SpaceX required to carry more insurance for launches from Kennedy Space Center
The FAA launch license awarded to SpaceX for the EchoStar 23 mission stated that the company has to carry $63 million in liability coverage for any damage to government property during prelaunch activities.
The company previously only had to carry $13 million in coverage for launches from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral.
Insurance requirements for the company’s launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base have not changed.
The company has carried far higher insurance amounts to cover liability for Falcon 9 first stage landings at its Cape Canaveral pad. [Wall Street Journal]
SpaceX scrubbed the launch of a communications satellite overnight because of high winds. The Falcon 9 launch of the EchoStar 23 satellite from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39A was scheduled for a two-and-a-half-hour window that opened at 1:34 a.m. Eastern Tuesday, but the company scrubbed the launch more than a half hour before the window opened, citing high winds. The next available launch window is early Thursday morning. [CBS]
Hisdesat is demanding a refund from the operator of the Dnepr rocket because of a delayed launch. The Spanish satellite operator has filed with the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, reportedly seeking $16 million from Kosmotras for payments it made for a Dnepr launch originally scheduled for 2013 but which has yet to take place. Hisdesat has since signed a contract with SpaceX for the launch of its PAZ radar satellite. [SpaceNews]
Weather has also delayed a Japanese launch scheduled for this week. JAXA said that a forecast calling for deteriorating weather conditions at the Tanegashima Space Center led the agency to postpone the H-2A launch there to 9:20 p.m. Eastern Thursday. The rocket will launch a radar reconnaissance satellite for the Japanese military. [Spaceflight Insider]
The head of NASA’s science division says that funding the agency’s Earth science programs should be a “no-brainer.” In an interview, Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, said that “business case” for funding Earth science programs should be obvious given its benefits to society. He added that he is working to be a champion of that message in discussions about the importance of Earth science, a part of NASA many believe is under threat of substantial budget cuts by the Trump administration. [Science]
The Planetary Society is advocating for significant budget increases for NASA over the next several years. In an “open letter” video message to President Trump, Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye called for increasing NASA’s budget by five percent a year for the next five years. That additional funding, he argued, is needed for the agency to carry out all the missions assigned to it. That request runs counter to expected significant budget cuts across all non-defense discretionary programs, including NASA. Nye, in the video, also called for keeping NASA as the long-term goal of human spaceflight, as well as supporting science programs and commercial ventures. [The Verge]
An unnamed Colorado company wants to turn a Space Coast town into the “Silicon Valley of Space 2.0.” The Denver-based company is working with economic development officials to open a research and development center in a historic building in downtown Titusville, Florida, converting the upper floors of the buildings into apartments. The 65-person company, whose identify is being kept confidential by local officials for competitive reasons, would use the facility “to develop new technologies for the aerospace industry.” [Florida Today]
A Canadian government minister will make an announcement today about UrtheCast. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, will make an announcement in Vancouver this afternoon at UrtheCast’s offices “in support of exciting new innovation in Canada’s space sector.” UrtheCast operates cameras on the International Space Station and remote sensing satellites acquired from Deimos Imaging, and is planning a constellation of optical and radar imaging satellites. [Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada]