Falcon 9, Minotaur IV Launches Set for Thursday & Friday

Three launches are scheduled for the week ahead, including a pair in the United States and one in India.

Falcon 9
Formosat 5 communications satellite
Date: Thursday, Aug. 24
Time: 2:50-3:34 p.m. EDT; 11:50 a.m.-12:34 p.m. PDT (1850-1934 GMT)
Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California

Minotaur IV
ORS 5
Date: Friday, Aug. 25
Time: 11:14 p.m.-3:15 a.m. EDT (0314-0715 GMT on Aug. 26)
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida

This marks the first flight of Orbital ATK’s Minotaur IV booster from Cape Canaveral. The payload, also known as SensorSat, is a military satellite that will scan for other spacecraft and orbital debris. ORS 5 was produced by the military’s Operationally Responsive Space program.

PSLV
IRNSS 1H navigation satellite
Date: Thursday, Aug. 31
Time: TBA
Launch Site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India

NASA Ames Breaks Ground on New Collaborative Biosciences Facility

Breaking Ground at NACA Park for the site of the future Bioscience Collaborative Facility, N-288. (Left to Right): Robert Lightfoot, NASA Administrator (Acting); Lesa Roe, NASA Deputy Administrator (Acting); Dr. Eugene Tu, Center Dirtector for NASA Ames; Michael D. Bicay, Director of Science and Michael Chambers. (Credit: NASA/Ames Research Center/Donald Richey)

On Aug. 22, 2017, officials at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley broke ground for a new Biosciences Collaborative Facility. Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot, acting Deputy NASA Administrator Lesa Roe, Ames Center Director Eugene Tu, Ames Director of Science Michael Bicay, and Amoroso Construction Northern California Operations Manager Michael Chambers donned hard hats and used golden shovels to ceremonially begin construction on the building.

The Biosciences Collaborative Facility will be a two-story, 40,000-square-foot building housing wet chemistry laboratories designed with the latest technology to serve NASA’s programs in fundamental space biology, astrobiology and bioengineering.

The building’s design provides open and reconfigurable lab spaces intended to increase interdisciplinary research. The work conducted in this facility will help spur advances that minimize risks in human deep space exploration, and inform the design of future NASA missions and our search for microbial life in our solar system.

Spaceport America Not Very Transparent With Public

The Terminal Hangar Facility at Spaceport America will house Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. (Credit: David Wilson, Spaceport America)

The third installment of NMPolitics.net’s report on Spaceport America was published today: Transparency problems plague Spaceport America. The story details the problems the author has experienced getting information about Spaceport America’s operations from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

Spaceport America is a publicly owned government entity, so the law requires its financial and other dealings to be open to the public, with few exceptions.

And yet in 2017 the N.M. Spaceport Authority, the state agency that runs the spaceport, has violated the state’s transparency laws several times in response to requests for documents filed by NMPolitics.net, a citizen from Truth or Consequences, and a reporter with KTSM-TV in El Paso. Those violations, in addition to other possible infractions, blocked or delayed public access to information about the spaceport….

The Spaceport Authority blacked out information in some lease agreements with aerospace companies it provided to NMPolitics.net, including rent and fee schedules. That was done to “honor the rights that New Mexican state law provides to innovators, developers and entrepreneurs who seek to move their operations to our state,” said Melissa Kemper Force, the agency’s general counsel.

The violations and possible violations of transparency laws started in March when I and Patrick Hayes, the KTSM-TV reporter, asked for copies of the spaceport’s lease agreements with aerospace companies. I paid the fee of nearly $300 for copies of the documents. Hayes asked to bring his own equipment to digitize the records himself for free, which the state Attorney General’s Office says is allowed.

The Spaceport Authority rejected Hayes’ request, leaving him only the option of paying the $1-per-page fee if he wanted copies.

The Mojave Air and Space Port is governed by a five-member board elected by the local population. Lease agreements are included as part of meeting agendas that are published on the spaceport’s website. The board approved an amendment to Virgin Galactic’s lease of a test site earlier this month. See pages 16-17 of the document below.

http://www.mojaveairport.com/uploads/5/7/8/9/57893503/08.01.17_packet.pdf

Spaceport America Risks Becoming Even Bigger Money Pit

The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space terminal hangar facility (center), Spaceport Operations Center (Left) and “Spaceway”
(Runway) at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

The second installment of NMPolitics.net’s five-part series on Spaceport America dropped today. Funding woes could ‘cripple’ NM spaceport as other states invest in space race

This one deals with financing at Spaceport America. It requires a bit of understanding of the history of how it was funded.

So, here’s the back story: In 2007 and 2008, residents of Dona Ana and Sierra counties approved a half cent increase in the sales tax to help pay for the construction of Spaceport America, where billionaire Richard Branson plans to send rich people on suborbital joy rides.

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Series on Spaceport America Looks on the Bright Side

Sunset at the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

NMPolitics.net began a five-part series on Spaceport America today. Is Spaceport America taking flight? is the first installment.

The piece is fairly optimistic on the financial front, perhaps too much so. It examines positive financial impact on the local economy to date and projects forward to when Virgin Galactic begins flying commercially from the facility, possibly next year.
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This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with David Livingston:

1. Monday, August 21, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome ROBB KUNZ, NewSpace angel investor.

2. Tuesday, August 22, 2017: 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: BRUCE PITTMAN on emerging NewSpace industry trends and more.

3. Wednesday, August 23, 2016:: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details.

4. Friday, August 15, 2017; 9:30 AM-11 AM PDT, (12:30 -2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. BRIAN HANLEY on how to finance a Mars settlement.

5. Sunday, August 27, 2017: 12-1:30 PM DST (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): OPEN LINES. First time callers welcome, all STEAM and Space calls welcome. You discuss the topics that are on your mind.

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Go Inside ISS With Google Street View

Video Caption: The International Space Station is a marvel of modern science and engineering. Astronauts have occupied the pressurized modules for over 16 years, and now you can explore their work and living spaces in Google Street View. From the research, to the “orbital outhouse” to the inspirational views back down to Earth from the cupola, take a look at the images here: google.com/streetview

NASA & U.S. National Lab Expand Commercial Research Opportunities in Space

Astronaut Jack Fischer working with the CASIS PCG 6 experiment in the Japanese Experiment Module. The U.S. National Lab enables space research and development access to a broad range of commercial, academic, and government users. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — Designated a national laboratory, the U.S. segment of the International Space Station supports hundreds of ground-breaking government and commercial experiments in microgravity each year. NASA recently extended management of the lab to the Center for the Advancement of Science and Space (CASIS) until 2024.  In addition, NASA is announcing that it is providing a class patent waiver to third party users who privately fund their research so that these users can automatically gain title to their inventions made aboard the space station.

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Bids for Government Funding Prove Strong Interest in LaunchUK

Summary

  • 26 proposals were submitted in response to the call
  • Proposals came from spaceports all over the UK, working with vehicle operators from the UK, other European nations and the US
  • Multiple proposals have been recommended for further consideration, to ensure any grant funding delivers the best outcome for the UK

SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — The number of responses for government funding to support UK spaceflight has highlighted a strong interest in the UK commercial market for small satellite launch and sub-orbital flight. The UK Space Agency’s call for grant proposals to establish initial launch capability in the UK has now concluded, with a number of options being recommended for consideration.

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NASA Protects Its Astronauts From Space Weather

NASA’s Human Research Program aims to mitigate the harmful effects of the space radiation environment on astronaut health outside of the relative protection of the Earth’s magnetosphere. (Credits: NASA / SOHO)

HOUSTON (NASA PR) — It’s not a bird or a plane but it might be a solar storm. We like to think of astronauts as our superheroes, but the reality is astronauts are not built like Superman who gains strength from the sun. In fact, much of the energy radiating from the sun is harmful to us mere mortals.

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Space Florida Transforms SLC-46 for New Launch Capabilities

Athena-2 rocket at SLC-46. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEPORT (August 17, 2017) – On August 25, Orbital ATK is scheduled to launch its Minotaur 4 rocket from Space Florida’s Space Launch Complex (SLC) 46 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The launch of the ORS 5 mission for the US Air Force (USAF), will be the first launch from the pad since 1999, as well as the first since Space Florida renovated the complex.

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