July 22 News Items

House Appropriators Shift DOD Space Funding (Source: Space Policy Online)
The House Appropriations Committee has approved a $636 billion DOD budget for FY-2010, including the following space-related program increases and reductions: $1.3 billion for three EELV missions ($55.7 million above the president's request); $122 million for the Space Based Space Surveillance System ($55 million below the request); $389.4 million for GPS III ($97.4 million below the request), $39 million for the Third Generation Infrared Satellite ($104 million below the request); $1.8 billion for a fourth Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications satellite (matching the request); and $626.7 million for the Wideband Global Satellite System ($425 million above the request). (7/22)

Russia Launches Two Satellites (Source: SpaceToday.net)
A Kosmos rocket launched two satellites into orbit early Tuesday. The Kosmos-3M rocket lifted off from the Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia and placed two small satellites into low Earth orbit. One satellite is a military satellite, most likely a Parus-series navigation satellite. The other satellite, Sterkh 1, is designed to be part of the international COSPAS-SARSAT search-and-rescue satellite system. (7/22)

U.S. Space Policy Review Under Way (Source: Aviation Week)
National Security Adviser James Jones is conducting a government-wide review of U.S. space policy at the request of President Barack Obama. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Jones - like Bolden a retired Marine Corps general officer - was directed to "review our present policy and decide whether it is in keeping with our vision of the 21st century and where we want to go, and try to come up with a coherent space policy into which NASA and our plans fit.

"He has already started getting together representatives from all the space communities in the country - that's DOD, NASA, commercial space, Department of Transportation and anybody else that has space assets, and science people," Bolden said. Bolden and Lori Garver, NASA's deputy administrator, were to meet with White House Science Adviser John Holdren on July 21 to establish their agency's role in the White House review. (7/22)

Wait a Bit Longer for Your Galactic Vacation (Source: WIRED)
It’s been five years since SpaceShipOne promised to open space to the masses. So where’s your ride on a rocket? Still under development. Five years ago, there was a lot of buzz about the average person flying to the edge of space and enjoying a little weightlessness. But in the years since, a shortage of funding has dashed the dreams of future astronauts. Several companies that promised to take us beyond atmosphere have quit the space race and others have gone quiet. Like everything else, the fledgling space tourism biz has been hit hard by the economic downturn. Building space ships isn’t cheap, and when the flow of capital slowed, so too did the development. But George French, CEO of Rocketplane, says things are starting to look better. (7/22)

Hylas Satellite Moves from SpaceX to Arianespace (Source: Hyperbola)
Avanti Communications has chosen Arianespace to launch the HYLAS telecommunications satellite. The launch of the HYLAS satellite is planned for the first semester of 2010, using an Ariane 5 or Soyuz launcher from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. The satellite will weigh about 2,750 kg at launch, and has a design life exceeding 15 years. The satellite had previously been scheduled for launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. (7/22)

Armstrong Snubs Pelosi Autograph Request (Source: The Hill)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi got dissed by astronaut Neil Armstrong after a ceremony at which the California Democrat honored the moonwalking hero and his historic Apollo 11 flight. After the event marking the 40th anniversary of Armstrong’s “giant leap for mankind,” held in the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday, an admiring Pelosi approached Armstrong with pen in hand, a witness said.

Pelosi asked the publicity-shy former astronaut to autograph something for her, but he wouldn’t oblige. “I’m sorry, I don’t do that anymore,” Armstrong informed the autograph-seeker. Turns out, Pelosi shouldn’t take his put-down personally. Armstrong reportedly refuses all autograph requests, no matter how powerful the person asking. He stopped giving out his John Hancock years ago, news reports say, fearing forgeries and concerned about those making large amounts of money from autographed items. (7/22)

Boeing Profit Climbs in 2Q on Strong Defense Sales (Source: AP)
Boeing's second-quarter earnings rose 17 percent from a year earlier, when a charge weighed down results. Higher defense sales and lower costs in its commercial aircraft division boosted the company's profit in the latest period. Boeing earned $998 million for the three months ended June 30, compared with $852 million during the same period last year, which included a charge of 22 cents per share for late delivery of military aircraft. Revenue edged up 1 percent to $17.15 billion from $16.96 billion in the year-earlier period. (7/22)

Editorial: Time to Rethink Spending on NASA and Space Exploration (Source: Kalamazoo Gazette)
This year, NASA is costing each American household about $150. If that was put on a ballot, I wonder, would it pass? Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe the agency that helped invent Tang and Teflon really is more critical or more popular than I imagine. Or maybe it's time to regroup and rethink. Lots of people are wringing their hands these days about wasteful government spending. Should we be turning that attention to NASA? (7/22)

Boeing Ends Protest Over $1.1 Billion Satellite Job (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Boeing, ending a months-long battle over a government weather-satellite contract, on Tuesday withdrew its protest and cleared the way for rival Lockheed Martin Corp. to sign a contract potentially worth $1.1 billion. The latest move ends efforts by the General Accountability Office to look into what Boeing alleged were "serious flaws and lack of transparency" in NASA's decision to choose Lockheed for the work. The job calls for building as many as four GOES-R civilian weather satellites, designed to improve the accuracy and timeliness of federal weather forecasting.

In a statement, Boeing said it decided to withdraw its protest "after gaining additional insight into the re-evaluation" of how Lockheed emerged as the winner. Boeing had protested the decision and the GAO opened a review. But that GAO effort was never completed because NASA agreed to re-evaluate the bids. After NASA officials upheld their original award, Boeing formally asked the GAO a second time to re-examine the way the acquisition was handled. That protest was filed under seal, and it isn't clear why Boeing decided to withdraw it. Boeing, which won the previous GOES satellite contract, had been hoping that another award would help keep a steady flow of work through its Southern California satellite-making complex. (7/22)

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