April 30 News Items

Memorial Remains to be Launched From New Mexico Spaceport (Source: Celestis)
Celestis plans is planning its next suborbital Memorial Spaceflight on May 2 at Spaceport America, New Mexico. The Discovery Flight is the first of two planned 2009 Celestis missions. Details concerning the second 2009 flight, the company's sixth Earth Orbit mission, will be announced as soon as they are final. The Celestis payload will travel to space aboard a SpaceLoft XL rocket provided by UP Aerospace. (4/30)

Embry-Riddle Launches High-Power Rocket in NASA Competition (Source: ERAU)
A team of nine engineering seniors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University made the school's inaugural entry into the NASA University Student Launch Initiative (USLI) competition. USLI challenges students to design, build, test, and fly a high-power rocket with a scientific payload to an altitude of one mile. The student teams are subject to the same series of rigorous engineering and safety design reviews that actual NASA programs undergo. The rocket must be successfully test flown, and pass a hands-on inspection by launch range officials from the Huntsville Area Rocketry Association, in order to qualify for the competition launch.

The competition was held on Apr. 18, in Huntsville. Nineteen teams entered this year's competition, including Florida Institute of Technology, Vanderbilt University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, and last year's winner, Utah State University. The Embry-Riddle team's "Afternoon Delight" rocket featured an Autonomous Roll Control and Orientation System consisting of accelerometers, a gyroscope, microcontroller, and servos to deflect flaps on the fins. The solid propellant motor produced 240 pounds of thrust. The launch and on-board experiment were successful, and the rocket was recovered undamaged after descending under two parachutes. (4/30)

Rocket Launch Set For Tuesday From Virginia Spaceport (Source: Chincoteague Beacon)
A Minotaur I rocket carrying a military satellite and two other payloads is set to launch Tuesday evening from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island. The launch, scheduled for between 8 and 11 p.m., is expected to bring 400 guests to the Wallops area next week to view the event. In addition, 50 workers have been here for the last six weeks doing tasks leading up to launch day. The cost of the launch and associated services totals $25 million. The launch will be the third Minotaur rocket launched from the spaceport's pad 0B. (4/30)

Senate Leader Softens Cuts to Space Florida (Source: Florida Today)
Senate Transportation Chairman Mike Fasano has re-set his phaser to stun. Angered by news reports of questionable spending at Space Florida, the New Port Richey Republican slashed the quasi-governmental economic development agency's state budget by $1.8 million, nearly in half, yesterday. This afternoon, in the latest round of budget negotiations with the House, Fasano returned most of the money. Next year, Space Florida's $4 million state appropriation will shrink by just $200,000. I think they got our message," Fasano said.

The surprise move sent Space Florida President Steve Koehler racing to Tallahassee yesterday. Fasano said he was satisfied that the agency's $200,000 lobbying tab for Florida and Washington-based firms was not picked up by Florida taxpayers. Fasano said he didn't understand why the group needs any hired guns. "You don't need lobbyists when you have people like Sen. Thad Altman," Fasano said of the Melbourne Republican representing portions of the Space Coast. "He's the best advocate for space in the Florida Legislature." (4/30)

President Commits to Raise Federal R&D Spending to 3 Percent of GDP (Source: SSTI)
President Obama announced earlier this week that the U.S. would increase its investment in basic and applied research and science and mathematics education to match the historic levels reached during the height of the space race. The president pledged to raise total government and industry spending on R&D to 3 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), equal to the record set in 1964. In addition to the increases in R&D spending already included in the Recovery Act, President Obama committed to finish the doubling of funds for federal science agencies and create several new programs to encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields. (4/30)

Ethics Complaint Filed Over Former Crist Space Staffer (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Clearwater resident David Plyer filed a complaint last week with the Florida Commission on Ethics alleging Brice Harris of Pensacola broke the state's "revolving door" ethics law when he helped set up a program with Space Florida as Gov. Crist's space coordinator, and then took the job last year. Earlier this month, an internal investigation concluded there was enough evidence to suggest Harris violated the ethics law, a misdemeanor that can carry a $10,000 fine. Plyer had earlier filed an ethics complaint over Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's frequent use of state planes. (4/30)

Russia Puts Military Satellite Into Orbit (Source: MosNews)
Russia successfully put a military satellite named Cosmos-2450 into orbit late Wednesday. The satellite was launched on a Soyuz-U rocket from the Plesetsk spaceport in northwest Russia. (4/30)

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