SpaceX could have to pay port fees of up to $15,000 for each Falcon 9 booster it returns to Port Canaveral.
The proposed fee, to be considered at a Canaveral Port Authority meeting this week, is intended to cover the costs to the port of handling the stage, which is returned to port on SpaceX’s autonomous spaceport drone ship after the stage lands at sea.
SpaceX opposes the proposal, arguing that the fee is 14 times higher than what any other user of the port is charged for using its facilities. [Florida Today]
The launch of a Japanese military communications satellite on an Ariane 5 has been postponed after the satellite was damaged in shipment to the launch site. The DSN-1 X-band military communications satellite was to launch on an Ariane 5 in July along with India’s GSAT-18 communications satellite. How the satellite was damaged, and how serious the damage is, remain unclear. The DSN-1 delay means that GSAT-18 will also be delayed until at least September, when it could be launched along with the Sky Muster 2 broadband communications satellite. [SpaceNews]
An Indian PSLV is set to launch a collection of satellites tonight. The PSLV is scheduled to lift off at 11:56 p.m. Eastern Tuesday night from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The launch’s primary payload is the Cartosat-2C remote sensing satellite. The rocket carries 19 secondary payloads, including the SkySat Gen2-1 remote sensing satellite for Google-owned Terra Bella and 12 Dove imaging satellites for Planet (formerly Planet Labs.) [PTI]
Aerojet Rocketdyne plans to save up to $20 million a year by refinancing its debt. The company announced Monday that it was taking advantage of “robust debt market conditions” to refinance its debt with a new credit facility. The company said it will save about $20 million a year in interest payments through the refinancing, but will have to pay an unspecified one-time charge associated with the write-off of earlier refinancing fees. [Aerojet Rocketdyne]
Jeff Bezos is the latest winner of the Heinlein Prize commercial space award.The Heinlein Prize Trust said Tuesday it is giving the award to Bezos for his achievements developing reusable vehicles and engine technology at Blue Origin, including the company’s New Shepard suborbital vehicle. The prize, intended to honor individuals who have made key achievements in commercial space, was previously won by Peter Diamandis and Elon Musk. The prize comes with a cash award and a specially designed sword. [SpaceNews]
A new paper argues that the U.S. needs to take a “proactive prevention” approach to space security. The paper, released by the Atlantic Council last week during an event hosted by SpaceNews senior staff writer Mike Gruss, emphasized the need for the U.S. to engage with China and Russia on space security issues through diplomacy rather than through increased preparations for conflict in space. Those discussions should include identifying “red lines” for unacceptable activities in space and establishing other norms and rules of the road. [National Defense Magazine]
Washington state is using a conference this week to make the case it is a hub of the emerging commercial space industry. State officials hope the NewSpace 2016 conference, which starts today in Seattle, will be an opportunity to show off its growing space industry. The Seattle area is home to several space ventures, including Blue Origin, Planetary Resources, Spaceflight Industries and Vulcan Aerospace. “I think it’s appropriate to recognize the state of Washington as a space hub on the West Coast because of the commercial work that we’re doing,” said John Thornquist, director of the state’s aerospace office. [GeekWire]
An “electric wind” may have stripped water from the atmosphere of Venus. Data from ESA’s Venus Express mission shows that the planet’s atmosphere has an unusually strong electric field, which can draw water up through the atmosphere and allow it to escape into space. That electric field, once thought to have played only a supporting role in drying out the atmosphere, is instead “this big monster that’s capable of sucking the water from Venus by itself,” as one researcher put it. [Mashable]
Exoplanets only a few million years old may shed new light on how planets form. Astronomers reported Monday the discovery of two exoplanets orbiting stars as young as two million years old. Both planets were found very close to their parent stars, completing orbits of them in as little as five days. This suggests that so-called “hot Jupiter” planets, thought to form farther from the star and then migrate in, either complete that migration quickly or can form much closer than previously thought. [Washington Post]