August 26 News Items

NASA Extends Lockheed Martin Space Station Cargo Integration Contract (Source: NASA)
NASA has awarded Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems Inc. in Houston a one-year contract extension valued at $33 million to provide integration services for cargo delivery to and from the International Space Station. Lockheed Martin has held the station's cargo mission contract since January 2004. The one-year extension will bring the total value of the contract to $381 million. (8/26)

Landsat 5 Resumes Operations After Anomaly (Source: Space News)
The U.S. government's aging Landsat 5 Earth observation satellite was recertified for operations Aug. 17 after inexplicably tumbling out of its operating orbit Aug. 13, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) spokesman said Aug. 26. (8/26)

LCROSS Mission On Track Despite Weekend Propellant Bender (Source: Space News)
A navigation glitch that caused NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) to consume more than half of its propellant over the weekend should not prevent the novel spacecraft from crashing into the Moon this October as planned. (8/26)

Kamikaze Planet (Source: Science Now)
Astronomers have found a giant planet orbiting so close to its parent star that it's bound to spiral inward to its doom or else be ripped to shreds by the star's gravity. Either way, the planet called WASP-18b should provide astronomers with a mother lode of data about the delicate gravitational balancing act that affects all solar systems. Researchers have found an extreme version of tidal forces at work. WASP-18b is roughly 10 times the mass of Jupiter, and it orbits only about 3 million kilometers from its star. WASP-18b and its star are so close to each other that it takes the planet, which is described in tomorrow's issue of Nature, less than a day to complete a revolution. (8/26)

Dust Storm Adds Urgency to Mars Rover Predicament (Source:
Dust storms are currently stirring up the Martian skies in the region where NASA's Spirit rover is stuck in the sand. The swirling sands don't pose an immediate threat to Spirit, but they could create more urgency for the effort to free the mired rover if dust obscures her access to solar energy. Spirit has been stuck in Martian dirt up to its hubcaps since May 6, when it became mired in a dirt patch (now called "Troy") while driving backward. (8/26)

Swanky Space Hotel Concept Revealed (Source:
Space tourism may face some challenges with the uncertainty over the next-generation rides into space. But that hasn't stopped Earth designers from envisioning future space hotels for paying thrill seekers. A robot concierge, a redesigned showerhead and a full-sensory exercise wall are just part of the Space Hotel Project created by master's degree students in a program hosted by Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art in the UK. The concept could theoretically attach to the International Space Station, so long as the growing space outpost remains in orbit. (8/26)

Joint American-Russian Manned Mars Mission? (Source: Spaceports Blog)
The the head of NASA's Moscow office has invited Russia to carry out a joint manned flight to Mars, according to RIA Novosti. Marc Bowman told an international aviation and space conference in Moscow that the Mars mission should take advantage of the achievements made by the International Space Station and use a multinational crew. Bowman said the flight should be under the control of NASA and the Russian space agency but with the participation of international space agencies. However, he said that before a joint flight to Mars could be made, it was necessary to complete the ISS mission and fly to the Moon to collect essential scientific and technical information. Bowman is the Manager of Moscow Technical Liaison Office (MTLO), the Deputy Director of the Human Space Flight Program-Russia (HSFP-R), in addition to serving as an attache with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. (8/26)

Editorial: Lo$t in $pace (Source: Mesquite Local News)
Some of the loudest noise surrounding the current debate over a nationalized health care plan involves the cost of such a program. How much will it cost, how will it be paid and who will foot the bill? What I haven’t heard much of and which I would like to have addressed is a third consideration, which involves existing government activities that could be cut or modified. This third consideration would involve shifting government expenditures according to a set of prioritized decisions as to how our Federal tax dollars are spent in support of other programs.

What programs should we cut? In this regard I would like to suggest reducing the cost of a program that will surely prove to be unpopular, yet no longer serves a legitimate government need. I am proposing that we begin to dismantle and eliminate the current and future programs operated by NASA. It’s a difficult recommendation to make as our space program has, over the years, been the source of great pride and discovery. However, since we won the space race by beating the Soviet Union to the moon, there is not really that much more left to learn about space flight. This is exemplified by the current use of the Space Shuttle to ferry people and things into space. Unfortunately this white elephant has proven to be neither safe nor cost effective. (8/26)

Sep. 8 Space Club Luncheon Features ATK Perspective on Ares (Source: NSCFL)
The Florida Committee of the National Space Club will hold its next luncheon event on Sep. 8 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Cocoa Beach. The featured speaker will be Charlie Precourt, providing an update on NASA's Ares rocket development program and ATK's perspective. For reservations, call LaDonna at 321-505-2037 or (8/25)

Ted Kennedy Dies; Space Program and NASA Explorer Schools Among his Causes (Source: Examiner)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), brother of President John F. Kennedy, who challenged America to land on the moon in a decade, has died of brain cancer. In 2006, Kennedy, along with former astronaut Jeff Hoffman and other dignitaries, opened a NASA Explorers School in Lynn, Mass. Part of a national effort, the Explorers Schools puts NASA content and programs into science, technology and mathematics curricula in classroom grades 4-9 across the United States. Targeting underserved populations in diverse geographic locations, NASA Explorer Schools will bring together educators, administrators, students and families in sustained involvement with NASA's education programs. (8/26)

Russia, U.S. Undecided on Site of Rocket Observation Center (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia and the U.S. have yet to decide on where to place a joint control point to observe rocket launches by foreign countries, Russia's chief of staff said on Wednesday. During his visit to Moscow in July, U.S. President Barack Obama discussed with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev issues relating to the development of anti-rocket systems, and began talks on creating a joint "Center for Information Exchange," which would inform both countries of rocket launches throughout the world.

"The issue of creating a joint control point to observe rocket launches and to inform one another of unsanctioned launches is being discussed," Gen. Nikolai Makarov told a news conference in Mongolia's capital. He said the center would allow both countries to inform each other of rocket launches, which country is launching them, and of the threat posed by them. The two countries have been discussing the creation of such a center since 2000, but have not yet decided on where the center should be located, although Moscow has not been ruled out. (8/24)

Volunteers Needed for Cocoa Beach Air Show, Oct. 2-4 (Source: SPACErePORT)
Volunteers are vital to an air show's success! By becoming a volunteer you can play a significant role in making the 2009 Cocoa Beach Air Show (Oct. 2-4) happen and see it all from behind the scenes. You'll also get to participate in some of the private functions and events that will take place during Air Show Week in Cocoa Beach. Please note that all of the volunteer positions are unpaid. Every volunteer will receive: 2 tickets to Show Center Beach; a parking pass; complimentary lunch and soft drinks on the day(s) worked; a special edition event t-shirt being provided only to performers, staff & volunteers. Click here to volunteer.

Russia to Invest $143 Million in Engines for New Angara Rocket (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia will invest about 4.5 billion rubles ($143 mln) by 2015 in the production of engines for a family of Angara carrier rockets, the Perm Territory's government said on Monday. The RD-191 is a high-performance single-combustion chamber rocket engine, which recently passed a series of benchmark tests at the Proton-PM company in the Perm Territory in the Urals, and will be soon certified for test flights. Russia's Federal Space Agency Roscosmos and the Perm Territory signed an investment agreement last week during the MAKS-2009 air show near Moscow.

The environmentally-friendly Angara rocket, currently under development by the Khrunichev center, is designed to put heavy payloads into orbit. It is intended mainly for launch from the Plesetsk spaceport to reduce Moscow's dependence on Kazakhstan's Baikonur, the main launch facility for the current generation of Russian rockets. The new line of rockets will complement, and eventually replace, the existing line of Rockot and Proton launch vehicles. It will be available in a range of configurations capable of lifting between two and 24.5 metric tons into low-earth orbit. (8/24)

NASA Sets Friday Morning for Next Shuttle Launch Attempt (Source: NASA)
NASA has targeted the next launch attempt for space shuttle Discovery for no earlier than 12:22 a.m. EDT Friday, Aug. 28, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Wednesday's launch attempt was postponed after an indication that a valve in the shuttle's main propulsion system failed to perform as expected during fueling of the shuttle's external fuel tank. (8/26)

Editorial: Why the Space Program No Longer Inspires Kids (Source: Denver Post)
If our children no longer care about space exploration, it's not because they're tuning out. In recent decades, what has our space program given this country, and our children, to be proud of? The most memorable events I can think of are misfires and failures—the tragedies of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttles, and the romantic crime drama of Linda Nowak, an American astronaut gone bad. I find it mind-boggling that four decades after the 1969 moon landing, we have taken no next step.

In 2009, we can benefit from four more decades of scientific research and technological advancements. Another moon landing and even a journey beyond should not represent the challenges that they seem to do. We continue to act as though we've never tried this before. This nation has lost something. Call it focus. Call it grit and determination. Call it a reality check.

We see how China's energy efficiency programs are catching up to and may soon overtake ours. We see how the current financial crisis reveals the extent to which our country has been living an illusion for close to 30 years. And we see the increasing polarization of our political system, where we are more likely to identify ourselves as Democrats or Republicans than as Americans. Will it really be a surprise if Russia or China reaches the moon, before we do? (8/26)

South Korea: It's Time to Double Efforts to Realize Space Dream (Source: Korea Times)
South Korea took one step closer to space development even though it failed to put a satellite into orbit during its first space rocket launch on Tuesday. To put it simply, it failed in its dream of joining the world's space club. First, we have to admit that the nation has pushed its space program too quickly and recklessly despite its inability to make its own space rocket. The country had to turn to Russia in 2004 to jointly develop the Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-1). It paid 250 billion won to the space power for the joint project, under which Russia made the main, first-stage rocket while Korea assembled the second-stage rocket and the scientific satellite.

The Korean side had hoped to acquire some core technologies for rocket production from Russia. But the foreign partner has refused to transfer such sensitive technology to Korea. Therefore, the partnership has proved to be nothing but Korea's purchase of the Russian rocket. On the other hand, the Russian side has taken an opportunity to experiment with its next-generation rocket by exploiting the KSLV-1 project. (8/26)

NASA Ames Gets Ready for New Green Building (Source: San Jose Mercury News)
NASA's Ames Research Center is ready to begin construction of what is planned as the greenest building ever built by the federal government, a structure that will use state-of-the-art sensors developed for space missions but also rely on the age-old strategy of opening the window to catch a cool breeze. Christened "Sustainability Base" by NASA in an homage to "Tranquility Base," the site of the first moon landing 40 years ago, the $20.6 million building will begin construction in late September or early October near the gateway to Moffett Field. (8/26)

Managers Mull Options After LCROSS Moon Mission Malfunction (Source: Spaceflight Now)
Officials are hurriedly looking for ways to save fuel on NASA's $79 million lunar impactor mission after a crisis Saturday caused the spacecraft to burn more than half of its remaining propellant. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite used about 140 kilograms, or 309 pounds, of maneuvering fuel to maintain the probe's orientation in space Saturday, according to Dan Andrews, the mission's project manager at Ames Research Center.

LCROSS is tugging a 41-foot-long Centaur rocket stage on a circuitous route through space. Scientists are preparing for a fleeting series of observations as the spent booster is released for a suicidal plunge into the moon on Oct. 9. The 6-foot-tall shepherding spacecraft's attitude control system was specifically designed to handle the unusual job of positioning the 47-foot-long stack as it flies toward the moon. LCROSS is now perilously close to its built-in propellant margins, and the team will probably have to cancel some activities that are not crucial to the mission. (8/26)

No comments: