The House subcommittee on space is currently webcasting a hearing on the space debris problem: Space Traffic Safety Management - Video | C-SPAN.org.
- Court lifts RD-180 injunction - Space Politics
- Judge Lifts Temporary Ban on RD-180 Engine Purchases – SpaceNews.com
- Amid SpaceX Protest, USAF Defends Sole-Source EELV Strategy - Ares/Aviation Week
- Hearing set for today on motion to lift RD-180 injunction - Space Politics
- ULA Statement on Department of Justice Response to Court of Federal Claims – United Launch Alliance
Copenhagen Suborbitals announces an upcoming rocket engine test event:
Saturday May 17th we are testing our biggest rocket to date: The HEAT2X. The rocket will be mounted atop our teststand VTC3 firmly attached to the concrete and the umbilical tower. At 14:00 CEST the engine is ignited for a full duration 90 second burn.
The primary objective of the test is to verify the performance of the TM65LE engine. During the burn we will also measure the forces on the jet vanes exerted by the engines exhaust. These data will be used to calibrate the guidance computer and rudder system correctly before flight.
We will provide a live commented broadcast of the preparations and the test itself on Youtube and Livestream. Link to the live video feed will be posted on the website.
Visit www.copsub.com to read more about the test and the latest news about the developement of HEAT2X.
New Space Research Platform Will Be Unveiled at MakerCon
Redwood City, CA (May 8, 2013) – A new research platform that promises to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space for small scientific and education payloads will be publicly unveiled at MakerCon, which takes place at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood City next week.
The Lynx Cub Payload Carrier, developed by the United States Rocket Academy, Texas A&M University, and the Space Engineering Research Center (a Texas state agency) will fly on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft. A fully reusable, piloted, suborbital spacecraft, Lynx is designed to fly four times a day. The Lynx Cub Payload Carrier will fit behind the pilot’s seat and carry up to 15 small experiments on each flight.
The Lynx Cub Carrier will be unveiled by United States Rocket Academy founder Edward Wright during a presentation on “Citizen Science and Citizen Space Exploration.” The presentation takes place on Tuesday, May 13 at 2:55-3:15 PM, in Room 102/103 of the Oracle Conference Center.
“The Lynx spacecraft is now under construction at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California,” Wright said. “XCOR Aerospace expects to begin flight tests later this year.
“The Cub Carrier can be installed and removed quickly for frequent, low-cost flight opportunities. The Lynx Cub Carrier is an ideal platform for small materials-processing, fluid-physics, life-science, and engineering experiments. University teaching and research, K-12 education, citizen science, government and industrial R&D will all benefit from the convenient simple interfaces, rapid integration, and affordability of Lynx Cub experiments. We are pleased to have the opportunity to introduce this exciting platform to the audience at MakerCon.”
MakerCon is a premiere event organized by Maker Media, publisher of Make magazine and producer of Maker Faire.
MakerCon brings together the leaders at the forefront of the maker movement. The conference provides new insights into local and global manufacturing, design, marketing and distribution, and diverse funding options to help makers bring their products to market.
MakerCon is presented by Intel and hosted by Oracle Corporation. More information, including a complete list of speakers, is available at www.makercon.com. Registration is available at www.makercon.com/attend.
Additional information about Citizens in Space can be found at www.citizensinspace.org.
New Nonfiction ‘Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth’ Looks to
Space Exploration, Technologies to Solve Earthly Challenges
In the nonfiction work Harvesting Space for a Greener Earth, catastrophic threats to our civilization and way of life abound. Food and energy resources dwindle. Climate change looms. Tumbling space rocks threaten devastation or outright extinction.
But solutions to these very real challenges exist, the book’s authors contend, thanks to new technologies and scientific discoveries made possible by space exploration — and still more to come as humanity extends its reach ever further into the solar system.
Newly published by Springer, “Harvesting Space” is exhaustively researched and written by Greg Matloff, a physicist and retired associate professor at the New York City College of Technology and former NASA Faculty Fellow and consultant C Bangs, an ecological artist and former NASA Faculty Fellow; and Les Johnson, co-author of the science fiction novels Back to the Moon and the forthcoming Rescue Mode, and a physicist and technologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. It is the second edition of the trio’s 2010 work, Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth.
“Gloom and doom sells,” writes award-winning science fiction author Jack McDevitt in his foreword to the volume — but the “Harvesting Space” authors remain distinctly sanguine in their approach to their unsettling subject matter, objectively addressing global challenges from overpopulation and dwindling resources to the threat of an extinction-level event caused by a rogue comet or meteor.
The book pairs themes of environmentalism and exploration, championing good stewardship of the Earth and calling for greater investment in missions of discovery into the solar system. The writers illustrate potential solutions in clear, unambiguous language, demonstrating how technologies and capabilities derived from space exploration can slow, and even reverse, centuries of resource mismanagement across the globe.
“We should feel far from hopeless,” the authors assert. Their recommendation? Time to seek out the untapped resources all around us: “We merely have to move a few hundred kilometers straight up into space to access … a literal universe of energy, raw materials and real estate.”
Kindle and paperback editions are available on Amazon.com.
In the new Story Time From Space (STFS) project, ISS crew members will read from a selection of books aimed at kids. There is a a Kickstarter campaign to fund STFS publicity and distribution of their materials.
Story Time From Space
Now Available to the Children of Earth
Stories read by astronauts on the International Space Station now available online.
HOUSTON, TX, May 7, 2014 – In another space flight first, Story Time From Space (STFS), partnered with Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), has debuted the first children’s book reading from the International Space Station on www.storytimefromspace.com.
“What you cannot imagine, you cannot do,” said Alvin Drew, NASA Astronaut and co-founder for STFS. “It is incredible to see this exciting concept finally debut online. The videos paired with the cross content curriculum will be a powerful tool for educators and families”
Five books by astrophysicist and author Jeffrey Bennett launched to the International Space Station on January 9 aboard the Cygnus spacecraft. The first book making an appearance on the website is “Max Goes to the International Space Station” read by astronaut Mike Hopkins from the space station’s seven window observatory known as the Cupola. The story follows Max the dog as he learns about life on the space station and explores the unusual effects of microgravity.
The books were selected by the founders Alvin Drew and space educator Patricia Tribe for their solid science and inspirational stories. The content makes the books a perfect spring board for the coming science demonstrations that will be flown in the fall. Nine experiments designed by veteran astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason will be conducted on the space station then used to develop curriculum to complement the science concepts in each book.
“The equipment we are building to fly to the space station is fairly sophisticated,” said Bjarni Tryggvason, veteran astronaut and lead science developer for STFS. “For instance, we are flying a spectrometer that will measure wavelengths of light as the sun rises and sets through the Earth’s atmosphere. This information gives us fantastic data on the atmosphere’s composition and has interesting applications for understanding climate change.”
Story time From Space is a project of the Global Space Flight Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and plans to make the STFS content available for free to families, schools and libraries. To fund the distribution and program expenses, STFS has launched a Kickstarter campaign.
About Story Time From Space:
Story Time From Space (STFS) is a project of the Global Space Flight Education Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. The group has partnered with NASA and CASIS to have books read in space as part of an innovative program to combine science and literature. For more information visit www.storytimefromspace.com
The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. CASIS is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. For more information, visit www.iss-casis.org.
About the ISS National Laboratory:
In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the International Space Station as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing STEM education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by other U.S. government agencies and by academic and private institutions, providing access to the permanent microgravity setting, vantage point in low Earth orbit, and varied environments of space.
automatically takes images of Earth through a small telescope with an off-the-shelf digital camera mounted in the International Space Station’s Destiny module. When ISERV is running, it captures 3 images per second that cover approximately a 19 km x 11 km area each. The goal is to improve automatic image capturing and data transfer, but the images taken in the experiment could also help environmental scientists, disaster responders and other Earth-based users.
Burgess Howell is the principal investigator and payload developer for ISERV and in this video he describes the system and examples of images.:
See also the gallery of great images at ISERV: A New ‘Eye’ on Earth – a set on Flickr.
The overall SERVIR program
is a joint venture between NASA and USAID which provides satellite-based Earth observation data and science applications to help developing nations improve their environmental decision making.
The ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment was mentioned here last Saturday but it was not active at the time. Today it has been showing beautiful streaming video of the earth:
Black Image = International Space Station (ISS) is on the night side of the Earth.
Gray Image = Switching between cameras, or communications with the ISS is not available.
No Audio = Normal. There is no audio on purpose. Add your own soundtrack.
For a display of the real time ISS location plus the HDEV imagery, visit here: http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/HDEV/
The High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment aboard the ISS was activated April 30, 2014. It is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. This experiment includes several commercial HD video cameras aimed at the earth which are enclosed in a pressurized and temperature controlled housing. Video from these cameras is transmitted back to earth and also streamed live on this channel. While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence though the different cameras.
Between camera switches, a gray and then black color slate will briefly appear. Since the ISS is in darkness during part of each orbit, the images will be dark at those times. During periods of loss of signal with the ground or when HDEV is not operating, a gray color slate or previously recorded video may be seen.
Analysis of this experiment will be conducted to assess the effects of the space environment on the equipment and video quality which may help decisions about cameras for future missions. High school students helped with the design of some of the HDEV components through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program. Student teams will also help operate the experiment. To learn more about the HDDEV experiment, visit here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/917.html
Yet more space policy/politics related links:
- It’s Time to Push for US Human Spaceflight Independence) - Space.com - Richard and Owen Garriott
- Start of the True Space Age - Icarus Interstellar
- NASA Budget:
- US defense space:
- Latests on House budget for NASA:
- Masters of the Solar System: We Need to Conquer Space to Save Earth - IBD
- Stupid Space Tricks - Spudis Lunar Resources Blog
- US House Panel Raises Concerns About Russian Satellite Monitoring Sites - Defense News
- Government asks to lift ban on buying Russian engine - Spaceflight Now
* Robert (Bob) Zimmerman, Tuesday, 5-6-14 | Thespaceshow’s Blog - Bob spoke about “Russia-NASA space relationship with sanctions, ISS, SpaceX, Air Force & more”.
* Walt Cunningham @ Rocky Mtn College, 4-4-14 | Thespaceshow’s Blog - Former astronaut Walter Cunningham spoke about “Apollo 7 & Skylab experiences, STEM & student inspiration.”
A public service announcement brought to you by Organizing for Humanity
Here is the complete briefing event held recently by the B612 Foundation on the latest findings for asteroid impacts on earth: Video GalleryB612 Foundation - B612 Foundation. (See also the asteroid impacts video in the earlier post here.)
From the caption:
In a special Earth Day program on April 22, Seattle’s Museum of Flight hosted three prominent US Astronauts supporting the B612 Foundation for a press conference which unveiled a new video showing the surprising number of asteroid impacts on Earth during the last decade, and the even more surprising fact that we can prevent future asteroid impacts.
“The visualization shows data from the nuclear weapons test warning network supplied by Peter Brown, Western University of Canada. This network has detected 26 multi-kiloton explosions since 2001, all of which are due to asteroid impacts. This shows that asteroid impacts are NOT rare — but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought.” stated Dr. Lu “The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance shows that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a “city-killer” sized asteroid is blind luck. The goal of the B612 Sentinel Mission is to find and track asteroids decades before they hit Earth, allowing us to easily deflect them.”
The B612 Foundation is partnered with Ball Aerospace to build the Sentinel Infrared Space Telescope Mission. From a Venus-like orbit around the Sun, Sentinel will be the most capable system for finding and tracking asteroids ever built.
During the Press Conference, Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders unveiled a new mural that highlights the importance of the Sentinel Mission. His EARTHRISE photo shows the Earth rising above the crater-strewn surface of the Moon, and will remain on display at the Seattle Museum of Flight. “We began Apollo 8 thinking we were going to learn about the Moon, instead, we began a new understanding of our Earth.” The EARTHRISE photo will serve as the backdrop for the morning Press Conference.
Tom Jones, four-time US Shuttle Astronaut and President of the Association of Space Explorers, explained the recent UN resolution calling for international cooperation for detection of dangerous asteroids.
An announcement from Citizens in Space:
New Space Research Platform Ready For Flight Test
Lynx Cub Payload Carrier Developed at Texas A&M
College Station, Texas (May 7, 2013) – The United States Rocket Academy announced the delivery of the first Lynx Cub Payload Carrier, a new research platform which promises to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space for small scientific and education payloads.
The Lynx Cub Carrier will fly on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, which is now under construction at the Mojave Air and Space Port.
“The Lynx Cub Payload Carrier is a versatile system that installs in the Lynx cabin, behind the pilot’s seat, allowing small experiments to be carried as secondary payloads on any Lynx flight,” said United States Rocket Academy chairman Edward Wright. “The Cub Carrier can be installed and removed quickly for frequent, low-cost flight opportunities.
“The Lynx Cub Carrier is an ideal platform for small materials-processing, fluid-physics, life-science, and engineering experiments. University teaching and research, K-12 education, citizen science, government and industrial R&D will all benefit from the convenient simple interfaces, rapid integration, and affordability of Lynx Cub experiments.”
The Lynx Cub Carrier was developed by the United States Rocket Academy and the Space Engineering Research Center, part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), with support from XCOR Aerospace. Design and fabrication of the Lynx Cub Carrier were performed by Texas A&M faculty and students and TEES researchers.
Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, will use the Lynx Cub Carrier on 10 Lynx missions. The Lynx Cub Carrier will also be made available to other XCOR customers, as ready-to-fly hardware or as an open-source hardware design.
“Lynx Cub payloads are based on the popular 1U, 2U, and 3U CubeSat form factors, which are de facto international standards for small scientific payloads,” said Chip Hill, Director of the Space Engineering Research Center. “The payload carrier provides physical accommodations, electrical power, and limited thermal control for Lynx Cub experiments.”
The Lynx Cub Carrier will be part of the XCOR Lynx flight-test program, which is expected to begin later this year.
“For the test flights, we will load the Lynx Cub Carrier with payload simulators, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and environmental sensors,” Wright said. “While XCOR is proving out the vehicle, we’ll be gathering baseline data on the thermal environment, acoustical environment, acceleration, vibration, and other parameters — data that will help guide experimenters in their payload design.”
“The Lynx Cub Carrier development was a great learning experience,” said Austin Goswick, a senior Systems and Industrial Engineering student who worked on the project. “This project tested me in every way, advancing my communication skills as well as my engineering skills. I can’t wait to hear how it performs in the flight test.”
The Space Engineering Research Center, part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station in College Station, is also a member of XCOR’s global network of payload integrators, which provides value-added services for Lynx payload customers. TEES is an engineering research agency of the State of Texas and a member of The Texas A&M University System.
XCOR Aerospace, which is developing the suborbital, fully reusable Lynx spacecraft for a variety of scientific and commercial missions, is currently headquartered in Mojave, California. The company will relocate its headquarters to Midland, Texas later this year.
The United States Rocket Academy, a non-profit educational organization that studies and promotes the scientific, military, and commercial applications of human spaceflight, is also located in Texas. Citizens in Space is the United States Rocket Academy’s flagship program.
An announcement from Uwingu:
World’s First Mother’s Day Gifts Available on Mars — From Uwingu!
Gift givers can now say “Happy Mother’s Day” in a way that’s
truly out of this world
Uwingu, a company helping people personally connect with space exploration and astronomy, today announced a world-wide, first-ever opportunity to honor moms on Mother’s Day from Mars— by naming a feature for her on Uwingu’s new Mars map.
Until Mother’s Day, May 11, Uwingu is offering a gift pack which includes a special Mother’s Day certificate for anyone choosing to name a crater for mom. All names will be lodged on permanent record and sent to Mars on the private Mars One mission, ensuring every honored mom a permanent place in history.
Uwingu’s Mars Map Crater Naming Project allows anyone to help name the approximately 590,000 unnamed, scientifically cataloged craters on Mars, starting at $5 each. Uwingu aims to raise $10 million for The Uwingu Fund, which provides grants to further space exploration, research and education.
Thanks to the sale of almost 10,000 crater names to date, the Uwingu Fund has already funded grants to projects and organizations including the Astronomers Without Borders, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Mars One mission, the Galileo Teacher Training Program, Explore Mars and the Allen Telescope Array at SETI.
“Our mission is to raise funds for space research while growing a successful company that gets people excited about space exploration and education”, said Alan Stern, planetary scientist, founder, and CEO of Uwingu, who formerly directed all science programs and missions at NASA.
Boulder, Colo.-based Uwingu employs of a growing team of scientists, educators, NASA veterans and prominent businesspeople who are passionate about space exploration and education.
Some miscellaneous items I’ve had in my queue:
The ISEC Space Elevator Conference will be held August 22-24 at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.
The German space agency DLR is planning an interesting mission to test the growing of plants in gravity less than earth’s by using the rotation of a spacecraft to provide centrifugal force to provide artificial gravity. It will spin
- Spin Control: Greenhouses Headed for Orbit – Leonard David
- Eu:CROPIS – Growing tomatoes in space – DLR
The experiment involves use of bacteria and algae that will convert synthetic urine into fertilizer to promote the growth of tomato plants. Variations in rotational speed around its longitudinal axis will simulate lunar and Martian gravity.
The first of the two greenhouses will operate under lunar conditions over the first six months, while the second greenhouse will operate in a Martian environment for the following six.
This project will run for a year, after which the satellite will reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.
* Michael Listner, Monday, 5-5-14 | Thespaceshow’s Blog - On the show yesterday, space law expert Michael Listner discussed “the legal issues involved in the SpaceX-Air Force lawsuit and [...] the Russian-NASA issues regarding the ISS as a result of U.S. sanctions on Russia and Russian leaders due to the crisis in the Ukraine & Crimea”.
* Neil deGrasse Tyson on Planetary Radio - Today’s episode of the Planetary Society‘s weekly program included an update from Bill Nye on his lobbying in D.C. and there was an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
- More House Committee Action on DOD Authorization, NASA/NOAA Appropriations This Week – SpacePolicyOnline
- Mars 2021 (NASA/Inspiration Mars):
SpaceX has added a new model rocket kit based on the latest Falcon 9 rocket design: Falcon 9 and Fairing Flying Model Rocket Kit – Featured
I recently wrote about the LittleBits SpaceKit: Assemble your own space program that allows you to assembly many types of fun space-inspired gadgets from a set of electronic modules. Here’s an article about the SpaceKit: Build a Spacecraft at Home with NASA-Approved Space Kit - Space.com
The Kunsthaus Lempertz auction house is having a Spacesale in Brussels of a Soviet era [twice flown] space capsule and two space suits currently owned by the company Excalibur Almaz, based in Isle of Man: About — Spacesale
On 7 May the Space Capsule of the type Vozvrashchayemyi Apparat (VA) will be auctioned at an estimated value of $1-2 million, together with two historic Sokol KV2 spacesuits (estimated value $80,000) at the newly opened Lempertz branch in Brussels. From the 26 April the VA can be viewed at the historic building on Rue du Grand Cerf.
More about the auction at Used spacecraft for sale: Soviet-era space capsule up for auction in Belgium - collectSPACE.
Here’s a video of a reception at the auction site:
In this show Amanda reports on the following topics:
01:32 — 02:48 SpaceX Falcon carries a Dragon to the ISS
02:49 — 05:12 The Falcon first Stage becoming reusable
05:13 — 06:17 Earth-sized Exoplanet found in habitable Zone
06:18 — 08:14 A Comet aims at Mars
08:15 — 09:24 A Mars Wind Cleansing
Previous Virtual SpaceTV 3D shows are available on the HobbySpace Youtube Channel.
These videos are intended as educational programs and as demonstrations of an experimental technique for generating animated presentations. The show was generated autonomously by software according to a text script. The project is described in the Virtual Producer whitepaper (Release 1.1, Oct.2013, pdf). For further information contact email@example.com.
More space policy/politics related links:
- What’s Happening in Space Policy: May 5-9, 2014
- ITAR reform:
- Defense launch:
- Global space:
- The Space Review:
I mentioned recently plans for a concert involving an ISS astronaut and Texas music students. The event took place on May 2nd and here is a video of it:
Students from Pearl Hall Elementary school joined Astronaut Cady Coleman, Houston Symphony violinist Sergei Galperin, and Bella Galia founder & violinist Kenji Williams in a live linkup between the Johnson Space Center and the International Space Station. Expedition 39 crew member Koichi Wakata joined Kenji Williams for a space-Earth duet of Gagaku music.
The ESA reports on TV transmission using the amateur radio station on the ISS:
5 May 2014: Astronauts on the International Space Station can now talk with people on Earth with video using simple transmitters. ‘Ham TV’ has been set up in ESA’s Columbus laboratory and already used for talking with ground control.
Amateur radio enthusiasts have been able to poll astronauts circling our planet using standard radio equipment since the Station was inaugurated in 2000. Radio signals easily reach the orbital outpost flying 350 km above us on sets readily available to radio enthusiasts.
The new Ham TV adds a visual dimension, allowing an audience on the ground to see and hear the astronauts.
Ham TV equipment
The hardware, developed by Kayser Italia, was sent to the Station on Japan’s space freighter in August last year and connected to an existing S-band antenna on Columbus.
Ham video in action
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins had the honour of being the first to commission the unit and broadcast over Ham TV. He had a video chat with three ground stations in Italy: Livorno, Casale Monferrato and Matera. The crew finished commissioning the set-up on 12 April for general use.
Just like standard television, the video signal is one way. The astronauts cannot see their audience but they will still be able to hear them over the traditional amateur radio on the Station.
Ham TV ground station
Contacts are brief – the connection requires direct line of sight and the Station’s 28 800 km/h means it quickly passes through the field of view of amateur stations.
ESA has provided five ground antennas and equipment to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station organisation to receive video from the Station. These stations can be transported easily and positioned to follow the laboratory as it flies overhead. Linked together in this way, the stations can supply up to 20 minutes of contact at a time.
Ham TV will add to ham radio for space educational purposes, offering schoolchildren the chance to talk and see astronauts in space with simple equipment.
Anybody can still hail the Station via radio and, if an astronaut floats by the always-on receiver, they might just pick up and answer the call.
For more information on how to get involved and organise an educational event, contact the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station organisation.