SpaceX Launches Inmarsat Satellite

A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster launched the Inmarsat 5 F4 communications satellite on Monday from Pad 39-A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It was SpaceX’s sixth launch of 2017. Due to the demands of the mission, SpaceX did not attempt to recover the first stage.

According to the Inmarsat:

Inmarsat-5 F4 (I-5 F4) will boost the power of our award-winning Global Xpress network, which has been delivering seamless, high-speed broadband connectivity across the world since December 2015.

Like the other three satellites in our fifth generation fleet, I-5 F4 was built by Boeing in El Segundo, California as part of our investment of approximately US$1.6 billion in the first ever global Ka-band service from a single network operator.

Once in geostationary orbit, the satellite will provide additional capacity for Global Xpress users on land, at sea and in the air.

SpaceX Set to Launch Communications Satellite Tonight

The Autonomous Flight Safety System first flew from the Eastern Range on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 CRS-10 Feb. 19, 2017. The use of AFSS reduces range space lift costs through reductions in range equipment maintenance and upgrades. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX is targeting launch of Inmarsat-5 Flight 4 from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 49-minute launch window opens on Monday, May 15, at 7:21 p.m. EDT, or 23:21 UTC. Watch the webcast here.

A backup launch window opens on Tuesday, May 16, at 7:21 p.m. EDT, or 23:21 UTC. SpaceX will not attempt to land Falcon 9’s first stage after launch due to mission requirements.

A mission press kit is available here.

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DiBello: Florida Faces Possible Shortage of Aerospace Talent

Space Florida President Frank DiBello
Space Florida President Frank DiBello

Florida’s success in drawing companies such as Blue Origin, Northrop Grumman and OneWeb to the Space Coast could create a shortage of aerospace talent in the future, Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello said on Tuesday.

“I would even go so far as to say that this is the area I am most worried about for our aerospace future,” DiBello told several hundred guests at a National Space Club Florida Committee meeting in Cape Canaveral….

The Space Coast, anchored by the civil and military and space programs at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, has long been a hub for skilled aerospace workers.

And new companies had a ready supply to draw from after the retirement of NASA’s shuttle program in 2011 resulted in roughly 8,000 layoffs of contractors.

But looking ahead, DiBello said Florida does not produce enough aerospace-related degrees and lags a dozen states in attracting federal funding for space-related research, metrics that need to improve.

A source on the Space Coast recently told Parabolic Arc that NASA’s exploration ground system program, which is developing supporting infrastructure for the Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft, has been impacted by workers taking positions with Blue Origin, which is building a rocket production facility nearby and modifying a launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
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Space Florida Seeks to Upgrade Shuttle Landing Facility

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

Space Florida is looking update the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Growing commercial activity at Kennedy Space Center is prompting Space Florida to seek contractors to provide more fuel and new air-traffic-control facilities at the runway known as the Shuttle Landing Facility.

The need for more fuel at the runway is prompted by more cargo flights and the potential for launching more satellites from the wings of jets.

On Wednesday, Space Florida released a request for proposals from potential fuel suppliers, calling for at least two fueling trucks that carry 5,000 gallons of Jet-A fuel, or a similar capacity.

Space Florida owns the former shuttle landing strip, and is preparing it to serve launch companies operating in the area.

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Congressional Budget Gives NASA $19.6 Billion

NASA would receive $19.653 billion for fiscal year 2017 under an Omnibus spending bill released on Monday by Congressional appropriators, an increase of more than $600 million requested by the Obama Administration. NASA received just under $19.3 billion in FY 2016.

The bill was released seven months into the 2017 fiscal year. The government has been operating on continuing resolutions since the year began last Oct. 1.

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NIAC Phase I Award: Solar Surfing

Solar Surfing (Credit: Robert Youngquist)

Solar Surfing

Robert Youngquist
NASA Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

Value: Approximately $125,000
Length of Study: 9 months

Description

We propose to develop a novel high temperature coating that will reflect up to 99.9 % of the Sun’s total irradiance, roughly a factor of 80 times better than the current state-of-the-art. This will be accomplished by leveraging off of our low temperature coating, currently being developed under NIAC funding.

We will modify our existing models to determine an optimal high temperature solar reflector, predict its performance, and construct a prototype version of this coating. This prototype will be sent to our partner at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory where it will be tested in an 11 times solar simulator.

The results of this modeling/testing will be used to design a mission to the Sun, where we hope to come to within one solar radius of the Sun’s surface, 8 times closer than the closest distance planned for the upcoming Solar Probe Plus. This project will substantially advance the current capabilities of solar thermal protection systems, not only potentially allowing “Solar Surfing”, but allowing better thermal control of a future mission to Mercury.

Full List of 2017 NIAC Awards

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ZERO-G Research Flights Advance Technology for Future Deep-Space Missions


ORLANDO, Fla,
April 6, 2017 (Zero-G PR) – As part of NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, Zero Gravity Corporation (ZERO-G®) recently worked with research groups from University of Florida, Carthage College and University of Maryland to validate technology designed to further humanity’s reach into space. A collection of flights on G-FORCE ONE, ZERO-G’s specially modified Boeing 727, gave researchers the chance to run experiments and test innovative systems in the only FAA-approved, manned microgravity lab on Earth.

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A New Market Emerges

SpaceX Crew Dragon Weldment Structure (Credit: SpaceX)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

NASA recently marked a decade since it began a new era in commercial spaceflight development for low-Earth orbit transportation. The space agency inked agreements in 2006 to develop rockets and spacecraft capable of carrying cargo such as experiments and supplies to and from the International Space Station.

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Invention May Give Spacecraft Improved Damage Report

Prototypes of the damage detection system in development at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center shows the pieces designed to pinpoint impacts on spacecraft. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

There are few ways for astronauts to know exactly when the outside of their spacecraft has been damaged, but that may change in the future with an invention that acts like a sensory skin to pick up signs of damage in real-time. The invention uses a series of several technologies to create circuits printed on thin layers and that can be embedded in a spacecraft’s structure, scientists behind the invention said.

If successfully incorporated, the innovation could also be applied to a host of satellites, aircraft and even habitats on other worlds.

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OneWeb Breaks Ground on Satellite Factory at Kennedy

One Web Satellites Ground Breaking ceremony at Exploration Park. (Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — The portfolio of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will soon include large-scale satellite manufacturing following Thursday’s groundbreaking for a 150,000-square foot spacecraft factory in the center’s Exploration Park.

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Kennedy’s Multi-User Spaceport Streamlines Commercial Launches

Credit: NASA

By Frank Ochoa-Gonzales
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

In the past, launch pads were used almost exclusively for government missions. To support a growing private sector space economy, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has transformed to a multi-user spaceport capable of handling the needs of a variety of companies from launch processing through recovery. NASA, the FAA, and Air Force Space Command provide diverse launch operations, government and commercial, enabled by the Commercial Space Launch Act.  These agencies are working together to simplify the steps to certify commercial launches from Kennedy Space Center’s multi-user spaceport.

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SpaceX Mission Poised for Notable Achievements

Falcon 9 on Launch Pad 39A. (Credit: NASA)

By Steven Siceloff,
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida

NASA’s first cargo resupply mission of 2017 is poised to lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida loaded with almost 5,500 pounds of science experiments, research equipment and supplies bound for the International Space Station and its resident astronauts.

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SpaceX Set to Launch Dragon Supply Ship on Saturday

Falcon 9 on Launch Pad 39A. (Credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA provider SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft are vertical at Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Liftoff of SpaceX’s tenth Commercial Resupply Services cargo mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for 10:01 a.m. EST on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. The mission will set a milestone as the first launch from Launch Complex 39A since the space shuttle fleet retired in 2011. It will mark a turning point for Kennedy’s transition to a multi-user spaceport geared to support public and private missions, as well as those conducted in partnership with NASA.

Dragon will carry science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 50 and 51 crew members. Research highlights aboard Dragon include the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS), a space-based instrument measuring the amount, rate and energy of lightning as it strikes around the world; the Raven investigation studying a real-time spacecraft navigation system; and the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III instrument measuring stratospheric ozone, aerosols, and other trace gases by locking onto the sun or moon and scanning a thin profile of Earth’s atmosphere.

Next Generation Batteries Could Provide Power to Microsatellites, CubeSats

Daniel Perez, Ph.D., a graduate student from the University of Miami, displays a piece of the prototype structure for a new solid-state battery in the Prototype Laboratory at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The size of the battery is so small that it could be a prime candidate for use in microsatellites, including CubeSats. Researchers at Kennedy are collaborating with experts at the University of Miami. The university partnership is funded through the Small Spacecraft Technology Program, in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

By Linda Herridge
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

Sometimes good things come in very small packages. Just ask Dr. Luke Roberson, senior principal investigator for Flight Research within the Exploration Research and Technology Directorate at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Falcon 9 Rolled Out to Pad 39A

SpaceX has rolled out the Falcon 9 booster to Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The booster will undergo a test of its first stage engines in preparation for a scheduled Feb. 18 launch. The rocket will carry a Dragon resupply ship bound for the International Space Station.

It will be the first launch from Pad 39A since the final space shuttle flight in 2011. SpaceX has leased the complex from NASA under a 20-year agreement.