Soyuz Crew Launch to ISS Set for Tuesday Evening

In this one second exposure photograph, the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft is seen launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (NASA PR) — Expedition 53-54 Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Roscosmos are scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:17 p.m. today aboard the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft.

Launch coverage will begin at 4:15 p.m. on NASA TV. After their launch, the trio will travel on a fast-track, six-hour path to the space station, where they are expected to dock at 10:57 p.m. tonight, Sept. 12.

Eumetsat Books Two Launches on Arianespace’s Soyuz Booster

Flight VS13 was the 13th Soyuz liftoff performed from French Guiana since this vehicle’s 2011 introduction at the Spaceport. (Credit: Arianespace)

PARIS (Arianespace PR) — Arianespace and EUMETSAT announce the signature of a contract entrusting Arianespace with the launch of the first two Metop-SG satellites of the EUMETSAT Polar System of Second Generation (EPS-SG), plus an option for the launch of a third satellite, to be performed from the Guiana Space Center – Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

(more…)

Inmarsat Selects H-IIA to Launch First Inmarsat-6 Satellite

H-IIA launch (Credit: JAXA)

LONDON, 12 September 2017 (Inmarsat PR) — Inmarsat has selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) as the launch provider for the first satellite in the Inmarsat-6 fleet.

The satellite, Inmarsat-6 F1, is under construction by Airbus Defence and Space. It is scheduled for launch in 2020 using MHI’s H-IIA launch vehicle.

Inmarsat’s sixth generation (I-6) fleet will be the first to feature dual-payload satellites, each supporting L-band and Ka-band services. The I-6 satellites will represent a step change in the capacity of Inmarsat’s L-band services, supporting a new generation of capabilities – from advanced global safety services and very low cost mobile services to Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
(more…)

Orbital ATK Begins Assembly of Commercial Satellite Servicing System

DULLES, Virginia 11 September 2017 (Orbital ATK PR) – Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced significant progress on the industry’s first commercial in-space satellite servicing system. The Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV-1) spacecraft successfully completed its critical design review earlier this year and is now in production with about 75% of the platform and payload components already delivered to the company’s Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft will begin system-level testing in spring 2018 with launch planned late next year. MEV-1 will provide satellite life extension services to its anchor customer, Intelsat S.A., beginning in early 2019.

(more…)

Bridenstine’s ASRA Bill Proposed Radical Changes in NASA’s Goals, Structure

NASA LOGORepublished from April 25, 2016

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA would be given a mandate to pioneer the development and settlement of space and a commission dominated by Congressional appointees to oversee those efforts under a bill proposed by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).

The measure’s basic premise is that NASA’s problems stem from unstable presidential commitments to space exploration as opposed to Congress’ tendency to support expensive programs that bring funding into particular states and districts.

“Over the past twenty years, 27 NASA programs have been cancelled at a cost of over $20 billion to the taxpayer,” according to a statement on a website devoted to the measure. “Many of these have come as a result of changes in presidential administrations.

(more…)

Bridenstine Proposed Radical Restructuring of NASA Oversight Last Year

Rep. Jim Bridenstine

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Donald Trump’s nominee to become administrator of NASA proposed a fundamental overhaul of how the space agency would be run last year.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine’s (R-OK) American Space Renaissance Act (ASRA) proposes the establishment of a 21-member board to oversee the space agency, giving the NASA administrator a five-year term, and the creation of 10- and 20-year strategic plans.

The overarching goal of these proposals is to insulate the space agency from changes in direction each time a new presidential administration takes over.

ASRA was a catch-all bill that contained proposals for broad changes to the nation’s civil, military and commercial space efforts. Bridenstine did not intend the ASRA to be passed as a single bill but as a series of individual measures. Congress has not taken up any of the NASA management reforms included in bill.

(more…)

Boeing to Build Seven Medium Earth Orbit Satellites for SES

The O3b mPOWER satellites will include Boeing’s most-advanced digital payload technology and will be built using electronics from the flight-proven 702 satellite platform customized to support the unique MEO environment. (Credit: Boeing)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Sept. 11, 2017 (Boeing PR) – Boeing [NYSE: BA] will design and build seven super-powered medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites for SES, delivering efficient high-performance data communications services to users around the world.

(more…)

Jim Carrey on the September 11th Telethon


Video Caption:
Following the September 11th attacks, there was a celebrity telethon to raise money for relief efforts. Here is Jim Carrey telling a story about a rescue in one of the Twin Towers in New York. I filmed this from my 10th story apartment in Pentagon City that a had a view of where the plane at hit the Pentagon.

NASA Awards SSL Next Phase Funding for Dragonfly On-orbit Assembly Program

PALO ALTO, CA, Sept. 11, 2017 (SSL PR) – SSL, a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, today announced that NASA has awarded the next phase of funding for its ground-breaking Dragonfly on-orbit satellite assembly program. The contract modification to move forward with the detailed design of a semi-autonomous robotic system for in-space satellite assembly confirms NASA’s confidence in SSL and the success of this “Tipping Point” public private partnership, which is enabling the development of new technology that benefits both government and commercial space endeavors.

(more…)

This Week on The Space Show


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

1. Monday, Sept. 11, 2017: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): See special programming on Upcoming Show Menu at www.thespaceshow.com

2. Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017: 7-8:30 PM PDT, 10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT: See special programming on the Upcoming Show Menu at www.thespaceshow.com.

3. Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2016:: 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, Sept. 15, 2017; 9:30 AM-11 AM PDT, (12:30 -2 PM EDT; 11:30 AM-1 PM CDT): See special programming on the Upcoming Show Menu on www.thespaceshow.com.

5. Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017: 12-1:30 PM DST (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): See special programming on the Upcoming Show Menu on www.thespaceshow.com.

A Look at NASA’s Plans to Explore the Moon

Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

Statement of Jason Crusan
Director, Advanced Exploration Systems Division
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

before the

Subcommittee on Space
Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
U. S. House of Representatives

SELECTED EXCERPTS

Lunar CATALYST: Promoting Private Sector Robotic Exploration of the Moon

As part of the Agency’s overall strategy to conduct deep space exploration, NASA is also supporting the development of commercial lunar exploration. In 2014, NASA introduced an initiative called Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST). The purpose of the initiative is to encourage the development of U.S. private-sector robotic lunar landers capable of successfully delivering payloads to the lunar surface using U.S. commercial launch capabilities.

(more…)

An Arlington Memorial for the Victims of 9-11

Video Caption: After the 9-11 attacks, a makeshift memorial was created along a wall of Arlington National Cemetery opposite of the wing of the building where the plane hit. I walked over from my apartment in Pentagon City one night to visit. I was quite touched by what I saw.

As I was there, a storm was moving in. I made it back to my apartment building just as the rain was beginning to fall. I returned to my darkened 10th floor corner apartment and, as lightning flashed outside, looked back at where the gap in the building where the plane had struck. It was by then a tragically familiar sight.

Living there at that time was pretty frightening, wondering what might happen next. What I remember vividly was the silence. Air traffic into National Airport had been suspended. But, there were planes up there.

Late at night when everything was quiet, I could lie in bed and listen to the fighter jets as they circled overhead, on constant guard for another attack. The distant sound would appear, fade out and then reappear a short time later. it was eerie thing to hear as I drifted off into a frequently uneasy sleep.

Virgin Galactic Getting Closer to Powered Flight Tests

SpaceShipTwo glides to a landing at Mojave Air and Space Port. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides spoke at the 20th Mars Society Convention last week where he gave an update on his company’s effort to reach space.

Whitesides said the company has “a very small number” of glide tests remaining for SpaceShipTwo Unity before the vehicle begins powered flights. He did not give a timeline for when Virgin Galactic would light the motor in flight.

Unity has conducted six glide flights since last December. The most recent one was on Aug. 4.

Whitesides showed a video of hot fire of the spacecraft’s hybrid engine. He said engineers had completed testing on the engine, which he called the most advanced hybrid in the world.

Two additional SpaceShipTwo vehicles are under construction at the Mojave Air and Space Port, he added. The cabin pieces of one of them were recently bonded together. The new vehicles will be ready for testing a year or two, Whitesides said.

Video: Dave Masten Talks 3D Printing Rocket Engines

Video Caption: This week we bring on guest Dave Masten to get an update of the happenings at Masten Space Systems. In addition to an update on the XS-1 project, we also talk about how Dave and crew is using additive manufacturing (3D printing) to create entire rocket engines. Interview starts at 16:59