July 26 News Items

Space Florida Submits White Papers to Augustine Committee (Source: Space Florida)
Space Florida partnered with local space and economic development organizations to craft and submit three white papers to special committees within the Augustine Commission, reviewing the future of U.S. space programs. These papers serve as a precursor to a visit next week by The Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, which will hold a public meeting in Cocoa Beach on Aug. 30. Click here to view the white papers. (7/25)

Armadillo Moves Toward Scientific Payloads with Test Flights (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Armadillo Aerospace conducted two groundbreaking atmospheric test flights in Texas this weekend with their “Mod” vertical-takeoff-vertical-landing rocket, a vehicle familiar to anyone who has followed NASA’s Lunar Lander Challenge competitions. Professor Steven Collicott of Purdue University was on hand to watch the launch. Professor Collicott has been leading a group of Purdue University students in developing a fluid-mechanics science payload that they plan to fly soon with Armadillo.

The work between Purdue University and Armadillo Aerospace is serving as a pathfinder effort for future integration of other science payloads on commercial suborbital vehicles. Large numbers of research flights on a variety of suborbital vehicles are envisioned under NASA’s Commercial Suborbital Research Program, based at the NASA Ames Research Center, and scientists are eager to begin working with vehicle developers to get experience integrating science payloads with vehicles. (7/25)

Is it Time to Invite China to the Space Party? (Source: Discovery Channel)
Adding China to the station program could expand the international cultural melding blossoming in orbit, give Obama a Kennedy-esque platform from which to flex his space muscles and maybe inspire common ground for solving a whole bunch of other troubling issues that divide the U.S. and China, such as human rights, free speech, copyright infringement, etc., etc. (7/26)

Seeing Big Multi-State DOD Programs Like F-22 Cut, Some Wonder if NASA Could be Next (Source: NASA Watch)
"The real question isn't so much the programs - its the Centers; does NASA REALLY need '10 healthy centers'? For that matter, at current funding levels, can it afford them? The sad reality behind the fallacy of funding exploration by terminating shuttle (& eventually ISS) is that probably 25-30% of their costs is covering the overhead costs to sustain JSC, MSFC, Michoud, etc.

NASA badly needs to consolidate - after an objective BRAC-like process - and dump at least 2 facilities; it will come at a political cost but dragging around an institutional overhead sized for Apollo while operating a space program on Mercury era budgets, as a % of GDP, makes no sense. F-22 may show its possible to kill big multi-state programs but can we muster the political will to trim excess facilities in only one or two locations?" (7/26)

Launch of UAE Satellite Postponed (Source: Taragana.com)
The launch of the United Arab Emirates’ first remote sensing satellite DubaiSat-1, scheduled Saturday, has been postponed to July 29, WAM news agency reported. The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) announced that the launch was postponed by the launching company — International Space Company (Cosmotras) — to undertake some safety and security tests. DubaiSat-1 is the first remote sensing satellite owned by the UAE and is designed to provide up-to-date spatial and earth monitoring data. (7/26)

Europe's Mars Rover Slips to 2018 (Source: BBC)
Europe's flagship robotic rover mission to Mars now looks certain to leave Earth in 2018, two years later than recently proposed, the BBC understands. The ExoMars vehicle is intended to search the Red Planet for signs of past or present life. The delay is the third for the mission originally planned to launch in 2011. While the switch will disappoint many people, officials say the change will open up a greatly expanded program of exploration at the Red Planet. (7/26)

Race is On for Space-Junk Alarm System (Source: New Scientist)
A worldwide network of radar stations could tackle the ever-growing problem of space debris - the remains of old rockets and satellites that pose an increasing threat to spacecraft. The US government is launching a competition, which will run until the end of 2010, to find the best way of tracking pieces of junk down to the size of a pool ball. Three aerospace companies - Northrop Grumman, Lockheed-Martin and Raytheon - have each been awarded $30 million by US Air Force Space Command to design a "space fence" that will constantly report the motion of all objects 5 centimetres wide and larger in medium and low-Earth orbits. (7/26)

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