July 6 News Items

In Light of National Debt, What Priority Should Space Have? (Source: CNN)
In 2003, Former President George W. Bush announced plans to phase out the space shuttle program by 2010 and instead shift the focus and funding to what was named the Constellation program — a plan to send man back to the moon by 2020. This is all part of a bigger plan to eventually send a manned space mission to Mars. None of that may happen any time soon. The country is broke and in a nasty recession and as a result, the Constellation Program is being reconsidered because of budgetary constraints. Here’s my question to you: In light of the ballooning National Debt, what priority should the U.S. space program have? Click here to view reader responses. (7/6)

Japan's Now-Finished Lunar Mission Found No Water Ice (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
High resolution imaging sensors on the Japanese Kaguya lunar orbiter have failed to detect any signs of water ice in permanently shaded craters around the South Pole of the Moon. (7/6)

Falcon-1 Launch Planned on July 13 (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
The fifth flight of the SpaceX Falcon-1 rocket will launch the RazakSat Earth-imaging spacecraft for Malaysia. The satellite also features the name MACSat, or Medium-sized Aperture Camera Satellite. It will be launched from the Kwajelein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. (7/6)

Craig Technologies Employees at KSC Recognized for Performance (Source: Craig)
The Earned Value Management System (EVMS) team at Kennedy Space Center received a Group Achievement Award for EVMS at the 2009 NASA/KSC Honor Awards Ceremony on May 15th. Craig Technologies has provided project and business management, and administrative support to Kennedy's Ground Operations Project Office (LX) in support of NASA's Constellation Program with SAIC since July 2007. (7/6)

Former Astronaut John Herrington Heads Tulsa's Bid for Retired Shuttle (Source: Examiner)
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium has turned to home-grown space experience in its bid to obtain one of America's space shuttles after their retirement. John Herrington will chair a committee working on landing a shuttle in Oklahoma. Herrington, NASA's first federally-registered Native American astronaut, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. Born in Wetumka, Herrington flew on STS-113, a 2002 mission to the International Space Station. (7/6)

Interplanetary Internet Gets Permanent Home in Space (Source: New Scientist)
The interplanetary internet now has its first permanent node in space, aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The new software will make sending data from space less like using the telephone, and more like using the web. In the modern era of the web and information on demand, teams still have to schedule times to send and receive data from space missions. But the newly installed system aboard the ISS could one day allow data to flow between Earth, spacecraft, and astronauts automatically, creating what is being dubbed the "interplanetary internet". (7/6)

NASA Experts Scale Back Moon/Mars Plans Fearing Funding Cut (Source: Telegraph)
US space experts are downsizing plans to send astronauts back to the moon and possibly to Mars amid fears of funding cuts by the Obama administration. With NASA engineers now floating cut-rate rocket alternatives, some politicians and former astronauts fear that the 2020 deadline will be foiled by financial constraints. Noting a space exploration budget of six billion dollars in 2009, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said: "NASA simply can't do the job it's been given - the president's goal of being on the moon by 2020."

Norman Augustine, chair of the panel reviewing NASA's options, admitted it all comes down to money. "With a few exceptions, we have the technology or the knowledge that we could go to Mars if we wanted with humans. We could put a telescope on the moon if we wanted," he said. "The technology is by and large there. It boils down to what can we afford?" Click here to view the article. (7/6)

Alternate Orion Aboard System Test Planned at Virginia Spaceport (Source: Spaceports Blog)
The test launch of the boilerplate Max Launch Abort System for the Ares-1 rocket is now being re-set at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA for July 8 in the early morning. It has been delayed three previous times. See the odd-looking vehicle and its mission profile here.

The MLAS is a backup safety system for NASA's new generation of manned space vehicles and is designed to propel the crew to safety in event of a launch emergency. An alternate design to the current Orion escape system, the MLAS demonstration vehicle consists of a full-scaled composite fairing, a full-scaled crew module simulator and four solid rocket abort motors mounted in the boost skirt with motor mass simulators in the forward fairing. (7/6)

Astronauts and Filmmaker Host Space Documentary Events in Florida (Source: SPACErePORT)
The Wonder of it All is a feature documentary focusing on the rarely told human side of the men behind the Apollo missions expressed through thoughtful and candid accounts from seven of the surviving Moonwalkers. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Edgar Mitchell, John Young, Charles Duke, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt reflect on their childhood, training, the tragedies, the camaraderie and the effect their space travel had on their families. They fulfilled the dream of humankind to set foot on another world and in so doing, forever changed the way we view ourselves. This film gives us the unique opportunity to preserve the thoughts of these great modern heroes.

Filmmaker Jeffrey Roth will be joined by Apollo moonwalker Ed Mitchell on July 25 to sign DVDs at Borders Books in Boca Raton. Roth will also host signings on July 23 in Oviedo, and July 24 at Kennedy Space Center. Click here for other U.S. dates and locations. (7/6)

Vibration Analysis Delays Ares I-X Stacking (Source: Aviation Week)
Crews at Kennedy Space Center will wait to start stacking the Ares I-X test vehicle so engineers will have more time to analyze three vibration-loads issues that could threaten range safety during its suborbital test flight, which probably will slip into October. Stacking is expected to begin the week of July 6. Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley, who oversees development of the Ares I crew launch vehicle, said July 2 that the extra analysis may give test managers more confidence that they won't have to destack the vehicle later to correct one of three potential problems. If it doesn't, more work may be necessary before stacking can begin.

One of the issues involves concerns by some engineers that the shaking of the four-segment space shuttle solid-rocket booster that forms the active portion of the Ares I-X stack will overwhelm the hydraulic mechanism that drives the thrust vector control system that helps guide the vehicle during powered flight. Engineers also want more calculations on whether the vibrations would disable the avionics box linking the flight termination system on the vehicle with the range safety officers who would destroy it if it veers off course. And they want extra analysis on whether any of the secondary structures inside the steel boilerplate simulating the Ares I upper stage - ladders, railings and the like - could shake loose. (7/6)

Space Tourism: a European Perspective (Source: Space Review)
Space tourism is generally perceived as primarily led by American companies, but there are a number of efforts elsewhere, particularly in Europe, seeking to get involved as vehicle developers and spaceport operators. Jeff Foust reports on a recent conference where these efforts, and some of the obstacles to future development, were discussed. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1411/1 to view the article. (7/6)

Apollo and America's Cold War (Source: Space Review)
As the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission approaches, we are reminded of the superpower space race that made that mission possible. Taylor Dinerman looks back on the geopolitical forces that drive the race to the Moon. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1409/1 to view the article. (7/6)

Russia Sends Three Military Satellites Into Space (Source: Xinhua)
Russia successfully put three military satellites into orbit early Monday. A Russian Rokot carrier rocket carrying three Cosmos-series satellites was launched by the Space Forces from the Plesetsk spaceport in northwest Russia. Rokot is a modified version of the RS-18 two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile. (7/6)

Editorial: NASA's Not Dreaming Far Enough (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Claiming that close-in shuttle missions and robots afar are all we can do is no longer acceptable. Man on the moon was the most profound scientific achievement of our lifetimes because of all it symbolized in the conquering of human knowledge gaps — and it happened too long ago. It's time for "change" to reverse NASA satisfaction with the mundane, and replace it with the other-worldly — so that potentially all mankind can benefit. (7/6)

NASA's Ares I Starting To Take Shape at Marshall (Source: Aviation Week)
Four years after NASA embraced Ares I as the next route to space for U.S. astronauts, the new crew launch vehicle is beginning to move from computer-aided-design workstations to the floors of various "fab labs" here that in some cases date back to the Saturn V program in the 1960s. However, the Ares I's destiny is very much up in the air as a panel headed by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine pores over options for U.S. human spaceflight. The panel is pitting progress, and problems, here against human-rating the Delta IV heavy that already is flying cargo, and against a few other concepts that are still in the "paper-rocket" stage. NASA engineers on the Ares I project are using an approach that dates back to the 1930s, when Wernher von Braun and his colleagues at the German army's Kummersdorf ordnance center near Berlin started developing rockets in-house before farming out production to industry. Click here to view the article. (7/6)

Bizarre Blast is New Class of Supernovae (Source: Cosmos)
A mystery explosion recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2006 was the first of a whole new class of supernova. The explosion showed some odd characteristics, which caused researchers to struggle understanding the nature of the explosion. The astronomers who detected the event were not sure whether it happened in our cosmic neighborhood or at the edge of the universe. And, unusually, the object (also known as SCP 06F6) was located in an empty part of the sky and has no visible host galaxy. (7/6)

Forty Years Ago Man First Walked on the Moon (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
Forty years ago on July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong realized the oldest dream of human civilizations when he became the first man to walk on the moon. As an estimated 500 million people around the world waited with bated breath crowded around fuzzy television screens and radios, Armstrong stepped down the lunar module's ladder and onto the lunar surface. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong intoned, his words slightly distorted by distance and communications equipment, in a phrase now etched forever into the history books. Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins launched from Florida's spaceport on July 16, 1969. (7/5)

US Manned Space Flight in Doubt 40 Years After Moon Walk (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
US ambitions to send astronauts back to the moon as a prelude to missions to Mars have been put in doubt by budgetary constraints 40 years after man's triumphant landing on Earth's nearest neighbor. After the Columbia space shuttle disaster in 2003, former president George W. Bush decided to phase out the shuttle flights and set a more ambitious mandate for America in space. The space shuttles, which have carried crews of astronauts into space since 1981, were conceived as reusable vehicles to transport heavy, bulky equipment into Earth's orbit, primarily for the construction of the International Space Station. But the shuttle has kept the United States stuck in a low orbit for too long at a time when other countries like China are emerging as rivals in space, argues Michael Griffin, the former NASA chief who championed the Constellation program. (7/5)

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