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News Article | March 20, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

Since humans first landed on the moon, they have been trying to do more than just exploring the lunar surface. Furthering this dream will be a global competition known as Google's Lunar XPrize. This competition proposes an experiment by brewing beer with yeast on the moon. This test is to prove the survival of yeast in the space and how it will react in the gravity of the moon. The winning prize is $20 million and currently, four of the best teams are a part of this competition. Among these four teams, one is TeamIndus from India, which is planning to land on the moon and bag the prize. In 2011, at the beginning of the competition, there were 30 teams of which only 4 remain post-elimination. Apart from TeamIndus, the other teams include MoonExpress, which is led by Naveen Jain. The third team is SpaceIL and comprises three Israeli engineers. The fourth team is Synergy Moon. The fifth team from Hakuto, Japan, will be sending a rover on the spacecraft of the Indian team. The teams will be launching their spacecraft for the moon expedition on Dec. 28, 2017, according to reports. TeamIndus, which is led by Rahul Narayan, is preparing hard for the journey ahead. In 2012, Narayan started working toward the moon mission and later left his job and shifted to Bangalore to pursue his work. TeamIndus is one of the first privately funded company from a developing country to take part in a global competition such as Google's Lunar XPrize. TeamIndus needs $70 million for the project, but it has only managed to arrange $16 million. It has taken investments from family, friends, and entrepreneurs. The team plans to arrange money through corporate sponsorship and crowd funding. The team also has unplanned ideas to develop another satellite program or solar drones after the completion of the global competition. What is surprising though is that the team will not be getting any support from the government of India. Jitendra Singh, who is Minister of State in Prime Minister's office, stated that TeamIndus is a privately-owned group and so it will not receive monetary aid from the Indian government. He also clarified that the mission would not be administered by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). However, it still remains to be seen whether the team can manage to get hold of the funding before the final date of the mission and if it will be able to beat the other contenders. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

You never see it in those lovely NASA pictures of Earth, but the space surrounding our pale blue dot is a cosmic junkyard. Debris abounds, moving at ludicrous speeds and presenting plenty of hassles for satellite operators who do business in orbit. This pollution poses an existential risk for greater commercialization of space, from the grand ambitions of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corp. and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin LLC to other players who see promising futures for an array of space activities, from tourism, to imaging, to pharmaceutical research. In low-earth orbit, space debris travels at velocities approaching 5 miles per second—roughly 18,000 mph—which gives even the tiniest bits of junk enormous destructive energy. A 1-centimeter-wide aluminum sphere in low-earth orbit packs the kinetic equivalent of a safe moving at 60 mph. If it hits your satellite, well, that could ruin the whole day. Aggregate too much debris in certain areas, and low-earth orbit becomes an increasingly difficult and far costlier environment for commercial companies. Today, satellite operators periodically maneuver their birds to avoid object strikes just as NASA must do with the International Space Station. The key, however, is knowing what’s headed your way. “Knowing where stuff is is the first part of the problem,” said Bill Ailor, a research fellow at the Aerospace Corp., which specializes in tracking space debris. “Over the longer term we need to be getting much better [tracking] data so satellite operators don’t move unnecessarily.” To that end, some entrepreneurs see profit potential in helping to catalog better all that junk up there, the detritus of decades of unmanned and manned space flight. From launch, to operations, to disposal, satellite operators need help monitoring orbital paths and the potential for objects to stray into a collision course. One such business is LeoLabs Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif. Spun out of research center SRI International last year, the company announced Monday it raised has $4 million from a group of investors, including Airbus Ventures, the San Jose, Calif.-based venture capital fund established by Airbus Group SE two years ago. LeoLab’s radar technology, to be used to keep an eye on all those pieces of high-speed trouble, evolved from research into earth’s ionosphere at SRI. Also Monday, LeoLabs said it has opened a second radar-tracking facility, in Midland, Texas, joining one in central Alaska. Ultimately, the company aims to have a half dozen such sites. LeoLabs says its two radar centers can track 95 percent of the 13,000 larger objects in low-earth orbit that the U.S. Defense Department monitors. The company plans to track almost 250,000 objects as its radar network expands. “Commercial space in low-earth orbit is growing so rapidly we really have to run quickly to keep up,” Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs’ chief executive officer, said in an interview. The clutter in low-earth orbit has grown rapidly over the past decade. In January 2007, the Chinese government destroyed an aged weather satellite in a missile test, creating what was estimated to be 2,500 pieces of new debris. That was followed by the February 2009 collision of a defunct 1,900-pound Russian Cosmos satellite with a 1,200-pound Iridium Communications Inc. satellite 490 miles above Siberia, generating even more orbital waste. “Both of those events greatly increased the amount of debris in the near-Earth space environment, thus pushing the threat posed by orbital debris even further toward what was described more than 15 years ago as ‘on the verge of becoming significant,’” the National Research Council wrote in a 2011 report. Another potential threat lies with the European Space Agency’s Envisat earth-observation satellite, an eight-ton, 30-foot-long behemoth that ceased responding in April 2012. Envisat orbits at an altitude of 480 miles in a place where it could become a source of significant debris should it be struck. In its current state, the satellite will orbit for about 150 years before it degrades and falls into the atmosphere. Yet even though there’s plenty of junk to track, the U.S. has been generous about sharing data with its neighbors on the size of the stuff flying by and on where it is. Historically, the U.S. Department of Defense has been the most authoritative tracker in deploying technology to monitor objects that could threaten satellites, both military and civilian, and NASA missions. The U.S. military now tracks some 20,000 orbital objects via radar and maintains a public database that satellite operators and others can consult. The Air Force also alerts operators to potential collisions and has contracted with Lockheed Martin Corp. to construct a $1 billion next-generation “Space Fence” radar system capable of tracking as many as 200,000 objects. The new fence “will be able to track objects as small as a peanut M&M in low-earth orbit,” a Lockheed project manager said in November, when the Air Force and Army opened a new Air Force Space Fence Operations Center in Huntsville, Ala. The project is expected to become operational late next year. Ceperley, the LeoLabs’ CEO, says this public largesse about data sharing won’t dent business for commercial debris monitors. That’s because many operators are eager for richer automated data, greater debris detail and resolution, plus longer lead times for trajectory predictions, which would allow for better traffic management. As part of its service package, LeoLabs can also customize data to a customer’s specific needs. Low-earth orbit is likely to see even more business ventures in coming years. Earlier this month, the Indian Space Research Organization successfully launched 104 satellites for seven nations aboard a single rocket, most of them small “CubeSats” for a San Francisco-based imaging firm. These smaller satellites are far smaller and less-expensive than traditional designs, with thousands likely to be deployed over time. Moreover, an array of companies, including Airbus and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, are also exploring new ways to launch mini-satellites, moving beyond the domain of large, costly rockets. Advancements in such work would likely lead to even more objects to track for low-earth orbit operators. Space-junk expansion also raises questions about the status and pace of a “collision cascading” effect called the Kessler Syndrome, in which flying junk collides and begets new junk, which collides with more junk again, eventually making low-earth orbit commercially dubious. The effect is named after Donald Kessler, a retired NASA astrophysicist who described the scenario in a 1978 paper. Among debris researchers, a debate exists on whether this has already begun, Ailor said. This nightmarish situation was illustrated dramatically, albeit in inaccurate Hollywood fashion, by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in the 2013 film Gravity, which depicted the Space Shuttle’s destruction by debris after Russia explodes a satellite. In a 2007 interview, even Kessler said that many people had exaggerated the worst-case outcomes of his predictions. “We’re not there yet, and I don’t want to raise this warning that the situation is spiraling out of control, because it’s just not,” Ceperley said, calling the Kessler scenario “kind of a bogeyman off on the horizon.” Ultimately, governments will likely need to  regulate “best practices” more closely for players operating in low-earth orbit, with rules mandating vehicle disposal and new funding for research into how to remove larger objects, Ailor and Ceperley said. “It’s kind of like the Wild West,” Ceperley said. “There’s this growing understanding that with more and more satellites going to space, [debris] could become a problem.” There are also few techniques for safe disposal of a satellite at the end of its life, or one that goes kaput, or a spent rocket. Researchers have begun modeling a variety of approaches, including giant mesh tethers and a 50-gram, paper-thin spacecraft that would “blanket” space trash and propel it to the atmosphere, so it can burn up. “It’s very easy to get something into orbit, and it’s the dickens to get it out,” says Ailor. Difficulty notwithstanding, the health of the commercial space business will be determined in part by the tidiness of that stretch of the final frontier reaching 1,200 miles into the sky. The more space junk there is, the more often satellites will need to be moved, and the better shielded they must be to withstand frequent plinks by space projectiles. Both of these boost operating expenses. “It’s kind of the human way,” Ailor said. “You look at the oceans or the environment or anything, and you think it’s an infinite resource—and it isn’t.”


News Article | February 14, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Last night, an Indian PSLV rocket launched from Sriharikota, India, carrying a gigantic haul of satellites into space. The mission was confirmed to be successful by the Indian Space Research Organization just after 12AM ET on February 15th. On top of the vehicle were up to 104 satellites — the largest crop of satellites to ever launch on a single rocket at once. The largest crop of satellites to ever launch on a single rocket A big chunk of those space probes — 88, in fact — belong to Planet, a US private imaging company with high ambitions of continuously monitoring the Earth from space. The satellites that Planet sent up are called Doves, and together they’re considered part of Flock 3p. The Doves are the company’s signature miniaturized space probes that can take pictures of Earth at relatively high resolutions. Planet already has more than 50 of these Dove satellites in orbit at the moment, and last night’s launch marks the 15th time the company has launched Dove probes into space. But this launch was extra special for Planet. “Eighty-eight satellites from a single system on a single launch would be a record there,” Mike Safyan, director of launch and regulatory affairs at Planet, tells The Verge. “And with those satellites in orbit, and if you include the other satellites we have in orbit, we will then also have the biggest fleet of Earth-imaging satellites — and of satellites in general — in human history.” The reason that Planet can fit so many satellites on a single rocket is because its spacecraft aren’t very big. Traditional aerospace companies may work for a full year on just one Earth-imaging satellite that’s about the size of a bus, before launching the vehicle into space. Planet takes a different approach: each Doves is a modified version of a Triple CubeSat, a type of standardized satellite that measures about 4 inches wide and nearly 12 inches long. The small size of these satellites allows Planet to put multiple spacecraft on a launch at a time, and the company now has a fast growing constellation of Doves in orbit. “It’s almost like each individual satellite isn’t as important as the full system,” says Safyan. Most of Planet’s satellites launch as secondary payloads Most of Planet’s satellites launch as secondary payloads, meaning they piggyback on other rocket rides. The Doves usually launch along with a much larger satellite and take up any extra space on the rocket that’s leftover. Ironically, the Dove satellites that launched were also considered a secondary payload, even though there are so many of them. The PSLV rocket’s main purpose was to launch India’s Cartosat 2D, a high-resolution Earth observation satellite. But the rocket had enough room to carry the 88 Doves, as well as 15 additional satellites from countries all over the world. The Doves launched into a type of orbit known as a Sun-synchronous orbit, a path that takes satellites over the Earth’s poles. Sun-synchronous satellites are special since they cross over the same areas of the planet at the same time each day. “You have the same conditions under which you’re imaging each day — consistent shadow angles and predictability of orbit,” says Safyan. Planet already has 12 Doves in this Sun-synchronous orbit, so with the additional 88 launched, the company now has a clean 100 satellites in this orbital region. Since the satellites are secondary payloads, the Cartosat 2D was deployed into orbit first, followed by the rest of the spacecraft in a timed sequence. The Doves rode up into space inside of a deployer box, which works a bit like a Jack-in-the-box. Each Dove is packed inside a small room inside the box with a door on the end. When the time came to deploy a Dove into space, the door opened and a loaded spring pushed the satellite outside the box into space. The Doves were deployed about every 10 to 20 seconds. Planet will spend the next few months spacing them all out in their orbits, before the Doves can start imaging Earth full time. Update February 15th, 1AM ET: Updated to include details of successful launch.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.csmonitor.com

People watch as India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) carrying 104 satellites in a single mission lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, on Feb. 15, 2017. —Two years after India became the first Asian nation to send a probe to Mars, the country’s space agency can claim another record: The most satellites launched with a single rocket. At 9:28 a.m. Tuesday morning, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the Bay of Bengal, carrying 104 satellites from seven countries. By 10 a.m., all had successfully been inserted into orbit, and India had surpassed a bar previously set by a Russian launch of 37 satellites in 2014. “This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation,” the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, tweeted. “India salutes our scientists.” In recent years, India has gained a reputation for reliable, inexpensive satellite launches; Tuesday’s launch positions it to gain an even bigger share of this fast-growing market. “India offers launch costs that are fifty percent cheaper than the rest of the world,” Pallava Bagla, a science editor with the privately run Indian TV channel NDTV, told Al Jazeera last June, so if SpaceX, Arianespace or NASA can do it at $100, India is willing to do it at $50.” If anything, that may be an understatement. On Wednesday, Moneycontrol.com’s Sidhartha Shukla reported that launching a satellite through SpaceX could cost around $60 million, but “ISRO charged an average of [$3 million] per satellite between 2013 and 2015.” ISRO’s strong position in the satellite-launch market had an inauspicious start. The first PSLV, launched in 1993, failed because of software glitches. By persevering with the program, ISRO was able to take advantage of the country’s talented, but relatively low-wage, workforce to bring launch costs down. Ramabhadran Aravamudan, former director of the ISRO Satellite Center in Bangalore, attributed India’s low launch prices to “cheaper labor costs and a state-led model that doesn't involve ‘industries with their own profit margins,’ ” CNN reported. This approach runs counter to the United State's current strategy of turning orbital spaceflight over to private firms as a means to bring costs down. But ISRO has nonetheless found plenty of customers, and managed to capitalize on another recent trend: the development of lightweight, inexpensive “CubeSats” and “SmallSats” that can be packed into a single rocket. Tuesday’s launch delivered 103 of these smaller satellites – 88 of which belonged to the San Francisco-based imaging company Planet – into orbit, along with a larger environmental satellite. Last year, private launches like these brought in 230 rupees crore (about $34 million) for ISRO’s commercial arm. The experience has also enabled ISRO to set more ambitious goals, on a tight budget. The country’s Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter reached the Red Planet in 2014 at a cost of $75 million – less than the budget for the 2013 Sci-Fi thriller “Gravity.” “They're not at the level of the Big 4,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told The Christian Science Monitor last May, referring to the space programs of the US, Russia, China, and Europe. ”But they’re pretty darn good.” [Editor's note: A previous version of this article misstated the US dollar value of 230 rupees crore. It is $34 million.]


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.csmonitor.com

People watch as India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C37) carrying 104 satellites in a single mission lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India, on Feb. 15, 2017. —Two years after India became the first Asian nation to send a probe to Mars, the country’s space agency can claim another record: The most satellites launched with a single rocket. At 9:28 a.m. Tuesday morning, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) built by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the Bay of Bengal, carrying 104 satellites from seven countries. By 10 a.m., all had successfully been inserted into orbit, and India had surpassed a bar previously set by a Russian launch of 37 satellites in 2014. “This remarkable feat by @isro is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation,” the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, tweeted. “India salutes our scientists.” In recent years, India has gained a reputation for reliable, inexpensive satellite launches; Tuesday’s launch positions it to gain an even bigger share of this fast-growing market. “India offers launch costs that are fifty percent cheaper than the rest of the world,” Pallava Bagla, a science editor with the privately run Indian TV channel NDTV, told Al Jazeera last June, so if SpaceX, Arianespace or NASA can do it at $100, India is willing to do it at $50.” If anything, that may be an understatement. On Wednesday, Moneycontrol.com’s Sidhartha Shukla reported that launching a satellite through SpaceX could cost around $60 million, but “ISRO charged an average of [$3 million] per satellite between 2013 and 2015.” ISRO’s strong position in the satellite-launch market had an inauspicious start. The first PSLV, launched in 1993, failed because of software glitches. By persevering with the program, ISRO was able to take advantage of the country’s talented, but relatively low-wage, workforce to bring launch costs down. Ramabhadran Aravamudan, former director of the ISRO Satellite Center in Bangalore, attributed India’s low launch prices to “cheaper labor costs and a state-led model that doesn't involve ‘industries with their own profit margins,’ ” CNN reported. This approach runs counter to the United State's current strategy of turning orbital spaceflight over to private firms as a means to bring costs down. But ISRO has nonetheless found plenty of customers, and managed to capitalize on another recent trend: the development of lightweight, inexpensive “CubeSats” and “SmallSats” that can be packed into a single rocket. Tuesday’s launch delivered 103 of these smaller satellites – 88 of which belonged to the San Francisco-based imaging company Planet – into orbit, along with a larger environmental satellite. Last year, private launches like these brought in 230 rupees crore (about $3.4 million) for ISRO’s commercial arm. The experience has also enabled ISRO to set more ambitious goals, on a tight budget. The country’s Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter reached the Red Planet in 2014 at a cost of $75 million – less than the budget for the 2013 Sci-Fi thriller “Gravity.” “They're not at the level of the Big 4,” Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told The Christian Science Monitor last May, referring to the space programs of the US, Russia, China, and Europe. ”But they’re pretty darn good.”


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

You never see it in those lovely NASA pictures of Earth, but the space surrounding our pale blue dot is a cosmic junkyard. Debris abounds, moving at ludicrous speeds and presenting plenty of hassles for satellite operators who do business in orbit. This pollution poses an existential risk for greater commercialization of space, from the grand ambitions of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corp. and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin LLC to other players who see promising futures for an array of space activities, from tourism to imaging to pharmaceutical research. More from Bloomberg.com: Trump Wants Credit for Cutting the National Debt. Economists Say Not So Fast In low-earth orbit, space debris travels at velocities approaching 5 miles per second—roughly 18,000 mph—which gives even the tiniest bits of junk enormous destructive energy. A one centimeter wide aluminum sphere in low-earth orbit packs the kinetic equivalent of a safe moving at 60 mph. If it hits your satellite, well, that could ruin the whole day. Aggregate too much debris in certain areas and low-earth orbit becomes an increasingly difficult and far costlier environment for commercial firms. Today, satellite operators periodically maneuver their birds to avoid object strikes just as NASA must do with the International Space Station. The key, however, is knowing what’s headed your way. More from Bloomberg.com: China's Spat With Kim Jong Un Shows Difficulty Stopping Him “Knowing where stuff is is the first part of the problem,” said Bill Ailor, a research fellow at The Aerospace Corp., which specializes in tracking space debris. “Over the longer term we need to be getting much better [tracking] data so satellite operators don’t move unnecessarily.” To that end, some entrepreneurs see profit potential in helping to better catalog all that junk up there, the detritus of decades of unmanned and manned space flight. From launch to operations to disposal, satellite operators need help monitoring orbital paths, and the potential for objects to stray into a collision course. More from Bloomberg.com: Pound Drops as May Reported to Brace for New Scottish Referendum One such firm is LeoLabs Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif. Spun out of research center SRI International last year, the company announced Monday it raised $4 million from a group of investors, including Airbus Ventures, the San Jose, Calif.-based venture capital fund established by Airbus Group SE two years ago. LeoLab’s radar technology, to be used to keep an eye on all those pieces of high-speed trouble, evolved from research of earth’s ionosphere at SRI. Also Monday, LeoLabs said it has opened a second radar-tracking facility, in Midland, Tex., joining one in central Alaska. Ultimately, the company aims to have a half dozen such sites. LeoLabs says its two radar centers can track 95 percent of the 13,000 larger objects in low-earth orbit that the U.S. Defense Department monitors. The company plans to track almost 250,000 objects as its radar network expands. “Commercial space in low-earth orbit is growing so rapidly we really have to run quickly to keep up,” Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs’ chief executive, said in an interview. The clutter in low-earth orbit has grown rapidly over the past decade. In January 2007, the Chinese government destroyed an aged weather satellite in a missile test, creating what was estimated to be 2,500 pieces of new debris. That was followed by the February 2009 collision of a defunct 1,900-pound Russian Cosmos satellite with a 1,200-pound Iridium Communications Inc. satellite 490 miles above Siberia, generating even more orbital waste. “Both of those events greatly increased the amount of debris in the near-Earth space environment, thus pushing the threat posed by orbital debris even further toward what was described more than 15 years ago as ‘on the verge of becoming significant,’” the National Research Council wrote in a 2011 report. Another potential threat lies with the European Space Agency’s Envisat earth-observation satellite, an eight-ton, 30-foot long behemoth that ceased responding in April 2012. Envisat orbits at an altitude of 480 miles in a place where it could become a source of significant debris should it be struck. In its current state, the satellite will orbit for about 150 years before it degrades and falls into the atmosphere. Yet even though there’s plenty of junk to track, the U.S. has been generous about sharing data with its neighbors on the size of the stuff flying by, and where it is. Historically, the U.S. Department of Defense has been the most authoritative tracker in terms of deploying technology to monitor objects that could threaten satellites, both military and civilian, and NASA missions. The U.S. military now tracks some 20,000 orbital objects via radar and maintains a public database that satellite operators and others can consult. The Air Force also alerts operators to potential collisions and has contracted with Lockheed Martin Corp. to construct a $1 billion next-generation “Space Fence” radar system capable of tracking as many as 200,000 objects. The new Fence “will be able to track objects as small as a peanut M&M in low-earth orbit,” a Lockheed project manager said in November, when the Air Force and Army opened a new Air Force Space Fence Operations Center in Huntsville, Ala. The project is expected to become operational late next year. Ceperley, the LeoLabs’ CEO, says this public largesse about data sharing won’t dent business for commercial debris monitors. That’s because many operators are eager for richer automated data, greater debris detail and resolution, plus longer lead times for trajectory predictions, which would allow for better traffic management. As part of its service package, LeoLabs can also customize data to a customer’s specific needs. Low-earth orbit is likely to see even more business ventures in coming years. Earlier this month, the Indian Space Research Organization successfully launched 104 satellites for seven nations aboard a single rocket, most of them small “CubeSats” for a San Francisco-based imaging firm. These smaller satellites are far smaller and less-expensive than traditional designs, with thousands likely to be deployed over time. Moreover, an array of companies, including Airbus and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, are also exploring new ways to launch mini-satellites, moving beyond the domain of large, costly rockets. Advancements in such work would likely lead to even more objects to track for low-earth orbit operators. Space-junk growth also raises questions about the status and pace of a “collision cascading” effect called the Kessler Syndrome, in which flying junk collides and begets new junk, which collides with more junk again, eventually making low-earth orbit commercially dubious. The effect is named after Donald Kessler, a retired NASA astrophysicist who described the scenario in a 1978 paper. Among debris researchers a debate exists on whether this has already begun, Ailor said. This nightmare situation was illustrated dramatically, albeit in inaccurate Hollywood fashion, by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in the 2013 film Gravity, which depicted the Space Shuttle’s destruction by debris after Russia explodes a satellite. In a 2007 interview, even Kessler said that many people had exaggerated the worst-case outcomes of his predictions. “We’re not there yet and I don’t want to raise this warning that the situation is spiraling out of control because it’s just not,” Ceperley said, calling the Kessler scenario “kind of a bogeyman off on the horizon.” Ultimately, governments will likely need to more closely regulate “best practices” for players operating in low-earth orbit, with rules mandating vehicle disposal and new funding for research into how to remove larger objects, Ailor and Ceperley said. “It’s kind of like the Wild West,” Ceperley said. “There’s this growing understanding that with more and more satellites going to space, [debris] could become a problem.” There are also few techniques for safe disposal of a satellite at the end of its life, or one that goes kaput, or a spent rocket. Researchers have begun modeling a variety of approaches, including giant mesh tethers and a 50-gram, paper-thin spacecraft that would “blanket” space trash and propel it to the atmosphere, so it can burn up. “It’s very easy to get something into orbit and it’s the dickens to get it out,” says Ailor. Difficulty notwithstanding, the health of the commercial space business will be determined in part by the tidiness of that stretch of the final frontier reaching 1,200 miles into the sky. The more space junk there is, the more often satellites will need to be moved, and the better shielded they must be to withstand frequent plinks by space projectiles. Both of these boost operating expenses. “It’s kind of the human way,” Ailor said. “You look at the oceans or the environment or anything and you think it’s an infinite resource—and it isn’t.” Saudi Arabia's Oil Wealth Is About to Get a Reality Check Nokia's Classic 3310 Phone Is Back, Thanks to HMD


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.cnet.com

A #TrumpImpeachmentParty is in full swing on Twitter this morning. While President Donald Trump is not facing impeachment in real life, folks on social media tend to have "parties" when a major controversy touches a public figure. On Wednesday, the party was for Trump. Social Cues is our look at what is trending on Facebook and Twitter. Here is what people are talking about on Wednesday: #TrumpImpeachmentParty: As troubles continue for the Trump administration, the president's opponents have kicked off a fictional impeachment party. "Party" is the term that Twitter folks use for collective social-media slamming, such as the #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty last July or the #KanyeWestIsOverParty in November. Trump's most recent problems include the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn on Monday over communications with Russia and the intelligence community's investigations into possible links between the presidential campaign and Russia. There are more than 81,000 tweets with the hashtag, taunting the president with impeachment less than four week after he took office. Meanwhile, the tweeter-in-chief fired up a storm on @realDonaldTrump, claiming the real issues are intelligence leaks to the media. Westminster Dog Show: We all know who's a good girl, but a German shepherd won best in show Tuesday at the 141st Westminster Dog Show. The pooch, named Rumor, is only the second German shepherd to win the prestigious event. She competed against 2,800 dogs this week at Madison Square Garden. The show is trending on Facebook because it's adorable pups on the internet. Duh. Harrison Ford: Han Solo might be a hot-shot pilot, but apparently Harrison Ford isn't. The actor had a close call with a 737 passenger plane while flying his small plane into the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, on Monday. Ford flew over the airliner while landing his plane, FAA officials said. He's had issues with piloting in the past, including a crash near the Santa Monica Municipal Airport in 2015. Ford is trending on Facebook for his close call. Nokia 3310: Nokia is seeking to make a comeback at Mobile World Congress in Spain later this month, and rumors are swirling that the '90s icon Nokia 3310 may be reincarnated there. The phone, which earned a reputation for its long-lasting battery and durability, is creating buzz on Facebook. Nostalgia for a dumbphone is apparently strong. Indian Space Research Organization: India's space agency launched into orbit 104 satellites from a single rocket Tuesday night. The launch beat Russia's record of sending up 37 satellites in a single rocket in 2014. The agency is trending on Facebook for its successful launch. Be sure to check out Social Cues' weekly roundup called T.GIF. It will pop up every Friday on CNET's Snapchat and Instagram accounts. Add us on Instagram at @CNET or on Snapchat at @CNETsnaps. Our social accounts also feature CNET Update daily and Mailbox Mondays. Join us!


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

India has the ability to develop a space station – yet it’s still unclear whether it will. This is the statement of Indian Space Research Organization chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar at the foundation day ceremonies of the Raja Ramanna Center for Advanced Technology in the country on Monday, Feb. 20. According to Kumar, they are still in talks about the immediate benefits of a manned space mission, citing the need for funds and time as to why the country has not decided on when to invest on a space station. “The day the country takes the decision, we will ‘ok’ the project,” he said in an India Times report, emphasizing that the project requires long-term thinking along with policy and funding support. A space station is a crewed satellite that is designed to stay in low Earth orbit for long periods of time, studying the results and consequences of long-term spaceflight in humans. Today only one space station is operating: the International Space Station, a joint effort of NASA, Russia, and the European Union. Kumar added that the Indian space agency was also considering partnering with the private space sector to enhance its satellite-launching ability, and mentioned the need to up the number of satellites that monitor land and weather conditions in India and fortify its communication network. He pointed to a need to conduct about 18 launches every year, or triple its current capacity. In a commentary, LiveMint pointed to why ISRO managed to deliver on such groundbreaking level that few other government agencies of its kind was able to. “ISRO’s current chairman, A.S. Kiran Kumar, is also chairman of the Space Commission and secretary of DOS [Department of Space]. This setup has promoted vertical integration between policymakers — who are in a position to understand the nature of the long-term projects ISRO undertakes — and those delivering the end results,” the publication noted. ISRO is fresh from the success of its record-breaking 104-satellite launch aboard a single rocket. Last Feb. 15, it launched the rocket from Sriharikota's Satish Dhawan Space Center in Andhra Pradesh. The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C37 carried a payload of 103 nano-satellites coming from India as well as Kazakhstan, Israel, the United States, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. It also transported the Earth observation instrument Cartosat-2. No other nation has so far launched 104 satellites from a single rocket in one go, making the feat a huge and important one for ISRO. The Russian space agency Roscosmos held the previous record at 37 satellites in one rocket launch. India also hiked its spending on space technology and research, believing that space exploration investments will yield positive returns for the country. It is mostly gearing up for two missions, each leading to Mars and Venus, with the Mars Orbiter Mission II possibly including a lander and likely to launch in 2021. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission arrived in the planet’s orbit back in September 2014, its first-ever interplanetary mission that came with a $74 million price tag. The nation finds a Mars mission rival in its Asian neighbor China, which aims to send a Mars probe by 2020 after a probe on the far side of the moon by late 2018. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


News Article | February 17, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Earlier this week we told you about India’s mission to deploy an absurd number of satellites from a single launch vehicle. Thankfully, the mission went off without a hitch, and the record-breaking payload was successfully placed in orbit by the Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO. But the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle that carried over 100 of the devices into space wasn’t just carrying expensive gadgets, it was also equipped with a camera to document the deployment, and ISRO just published that video for us all to enjoy. Don't Miss: NASA reminds us that space is gorgeous with breathtaking new Hubble snapshot The short video showcases the launch and ascent of the rocket before showing off its efficient and seemingly flawless deployment of 104 satellites from a handful of countries, including the US. Of the satellites included in the launch, 96 came from the United States, and 88 of those came from Earth imaging startup Planet. In the video, following the separation of the rocket boosters and the decoupling of the second and third stages of the rocket, you’ll notice one massive satellite break off followed by many smaller ones. The largest device is India’s own Cartosat-2, which weighs in at a whopping 1,574lbs. To put that in perspective, the combined weight of the other 103 satellites on board the launch vehicle weigh in at roughly 1,464lbs. As ISRO notes in its press release announcing the successful launch, the organization has now helped its “customer” countries deploy a total of 180 satellites. India is quickly becoming an appealing option for many companies and nations who need a cheap and efficient way of sending their gadgets into space, and a record-shattering launch like this is surely helping to cement its reputation. See the original version of this article on BGR.com


News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, Feb. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- SolAero Technologies Corp. (SolAero), a leading provider of high efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and composite structural products, extends our sincere congratulations to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on its...

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