May 8 News Items

Space Coast Business Incubator Expands (Source: Florida Today)
The Florida Technological Research and Development Authority's Business Innovation Center is two years old this month and it's experiencing growing pains. This summer or early fall, TRDA officials want to begin a $4.5 million expansion that will nearly double the size of the authority's business incubator facility. The TRDA's current facility at 1050 W. NASA Blvd., leased to the TRDA by Melbourne International Airport, is 30,998 square feet. The proposed expansion would increase that by 28,400 square feet. Funding would come from the TRDA and a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. (5/8)

Obama's NASA Allocations Preserve Campaign Promise (Source:
The International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE) applauds President’s Obama’s first NASA budget, unveiled yesterday, for delivering on his campaign promise to provide overall nearly $2 billion in increased funding to the nation’s Aerospace Agency ($1 billion in the Stimulus Package plus a nearly $1 billion plus-up in FY10 appropriations). The union is also anxiously awaiting the verdict of a Blue Ribbon panel to learn exactly how NASA will proceed with its Human Spaceflight programs. (5/8)

Education to Play Central Theme at ISDC 2009 (Source: NSSFL)
Education will play a far larger role at this year’s International Space Development Conference than in previous ISDCs. In the afternoons there will be a children’s program hosted by a highly experienced space educator. The children’s program is for conference participant’s children only. Kids will get to play space trivia games, launch a rocket, participate in an egg-drop and numerous other exciting and interactive activities. High School age students will present their ideas on space settlement on Saturday May 30th. (5/8)

Universities Offer Continuing Education Credits for ISDC Participation (Source: NSSFL)
For adults, this year’s conference offers the opportunity to gain continuing education units, (CEUs) for attending. Both Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of Central Florida are participating in this program. Visit for registration and information. (5/8)

Space Investment Summit Planned in Orlando Prior to ISDC (Source: NSSFL)
The National Space Society's is proud to host the 6th Space Investment Summit at the 28th annual International Space Development Conference on Wednesday, May 27. This exclusive one day event will address the connection between the existing hospitality industry and the emerging space tourism industry. Presentations will focus on the latest developments in the rapidly growing space tourism industry (vehicles, funding, destinations, timeframes, numbers of customers and more), as well as new cross-industry business opportunities. There are still a limited number of seats available to this exclusive event. Register now and get the latest information at (5/8)

Spaceport to Break Ground in June (Source: KVIA)
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority is planning a formal groundbreaking ceremony on June 19 for Spaceport America, the nation's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Organizers plan to invite key dignitaries and other officials to the site in southern New Mexico. Spaceport Authority officials have said that the construction is going to be fast-paced. The major tenant, Virgin Galactic, wants to be ready to launch by December 2010. (5/8)

All Systems "Go" for Atlantis' May 11 Launch (Source:
The pace of prelaunch activities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida has picked up as workers prepare for the liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis on the STS-125 mission to service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters reported only a 20 percent chance that weather could cause issues at the preferred launch time of 2:01 p.m. EDT May 11. The team has a launch window of about one hour that opens 20 minutes earlier at 1:41 p.m. (5/8)

Nelson Requests Space Earmarks (Source: Florida Today)
A day after Space Florida's president resigned, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson submitted earmark funding requests to get $10 million for two space industry projects to be administered by Space Florida, whose leader Steve Kohler quit under pressure Thursday. Nelson has requested a $5 million earmark to help refurbish Launch Complex 36 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. He has also requested $5 million for a thermal vacuum chamber and an additional $4 million for a technology outreach program to be administered through the Technological Research And Development Authority in Brevard County.

The funding requests break Nelson's tradition of avoiding earmarks for space industry funding. "What I am concerned about is jobs," Nelson said. "That's why I'm putting in for this money." Nelson said he agreed with the former Space Florida director's plan to build a second commercial launch pad at the Cape. "I support that," Nelson said. "The problem is, they haven't been effective."

The earmarks for Space Florida were submitted Friday because it was the deadline. The timing had nothing to do with Kohler's resignation. "It just happens to be coincidental," Nelson said. He's asked Gov. Charlie Crist to conduct a national talent search for the next Space Florida leader and to ramp up the effort to bring commercial launch companies to the Cape. "I want the best and brightest because over the last 25 years, the other nations have eaten our lunch and taken away the commercial space launch business," Nelson said. (5/8)

NASA Review Panel Should Submit Augustine's Prior Report (Source: What's New)
An independent panel will take a fresh look at NASA’s human spaceflight program. The panel will be new, but its chairman won’t. Norm Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed, has headed many national committees, including one that issued a 1990 report on NASA priorities that called for putting space science above space stations, aerospace planes, manned missions to Mars, and all the other engineering spectaculars on which NASA has focused. The new panel could not do better than to resubmit the 1990 report. (5/8)

Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Budget With Spaceport Support (Source: Honolulu Star Bulletin)
Hawaii's legislature gave final approval to a bill aimed at establishing a spaceport. A $250,000 appropriation for Hawaii to apply for a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration was passed, in hopes of establishing space tourism facilities in the islands. (5/8)

Congresswoman Kosmas’ Statement on NASA Review (Source: Rep. Kosmas)
“I appreciate the need to fully evaluate the status of our human spaceflight programs, but we don’t need a review to know that NASA’s budget as it stands does not do enough to minimize the spaceflight gap. The Administration has assured me that the budget will be reevaluated pending the outcome of the review, but jobs are on the line and time is of the essence. The review must focus on minimizing the gap and should be completed as quickly as possible. (5/8)

Posey: Instead of Answering Questions, Budget Prompts Even More (Source: Florida Today)
NASA still lacks an administrator. It now also lacks direction, said those frustrated that the upcoming review could lead to a change of course on how -- or even if -- NASA will send astronauts back to the moon. "Instead of getting answers we've been waiting on, we've been getting more questions," said Republican Congressman Bill Posey, whose district includes part of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. "I'm trying to feel good about something, but there's just not much to feel good about at this point." (5/8)

Pentagon Seeks to Cut Missile Defense Spending by $1.2 Billion (Source: AIA)
The Pentagon is seeking to fund the Missile Defense Agency at $7.8 billion for fiscal 2010, a $1.2 billion cut from current levels. The new request would roll back an increase in ground-based interceptors in Alaska while refocusing resources on rogue states and theater missile defense. (5/8)

UCF Scientist Part of Team that Makes a Discovery on Mercury (Source: UCF)
Todd Bradley grew up watching the night sky in his hometown of Attalla, Alabama, about 60 miles southeast of NASA’s Huntsville facility. Bradley is doing more than watching the stars these days. The University of Central Florida scientist is part of a team analyzing data beamed back from NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in 2004. The spacecraft is on a mission to observe Mercury, the planet closest to the sun. It will perform three fly-bys and achieve orbit around the planet in 2011. (5/8)

NASA Langley's Budget Request at $650 Million (Source:
The NASA Langley Research Center's requested base budget for the 2010 fiscal year is about $650 million, up $40 million from 2009. The $650 million does not include other projected funding that is estimated to add $50-$100 million. The entire NASA budget is estimated at $18.7 billion, a 5 percent increase over 2009. The highest budget request is in exploration with a $4 billion request for 2010. NASA's request for aeronautics is $507 million in 2010, with an increase of $247 million for 2010-13. (5/8)

NASA Glenn 2010 Budget Estimate of $639 Million a Positive Sign (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
The first NASA Glenn budget under President Barack Obama portends a healthy 2010 for the sprawling center. But Obama's call for a review of the back-to-the-moon program is churning some stomachs. Constellation-related work - including development of the crew service module that would sit on the moon rocket - has revived NASA Glenn, which a few years back shed jobs and faced an uncertain future. (5/8)

Rain In Spain Could Ground Shuttle Atlantis (Source: Florida Today)
NASA expects good weather at Kennedy Space Center for the planned launch Monday of Atlantis but rain in Spain could keep the shuttle bolted to its seaside launch pad. Seven astronauts aim to launch at 2:01 p.m. Monday on NASA's fifth and final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. Kathy Winters, a shuttle weather officer with the Air Force's 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron, said there is an 80 percent chance that conditions on Florida's Space Coast will be acceptable for an on-time liftoff.

But there is a chance of rain showers within 20 nautical miles of an emergency landing site at Moron, Spain, and NASA launch commit criteria call for at least one Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site to be available. NASA normally staffs two other sites -- Zaragosa in Spain and Istres in France -- but Atlantis is flying a due east trajectory to rendezvous with the Hubble observatory and neither of the other sites could be reached in the event of an emergency as a result. (5/8)

Dept. of Energy Plans Renewed Plutonium Production (Source: MSNBC)
The Department of Energy announced it will restart its program to make plutonium-238. Spokeswoman Jen Stutsman said the agency has proposed $30 million in next year's budget for preliminary design and engineering. By law, only the Department of Energy can make the plutonium. Last year then-NASA administrator Michael Griffin wrote to then-Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman saying the agency needed more plutonium. A National Academy report says it would cost the Energy Department at least $150 million to resume making it for the 11 pounds a year that NASA needs for its space probes. (5/8)

Review Panel's Work Will Affect Near-Term Constellation Activity (Source: NASA Watch)
Although NASA's Acting Administrator Chris Scolese said Constellation would continue to move ahead during the Augustine Panel's study, the Altair Lunar Lander and Ares V design support contracts are being put on hold until after the review. The Ares 1-X test flight won't happen until after the review is complete. (5/8)

NASA's $250 Million-a-Month Gamble (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
NASA officials said they plan to continue spending at least $250 million a month on the rocket program intended to replace the space shuttle — even as an independent panel begins a three-month review to assess whether the program is worth the money. Acting NASA Administrator Chris Scolese said the agency would "move ahead" in designing the Ares I rocket and Orion capsule, at a cost of $3 billion annually, because he had "confidence" that the review team would validate the four-year program that has been beset by financial and technical problems.

"We are going to continue to move ahead. We're not stopping anything," said Scolese, during a budget briefing that unveiled a White House plan to spend $18.7 billion on NASA in 2010. But the decision — by an agency that says it's strapped for cash — may raise eyebrows in Congress. (5/8)

2010 or 2011 Shuttle Retirement? (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
By calling for six shuttle flights in the 2010 fiscal year, which begins in October, Obama's FY-2010 NASA budget almost assures that some will spill into 2011. NASA flew as many as nine flights per year early in the program but has not launched more than four a year since the 2003 Columbia accident. "The administration has made a commitment to flying the scheduled shuttle missions without a hard deadline, an important step towards ensuring safety and protecting Space Coast jobs," said U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D- New Smyrna Beach, who represents KSC.

But the freshman lawmaker and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., scolded the administration for not including more money to pay for flights in 2011. The budget allocates about $383 million for the shuttle in 2011; Kosmas and Nelson have called for $2.5 billion. Before Obama's budget proposal becomes law, it must first go through Congress, where it will see months of debate and revisions. Nelson, for one, vowed continued pressure on the administration. "Down the road, the administration's budget does not match what candidate Obama said about the future of our space program," Nelson said. "Still, he's assured me these numbers are subject to change, pending a review he has ordered of NASA." (5/8)

Russia Successfully Launches Space Freighter to Space Station (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia has launched a Progress M-02M cargo spacecraft from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It would take the spacecraft five days instead of the usual two to reach the ISS because a series of flight tests was planned. The freighter is equipped with an on-board digital control system, and is the second in a new series to replace the analog-controlled Progress spacecraft. (5/8)

DirecTV Profit Falls 46% Despite Subscriber Growth and Higher Sales (Source: LA Times)
DirecTV Group Inc., the nation's largest satellite TV provider, said first-quarter earnings fell 46% even as subscriber growth hit a four-year high. The recession was largely to blame: The company increased promotions and customers pared their spending for premium channels and pay-per-view. The El Segundo company earned $201 million, down from $371 million a year earlier. Revenue climbed 7% to $4.9 billion. (5/8)

Editorial: Obama Should Fulfill Pledge to Return Astronauts to Lunar Surface (Source: Florida Today)
In ordering a sweeping review of the program Thursday, President Obama could dump the Ares 1 rockets and manned Orion moonships under development to replace the shuttle fleet and select other spacecraft. He also could scale the project back or cancel it. The outlook is laden with unknowns, but this is clear: Obama pledged his support for the moon program during his White House run and it’s a promise he should keep to ensure America retains its leadership in space and spawn a new generation of engineers, scientists and technology to help rejuvenate the economy. (5/8)

The Rise of Yeast (Source: Slate)
NASA is blasting a satellite into orbit Thursday carrying a microlaboratory full of yeast to test whether certain organisms are more resistant to drugs in outer space. According to the New York Times, "[y]east is used often for studying fundamental biological questions." Why is yeast so handy? Because its cells are similar to human cells but grow a lot faster. The most common use of yeast, aside from baking bread and brewing beer, is to test how a particular drug or chemical or enzyme affects unicellular organisms.

Like human cells, yeast cells have a typical eukaryotic structure—a nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondria, and other components surrounded by cell walls. Yeast also shares many genes with human cells, so if you want to find out what a particular drug does to a certain human gene, you can often test it on yeast cells first. (That's not always an option: Yeast has about 6,000 genes, while the human genome has about 25,000.) And while human cells divide a rate of about once every 12 hours, yeast divides once every two hours or so. That means scientists can grow cultures and complete experiments many times faster with yeast than with human material. (5/7)

Lockheed Martin Team Supporting Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission (Source: CSA)
A team led by Lockheed Martin is providing support to Goddard Space Flight Center in the planning, training and implementation of Servicing Mission 4 (SM-4) to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), scheduled for launch on May 11. Click here to view the article. (5/8)

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