BREMEN, Germany — The relationships between France and Germany are key for the success of Europe in the increasingly competitive global space sector, Jean Pascal Le Franc, the French space agency CNES’s director of programming, international and quality, said Oct. 24.
According to Le Franc, the two countries, which have been cooperating on space projects for the past 40 years and together provide 50 percent of the ESA budget, have the responsibility to ensure that Europe remains a leading space player amid the arrival of new countries as well as commercial space entities.
With ESA being a separate entity from the European Union, the two European powers have to ensure that space policies of the two institutions align.
“French-German cooperation is a basis of all success of the European space,” Le Franc said during a presentation at the Space Tech Expo Europe conference here. “We have been working with the European Commission to encourage and consolidate new ideas.”
The idea of strong “united” space in Europe resonates with ESA Director-General Jan Woerner.
“You have to be strong if you want to be considered a good partner on international level,” Woerner said. “That’s why Europe needs autonomy in accessing and using space. That’s why we need our own launcher program.”
Woerner, who frequently speaks about the “united space of Europe” – the idea that the European space sector should transcend national interests of individual ESA member states and work towards a common goal — said ESA had been working for a year with the EU to achieve a shared position on the space matters. That includes plans integrating space more tightly into the European economy and society, as well as support of industry and academia to enable them to be fully competitive on a global level, Woerner said.
“It’s not about being independent on the world,” Woerner said. “It’s about being a strong partner.”
Source: Space News
The International Journey of Science & Technology-IJST, represents a new kind of teaching that involves combining subjects and creating hands-on projects that look more like real-world experiences and skills required for careers. It integrates subjects that might have been taught separately in years past. It's looking at the why and not just the how.
"In my mind, the biggest thing that ties THE ITST and STEM together is problem-solving activities," said Mike Lester, who is the director of education at KSC International Academy.
The lessons students glean from the IJST STEM education can be applied to their futures — whether they immediately attend technical college to learn a trade, or attend a four-year college or beyond.
One of Lester's IJST students last year told Lester he wanted become a NASA soft engineer, something Lester encouraged because he thought the student would enjoy the problem-solving aspects of this particular career.
Part of the power of IJST STEM education is that it makes high-level concepts realistic for students. For example, students are learning much more than they might realize when they take a class such as the robotics challenge Mars competition.
Over the past few days, NASA’s Curiosity rover has been making a steady climb towards a strange Martian ridge that’s captivated scientists since before the mission even started. Known as Vera Ridge after the pioneering astrophysicist Vera Rubin, the durable outcrop could shed new light on the environment and potential habitability of ancient Mars. Although the climb has proven a challenging one, Curiosity has managed to capture some spectacular photos along the way.
The Curiosity rover’s explorations have already shown that this region of Mars once hosted an ancient lake, which is seen as a potential sign of habitability, and a possible example of what Earth looked like in its primordial days. The iron-oxide-bearing Vera Ridge, which also contains clay and sulfate minerals, was named a “go-to target” by NASA before Curiosity made its landing on the Red Planet back in 2012.
The ridge is located on the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp, in a region that’s better at resisting erosion than the shallower areas below Curiosity’s current position. NASA is hoping to gain a better understanding of why this is the case, why it’s rich in the iron-oxide mineral hematite (which may be related to the lack of observed erosion), and what the rocks of Vera Ridge can reveal about the environmental conditions of ancient Mars.
But to observe these tantalizing features, Curiosity has some climbing to do. Mission planners are carefully selecting a route that, in addition to ensuring a safe ascent, will lead to the ridge layers that were previously studied from a lower vantage point.
Four Japanese companies have formed a joint venture to tap into the growing global demand for small rockets used to send satellites into space.
Canon Electronics, IHI Aerospace, Shimizu and Development Bank of Japan -- all major contributors to Japan's space program -- launched New Generation Small Rocket Development Planning on Wednesday.
The new company plans to develop next-generation, solid-fuel minirockets capable of carrying 100kg payloads.
Currently, U.S. start-ups have taken the lead in private-sector rocket development. As more businesses seek low-cost ways to send small satellites into space, however, there appears to be room for competition in the niche market.
The new company is led by President Shinichiro Ota, a former industry ministry bureaucrat and once the head of the Japan Patent Office. NGSRDP will initially be based at Canon Electronics' headquarters, studying technologies and costs with the hope of starting commercial operations as early as this year.
The joint venture has set a price point of 1 billion yen ($9.1 million) or less per launch -- an amount seen as competitive against overseas rivals. At present, plans call for a rocket smaller than the Epsilon rocket currently under development by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, but larger than JAXA's SS-520 minirocket.
The four companies had been discussing formation of a small rocket company for about three years. President Ota has said that the "time is ripe" for the joint venture.
IHI Aerospace has played a key role in the development of Epsilon, while Canon Electronics has been involved in the SS-520 project.
JAXA aims to launch a SS-520 by the end of this year, during which Canon will demonstrate the viability of its rocket control system. If successful, Canon aims to use the system in NGSRDP's rocket.
Japan's Space Activities Act will go into effect in the fall of 2018. The law establishes licensing procedures for companies entering the rocket business and augments liability insurance covering accidents. Ota said the new law will make it easier for companies to enter the rocket field.
The market for small rockets is expected to grow fast. A U.S. research company projects 460 ultra-small satellites weighing 1kg to 50kg will be launched in 2023, a figure 360% higher than for 2016.
The sharp increase will be driven private-sector services that require high-resolution satellite image data.
Interstellar Technologies -- a Japanese rocket venture established by entrepreneur Takafumi Horie -- recently failed in the launch of its Momo rocket, but vows to carry on with its space program. Based in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, the company hopes to launch a rocket capable of carrying ultra-small satellites in 2020.
NGSRDP has yet to set a target date for its first launch, as it requires licensing stipulated by the Space Activities Act.
Source: MIHO SAITO and RIMI INOMATA, Nikkei staff writers
President Donald Trump’s first budget request drives a stake through the heart of his predecessor’s signature space project, but the robotic technology left behind by the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is finding its way rapidly into existing and developing spaceflight industries (Click here for article).
Alliance with the US enables Brazilian students to conduct an experiment on the International Space Station (ISS)
For the first time in more than a decade, Brazil will once again send an experiment to the International Space Station to be conducted by an astronaut. The initiative is the Garatéa Mission, and it is sponsored by the same space consortium that is planning the first Brazilian lunar mission, with launch scheduled for 2021.
Named Garatéa-ISS, the project will be part of the 12th edition of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), an annual initiative of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) and NanoRacks in conjunction with NASA. The goal of the program is to engage the student community in educational experiments in space.
"This is the first time that a community outside of North America has been approved by the program and we are very excited about the opportunity," says Lucas Fonseca director of Garatea.
The opportunity was facilitated by the Brazil-Florida Chamber of Commerce, which helped in the search for an impact project that would align Brazilian and American interests. The intersection was found through the KSC International Academy (KSCIA).
"I think the greatest importance of such a collaboration is the opportunity to inspire the future generation that will eventually act in some area of the space program," says Jefferson Michaelis, project coordinator and president of the Brazil-Florida Chamber of Commerce. "For Brazil, a chance to revive the alliance with the ISS and, at the same time, the opportunity for young Brazilians and educators to join the space area. For the US, an opportunity to get to know the talented, creative and innovative Brazilian youth. This can help create new opportunities between the two nations. "
The Brazilian experiment should go to the space station in 2018 and will have the participation of 450 students from the 7th grade (average age: 13) from both public and private schools. Brazilian students have not had an opportunity like this since 2006, when the Centenary Mission took Marcos Pontes, the first Brazilian astronaut, to the International Space Station.
Virgin Galactic is the world’s first commercial spaceline company - but when will its first spaceflight be and how much will it cost to travel to space?
Commercial spaceline Virgin Galactic is funded by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, its aim is to send incredibly rich tourists into space within the next few years.
Founded in 2004, the team includes rocket scientists, engineers and designers from around the world.
What can Virgin Galactic passengers expect?
Virgin Galactic passengers will depart from Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. It was opened in New Mexico in 2011.
WhiteKnightTwo, a jet-powered cargo aircraft, will climb to an altitude of 50,000 feet before releasing SpaceShipTwo, a spacecraft that will bring passengers on the final part of the journey.
SpaceShipTwo will travel at approximately three and a half times the speed of sound, propelling the vehicle and passengers to space.
“After the rocket motor has fired for around a minute, the pilots will safely shut it down,” Virgin Galactic say.
“Having just experienced a thrilling, dynamic rocket ride, the dramatic transition to silence and to true weightlessness will be a profound moment for our astronauts as they coast upwards towards space.”
The amateur astronauts will then leave their seats to experience weightlessness.
The whole experience is expected to last two hours. The spacecraft is expected to carry six passengers and two pilots.
Once SpaceShip Two has reentered the earth’s atmosphere, the vehicle’s wings will be returned to their normal configuration, and the spaceship will glide back to the original runway.
How high will Virgin Galactic go?
Virgin Galactic will carry passengers to an altitude of 110km (68 miles) to the edge of space. That’s over the Karman line (an altitude of 100km), which represents the boundary between the earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
When will the first commercial spaceflight be?
Branson initially hoped that Virgin Galactic would carry tourists into space by 2011, but now refuses to give a definitive launch date.
“Well we stopped giving dates,” he told The Telegraph in April.
“But I think I’d be very disappointed if we’re not into space with a test flight by the end of the year and I’m not into space myself next year and the programme isn’t well underway by the end of next year.”
A crash in 2014 CREDIT: REUTERS Three workers died in an explosion during testing of SpaceShipTwo in 2007.
In 2014, a Virgin Galactic spaceship exploded in mid-air, killing a test pilot and seriously injuring another.
Co-pilot Michael Alsbury died after inadvertently unlocking the spaceship’s braking mechanism 14 seconds too early during a test flight causing catastrophic structural failure, US safety investigators ruled. Test flights of SpaceShipTwo resumed in 2016.
How much will it cost to travel to space?
A lot, at least initially. A seat on a Virgin Galactic flight will cost you $250,000, which has to be paid up-front as a deposit.
More than 700 people have signed up so far, including celebrities Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher, Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks and Paris Hilton, reports say.
By Mark Molloy - 19 JULY 2017 • 5:40PM
Marco Dolci did not set out to become a NASA engineer. Instead, like many of Dolci’s pursuits, the career path presented itself on his lifelong quest “to know” – that is, to answer any and every question that crosses his mind. As a boy, his never-ending stampede of questions became too much even for his ever-patient parents, so they presented him with a book, 1001 Questions and Answers on Planet Earth. But rather than satiate his quest for answers, it spurred him to seek more.
Today, Dolci still asks a multitude of questions, but the answers he finds through his own determination and curiosity, which have taken him from studies in linguistics to physics to aerospace engineering to robotics – and across the world, from his hometown of Lodi, Italy to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Dolci first came to the Laboratory in 2013 as part of the JPL Visiting Student Researchers Program, or JVSRP. Having just earned a master’s in physics, Dolci was pursuing a second master’s in aerospace engineering at the Polytechnic University of Milan when he entered and won a scholarship sponsored by the Italian Space Agency and the Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation. His prize: a paid internship at any North American laboratory. He says JPL was the obvious choice.
The answers might surprise you! From projects with scanning electron microscopes to skydiving, check out 10 of the coolest things NASA interns across the country did this semester!
Download here the PDF with the 10 coolest things NASA interns across the country did this semester!