June 9 News Items

NASA = Northern Alabama Space Administration (Source: Space Politics)
Space News reports that Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) is holding up the release of “most if not all” of the $1 billion allocated to NASA in the stimulus bill approved earlier this year. The problem is that NASA is planning to spend $150 million of the $400 million appropriated to exploration for ISS commercial resupply activity, including early work to support commercial crew missions to the station. As you may recall, Shelby expressed his opposition to such spending in a hearing last month, saying that “manned spaceflight is something that is still in the realm of government” and that companies like SpaceX that have proposed such flights “cannot substitute for the painful truth of failed performance at present.”

Several congressional sources confirmed Shelby’s hold on the funding, although his office had not provided any comment to the publication prior to going to press. (While not explicitly stated in the article, Shelby is apparently holding up approval of the spending plan that NASA was required to submit to Congress within 60 days of the bill’s enactment.) According to the article “meetings were under way at press time to resolve the standoff”. (6/9)

NASA Awards Contract for Aerospace Testing Support (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected Jacobs Technology Inc. of Tullahoma, Tenn., to receive a follow-on contract for Aerospace Testing and Facilities Operations and Maintenance, or ATOM, at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. The contract has a maximum value of $200 million. (6/9)

Space Coast Legislators Upbeat About 2010 in Tallahassee (Source: SPACErePORT)
Three Space Coast state legislators expressed optimism about state support for space issues in 2010 during a Jun. 9 luncheon sponsored by the National Space Club. Sen. Mike Haridopolos, Sen. Thad Altman, and Rep. Steve Crisafulli said the state's space community again needs to identify achievable goals for the Florida Legislature's next regular session. With Haridopolos ascending to the Senate presidency, and Orlando's Dean Cannon set to become House Speaker next year, there's little doubt that space issues will have the support of the legislative leadership. Also, with four statewide offices being contested next year, candidates will find it difficult not to support the space industry's needs as the Space Shuttle program retires. (6/9)

China Takes No. 2 Spot in Global Defense Spending (Source: AIA)
China now lags only the U.S. in defense spending, according to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI says China spent almost $8.5 billion on defense last year, or 6% of the worldwide total, moving ahead of both France and Britain, which each represent about 4.5% of global defense spending. Meanwhile, after a long period of decline, Russia's economic resurgence led to a boom in spending, landing it at No. 5 on the list. Among the top 15 spenders, only Germany and Japan have reduced arms spending over the past decade, according to SIPRI. (6/9)

RazakSat to Launch Only After Experts are Satisfied (Source: NST)
The launching of Malaysia's second remote sensing satellite RazakSAT, which has been delayed since April, will only be done after experts from Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB) are satisfied with the condition of the satellite launch vehicle. Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Fadillah Yusof said the Falcon 1 launch vehicle owned by SpaceX was experiencing technical problems which were still being rectified.

“The launch of RazakSAT had to be postponed when the launching vehicle experienced extreme vibration and we were afraid that it could harm our satellite. “We will not launch RazakSAT until we are satisfied with the standard and whether the satellite will reach its intended destination,” he said when asked to comment on the latest development. RazakSAT had been due for lift-off from the launching pad at Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands on April 21 to replace TiungSAT-1. (6/9)

The Conqueror of Space Disgraced by Stalin (Source: Russia Today)
Putting a man into orbit was an impossible dream only made a reality by the brilliant Soviet space pioneer Sergey Korolev. Uncredited in life by the Stalin regime, in death his genius is remembered by all mankind. He led the design of the first man-made satellite “Sputnik”, created in 1957. Two months later he presided over the launch of the first living creature into orbit when Laika the dog stepped aboard Sputnik-2. Arguably his finest achievement was the design of rocket that launched Yury Gagarin, the first man in space, in 1967 and brought him home safely. However, Sergey Korolev's road to becoming a hero of Russia and paragon of science was full of hardship. After an early career designing rockets, he became a victim of Stalin's great purge in 1938 and spent six years in disgrace and imprisonment.

“He wrote a letter to Stalin and it started with the words: ‘Soviet sky must be ruled by Soviet airplanes’. He didn't mention those common niceties like ‘our beloved leader’ or ‘our chief’. And he didn't ask to be released. What he was worried about was that the Soviet Union had fallen behind drastically in rocket technologies. We were thrown back in time because almost all of our rocket engineers were under arrest,” remembers Natasha Koroleva, the daughter of Sergey Korolev. While Khrushchev and Gagarin took credit for the space programme, Korolev received no recognition. His identity was a state secret, but with every step towards a manned mission to Mars, the work of the man who laid down the foundations is being justly credited. (6/9)

Senator Shelby Talks About NASA Budget (Source: WAFF)
At a ribbon cutting Monday morning, Senator Richard Shelby takes time out to joke with Marshall Center acting director Robert Lightfoot. "This is the future right here. It looks like it's not going anywhere but it is going somewhere, a long way and we gotta build it," Senator Shelby said. While it may be a celebration, many who work in the space industry fear the future. The NASA budget is still in the works. "I will do everything I can to make sure Marshall is properly funded in the scheme of the whole NASA situation. But we have not marked up yet," said Senator Shelby. It's funding that will determine America's role in space, and a mission with roots right here in North Alabama. (6/9)

Astronaut Tells Florida Students the Sky’s the Limit (Source: TCPalm.com)
Four-time space traveler Scott “Doc” Horowitz told Palm Pointe Educational Research School’s graduating eighth graders Monday that to be the best, they must first pick something they love and excel in the basics. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything,” he said. Horowitz, 52, knows what he’s talking about. He invented the next-generation space vehicle that will replace the space shuttle. He told the students that when he was graduating from high school, a teacher wrote in his yearbook that if he worked hard, someday he might go to the moon. (6/9)

Shelby Says Bolden 'Capable' (Source: Huntsville Times)
Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby stopped short of an outright endorsement of the man chosen by President Barack Obama to take the helm of NASA, but Alabama's senior senator did say during a visit to Huntsville Monday that Charles Bolden is qualified for the job. "I look forward to meeting with him and working with him. The confirmation process will have to take place, and I'm not making any predictions or judgments, but (Bolden) certainly is a capable man and has the qualifications. We'll have to see what the Senate thinks and move from there," Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, said shortly after a building dedication at Marshall Space Flight Center. (6/9)

US, Europe Look to Partnership on Mars Exploration (Source: AP)
For almost half a century, the United States has dominated the exploration of Mars from the first grainy black-and-white pictures of the craggy surface to the more recent discovery of ice. Now, budget woes are pushing NASA toward a joint exploration venture with Europe. By 2016, the U.S. may unite with the European Space Agency for future Mars trips — a move that would mark a significant shift for NASA.

Details of such a union could come by the end of this month. In May, NASA's space sciences chief Ed Weiler said he believed a partnership was the best avenue to pursue shared science goals "if we can lose a little bit of our ego and nationalism." A NASA presentation to the Mars science community in March indicated that the two space agencies would likely take turns being the leader. Click here to view the article. (6/9)

Virgin Galactic Targets 50,000 Flyers (Source: TTG Live)
Virgin Galactic hopes to carry 50,000 passengers in its first decade of operations. Speaking at the ITT conference in Dubai chief executive Stephen Attenborough revealed that 320 people have already booked a flight into space at the $200,000 price tag. “Before investing millions of pounds we needed to show that there was a market for this – and we now have $40 million in a bank from forward bookings for a product nobody has seen yet. “There is an appetite, 90,000 people have registered interest and that number will grow when the price eventually falls.” Attenborough said the project brings the Virgin brand into the 21st century and epitomises the innovative and ground-breaking culture of the company. (6/9)

USRA Supports Programs at Alabama's Space Research Center (Source: USRA)
The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) congratulate its Earth Sciences scientific and technical staff at the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC), in Huntsville, AL, on their upcoming participation in a number of recently awarded research projects covering a range of critical scientific topics. These awards, which were made under NASA's 2008 Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) program, involve work in key scientific areas. NSSTC is a collaborative research and education partnership between NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and the seven Alabama universities comprising the Space Science and Technology Alliance (SSTA). (6/9)

Editorial: Nominees for the Space Agency (Source: New York Times)
President Obama’s choice of a former astronaut and retired Marine general, Charles F. Bolden Jr., to head NASA was warmly received by many space enthusiasts and lawmakers. Unfortunately, General Bolden lacks deep expertise in space science and engineering and his past ties with the aerospace industry will raise conflict of interest problems. Before the Senate confirms him, it should probe how well fitted he is to guide the agency through a difficult transition from the space shuttle to follow-on vehicles designed to reach the Moon and beyond. Although he has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in systems management, his skills are primarily operational. There is also concern that General Bolden may feel indebted to Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida, one of his most outspoken backers, who tends to favor space activities that generate jobs and revenues in his home state. Moreover, his military background could blur the distinction between civil and military ventures in space. (5/27)

Posey & Kosmas Seek Workforce Funding to Mitigate Shuttle Retirement (Source: SPACErePORT)
Space Coast Congressman Bill Posey and Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas have requested up to $3 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to support ongoing space workforce retraining and counseling by the Brevard Workforce Development Board. (6/5)

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