29Apr2015

News Briefs – Breaking Stories – Oddities

News

A weekly addition of some of the more unusual stories and discoveries in space & astronomy from around the world. Updated daily for those wanting a quick update of current events so keep checking back for all the latest space news.


A Spy Satellite Buzzed the Space Station this Month, But Why

About six weeks ago, SpaceX launched a spy satellite into low Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. As is normal for National Reconnaissance Office launches, not much information was divulged about the satellite’s final orbit or its specific purpose in space. However, a dedicated group of ground-based observers continued to track the satellite after it reached outer space.

Then something curious happened. In early June, the satellite made an extremely close pass to the International Space Station. One of the amateur satellite watchers, Ted Molczan, estimated the pass on June 3 to be 4.4km directly above the station. Another, Marco Langbroek, pegged the distance at 6.4km. “I am inclined to believe that the close conjunctions between USA 276 and ISS are intentional, but this remains unproven and far from certain,” Molczan later wrote.

Read more at: ArsTechnica

Russian Rocket Sparks Deadly Fire: How it Happened

After a successful launch of Russia’s Progress cargo spacecraft headed to the International Space Station, falling fragments caused a fire on Kazakhstan’s steppes, killing one and injuring another who tried to extinguish the fire.

The uncrewed Progress spacecraft launched toward the International Space Station yesterday (June 14) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where the craft deployed its solar arrays and began its long series of orbits to rendezvous with the space station.

The fire started 375 miles (600 kilometers) away from the launch site, as the rocket’s discarded first stage fell back to Earth, according to a BBC report and Russian Space Web. The area was the planned drop zone for the rocket stages, but a strong gust of wind over the flames proved fatal to a worker extinguishing the fire, and another was hospitalized with serious burns.

Read more at: Space.com

Russian Space Launch Death Stirs Kazakh Resentment

The launch of the Progress MS-06 supply mission to the International Space Station on 14 June from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan has been touted as a technical success by Russian operator Roscosmos.

But as the TASS news agency reports, an employee of the Russian company tasked with overseeing the areas where the rocket stages of the Soyuz-2 1a launcher fall to Earth was killed while trying to extinguish a fire on the local steppe. The Kazakh Tengrinews website says the fire at the drop site near Zhezkazgan, some 600 km (375 miles) from the launch site, was caused by the falling rocket fragments.

News of the man’s death was met with dismay from Kazakh social media users. “Russia is launching its rockets and our people are running around in their own land and putting out fires. It is ridiculous,” said one user. Another blamed Russia for the death: “It would be better if the rocket had fallen on the Kremlin.”

Read more at: BBC

Russia to Orbit Over 70 Small Satellites for First Time

Over 70 small satellites will be orbited by a Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket together with a Fregat booster as associated payload under the Kanopus-V-IK space mission, Glavcosmos, the Russian operator of launch services, said on its website on Wednesday. The launch is scheduled from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on July 14, Glavcosmos said.

“Overall, 73 satellites will be launched as part of the Kanopus-V-IK mission. The Fregat acceleration unit will deliver the Kanopus-V-IK satellite and associated small satellites into three different orbits, with the subsequent de-orbiting of the booster. The mission of such complexity will be implemented for the first time in the history of the launch of small satellites,” Glavcosmos said in a statement.

Read more at: TASS

Orion Kicks Off Summer with Series of Safety Tests

Engineers working on NASA’s Orion kicked off summer with a series of important tests for some of the spacecraft’s critical safety systems. In the Utah desert, the skies over Arizona and the water at Johnson Space Center in Houston, the team is making sure Orion is safe from launch to splashdown.

At the Promontory, Utah, facility of Orion subcontractor Orbital ATK, engineers tested the abort motor for Orion’s launch abort system June 15, firing the 17-foot tall motor for five seconds. The motor was fastened to a vertical test stand with its nozzles pointed toward the sky for the test. It produced enough thrust to lift 66 large SUVs off the ground and helps qualify the system for future missions with astronauts.

Read more at: Space Daily

SpaceX Aims to Restore Damaged Launch Pad to Service by End of Summer

Construction crews at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad are busily repairing and upgrading the facility after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded there last year, with the pad’s return to service scheduled before the end of the summer, clearing the way for final preparations for the triple-core Falcon Heavy’s maiden flight late this year.

Once pad 40 is ready for launches again, SpaceX will have two active pads in Florida to help the company ramp up its launch rate. All of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 flights from Florida since a rocket explosion at pad 40 on Sept. 1 have taken off from pad 39A, an Apollo- and shuttle-era launch complex at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

The resumption of launches from pad 40 will allow SpaceX to complete modifications of nearby pad 39A for the Falcon Heavy. Officials rushed pad 39A into service earlier this year for Falcon 9 flights last year’s explosion left pad 40 unusable.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Cone of Fire: Orbital ATK Tests Rocket Motor for Orion Astronaut Escape System

A cone-shaped plume of fire and smoke erupted from the floor of the Utah desert today (June 15), during a static test fire of a rocket motor for NASA’s next-generation Orion human spacecraft.

The motor will be part of the Orion abort launch system, which would jettison the crew capsule to safety if something went wrong with the primary rocket during launch. The motor rested in a specially designed test stand so that the columns of flame from the engines’ four nozzles shot skyward, reaching an expected height of 100 feet (30 meters).

The test took place on schedule at 1 p.m. MDT (3 p.m. EDT/1900 GMT), at Orbital ATK’s facility in Corinne, Utah, about 80 miles (128 kilometers) north and slightly west of Salt Lake City.

Read more at: Space.com

Virgin Orbit’s Newly-minted CEO will Use Psychology to Launch Satellites Faster Than Anyone Else

Building a rocket is as much as an art as a science, according to Dan Hart, the newly-minted CEO of Virgin Orbit, one of a number of new launch-vehicle companies aiming to ride a wave of investment in small satellite businesses.

Hart, a long-time Boeing executive, joined Virgin Galactic, the space company financed by entrepreneur Richard Branson, earlier this year. Now, with Virgin Orbit spinning out as a stand-alone firm as Branson’s space companies focus on bringing products to market after years of delays, Hart is formally being made the company’s chief executive.

The split with Galactic, which is working on its own vehicle to fly tourists into space, results in a company more likely to provide an immediate business impact to its backers.

Read more at: QZ

What Ails the Navigation Indian Constellation

The clocks on the first satellite, IRNSS-1A had failed in June 2016, affecting the accuracy of the “GPS”. ISRO is trying to rectify this problem.

Navigation Indian Constellation (NavIC) is an independent Indian satellite-based positioning system for critical national applications. The purpose is to provide “reliable position, navigation and timing services over India and its neighbourhood.” NavIC consists of a constellation of seven satellites and was named so by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Three of the satellites are in a geostationary orbit and four in a geosynchronous one. This means they will be visible at all times in the Indian region. All the seven satellites of NavIC, namely, IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, ID,1E, 1F and 1G were successfully launched on July 2, 2013, April 4, 2014, October. 16, 2014, March 28, 2015, January. 20, 2016, March 10, 2016 and April 28, 2016 respectively.

Read more at: Hindu

Boeing, DARPA to Base XS-1 Spaceplane at Cape Canaveral

A reusable suborbital spaceplane the size of a business jet being developed by Boeing and the Defense Department’s research and development arm could be launching and landing at Cape Canaveral in 2020, officials said after the defense contractor won a competition last month to design and test the vehicle.

Designed for rapid reusability, the XS-1 spaceplane will take off vertically like a rocket — without a crew — deploy an upper stage after traveling beyond the edge of space, then return to landing on a runway for inspections and reuse.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, selected Boeing to finish designing the spaceplane last month. Boeing beat competitors Northrop Grumman and Masten Space Systems to win the $146 million contract.

Read more at: Spaceflight Now

Keeping the Rhythm in Space

Space is an inhospitable environment for the human body but we adapt remarkably well. Within hours, the brain adjusts to the lack of an up or down, as if floating is all it has ever known. Now researchers are learning how our internal clock similarly adjusts to the restrictions of space. An ESA-sponsored experiment has found that while you can take the body out of Earth, you can’t take an Earth-based rhythm out of the body.

Circadian rhythms describe the changes our bodies undergo over about 24 hours. This internal clock is regulated by core temperature, which tells our bodies when its day or night and triggers systems such as metabolism and the sleep cycle. On Earth, our core temperature is a steady 37°C, with half a degree decrease in the early morning and increase in the early evening.

Read more at: ESA

Company Aims to Launch Satellite-Servicing Spacecraft in 2020

Just three years from now, a fleet of small robotic spacecraft could be cruising the space around Earth repairing and moving satellites, under the plans of a United Kingdom-based startup.

London-based Effective Space Solutions, which is developing the 770-lb. (350 kilograms) servicing craft, said that the time is ripe to help satellite operators slash costs and maintain order in increasingly cluttered Earth orbit.

Speaking at the U.K. Space Conference in Manchester in early June, Effective Space Solutions Vice President Daniel Campbell said the privately funded company is confident it can meet the three-year timeline and is already seeing interest from satellite operators.

Read more at: Space.com

Cloudy with a Chance of Radiation: NASA Studies Simulated Radiation

In each life a little rain must fall, but in space, one of the biggest risks to astronauts’ health is radiation “rain”. NASA’s Human Research Program (HRP) is simulating space radiation on Earth following upgrades to the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. These upgrades help researchers on Earth learn more about the effects of ionizing space radiation to help keep astronauts safe on a journey to Mars.

Radiation is one of the most dangerous risks to humans in space, and one of the most challenging to simulate here on Earth. The risk to human health significantly increases when astronauts travel beyond Lower Earth Orbit (LEO) outside the magnetosphere.

Read more at: Eurekalert

Suborbital Space Race? Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin will Get There When They Get There

There are a few things a would-be suborbital space tourist must have. One, obviously, is a bank account large enough to afford the six-figure ticket price for a spaceflight. He or she also needs a tolerance of the risks inherent in spaceflight and be in at least decent health to handle the g-forces of launch and reentry. Perhaps most importantly, though, a space tourist needs patience.

More than a decade ago, Virgin Galactic started selling tickets for suborbital flights of SpaceShipTwo, still in its early phases of development. They started with a group of 100 customers, called “Founders,” who paid $200,000 up front. Among those Founders is Namira Salim, a Pakistani-born artist and adventurer who has traveled to both the North and South Poles.

Neither Salim nor any other Founder customers have flown to space yet. However, Salim is not impatient. “Yes, it has taken a bit longer,” she said in an interview in Washington in May after an event by her foundation, Space Trust. “I’ve never complained because, you know, we have to do it right.”

Read more at: Space News

Capital Contributions | Space Tourism Investment Prospects in the Near Future

By all accounts, 2018 should be the year of the space tourist.

Like the Chicago Cubs who endured decades of “wait until next year,” credibly both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic should be positioned to fly paying passengers in late 2018. How will a successful commercial flight impact the economics of space tourism? What is the demand for such flights?

One key question for the space tourism industry is will there be repeat flyers? That is, until space tourism is a destination-based business (e.g. flights to a private space station or to the moon) will flyers pay to fly more than once after they have earned their astronaut wings? The answer to this is likely very dependent on the experience itself.

Read more at: Space News

Study: Collateral Damage from Cosmic Rays Increases Cancer Risk for Mars Astronauts

The cancer risk for a human mission to Mars has effectively doubled following a UNLV study predicting a dramatic increase in the disease for astronauts traveling to the red planet or on long-term missions outside the protection of Earth’s magnetic field.

The findings appeared in the May issue of Scientific Reports and were presented by UNLV scientist Francis Cucinotta, a leading scholar on radiation and space physics.

Previous studies have shown the health risks from galactic cosmic ray exposure to astronauts include cancer, central nervous system effects, cataracts, circulatory diseases and acute radiation syndromes. Cosmic rays, such as iron and titanium atoms, heavily damage the cells they traverse because of their very high rates of ionization.

Read more at: Unlv

Branson Back to Making Predictions About SpaceShipTwo’s Schedule

Now that the second SpaceShipTwo Unity has five glide flights under its belt, the “we’ll fly when we’re ready, we don’t make predictions” era appears to be officially over at Virgin Galactic.

“I certainly would be very disappointed if I don’t go up next year. And I would hope it’s earlier than later in the year,” Richard Branson told British GQ. “The programme says that we should be [testing] in space by December, as long as we don’t have any setbacks between now and then.”

The prohibition on Sir Richard making schedule predictions was imposed after the ‘we’ll have a new ship ready to fly in six months’ estimate following the crash of the first SpaceShipTwo on Halloween 2014 turned out to be only so much hot air. (It took about two years.)

Read more at: Parabolic Arc

World View Signs Up Unconventional Customer for Stratospheric Balloon Test Flight

World View, the company developing high-altitude long-lived balloons for communications, remote sensing and other applications frequently provided by satellites, has found a very different customer for its next test flight.

The Tucson, Arizona-based company announced June 13 that Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), the fast-food chain, will fly a payload on its next “stratollite” balloon test flight, scheduled for no earlier than June 21 from a site east of Tucson. That flight will be the first extended-duration flight of the company’s balloon system, slated to last four days or more.

Taber MacCallum, WorldView co-founder and chief technology officer, said in a conference call with reporters that this flight is intended to be a “shakedown cruise” of the company’s stratollite system, which will allow balloons to operate for months at a time in the stratosphere.

Read more at: Space News

Why aren’t the Van Allen Belts a Barrier to Spaceflight?

So there are two questions mixed up in here – the first is about traversing the atmosphere without burning up, and the second about traversing the Van Allen belts.

It’s true that re-entering the atmosphere from space is a delicate business, and there are only a few safe paths to do so. The atmosphere, as easily as we move through it on the surface of the Earth, can pose a significant barrier to fast-moving objects. Air resistance is a major factor in designing everything from cars to parachutes to space shuttles. If you’ve ever been out in high winds, you’ve felt the kind of barrier wind can produce to your own motion, and how much force it takes to move in resistance to it.

Read more at: Forbes

Boeing, Apple Could Build a Parallel Internet in Space

Here’s a match made in heaven, or at least low Earth orbit: Boeing’s (BA) aerospace expertise combined with Apple’s (AAPL) consumer-product savvy. If the two form a partnership to provide broadband access via thousands of satellites, it could transform how you – and the machines that surround your life – will connect to the internet.

Boeing already has a plan to develop, launch and operate a constellation of 3,000 satellites in low Earth orbit. Apple is reportedly in talks with Boeing to be an investor-partner in the project. With Apple on board, hundred-year-old Boeing could beat out the likes of Facebook (FB), Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google and Tesla (TSLA) co-founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX in the race to create a new internet in space and capture hundreds of billions of dollars.

Read more at: investors

China’s Robotic Cargo Ship Completes 2nd Auto-Refueling Test in Space

China’s Tiangong-2 space lab and Tianzhou-1 vehicle have completed a second refueling test, Chinese space officials said.

This second robotic refueling trial wrapped up Thursday (June 15) after about two days “and cemented technical results from the first refueling,” according to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency.

Tianzhou-1, China’s first cargo spacecraft, was lofted into Earth orbit on April 20 from the Wenchang spaceport in south China’s Hainan Province. The freighter’s first auto-docking with Tiangong-2 took place on April 22, followed by the two spacecraft completing their first in-orbit refueling on April 27.

Read more at: Space.com

Electric-Powered Lunar Space Tug Could Facilitate Future Moon Missions

As NASA considers sending astronauts deeper into the solar system, one major barrier will be cost. Launching cargo from Earth is expensive, which is why the Apollo program that brought crews to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s cost the equivalent of $109 billion in 2010 dollars.

To make moon flights cheaper, a new paper proposes using an electrically powered lunar space tug that would operate between Earth and the moon, carrying logistics modules with supplies for a lunar space station. The research was recently published in Acta Astronautica. This is a different vision from NASA’s present plans for lunar exploration.

Read more at: Seeker

Amendment May Keep Iran-Russia Sanctions Bill from Stopping ISS Launches From Wallops

An Iran-Russia sanctions bill threatened to torpedo Orbital ATK’s commercial resupply missions for NASA from Virginia to the International Space Station until an amendment cleared the U.S. Senate Thursday to remove the bill’s unintended consequences to civilian agencies.

Senators voted overwhelmingly — 94 to 6 — to approve the amendment after several members, including Virginia’s Mark Warner, described the “unintentional harm” the original bill could inflict on “crucial science, civil and commercial space missions” that support NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research.

Read more at: Daily Press

NASA Awards Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Operations Contract

NASA’s has awarded a contract to Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Service of Houston for support of flight crew training and development activities at the Sonny Carter Training Facility at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory Operations Contract (NOC) has a two-year base period that begins Oct. 1, followed by a one-year option and two two-year options. The total potential value of the contract is $154.5 million. The contract includes a cost-plus-award-fee (CPAF) portion, which covers the core work of the contract, and a CPAF firm-fixed-price portion for indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity orders.

Under the NOC, Raytheon will procure highly-skilled services that include enriched-oxygen breathing gas production (Nitrox), life-support systems for submersed space-suited subjects, spacewalk procedure development and verification, operation of human-rated robotic system, integrated audio and video systems,

Read more at: NASA

Virgin Group and Aabar are Pleased to Announce the Appointment of Dan Hart as CEO of Virgin Orbit

Virgin Group and Aabar are pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Hart as CEO of Virgin Orbit.  Dan joined the organization in March as President 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. His appointment is the final step in the planned establishment of Virgin Orbit as an independent space access company dedicated to serving the small satellite market.

Patrick McCall, Chairman of the Boards of Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic/The Spaceship Company, said:  “Virgin Orbit is poised to revolutionize access to space for small  satellites.  Dan is an extraordinary leader for the company as it moves towards the start of commercial service. Our commercial space companies are all poised to be market leaders in their categories thanks to our shared vision, world class teams and our tremendously capable leaders. We look forward to realizing our space ambitions with Dan as CEO of Virgin Orbit and George T. Whitesides as CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.”

Read more at: Spaceref

NASA Revives 50-year-old Idea to Recycle Space Stations in Orbit

A long-dormant plan for a space station built in space from recycled parts may be getting new legs. NASA has signed an estimated $10 million contract to study the possibility of turning used rocket stages into functioning labs with support for a crew.

Before Skylab, the first US space station, went into orbit in the 1970s, Wernher von Braun proposed to separately send parts for a space station and astronauts aboard two Saturn IB rockets, which would launch within a day of one another. Launching separate payloads would be key to saving weight, given the rockets’ capacity limitations.

When both rockets were in orbit, astronauts would remotely vent any remaining fuel from the uncrewed rocket’s hydrogen tank, install life-support equipment, and move in. This would reuse a fuel tank that would otherwise be discarded.

Read more at: New Scientist

New Challenges for Planetary Protection

For all its problems, one problem NASA doesn’t have is a lack of attention-grabbing job titles: what other organization has both a Planetary Defense Officer and a Planetary Protection Officer? While they sound similar, the two positions are quite different. The former is about defending our planet from threats posed by near Earth objects. The latter, though, is about both protecting our planet from any extraterrestrial organisms missions might bring back from other worlds, as well as protecting those other worlds from terrestrial contamination.

Planetary protection has been around for decades, but the topic is becoming more complex and critical. As NASA’s Mars ambitions ramp up, including robotic missions to return samples from the planet and, eventually, human missions there, protecting both any Martian biosphere from terrestrial organisms, and future human inhabitants from Martian organisms, becomes a growing factor in mission planning.

Read more at: Space Review

New Poll: Few Teachers Believe US Students Interested in Space Exploration Careers

A strong future Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) workforce is vital to sending humans to Mars, yet a new survey commissioned by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) shows about a third of U.S. middle school and high school teachers (36 percent) see enthusiasm from their students about STEM learning. To help address these findings, today the company unveiled new resources as part of its Generation Beyond program, including a space-themed curriculum and new app that simulates what it’s like to explore the surface of Mars.

NASA is planning to send a crew to Mars in the 2030s. To meet tomorrow’s ambitious goals, the country will need thousands of today’s students to follow career paths that will create the next generations of scientists, engineers and space explorers. According to the national survey of 1,000 teachers (conducted by Morar Consulting from April 5 – 11, ± 3.1% MOE), while just 38 percent of teachers report that a majority of students seem naturally interested in STEM, 83 percent see discussing space-related careers as a potential way to increase student focus on STEM.

Read more at: Lockheed Martin

NASA Finally has Road Map Back to Moon, Mars

The words hit me like a brick to the face.  They weren’t anything I didn’t already know, but hearing them out loud was overwhelming. And sad.

“We can’t get to the moon right now. We can’t even launch an American into low earth orbit anymore. We can’t get to the International Space Station without paying $70 million per seat to the Russians — the Russians. Our only backup is the Chinese.” Embarrassing. Stupid. Puzzling.

Those words were spoken to me by Congressman Steven Palazzo (MS-4), who passionately shares my view that we should be pushing hard to send astronauts back to the moon, on to Mars and beyond. It’s our last frontier. And ask yourself this: Do you really want Russia or China or, God forbid, North Korea to one day rule space? Talk about sitting ducks on earth … we would be defenseless. So would every other nation.

Read more at: clarionledger

What the Heck is the National Space Council?

During an address last week to the new class of NASA’s astronauts, Mike Pence announced that President Trump will be restoring the National Space Council after it was disbanded 24 years ago. But what’s the council, and how will it impact NASA?

Pence will head the council, which was an oversight entity formed during the Space Race. Historically, the council has overseen all American space activities, including NASA and the Pentagon’s space programs. But the council has had different levels of power under different presidents. It was disbanded by Nixon and wasn’t relaunched until 1989 by George H.W. Bush. Bill Clinton got rid of it again in 1993, meaning Trump will become just the second president since Lyndon Johnson to use the council.

Read more at: Motherboard Vice

Arianespace Valuation, $500 million. Rocket Lab, $1 billion: New Space Thinking

You know the power of New Space and the New Economy — as ideas, if not as business models — has reached a high-water mark when the former director-general of the European Space Agency seeks to explain the fact that a startup launch operator has a higher market valuation than Europe’s Arianespace.

Jean-Jacques Dordain, who is now on the advisory board for the Luxembourg government’s space-mining initiative, spaceresources.lu, did not defend the fact the valuations themselves, but rather to defend their ultimate value to society. “This is the characteristic of the New Economy, to invest in businesses of the future, not in current businesses,” Dordain said here during the Paris Air Forum conference, organized by Groups ADP and La Tribune. “It’s extraordinary that we assign a much higher value to future businesses than than to current business. Take the company Rocket Lab. It has conducted one launch, which was a failure. It has been valued at $1 billion.

Read more at: space intel report

Airbus Says Future Aircraft Might Support Multiple IFC Satellite Antennas at Once

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is considering ways to add multiple antennas to planes in order to let different satellite inflight connectivity providers serve the same aircraft simultaneously.

Mark Rich, vice president of Airbus’ connected fleet division, told SpaceNews June 9 at the Global Connected Aircraft Summit that one of the company’s big concerns with inflight connectivity is the reliability of the service, and one way Airbus might boost reliability on future aircraft is by enabling several antenna systems at once.

“From a reliability perspective, it may actually make sense to have multiple antennas on an aircraft so we can have multiple simultaneous connections with multiple different satellites with different services, and move the management of connectivity into the aircraft,” he said.

Read more at: Space News

Air Force Leader Warns Contractors About Proposing Proprietary Space Systems

Companies whose proprietary space-related technologies can’t plug into open system command-and-control architectures will not be able to win Defense Department contracts in the future, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said June 16.

Threats to U.S. military space systems are growing and space is now viewed as a warfighting domain, she said at a conference in Washington, D.C., which was hosted by FiscalTrak and the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. In this strategic environment, command and control is a top priority.

“We need integrated command and control so that … we can see what’s out there, we can control what we’re trying to do in that environment,” she said. “If you can’t control anything, if you can’t command anything then you’re not really going to be able to prevail and be resilient in space.”

Read more at: National Defense Magazine

Air Force Stands Up New Headquarters Space Directorate

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson has approved the reorganization of the Air Force headquarters to establish a Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations, who will be a three-star Air Force general officer.

“This is the next step in our effort to integrate, normalize and elevate space operations in the Air Force,” said Wilson. “The United States is dependent on space and our adversaries know it.  We must organize and train forces to be able to prevail in any future conflict which could extend into space.”

The new directorate will begin operating in early August. Over the next two months, the Air Force will work to stand up the Deputy Chief of Staff for Space Operations directorate – or “A-11” – by establishing an initial A-11 cadre, establishing operations and identifying the senior leaders who will lead the new staff.

Read more at: US Air Force

Snippet

Experiment devoted to neutron star research installed on space station

A NASA instrument built to help astronomers learn about the structure and behaviour of neutron stars, super-dense stellar skeletons left behind by massive explosions, has been mounted to an observation post outside the International Space Station after delivery aboard a SpaceX supply ship earlier this month.

Dawn mission managers await NASA decision on spacecraft’s future

The future of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, running low on hydrazine fuel and now flying around the dwarf planet Ceres without the help of internal pointing wheels, will be decided in the coming weeks by top space agency managers.

NuSTAR’s first five years in space

16 June 2017 Astronomy Now

The chief scientist on NASA’s NuSTAR mission shares her take on five of the X-ray telescope’s iconic images and artist concepts, ranging from our flaring Sun to distant, buried black holes.

Chinese astronomy satellite placed into orbit by Long March rocket

China’s first X-ray astronomy satellite launched Thursday on a mission to survey the Milky Way galaxy for black holes and pulsars, the remnants left behind after a star burns up its nuclear fuel.

Comet claim for mysterious Wow signal sparks controversy

11 June 2017 Keith Cooper

A controversial claim that the famous ‘Wow!’ signal was produced by comets and not extraterrestrial intelligence has been met with scepticism by radio astronomers and comet experts, sparking a fresh debate about the nature of this mysterious signal.

Subscriber-Ad

Courtesy Of Space Safety Mag

 

Read previous post:
Giveawaay
Win A Pair Of ‘Astro Gloves’

These are AMAZING!! Astrogloves allow fingertip control of astronomy equipment whilst...

When Part of Apollo 13 Reached the Moon

Recounts of the Apollo 13 mission, 17 April 17 1970,...

What Would Happen If There Were A War in Space

Earlier this month, at the annual Space Symposium, members of...

Close