Proposed Florida budget would include Blue Origin incentives
The budget proposal, released Tuesdayby Florida Gov. Rick Scott, includes $17 million to help pay for improvements to Launch Complex 36, the Cape Canaveral launch site that Blue Origin plans to use for its New Glenn launch vehicle.
That amount will be matched by the company.
The budget proposal also includes $19.5 million for Space Florida, the state space development agency, the same as it received last year. [Florida Today]
Iridium announced Tuesday it has purchased an additional Falcon 9 launch it will share with an Earth science mission. Iridium said it would launch five satellites on the Falcon 9 mission, scheduled for early 2018, which will also carry the two GRACE-FO gravity-mapping satellites being developed by NASA and the German research center GFZ. Both Iridium and GFZ had planned to carry out launches using the Dnepr rocket, but that vehicle has been grounded indefinitely because of a lack of Russian government approvals. Iridium said the cost of the additional launch is “immaterial” given cost savings from not using the Dnepr and other benefits gained by deploying additional spare satellites. [SpaceNews]
The head of U.S. Strategic Command says the U.S. needs to be prepared for war with China in space.U.S. Air Force Gen. John Hyten, recently confirmed as head of STRATCOM, warned in a speech last week that China continues to develop and test anti-satellite weapons that can work in “multiple orbital regimes” a decade after its infamous anti-satellite test in low Earth orbit. “In the not-too-distant future, they will be able to use that capability to threaten every spacecraft we have in space,” he said, arguing that the U.S. should prepare for that as the best means to deter a conflict in space from happening. [SpaceNews]
Russia would be interested in pursing increased cooperation with the U.S. in space. Sergei Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the U.S., said in a speech Tuesday that it would be premature to speculate whether there will be enhanced U.S.-Russia cooperation in space under the Trump administration, but that Russia would be open to cooperation in areas such as lunar exploration. Cooperation between the countries on space programs other than the International Space Station was sharply reduced after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. [SpaceNews]
A Japanese experiment to test technologies to reduce orbital debris appears to be malfunctioning. An experiment on a Japanese HTV cargo spacecraft planned to deploy an electromagnetic tether 700 meters long after the HTV departed from the ISS last week. The tether was designed to test whether it could slow down pieces of debris and lower their orbits. However, JAXA says it’s not clear the tether deployed. The HTV is scheduled to reenter this weekend, giving engineers only a few days to correct the problem. [AFP]
Russian Deputy Prime Minsiter Dmitry Rogozin has called for a review of Russia’s space companies.Rogozin asked Roscosmos to review Russia’s various space enterprises to look for evidence of quality problems at the companies. The review comes after the discovery of flawed engines produced by Voronezh Mechanical Plant for the upper stages of the Proton rocket, grounding the vehicle until the middle of May. [TASS]
SpaceX wants to increases its presence at the Port of Los Angeles. The company is looking to double its footprint at the port by leasing 4.6 acres of property there, which will be used by ships returning recovered first stages of Falcon rockets. The first ship returning a recovered first stage to the port docked there earlier this month after the Falcon 9 launch of 10 Iridium satellites. [Daily Breeze]
The Greek government is planning to establish a national space agency. Legislation soon to be introduced in the country’s parliament would create the National Center for Space Applications, or EKDE. An initial role for EKDE would be to lease unused government capacity on the Hellas-Sat 3 communications satellite, scheduled for launch later this year. The agency would also be responsible for identifying applications of space technology. [Ekathimerini]
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is providing new views of Saturn’s rings. The images, taken in December by the spacecraft as it passed within 55,000 kilometers of the rings, show the structure of the rings in unprecedented detail. Cassini is making a series of passes close to, and later though, the ring plane before its mission ends in September. [Seeker]
Harold Rosen, who designed the first geostationary communications satellite, passed away Monday at age 90. Rosen, an engineer at Hughes Aircraft, helped develop the Syncom spacecraft launched in 1963 that demonstrated the potential for communications satellites operating in geostationary orbit. Rosen continued to consult in the satellite industry through last year, and was also involved several years ago with a Google Lunar X Prize team. [Los Angeles Times]