August 21 News Items

The Commercial Perspective on Human Spaceflight (Source: Houston Chronicle)
With the Augustine commission rapidly nearing the completion of its report on the course of human spaceflight, due at the end of this month, one of the emerging themes has been the role of commercial transport. To get the commercial vantage point on the Augustine commission I spoke with two members of the Next Step in Space coalition, Mark Sirangelo, executive vice president of Sierra Nevada Corporation and Larry Williams, vice president of strategic relations for Space X. Click here to read the interview. (8/18)

Embry-Riddle and UCF Alumna Ready For Her First Journey into Space (Source: ERAU)
Nicole P. Stott, an Embry-Riddle College of Engineering alumna, will soon reach her ultimate career goal by taking her first trip off planet Earth on Space Shuttle Discovery’s upcoming mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The STS-128 launch is currently scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 1:36 a.m. EDT. As a flight engineer, she’ll live and work aboard the ISS for three months, catching a ride home in November on Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Stott received a B.S. in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus in 1987, an M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Central Florida in 1992, and is also an instrument-rated private pilot. She is one of six Embry-Riddle alumni who are current or former astronauts. (8/19)

Near-Lightspeed Nano Spacecraft Might Be Close (Source: MSNBC)
Massive particle accelerators are exploring the world of the very small, and similar technology may someday propel needle-sized spacecraft to distances on a scale so large as to be almost unimaginable — between star systems. Thanks to research on nano-sized thrusters that act like portable particle accelerators, tiny spacecraft might be accelerated to near-lightspeed and sent to explore nearby stars — perhaps within our lifetimes. Click here to view the article. (8/21)

First Wave of Florida Layoffs Expected in October, 1,000 Direct Job Losses (Source: SPACErePORT)
During last week's Regional Aerospace Workforce Initiative (RAWI) meeting in Orlando, workforce agency officials said they anticipate a first wave of space-related job losses in October, with about 1,000 people entering the unemployment rolls. If NASA's multiplier figure of 2.8 is applied to compute the ripple effect, the October layoffs will be followed by 2,800 additional jobs lost in the local economy. (8/21)

Small Businesses Defraud NASA With SBIR Schemes (Source: New Scientist)
Blatant fraud is continuing to rob NASA of funds 17 years after such scams were first uncovered, according to its Office of Inspector General (OIG) in Washington DC. In a letter to NASA on 13 August, acting assistant inspector general Debra Pettitt outlined the ways in which firms awarded grants by the space agency under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) scheme have hoodwinked NASA. It's not too difficult. Because many agencies offer SBIR funds, some fraudsters have been "receiving awards from multiple agencies for essentially the same work", says Pettitt. Other firms boasted of employing high-profile principal investigators who turned out not to work for them at all. (8/21)

Jacksonville Looking Toward Space (Source: Jax Daily Record)
By the end of the year, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority expects to get word from the FAA that it’s time to look beyond the boundaries of gravity. The FAA is currently in the final stages of reviewing the JAA’s application for Cecil Field to become a Certified Space Port. “We are not there, but we are close,” said Michael Stewart, director of external affairs for JAA. Stewart said JAA got a request back from the FAA for a little more information, most of it legal in nature. Because commercial space is still conceptual in nature, Stewart said he understands the FAA’s caution.

Jacksonville Economic Development Commission Executive Director Ron Barton said the commercial space port effort is “alive and well.” According to Barton, if JAA gets the certification, Cecil Field would the only certified commercial space port in the state. “With that certification, they (JAA) have positioned Cecil Field as a legitimate location to house space flight tourism activity,” said Barton. “We are currently working with one of only a few companies that have the technology and capability to pursue this type of business.” (8/20)

NASA Goes to Landlord School (Source: NASA Watch)
NASA/HQ plans to issue a purchase order for a 1-year membership to participate on the Real Estate Executive Board (REEB), a program of the Corporate Executive Board. The membership in Corporate Executive Board provides full access rights to a wide range of government and senior business leaders to understand the business drivers relating to real property portfolio management. (8/20)

Space Florida and KSC Brief Officials on Exploration Park Plans (Source: SPACErePORT)
Officials from Space Florida, NASA, and developer Pizzuti Co. briefed Central Florida government, industry and academic stakeholders on renewed plans for the development of Exploration Park at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Sixty acres of property adjacent to the state-owned Space Life Sciences (SLS) Lab is available for development under a long-term NASA Enhanced-Use Lease with Space Florida. Construction of roadways and infrastructure is expected to begin in June 2010. Space Florida and NASA anticipate a September 2010 relocation of the current KSC fenceline to allow the SLS Lab to operate outside of KSC's secure area and serve as an anchor facility for Exploration Park. Click here for information. (8/21)

NASTAR Explores Location at Exploration Park (Source: SPACErePORT)
The Pennsylvania-based National Aerospace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center, currently home to Virgin Galactic's passenger and crew training programs, is considering a relocation to Central Florida, possibly Exploration Park. NASTAR met with local university officials last week to discuss the company's training and simulation capabilities and explore opportunities for collaboration. (8/21)

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