May 15 News Items

Bolden Reacts To Reports of His Impending NASA Nomination (Source:
President Obama's science adviser told Congress May 14 a NASA administrator will be announced "very shortly." Soon thereafter, government and industry sources said the top choice for the job is retired Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Charlie Bolden, a former astronaut who served as a NASA assistant deputy administrator in the early 1990s. However, reached by phone May 15, Bolden told Space News he had not been asked to take the job and had no plans to meet with White House officials to discuss it. "I am hearing the rumors, and as far as I know there is no truth in the rumors," Bolden said. "You can't say 'yes' or 'no' when you haven't had a conversation. I haven't had that conversation and I don't have one scheduled." (5/15)

Group Aims to Build Spaceport in Sheboygan (Source: AP)
Sheboygan. The final frontier. The Wisconsin Aerospace Authority is working to bring a spaceport to the eastern Wisconsin city. The facility would be a gateway for space travel or, in other words, an airport for rockets. A to-do list released Friday calls for a suborbital launch before the end of next year. It also calls for securing state and local approval for the spaceport and starting approval talks with the Federal Aviation Administration, all within the next five years. The authority's plan also includes more down-to-earth efforts, such as seeking private funding and looking into tax incentives to attract aerospace industries to Wisconsin. (5/15)

NASA's Moon Probe Launch Delayed (Source: Florida Today)
NASA won't launch its lunar mapping probe and crater impactor until at least June 17, a delay of about two weeks from the previously planned June 2 date. More time is needed to analyze how the rocket's upper stage will handle before it is crashed into one of the moon's permanently shadowed poles. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite spacecraft, or LCROSS, will follow the rocket stage into the plume with sensors trying to detect evidence of water ice. (5/15)

Falcon-1 Razaksat Set For Mid-July Launch (Source: Bernama)
RazakSAT, which was supposed to be launched last month, is now expected to be blasted into space from Kwajalein Island mid-July. A Malaysian official said there was no problem with the satellite, but SpaceX was testing its Falcon-1 vibration based on its required specification.

"The rocket, when they did the final test before the launch, was found to have extra vibration compared to the fixed specifications," he said. "Before the tentative [launch] date, we want to make sure they meet the specifications," he said. RazakSAT, Malaysia's first remote sensing satellite, will provide high resolution images of the country that will be used for land management, resource development and conservation, forestry, fish migration and security. (5/15)

Jacksonville Could Soon See Space Flights (Source: WJXT)
Cape Canaveral may not be the only place launching space ships in Florida if plans for space flights out of Cecil Field are approved. The Jacksonville Aviation Authority held a public hearing on Thursday about opening a spaceport at Cecil field. Residents who attended the meeting were given the chance to learn what having a spaceport might mean. Officials said the takeoffs from a spaceport would be horizontal not vertical launches like a shuttle. The planes would reach tens of thousands of feet before rockets would take over, launching the plane into space. The plane would then glide back down to Earth, landing at Cecil Field.

"This would be for civilian use. Originally, it'll be for leisure use. It would be a business, not conducted by JAA but by an operator," said Todd Lindener, of JAA. JAA said Thursday's meeting was another step in the process of bringing commercial space flights to Cecil Field. Officials were able to get input from the public, much of which was opposed plans to bring the Navy back to Cecil Field a few years ago. With the spaceport there would be roughly 52 flights a year -- one a week. (5/15)

Former Astronaut Withdraws Insanity Plea Option (Source: Florida Today)
Former astronaut Lisa Nowak will not claim insanity if her case ever goes to trial. Nowak’s attorney filed a motion in an Orlando court Thursday to withdraw a previous motion filed in 2007, which would have left open the opportunity to use an insanity defense in the case. Investigators allege that Nowak drove 1,000 miles from Houston to Orlando International Airport to stalk, then attack a love rival in the airport’s parking lot on Feb. 5, 2007. “This was never a strategy the defense discussed,” said Lykkebak’s spokesperson, Marti MacKenzie. “You had to file a motion for that as an option by a certain time.” (5/15)

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