Scientists worried cuts to NASA’s Earth science programs could create climate data gap

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Scientists are worried that proposed cuts to NASA’s Earth science programs could create a climate data gap.

Last month’s budget proposal included terminating four planned or operational missions designed at least in part to collect climate-related data.

Scientists were worried even before the new administration took office about the potential loss of climate data, in part because of a perceived gap in the responsibilities of NASA and NOAA to study climate and weather. [New York Times]


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Aerojet Rocketdyne will move rocket engine development work from a historic California site under a consolidation plan announced Monday. The company said that, as part of the second phase of its Competitive Improvement Program, engine work currently done at the company’s facility near Sacramento will move to Huntsville, Alabama, and Southern California. About 1,100 of 1,400 jobs currently in Sacramento will be relocated or eliminated, with the facility becoming a “Shared Services Center of Excellence” handling administrative work. The company said the overall consolidation effort will help the company save $230 million a year once completed. [SpaceNews]

Italian launch vehicle company Avio started trading on the Milan stock exchange Monday. Shares in Avio rose 11 percent in the first day of trading Monday on the Borsa Italiana before falling back. Avio listed on the exchange after a merger with investment vehicle Space2 SpA and the departure of private-equity funds. Avio, which is the prime contractor for the Vega small launch vehicle and part of the Ariane 6 program, believes being publicly listed will make it easier for the company to access capital for future programs. [Bloomberg]

The chief financial officer of Harris CapRock has joined satellite connectivity company Global Eagle. Paul Rainey because CFO of Global Eagle earlier this month, filling a position vacated in February by Tom Severson, who departed the company abruptly with CEO Dave Davis. Rainey arrives at Global Eagle as the company faces a near-term threat to its Nasdaq listing because of the delayed filing of its 2016 financial results. [SpaceNews]

Satellite antenna company Kymeta has raised more than $70 million in its latest funding round. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that the company recently raised $73.5 million, bringing the total raised to date by the company to nearly $200 million. Among those investing in Kymeta is Intelsat, which said it played a minor role in this latest round. Intelsat and Kymeta announced a partnership last month that will use the Kymeta’s flat panel antennas to support a satellite broadband service. [GeekWire]

China plans to launch an experimental communications satellite on Wednesday. The Shijian-13 satellite, scheduled to launch at 7 a.m. Eastern, is a 4.5-ton satellite that will operate at 110.5 degrees east in GEO. The spacecraft will test Ka-band satellite broadband services and the use of electric propulsion. Shijian-13 will also test space-to-ground laser communications. [gbtimes]

An asteroid mining company got the royal treatment Monday. Prince Guillaume and Princess Stephanie of Luxembourg visited Planetary Resources, the Seattle-area company with long-term aspirations to obtain resources from asteroids. The government of Luxembourg invested more than $25 million into the company last year as part of its SpaceResources.lu initiative. The Luxembourg delegation, which also includes Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider, is visiting other space companies in the United States this week as well. [GeekWire]

NASA will announce new discoveries about ocean worlds in the solar system this week. The agency said Monday it will hold a press conference Wednesday involving scientists using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cassini spacecraft. Saturn’s moon Enceladus is thought to have an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy surface, based in part on plumes previously detected by Cassini, while Hubble observations have detected evidence for plumes emanating from Jupiter’s moon Europa, also thought to have a subsurface ocean. [Space.com]