Presidential candidate Donald Trump is still not that interested in space.
Asked by a 10-year-old at a New Hampshire campaign event Wednesday about NASA, Trump responded “I love NASA” and “Space is terrific.”
However, he added, “Right now, we have bigger problems — you understand that? We’ve got to fix our potholes.”
The comments are similar to those he made at a town hall event in August, when he said that he wanted to spend money on infrastructure, not going to Mars. [Washington Post]
SpaceX’s Elon Musk says he still believes the company can land a rocket stage for potential reuse in the next year. Musk, interviewed during an investment conference last week, said he thinks SpaceX is in “shooting distance” of landing a Falcon 9 first stage, part of the company’s efforts to develop a reusable version of the rocket. The company came close in two previous attempts earlier this year, crashing a stage onto a floating platform in the Atlantic. [The Motley Fool]
Telesat is moving ahead with a new satellite now that it has an anchor customer. The company said it will develop the Telstar 19 Vantage spacecraft after EchoStar’s Hughes Network Systems agreed to purchase a large fraction of the spacecraft’s bandwidth. The spacecraft, scheduled for launch as soon as early 2018, will operate from 63 degrees west in GEO and serve Latin America. [SpaceNews]
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The ITU has agreed to allocate spectrum for the satellite tracking of aircraft. Regulators meeting at the World Radiocommuncation Conference in Geneva agreed Thursday to set aside a band from 1087.7 to 1092.3 megahertz for Earth-to-space transmissions of aircraft tracking beacons. The disappearance last year of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 led to calls for improved tracking of aircraft using satellites. [AP]
Thales Alenia Space has won a contract to build a communications satellite for the government of Bangladesh. The Bangabandhu-1 spacecraft will carry a payload of C- and Ku-band transponders and is scheduled for launch in December 2017. Thales Alenia beat out U.S., Canadian and Chinese competitors for the $248 million deal, financed by the French export credit agency Coface. [SpaceNews]
The U.S. Air Force awarded a contract to a university to study 3-D printing of rocket engines. The $545,000 contract to Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering will examine the use of additive manufacturing to make components of rocket engines. The award is part of the Air Force’s broader effort to develop a new rocket engine to end dependence on the Russian-built RD-180. [SpaceNews]
Japan is interested in developing robots to support bases on the moon and Mars. Officials with the Japanese space agency JAXA said they hope to partner with Japanese companies to develop robots that can help build and maintain those bases. The goal is to have the robots ready for a lunar base by 2030 and a Martian base in 2040, although Japanese officials have not decided if they will participate in NASA-led human Mars missions currently projected for the 2030s. [Yomiuri Shimbun]
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is scheduled to speak about national space policy tonight. Bolden will discuss “the future of U.S. space policy” in a talk hosted and webcast by the Council on Foreign Relations at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. [CFR]
Astronomers have discovered a Venus-like exoplanet “just” 39 light-years away. The planet, named GJ 1132b, is similar in size to the Earth but orbits its parent star in just 1.5 days, making it too hot to be habitable. One astronomer called it the “most important planet ever found outside the solar system” because it could serve as a testbed for probing the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets. [Los Angeles Times]
Astronomers have broken ground for a giant telescope in Chile. A groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday marked the start of construction of the Giant Magellan Telescope, an array of seven mirrors each 8.4 meters across that, combined, will be the equivalent of one 25 meters in diameter. The telescope will be the world’s largest when completed in 2021. [GMTO]