22 July 2013
ET Calls, Then What?
Exactly how the world would react to the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence has been the subject of much speculation. There could be a mixture of excitement, fascination, fear, confusion, disbelief, indifference and panic. Like emergency planners preparing for a catastrophe, scientists regularly assemble to consider ways that world at large would respond to such an event, and how to plan for the day when a discovery comes. Psychologist and SETI scholar Doug Vakoch has been exploring this question for years, and recently gathered an eclectic team to explore the issue. The result is a large and detailed book, "Astrobiology, History and Society", which was recently released by the academic publisher Springer. A free preview of the book has been released online.
MORE...

19 July 2013
NASA Space Station Manager Warns of Sequestration Impact
NASA’s international space station (ISS) program manager warned researchers that if budget sequestration isn’t averted for 2014, then research utilization of the orbiting outpost could suffer. “Sequestration is a major issue today. We have taken significant budget cuts this year,” Michael Suffredini said during the International Space Station Research and Development Conference here July 16-18.
MORE...

19 July 2013
DoD Report: Space Programs Developing Slower
 A new report by U.S. defense acquisition czar appears to confirm what many in the space community have long suspected: It takes longer these days to develop space capabilities than it did in the past. The study also noted that development times for space programs were 1.7 years longer on average than for nonspace programs.
MORE...

19 July 2013
Human Space Exploration: Technology or Destination Driven?
The deputy administrator of NASA and a former chairman of the House Science Committee debated July 17 a central issue in human spaceflight policy: should the selection of missions and destinations drive technology development, or should available technologies shape what missions the space agency pursues?
MORE...

 

 

19 July 2013
Chinese, French Space Agencies Talk Collaboration
 The heads of the French and Chinese space agencies met in Beijing July 19 to discuss future collaboration in general and joint science and oceanography satellites in particular, the French space agency, CNES, announced. CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall and Ma Xingrui, administrator of the China National Space Administration, are both new to their posts, having arrived in April and March, respectively, but both have long histories in the space sector. CNES officials were not immediately available to comment on whether any decisions were made on future Sino-French collaboration.
MORE...

19 July 2013
Engine recovered from Atlantic confirmed as Apollo 11 unit
The team, led and funded by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has recovered parts of two powerful Saturn V first-stage rocket engines that launched the Apollo missions. Among the thrust chambers, gas generators, injectors, heat exchangers, turbines, fuel manifolds and dozens of other artifacts recovered from beneath the Atlantic, is an engine part bearing the number 2044 -- confirmed as the serial number for Engine #5 from the Apollo 11 mission that put the first men on the moon, a posting on the Bezos Expedition blog said.
MORE...

18 July 2013
NASA’s Planetary Science Budget Crunch Expected To Pit Curiosity vs. Cassini
With funds scarce in NASA’s Planetary Science Division, the U.S. space agency’s two active planetary flagship missions find themselves pitted against one another in an upcoming senior review where seasoned scientists will judge which ongoing missions are worthy of more funding.
MORE...

18 July 2013
Orbital's Cygnus Cargo Tug Arrives at Wallops Island
Thales Alenia Space of Italy has delivered the second of nine pressurized cargo-supply modules for the international space station to customer Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Wallops Island, Va., facility, Thales Alenia Space announced July 18.
MORE...

18 July 2013
Proton-M Rocket Downed by Reversed Sensors - Roscosmos
A Russian Proton-M rocket that exploded after launch on July 2 was lost because its angular velocity sensors were installed upside-down, the country’s space agency said Thursday.
MORE...

17 July 2013
With Time Running Out, House and Senate Still $1.4 Billion Apart on NASA
The U.S. Congress has less than a month of legislative working days scheduled before the federal government’s new budget year begins Oct. 1, and the House and Senate still have more than $1.4 billion worth of differences to settle, when it comes to NASA.
MORE...

16 July 2013
International Space Science Institute Sets up its First Branch in Beijing
The International Space Science Institute on Tuesday established its Beijing branch (ISSI-BJ) where scientists from all over the world will conduct advanced multi- and interdisciplinary studies. Launched by the ISSI, based in Bern, Switzerland, and Beijing-based National Space Science Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, ISSI-BJ will contribute to a deeper understanding of the results from different space missions, ground based observations and laboratory experiments. It will also add value to results through multidisciplinary research.
MORE...

16 July 2013
Best artificial intelligence programs said only as smart as 4-year-old
A team at the University of Illinois at Chicago said it put ConceptNet 4, an artificial intelligence system developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, through the verbal portions of the Weschsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Test, a standard IQ assessment for young children. ConceptNet 4 has the average IQ of a 4-year-old although the machine's scores were very uneven across different portions of the test, unlike those of the typical child.
MORE...

16 July 2013
UK government excited by 'disruptive' Sabre engine
The UK government is putting £60m into the revolutionary Sabre engine, but its inventors will need about four times this sum to produce the final design. Discussions with private investors are now under way to secure the additional funding, says project leader Alan Bond. Sabre is a jet-cum-rocket that could, say its supporters, propel a fully re-usable space plane into orbit.
MORE...

15 July 2013
Technology Could Curtail Astronaut Conflict
Scientists aim to equip manned crews to Mars with innovative devices that keep track of social interactions and provide instant feedback when conflict and other troubles regarding teamwork emerge.
MORE...

15 July 2013
NASA and Japanese Space Agency Discuss Space Cooperation
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) met in Washington Wednesday, July 10, to discuss the importance of international cooperation in space, especially the continued support for the International Space Station.
MORE...

12 July 2013
British 'penetrator' space probe slams into block of ice, survives
British engineers report they have tested a projectile technology they believe could be used to explore worlds within the solar system. Such a projectile could be an effective and inexpensive way to land instruments on other worlds - and such instruments could include seismometers to study the interior of Mars or a compact chemistry laboratory to check for organic microbial activity on the icy moons of Jupiter or Saturn.
MORE...

12 July 2013
DLR’s Woerner Remains Unconvinced Just-unveiled Ariane 6 Design Is Right Way To Go
The head of the German space agency on July 12 said Germany remains unconvinced that the Ariane 6 design decided by the European Space Agency (ESA) and enthusiastically endorsed by France is the right way forward for Europe’s launcher sector.
MORE...

11 July 2013
First Mission of Space Launch System with Orion Atop it to Preview Asteroid Visit
Managers in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate have initiated a formal request to change the mission plan for the agency's first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS), Exploration Mission (EM) 1 in 2017. The flight will carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft to a deep retrograde orbit near the moon, a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where an asteroid could be relocated as early as 2021.
MORE...

11 July 2013
NASA Selects Seven Projects for 2014 X-Hab Innovation Challenge
NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have selected seven projects from six universities to participate in the 2014 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.
MORE...

11 July 2013
Soviet Moon Rover Drove Farther than Thought – Report
The 40-year-old distance record set by the Soviet-era Lunokhod 2 rover for driving on the surface of a celestial body other than the Earth looks safe for the time-being after images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) confirmed what Russian researchers have been saying for months: the Soviet rover went 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) farther on the moon than previously thought.
MORE...

10 July 2013
Spacecraft confirms solar system has a tail like a comet
NASA says one of its spacecraft has confirmed the long-held assumption that our solar system, like a comet, has a tail. NASA says its Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft has mapped the boundaries of the tail of the heliosphere for the first time.
MORE...

10 July 2013
Science Team Outlines Goals for NASA's 2020 Mars Rover
The rover NASA will send to Mars in 2020 should look for signs of past life, collect samples for possible future return to Earth, and demonstrate technology for future human exploration of the Red Planet, according to a report provided to the agency.
MORE...

09 July 2013
27rd Planetary Congress of Association of Space Explorers will be held in Beijing
The 26rd Planetary Congress of Association of Space Explorers took place in Cologne, Germany from 1 July to 5 July. The Chinese delegation headed by Deputy Director of China Manned Space Agency and first Chinese in space, Yang Liwei, attended the congress. The theme of the congress was “Citizens of Space - Stewards of Earth”. 86 astronauts from all over the world and their families attended the congress. Next to Yang Liwei also Liu Boming came to Cologne. Both gave speeches and exchanged opinions with astronauts present at the congress. It was announced at the congress that the 27rd Planetary Congress of Association of Space Explorers will be held in Beijing, China in the autumn of 2014.
MORE...

08 July 2013
Indian space agency wants second rocket assembly facility
"The Department of Space has approved the project which is awaiting the final nod from the government," a senior official at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS. The Indian space agency is awaiting the government's nod for one more vehicle/rocket assembly building at its second launch pad in Sriharikota at an outlay of around Rs350 crore, said a senior official.
MORE...

06 July 2013
Moon dust a threat to space exploration, Britain's Royal Astronomical Society hears
A RETURN to the Moon could be hampered by dust, a poorly-understood threat to machines and people alike, a space conference has heard. Simulations by scientists in Britain and France show that in key zones of Earth's satellite, dust kicked up by a landing or exploration gains an electrostatic force that briefly overcomes lunar gravity, it heard. As a result, the dust lingers high above the surface, presenting a thin grey cloud of fine, sticky, abrasive particles that hamper visibility, coat solar panels and threaten moving parts, they said.
MORE...

05 July 2013
Wang Zhaoyao Met ESA Director in Beijing
On 5 July 2013, Mr. Wang Zhaoyao, Director General of CMSA met with Mr. Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA in Beijing. The two leaders agreed to further promote CMSA - ESA cooperation in manned space programme. After a warm welcome to Mr. Dordain, Mr. Wang Zhaoyao introduced the Shenzhou 10 manned spaceflight mission and looked into China’s future plans in manned space programme. Mr. Dordain expressed his strong wish to further the cooperation and exchange with China in manned spaceflight.
While looking back at the cooperation and exchange activities during the past two years, both sides agreed that manned space programmes of China and Europe have their own characteristics and are carried out smoothly as planned. These cooperation and exchange activities lay a solid foundation for long-term cooperation. The meeting ended with signature of the Meeting Minutes.
MORE...

FOR FURTHER READING
22 July 2013
SpaceX Testing Complete at NASA Glenn's Renovated Facility
How loud is 166 decibels? It's about as loud as the thrust of 20 jet engines or a rock concert with 36,000 speakers. It's also the level of noise some spacecraft experience when launched and is now the highest level of noise that can be produced in the Reverberant Acoustic Test Facility (RATF) located at NASA Glenn Research Center's Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio.
MORE...

18 July 2013
The Future of NASA in a Post-shuttle World
Throughout NASA’s history, the American space program has been a symbol of world leadership, national security and national pride. This has been reflected in the bipartisan manner in which Congress addressed space policy bills. The bipartisan spirit that drove those policies gave us the tools to put a man on the Moon, build the international space station and send rovers to Mars. Despite the fact that Congress has become increasingly partisan, the last four space policy bills were passed with wide bipartisan margins.
MORE...

15 July 2013
Science and the ARM
NASA’s plans to redirect an asteroid into cislunar space and sending astronauts to it would seme like something that would excite planetary scientists, given the prospects of returning large amounts of samples from that asteroid. However, Jeff Foust reports, some are worried about the challenges such a mission faces and the priority science would have on it.
MORE...

15 July 2013
You’ve come a long way, baby!
Fifty-one years ago this week, Congress held hearings on whether women should be astronauts. Dwayne Day looks back at this key turning point in the debate about whether women should fly in space, in light of a letter from that era now making the rounds online.
MORE...

15 July 2013
Revisiting SLS/Orion launch costs
NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket continues to receive scrutiny in some quarters because of concerns about just how affordable the vehicle will be. John Strickland examines the costs of SLS in light of recent developments that suggest the vehicle could have a very low flight rate.
MORE...

15 July 2013
The Chief Technologist’s view of the HGS-1 mission
Jerry Salvatore, former chief technologist with Hughes, offers his own understanding of the facts surrounding who was involved in, and should get credit for, the rescue of the AsiaSat 3 satellite by the company 15 years ago.
MORE...

15 July 2013
Stimulating greater use of the ISS
As researchers meet this week to discuss research on the International Space Station, NASA and the organization that manages ISS research are being pressed to make greater use of the station’s facilities. Jeff Foust reviews those challenges and the efforts of one startup company that believes its research could have a significant commercial payoff.
MORE...

08 July 2013
Things that go boom in the night
Last week a Proton rocket malfunctioned and crashed spectacularly, an incident immediately known to the general public. Dwayne Day looks at a previous launch accident what was not immediately acknowledged by the Soviets but noticed by the American intelligence community.
MORE...

08 July 2013
Mist around the CZ-3B disaster (part 2)
In the conclusion of his two-part article, Chen Lan examines exactly where the Long March 3B rocket crashed in February 1996 and whether the crash could have caused the large death toll that many in the West have speculated.
MORE...

08 July 2013
An alternative view of the HGS-1 salvage mission
Mark Skidmore, the Hughes program manager for the HGS-1 satellite recovery effort 15 years ago, offers a different recollection of some of the key events in that program than what was published in a recent essay here.
MORE...

08 July 2013
Review: Spacefarers
The perceptions of astronauts and cosmonauts have evolved over time, along with who was considered eligible to fly in space. Jeff Foust reviews a book that offers a collection of historical essays on the “heroic era” of human spaceflight early in the Space Age.
MORE...