ARCA Space CEO Arrested on Charges of Embezzlement, Fraud

Dumitru Popescu

ARCA Space Corporation CEO Dumitru Popescu was in a New Mexico jail on Sunday night after being arrested and charged of fraud, embezzlement and forgery.

The Romanian-born Popescu faces 13 counts of fraud, five counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery, according to an online arrest report. Popescu was arrested in Jonesboro, Georgia on Nov. 8 and then extradited to Dona Ana County, New Mexico. He is being held without bond.

It’s unclear whether the charges are related to ARCA Space, which is located in Dona Ana County. The company is developing a rocket booster it plans to launch from Spaceport America.

UPDATE: The Las Cruces Sun-News has a bit more on the case:

The investigation into Popescu was conducted by the New Mexico Securities Division. The special agent in charge of the case declined to comment when reached Monday, saying the case was still ongoing.

It alleges that between May 26, 2015, and Aug. 20, 2015, and Nov. 25, 2015, and Feb. 23, 2016, Popescu “did by words or conduct make a promise that he had no intention of keeping” and “misrepresented a fact intending deceive or cheat” Michael Persico, the CEO and founder of the Chicago-based telecommunications company Anova Technologies, in an amount exceeding $20,000, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that Popescu, in January 2016, defrauded more than $2,500 and embezzled more that $2,500, and that he committed securities fraud seven times during 2015 and this year.

This Week on The Space Show


This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Nov. 13, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PST (4-5:30 PM CST, 5-6:30 PM EST): We welcome back DR. PAUL SPUDIS to discuss all things lunar and space policy.

2. Tuesday, Nov. 14 2017: 7-8:30 PM PST, 10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST: Special Open Lines Show for those who want to be a guest on The Space Show, ask to be on and want to share information with us. This is your night to be on The Space Show so give us a call. Normal Open Lines callers and email are also welcome..

3. Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.

4. Friday, Nov. 17, 2017; 9:30 AM-11 AM PST, (12:30 -2 PM EST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST): We welcome ROBERT HARGRAVES to the show to discuss Thorium, Thorium reactors and more.

5. Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017: 12-1:30 PM PST; 2-4:30 PM EST; 2-3:30 PM CST. This is our regular Open Lines program. First time callers are welcome as are all space, STEM, STEAM topics. Emails are welcome too but phone calls get first billing.

JPSS-1 Launch Scheduled for Tuesday

This illustration depicts the Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPSS-1, spacecraft designed to provide forecasters with crucial environmental science data to provide a better understanding of changes in the Earth’s weather, oceans and climate. (Credit: Ball Aerospace)

The Joint Polar Satellite System-1 (JPSS-1), the first in a new series of four highly advanced National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) polar-orbiting satellites, is now scheduled to launch on Tuesday, Nov. 14, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex 2 is targeted for 1:47 a.m. PST (4:47 a.m. EST). Launch coverage will begin on NASA Television and the agency’s website at 1:15 a.m. PST.

JPSS represents significant technological and scientific advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring. JPSS is a collaborative effort between NOAA and NASA. The JPSS system will help increase weather forecast accuracy from three to seven days.

NOAA’s National Weather Service uses JPSS data as critical input for numerical forecast models, providing the basis for mid-range forecasts. These forecasts enable emergency managers to make timely decisions to protect American lives and property, including early warnings and evacuations.

JPSS satellites circle the Earth from pole-to-pole and cross the equator 14 times daily–providing full global coverage twice a day. Polar satellites are considered the backbone of the global observing system.

For more information, please visit https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/jpss-1.

Astrobotic’s Progress in NASA’s Lunar CATALYST Program

Peregrine lunar lander (Credit: Astrobotic)

Astrobotic is one of three companies NASA has signed agreements with for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) program.

“The purpose of the Lunar CATALYST initiative is for NASA to encourage the development of U.S. private-sector robotic lunar landers capable of successfully delivering small (30 to 100 kg) and medium (250 to 500 kg) class payloads to the lunar surface using U.S. commercial launch capabilities,” the agreement states.

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Cygnus Carries NanoRacks Payloads to Space Station

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., November 12, 2017 (Orbital ATK PR) – Early this morning, the Orbital ATK CRS-8 (OA-8) launch carried another historic NanoRacks mission to the International Space Station (ISS). With a completely full NanoRacks External Cygnus Deployer (ENRCSD), a virtual reality camera, and educational research, this mission marks over 600 NanoRacks payloads delivered to the ISS since 2009.

This mission is enabling a unique virtual reality opportunity with National Geographic’s VUZE camera. Integrated and launched via NanoRacks, VUZE will allow for the recording of the new National Geographic series “One Strange Rock,” in which the astronaut crew will record a series of virtual reality pieces for incorporation into a larger documentary about natural history and the solar system. This is National Geographic’s first time launching with NanoRacks.

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Antares Launches Cygnus Spacecraft to ISS

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Orbital ATK’s eighth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver approximately 7,400 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

DULLES, Virginia, 12 November 2017 (Orbital ATK PR) -– Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, successfully launched its AntaresTM rocket carrying a CygnusTM spacecraft today at 7:19 a.m. EST, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia.

The launch is Orbital ATK’s eighth cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station for NASA. During the mission, designated OA-8, Cygnus will deliver vital equipment, supplies and experiments to the astronauts aboard the space station, as well as conduct scientific experiments onboard Cygnus while docked with the orbiting laboratory.

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Dream Chaser Makes Successful Glide Flight at Edwards

Dream Chaser during glide flight. (Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser shuttle made a successful glide flight and landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Saturday.

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

Dropped from a helicopter, the automated vehicle made a successful approach and landing on the concrete runway.

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

Sierra Nevada is developing the Dream Chaser to deliver cargo to the International Space Station under a contract from NASA.

Dream Chaser lands (Credit: NASA)

It was the first flight of the Dream Chaser in four years. A previous glide flight ran off the runway in October 2013 when one half of the main landing gear failed to deploy.

Antares Launch Scrubbed, Rescheduled for Sunday

The Orbital ATK Cygnus space freighter is seen moments after being released from the grips of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. (Credit: NASA TV)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (Orbital ATK) — Orbital ATK’s OA-8 mission was aborted on November 11, 2017 due to aircraft in the restricted area. Next launch attempt is November 12, 2017 at 7:14 a.m. EST.

The S.S. Gene Cernan Cygnus will launch aboard an Antares launch vehicle for the sixth time from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft will deliver vital supplies and scientific equipment to the station as part of Orbital ATK’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.

Additional launch information including a launch profile, mission description and fact sheets can be found below. Get live launch updates on our social media accounts: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Clock is Ticking on NASA Human Deep Space Program

Lamar Smith

It seems that nothing so becomes a politician’s public life like the announcement that he or she is leaving it.

George Washington’s decision in 1796 to not seek a third term as president is widely hailed as the ultimate example of a small-r republican virtue of restraint the general demonstrated throughout his public life. Americans trusted Washington with power because they knew he would exercise it wisely and, that when the time came, he would walk away. Voluntarily.

In an age when many kings claimed a hereditary right to rule for life with absolute authority, relinquishing power was an astounding act. But Washington, a master of exits in war and peace, knew it was time to go. In so doing, he set a two-term precedent for the presidency that would stand for 144 years.

More recently, we’ve seen another result of what happens when politicians decide they’ve had enough: candor. Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) both launched fiery broadsides at the current occupant of Washington’s old office — and a member of their own party, no less — upon announcing they would not seek re-election next year.

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Virgin Galactic Promises New Mexico that 2018 will be the Year

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

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Virgin Galactic Vice President Richard DalBello was in Sante Fe, NM on Wednesday with an optimistic message about the company’s plans to fly tourists to space from the state-owned Spaceport America.

“We think we’re at the beginning of a very exciting period,” he told a legislative committee in Santa Fe. “We know you’ve waited a long time and we are coming.”

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Antares to Kick Off Busy Launch Period

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Orbital ATK’s sixth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station is delivering over 5,100 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The launch of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket on Saturday morning will be the first of four launches planned over the next five days.

The Antares will launch a Cygnus resupply ship to the International Space Station. It is the second flight of the re-engineered Antares booster, which includes two Russian-made RD-181 engines in its first stage. Launch time is set for 7:37 a.m. EST (1237 GMT) from Wallops Island in Virginia. NASA TV will provide launch coverage.

ULA’s Delta II booster will launch NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System 1 (JPSS-1) weather satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The launch window extends from 1:47:03 to 1:48:05 a.m. PST (4:47:03-4:48:05 a.m. EST or 0947:03-0948:05 GMT).  NASA TV will provide launch coverage. It will be the penultimate flight of the venerable Delta II rocket.

SpaceX is scheduled to launch the mysterious Zuma payload on Wednesday, Nov. 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Built by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. government, there are no other details about the spacecraft. The launch window extends from 8:00 to 10 p.m. EST (0100-0300 GMT on Nov. 16). It’s not clear whether SpaceX will webcast the flight.

China will launch the Fengyun 3D weather satellite into polar orbit aboard a Long March 4C booster from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center on Wednesday, Nov. 15. The launch window is not known.

Henry Vanderbilt on XCOR’s Bankruptcy

XCOR CEO Jeff Greason inspects the Lynx main engine after a hotfire test while Chief Test Engineer Doug Jones looks on. (Credit: XCOR)

Space is hard. Space startups immensely so.

XCOR’s decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Tuesday marks the end of a company that seemed to be in perpetual start-up mode since its founding 18 years ago. Lacking a billionaire backer with deep pockets and a thick Rolodex, the company attempted to develop revolutionary rocket engine technology and a suborbital space plane with funding that would be a rounding error for the giant aerospace primes.

So, how far did it get? What might bidders find valuable when XCOR’s assets are auctioned off? And what problems might have helped to cause the company’s fatal plunge into insolvency?

Henry Vanderbilt has a few ideas on these subjects. Henry is an XCOR shareholder who worked at the company back in the day. He went on to found the Space Access Society, whose conferences were a highlight of the year for the New Space community until recently.
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NSRC Early Bird Registration Closes on Friday

Greetings Friends of the Suborbital Frontier!

A reminder that discounted Early Bird Registration for the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC-2017) ends this Friday, Nov 10!

Click here to register! http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2017/Site4/Registration.html

NSRC-2017 will bring together hundreds of researchers, educators, flight providers, spaceport operators, government officials, in Broomfield, Colo., just outside Boulder, Dec. 18–20. The draft program is now posted, and we have an exciting line up in store! http://www.boulder.swri.edu/NSRC2017/Site4/Program.html