March 12 News Items

South Korea Postpones First Space Rocket Launch (Source:
South Korea's first space rocket launch has been postponed a month to late July to give engineers more time for tests. "The engineeers have expanded the number of items on the launch pad's safety checklist to 348 from 99 and called for an extra month," said a government official. The launch of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) had previously been postponed to late June from late 2008 after last year's earthquake in China forced a delay in securing key parts. The two-stage vehicle is being built jointly by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and Russia's Khrunichev. Rival North Korea said Thursday it has told the International Maritime Organization of its plans to fire a rocket to launch a satellite. It gave no date but analysts believe the launch is planned between April 4-8. (3/12)

US Cyber Head Quits Over Threats To Democracy (Source:
The official in charge of coordinating the U.S. government's cybersecurity operations has quit, saying the expanding control of the National Security Agency over the nation's computer security efforts poses "threats to our democratic processes." Rod Beckstrom, the head of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Center, said last week he would be stepping down effective March 13. Beckstrom said the NSA "dominates most national cyber efforts" and "effectively controls DHS cyber efforts through detailees, technology insertions and the proposed move" of the NCSC to an NSA facility at the agency's Fort Meade, Md., headquarters. (3/12)

Astronauts Take Refuge for 11 Minutes During Space Junk Threat (Source: AP)
The crew of the international space station had a close call with space junk. The three astronauts took refuge for 11 minutes Thursday in a Russian escape capsule before returning inside. Officials were worried that the space station might get hit with a piece of space junk. NASA says the debris was a small piece of an old spacecraft motor and it was passing within three miles of the station. The piece measured less than an inch but tiny pieces of debris could cause a fatal loss of air pressure in the station. NASA says it isn't the first time they've sent the station crew into the capsule for safety. (3/12)

I Thought They Could Only Track Grapefruit-Sized Debris Chunks (Source: SPACErePORT)
NASA's close call with a piece of debris "less than an inch" in size in proximity to the International Space Station, and reports a couple days earlier from U.S. Strategic Command that pieces of Iridium/Cosmos debris "just a centimeter or so" in size would be re-entering the atmosphere last week, confuse me. I've been led to believe that the U.S. military is able to keep track of items only if they are as large as a grapefruit or softball. These new reports suggest a much more capable debris tracking system exists. (3/12)

FAA Sees Long-Term Decline in Trust Fund Balance (Source: AIA)
The Government Accountability Office reports that the Airport and Airway Trust Fund has been on the decline since 2001 due to lower ticket prices and reduced demand for air travel. "Lower-than-expected excise tax revenues will reduce the Trust Fund balance even further and could affect funding for FAA programs this year and next," the GAO warns. Funding for long-term projects like the NextGen air traffic control system could be endangered, The Wall Street Journal reports. (3/12)

Performance Bonds Eyed to Promote Defense Budget Discipline (Source: AIA)
Reiterating his stance that "cost overruns cannot continue," Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said Wednesday he will seek performance bonds from defense contractors as a means to keep projects within budget. The bonds would serve as a guarantee "that what you said you were going to build would be delivered on time at the proper price," according to Taylor, who said such bonds are already being used in state and local government contracts. The Washington Post (3/12)

Pentagon to Reduce 2010 Procurement Up To 3% (Source: AIA)
The Defense Department is looking to shave 2% to 3% from this year's $181.2 billion weapons procurement budget, according to Kevin Scheid, the Pentagon's deputy comptroller. The cuts in fiscal year 2010 would be a prelude to deeper cuts in 2011, based on the findings of the Quadrennial Defense Review, due for completion in August. (3/12)

'Sense of Drift' Ails NASA, Obama Says (Source: LA Times)
President Obama said Wednesday that NASA is an agency afflicted by 'a sense of drift' and that it needs a 'mission that is appropriate for the 21st century.' During an interview, Obama said the first priority of a new agency administrator -- whom he promised to appoint soon -- would be 'to think through what NASA's core mission is and what the next great adventures and discoveries are under the NASA banner.' Until that happens, he said, the White House would delay any major policy decisions about the agency.

That likely would ensure the retirement of the space shuttle in 2010 -- as Obama called for in the budget proposal he gave Congress last month -- and pave the way for massive job losses at Florida's Kennedy Space Center and surrounding areas. NASA has been without an administrator since before Obama took office, and the president made clear Wednesday that the space agency could not continue on its current course. 'Shaping a mission for NASA that is appropriate for the 21st century is going to be one of the biggest tasks of my new NASA director,' he said. 'What I don't what NASA to do is just limp along. And I don't think that's good for the economy in the region either.' (3/12)

Florida House Gives Blessing, Not Cash, to State Space-Research Institute (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Facing a dismal budget, Florida legislators are struggling to find new money to help stave off a mass exodus of workers from the Space Coast when the space shuttle is retired in 2010. "The budget situation has put everyone's expectations down," said Edward Ellegood, director of aerospace development at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. So instead, space supporters are seeking creation of an institute to coordinate space-transportation-related research and development that would be led by Daytona-based Embry-Riddle.

The proposal (HB 69) unanimously passed the House Economic Development Policy Committee on Wednesday, but only after it was amended to spell out that it would get no state dollars or state-funded staff. Its backers, led by Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, had initially sought $500,000 to start up the institute. The Space Transportation Research and Development Institute would partner with other universities to create a research-and-development hub. Embry-Riddle would seek federal funding over several years and eventually could seek state dollars.

"It's going to build a whole new element of the state's space industry," said Ellegood, who noted that Florida has been a site to launch rockets, not do research. "When a launch [program] is delayed or canceled, our economy suffers along with it," he added. "We want to expand the base of the state's involvement in space." In previous years, legislators doled out millions to beef up commercial space endeavors. This year, supporters hope to hang on to $3 million for workforce training. (3/12)

Iran's satellite Reaching End of Life, Three More Coming Soon (Source: Payvand)
Iran's home-designed telecommunications satellite 'Omid' is drawing closer to the end of its successful 50-day mission into space. Tehran placed its domestically-made satellite into orbit on February 3 -- joining a small group of countries that have the ability of both producing satellites and sending them into space using domestic launchers. Iran is slated to launch three more satellites by 2010.

Iranian scientists have been working on a space program for at least a decade. Omid is the third Iranian-made satellite to be sent into space. Early efforts involved co-operation with Moscow. A Russian rocket launched Iran's first satellite, Sina-1, which carried photographic and telecommunications equipments in 2005. (3/12)

Malaysian Satellite Launching Aboard Falcon-1 on Apr. 21 (Source: The Star)
After years of postponement, RazakSAT, Malaysia's first remote sensing satellite, will be blasted into space from Kwajalein Island on April 21. RazakSAT, which is also Malaysia's second low orbit microsatellite, was developed through a colloboration of ATSB with Satrec Initiative Ltd of South Korea. The 180kg satellite is expected to be carried into space on a Falcon One rocket owned by United States' Space Exploration Technology (SpaceX) from Kwajalein. (3/12)

Apr. 4-8 for North Korean "Satellite" - Nation Joins Space Treaty (Source: Korea Times)
North Korea has informed international organizations of its plan to launch a "satellite" soon, the North's Central News Agency said Thursday, with intelligence sources saying the launch could be made between April 4-8. "We've informed the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization and other international bodies of the necessary information for the safe navigation of planes and ships as part of efforts to prepare for launching the Kwangmyongsong-2, an experimental communications satellite, by carrier rocket Unha-2," the agency reported, without mentioning a date for the launch. The North also recently joined international treaties on space exploration, including the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space. (3/12)

Space Coast Businesses Discuss End Of Shuttle Program (Source: WESH)
The future of the Space Coast is in limbo, not just at NASA but also at all local businesses. The Kennedy Space Center is losing thousands of jobs in the coming months, and that could send shockwaves through area retailers and restaurants. When a shuttle launch is near, business picks up at Space Shirts. Brenda Mulberry's husband is an engineer at Kennedy Space Center, and their passion is the shuttle program. Mulberry said she has built her business around it. They've been embroidering and printing shirts at Space Shirts for 25 years, employing up to 15 people. But with the shuttle retiring, the owner said she is worried that the number could fall to only six on board. (3/12)

What´s All this Buzz about a Lifestyle Beverage that´s been in Space? (Source: American Chronicle)
American innovation and know how-—as the saying goes, "You Gotta´ Love It." Microgravity Enterprises has taken the cutting edge---of what will be called Space Products-- by storm. With the creation and marketing of Antimatter Energy/Lifestyle Beverage, the energy beverage market has been trumped. No more wild, crazy parties required in television commercials; no more extreme sports demonstrations or crazy flying machines. How can one top a rocket flying into space, belching fire and blasting its way through the ozone, only to be recovered after it encounters microgravity? Click here to view the article. (3/12)

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