August 7 News Items

Colorado Aerospace Incubator Gaining Momentum With DOD Earmark (Source: Boulder County Business Report)
For a nonprofit incubator that formed in January, eSpace: The Center for Space Entrepreneurship has already taken off at a missilelike pace after it cleared its first hurdle in securing $2 million in government funding, added new mentors and chose its first three companies to incubate. The Boulder-based organization started in January as a collaboration between The University of Colorado and Louisville-based SpaceDev Inc. to support entrepreneurship and workforce development in the space industry. The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved $2 million in funding for the center, but it must also be approved by the Senate and signed by the president before it's finalized. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who pushed for the funding, said the money would come through a Department of Defense appropriations bill in fiscal year 2010. (8/7)

ULA Seeks Colorado Land for a Combined HQ (Source: Denver Business Journal)
United Launch Alliance is looking to build a new headquarters campus south of Denver, raising the prospect of a rare big land deal amid the recession, which has hit the real estate industry hard. The Centennial-based aerospace giant wants to have one location for its 1,700 local employees instead of the three sites it leases in Centennial and Littleton. “We’re exploring all the different alternatives that get our workforce closer together in the south metro area,” said Chris Chavez, ULA spokesman. (8/7)

Report Urges NASA to Resurrect Advanced Concepts Institute (Source:
NASA should resurrect a mothballed institute specifically geared to encourage visionary concepts for future space exploration, according to a new report from the National Research Council (NRC). The report, released Friday, recommended that the space agency revive the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), which was shuttered in 2007, or replace it with a similar innovation-focused entity in order to "seek out far-reaching, advanced concepts with the potential of significant benefit" to NASA's charter and future missions.

"Today, NASA's investment in advanced concepts and long-term technological solutions to its strategic goals is minimal," the new report states. It found the NIAC program extremely successful in encouraging innovative research. The 102-page report comes on the heels of President Barack Obama's Aug. 1 speech calling on America to "recapture the spirit of innovation" during his weekly radio address. In July, an older NRC report also urged NASA to renew efforts in advanced technology development by establishing an internal division modeled on the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). (8/7)

Orbital Gas Station Puts Moon, Mars in Reach (Source: Discovery News)
While debate swirls over whether the U.S. should stick with plans for a base on the moon or head straight to Mars, members of the Augustine Panel have another idea: orbital gas stations. Stashing rocket fuel in orbit around Earth would open a world of possibilities for long-distance space travel, said a subcommittee of the panel. "It is often said that if you want to go beyond LEO (low-Earth orbit, or about 200 miles above the planet) you've got to have a big rocket. I don't think that's right," said Jeff Greason, co-founder of XCOR Aerospace based in Mojave, Calif., and a member of the Augustine Panel. (8/7)

NASA, Utah's ATK to Have Full-Scale Test of Ares I Rocket (Source: Salt Lake Tribune)
NASA and Alliant Techsystems Inc. will conduct the first full-scale, full-duration test of the new first-stage solid rocket motor for the Ares I rocket on Aug. 25, at the ATK test facility in Promontory. The static firing of the five-segment solid motor, designated Development Motor -1, will last two minutes. The goal is to obtain valuable thrust, roll-control, acoustics and vibration data as engineers continue to design Ares I. (8/7)

NASA Notes Progress on Nuclear Power for space Outposts (Source: AIA)
NASA says three recent tests have proven the viability of compact fission reactors that could eventually power human outposts on Mars or the moon. "This recent string of technology development successes confirms that the fission surface power project is on the right path," says a scientist involved in the experiments. (8/7)

Space Shuttle to Deliver New Russian Module to ISS in 2010 (Source: Interfax)
A U.S. space shuttle is to deliver Russia's Small Research Module-1 (MIM-1), which is a multi-purpose laboratory, to the International Space Station (ISS) next spring. "The MIM-1 module is expected to be delivered to the station in a U.S. space shuttle's payload bay in May 2010 in compliance with NASA's obligations," the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said in a press release on Friday. The MIM-1 laboratory is currently being assembled by specialists of the Energia spacecraft corporation in Korolyov outside Moscow. (8/7)

Colorado-Built Telescope Proving Itself (Source: Denver Post)
NASA's Kepler space telescope has detected the atmosphere of a giant gas planet outside the solar system, in what scientists say is a demonstration of the capabilities of the Colorado- built telescope with just 10 days of test data. Results will be published today in the journal Science. Kepler is designed to search for Earthlike planets over the next three and a half years. Boulder-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. built the $591 million spacecraft. Since it was launched March 6 by Centennial-based United Launch Alliance, Kepler has been controlled by the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. (8/7)

Sirius's Loss Widens as Subscribers Slip (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Sirius XM Radio Inc.'s second-quarter loss widened as the satellite-radio company reported $132 million in charges, while its subscriber count slipped and churn rose slightly. Sirius XM, formed in a merger of Sirius and XM last summer, ended the period with 18.4 million subscribers, down 0.9% on a pro-forma basis from a year earlier, and lost 185,999 net subscribers during the quarter. (8/7)

Editorial: Cut NASA Budget, Fund NOAA for Climate Change Research (Source: BDC Network)
I’ve been a critic of NASA’s manned space programs for a long time. In the early 1990s, as editor-in-chief of R&D magazine, we published a brilliant article by a young (21 years old) editor of mine, Ted Kaskowski, on “Shuttle Science.” Young Ted somehow got several NASA astronauts and ex-astronauts, including Sally Ride, to talk to him about the so-called “research experiments” aboard the shuttle flights and how bogus they were. The kid really nailed the story, which won a Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Single Article from American Business Media (the “Neals” are often referred to as the Pulitzer Prize of B2B media). That’s why I’m advocating that America needs more argonauts, not more astronauts.

My argument is this: We need to shift priorities from manned exploration of space to human exploration of our own planet. Instead of seeking the “ultimate goal” of going to Mars, as astronaut Eugene Cernan suggested last July 20 at the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, we need to concentrate our precious research dollars on our oceans and seas and the air around us, so that we can preserve the fragile planet that the Apollo missions so brilliantly revealed to us in those great photos of the blue planet. (8/7)

Editorial: Conservatives in Space (Source: National Review)
In a few weeks, the Augustine Panel will wrap up its work and the Obama administration will chart out NASA’s new course. What should conservatives and libertarians hope to result from this process? There are at least four basic impulses that divide the Right on the question of the federal space agency. To oversimplify: Some strict small-government types want to reduce or even eliminate government spending on human spaceflight. Some conservatives are predisposed to think of space as inhumanly detached from everyday concerns or foolishly distracting from the national interest. Some who are concerned with American glory, strength, and vitality want NASA to take on bold new challenges. And some who are concerned with enterprise want NASA to help the private sector develop space and then to get out of the way. Click here to view the article. (8/7)

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