May 1 News Items

Korean-American Charged in Rocket Technology Plot (Source: AP)
A Korean-American who served prison time for attempting to broker the sale of deadly nerve gas bombs to Iran was indicted Wednesday on new charges of trying to help South Korea obtain advanced Russian rocket hardware and technology. Investigators also found thousands of e-mails allegedly sent by Juwhan Yun, a 68-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Short Hills, N.J., involving other deals for sophisticated radar and air defense systems, short-wave infrared cameras, laser-guided bomb components and missile launch devices.

Yun is quoted in one e-mail as boasting that he has been "the largest one-stop supplier" of sensitive military and similar equipment for South Korea for the past 30 years. Yun was arrested April 15 at the Fort Lauderdale airport after meeting with a former arms trafficker working as an informant for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Defense Department investigators. The cooperating arms trafficker, who is not named in court documents, had previously worked with Yun on deals involving Russian SU-27 fighter planes and surface-to-air missiles. (5/1)

Sirius XM Sets Poison-Pill Plan (Source: The Street)
Sirius XM said it has adopted a stockholder rights plan in what appears to be an attempt to fend off any hostile takeover of the company. Under the plan, if any person or group acquires 4.9% or more of the outstanding Sirius XM shares without the approval of the company's board of directors, a significant dilution in the voting and economic ownership of the person or group would occur. "This rights plan protects the interests of all stockholders and preserves these substantial tax benefits for the Company," said CEO Mel Karmazin in a statement. (5/1)

Kosmas Congratulates Shuttle Crew, Discusses Elimination of Retirement Deadline (Source: Rep. Kosmas)
Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) met with the crew of STS-119 and congratulated them for their successful mission last month aboard Space Shuttle Discovery. During the meeting, she discussed with them the importance of alleviating schedule pressure by removing the hard deadline for Shuttle retirement. Kosmas and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) were recently successful in authorizing an additional $2.5 billion in FY 2011 for the Shuttle program, giving NASA the flexibility to fly the Shuttle beyond 2010 if necessary. The resolution passed the House on Wednesday and is expected to pass the Senate this week. The Administration is expected to release their final budget details by May 6th. (5/1)

Virgin Galactic President Featured at ISDC 2009 in Orlando (Source: NSSFL)
Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic is the latest confirmed VIP guest speaker at this year’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC). As head of Virgin’s rapidly-expanding private space division Mr. Whitehorn is at the forefront of unfolding events in the private space arena. He is currently scheduled to speak during one of the conference’s plenary sessions on May 28 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, just south of Disney World.

This year’s ISDC will host presentations from a variety of members of the commercial space industry. SpaceX founder Elon Musk and Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson are also slated to speak Thursday morning. Richard Garriott, the sixth private citizen to fly to the International Space Station will be speaking in the afternoon. ISDC-2009 will be preceded by the Space Investment Summit on May 27. Visit for registration and information. (5/1)

NASA Awards Michoud Contract to Jacobs (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected Jacobs Technology to receive the manufacturing support and facilities operations contract at the Michoud Facility Assembly in eastern New Orleans. This is a cost plus award fee, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract with a three-year base period of performance beginning May 1, 2009, and two one-year options. The contract value is $120.49 million for the base period, $40.11 million for option year one and $42.16 million for option year two. Under the terms of the contract, Jacobs Technology will manage the Michoud facility and provide support to its multiple NASA projects and other tenants.

Michoud, a NASA-owned facility, is one of the world's largest manufacturing plants. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages it. For 35 years, the Space Shuttle Program has manufactured and built the external fuel tank at Michoud. Today, the facility supports several major projects for the Constellation Program, which is developing NASA's next generation of crew exploration and launch vehicles. It is one of the largest employers in
Louisiana with more than 3,900 employees on-site. (5/1)

NASA Selects Northrop Grumman to Build Earth Science Instrument in California (Source: NASA)
NASA's Langley Research Center has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman of Redondo Beach, Calif., to support the design, manufacture, assembly, test and calibration of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System, or CERES, Flight Model 6 instrument. The cost-plus-award fee, incentive fee contract has a maximum value of $44.5 million over 10 years. (5/1)

South Australia's Outback Rocket Launch Program Lifts Off (Source: Perth Now)
Australia's Defense Science and Technology Organization and United States Air Force are launching multiple sounding rockets in the Woomera Prohibited Area. Two launches, made for their joint Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation project, will take place from Monday. A DSTO spokeswoman said details of the project would be made public if all went well during the trials. "We are doing some experimental trials but until we have launched them, there is nothing to say," she said. "We have (launched rockets) in the past, but it's not a regular thing."

DSTO last launched scramjet rockets at Woomera in 2007. It took three attempts for the supersonic jet engine rockets to be launched, as the first two attempts were aborted because of strong winds. The successful launch found the rockets capable of reaching speeds of 10 times the speed of sound. (5/1)

South Dakota Institution Recruits NASA Scientist for Research Position (Source: Rapid City Journal)
A man who worked as a senior scientist for NASA has been named vice president for research at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. The School of Mines says White has a substantial record as a researcher and administrator in academia and with NASA. The release says his job will be to provide administrative oversight, leadership and mentorship in developing and implementing campus-wide research and graduate studies. White has served as a NASA program scientist for three Spacelab missions. (5/1)

For Decades, Johns Hopkins Has Coordinated Hubble Space Telescope Research (Source: JH Newsletter)
Since the early 1980s, Hopkins has been home to the science operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the institute in charge of the Hubble Space Telescope. When NASA issued a proposal in search of a group to run the telescope, Hopkins applied with a not-for-profit group, the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and jointly won the right to do so. The center has been in operation ever since. Over the years, the center has advanced astronomical and astrophysical research for scientists around the world. (5/1)

Space Florida Gave No-Bid Deal to Founding Board Member (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Courtney Stadd, a former top NASA official indicted on charges of steering $9.6 million in agency funds to a consulting client, served on the state space commission convened by then-Gov. Jeb Bush that established Space Florida. He also served as a member of the agency's board until Gov. Crist replaced him in 2007 because he was not a state resident. A year later, Space Florida gave Stadd's company, Capitol Alliance Solutions, a $25,000 no-bid contract to study the feasibility of building its own launch pad. Because the contract was under $100,000, Space Florida could sign it without board approval.

The deal with Capitol Alliance Solutions is another in a series of so-called "sole source" contracts and no-bid deals that Space Florida has clinched since its creation three years ago. Space Florida insists that Stadd was qualified to do the launch pad study. And the agency's then-chief operating officer, Dave Sadlowski, said Stadd himself said the agency needed to decide whether it was appropriate to give him the contract, given his role in the agency's creation and Kohler's hiring. "Due to the fact that Courtney Stadd was no longer on the Space Florida [Board of Directors] when he was provided the sole source contract, there WAS NO conflict of interest to investigate," spokeswoman Tina Lange said in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel.

Last July, Stadd delivered a 22-page report, encouraging Space Florida to pursue the idea of building a launchpad dedicated to commercial space at the Cape. But by then, the Florida Legislature had already appropriated $14.5 million as a down payment on the launchpad. Stadd recommended that Space Florida develop "a credible and defensible cost estimate" for the pad and to make sure it had a commitment from at least one major rocket manufacturer interested in using the facility. Auditors in the governor's office recently criticized the project for lacking a master plan for how the pad would justify its ultimate $60 million cost, a plan Space Florida now says is pending. (5/1)

Final Test Firing of Vega Third Stage is Successful (Source: Space News)
A final test firing of the third stage of Europe's future Vega small-satellite launcher was successfully completed at a military test site in Sardinia, Italy, bringing the rocket a step closer to what program managers say should be an early-2010 inaugural flight, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced April 30. (4/30)

Cape Canaveral Small Business Leader Addresses Aerospace Growth at Roundtable (Source: Craig Technologies)
Craig Technologies President/CEO Carol Craig will address the attendees of the International Round Table at the Citrus Club in Downtown Orlando on May 7. Ms. Craig will speak on driving high-tech and space related business on the Space Coast. Amid the NASA transition from the Space Shuttle to the new Constellation program with Ares launch vehicle and Orion crew capsule. Named the Orlando Business Journal Executive of the Year for 2008, Ms. Craig is Chair of the Industrial Engineering and Management Systems Executive Advisory Board for UCF College of Engineering, and serves on the UCF Foundation Board of Directors. (5/1)

Saturday Launch Will Help Make Spaceport ‘Real,’ Officials Say (Source: New Mexico Independent)
More than 350 people have signed up to attend Saturday’s educational launch from Spaceport America. Officials say that’s evidence that, as the project progresses from a proposal to reality, excitement is building. “It’s a feeling that the public is getting behind this. Everybody senses that it’s actually real,” spaceport Executive Director Steve Landeene said in an interview. (5/1)

Astronauts Pay Respects to 'Chimponauts' at Fort Pierce Sanctuary (Source: Florida Today)
Tammy clung to a metal fence, shook side-to-side and hooted for attention, as one of the first men to orbit Earth and the first man to pilot the space shuttle toured her island paradise. Her caretakers describe the 25-year-old as the most insecure of her clan. She screams constantly, and loudly, for very little reason. Scott Carpenter, one of the original seven NASA Mercury astronauts, and Robert Crippen, a former space shuttle commander, paid their respects Thursday to Tammy and her kind -- the species that beat both men and the human race to space.

"I have great respect for space travelers more senior than I," Carpenter said in front of a replica of a space capsule that stands in front of one of a dozen "chimp islands." The two retired astronauts toured the Save the Chimps Sanctuary to help bring attention to the nonprofit's cause: caring for chimpanzees used in the name of U.S. science. (5/1)

SpaceTEC National Meeting Planned in Florida (Source: SpaceTEC)
National academic partners in the NSF-sponsored SpaceTEC aerospace technical training consortium, led by Brevard Community College, will meet in Florida this week for the SpaceTEC 2009 Annual Conference. SpaceTEC sponsors a national training and certification program for space industry technicians. Visit for information. (5/1)

NASA Will Slash 900 Shuttle Jobs in Florida by September, None Yet in Alabama (Source: Huntsville Times)
About 900 space shuttle workers in Florida are facing layoffs between now and September as the shuttle program slides into its final phase of flight, with eight shuttle flights remaining on NASA's mission manifest over the next 13 months. No shuttle layoffs have been reported in Huntsville. Most of that work has been moved to the planned shuttle replacement - the Ares I. (5/1)

NASA Starts First Major Round of Space Shuttle Layoffs (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
After months of postponement, the first major round of space shuttle worker layoffs begins on Friday. NASA's managers announced tonight that 160 contractors faced losing their jobs at the end of this week, and they were only the first of hundreds more who would be getting pink slips in the coming months. "Between tomorrow and the end of September, we will reduce the program by about 900 people," shuttle program manager John Shannon said. "They are primarily manufacturing team members, We have delivered the last pieces of hardware that those team members produce, and we don't keep them on the rolls."

The first 160 layoff notices go out on Friday, primarily to workers producing the space shuttle fuel tanks outside New Orleans and the shuttle solid rocket boosters in Utah. The prime contractors for those components are Lockheed Martin and ATK. Thousands of jobs at KSC will be maintained to continue launching and processing shuttles until the end of the program. But the center faces the direct loss of as many as 6,500 jobs once the shuttle stops flying. The first KSC job cuts are expected by as early as October, KSC contractors recently told state officials in Tallahassee.

Congress last year asked NASA to take no action to shut down the shuttle program until April 30, 2009, just in case the new president wanted to keep flying shuttles after a planned retirement of the fleet in September 2010. But the Obama administration signaled with its first budget announcement in February that it intended to stick with the 2010 shuttle retirement date. Now that "do not preclude" legislation expired on Thursday, NASA can proceed with the layoffs that it had put on hold. The agency spent about $89 million dollars keeping facilities open and workers employed that it would have otherwise closed down and dismissed. (5/1)

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