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Thursday, June 25, 2015

This Week in Satellite News! (Jun 19 – Jun 26 2015)

 

Defense contractors gather at Killeen civic center

Congressman John Carter opened the Army Contracting Summit at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on Tuesday with remarks encouraging the partnership between private industry and the military.

About 200 representatives from small and large defense contractors and more than 30 vendors gathered to learn about new contract opportunities in the Army and the Fort Hood area.

‘Critical partnership’

“We want to always dominate the battlefield, therefore, you are an integral part of that domination on that battlefield. This critical partnership between training and technology and private sector is what has set us apart from the rest of the world,” said Carter, R-Round Rock, who serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Appropriations, as well as co-chairman of the bipartisan House Army Caucus.

http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/kdhnews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/10/d105dce4-1a16-11e5-8ff7-ef5d61ecae4b/558a12a44e0e1.image.jpg?resize=760%2C507

Jackie Garsee, with GIT Satellite LLC, and Congressman John Carter, R-Round Rock, talk during the Army Contracting Summit on Tuesday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.

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Two-Stage NASA Sounding Rocket Goes Sub-Orbital | Video

 

The Terrier-Improved Orion rocket carrying student experiments launched from the Wallops Flight Facility to an altitude of 71.4 miles on June 25th, 2015. The payload parachuted into the Atlantic Ocean and was in the process of being of recovered…Read More »
at the time of this writing.

The RockOn/RockSat-C program teaches students about rocketry basics and developing suborbital-flight experiments.

 

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NASA’s Interest in Removal of Orbital Debris Limited to Tech Demos

SAN FRANCISCO — NASA’s policy of paying companies to develop technology designed to eliminate orbital debris but not to pay for in-flight demonstrations has space companies searching for new backers.

NASA adopted a policy in June 2014 to support development of orbital debris removal technology but not of operational systems. Specifically, the space agency backs projects with Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 1 through 4, which means NASA’s support for projects ends once components or prototypes work in a laboratory setting.

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Earth and Mars May Have Shared Seeds of Life

Could Mars, of all places, be the place to look for early life on Earth?

It's an intriguing thought and one that astrobiologists take seriously as they consider the conditions during the early days of the solar system when both planets experienced frequent bombardments by asteroids and comets that resulted in debris exchange between one body and the other.

"We might be able to find evidence of our own origin in the most unlikely place, and this place is Mars," planetary scientist Nathalie Cabrolof the SETI institute said in a TED Talk in April 2015.

Martian Rockbed

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Sun Storm Supercharges Northern Lights, Wowing Skywatchers (Photos)

Brilliant streaks of green, purple and pink lit up skies across Canada and many northern U.S. states on Monday night, in brilliant auroral displays following a massive solar storm.

The auroras were seen as far south as Philadelphia and northern New Jersey last night (June 22), and gave astronauts aboard the International Space Station a stunning celestial light show. The solar storm that caused the auroras was declared a level G4 (severe), with a maximum possible ranking of G5 (extreme).

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For Hurricane Forecasters, Jason-3 Can’t Launch Soon Enough

SAN FRANCISCO — As Hurricane Blanca traveled across the eastern Pacific Ocean in early June whipping up winds of over 200 kilometers per hour on its way toward Mexico’s Baja peninsula, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center in Miami used information drawn from space-based altimeters to forecast the storm’s varying intensity levels.

Blanca was classified as a Category 4 hurricane on June 3, but weakened to a Category 1 hurricane during the following day and a half when the storm stopped moving and churned the ocean so much that cold water from its depth moved close to the surface. On June 6, Blanca became a Category 4 hurricane again after moving away from the area of cold water. Then, it lost strength a second time as it approached Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

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How NASA Could Explore Jupiter Moon Europa's Ocean

Europa is an ice-covered moon orbiting Jupiter that likely hosts an undergound ocean. Perhaps that ocean contains life. Perhaps it doesn’t. But we’re not going to know for sure until we send a probe there to check things out.

NASA announced last week that it’s one step closer to flying by Europa dozens of times after launching in the 2020s. The mission concept was approved and funding is ongoing. To get under that ice (virtually), NASA could include a radar instrument called REASON (Radar for Europa Assessment and Sounding: Ocean to Near-surfaces). But what if we were to eventually send a robotic landing mission?

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Construction of Giant Telescope Pushes on Despite Protests

The group building a huge telescope on Hawaii's tallest mountain plans to restart construction this week, ending a two-month delay caused by protestors opposed to the ambitious project.

Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano — work that was halted in April after a series of protests—will resume on Wednesday (June 24), project representatives said in a statement issued over the weekend.

Thirty Meter Telescope: Artist’s Concept

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Kazakh Cosmonaut To Take Brightman’s Place On Soyuz Flight

WASHINGTON — A Kazakh cosmonaut, and not a Japanese businessman who had been training as a backup, will take the place of space tourist Sarah Brightman on a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station in September, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced June 22.

In a one-sentence statement posted to its Twitter account, Roscosmos said that the agency approved the nomination of Aidyn Aimbetov to the crew of Soyuz TMA-18M, scheduled to launch Sept. 1 to the ISS. Roscosmos offered no additional details on the reason why it chose Aimbetov.

Brightman

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Mars Astronauts Could See Blue Auroras on Red Planet

Astronauts visiting Mars in the future will be awed by dazzling auroral displays in the planet's southern hemisphere, a new study suggests.

While previous research had confirmed the presence of beautiful "southern lights" on Mars, the new study predicts for the first time that the auroras of the Red Planet may be visible to the human eye.

"An astronaut looking up while walking on the red Martian soil would be able, after intense solar eruptions, to see the phenomena with the naked eye," study co-author Cyril Simon Wedlund, of Aalto University in Finland, said in a statement.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

This Week in Satellite News! (Jun 12 – Jun 19 2015)

 

Legacy Rocket Engine Test-Fired For Behemoth NASA SLS | Video

An RS-25 – same design as those on Space Shuttle – was hot-fired for 500 seconds on June 11th, 2015. Four such engines will power the core booster of NASA's forthcoming Space Launch System

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US-China Cooperation in Space: Is It Possible, and What's in Store?

There's a growing debate over whether China and the Unites States should cooperate in space, and the dialogue now appears to focus on how to create an "open-door" policy in orbit for Chinese astronauts to make trips to the International Space Station (ISS).

Discussion between the two space powers has reached the White House, but progress seems stymied by Washington, D.C., politics. Specifically at question is how to handle a 2011 decree by the U.S. Congress that banned NASA from engaging in bilateral agreements and coordination with China regarding space.

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Elon Musk Wants Your Hyperloop Designs

Transport visionaries: Are you ready to zoom into the annals of history?

SpaceX, the commercial spaceflight company run by Elon Musk, has announced a competition to design prototypes of his futuristic "Hyperloop" transport system. The theoretical Hyperloop would transport passengers at superfast speeds by sending pods cushioned by air through a low-pressure vacuum tube.

The most promising prototype pods will be tested on a 1-mile-long (1.6 kilometers) stretch of test track at SpaceX's Hawthorne, California, headquarters in June 2016.

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Bright Galaxy Reveals Signs of First Stars in the Universe

Astronomers have found what looks like some of the very first stars ever formed in the universe, forged from hydrogen created in the Big Bang.

Such stars, while long theorized, have never been observed before now, according to scientists with the European Southern Observatory, which announced the discovery today (June 17). The stars act as a bridge from the universe's early, hydrogen-filled existence to the many heavy elements surrounding us today. ESO officials created a video animation of the bright galaxy, called CR7, to illustrate their find.

 Read the full story here

 

Astronaut Spies Menacing Tropical Storm Bill from Space

Tropical Storm Bill lurks menacingly near the coast of Texas in a photo taken from space yesterday (June 15).

The image was captured from the International Space Station, and shows the storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coast of the Lone Star State. The storm made landfall earlier today, on southern Matagorda Island, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (97 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly took the new photo. Kelly, along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, is participating in the first yearlong mission at the International Space Station to study the long-term effects of microgravity on the human body.

Tropical Storm Bill

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Tunneling Cryobot Robot May Explore Icy Moons

A robotic "cryobot," designed to tunnel down through thick ice caps and penetrate subterranean seas, is undergoing tests on the Matanuska glacier in Alaska. It paves the way towards one day exploring the underground oceans of Jupiter's moon, Europa, or other icy moons of the Outer Solar System.

Europa is back on the menu for exploration. NASA's budget for the 2016 fiscal year includes about $30 million for further development of the Europa Clipper concept, a mission to Europa that will seek possible signs of the icy moon's habitability. However, being potentially habitable is not the same as being inhabited. To find life, a mission will ultimately have to land on the surface and go under the ice to the ocean below. Europa Clipper, if and when it launches sometime around 2025, will carry out reconnaissance of the surface for safe and scientifically interesting places to land. Crucially, however, the Clipper will not be carrying a lander with it.

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NASA Satellite Falls Out of Space, Burns Up Over Tropics

A dead NASA satellite plunged out of space today and burned up in the Earth's atmosphere over the South Indian Ocean, ending a nearly two-decade mission studying the planet's rainfall.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite, or TRMM, fell from orbit at 2:54 a.m. EDT (0654 GMT) as it was streaking over the tropical region of the South Indian Ocean, NASA officials wrote in an update. The satellite, a joint mission by NASA and Japan's space agency, launched in 1997 to map Earth's rainfall for weather and climate scientists.

An artist's illustration of the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite in orbit around Earth. The satellite studied Earth's rainfall for 17 years and was retired in April 2015. It burned up in the atmosphere on on June 16.

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It's Alive! Comet Lander Philae Phones Home After Months of Silence

A European probe that made a bouncy landing on a comet last year, and then slipped into a silent hibernation, is alive again and phoning home. 

The European Space Agency's Philae comet lander, which dropped onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from the Rosetta spacecraft last November, beamed an 85-second wake-up message to Earth via Rosetta yesterday (June 13), ESA officials announced today. It was the first signal from Philae in seven months since the probe fell silent on Nov. 15 after its historic comet landing

The European Space Agency's Philae comet lander is seen by the Rosetta spacecraft in this image captured on Nov. 12, 2014 as Philae headed for its landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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In NASA First, Cubesats Headed to Mars with InSight Lander

WASHINGTON — Two tiny cubesats, the first NASA plans to send to another planet, will keep watch on the agency’s InSight mission as it descends to the Martian surface in September 2016, an agency official said June 9.

The Mars Cube One satellites (or MarCO) are 6U cubesats, meaning each is built from six standard cubesat modules that measure 10 centimeters on a side and weigh just over 1 kilogram each. MarCO will be NASA's first interplanetary cubesats, according to the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which is building the spacecraft.

"News about the status of InSight's landing could come hours earlier with MarCO," Joel Krajewski, MarCO program manager at JPL, wrote in a June 10 email.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This Week in Satellite News! (Jun 5 – Jun 12 2015)

 

Space Trio Make “Textbook” Landing on Delayed Return From ISS

ALMATY, Kazakhstan  (Reuters) — Three astronauts landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan on Thursday (June 11), ending their 199-day mission after an unexpected “bonus month” aboard the International Space Station, NASA Television showed.

“It was a textbook homecoming for the Expedition 43 crew,” a NASA presenter said after the descent capsule of the Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft touched ground amid waving feathergrass at 1944 local time, some 92 miles southeast of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan.

“They have landed!” read a big screen at Russia’s Mission Control outside Moscow. The capsule, charred by extreme heat on re-entry, landed upright, allowing search and recovery teams to expedite the crew’s evacuation.

Members of Expedition 42 and 43 sitting outside the Soyuz spacecraft just minutes after landing in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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Iridium’s Future Riding on 7 SpaceX Launches and 1 Russian Rocket

PARIS — The inaugural launch — aboard a Russian Dnepr — of mobile satellite service provider Iridium’s second-generation constellation may slip beyond October but the company is still on track to put 72 satellites into orbit by late 2017, Iridium Chief Executive Matt Desch said June 10.

Addressing an investor conference, Desch said McLean, Virginia-based Iridium Communications is now securing an insurance policy for the launches but will be able to limit the cost because it is already building spare satellites.

Desch also said Iridium gets a free relaunch from Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX if the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket fails. Iridium has booked seven Falcon 9 launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to occur between early 2016 and late 2017.

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High School Student Discovers Alien Planet

An English high school student has become perhaps the youngest person ever to discover an alien planet.

Fifteen-year-old Tom Wagg first detected the gas-giant exoplanet two years ago, while doing work-experience study at Keele University in England. Further observations have now confirmed the existence of the alien world, which lies about 1,000 light-years from Earth and is known as WASP-142b.

"I'm hugely excited to have a found a new planet, and I'm very impressed that we can find them so far away," Wagg, now 17, said in statement

Artist's Impression of WASP-142b

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New Photo Book Presents Rare 'Snapshots' from NASA's Early 'Spaceshots

J.L. Pickering usually doesn't take kindly to books claiming "never before seen" NASA photographs.

A space historian and one half of the team behind the new title, "Spaceshots and Snapshots of Projects Mercury and Gemini: A Rare Photographic History," now available from University of New Mexico Press, he has almost assuredly already seen the photos. In fact, it's not uncommon to find him calling out the false descriptions.

"When we would go into any bookstore, we would naturally check out the space books," John Bisney, Pickering's co-author, said about the catalyst that led to their new book, which presents some of the truly seldom reproduced shots from NASA's first piloted space programs. "We'd pull them out, look through them, and it would always be like, 'Seen that, seen that, seen that.'"

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NASA Aiming for Multiple Missions to Jupiter Moon Europa

NASA's highly anticipated mission to Europa in the next decade may be just the beginning of an ambitious campaign to study the ocean-harboring Jupiter moon.

In the early to mid-2020s, NASA plans to launch a mission that will conduct dozens of flybys of Europa, which many astrobiologists regard as the solar system's best bet to host life beyond Earth. Space agency officials hope this effort paves the way for future missions to Europa — including one that lands on the icy moon to search for signs of life.

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NASA's 'Pluto Time' Shows You How Bright It Is on Dwarf Planet

A new NASA Web tool called "Pluto Time" allows people around the world to experience the light levels that prevail at noon on the dwarf planet.

Users enter their location, and Pluto Time tells them the next available opportunity to go outside and see what midday Plutonian rays would look like. (Everyone has two chances each day, around dusk and dawn.)

NASA is also encouraging users of the tool to take photos during their local Pluto Time and share the images via social media with the hashtag #PlutoTime.

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LightSail Spacecraft Wakes Up Again, Deploys Solar Sail

It wasn't exactly smooth sailing, but The Planetary Society's cubesat got the job done in the end.

The tiny LightSail spacecraft overcame a battery problem — the second glitch it suffered after launching to Earth orbit last month — and deployed its solar sail Sunday (June 7), said representatives of The Planetary Society, a California-based nonprofit led by former TV "Science Guy" Bill Nye.

"Sail deployment began at 3:47 p.m. EDT (19:47 UTC) off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, as the spacecraft traveled northwest to southeast," The Planetary Society's Jason Davis wrote in a mission update Sunday.

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Supersonic Parachute on NASA 'Flying Saucer' Apparently Fails in Test (Video)

NASA's huge supersonic parachute isn't ready to land astronauts on Mars just yet.

The 100-foot-wide (30 meters) chute — the biggest supersonic parachute ever deployed — was apparenty torn apart today (June 8) during the second flight test of NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) vehicle, which the space agency built as part of an ongoing effort to learn how to get superheavy payloads such as habitat modules down softly on the surface of Mars.

"Chute deployed, but did not inflate. We'll study data from this test to learn & improve," NASA officials said today via the agency's Twitter account, @NASA.

 

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U.S.-Japan Missile Interceptor Makes its First Flight

WASHINGTON – A new missile interceptor co-developed by the United States and Japan made its maiden flight June 6 in a non-intercept test.

The Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block 2A interceptor, developed under an agreement signed in 2006, is a bigger and more capable version of the Raytheon-built SM-3 Block 1A and 1B interceptors, which are part of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's sea-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system. Designed for deployment on ships or on land, the Block 2A features second and third stages that are wider, at 53 centimeters, than those on the current SM-3 variants, giving it the range and velocity needed to engage medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

In the test, the missile launched from the Point Mugu Sea Range on San Nicolas Island in California, according to a June 7 press release from the MDA. The test was designed to provide performance data on key components of the interceptor, including its nose cone, steering control mechanism, and booster separation systems.

 

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SpaceX Planning Series Of Experimental Communications Satellites

WASHINGTON — SpaceX is planning to launch a series of experimental low Earth orbit communications satellites starting next year to test technologies for a future low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation the company announced earlier this year.

In a May 29 filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, SpaceX sought an experimental Ku-band communications license for two spacecraft, named MicroSat-1a and MicroSat-1b, that it plans to launch in 2016 on a Falcon 9. The satellites will operate in near-polar orbits at an altitude of 625 kilometers.

The company said the two satellites are the first of series of six to eight “test and demonstration” spacecraft the company plans to launch. “These are prototype engineering verification vehicles that will enable in-space performance assessment and rapid iteration of technologies,” the company said in its filing. “A main objective of the test program is to validate the design of a broadband antenna communications platform (primary payload) that will lead to the final LEO constellation design.”

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Meet Adeline, Airbus’ Answer To SpaceX Reusability

LES MUREAUX, France – Airbus Defence and Space on June 5 unveiled the product of what it said was a five-year effort to design a reusable Ariane rocket first-stage engine and avionics package, a project company official said was stimulated by SpaceX’s work on reusable rockets.

Airbus officials said they believe they have resolved some of the issues inherent in Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX’s reusability effort, notably the exposure of the first stage engine to high-speed stresses as it descends through the atmosphere to its landing zone.

Airbus’s Adeline — short for Advanced Expendable Launcher with Innovative engine Economy — also imposes a much smaller performance penalty on its rocket than is the case for SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 first stage, all the while reusing 80 percent of the stage’s economic value — the engine, avionics and propulsion bay.

Airbus envisions Adeline making runway landings. Credit: Airbus

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Friday, June 5, 2015

This Week in Satellite News! (May 29 – Jun 5 2015)

 

WATCH LIVE TODAY: NASA to Launch 'Flying Saucer' @ 1:30 pm ET

A NASA prototype for a Mars lander parachute, which the agency calls its "flying saucer," will launch on its second test flight on Monday (June 8) at 1:30 pm ET from Hawaii after a six-day delay due to rough ocean conditions and bad weather. NASA announced Friday that the mission had been delayed to Monday at the earliest. If the Monday attempt goes forward, you can watch the action live here beginning at 1 p.m. ET (1700 GMT).
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NASA Marks 50 Years of Mission Control, Plans Apollo Room Restoration

HOUSTON — NASA's historic Mission Control is soon to be made even more historic.
The agency's original control room in Houston, which first went active 50 years ago Wednesday (June 3), has been dormant since 1992. A National Historic Landmark, today it is a public tour stop and features the authentic consoles used for the Apollo 11 moon landing and Apollo 13 in-flight emergency, among 40 other space missions.
Now, a restoration effort is getting underway to make sure the room is around for many generations to come.
"It is a place that feels like a cathedral to us," said Apollo-era flight director Glynn Lunney on Wednesday at a press event held in the control room to mark its first 50 years. "I think we would like to see it permanently [preserved]."

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A Manned Mission to Mars: How NASA Could Do It

Putting boots on Mars by the end of the 2030s is not just a pipe dream, a new study suggests.
NASA could land astronauts on the Red Planet by 2039 without breaking the bank, provided the space agency takes a stepwise approach that includes a manned 2033 trip to the Mars moon Phobos, according to the research.
"Mars is possible, and in a time horizon of interest," Hoppy Price, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said May 20 during a presentation with the space agency's Future In-Space Operations (FISO) working group. "It could happen in our lifetime, and it wouldn't take a trillion dollars to do it."

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Space Exploration Changed 50 Years Ago Today: The 1st US Spacewalk

The United States first stepped out into the void of space 50 years ago today (June 3).
On June 3, 1965, NASA astronaut Ed White left the safety of his Gemini 4 spacecraft equipped with a spacesuit, a tether and a small gas gun for maneuvering. Video of that first American spacewalk shows White enjoying the excursion, even as he made spaceflight history.
For about 23 minutes, White floated near the spacecraft with Earth backdropped behind him. His tumbling movements — captured in photos by his commander, Jim McDivitt — are still widely published today. White has described his return to the spacecraft as one of the saddest moments of his life.

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NASA Developing Plans for Human Missions to Cislunar Space in 2020s

WASHINGTON — While NASA does not yet have specific plans for human missions beyond 2021, the agency is in the early stages of developing a sequence of missions in cislunar space in the 2020s to prepare for later missions to Mars.
Those plans, which could involve both international and commercial partners, would test out habitation modules and other technologies on missions around the moon ranging from several weeks to a year.
"The concepts that we're working on today call for us to begin in the early '20s with a set of missions involving Orion to get some early experience in cislunar space, leading to a series of longer missions," said Skip Hatfield, manager of the Development Projects Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center, during a session of the Humans to Mars Summit here May 6.

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Spacecraft Contamination Postpones SpaceX Launch of Jason-3 Ocean Satellite

WASHINGTON — SpaceX’s July 22 launch of the U.S. French Jason-3 ocean altimetry satellite has been postponed because of an issue with the spacecraft, the company’s customer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said June 2.
“During spacecraft testing, engineers located contamination in one of the four thrusters on the spacecraft,” NOAA spokesman John Leslie wrote in a June 2 email. “The problem thruster has been replaced.  An investigation into the contamination will continue during the next two weeks, as the new thruster is tested.”
Leslie added that “a new launch date will be announced based on the outcome of the thruster review.”
Jason3_NASA4X3.jpg
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Beachcomber Finds SpaceX Rocket Wreckage in Bahamas

On May 29, Twitter user Kevin Eichelberger scored what will probably go down as the find of his beach-combing career: the briny, barnacle-encrusted wreckage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Eichelberger, who according to his Twitter bio runs a Charleston, South Carolina-based e-commerce company called Blue Acorn, said he’d mail whatever hardware he could pry off the wreckage back to SpaceX HQ in Hawthorne, California.
Kevin Eichelberger found a beached Falcon 9 in the Bahamas. Lucky guy! Credit: Kevin Eichelberger
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‘Winter is Coming’ for Asian Satellite Operators as Capacity Outpaces Demand

SINGAPORE — Asian satellite fleet operators spent much of the first half of the CASBAA Satellite Industry Forum June 1 worrying about a growing overcapacity in their region and, despite this, the seeming impossibility of industry consolidation.
During the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia forum’s second half, the deputy telecommunications minister from Myanmar said his government would launch its first telecommunications satellite within five years.

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LightSail Back on Track for Solar Sail Deployment

WASHINGTON — After worrisome computer glitches and a miraculous cosmic reboot, the Planetary Society is fairly sure its LightSail test spacecraft successfully raised its side-mounted solar panels Wednesday (June 3), literally clearing the way for deploying the cubesat’s 32-square-meter solar sail Friday. 
Jason Davis, a spokesman for the Pasadena, California-based Planetary Society, said late Wednesday night that LightSail’s onboard cameras weren’t able to provide visual confirmation that the craft’s hinged side panels opened, but temperature readings from the panel’s solar cells dropped to -48 Celsius, indicating that the panels were open and no longer in direct sunlight. LightSail’s sensors also showed an increase in angle of the sun relative to the panels and that the craft’s rotational rate had changed. These are also signs of success.
An artist's rendition of LightSail with fully deployed solar sail. Credit: The Planetary Society
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House Approves Appropriations Bill With $18.5 Billion For NASA

Two Days of Debate Included Half-hearted Efforts To Restore Commercial Crew Funding
WASHINGTON — As the U.S. House of Representatives approved a spending bill June 3 that provides $18.5 billion for NASA, members promised to revisit funding for at least two of the agency’s major programs later in the budget process.
The House approved the $51.4 billion Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) appropriations bill, H.R. 2578, on a 242–183 vote, largely along party lines. That vote took place after a two-day floor debate on the bill that included consideration of dozens of amendments, most not related to the space agency.
us_capitol_nasa_1040
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