NASA for information on "epidemic of anomalies" with SpaceX missions, Space Politics

"Three members of Congress from Alabama and Colorado have asked NASA to provide information on what they receive to be an "epidemic of anomalies" on missions performed by SpaceX."

Coffman Presses NASA for Transparency on SpaceX

"Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), along with Representative Cory Gardner (R-CO), sent a letter to the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) expressing strong concerns over anomalies that have occurred on taxpayer-funded space launch vehicles, and the lack of public disclosure or transparency of these anomalies. The letter expresses concern over an epidemic of anomalies that have occurred during SpaceX launches or launch attempts, and communicates frustrations with NASA's refusal to provide insight into those mishaps. "

U.K. Government Paves Way for Spaceport [With Video], SpaceRef Business

"The UK's bid to become Europe's leading space nation took a giant leap forward today as government revealed the 8 locations now under consideration to base Britain's first spaceport.

Speaking at Farnborough Air Show's 'Space Day', Aviation Minister Robert Goodwill and Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency Dr David Parker unveiled the findings of a recent Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report highlighting 8 possible airfields that could host a spaceport and the economic opportunities it could open up for the UK."

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Message, SpaceRef

Marc's Note: It's hard to believe that it's been 45 years since Apollo 11. I was five years old and glued to my television like so many other people. That moment in time provided inspiration to countless people around the world.

SpaceX Private Spaceport in Texas Another Step Closer After FAA Decision, SpaceRef Business

"In providing a favorable environmental ruling for SpaceX's proposed private spaceport in Cameron County, Texas last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) decision brings SpaceX one step closer realizing its goal. SpaceX has been pretty coy as to where it would build its private spaceport with Texas being the frontrunner but with other locations always in the mix including Florida, Puerto Rico and other Texas counties."

Office of Commercial Space Transportation Notice of Approval on a Record of Decision for SpaceX Texas Launch Site, Cameron County, TX

"The ROD provides the FAA's final environmental determination and approval to support the issuance of launch licenses and/or experimental permits that would allow Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) to launch the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy orbital vertical launch vehicles and a variety of reusable suborbital launch vehicles from a launch site on privately owned property in Cameron County, Texas, as proposed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) published in May 2014."

NASA Cargo Launches to Space Station aboard Orbital Sciences Resupply Mission

"A multitude of NASA research investigations, crew provisions, hardware and science experiments from across the country is headed to the International Space Station aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus spacecraft. The cargo craft launched aboard Orbital's Antares rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 12:52 p.m. EDT Sunday. "

Antares Launched (video)

Orbital Antares Launch Postponed to July 13, Orbital

"Orbital announced this morning that the launch of the Antares rocket for the Orb-2 Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station for NASA has been rescheduled for Sunday, July 13 at 12:52 p.m. EDT.

Over the past several days, Orbital's launch team has made great progress in preparing the rocket for the Orb-2 mission, which will be the fourth flight of Antares in the past 15 months.

However, severe weather in the Wallops area has repeatedly interrupted the team's normal operational schedule leading up to the launch. As a result, these activities have taken longer than expected."

Ocean on Saturn's Moon Titan Could be as Salty as the Dead Sea, NASA

"Scientists analyzing data from NASA's Cassini mission have firm evidence the ocean inside Saturn's largest moon, Titan, might be as salty as the Earth's Dead Sea.

The new results come from a study of gravity and topography data collected during Cassini's repeated flybys of Titan during the past 10 years. Using the Cassini data, researchers presented a model structure for Titan, resulting in an improved understanding of the structure of the moon's outer ice shell. The findings are published in this week's edition of the journal Icarus."

NASA and Boeing Sign Space Launch System Contract, Boeing

"Boeing has finalized a contract with NASA to develop the core stage of the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built and destined to propel America's return to human exploration of deep space.

The $2.8 billion contract validates Boeing's earlier selection as the prime contractor on the SLS core stage, including the avionics, under an undefinitized contract authorization. In addition, Boeing has been tasked to study the SLS Exploration Upper Stage, which will further expand mission range and payload capabilities."

NNASA Launches New Carbon-Sensing Mission to Monitor Earth's Breathing [Watch], SpaceRef

"NASA successfully launched its first spacecraft dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide at 2:56 a.m. PDT (5:56 a.m. EDT) Wednesday."

"The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) raced skyward from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket. Approximately 56 minutes after the launch, the observatory separated from the rocket's second stage into an initial 429-mile (690-kilometer) orbit. The spacecraft then performed a series of activation procedures, established communications with ground controllers and unfurled its twin sets of solar arrays. Initial telemetry shows the spacecraft is in excellent condition."


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