March 10 News Items

Space Tourism Thriving at KSC (Source: NASA)
KSC's economic presence in Florida is not just limited to the contracts and employees that are required to carry out NASA's space exploration programs. KSC's Visitor Complex welcomed approximately 1.6 million tourists in FY-2008. Out-of-state visitors accounted for 85% of these, spending over $78 million on goods and services at the facility. (3/10)

SpaceX Falcon 9 Upper Stage Engine Successfully Completes Full Mission Duration Firing (Source: SpaceX)
SpaceX successfully conducted a full mission duration firing of its new Merlin Vacuum engine on March 7, at SpaceX’s Test Facility in Texas. The engine fired for a full six minutes, consuming 100,000 pounds of liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene propellant. The new engine, which powers the upper stage of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle, demonstrated a vacuum specific impulse of 342 seconds – the highest efficiency ever for an American hydrocarbon rocket engine. Thrust was measured at approximately 92,500 lb of force in vacuum conditions and the engine remained thermally stable over the entire run. (3/10)

NASA Releases Economic Impact Report for Florida (Source: NASA)
In FY-2008, NASA's total economic impact in Florida was $4.1 billion in output; $2.1 billion in household income; $103 million in state and local tax revenues; and 40,802 jobs. NASA used a multiplier of 2.82 for indirect job creation, meaning the projected loss of 3,500 direct jobs with the Shuttle's retirement will result in a total job-loss impact of 9,870 jobs in the community. (3/10)

EADS Beats Full Year Profit Target (Source: AP)
Ariane rocket maker EADS on Tuesday reported an 89 percent gain in fourth-quarter net profit but warned of "very challenging" years ahead. European Aeronautics Defense and Space Co. said it expects a decline in profitability this year as it cuts aircraft prices and helps customers finance deliveries to cope with the darkening outlook for the global economy. (3/10)

Satellite Spies on Tree-Eating Bugs (Source: University of Utah)
More than 150 years after a small Eurasian tree named tamarisk or saltcedar started taking over riverbanks throughout the U.S. Southwest, saltcedar leaf beetles were unleashed to defoliate the exotic invader. Now, University of Utah scientists say their new study shows it is feasible to use satellite data to monitor the extent of the beetle's attack on tamarisk, and whether use of the beetles may backfire with unintended environmental consequences. (3/10)

Robots to Start Moon Base Construction? (Source: National Geographic)
Robots might be the first construction workers on the moon, according to a recent NASA-sponsored study. The report says two remote-controlled droids could build a landing site for a lunar outpost in less than six months—offering a safer, cheaper alternative to human-powered construction in the early phases of the project. NASA plans to have a moon base fully operational by 2024. One of the key challenges is first preparing a safe landing area, because blast debris from takeoffs and landings would be a hazard to nearby human habitation. (3/10)

No comments: