June 19 News Items

ULA Formally Pitches EELV as Ares Replacement (Source: SPACErePORT)
United Launch Alliance CEO Michael Gass told the Augustine Panel that modified EELV (Delta-4 & Atlas-5) rockets could support the requirements NASA is currently assigning to the Ares-1 rocket. With modifications, the Delta 4 Heavy would be ready by 2014 to carry Orion capsules, with 20% lift capacity to spare. To reach that point, ULA would need $800 million to assemble a second (previously planned) launch pad on LC-37, and $500 million to "human-rate" the system. Launches would then cost $300 million each.

Gass also said Atlas-5 rockets could support International Space Station "commercial crew" missions by 2013 with a $400 million investment in upgrades and infrastructure. Launches would cost $130 million each. While Delta-4 is devoted to NASA Orion missions, the Atlas-5 could carry commercial spacecraft like the Dragon, DreamChaser, Almaz, and others. In addition to replacing Ares-1, ULA proposed that heavier-lift versions of its rockets could be developed to carry the class of payloads NASA currently hopes to launch aboard the proposed Ares-5 rocket. Click here to view the ULA presentation. (6/19)

European Soyuz Debut Delayed into 2010 (Source: Space News)
Continued delays in the development in Russia of a mobile gantry for the Soyuz rocket system to be launched from Europe's spaceport have further postponed the inaugural flight of the vehicle by several months, to February 2010 at the earliest, according to European government and industry officials. (6/19)

California Space Authority Signs Agreement with French Aerospace Valley (Source: CSA)
The California Space Authority (CSA) and the French Aerospace Valley Association (FAV), entered into a cooperative agreement for the purpose of improving and fostering space enterprise workforce and economic development between their members. Signed at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France, the Agreement on Space Enterprise Networking will stimulate collaboration and promote space enterprise cooperation between California and France. Click here for information. (6/18)

Strong Shift in Aerospace Industry Financing Predicted (Source: Aviation Week)
Aerospace firms will have to look beyond traditional funding sources to grow their businesses for the foreseeable future, asserts one finacier. A credit crunch has all but dried up private equity funding for mergers and acquisitions, including “tuck in” acquisitions that merge an acquired company into an existing division of the buyer. Buy-outs larger than the 2006 $3.3 billion Raytheon Aircraft deal could become increasingly rare. The next generation of acquisitions will be more in the $550 million to $2 billion range, he asserts. Speculative investments are out; brick and mortar values are in. And cash is king with so little investment banking money available. “Most players view themselves as ‘big enough’ and have opted to pursue midsize targets within key areas of focus.” (6/19)

Actuator Forces WhiteKnight Two Diversion from Spaceport Ceremony (Source: Flight Global)
An actuator alarm led Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnight Two mothership to land at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport, diverting the aircraft from its intended destination of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The mothership was to overfly the ground breaking ceremony for Spaceport America. The prototype aircraft departed the Mojave Air and Spaceport in California. Click here to view the flight track. (6/19)

Gates Moves Missile Defenses to Hawaii (Source: AIA)
Amid reports that North Korea plans to test-fire a missile in the direction of Hawaii, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he was deploying sea-based radars and missile interceptors to the islands. While stopping short of a direct threat to shoot down the North Korean missile, Gates noted that the technology was available. "The ground-based interceptors are clearly in a position to take action," he said. "So without telegraphing what we will do, I would just say, I think we are in a good position, should it become necessary to protect American territory. (6/19)

World's First Commercial Spaceport Underway in New Mexico! (Source: The33TV)
Six minutes of weightlessness for $200,000. If you're looking to hop the next flight to space, your departure gate has been announced! Official construction has now begun on the world's first commercial spaceport. Space Tourism company Virgin Galactic will be using the "Space Port America" for commercial space flights. It's a $200 million taxpayer funded project with a 10,000 foot runway. (6/19)

Utah State Soars to the Nation's Top Ranking, Again (Source: Standard-Examiner)
The rocket team at Utah State University is two for two in a national competition sponsored by NASA. Beating out 18 other universities including Arizona State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Vanderbilt University, USU took its second grand prize in only its second year of competition.

A team of 25 USU students spent the entire school year designing and building a rocket for University Student Launch Initiative. The group was charged with building a rocket that would launch toward space with a scientific payload, reach one mile, turn a corner and then safely fall to earth. (6/19)

UF Grad to Get Cool Taste of Mars at Canadian Arctic Station (Source: Gainesville Sun)
Temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit at noon plunge to about minus-100 at midnight. Gravity is one-third that of Earth, and the atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide. Endless, dull, red desert views are pitted by the occasional crater and often obscured by dust storms. This other-worldly destination is Mars, and 26-year-old Kristine Ferrone hopes that someday she'll be able to travel there.

But instead, the University of Florida grad and Houston resident will spend her summer vacation under conditions as close to Mars' as you can find on this planet. Ferrone is one of six crew members who will make up the 12th group to inhabit the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station, or FMARS, on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic. They will spend the entire month of July living and conducting scientific experiments in the habitat. Editor's Note: Another Florida member of the crew is Joe Palaia of 4Frontiers Corp. from Port St. Lucie. And Jason Rhian of 4Frontiers will remain in Florida to provide "Earth-based" mission communications support.

Augustine Panel Plans Florida Meeting on Jul. 30 (Source: SPACErePORT)
The "Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee" (AKA the Augustine Panel) will spend July 30 on Florida's Space Coast for their next-to-final meeting. The specific location and time for the meeting has not yet been set. The panel is expected to submit their final report to President Obama in August. Click here for information on the panel's schedule. (6/19)

Augustine Panel Plans California Tour Jul. 6-10 (Source: SPACErePORT)
The "Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee" (AKA the Augustine Panel) will spend the week of July 6-10 in California visiting aerospace industry sites and leaders in Hawthorne, Canoga Park, and Sacramento. The panel is expected to submit their final report to President Obama in August. Click here for information on the panel's schedule. (6/19)

Next Florida Legislative Space Forum Planned for Sep. 28 (Source: SPACErePORT)
Florida's third annual legislative "Space Forum" is planned for Sep. 28 in Brevard County. Senator Mike Haridopolos and Representative Dean Cannon (both expected to lead their respective bodies during the Space Shuttle's retirement) will preside over the event, which typically features several state legislators who hope to advance the state's space interests in Tallahassee. Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas and Congressman Bill Posey also are invited to attend. Supported by statewide industry, government and academic organizations, this event has served as the kickoff platform for formally establishing the state's space-related legislative agenda for the upcoming Florida Legislative Session. (6/19)

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Engines Power Atlas/Centaur Moon Mission (Source: PWR)
Florida-based Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne provided rocket engines for the Atlas-5 vehicle that launched NASA's latest lunar probes from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. A Russian RD-180 rocket engine, providing nearly 1 million pounds of thrust, propelled the first stage from the launch pad. One RL-10 engine, providing 22,300 pounds of thrust, powers the Centaur upper stage. The Centaur will crash onto the lunar surface to allow LCROSS and Earth-based telescopes to analyze the plume for signs of ice or water. (6/19)

Gov. Crist Signs Military Support Bill (Source: News-Press)
Florida’s third-largest industry, the driver of $60 billion in economic activity, needs special attention and Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday signed into law a bill aimed at protecting the state’s military bases. The law creates the Florida Council on Military Base Mission Support. “The council will help us maintain our reputation as the most military friendly state in the nation by better coordinating community and state support for military bases and operations throughout Florida,” Crist said.

“We don’t do a fantastic job attracting companies from out of state to come here, so it’s really important we take care of what we’ve got,” said Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola, and House sponsor of the bill. With transitions of jet fighters at Eglin and the space shuttle in Brevard County, Murzin said the council can help the state, communities and the military do more to keep the bases and attract expanded missions. Click here to view a copy of the legislation. (6/19)

Another Gap: ESA Wants to Avoid Gap Between Station and Moon Missions (Source: SPACErePORT)
European Space Agency chief Jacques Dordain told the Augustine Panel that ESA favors extending the International Space Station well beyond 2016, urging that there be no gap between operating the ISS and sending manned international missions to the moon. He also said other international partners should be considered for, including China, India, South Korea, etc. Also, he suggested changing the partnership's ground rules which now allow partner nations to withdraw unilaterally at any time. He said if NASA withdraws, ISS would have to close, but the same would not be true if other nations withdrew. (6/18)

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