August 4 News Items

Low-Altitude rocket Launched in New Mexico (Source: AP)
A Florida-based avionics company successfully fired what officials hoped would be the first of two low-altitude rocket launches Tuesday at the New Mexico Spaceport, but the second liftoff was postponed. Moog Industries fired the rocket after a roughly 90-minute delay brought on by a glitch in a GPS antenna that had to be replaced. New Mexico Spaceport officials said the research and development test is important because it demonstrates commercial applications beyond space flights for tourists.

Recovery teams were sent out to retrieve the used rocket for evaluation, and the window to launch was expiring as officials examined it. Jerry Larson of UP Aerospace, which launched the rocket for Moog, said there are five more launch windows in the coming days. The first rocket rose 2,200 feet above the New Mexico desert, arced against the morning sunshine, cut power and glided in for a belly landing.

Larson said Moog representatives were thrilled with the results. He said the test demonstrates an important commercial application. "The great thing about New Mexico is that we can set a launch date on short notice," Larson said. "It demonstrates a small launch crew can pull off a highly technical event." Spaceport director Steve Landeene said the launch, coming about a month after the spaceport's highly publicized groundbreaking, shows there's more to the site than the $200,000 space flights that Virgin Galactic plans to operate within two years. "This is the precursor to huge things, multibillion projects," he said. "You've got to prove it's viable." (8/4)

New Members Join Next Step in Space Coalition (Source: Business Wire)
The Next Step in Space Coalition, a group of businesses, organizations, and people working to ensure the future of US human spaceflight, announced today that its membership has grown to include a diverse set of businesses and organizations, including Google, Inc., Analytic Graphics Inc., the Space Coast Economic Development Commission and the National Space Society. With its new members, the Next Step in Space Coalition now includes large aerospace companies like Sierra Nevada Inc., Analytic Graphics and SpaceX, as well as smaller companies such as Odyssey Moon and Space Adventures. Also pledging their support are space related organizations including Space Florida and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

To date, more than 20 businesses and organizations have joined the Next Step in Space Coalition, which was established to educate government officials and the general public on the current role of commercial companies in space transportation and the potential role of commercial companies in the future of human spaceflight. To see the full list of the Next Step in Space Coalition members and learn more about the importance of commercial spaceflight please visit (8/4)

Stadd Trial Reveals Details of Mississippi Earmark (Source: Space Politics)
Former NASA official Courtney Stadd is on trial for allegedly steering nearly $10 million in NASA funds to a consulting client, Mississippi State University, during a brief stint at the agency in 2005 shortly after Mike Griffin became administrator. During the opening arguments, the defense explained the money came from a $15 million earmark that the Mississippi’s congressional delegation and Griffin’s predecessor, Sean O’Keefe, agreed would go to the state. Stadd’s lawyer said Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran had pressured Griffin during his confirmation to uphold O’Keefe’s commitment, and Griffin told Stadd and other senior NASA officials to “get it done.” Griffin is expected to testify in the case. Stadd was trying to walk the line between carrying out Griffin’s orders and complying with ethics rules when he said the money should go to Mississippi, without ever specifying it should go to Mississippi State University. (8/4)

Don't Dump Shuttle Now (Source: Ft. Meyers News-Press)
Jeff Kottkamp is right: The space shuttle program cannot be allowed to die until it has been replaced by its successor. Last week the lieutenant governor spoke to the U.S. Human Space Flight Review Committee, a panel appointed by President Obama to recommend post-shuttle policies. Kottkamp, a former Lee County legislator, rightly expressed concern for Florida's economy and our continued role in the space program on behalf of Gov. Charlie Crist and Space Florida, the state's space-industry development agency, which Kottkamp co-chairs. (8/4)

State Fair Exhibit Toasts Indiana's Role in Space (Source: Chicago Tribune)
This year's Indiana State Fair will go far beyond its popular farm-related exhibits to include a toast to the state's contributions to space exploration. The Indiana Space Travels exhibit opens Friday in the fairgrounds' Grand Hall and runs throughout the fair, which ends Aug. 23. The exhibit traces Indiana's contributions to aeronautics, dating back to an 1859 hot air balloon flight from Lafayette that was the nation's first airmail delivery. Former NASA astronaut and Purdue University grad Mark Brown, who flew on two space shuttle missions, will attend Friday's opening. (8/4)

Success or Not, South Korean Rocket Launch Is an Important Step (Source: Chosun Ilbo)
The Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, the country's first launch vehicle carrying a satellite into orbit, will blast off on Aug. 11. If the launch is successful, Korea will become the 10th country in the world to launch its own satellite. Korea will take the first step toward space exploration with its own satellite, launch vehicle and space center. The launch of the KSLV-1, also known as Naro, has been scrapped five times so far -- at the end of 2005, 2007, 2008, in the second quarter this year and at the end of July -- due to delays in technological cooperation with Russia and problems securing spare parts. It may be postponed again if unexpected weather or technical glitches arise this week. (8/4)

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