FAI Considers Lowering Boundary of Space

The second SpaceShipTwo is carried aloft by WhiteKnightTwo on its first captive carry flight. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Well, there’s some great news for Virgin Galactic as it prepares for an attempt to send SpaceShipTwo to space. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which maintains records for aviation and spaceflight, is considering lowering the boundary of space from 100 to 80 km (62.1 to 47.7 miles).

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo probably can’t reach the 100 km boundary, which is also known as the Karman line.

FAI issued the following statement last week:

The Karman line is the 100km altitude used by FAI and many other organisations to mark the “boundary” of space . In the last few years there have been many scientific and technical discussions around this demarcation line for the “edge of space” and variance around this as a boundary condition for recognition of “astronaut” status.

Recently published analyses present a compelling scientific case for reduction in this altitude from 100km to 80km. These analyses combine data/modelling from a number of differing perspectives (latitudinal variations during solar cycles, theoretical lift coefficients for different size/configuration satellites ranging from cubesats to the International Space Station, perigee/apogee elliptical analysis of actual satellite orbital lifetimes etc) to a level that has never been done before in relation to this issue. They also provide an accurate overview of some of the historical arguments and inadvertent misrepresentations of Karman’s actual analyses and conclusions from over half a century ago.

FAI has therefore been in contact with the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) to propose that an international workshop is held during 2019 to fully explore this issue with input and participation from the astrodynamics and astronautical community.

Such a seminar, to be held under joint FAI/IAF auspices, would enable discussion from a wide range of professionals with relevant expertise to analyse and discuss the issue and possible redefinition of the altitude used by international organisations including FAI to recognise human spaceflights.

If the findings lead to a redefinition of the boundary of space as it is in use by international organisations, FAI would review any performances made between today’s statement and the date of implementation of the revised definition in order to ensure that these performances already take into consideration the findings as they exist today.

IAF to Webcast Elon Musk’s Mars Speech Next Week

Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)
Elon Musk (Credit: SpaceX)

Editor’s Note: Good news, everyone! For all those who can’t make it to Mexico next week to hear Elon Musk’s big Mars talk on Sept. 27, the IAF is offering it free online. For the first time, it will be webcasting all plenary sessions. See the press release below for details.

The International Astronautical Federation is pleased to announce that for the first time in IAC history, all Plenary Events as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 67th International Astronautical Congress to be held from 26–30 September 2016 in Guadalajara, Mexico, will be live broadcasted.

One of the main components of this year’s IAC is telecommunications and, as one of the great benefits of this technology, an unprecedented number of people will be able to have access to the state-of-the-art knowledge shared on this premier event.

(more…)

SGAC Launches Space is Business Paper Competition

sgac_sib_logo_2014
The Space Generation Advisory Council is pleased to announce its partnership with the IAF’s Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee (EIC) to organise and run the 2014 IAF-EIC/SGAC Emerging Commercial Space Paper Competition for Students and Young Professionals – $pace is Business!

The competition challenges university students and young professionals worldwide to develop new ideas and perspectives on opportunities and challenges facing space entrepreneurs and investors today.

(more…)

SGAC, IAF Launch Space is Business Paper Competition

The International Astronautical Federation’s (IAF) Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee (EIC) in cooperation with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) challenges young minds to think about the future, past and present of Entrepreneurship and Investment within the Space Sector and submit their views and analysis to this competition.

The content of papers may address any characteristics of Entrepreneurship and Investment in the Space Sector that you might regard as particularly interesting or important. Questions addressed may include:

  • What are the historic and/or current definitions and examples of entrepreneurship and investment?
  • What are the historic and/or current definitions and examples of public-private partnership models?
  • What are the real or perceived barriers, obstacles, or opportunities of entrepreneurship and investment?
  • What are the real or perceived factors that influence behaviors and public perceptions of entrepreneurs and investors?
  • Other topics can include a critical analysis of historical analogies comparing the development of past industries (e.g. other modes of transportation or other non-transportation industries) and the emerging commercial space industry.

For more information, click here.

 

Global Space Exploration Conference Set for Late May in DC

Reston, Va. (AIAA PR) – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), in coordination with the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), is pleased to announce the initial program for the Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX) to take place May 22–24, 2012 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza Southwest, Washington, D.C.

The opening day of the event will feature a “Heads of Space Agencies Global Space Exploration Dialog.” Moderated by AIAA Executive Director Bob Dickman, it will bring together Charles Bolden, administrator, NASA; Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general, European Space Agency; Steve MacLean, president, Canadian Space Agency; Vladimir Alexandrovich Popovkin, head, Russian Federal Space Agency; and Chen Qiufa, administrator, China National Space Administration, for a candid discussion on the future of space exploration initiatives in the global community. Dr. Keiji Tachikawa, president, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, chairman, Indian Space Research Organization, have also been invited.

(more…)

ISU to Study Placing Transponders on Commercial Space Vehicles

The FAA and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) are in discussions with the International Space University (ISU) on conducting a study on the need for beacons or transponders on commercial space vehicles, officials revealed this week.

The study is likely to be conducted as a Team Project during the 2012 Space Studies Summer Program, which is being co-housed by the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Approximately 40 students from about 20 countries cight participate in the project.

(more…)