May 23 News Items

Kosmas Remarks on Bolden Nomination (Source: Rep. Kosmas)
Space Coast Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas had these words to say in support of Gen. Bolden's nomination to lead NASA: "I look forward to working with our new NASA administrator to ensure a robust human spaceflight program and to minimize the gap in order to protect jobs and support America's strategic interests. General Bolden is eminently qualified to accomplish this important mission." (5/23)

Nelson Grills NASA on Commercial Human Spaceflight Spending (Source: Space Politics)
While Alabama's Senator Shelby expressed concern about NASA's investments in commercial human transport services to the Space Station, Florida's Senator Nelson criticized NASA for not investing enough in the program. According to Nelson, the 2008 NASA authorization act required NASA to enter into agreements with two or more entities “for a Phase 1 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services crewed vehicle demonstration program [COTS-D].” Nelson said that $150 million was supposed to be used for COTS-D. “We had a unique opportunity this year, between the 2009 operating plan and the additional funds provided by the stimulus bill, and the development of the 2010 budget, to craft a COTS-D plan that would have funded the program at the level the folks needed,” Nelson said. “And that path was not pursued. NASA did not obey the law.” (5/23)

China Considering Manned Lunar Landing in 2025-2030 (Source: Xinhua)
A space scientist has said that Chinese scientists are considering the feasibility of a manned lunar landing mission at an appropriate time between 2025 and 2030. China will be able to fetch samples collected by unmanned lunar probe by 2017, Ye Peijian, chief designer of the lunar probe with China's Chang'e Project, said at a science lecture held Friday in Shanghai. (5/23)

Russia Aims at Return to Space Race (Source: Sunday Herald)
Russia seeking to revive its faded space race glory despite its worst economic crisis in a decade and a yawning funding gap between itself and its old Cold War rival - the United States. Plans are afoot to build a new spaceport, an overhauled space museum has just been opened in central Moscow and a tender to design a new generation of spacecraft has been launched. At the same time, scientists are monitoring a bizarre endurance experiment in Moscow supposed to simulate a manned mission to Mars.

Analysts say the Russian space program - a shadow of the Soviet program - is yet another example of the Kremlin seeking to capitalize on nostalgia for Soviet achievements to boost national pride and project strength on the world stage. All this comes as countries from China to India and Japan seek to stake out their claim to join the US, Russia and Europe in what is shaping up to be a new 21st century space race. (5/23)

Bolden Will Need 'Limited Waiver' to Serve as NASA Chief (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A top White House official said Charles Bolden would need a “limited waiver” from new ethics rules so his past would not violate conflict-of-interest regulations. Until March 2008, Bolden served on the board of directors for GenCorp, whose Aerojet subsidiary makes propulsion systems and maneuvering engines for the space shuttle and a new crewed capsule that NASA one day hopes will help return American astronauts to the moon.

An Obama executive order prohibits appointees from doing work that is “directly and substantially related to [a] former employer or former clients” and Bolden would be barred from participating in contract decisions that relate to GenCorp or Aerojet. That same restriction also would apply to companies that Bolden worked for in the recent past. The limited waiver, however, would allow Bolden “to participate in policy decisions that focus on major program objectives and capabilities,” according to the official. Without it, Bolden could have been barred from helping develop NASA’s next manned spacecraft -- an essential job responsibility for the man who would lead America’s space program. (5/23)

Senator Hutchison’s Statement on Bolden Nomination (Source: Sen. Hutchinson)
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, released the following statement on the President’s intent to nominate Charles Bolden to be the next NASA Administrator. “I am delighted that the President intends to nominate retired Marine General and astronaut Charles Bolden to be the next NASA Administrator...I talked to General Bolden today following the announcement of his intended nomination. We discussed the importance of finishing the space station so the scientific research can be fully supported." (5/23)

Obama Nominates Bolden and Garver for NASA Posts (Source: White House)
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the Charles Bolden and Lori Garver for key administration posts: General Charles Bolden would serve as Administrator of NASA and Lori Garver would serve as NASA's Deputy Administrator. (5/23)

Shuttle Crew Targets Sunday Return (Source: Florida Today)
The Atlantis astronauts are backing out of deorbit preparations in the wake of another weather wave-off while mission managers hang on to hopes that conditions at Kennedy Space Center will clear enough for a Sunday morning landing on Florida's Space Coast. The shuttle and its crew now are targeting a 10:11 a.m. landing on NASA's three-mile shuttle runway, but the astronauts could take a cross-country detour to Edwards Air Force Base. (5/23)

ILS Wins SkyTerra Launch for Proton (Source: ILS)
International Launch Services (ILS) will launch the SkyTerra 2 satellite. This is the second of two satellite launches that ILS has been awarded from SkyTerra, following the selection of ILS in May 2007 to launch SkyTerra 1 on an ILS Proton launch vehicle. SkyTerra 2 is a Boeing 702 satellite, weighing 5.4 metric tons and is under construction by Boeing Satellite Systems in California. ILS and Khrunichev are implementing a schedule to support a launch in late 2010. (5/23)

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