Recent News from the Commercial Space Gateway

(Discovery News) Amateur Astronomers Spy Mysterious Military Spaceplane

A global team of vigilant satellite watchers has caught the U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B space plane on camera as the craft circles Earth on its fourth mysterious mission.   

(Discovery News) Colliding Galaxies May Erupt With Mega Jets

Powerful jets of material spewing from the edge of monster black holes may be more likely to arise where two galaxies have merged together.   

(Space Fellowship) Station Crew Finalizes Module Remodeling Work

The Expedition 43 crew is wrapping up the remodeling of the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) at its new location on the forward port of the Tranquility module. The station residents also participated in maintenance and experiments exploring the long-term effects of living in space on the human body. Commander Terry Virts and One-Year crew member Scott Kelly are finalizing configuration tasks in the PMM after Wednesday’s relocation from the Harmony module. Italian astronaut Saman [...]

(Discovery News) DNews: A New Clue to Finding Life on Mars

Migrant laborers constructing the facilities for Qatar's 2022 World Cup reportedly suffer slum-like conditions and abuse.   

(Discovery News) This Happened Here: A Selfie on the Edge of Space

What's it like to fly on a U2 spy plane, 70,000 feet in the air, at an altitude that reaches 70 degrees below zero? Watch one man capture his once-in-a-lifetime flight at the edge of space.   

(ScienceDaily) Sharp-eyed Alma spots a gigantic flare on famous red giant star

Super-sharp observations with the telescope Alma have revealed what seems to be a gigantic flare on the surface of Mira, one of the closest and most famous red giant stars in the sky. Activity like this in red giants - similar to what we see in the Sun -- comes as a surprise to astronomers. The discovery could help explain how winds from giant stars make their contribution to our galaxy's ecosystem.   

(ScienceDaily) Microbes collected by citizen scientists and grown on the International Space Station

Do microbes grow differently on the International Space Station than they do on Earth? Results from the growth of microbes collected by citizen scientists in Project MERCCURI indicate that most behave similarly in both places.   

(Space Fellowship) Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center Certifies SpaceX for National Security Space Missions

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, El Segundo, Calif.  -- Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, Commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation's (SpaceX) Falcon 9 Launch System for national security space missions. SpaceX is now eligible for award of qualified national security space launch missions as one of two currently certified launch providers. The  [...]

(Space Fellowship) Saturn at Opposition

Telescopic observers on Earth have been treated to spectacular views of Saturn lately as the ringed planet reached its 2015 opposition on May 23 at 0200 UT. Of course opposition means opposite the Sun in Earth's sky. So near opposition Saturn is up all night, at its closest and brightest for the year. These sharp images taken within hours of the Sun-Earth-Saturn alignment also show the strong brightening of Saturn's rings known as the opposition surge or the Seeliger Effect. Directly illumin [...]

(ScienceDaily) How comets were assembled

Rosetta's target 'Chury' and other comets observed by space missions show common evidence of layered structures and bi-lobed shapes. With 3D computer simulations an astrophysicist was able to reconstruct the formation of these features as a result of gentle collisions and mergers.   

(Discovery News) Coast is Clear! No Deadly Debris Seen in Pluto Flyby Path

NASA's New Horizons team have pored over observational data beamed back to Earth from the speeding spacecraft and concluded, at least for now, the coast is clear for a flyby of dwarf planet Pluto.   

(Discovery News) Crisp New Detail Revealed in Stunning New Ceres Photo

NASA's Dawn spacecraft is beginning to get up-close and personal with dwarf planet Ceres, as this latest image shows.   

(Discovery News) NASA Begins Tests on Next Awesome Mars Lander: InSight

With its vast solar arrays on display at a Lockheed Martin Space Systems clean room in Denver, Colo., NASA's next mission to Mars stands proud.   

(Space Fellowship) Leonardo Cargo Module Reopens for Business

The Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) has been reopened at its new location on the forward port of the Tranquility module. Commander Terry Virts and Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti worked on completing PMM configuration activities. Meanwhile, the Expedition 43 crew went about its scheduled tasks of microgravity science and orbital maintenance. One-Year crew member Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Gennady Padalka joined each other for the Fluid Shifts study. That experiment obser [...]

(ScienceDaily) New technique for isolating sunlight scattering could help illuminate Universe's birth

Astrophysicists have developed a new method for calculating the effect of Rayleigh scattering on photons, potentially allowing researchers to better understand the formation of the Universe.   

(Commercial Space Watch) State of the Satellite Industry Report Shows Increased industry Growth in 2014

The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) today released its 2015 State of the Satellite Industry Report, showing a four percent growth rate in world satellite industry revenues in 2014, up from three percent in 2013.


(Commercial Space Watch) SSTL Opens New Spacecraft Operations Centre

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) welcomed Michael Boyd, Managing Director of Investment, UK Trade and Investment, and Peter Martin, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council, to the Company's Guildford Headquarters site on 27 May 2015. SSTL's Group Managing Director, Patrick Wood, hosted the visit which included a tour of The Kepler Building where SSTL is currently assembling more than 20 spacecraft.


(Commercial Space Watch) Arianespace Launches Two Commercial Satellites for the Americas on Ariane 5

On its fourth launch of the year, the second with Ariane 5, Arianespace successfully launched two direct TV broadcast satellites for high definition and 4K ultra high definition services: DIRECTV 15, for the operator DIRECTV, and SKYM-1 for the operator SKY Mexico, a new customer part of DIRECTV Group, serving the Latin American market.


(ScienceDaily) Astronomy: Link between mergers and supermassive black holes with relativistic jets

In the most extensive survey of its kind ever conducted, a team of scientists have found an unambiguous link between the presence of supermassive black holes that power high-speed, radio-signal-emitting jets and the merger history of their host galaxies. The results lend significant weight to the case for jets being the result of merging black holes.   

(Space Fellowship) NASA Telescopes Set Limits on Space-time Quantum "Foam"

A team of scientists has used X-ray and gamma-ray observations of some of the most distant objects in the Universe to better understand the nature of space and time. Their results set limits on the quantum nature, or “foaminess” of spacetime at extremely tiny scales. This study combines data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope along with ground-based gamma-ray observations from the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array (VERITAS). At [...]

(euronews) CES has Asian premiere in Shanghai

The famous Consumer Electronics Show, a popular fair held annually held in Las Vegas, has had its Asian premiere in Shanghai. Wearable devices,…


(ScienceDaily) Big Bang aftermath: Ancient stars from birth of the universe

Astronomers have discovered three "cosmic Methusalems" from the earliest years of the universe. These unusual stars are about 13 billion years old and experts assign them to the first generations of stars after the "dark ages." The chemical qualities of these extremely rare stellar bodies enable new insights into the events that must have led to the origins of the stars. The first stars have been assumed to be high-mass and to shine especially brightly. However, the latest observations point to hitherto unknown phenomena in the young universe, allowing for the emergence of much smaller stars.   

(Space Fellowship) Hubble Video Shows Shock Collision Inside Black Hole Jet

When you're blasting though space at more than 98 percent of the speed of light, you may need driver's insurance. Astronomers have discovered for the first time a rear-end collision between two high-speed knots of ejected matter from a super-massive black hole. This discovery was made while piecing together a time-lapse movie of a plasma jet blasted from a supermassive black hole inside a galaxy located 260 million light-years from Earth. The finding offers new insights into the behavior of " [...]

(Space Fellowship) Discovery Harkens to Early Solar System

Using the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) at the Gemini South telescope in Chile, astronomers have discovered a young, emerging planetary system that shares remarkable similarities to our own Solar System in its infancy. GPI images reveal the disk as a bright ring of dust around a star only slightly more massive than the Sun. It is located about 360 light-years away, in a region similar to that in which the Sun was formed. The disk is not perfectly centered on the star, likely sculpted by one or  [...]

(Space Fellowship) Nearby Spiral Galaxy NGC 4945

Large spiral galaxy NGC 4945 is seen edge-on near the center of this cosmic galaxy portrait. In fact, NGC 4945 is almost the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy. Its own dusty disk, young blue star clusters, and pink star forming regions standout in the sharp, colorful telescopic image. About 13 million light-years distant toward the expansive southern constellation Centaurus, NGC 4945 is only about six times farther away than Andromeda, the nearest large spiral galaxy to the Milky Way. Though  [...]

(Space Fellowship) Commercial Crew Milestones Met; Partners on Track for Missions in 2017

NASA has taken another step toward returning America’s ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017. The Commercial Crew Program ordered its first crew rotation mission from The Boeing Company. SpaceX, which successfully performed a pad abort test of its flight vehicle earlier this month, is expected to receive its first order later this year. Determination of which company will fly its mission to the station first will be made at a later [...]

(Space Fellowship) NASA Begins Testing Mars Lander in Preparation for Next Mission to Red Planet

Testing is underway on NASA’s next mission on the journey to Mars, a stationary lander scheduled to launch in March 2016. The lander is called InSight, an abbreviation for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. It is about the size of a car and will be the first mission devoted to understanding the interior structure of the Red Planet. Examining the planet's deep interior could reveal clues about how all rocky planets, including Earth, formed and evol [...]

(Discovery News) New Spacecraft Photos Hint at a Rich and Complex Pluto

As NASA's New Horizons spacecraft blasts closer to Pluto at a pace of 750,000 miles per day, increasingly detailed images are beginning to come our way.   

(Discovery News) Game Changer: SpaceX to Launch Military Satellites

A heated battle that spread to federal courtrooms and the U.S. Congress ended on Tuesday with the U.S. Air Force clearing Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX to fly military and national security satellites.   

(Commercial Space Watch) Lockheed Martin Completes Assembly of NASA's InSight Mars Lander

Lockheed Martin has assembled NASA's InSight Mars spacecraft, which is now undergoing environmental testing at the company's Space Systems facilities near Denver.