Ohio’s U.S. Senate delegation ordered up an extensive report on the federal infrastructure required to produce both the nuclear batteries that power NASA missions to dark and distant corners of the solar system, and the plutonium isotope that fuels those batteries.NASAplanetary science
Russia has formally notified its International Space Station partners that it will continue in the partnership at least to 2024, ending several months of doubts that were fueled by the current poor state of Russia’s relations with the West.ISSRussia
Two weeks after New Horizons’ Pluto flyby, NASA planetary science funding took center stage during a July 28 House Science Committee hearing.NASAplanetary scienceU.S. Congress
While acknowledging delays in interim milestones for its two commercial crew contracts, NASA officials said July 28 they still require the full funding requested for 2016 to avoid delays in the overall program.BoeingCommercial CrewNASASpaceX
The accident that destroyed the SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle and killed one its pilots last year was caused by the co-pilot’s premature unlocking of the vehicle’s feathering system and inability of its developer, Scaled Composites, to foresee such an event and take measures to prevent it, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded July 28.civil spaceVirgin Galactic
Mobile satellite communications services provider SpeedCast International on July 28 said it is purchasing SAIT Communications of Greece and Cyprus, a maritime communications provider with a 2,500-ship customer base.maritimeSatellite Telecom
Foreign nationals had access to restricted defense technology at NASA’s Ames Research Center in 2008 and 2009, but it is impossible to tell if they shared technical details about that technology with anyone overseas.DoDNASA
Contractors in the hunt to build the GPS satellites the U.S. Air Force will launch next decade are already touting their work on a fully digital navigation payload, an upgrade lawmakers want the Air Force to include when it finally places a follow-on order for the GPS 3 satellites now being built.GPSU.S. Air Force
ESA's new chief had served notice well before assuming his post that, to streamline and save money, he wanted a broad reorganization that would slash the number of division directors.
Johann-Dietrich Woerner is finding out that revamping a 22-nation bureaucracy, while not rocket science, is sometimes just as difficult.
The U.S. Air Force may need to guarantee SpaceX and United Launch Alliance a set number of national security launches if the service hopes to have to two financially viable families of rockets available in the future, according to a report completed in April.Military SpaceSpaceXU.S. Air ForceULA
The U.S. Air Force contends United Launch Alliance needs as many as 22 RD-180 rocket engines to compete against SpaceX for dozens of national security launches that start going out for bid later this year, according to a U.S. senator.Military SpaceRD-180U.S. Air ForceULA
The British government has agreed to limit the liability of U.K.-licensed satellite operators in an attempt to encourage growth in Britain’s commercial space sector.EuropeSatellite TelecomUK
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems has apparently solved technical problems plaguing the James Webb Space Telescope’s cryogenic cooler and is ready to ship the hardware to NASA for environmental testing, the U.S. space agency said.JWSTNASA
“The cumulative effect of the three cargo mission losses are, in our opinion, significant, but the ISS program was well positioned to mitigate the impacts,” ASAP member Brent Jett said at a July 23 meeting of the panel at NASA’s Langley Research Center.Falcon 9ISSNASA
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced that it will hold a public hearing July 28 to determine the most likely cause of the fatal SpaceShipTwo accident last October.Virgin Galactic