August 20 News Items

Photographer's Career Took Off in a Flash (Source: Clay Today)
Part thrill seeker, part psychologist and 100 percent dedicated to his craft, Flashback Photography co-owner Bryan Rapoza (of Orange Park, FL) has taken pictures of Ozzie Osborne at zero gravity, astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a vertical wind tunnel, a bride and groom at the world’s first weightless wedding and free-falling skydivers in mid-flight. He also took the cover photo for the Father’s Day 2007 edition of The Sharper Image catalog. Not bad for a self-taught, 26-year-old guy who began shooting seven years ago. What started out as “an alternative to working out in the sun every day for no money” has turned into a merging of passions for Rapoza, whose commercial accomplishments have been equal to the quality of his work. Blessed with a creative mind capable of grasping technical nuances in the complex world of flash photography, Rapoza is living his childhood dreams of floating in space. Click here to view the article. (8/20)

Editorial: Korea's Naro Fiasco (Source: Dong-A Ilbo)
It is really regrettable that the launch of the KSLV-1, Korea’s first space rocket that is also called Naro, was halted just eight minutes before blastoff Wednesday. The delay was reportedly due to a glitch in the software designed to check the rocket’s condition that led to the inaccurate reading of the pressure of a fuel tank. Korean scientists were not involved in the analysis of the reason behind the suspension. Contrary to the Korean government’s claim of working together with Russia to develop the phase-one liquid-fuel rocket, Russia is spearheading the project while Korea has just bought the technology. Seoul says it will develop itself 80 percent of the technologies related to the launch pad, but Moscow has apparently declined to hand over design blueprints for the core technology. (8/20)

NASA Opportunities Abound for Commercial Space Efforts (Source:
Despite bleak budget forecasts and the uncertainty surrounding NASA's human exploration program, opportunities for commercial space firms are better than they have been in decades, according to government and industry officials. Not only do NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver seem to be very supportive of commercial space ventures, but the challenging budgetary environment means space agency officials are searching for innovative ways to meet their goals, said Jim Muncy.

During her July 8 confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Garver said her recent experience working as a consultant in the commercial sector of the aerospace industry "taught me that the incredible talent and dedication of the work force not only resides at NASA, but also in private industry." Government and industry officials point to other promising developments. When White House Science Adviser John Holdren called in May for a thorough review of the agency's human spaceflight plans and programs, he cited "stimulating commercial spaceflight capability" as one of the review board's primary goals. (8/20)

Editorial: No More Small Steps, Let Alone Giant Leaps? (Source: New Scientist)
In a presentation that was likened to pulling back the curtain to reveal the Wizard of Oz, former astronaut Sally Ride stood before a crowd several blocks from the White House last week and unveiled the consequences of years of NASA scrimping. The Augustine Panel painted a bleak picture of an agency mired in financial woes.

NASA has lost about $10 billion in total since Bush announced his vision, says Scott Pace, the director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. That includes budget cuts and some $7.8 billion in unanticipated or underestimated costs the agency has absorbed, mainly for restoring the shuttle program after the Columbia shuttle disaster and flying extra missions to complete the ISS.

Obama's first budget for the agency includes further cuts - a one-time hit of more than $3 billion, taken away from the agency's human space-flight program from 2011 to 2013. The president's budget came with a caveat that this cut could be undone depending on the outcome of the review. When the budget was released in February, "one of the things I said at the time is that if this [$3 billion loss] becomes permanent, it's over, there is no manned exploration program," says Pace. "The program was already operating very close to the edge." (8/20)

Koreans, French Funded New Russian Angara Booster (Source: Parabolic Arc)
There’s an interesting sidelight to Wednesday’s upcoming launch of South Korea’s first rocket, KSLV-1 (Nano-1), that gives some valuable insights into how Russia conducts its space business. The Russian-made lower-stage is actually the first stage of that nation’s new Angara family of rockets. The Korean government paid for the development, although the Russians are not sharing any of the technical details with them. (The Koreans have built the KSLV’s second stage using their own technologies.) Another interesting fact about Angara: it will use the Block I upper stage that was developed for the new Soyuz 2.1-b rocket. The French helped pay for the development of this commercial rocket, which is being launched out of both Baikonur and French Guiana. (8/20)

Don't Give Up on the Moon, Former NASA Chief Urges (Source: AIA)
Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin says the U.S. should not back down from its goal of returning astronauts to the moon. In a speech in Tuscaloosa, Ala., this week, Griffin criticized administrations dating back to Richard Nixon for chipping away at NASA's budget and wavering over the agency's mission. "As long as space is a frontier, the U.S. should be at its edge," Griffin said. (8/20)

SpaceTEC Wins Continued NSF Funding for Certification Effort (Source: SpaceTEC)
SpaceTEC, the Brevard Community College-based national consortium for aerospace technical training certification, has won $800,000 from the National Science Foundation to continue its efforts with various partner institutions. SpaceTEC provides an industry-recognized certification (modeled on the FAA's A&P license) for space industry technicians who complete courses and pass tests aimed at ensuring their proficiency. SpaceTEC-certified technicians are now employed throughout the aerospace industry. Visit for information. (8/20)

Embry-Riddle Retains Top Spot for 10th Straight Year (Source: ERAU)
For the 10th year in a row, the annual “America’s Best Colleges” guide published by U.S. News & World Report has ranked Embry-Riddle’s aerospace engineering program #1 in the nation and has placed the University in the top tier of all schools granting master’s degrees. In the specialty category of “Best Undergraduate Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering Programs at Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Bachelor’s or Master’s,” Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus took first place and the Prescott, Ariz., campus was honored with a third-place ranking. Additionally, in the broader category of “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs at Schools Whose Highest Degree is a Bachelor’s or Master’s,” Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus was ranked #12. (8/20)

Panel Keeps NASA Chief Guessing (Source: Huntsville Times)
What will a White House-appointed panel of experts suggest to President Barack Obama for NASA's future course? The space agency's new leader - former astronaut Charles Bolden - is privy to new plans about as much as the ordinary man on the street, he said. Bolden is asked, he said, about what the Augustine Commission recommendations might be quiet frequently and the standing answer is: "I don't know," Bolden told a gathering of defense and aerospace workers at the 2009 Space and Missile Defense Conference Wednesday.

"I do know that I will be at the briefing table with those who will write the recommendations for the president," said Bolden, a former U.S. Marine general and test pilot who was confirmed as the space agency's new chief a month ago. Bolden does know that the space agency course and priorities will change, he said, but he did not go into specifics, and he did not specifically address the Marshall Space Flight Center-managed Ares rockets at all. Bolden said Marshall and Huntsville would play an important role in developing new technologies for exploration. (8/20)

Rocket Launch May Be Delayed to Next Month (Source: Korea Times)
South Korean attempts for its very first space launch may be delayed to September, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said. In a news conference at the Naro Space Center, Vice Science Minister Kim Jung-hyun said a software malfunction related to a high-pressure tank regulating valves inside the rocket engine caused the countdown to be aborted. Although engineers at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the country's space agency, said that it was a relatively minor problem, they also said it could take as much as three days to analyze and fix the glitch. (8/20)

Ariane Rocket to Hoist Communications Satellites (Source: AFP)
An Ariane 5 rocket is set to propel two communications satellites into space Friday, one for Japanese telecom operator SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation and second for Australian operator Optus. The dual payload is scheduled for lift off from the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana on August 21, Arianespace said in a statement. (8/20)

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