August 6 News Items

Boeing to Bid for EGLS Contract (Source: Satellite News)
Boeing announced that it plans to bid as prime contractor for the Exploration Ground Launch Services (EGLS) program to provide ground systems integration and launch operations for Constellation, NASA's next-generation space exploration initiative. Editor's Note: This contract, which would employ much of KSC's contractor workforce after the Space Shuttle retires, will replace the Space Shuttle support contract now held by United Space Alliance (a Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint venture). (7/31)

Ex-Space Florida Board Member Found Guilty of Self-Enrichment Charges (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Back in May, the Orlando Sentinel wrote about how former NASA executive Courtney Stadd played a role in naming Steve Kohler the president of Space Florida and then a year later received a $25,000 consulting contract from the agency. The deal played a small role in the wave of criticism that prompted Kohler to step down from the post. That story also mentioned that Stadd had been charged with directing a $9.6 million NASA earth sciences appropriation to Mississippi State University during a brief period when he served as then-new NASA administrator Mike Griffin's chief of staff. Stadd's consulting firm had an $85,000 contract with the university. The AP reports that a jury has found Stadd guilty. (8/6)

Ex-top NASA Official Guilty of Ethics Violations (Source: AP)
A former top NASA official has been found guilty of breaking ethics laws by steering nearly $10 million of the agency's funds to a consulting client. A jury found Courtney Stadd of Bethesda, Md., illegally benefited a private client while on the agency's payroll and lied to ethics officials. Stadd was NASA's chief of staff from 2001-2003. He left to start a consulting business, but came back temporarily in 2005 to help a new administrator reorganize the agency. During that time, he steered $12 million in agency funds for earth science research to the state of Mississippi. One of his clients, Mississippi State University, ended up with $9.6 million. He faces up to 15 years in prison at sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 6. (8/6)

ATK Announces Quarterly Growth (Source: ATK)
Alliant Techsystems reported increased sales and earnings in the first quarter of FY-2010. Sales for the quarter rose 7.5 percent to $1.2 billion, driven by strong demand for commercial ammunition products, continued strength in military ammunition, and new international ammunition sales, partially offset by expected lower sales in the company's Space Systems group. Orders in the quarter were up 123 percent to $1.6 billion. The orders growth was driven by the strength of the company's ammunition business and commercial aerospace structures. Net income in the first quarter was up 28 percent to $69 million. (8/6)

'Stunning' Images of Distant Planet Sent by Kepler Scope (Source: AFP)
Five months after it was launched on a mission to find earth-like planets, the Kepler space telescope has sent back to Earth high-precision images of a planet some 1,000 light years away. But the real excitement at NASA was over how well Kepler was working, and the promise it holds for the future. With Kepler only in the calibration phase, the telescope, which was launched in March on a mission to find earth-like planets in the galaxy, sent back to Earth highly precise images of a planet with the unromantic name of HAT-P-7-B. (8/6)

Andrews Space Delivers Spaceflight Hardware for Aerojet / Bigelow (Source: Andrews)
Andrews Space, Inc. has delivered avionics flight hardware to Aerojet for Bigelow Aerospace's Sundancer Aft Propulsion System. Under a five month fixed-price contract, Andrews developed, flight-qualified and delivered, 20 propulsion system diode boards responsible for electromotive force protection within the Aerojet propulsion system. Aerojet is under contract to Bigelow to develop the integrated aft propulsion system on Bigelow's Sundancer human-tended space platform. (8/6)

With "Low-Hanging Fruit" Already Gone, Pentagon Seeks $60B in Savings (Source: AIA)
Pentagon efforts to free up $60 billion for anti-insurgency efforts could lead to more pressure for weapons cuts, Reuters reports. But as Congress adds billions in funding for programs the Pentagon doesn't want, some experts say it will be easier to wring savings from maintenance cuts and base closures rather than big-ticket weapons systems. ent facilities or personnel. (8/6)

Space Florida Seeks Consolidated License for Launch Pads from FAA (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Space Florida’s ongoing work with the FAA includes a request that the FAA issue a consolidated, multi-site license to Space Florida that encompasses both SLC-36 and SLC-46. This first-ever consolidated license request by Space Florida is an innovative, streamlined approach for the Commercial Launch Zone (CLZ) since having a consolidated license will reduce duplicative efforts and facilitate future FAA licensing by Space Florida’s CLZ launch customers. (8/6)

South Africa Reaching to Space to Boost Economy (Source: Reuters)
South Africa aims to become a regional centre for space technology, investing in satellite and telescope projects to support its ailing economy, the science and technology minister said on Thursday. "When a country engages in a program as significant globally as space science there are many areas in which the economy is boosted," Minister Naledi Pandor said. "First in terms of the products, such as building satellites... (or) you may want to establish a launching pad, that in itself is a major infrastructural investment," she said. (8/6)

Private Spaceships Get a (Smaller) Boost (Source: MSNBC)
NASA plans to award $50 million in stimulus funds in November to support private-sector development of new spaceships capable of carrying crew members to the international space station. Details about the program, known as Commercial Crew Development or CCDev, came out on Tuesday via the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

CCDev follows up on the $500 million Commercial Orbital Transportation System program, or COTS, which backs the development of cargo-carrying capability by private-sector spacecraft. California-based SpaceX and Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp. are currently benefiting from that program and have been awarded $3.5 billion in contracts for space station deliveries.

When the COTS program was set up, there were suggestions that it could be extended to cover crew flights as well as cargo flights - the so-called Option D, or COTS-D. At one point, NASA had planned to offer $150 million for commercial crew development, but that figure was scaled back last month when Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., protested. The move left some observers grumbling that Shelby was flexing his political muscle to get more money for NASA's multibillion-dollar Constellation program. (8/6)

Ares May Yet Launch for NASA (Source: WAFF)
The Augustine Panel has three more weeks to make its final recommendations to President Obama. There were hints Wednesday that all of them will include keeping the Marshall Space Flight Center designed and developed Ares rockets in some form or fashion. (8/6)

‘Mars First' Advocate Receives an Icy Response (Source: Houston Chronicle)
Go-to-Mars advocate Robert Zubrin urged President Barack Obama to skip the moon and send astronauts straight to Mars to end four decades of “stagnation” in the nation's manned space program. Zubrin, the founder of the Mars Society, told the Augustine Panel that the Obama administration ought to station astronauts on Mars for up to 18 months so men and women on Earth could “know the truth about the diversity and prevalence of life” in a universe that has at least 200 solar systems with conditions potentially favorable for developing life.

“The technology is there to do this,” insisted Zubrin, an aerospace engineer widely known for his single-minded support for going to Mars. “There is sufficient political support in Congress to implement a bold program. The American people want a space program that actually takes us somewhere.” Edward Crawley, a professor at MIT serving on the commission, said panel members agreed that “we should eventually go to Mars” but the timetable and sequencing remained to be worked out within mounting budget constraints. (8/6)

China to Finish High-Resolution Topographic Lunar Map by September (Source: Xinhua)
China will complete a 3D topographic map of the moon by the end of September, according to a chief designer with the project on Wednesday, calling the map the "clearest" in the world. "Currently, most of the lunar topographic maps were made by data acquired by laser altimeter instruments. With the large amount of highly-detailed images taken by Chang'e-1, the map we are making will be of the highest resolution in the world," Li Chunlai, chief designer of the ground application system with the project, said. (8/6)

Editorial: Back-to-Moon Loons Divert Cash from Better Mission (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Twenty years ago, George H.W. Bush announced we were going back to the moon. Five years ago, George W. Bush announced we were going back to the moon. Now, we have a White House panel deciding whether we should go back to the moon. Then, one assumes, it will be Barack Obama's turn to send us back to the moon. The reason we have to keep redeciding whether to go back to the moon is the same reason we stopped going in the 1970s. There is no reason to go there.

The great moon race of the 1960s was a Cold War competition. That granted it the luxury of urgency, unlimited support and funding. We won. We celebrated. We got bored. We pulled the plug on Apollo. A journey to Mars, which would follow the moon, is no different. Absent a Soviet Union to motivate us, there is no reason to go. Our satellites and rovers can tell us all we need to know about Mars at a fraction of the cost. Manned spaceflight has morphed from Cold War competition to a badly mismanaged federal jobs program. (8/6)

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