June 17 News Items

SpaceX Falcon 9 May Lose Hylas Launch (Source: Flight Global)
Space Exploration Technologies' Falcon 9 rocket may not launch Avanti Communications' Highly Adaptable Satellite (Hylas) telecommunications satellite. Hylas prime contractor EADS Astrium is discussing alternate launchers with Avanti. Falcon 9's maiden flight will be a year late if it lifts off by the end of this year from its Cape Canaveral launch complex. "Hylas will be ready to launch in the middle of 2010. The launcher delay is not helping us at all," says EADS Astrium satellites chief executive Evert Dudok. Next year SpaceX also has to launch a payload for Canadian technology company MDA and has two launches planned under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. (6/17)

ESA Funds Re-entry Experiment (Source: Space News)
The European Space Agency (ESA) on June 16 contracted with Thales Alenia Space Italy for a second development phase to prepare for a late 2012 or 2013 launch of a lifting-body re-entry technology demonstrator vehicle to be launched aboard Europe's new Vega rocket. (6/17)

Orbital Orders 9 Cargo Modules from Thales Alenia Space (Source: Space News)
Orbital Sciences Corp. contracted with Thales Alenia Space of Italy June 17 to build nine large pressurized cargo modules that Orbital will use to carry payloads to the international space station. (6/17)

Shuttle Launch Postponed Until July (Source: SpaceToday.net)
NASA scrubbed Wednesday's scheduled launch of the space shuttle Endeavour after another gaseous hydrogen leak developed similar but not identical to the one that postponed the previous launch attempt. NASA scrubbed the launch of mission STS-127 a little less than four hours before the scheduled 5:40 am EDT launch time after detecting another leak in a gaseous hydrogen venting system on the external tank. Shuttle managers have decided to wait until the next series of launch windows opens on July 11 before making another attempt so that engineers have sufficient time to understand and resolve the problem. (6/17)

Air Force: New GPS Satellite 10 Times Less Accurate Than Older Models (Source: AIA)
The Air Force says a new GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin is accurate only to about 20 feet, rather than the normal standard of two feet. The satellite's new civilian frequency is seen as crucial to next-generation air traffic control, but it appears to interfere with other signals, degrading their accuracy. Officials fear similar problems could occur with 12 additional satellites currently being built by Boeing, and additional testing could further delay the project. (6/17)

Atlas V Moving Toward Thursday Launch (Source: Florida Today)
Today's scrub of shuttle Endeavour's launch apparently came early enough for NASA to press forward with a Thursday afternoon launch of two satellites to the moon. United Launch Launch Alliance plans to roll a 19-story Atlas V rocket carrying the two spacecraft to the pad at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport's Launch Complex 41. The first opportunity for liftoff Thursday is 5:12 p.m. Two more one-second opportunities follow at 5:22 p.m. and 5:32 p.m. Air Force forecasters on Monday gave a 60-percent chance of good enough weather for the launch, with concerns throughout the week about development of afternoon thundershowers. (6/17)

Space Solar Power (Source: Earth2Tech)
Space solar promises virtually unlimited power, with no carbon dioxide emissions. Undiminished by atmosphere or cloud cover, the sun’s energy is five times more powerful than can be found on even the brightest desert on the planet, according to PowerSat’s web site. And since the sun shines at full power all the time, solar energy-capturing satellites — called powersats — can receive more than 25 times as much power as a ground-based system of the same size, says PowerSat Corp. Click here to view the article. (6/17)

Unique Rocket Launch Set for Saturday in Virginia (Source: Eastern Shore News)
A safety system that could play a role in the next generation of American manned space flight vehicles will be tested in a Saturday morning launch on Wallops Island. The Max Launch Abort System is expected to reach an altitude of one mile at a speed of 700 miles per hour during its approximately 45-second flight, which is designed to simulate an actual emergency on the launch pad where an astronaut escape system would be needed. During the test, a full-size crew module replica will separate from the vehicle and parachute into the ocean. The vehicle is more than 33 feet tall and weighs more than 45,000 pounds. The vehicle was one of several featured stops on a tour held last month for visiting dignitaries of Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. (6/17)

Introducing the WarpShip (Source: Discovery Channel)
The physics behind the warp drive is, as you'd expect, complex. However, it is hoped that in the future mankind will learn how to harness 'dark energy', an energy that is theorized to permeate through the entire universe. Cosmologists are particularly interested in dark energy as it is most commonly associated with the observed expansion of the universe. Until now, there has been little idea about what a spaceship propelled by a warp drive (or a warpship) would look like. Would it resemble the sleek Starship Enterprise? Or will it be like nothing we've seen before? Click here to view the article. (6/17)

UCSD Astrophysicist Honored With $1 Million Prize (Source: XETV)
A UC San Diego astrophysicist is the recipient of the $1 million Shaw Prize in Astronomy. Frank H. Shu, a professor of physics at UCSD, was recognized for his "outstanding lifetime contributions in theoretical astronomy," according to the university. The Shaw Prize Foundation announced the award Tuesday in Hong Kong. The prize will be formally presented to Shu at a ceremony on Oct. 7. (6/16)

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