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UNTITLED Volume I/ Issue I/ 24 March

METEORITE 1,000 TIMES BIGGER THAN ORIGINALLY THOUGHT It turns out that the meteor that landed in Russia last week was a bit bigger than the 10 tons first reported. It was about 1,000 times bigger. When a hunk rock raced out of the morning skies over Russia on Friday and exploded with nearly 500 kilotons of energy, early size estimates by the Russian Academy of Sciences that were carried…

ATLAS V SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES SBIRS GEO-2 EARLY WARNING SATELLITE March 19: The US Air Force early warning satellite SBI RS GEO-2 (Space-Based

Infrared System GEO-2) was successfully launched



Canaveral, Florida at 2121 GMT on 19 March aboard an Atlas V 401 launch vehicle. The 4.8 ton satellite is the second in a series of satellites developed by Lockheed Martin and TRW (now Northrop Grumman) as a new generation early-warning designs looking for ballistic missile launches and explosions. The spacecraft





Successful Launch of SIBRS GEO-2 aboard Atlas V


Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) carries two telescopes with triple band IR detectors (scanning and staring) covering short wave and expanded mid-wave infra-red as well as see-to-the-ground bands.

32 NATIONS SHARING SATELLITE IMAGERY AS PART OF MGCP NETWORK March 18: The growing number of radar and optical Earth observation

satellites should make it easier for users to collect timely imagery, regularly refreshed, from anywhere in the world. But that is not the case, according to U.S., Canadian and European officials. A lack of common technical standards, imagery overlaps and the reluctance to share some commercial data all make it difficult to assemble up-to-date maps of a given crisis area in short order. Enter the Multinational Geospatial Co-production Program (MGCP), which now counts 32 member nations, each making contributions to a central The Russian Meteor in mid sky

database in return for being able to access the data….

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“Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work” -Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam

RUAG SPACE OPENS OFFICE March 20: Ruag Space of Switzerland, which in recent years has purchased the

biggest space-hardware manufacturers in Sweden and Austria, has hired two U.S. space-industry veterans to open an office in the United States in the hunt for more business. Zurich-based Ruag, which has said its space business should increase its revenue by an average 6 percent per year through 2015, says opportunities remain numerous in the U.S. space market despite the expected cutbacks in overall U.S. military space spending in the coming years. Ruag reported revenue of about 275 million

Swiss francs ($300 million) in 2011 and is expected to report 2012 revenue of about 290 million Swiss francs.

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RUSSIA PULLS PLUG ON PUBLIC SATELLITE BROADBAND PROJECT March 20: A planned national Ka-band broadband satellite program by Russia’s

state-owned RT Com has been canceled because of a lack of financing, a development that may leave more operating room for Russia’s two satellite fleet

operators, Russian industry officials said. The cancellation of the RT Com project, for which MDA Corp. of Canada and Gila Satellite Networks of Israel had been positioned as suppliers, does not mean a slowdown in Russian adoption of Ka-band satellites for broadband, the industry officials said.

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IAU DEFINITION OF A PLANET The definition of planet set in 2006 by the Internatiinal Astronomical Union (IAU) states that, in the Solar System, a planet is a celestial body which: 1. is in orbit around the sun 2. has sufficient mass to assume a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round shape) 3. has “cleared the neighborhood” around its orbit. Any non-satellite body fulfilling the first two criterion Is called a dwarf planet. A non-satellite body fulfilling only the first criterion is called a small solar system body (SSSB).

March 20: Four days after a former NASA contractor was arrested by the FBI after

boarding a one-way flight to his native China, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told lawmakers the agency is tightening security procedures to prevent unauthorized access to U.S. technology by certain foreign citizens. For a start, Bolden has directed NASA officials to review what access individuals from “certain designated countries” have to agency facilities. Nations Bolden mentioned include China, Burma, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan. While the review is ongoing, people from these countries may not be issued new NASA access credentials, Bolden said March 20 at a hearing of the House Appropriations commerce, justice, and science subcommittee.

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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden

A NEW UNIVERSAL STANDARD OF TIME: UTC Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. For most purposes, UTC is synonymous with GMT, but GMT is no longer precisely defined by the scientific community. The UTC was officially formalized in 1963 by the International Radio Consultative Committee. The system was adjusted several times until leap seconds were adopted in 1972 to simplify future adjustments. A number of proposals have been made to replace UTC with a new system which would eliminate leap seconds but no consensus has yet been reached.

SPACE X DECLARES FALCON 9’S UPGRADED ENGINE READY TO FLY March 20: SpaceX said March 20 that the more powerful Merlin 1D engine the company’s Falcon 9 rocket needs to launch commercial telecommunications satellites into geostationary orbit has achieved flight qualification following the completion of 28 test runs for a cumulative 1,970 seconds. The program SpaceX conducted at its McGregor, Texas, test site included four tests at or above the 147,000 pounds of thrust and 185-second duration required for a Falcon 9 rocket launch. SpaceX’s new Falcon 9 v.1.1 rocket is scheduled to debut in June carrying Canada’s experimental Cassiopeia satellite into

Merlin 1D dual test stand

low-Earth orbit. The launch, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, will be the sixth flight of a Falcon 9 and is considered a demonstration meant to clear the way for the upgraded Falcon 9 to launch the SES-8 telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit. SpaceX, which launched its Dragon capsule to the international space station March 1, plans to conduct a total of six launches this year.

MARS ROVER BACK ONLINE AFTER GLITCH March 20: NASA’S curiosity rover which has been exploring Mars since it landed last August, is back on active status after a memory glitch set the robot back. “We expect to get back to sample-analysis science by the end of the

week,” said Curiosity Mission Manager Jennifer Trosper in a statement.On February 28, controllers put the rover into “minimal activity safe mode” when they switched the machine’s operations to a backup computer after detecting malfunctions in the primary computer’s flash memory.

NASA’S Curiosity Rover

METEORITE 1,000 TIMES BIGGER THAN THOUGHT Continued from Page 1 …that were carried by the Associated Press, Reuters and other news wires pegged it on the small size, with a weight of about 10 tons.


Later in the evening, after studying infrasound data from stations around the world, NASA released a new estimate revising that first guess upward by a thousandfold: The meteorite actually weighed closer to 10,000 tons, scientists said -- approximately as much as 170 M1 Abrams tanks.

France, Italy, Germany, Spain and others in Europe — to form their own mini-MGCP network, the Multinational Space-based Imagery System, or Musis. Musis was

Continued from Page 1 … The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which has been instrumental to the MGCP’s functioning, said the network reduces duplication in image-taking and has already proved itself in crisis areas. Perhaps the best way to measure how successful MGCP has been is to

designed to reduce duplication among European nations, allowing each to contribute, in cash, imagery or other inkind services, to the network. Part of Musis’ problem is that it included satellites that are strictly military, such as France’s Helios and Germany’s SAR-Lupe, in addition to dual-use systems such as Italy’s Cosmo-Skymed and Spain’s Ingenio and Paz.

look at the inability of a much smaller group of nations


Continued from Page 2… The company has hired Patrick McKenzie as executive director for business development at the new Denver Ruag office. McKenzie previously worked for Ball Aerospace and for Lockheed Martin before that. Hired with him is Albert Lepore, previously with ComTech AeroAstro and with General Dynamics. Ruag has large

existing contracts for Europe’s Galileo positioning, navigation and timing constellation and for U.S.-based Iridium’s 81-satellite Iridium Next constellation. Ruag is also one of the few outside companies to have found work on the Falcon 9 rocket built by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. Wentscher said Ruag expects to perform payload-separation and other work on Europe’s future Ariane 6 rocket, which European governments are expected to agree to develop starting in 2014, having received positive signals on the investment by the Swiss and Swedish governments.


demand for consumer broadband in Russia is coming

from areas adjacent to metropolitan areas. Kirillovich said RSCC has been leasing the Ka-Sat

Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC) of

capacity to test the market, and has been surprised to see

Moscow already leases four beams on Paris-based

high demand in areas such as the region of St.

Eutelsat’s Ka-Sat Ka-band spot-beam satellite for an

Petersburg, which is already served by DSL and fiber

intended consumer broadband service.

links. Other RSCC officials said the Ka-Sat lease may continue

RSCC has also ordered the AM-5 and AM-6 satellites

for some time as RSCC weighs the market’s appetite for

from prime contractor ISS Reshetnev of Russia, with


MDA providing the payload electronics, and expects

Sergey Pekhterev, chief executive of Altegrosky, a

shortly to make a selection of a ground-network provider

Russian provider of satellite services, said March 20 that

for the Ka-band portion of the payload.

the RT Com project was too ambitious, and ultimately

Andrey Kirillovich, RSCC director for integration

too expensive, to find support among the relevant

services and complex projects, said at the Satellite 2013

Russian government ministries. But he said a

conference here March 19 that, similar to the experience

commercially oriented consumer broadband offer in

of U.S. satellite broadband providers, the highest

Russia is likely to find a wide market.


It was Wolf, an outspoken critic of the Chinese

Database, an extensive online archive of agency

government, who announced in a March 18 press

engineering data, closed to the public until further

conference that the FBI arrested former NASA

notice. NASA is also evaluating whether to begin an

contractor Jiang March 16 at the Dulles International

independent review of the agency’s security procedures

Airport outside Washington.

after allegations of export control breaches at NASA field centers were made public by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the subcommittee’s chairman.



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