July 11 News Items

Lightning Delays NASA Space Shuttle Launch to Sunday (Source: AFP)
A dramatic lightning storm forced NASA to delay the space shuttle Endeavour's launch on Saturday, pushing takeoff to late Sunday, in the latest blow to the seven-astronaut mission. With just nine hours to go before liftoff, NASA said the launch would be scrapped, citing 11 lightning strikes near the Cape Canaveral launch site during a powerful electrical storm late Friday. At least one lightning bolt struck the Shuttle launch pad's lightning protection system. (7/11)

Engineers Lose Jobs at Wallops Spaceport (Source: DelMarVaNow.com)
Scientists who use the Wallops Flight Facility to get data from spaceflights were alarmed to learn that up to 30 engineers designing rockets got pink slips this week, according to their report. The defense contractor, Northrop Grumman, terminated its relationship with subcontractor Orbital Sciences Corp. on July 1. The two had shared a 10-year contract with NASA to launch sounding rockets at Wallops. The vessels record scientific measurements during a suborbital flight. A report was produced after a June 19 meeting by NASA's Sounding Rocket Working Group -- a 10-person committee of researchers and two representatives from the Goddard Space Flight Center -- which claims the decision will have "serious and lasting repercussions" that delay space research and technological development across the USA. (7/11)

Going Back to Moon Not Enough for Buzz Aldrin (Source: Galveston Daily News)
For Buzz Aldrin, a manned space mission to the moon is not good enough. It’s a bit of been there, done that. “I’m always looking to go forward,” he said. With the 40th anniversary of his historic trip to the moon next week, Aldrin is pushing for a bolder vision. “We have to expand and make use of what we have already done,” the pilot of Apollo 11 said during an appearance in Webster on Friday. “What is the major return of going back to the moon? Is it to build refueling locations for missions to Mars? Simply going back is not enough.” Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was in the area Friday to promote an updated version of his book “Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon” and to promote a short-wave radio he helped design. (7/11)

Editorial: Shelby Slowing the Race for Space (Source: Waco Tribune)
Earth to U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby: The conquest of space won’t be won by odious pork-barrel politics. Shelby, who has often joined other Republican lawmakers in Washington decrying President Obama’s economic recovery and reinvestment act, now ironically seeks to take millions of dollars in stimulus funds targeted for private space firms and funnel them instead into Constellation, NASA’s troubled rocket program in his home state of Alabama. To get most of this cash, the Republican senator attacked private companies such as SpaceX, which seeks stimulus funds not only to further secure its position as NASA’s partner but to double the number of jobs at its McGregor rocket site, from 80 to 160.

It’s an odd position for Shelby, a supposed critic of pork-barrel politics and government waste. One reason that the White House was quick to consider private companies such as SpaceX is because the space shuttle retires next year and the Constellation program set to succeed it is behind schedule. White House officials hope investing in firms like SpaceX, based in Hawthorne, Calif., might fire up rocket development, keeping us from having to piggyback rides to the space station via Russian rockets. (7/11)

No comments: