August 27 News Items

Space Florida Preparing to Select New President (Source: SPACErePORT)
A committee of Space Florida's board of directors will meet on Sep. 3, 11 and 16 to interview candidates and recommend a permanent replacement for former president Steve Kohler, who resigned on May 8. The Sep. 3 and 11 meetings are all-day affairs in Pensacola and Orlando, and the Sep. 16 meeting is a teleconference with Gov. Charlie Crist or Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (they serve as chairman and co-chairman of the board) to review the committee's recommendations. The full board will meet on Sep. 17 via teleconference to make a decision. Frank DiBello has been serving as Space Florida's acting president and is expected to be among the finalists for the permanent position. Executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International has been working under contract to Space Florida to support the process. (8/27)

Conrad Foundation Opens Registration for 2010 Spirit of Innovation Awards (Source: Conrad Foundation)
The San Francisco-based Conrad Foundation, a non-profit science-education and entrepreneurship advocacy organization, has opened registration for the 2010 Spirit of Innovation Awards. This competition challenges teams of high school students to create innovative products in four categories: aerospace exploration, space nutrition, renewable energy and green schools. Competing students will be guided through a phased pathway incorporating science, technology, design, marketing and business in an interdisciplinary, project-based product development experience. Visit for information. (8/27)

NASA Postpones Ares 1 Rocket Motor Test (Source: AFP)
NASA on Thursday delayed the debut test of the first stage motor of the Ares 1 rocket, the launch vehicle for the space shuttle's successor, Orion, the space agency said. The static test, which was supposed to have been conducted at NASA's Promontory test center in Utah, was postponed indefinitely following a problem in an auxiliary motor that supplied hydraulic pressure. (8/27)

Maryland Plan Calls for $72M Investment in STEM Workforce, R&D Infrastructure (Source: SSTI)
To establish Maryland as a global leader in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce and STEM-based R&D infrastructure, a task force convened last year by Gov. Martin O'Malley urges the state to adopt a set of initiatives to reach higher performance standards in teaching and learning in addition to greater productivity in transforming the state's high volume of R&D activity into economic growth and job creation. The full report of the task force, which is co-chaired by William Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland, is available here. (8/27)

NASA Targeting Late Friday for Third Shuttle Launch Try (Source: AP)
NASA will try to launch space shuttle Discovery to the space station late Friday night, after back-to-back delays caused by bad weather and fuel valve trouble. It will be the third try for NASA, which is still struggling to understand why a critical shuttle fuel valve appeared to malfunction Tuesday midway through the fueling process. The valve was tested Wednesday night, and all indications were that it was a problem with a sensor rather than the valve itself, said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel. The hydrogen fuel valve, a big 8-inch device, is located in Discovery's engine compartment. (8/27)

Sun's Cycle Alters Earth's Climate (Source:
Weather patterns across the globe are partly affected by connections between the 11-year solar cycle of activity, Earth's stratosphere and the tropical Pacific Ocean, a new study finds. The study could help scientists get an edge on eventually predicting the intensity of certain climate phenomena, such as the Indian monsoon and tropical Pacific rainfall, years in advance. The sun is the ultimate source of all the energy on Earth; its rays heat the planet and drive the churning motions of its atmosphere.

The amount of energy the sun puts out varies over an 11-year cycle (this cycle also governs the appearance of sunspots on the sun's surface as well as radiation storms that can knock out satellites), but that cycle changes the total amount of energy reaching Earth by only about 0.1 percent. A conundrum for meteorologists was explaining whether and how such a small variation could drive major changes in weather patterns on Earth. (8/27)

Posey Talks Space in Interview (Source: Florida Today)
Question: A presidential commission has announced recommendations on spaceflight and the shuttle fleet that seem to put the Space Coast in a tough position. Your take? Answer: None of the scenarios is what we had hoped. There are some things you just can't do on the cheap. And you can't maintain space dominance for half as much as it should cost. I see nothing that will reduce the (shuttle jobs) gap, which the president said he would do when he was here. I see the gap getting longer -- I don't even like to say that out loud. We have legislation . . . Rep. Suzanne Kosmas is a co-sponsor, that would fly the shuttle until there is a man-rated vehicle that can take its place. (8/27)

Editorial: Fly Me to the Moon (Source: Honolulu Advertiser)
The U.S. pyramiding national, state, city debts put people in bondage; literally, in servitude. But, may we consider the privatization of NASA? Space exploration is a huge waste of federal revenue! NASA can easily be funded by corporations in the private sector rather than on backs of the nation’s poor. Privatization would remove the massive yearly cost of NASA’s accounts payable. CNBC reported in July that NASA costs taxpayers $187 billion! NASA’s “lease rights” could be sold to corporations to create an account receivable to begin repaying the federal deficit. Social programs are altogether more important than exploration of outer space. Even exploring earth’s oceans has more practical common sense and promise than NASA’s current purpose (and what is it, anyway?). (8/27)

NASA Ames Designated 2009 AIAA Historic Aerospace Site (Source: NASA)
In recognition of 70 years of pioneering aerospace research and its significant contributions to aerospace history, NASA Ames Research Center today was honored as a 2009 Historic Aerospace Site by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Since its founding in 1939, Ames has made substantial strides in aerospace research. (8/26)

Rocket Engine Test Stands Exhibit Slated (Source: Ventura County Star)
The Aerospace Cancer Museum of Education (ACME) and NASA are hosting an exhibit on the history of the rocket engine test stands at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The Aug. 28 exhibit opening features a presentation on the test stands by Allen Elliott of NASA and the ACME members. ACME opened in May as a center where community members can learn about Santa Susana Field Laboratory and the historic clean-up initiatives to take place as recently directed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In a unique and unprecedented collaboration by founders William Preston Bowling and Christina Walsh, ACME will organize and activate a public hungry for accurate information about this and other astronomically polluted Nuclear and Aerospace Research sites. For more information, visit: (8/27)

Test for NASA's Ares-1 Rocket Motor (Source: BBC)
The first-stage rocket motor that NASA hopes will launch astronauts in future undergoes its first full-scale test on Thursday. The static firing will take place at a facility owned by manufacturer Alliant Techsystems Inc (ATK) in Utah. The five-segment booster is intended to power the early flight phase of NASA's Ares 1 rocket, the vehicle designed to loft its new Orion crew carrier. The two-minute burn will give engineers valuable performance data. Further engineering data will come from the October flight of a demonstrator version of the Ares 1 known as Ares 1-X. (8/27)

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