July 1 News Items

GeoEye Receives Additional U.S. Government Awards Totaling $25 Million (Source: GeoEye)
GeoEye, Inc. has won government awards totaling more than $25 million to supply geospatial products and services. Under awards during the first and second quarters of 2009, GeoEye will provide the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) a significant amount of value-added, imagery-based geospatial-intelligence products. Imagery processing and production will be performed at GeoEye's advanced imagery processing centers located in Missouri, Colorado and Virginia. These awards are in addition to the Service Level Agreement (SLA) modification to the company's existing NextView contract with the NGA announced Dec. 10, 2008. (7/1)

DHS Still Has More Satellite Issues to Address (Source: HLS Watch)
Besides its recent decision to terminate the National Applications Office (NAO), DHS/FEMA — along with NGA — has several other satellite-related issues that warrant immediate attention. First, DHS has no single point of contact which handles satcom questions for first responders. Or if one exists, it is not well known. Second, while satcom appears to be a simple and straightforward solution, first-responders report that there are many issues that make satcom not as user-friendly as it could otherwise be. (7/1)

Rocket Launch Helps Prepare MSU Faculty for Training Students (Source: MSU)
Three Montana State University instructors who want to help future scientists and engineers develop experiments for space recently launched experiments of their own. During a weeklong RockOn/RockSat workshop in Virginia, Ross Snider, Randy Larimer and Angela Des Jardins joined nearly 100 university instructors and students from 21 states who prepared experiments for flight. A rocket carrying their experiments was launched at 5:30 a.m. June 26 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, reached an altitude of 73 miles, then returned to Earth where the experiments were recovered. (7/1)

DOD Spy Agency May Face Ax (Source: DOD Buzz)
The Senate Intelligence Committee may try to break up the nation’s storied spy satellite agency — the NRO — once a paragon of American technological brilliance and now considered by many a troubled bureaucracy that has had trouble getting the big things right. In parallel, the Director of National Intelligence was briefed June 23 by a panel of distinguished experts about the best path ahead for the National Reconnaissance Office. The panel “considered options to break up NRO or reassign functions but recommended continuation of a single, unified program,” a former senior intelligence official said. The report about the Senate committee came from this same source, a respected insider. (7/1)

India to Launch Indigenous Oceansat-2 Satellite Next Month (Source: Xinhua)
India will launch its indigenous Oceansat-2 satellite, along with six European nano satellites, next month, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said Wednesday. "Oceansat-2, weighing around 970 kg, is an in-orbit replacement to Oceansat-1, which has completed 10 years of service. It will carry an Ocean Color Monitor and a Ku-band pencil beam Scatterometer. In addition, it will carry Radio Occultation Sounder for Atmospheric studies developed by the Italian Space Agency,” ISRO Spokesperson S. Satish said. Among the six satellites are Germany-made Rubin 9.1 and Rubin 9.2, and all would be launched from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota. (7/1)

Alabama's Shelby Gets His Way Again (Source: NASA Watch)
Sen. Shelby and his staff have certainly been busy. They don't like the way that the Obama Administration and NASA have been looking at using stimulus money for commercialization. So, how did he act on this? He threatened to put amendments into legislation that would punish various field centers at NASA (other than MSFC of course) that have been involved in commercialization by stripping them of facilities or programs so as to send a message. Shelby has also talked of putting a hold on the nomination of Bolden and Garver if he did not get his way. Apparently, he has gotten his way and The White House/NASA have compromised on how that stimulus money will be spent - to Shelby's satisfaction. Imagine what Shelby will do if/when the Augustine Commission comes back with suggestions that Ares 1 be canceled. (7/1)

Ariane 5 Rocket Blasts Off With Record-Setting Payload (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
After waiting out a weather delay and two countdown holds, an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket launched from the Guiana Space Center at 1:52 p.m. EDT (1752 GMT) today on Wednesday carrying the TerreStar spacecraft, the largest commercial communications satellite ever launched. The craft will provide mobile voice, data and video services across North America. (7/1)

Shuttle Endeavour Passes NASA Tanking Test Without Leaking (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space shuttle Endeavour passed a three-hour tanking test on Wednesday without leaking any hydrogen gas. The results indicate that NASA engineers found a fix for a dangerous gas leak that scrubbed two earlier launch attempts. They also paved the way for a new shot at sending the orbiter to the space station on July 11. (7/1)

Guinness Offers Drinkers Chance to Win Space Flight (Source: Telegraph)
Guinness has launched a competition offering drinkers the chance to win a trip into space aboard Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic spacecraft. The brewer is putting three once-in-a-lifetime experiences up for grabs themed on the color of its famous black stout beer. To mark its 250 years in business, the company is sending one winner into space, another to the depths of the ocean, and a third to an exclusive Black Eyed Peas concert. (7/1)

Michoud Plant Lays Off More Workers (Source: WWLTV)
The space shuttle program is winding down and so is Lockheed Martin's presence in New Orleans. Late Tuesday afternoon, the company turned control of the Michoud Assembly plant to a new facility operator, Jacobs Technology. It's a major transition for Lockheed, which has managed the plant for the past 26 years. "As of this afternoon, there's approximately 200 employees who will turn in their Lockheed Martin badge," said a company spokesman. Jacobs Technology hopes to hire many of the laid-off Lockheed Martin employees. Lockheed Martin, Jacobs Technology and NASA will look for opportunities to bring new work to Michoud. Jacobs is talking with commercial contractors. NASA says some defense work may eventually be done at the plant as well. (7/1)

Lockheed Martin Awarded Concept Development Contract for Air Force Space Fence (Source: Lockheed Martin)
The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $30 million contract to begin concept development for Space Fence, a system of land-based S-Band radars and supporting operations centers that will detect and report on objects and debris orbiting the Earth. Lockheed Martin was one of three industry teams to receive contracts. The Air Force Materiel Command's Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts leads the procurement for Space Fence, which is intended to significantly enhance space situational awareness as legacy systems in the Space Surveillance Network (SSN) are retired. (6/30)

UK 'Yet to Embrace Space Tourism' (Source: BBC)
The UK is ill-prepared to exploit the emerging commercial spaceflight sector, says the president of Virgin Galactic. Will Whitehorn said Britain lacked the regulatory framework that would help the industry grow but which would also ensure the necessary safety standards. Speaking at a space tourism conference in London, he said current rules would prevent Virgin launches from the UK. Galactic expects to start taking fare-paying passengers on short space hops in the next few years. Virgin plans to put satellites in space with the service, as well as people. (7/1)

West Virginia State Hosts NASA Day (Source: Herald-Dispatch)
West Virginia State University's fifth annual NASA Day was held on July 1 at its campus in Institute, W.Va. More than 400 young people joined NASA officials and university staff and partners for the daylong event to learn about engineering and science, then put that knowledge to practical use through interactive activities, including creating their own bottle rockets. (7/1)

L.A. From space: New View from JPL and NASA (Source: LA Times)
In collaboration with agencies in Japan, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has put together a topographical map that covers 99% of the Earth's land mass, a more complete map than was previously available. "We've got everything except a very small part of the South Pole and the North Pole," said JPL's Michael Abrams, the U.S. science team leader for the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission Reflection Radiometer project, also known as ASTER. "We're able to cover Alaska, Greenland, northern Asia and Antarctica." The resolution is so clear that you can plainly see Dodger Stadium and other landmarks in pictures of Los Angeles. The most complete previous set of topographical data, collected by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission in 2000, included about 80% of the Earth's landmass. Because the space shuttle had a limited orbit, the radar-imaging device missed land masses above 60 degrees north and 57 degrees south in latitude. (7/1)

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