May 12 News Items

Space Junk Raises Risks for Hubble Repair Mission (Source: AP)
Space shuttle Atlantis is now in a rough orbital neighborhood—a place littered with thousands of pieces of space junk zipping around the Earth at nearly 20,000 mph. There are more pieces of shattered satellites and used-up rockets in this region than astronauts have ever encountered. And the crew must be there for more than a week to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. As soon as the job is complete, the shuttle will scamper to safety. The telescope orbits about 350 miles above Earth, a far dirtier place than where shuttles normally fly. And all those tiny projectiles raise the constant threat of a potentially fatal collision. (5/12)

Launchpad Flame Trench Damaged by Space Shuttle - Again (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The space shuttle Atlantis blew a 25 square foot hole in the wall of the flame trench beneath launch pad 39A on lift off Monday. NASA said that technicians and engineers are inspecting the site but do not believe it will impact the date of the next shuttle launch to the international space station, now scheduled for June 13. A different section of the wall was blown out last summer after shuttle mission STS 124. That launch ripped about 3,500 bricks from the east wall of the pad’s north flame trench. NASA said some lines that pump gas were also damaged during the liftoff and need to be repaired. (5/12)

Cargo Ship Arrives at the International Space Station (Source:
The International Space Station has received a new load of supplies from the latest Russian-built cargo freighter, which successfully docked to the outpost on Tuesday. The Progress M-02M ship attached itself to the Earth-facing port on the Pirs docking module in orbital darkness while flying 218 miles above the border between Mongolia and China. It's the 33rd such spacecraft sent to the station over the past decade. (5/12)

UCF Professors Get $1.2M NASA Grant (Source: Orlando Business Journal)
Three University of Central Florida professors have been awarded a $1.2 million three-year NASA grant to study the health and performance of astronauts during space exploration missions. The findings of Eduardo Salas, Kimberly Smith-Jentsch and Stephen Fiore will help astronauts traveling to Mars on a mission planned for 2030. The UCF research proposal was one of a dozen selected out of 54 applications submitted to NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. With the journeys to and from Mars each taking about 18 months, Salas said the team of astronauts will have to get along to effectively deal with the complex tasks they'll face. (5/12)

EADS Q1 Net Profit Down 40 Percent (Source: AP)
EADS, the parent company of planemaker Airbus, said Tuesday that first quarter profit fell 40 percent as airlines delayed orders and deliveries. The company also took a euro120 million charge for its troubled A400M military transport plane. European Aeronautics Defense and Space Co. said net profit in the January to March quarter fell to euro170 million ($230.76 million) from euro285 million a year ago -- lower than analysts' expectations. Revenue fell 14 percent to euro8.5 billion in the quarter from euro9.9 billion in the same period last year. Much of the trouble was at Airbus, which accounts for two-thirds of EADS' revenue, where the global recession led to a collapse in demand from airlines. (5/12)

Russia's Glonass System to Get Full State Support (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia will not cut funding for its Glonass satellite navigation program despite the current economic crisis, a deputy prime minister said. Glonass - the Global Navigation Satellite System - is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System. "Despite economic difficulties financing [for the Glonass program] in 2009 will remain unchanged, without any cuts or limitations," Sergei Ivanov said at the International Satellite Navigation Forum in Moscow. (5/12)

Wallop's Island Rocket Launch Update (Source: WDBJ)
The planned launch of a satellite from Virginia's Eastern Shore will now have to wait until the Shuttle Mission is over. Last week, it was the weather and technical issues at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport that delayed the TACSAT 3 mission. Now, NASA says it will be next week at the earliest, before the Minotaur rocket and its payload blast off from Wallops Island. (5/12)

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