June 14 News Items

Sen. Shelby's Crusade Against Commercial Space (Sources: NASA Watch, Comm.Space Gateway, SPACErePORT)
Commercial Space Gateway prints a less-than-flattering piece on Alabama's senior U.S. Senator, Richard Shelby, saying he's unhappy because NASA intends to use $150 million of the $400 million NASA received as part of the stimulus package to support the development of commercial space transportation for delivering cargo and personnel to the space station. His rationale reveals an astounding lack of historical perspective. According to Shelby: "Manned spaceflight is something that is still in the realm of government, because despite their best efforts, some truly private enterprises have not been able to deliver on plans of launching vehicles."

Says NASA Watch: "It is quite obvious by now that Sen. Shelby is doing his level best to protect MSFC (and jobs in Alabama) from any possible commercial competition for the role of the seemingly doomed Ares 1 rocket and its phantom (and unfunded) sibling the Ares 5. He will clearly stoop to whatever level is required. Stay tuned - he is not done yet."

Shelby's aggressive support for expanding NASA's space programs in Alabama, at the expense of private-sector space efforts and to the detriment of broader NASA priorities, raises eyebrows among conservatives who preach for smaller, smarter government and an empowered private sector. According to one website commenter, Shelby's website introduces himself as having "an undeniable commitment to Alabama and the simple philosophy that a smaller government can also be a more effective government." (6/14)

North Korea Gambles as South Readies Own Rocket (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
A dynamic mix of factors could worsen the already deteriorating military posture between the U.S. and North Korea as President Barack Obama hosts South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the White House this week. Two topics will dominate those talks, North Korea's holding of two women journalists from the U. S. and its continuing missile activity. The North Koreans may greet this weeks meeting with a barrage of short and long range ballistic missile tests to make at least a virtual appearance at the same White House gathering.

One of those tests could mark a second effort to place a North Korean satellite into space, after a Taepodong 3 ballistic missile test launch failed to do so in April. But now North Korea has more competition from South Korea. The South has just completed a new space center which will be used to send a satellite into orbit from its own territory for the first time, as early as July 30. (6/14)

Shuttle Launch Could Happen on Wednesday (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
Technicians at Kennedy Space Center are expected to complete the hydrogen leak repairs by 6:00 am Monday. Endeavour's new target blast-off date of Wednesday may present a conflict as NASA has scheduled a liftoff on the same day for the Lunar crater observation and sensing satellite (LRO/LCROSS). Space shuttle deputy program manager LeRoy Cain told reporters a decision is to be made on Monday about which mission would be prioritized. He stressed that in order for the shuttle to launch on Wednesday, "everything has to continue to go well, we need to have no breakage on the shuttle processing side ... we need to have not too much bad weather that keeps us from doing work on the pad and we need to have no other issues." (6/14)

Retired Four-Star General Selected To Run NRO (Source: Space News)
Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Bruce Carlson has been appointed to serve as director of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), according to June 12 Defense Department announcement. Carlson served as commander of Air Force Materiel Command before retiring from active duty Jan. 1. Prior to that, Carlson was commander of 8th Air Force and the Joint Functional Component Commander for Space and Global Strike. (6/14)

White House Weighs NPOESS Management Overhaul (Source: Space News)
The U.S. government is considering an independent panel's recommendations for overhauling the management structure of the nation's next-generation polar-orbiting weather satellite program. NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco told a Senate panel June 11 that a just-completed review of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) concluded that the civil-military program "has a low probability of success" as currently structured and recommended changes to the tri-agency management model that has been with the troubled program since its inception. (6/14)

U.S. Air Force Sows Seeds For Next-Gen Space Fence (Source: Space News)
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon were each awarded $30 million seed contracts by the U.S. Air Force to begin developmental work to replace the current ground-based radar system known as the Space Fence, the Defense Department announced June 11. Capable of tracking space objects as small as a baseball, the current Space Fence consists of nine very high frequency radar sites located across the southern United States. The upgraded Space Fence likely is intended to track even smaller objects and will feature S-band radars at three sites, at least one of which would be located outside the country. (6/14)

Lawmakers Seek to Impose NASA Spending Constraints (Source: Space News)
An attempt by House lawmakers to crack down on lax financial management at NASA could do more harm than good, according to agency observers. Language included in a report accompanying the 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies spending bill, which passed the House Appropriations Committee June 10, would require the space agency to commit money for most programs within a single year — half the time usually allowed — a move that could force NASA officials to hastily award contracts or risk losing the funds. (6/14)

Forecast Sees Rise in Satellite Production, Not Pricing (Source: Space News)
A 10-year forecast of satellite and launcher markets has good news and bad news for hardware manufacturers: There will be many more satellites to build and launch, but the average manufacturing and launch price will increase only marginally, if at all, and may even drop after accounting for inflation.

Taking all markets — commercial, civil government and military — combined, the average satellite mass is likely to drop by 5 percent, to 1,890 kilograms, in the coming 10 years compared to the previous period. While the average satellite will lose weight, the number of satellites will increase. The study concludes that 1,185 spacecraft will be launched in the next 10 years, a 47 percent increase over the 10 years ending in 2008. The average satellite price over the next decade will be $99 million, compared to $97 million in the past 10 years. The per-satellite launch price is predicted to remain flat, at $51 million. (6/14)

TerraStar-1 Launch Slipe as Insurers Request More Info (Source: Space News)
Insurance underwriters covering TerreStar Networks Inc.'s $200 million policy for the launch and first year of operations of the TerreStar-1 satellite have requested additional information on a similar satellite's in-orbit antenna problem before signing off on the upcoming launch, according to industry officials. TerreStar, whose mobile communications satellite has been at Europe's Guiana Space Center launch site in French Guiana awaiting a late-June launch, has agreed to delay the launch until the first half of July as a result. (6/14)

"Build It Bigger" TV Show Features Cape Canaveral Spaceport This Week (Source: SPACErePORT)
On Friday, Jun. 26, at 9:00 p.m. on the Discovery Science Channel, the show Build it Bigger-NASA will cap off Space Week. The show will feature some of the unique work done at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, including Shuttle processing, Ares I-X, Constellation and SpaceX. Visit http://science.discovery.com/space-week/shows/shows.html for air times. (6/14)

After Four Decades, is America Over the Moon? (Source: Arizona Republic)
Nearly 40 years after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and uttered his famous words, NASA this week will launch the first in a series of missions designed to return astronauts to the moon by 2020. But even as the countdown for NASA's $504 million Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter begins, a strenuous debate continues over whether the U.S. moon program will yield findings and technology that justify the more than $100 billion in costs. In May, President Obama's administration ordered a review of NASA's current plan to end the space-shuttle program in 2010 and develop spacecraft to send astronauts to the moon. Click here to view the article. (6/14)

Arizona State University Has Vital Role in New Moon Voyage (Source: Arizona Republic)
If all goes as planned over the next year, NASA's images of the moon will go high-resolution and wide-ranging as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps pictures to identify safe landing sites for future missions. The unmanned orbiter's launch is set for Wednesday. Arizona State University is playing a vital role in the mission. A science team headed by ASU Professor Mark Robinson is in charge of three cameras attached to the minivan-size orbiter. A separate instrument, the $79 million Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, is riding piggyback on the orbiter and is scheduled to slam into the moon about four months later, providing more insight into the moon's makeup. (6/14)

Loma Linda University Lands NASA Grant (Source: Press Enterprise)
Loma Linda University is one of four schools that will share a $28.4 million research program to determine how astronauts stand up to radiation in space. Teams of researchers from Loma Linda, the University of Texas, New York University and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. will supervise and conduct the studies over a five-year period beginning in January. A study that will be led by Loma Linda will receive about $7.7 million of the federal grant money, Gregory A. Nelson, a radiation medicine professor at Loma Linda, said. Nelson will direct a dozen researchers from his school, as well as researchers from UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Francisco and Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. Loma Linda will get about $3 million and the other four universities that are participating in the study will split the remaining $4.7 million. (6/14)

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