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June 15 2017


B612 Foundation Forms Asteroid Institute

SILICON VALLEY, Calif. (B612 Foundation PR) — The B612 Foundation today announced the formation of a new science and technology institute dedicated to protecting Earth from asteroid impacts. Dr. Ed Lu, three time US astronaut and Co-founder of B612, will serve as Executive Director of the new B612 Asteroid Institute, collaborating with a team of planetary scientists and engineers from around the world to conduct research, technology development, and data analysis on asteroid detection and deflection.

Since its founding in 2002, B612 has served as a primary catalyst in furthering the field of planetary defense. The organization has a long history of funding research on asteroid detection and deflection with major institutions, including Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The organization is now expanding and consolidating all research and analysis under the B612 Asteroid Institute.

The B612 Asteroid Institute will be a virtual organization with a particularly close new working collaboration with Data Intensive Research in Astrophysics and Cosmology Center (DIRAC) at the Department of Astronomy of the University of Washington, whose scientists are at the forefront of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST)Project. For the next three years, B612 has funded two post-doctoral researchers at DIRAC, specifically dedicated to planetary defense research.

“Humankind must solve this problem of asteroid impacts, and through science and technology we can make this happen,” said Dr. Lu. “We look forward to working closely with DIRAC and LSST principals, as well as other scientists around the world, to better understand how we will protect the Earth from asteroid impacts.”

“The science of the next decade will be driven by data,” stated Andrew Connolly, Director of the DIRAC Institute. “With a new generation of telescopes and surveys coming online over the next decade, providing the most detailed census of our universe ever undertaken, we have an unparalleled opportunity for new and fundamental discoveries about our Solar System. We look forward to partnering with the Asteroid Institute to develop novel techniques and methodologies to search for and characterize the populations of asteroids within these massive data streams.”

The B612 Asteroid Institute scientists and students will focus on applying the results from the ever-widening field of asteroid and comet research to the specific issues of how to protect our planet from the impact threat.” said Dr. Clark Chapman, Planetary Scientist (retired), Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) .

B612 will be the umbrella organization for the Asteroid Institute, while continuing its work in the areas of public education and advocacy to mobilize the world’s resources to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts. Danica Remy, who has served as B612’s Chief Operating Office for the last five years, will assume the role of President.

Going forward, all of B612’s scientific and technological projects will be conducted through the Institute, including the B612 Asteroid Decision Analysis Machine (ADAM); research into synthetic tracking to improve the capability to discover asteroids smaller than 100 meters; and planning for a future small satellite constellation for detecting and tracking these smaller asteroids.

ADAM answers the call to action by the NASA Small Bodies Assessment Group which “supports the systematic examination of the potentially hazardous population to identifying cases that need extra attention early for a successful deflection campaign, should one become necessary.”



Elon Musk’s Ambitious Mars Plan Now Online

A view from martian orbit. (Credit: SpaceX)

If you liked the talk, you’re going to love the paper.

New Space journal has published an article by SpaceX Founder Elon Musk in which he puts down in writing the presentation he gave in Mexico last year about his company’s plan for a human transportation system to Mars.

You can read the paper here.


SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Reset for Monday


Watch Test of Orion Abort Motor Today

Orbital ATK is testing the Orion abort motor in Utah today. Should be quite a sight to see. So tune in. (Your local time zone may vary.)


Man Dies in Fire at Soyuz Drop Zone

Soyuz launches Progress supply ship on June 14, 2017. (Credit: Roscosmos)

TASS reports some sad news: a truck driver died while trying to extinguish a Kazakh steppe fire at the drop zone for the stages of a Russian Soyuz-2.1a rocket that launched a Progress supply ship to the International Space Station on Wednesday.

“According to the available information, the Kamaz truck driver, an employee of JSC NPO Mashinostroyenia, has died while extinguishing the fire. JSC NPO Mashinostroyenia (not affiliated to Roscosmos) oversees maintenance of the drop zones. The fire engulfed the Kamaz vehicle after a particularly strong gust of wind,” TASS reports, citing a report from Roscosmos.


Senate to Hold Commercial Space Hearing

Reopening the American Frontier: Promoting Partnerships Between Commercial Space and the U.S. Government to Advance Exploration and Settlement

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing titled “Reopening the American Frontier: Promoting Partnerships Between Commercial Space and the U.S. Government to Advance Exploration and Settlement” at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. The subcommittee will examine partnerships between the U.S. government and commercial space industry to advance space exploration.


  • Mr. Robert Cabana, Director, NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Mr. Tim Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO, Relativity
  • Dr. Moriba K. Jah, Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Cockell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Mr. Jeffrey Manber, CEO, Nanoracks
  • Ms. Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.


Planetary Resources Pivots Again

Well, it looks like our friends over at the asteroid mining firm Planetary Resources have pivoted once again.

You might recall that last June the company announced it had raised a Series A round of funding totaling $21.1 million for an Earth-observation project called Ceres. The constellation of satellites would monitor natural uses using the infrared and hyperspectral sensors.

In the five years since the company came out of stealth mode, it has pivoted from focusing on asteroid missions to remote sensing and now back to asteroid missions.

Foust didn’t report on the reason for the latest pivot. However, Planetary Resources main financial backer and partner is the government of Luxembourg, a postage-size country (as these things go) that doesn’t have a lot of use for natural resource monitoring, but is very interested in asteroid mining.

In November 2016, Luxembourg announced it was investing $28 million in Planetary Resources. The company also has set up an office in the European nation.

Foust did report that Lewicki, who is the company’s CEO, said two Arkyd-6 satellites are being readied for delivery in the next month for launch. The spacecraft will search for promising asteroids.

Lewicki also said the company plans to launch its first asteroid prospecting mission in the second half of 2020.





June 14 2017


Russians Launch Progress Supply Freighter to Space Station

Soyuz launches Progress supply ship on June 14, 2017. (Credit: Roscosmos)

BAIKONUR SPACE CENTER, Kazakhstan, June 14, 2017 (Roscosmos PR) — The launch vehicle (LV) Soyuz-2.1a with cargo spacecraft Progress МS-06 successfully lifted off from Baikonur Space Center at 12:20 MT.

According the flight program, the first three stages of Soyuz-2.1a have taken the cargo spacecraft into low orbit just short of eight minutes and forty-eight seconds after liftoff. Korolev Mission Control Center specialists have taken the further Progress MS-06 flight to ISS under control.

According to telemetry data, the spacecraft insertion into low-Earth orbit and separation from the third stage of the launch vehicle occurred on schedule, deployment of all antennas and solar array panels was detected immediately after the separation. Systems and assemblies of the spacecraft operate normally.

The docking of Progress MS-06 to ISS module Zvezda is scheduled at 14:42 MT June 16, 2017. The ISS docking process will be in automatic mode under control of Russian ISS commander Feodor YURCHIKHIN and specialists of Russian ISS segment flight control group in Korolev MCC.

The vehicle will deliver to the ISS about 2.5 tons of various cargo, including «dry» cargo, propellant in the combined propulsion system and refueling system tanks, water and compressed gases.


Boeing Streamlining Defense and Space Unit

ARLINGTON, Va., June 13, 2017  (Boeing PR) — Boeing [NYSE: BA] is taking the next step in making its Defense, Space & Security (BDS) unit more globally competitive by eliminating a layer of executive oversight.

“We need to be an agile organization that is more responsive to customers’ needs and committed to continually improving productivity,” said Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret. “We are fundamentally addressing how we compete, win, and grow in Boeing’s second century.”

As of July 1, the current Boeing Military Aircraft and Network & Space Systems segments will evolve into smaller entities reporting to Caret.

  • Autonomous Systems: Insitu and Liquid Robotics subsidiaries; Echo Voyager maritime vehicle; vertical lift unmanned systems; and certain electronic and information systems.
  • Space and Missile Systems: satellites; Boeing’s share of United Launch Alliance; the International Space Station; Ground-based Midcourse Defense; Ground Based Strategic Deterrent; Joint Direct Attack Munition and Harpoon weapons, among others.
  • Strike, Surveillance and Mobility: F-15 and F/A-18 fighters; P-8 maritime patrol aircraft; Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System; modifications/upgrades to fixed-wing aircraft.
  • Vertical Lift: AH-6i, AH-64 Apache, and CH-47 Chinook helicopters; V-22 Osprey tilt rotor.

Boeing executives Chris Raymond, Jim Chilton, Shelley Lavender, and David Koopersmith will lead those, respectively.

The Development, Global Operations, and Phantom Works segments, which also report to Caret, will largely be unchanged.

About 50 executive positions will be affected this year as a result of the changes.

For more on Defense, Space & Security, visit www.boeing.com. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.


Hand Spinner et spatial

Gadget à la mode, le Hand Spinner repose, comme les toupies, sur l’effet gyroscopique. Ce dernier est couramment employé dans le spatial afin de stabiliser sondes ou satellites en les mettant en rotation sur eux-mêmes.

June 13 2017


Nammo to Acquire Moog’s In-Space Propulsion Business

RAUFOSS, Norway (Nammo PR) — Nammo is delighted to announce that it has agreed with Moog Inc. to acquire its In-Space Propulsion businesses in UK and Ireland. Nammo’s CEO Mr. Morten Brandtzæg believes the deal will strengthen Nammo’s position as one of the world’s leading providers of compact thrusters and rocket engines for space launchers and satellites.

“Space is an area where we see a lot of potential for Nammo’s products and technologies. Our experience from the defense market means we are very good at making small, powerful and reliable rockets and propulsion systems for use in extreme conditions. When we combine this experience with our existing capabilities in space, and the skills and technologies we have acquired today , I believe we are well on our way to becoming one of the key players within this particular market segment,” says Mr. Brandtzæg.

Nammo is an international aerospace and defense company headquartered in Norway. Its products include design and production of ammunition and rocket engines for military and commercial use, as well as sea safety and demilitarization services for clients worldwide. Employing more than 2100 people in 14 countries, Nammo is already established as a leading provider of thrusters, rocket engines and missile propulsion systems, with its space portfolio including key systems to the European Ariane and Vega space launch systems.

The deal announced today includes facilities in three locations; in Dublin, Ireland, and in Cheltenham and Westcott in the UK. Together they allow Nammo to expand its product offering, while also offering greater control of the supply chain supporting its existing product portfolio. It also grants Nammo access to additional European markets, while strengthening its position relative to several established programs both in the US and Europe.

“These facilities bring with them an impressive offering of flight qualified products currently used on space launchers, on numerous satellites orbiting Earth, and on space probes exploring the planets Mercury, Mars and Jupiter. We have worked with them for several years as a supplier, and are very pleased to welcome them to the group,” says Executive Vice President of Nammo’s Aerospace Propulsion business unit, Mr. Frank Møller.

About 60 highly skilled employees will be joining Nammo through this acquisition, significantly strengthening its engineering capabilities. The primary activities of the three sites acquired include design and manufacture of liquid rocket engines, thrusters, valves and components for satellite and in-space propulsion. The facility in Dublin, Ireland also has a substantial activity towards the European launcher market, Ariane 5 and 6, with structural engine components as well as high performance thruster valves.

Nammo is an international aerospace and defense company headquartered in Norway. With more than 2200 staff spread across more than 30 sites and offices in 14 countries, Nammo is one of the world’s leading providers of ammunition and rocket engines for both military and civilian customers.


World View to Send KFC Chicken Sandwich to Stratosphere

KFC Zinger Stratollite (Credit: KFC)

TUCSON, Ariz. (World View PR) – World View, the stratospheric exploration company, today announced it will launch the first extended duration development flight of its high-altitude Stratollite™ vehicle later this month, carrying a commercial payload from flight partner KFC. With the launch window opening on June 21, this will be World View’s first ever live broadcast launch, and its most important to date for the Stratollite vehicle. This pivotal milestone signals the market readiness of the first-ever, long-duration, navigable stratospheric payload vehicle, opening an entirely new economy and application markets in the stratosphere.

“The Stratollite is spearheading a new market for data collection of our planet, the environment and human activity from a perch at the very edge of space,” said Jane Poynter, World View founder and CEO. “This next mission will be our first attempt to really push the envelope with a flight designed to test, for the very first time, all the integrated critical systems needed to bring this Stratollite online for commercial markets.”

In need of a spaceflight partner to literally launch KFC’s new flagship spicy Zinger chicken sandwich to space in an entirely new and different way, KFC and creative agency Wieden+Kennedy approached World View about participating in a historic flight to the edge of space. Intrigued by the idea, World View saw this as a great opportunity to publicly demonstrate the Stratollite’s capabilities to a mass public audience, while simultaneously financing a portion of the vehicle’s development program. Thus, the World View and KFC partnership was born, aiming to usher in a new era of stratospheric discovery and chicken sandwich space exploration.

The remotely controlled, un-crewed Stratollite vehicle features a Stratocraft™ payload module carried by a system of high-altitude balloons that ascends to and operates along the edge of space, offering low-cost, long-duration persistence over customer-specified areas of interest. World View’s proprietary altitude-control technology allows it to harness stratospheric winds to steer the Stratollite to and from desired locations, and loiter above them for weeks and months of time.

Stratollites can carry a wide variety of commercial payloads (sensors, telescopes, communications arrays, etc.), launch rapidly on demand and safely return payloads back to Earth after mission completion. Among its wide variety of uses, the Stratollite will help researchers greatly advance knowledge of planet Earth, improve our ability to identify and track severe weather, and assist first responders during natural disasters.

Until now, World View’s previous test flights for Stratollite have spanned between six and 12 hours in length. The partnership with KFC expands the flight profile to four days, allowing World View to better define the flight envelope and demonstrate the vehicle’s breakthrough, long-duration capability. KFC’s Zinger spicy chicken sandwich will serve as the primary payload for this flight.

“The Stratollite was created to deliver more routine and meaningful access to space for all, and this mission allows us to give edge-of-space access to a commercial customer that would previously deem a project like this unimaginable,” said Taber MacCallum, World View co-founder and chief technology officer. “Sure, this whole chicken sandwich payload is a bit funny. But, KFC gets to embark upon a one-of-a-kind marketing experiment, while we get to pursue our first multi-day shakedown cruise in the stratosphere. It’s a win for all. We’re pleased to have the opportunity to creatively bridge the divide between our industry and global brands that carry a more mainstream audience.”

The partnership with KFC also allows this historic mission to be livestreamed via KFC social channels and www.KFCin.space.

“This is an R&D shakedown mission, and as with all things R&D, there’s a very real chance some of the new Stratollite systems won’t operate nominally,” said Taber MacCallum. “In any case, World View is excited to take the public along for this ride. So through KFC’s live downlink, we invite you to join the cruise.”

“We’re excited to be the ones pushing spicy, crispy chicken sandwich space travel forward,” said Kevin Hochman, KFC U.S. president. “But in all seriousness, we’re proud to support World View’s commitment to advancing space research and trust them to take our world famous Zinger sandwich to space.”

World View has two additional flights planned for this summer, with several others booked with science and research customer payloads planned before the end of the year.

About World View® Enterprises, Inc.

World View’s innovative flight technologies offer a unique perspective of Earth from the edge of space. World View delivers meaningful insights to enterprises, agencies, and individuals via two primary business segments: Stratollite un-crewed flight systems and Voyager human spaceflight systems. Stratollites, in operation today, offer low-cost, long-duration, persistent high-altitude flight for enterprise and government agencies. Using advanced stratospheric balloon technology, Stratollite applications include communications, remote sensing, weather, and research. The Voyager human spaceflight experience is under development and will launch in the near future, offering private citizens a comfortable, safe, and perspective-changing voyage to the edge of space via high-altitude balloon. To learn more about World View, visit www.WorldView.space.

About KFC

KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain. KFC specializes in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy™, Kentucky Grilled Chicken® and Extra Crispy™ Tenders, Hot Wings™, Go Cups, KFC Famous Bowls®, Pot Pies, freshly hand prepared chicken sandwiches, biscuits and homestyle side items. There are over 20,500 KFC outlets in more than 125 countries and territories around the world. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE:  YUM). For more information, visit www.kfc.com. Follow KFC on Facebook (www.facebook.com/kfc), Twitter (www.twitter.com/kfc) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/KFC).


Zero 2 Infinity & Peli Products Sign Partnership Agreement

BARCELONA, Spain (Zero 2 Infinity PR) — Peli Products–the global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance protective case solutions–and Zero 2 Infinity–the aerospace company based in Barcelona specialised in elevating all kind of payloads to Space–have reached a partnership agreement. Both companies support innovation, quality and new technologies to confront the everyday challenges of modern life. Thanks to this shared vision of the world, both companies will benefit of each other’s business strengths.

The partnership, which was signed in Barcelona last May, allows Zero 2 Infinity to use Peli’s extremely resistant products when launching payloads to Space. Zero 2 Infinity’s Engineering Team is extremely confident with Peli to ensure their sensitive equipment and components will be safe no matter the circumstances.

In exchange, Zero 2 Infinity will offer its Elevation services to Peli and will bring the new Peli Air Case 1485 model–the lightest Premium Protector Case–to the Edge of Space, thus helping Peli reach places their products have never been before.

Zero 2 Infinity, a private company headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, with subsidiaries around the world, is radically simplifying access to Space. It is the only company in Europe specialized in the elevation to the Edge of Space of components that require testing and certifying in Space conditions. At the moment, it is working on sending small satellites into orbit through its project Bloostar and has mid-term plans to send people to Near Space for science and leisure (project Bloon).

Peli Products has been protecting equipment for scientists, emergency services and travellers in the most extreme conditions on Earth for over 40 years. It has a wide range of cases that offer crush resistance, watertight protection and surpass all the military tests requirements. This outstanding DNA performance together with its lightness, make the Peli Air Case the perfect candidate to be elevated to the Edge of Space and descend back to the Earth. Peli cases are legendary for offering a Lifetime Guarantee: you break it, we replace it… forever™ (where applicable by law).


Hart Elevated to CEO of Virgin Orbit

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Group and Aabar are pleased to announce the appointment of Dan Hart as CEO of Virgin Orbit.

Dan joined the organization in March as President after a distinguished 34 years at Boeing, where he was responsible for all of the company’s satellite programs for the US government and several allied countries.

His appointment is the final step in the planned establishment of Virgin Orbit as an independent space access company dedicated to serving the small satellite market.
Patrick McCall, Chairman of the Boards of Virgin Orbit and Virgin Galactic/The Spaceship Company, said:  “Virgin Orbit is poised to revolutionize access to space for small  satellites.  Dan is an extraordinary leader for the company as it moves towards the start of commercial service. Our commercial space companies are all poised to be market leaders in their categories thanks to our shared vision, world class teams and our tremendously capable leaders. We look forward to realizing our space ambitions with Dan as CEO of Virgin Orbit and George T. Whitesides as CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.”

Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit, said, “I am honored to be leading the Virgin Orbit team, a company of experts and innovators who are poised to fundamentally change the way satellite launch is done. The market has responded enthusiastically to our small satellite launch service, and we look forward to helping our customers fulfill their missions and enable a host of exciting space-based capabilities that will bring global benefits to us all.”

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company, will join the board of Virgin Orbit. He said, “Dan is a terrific leader who will guide the business toward innovative solutions for small satellite space access. Virgin Orbit, as a fully independent entity, will provide dedicated and world-class service to its customers.”


Latest Results from High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment on Kibo Module

A non-standard cyclic peptide
bound to a target protein. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — PeptiDream Inc. (PeptiDream), a Tokyo-based public biopharmaceutical company, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), a national research and development agency, has established a strategic partnership for the High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth (PCG) experiment on the Japanese Experimental Module (“Kibo”) of the International Space Station (ISS).

This strategic partnership agreement (this Agreement) is a renewal of the current fee-based contract and represents a further expansion of the relationship between PeptiDream and JAXA. Under this Agreement, the number of experimental protein samples to be investigated is increased six-fold over the original agreement, and the term is further extended from August 2017 to August 2020.

PeptiDream and JAXA originally entered into a fee-based Agreement in February 2016. Under this original Agreement, JAXA has crystallized the HER2 receptor with a non-standard cyclic peptide (the drug candidate) provided by PeptiDream.

The first space experiment was conducted on Kibo from February to March 2017, followed by diffraction data measurement and structure determination. The crystal (of the HER2-peptide complex) grown in space gave a substantially higher resolution than those crystals attained on the ground.

The crystal structure clearly showed the macrocyclic drug candidate bound to the HER2 receptor and revealed an unprecedented binding mode. These results provide critical information that PeptiDream can now use to further optimize the HER2 targeting macrocyclic peptide candidate and accelerate its development.

The Strategic Partnership Agreement between PeptiDream and JAXA leverages each other’s strengths. Utilizing Kibo as an “Drug-design supporting platform”, PeptiDream and JAXA strive to obtain structural information on target proteins and their drug candidates swiftly and efficiently, aiming to produce best-in-class and first-in-class drugs for the world as well as Japan.

1. Results Overview

HER2 receptor and the drug candidate were co-crystallized in the first 4°C JAXA-PCG experiment under the fee-based Agreement between PeptiDream and JAXA signed on 22 February 2016. The experimental period was from 24 February 2017 to 18 March 2017.

Crystals grown on the ground prior to the PCG experiment were of low quality and were not sufficient to fully identify the binding interaction of the drug candidate and the target protein. In the 4°C PCG experiment on Kibo, the Japanese Experimental Module of the ISS (Fig. 1), high quality crystals of the protein and the drug candidate complex were obtained. The structure was successfully determined at 2.5Å resolution (Fig. 2) including the drug candidate bound to the target HER2 protein. Based on this precise structure of the complex, PeptiDream will further optimize the current macrocyclic peptide candidate. These exciting results, in part, led to the desire to further expand the relationship between PeptiDream and JAXA.

More information about JAXA-PCG, follow the link below;

2. Background of the Original Fee Based Strategic Agreement

In the JAXA PCG experiments in September 2015, PeptiDream undertook a proof-of-concept study with JAXA. After the successful results, PeptiDream and JAXA entered into a fee-based Agreement to working on proteins offered by PeptiDream. Under this contract, JAXA was in charge of the structural study including technical consultation on protein production, high-purity protein preparation, crystallization screening, space experiment, data collection and structure determination. This Agreement was schedule to conclude in August 2017.

For further information on this contract, please visit:

3. About the Strategic Partnership Agreement between JAXA and PeptiDream Inc.

As a renewal and expansion of the current fee-based agreement, PeptiDream and JAXA have entered into a new Strategic Partnership Agreement. In the new Agreement, the term was extended to 3 years from the current 1.5 years and the number of the protein target samples has been increased six-fold over the original Agreement. PeptiDream serves as a leading company in the field of drug discovery, collaborating with numerous world leading pharmaceutical companies. JAXA is responsible for structural studies on multiple target proteins provided by PeptiDream, ranging from technical consultation on protein production to structure determination, in addition to space experimental efforts. This comprehensive Agreement allows for continuation and further expansion of the exciting work happening between the two companies, and significantly accelerates PeptiDream’s ability to develop innovative best-in-class and first-in-class therapeutics to meet the unmet medical needs of the world.

Message from Patrick Reid, Senior Vice President and Keiichi Masuya, Vice President

“We are extremely excited with these fantastic results, the crystal structure of the HER2 receptor in complex with our macrocyclic peptide candidate determined from the crystals attained from the JAXA-PCG experiment will significantly accelerate the optimization of these candidates toward clinical candidates. We highly value JAXA’s growing expertise in identifying and optimizing crystallization conditions and their technical ability to carry out the first 4°C experiment on Kibo successfully. At any stage of the drug discovery process, such as hit-to-lead and lead optimization, a high-resolution structure always significantly accelerates this process and having a 3-D structure is truly invaluable.”

About PeptiDream Inc.

PeptiDream Inc. is a public (Tokyo Stock Exchange 1st Section 4587) biopharmaceutical company founded in 2006 employing our proprietary Peptide Discovery Platform System (PDPS), a state-of-the-art highly versatile discovery platform which enables the production of highly diverse (trillions) non-standard peptide libraries with high efficiency, for the identification of highly potent and selective hit candidates, which then can be developed into peptide-based or small molecule-based therapeutics. PeptiDream aspires to be a world leader in drug discovery and development to address unmet medical needs and improve the quality of life of patients worldwide.

The PeptiDream Company Home Page (Japanese Language Site):

About non-standard cyclic peptides

A cyclic non-standard peptide has a “macrocyclic” ring-like structure produced by fusing its N- and C-terminals of a non-standard peptide, which is composed of both natural and non-natural amino acids.

PeptiDream has established a technology facilitating the quick and inexpensive large-scale production of a wide variety of non-standard peptides. Unlike conventional peptide-based drugs, non-standard peptides have unlimited potential as novel medicines due to their structural stability and longer duration in our bodies.

JAXA-PCG Experiment at 4°C

JAXA has been conducting the PCG experiments at 20°C through the Russian-Japan bilateral collaboration. Development of new methods using the US Dragon spacecraft, JAXA launched a new PCG experiment at 4°C. It allows users to choose crystallization temperatures and have more launch opportunities. The first experiment was conducted in February 2017.

Using the US Dragon vehicles in addition to the Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles, JAXA can offer more options to meet users’ demands for PCG experiments on Kibo. JAXA continues to improve PCG experiments including developing better temperature controlled containers and increasing the packing density to carry more protein samples to space.



Video of Virgin Orbit LauncherOne Engine Test

Video Caption: At Virgin Orbit, we test our rocket engines all the time. Here’s a video of a typical test, conducted at our facilities in Mojave, CA. In this video, we test throttling down our NewtonThree rocket engine–the single rocket engine that will power the main stage of our LauncherOne rocket.


From 2D to 3D, Space Station Microscope Gets an Upgrade

NASA astronaut Dan Burbank, Expedition 30 commander, conducts a session with the Preliminary Advanced Colloids Experiment at the Light Microscopy Module in the Fluids Integrated Rack aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — In science, it’s best to have a clean, sharp picture of what you’re studying. Microscopes afford us the opportunity to look at particles that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye, but these particles can sometimes be masked by gravity. That’s right, the same force that keeps your feet firmly planted to the ground also interferes with getting a good look at how things move and interact at the microscopic level.

The Light Microscopy Module (LMM) microscope aboard the International Space Station is an advanced microscope that gives researchers a look at what is happening on a fundamental level without the interference of gravity. NASA will be sending an upgrade to the LMM on the upcoming SpaceX cargo resupply mission that will enable 3D imaging of complex fluid structures and allow for modeling the movement of individual particles at the micron level.

“We’ll have a 3D capability that will expand our ability to see what is going on at a fundamental level,” said Ron Sicker, project manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

When scientists examine particles suspended within another substance on Earth, the particles will quickly separate under the force of gravity. This behavior limits researchers’ ability to observe and study exactly what is happening.  In space, gravity is greatly reduced and does not mask or hide the movements and interactions of particles. Couple that with an advanced microscope that provides sharp-focus, and the result is a clear picture of what’s happening in real time.

Presently, the microscope provides detailed, 2D images that aid the advancement of science. The new hardware consists of a laser light package, scanner and two high-resolution digital scientific cameras. In addition to 3D imaging, this update will significantly improve the microscope’s resolution and contrast by eliminating unnecessary light.

After astronauts aboard the space station install the new hardware, the upgraded camera will use green laser lighting to tightly focus light onto brightly glowing microstructures. The images are acquired at 10 frames per second. As the microscope stage is raised, images of the test sample are assembled layer-by-layer into a stack, resulting in a 3D model. That stack can later be rotated and examined from any angle by researchers.

By providing sharper images that can be studied from every angle, the LMM will aid researchers in gaining a better understanding about the microscopic world. That knowledge will help us on Earth and in space.

“This could open a whole new world of science,” said Sicker.

LMM is a remotely controllable, automated microscope that operates in the Fluids Integrated Rack of the space station’s Destiny Laboratory.

LMM is sponsored by the Physical Sciences Research Program within the Space Life and Physical Sciences Research and Applications Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

June 12 2017


NanoRacks and NASA Sign NextSTEP Contract for Commercial Habitat Concept Study

Concept image representing the feasibility study that NanoRacks will conduct related to converting a launch vehicle’s upper stage into a habitable volume. (Credit: NanoRacks)

HOUSTON (NanoRacks PR) — This week marks an important milestone for NanoRacks. NanoRacks and NASA have signed the contract for Ixion, a commercial habitat concept study first announced last summer.

The contract will focus on repurposing spent launch vehicle upper stages. NanoRacks is working with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to provide launch services and Space Systems Loral who will provide robotic outfitting capabilities.

Funded by the NASA NextSTEP-2 award, the Ixion concept is the only one of the NASA-funded programs that focuses on repurposing spent launch vehicle upper stages.

For us, at NanoRacks, the signing of the agreement marks a broader milestone: the public start of our commitment to bring about cost-efficient, commercial space stations via re-purposing in-space hardware, and we can’t wait to bring you along for the ride into the future.

Every step NanoRacks takes on the International Space Station (ISS) is preparing us for building on our vision of the future – a world where launches are plentiful, the in-space destination is king – and commercial habitats and space stations populate our solar system with customers from every sector of our society.

Starting with plug-and-play research modules, we’ve mastered how to operate science labs in microgravity and leverage the astronaut expertise onboard, while also building up robotics programs for increased automation and efficiency. We’ve stimulated the growth of the satellite deployment market as the leading provider for CubeSat services in low-Earth orbit, with one of the world’s most diverse customer bases. We’re learning how to operate in the extreme space environment, while limiting space debris, with our External Platform.

Our team, the “Ixion Initiative Team,” is a new addition to NASA’s NextSTEP effort, and will begin by conducting a comprehensive feasibility study evaluating the conversion of rocket upper stages into habitats. This innovative approach offers a pathway that is more affordable and involves less risk than fabricating modules on the ground and subsequently launching them into orbit.

Additionally, the Ixion Initiative Team proposes demonstrating this revolutionary, low-cost concept via the conversion of a Centaur rocket upper stage, which can be attached to the ISS. After the converted Centaur upper stage is attached to the ISS, our team will leverage the habitat as a proving ground for a variety of private sector activities leading to a new era in commercial low-Earth orbit utilization.

NASA has made it clear that the International Space Station will be the last U.S. government-funded space station in low-Earth orbit – and all of us at NanoRacks believe we are well positioned to be one of the commercial leaders as NASA focuses on taking America into deep space.

Let the designing begin.

Jeffrey Manber
CEO, NanoRacks


NASA TV to Cover Progress Launch

Launch of Progress 66.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NASA PR) — NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch and docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft delivering almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the International Space Station beginning at 5 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 14.

Launch of the unpiloted Russian Progress 67 is scheduled for 5:20 a.m. Wednesday (3:20 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The spacecraft is set to dock to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 7:42 a.m. on Friday, June 16. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 7 a.m. Progress 67 will remain docked at the station for almost six months before departing in December for its deorbit into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Check out the full NASA TV schedule and video streaming information at:


Keep up with the International Space Station, and its research and crews at:


Get breaking news, images and features from the station on Instagram and Twitter:




Canadian Astronaut Selection Video

Video Caption: 2017-06-09 – For the fourth time in its history, Canada is looking for exceptional people ready to push the boundaries of science, innovation and space exploration.

3772 Canadians responded to the call. Following preliminary tests and evaluations, 17 candidates have been selected to go to the next stage.

In this video, part two of a three-part episode, six of the seventeen candidates share what they found most challenging about the selection process. Parts one and three feature the other eleven candidates.

Visit our website to find out who is still in the running! (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA)

Useful Links

Canadian Astronauts: http://asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/astronauts/d…

Find out more about this video: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/search/v…

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