August 11 News Items

First NASTAR Suborbital Space Scientist Training Course (Source: Space Daily)
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), working with The National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center, is leading a program that will provide spaceflight physiology training for prospective scientist-astronauts wishing to fly on upcoming suborbital space missions. The SwRI-NASTAR Suborbital Space Scientist course, which is similar to training courses used by the space tourism industry, will be taught to a select set of a dozen scientists, graduate students and educators from U.S. research and educational institutions and is designed to acquaint and qualify individuals with the physiological rigors of suborbital human spaceflight. The NASTAR Center, which provides training and research support for the aerospace industry, will host the two-day course at its facility outside Philadelphia in January 2010.

The course will include space flight training and altitude physiology, as well as classroom work, centrifuge flights, altitude chamber runs and other training elements. Institutions sending researchers, students or educators to the inaugural program include SwRI, Boston University, the Denver Museum of Natural Sciences (DMNS), the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Central Florida and the University Space Research Association (USRA). (8/11)

Florida Revenue Crisis Continues, But Eases (Source: AP)
State economists reduced their estimate of Florida's general revenue Tuesday, but they expected it to be no more than $319.5 million when final numbers are crunched — far less than the billions in shortfalls over the past two budget years. The previous shortfalls forced special legislative sessions to cut spending, shift funds and take other steps to avoid deficits. But the $66.5 billion budget for the current fiscal year that began July 1 includes more than enough reserves — about $1.7 billion — to absorb the new shortfall without bringing lawmakers back to Tallahassee.

Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research, said the last estimate in March has held up better because the state's economy hasn't suffered the kinds of shocks that knocked gaping holes in prior forecasts. "We went from our housing shock through a national recession through the credit crisis through the global recession," Baker said. "So, what you've seen is for the first time we've had a period of time that was stable." (8/11)

NASA Releases Ares I Vs. Delta IV Heavy Study (Source: Florida Today)
NASA could save $3 billion to $6 billion by dumping Ares I and flying Orion space capsules and American astronauts on an upgraded version of the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket, according to an independent assessment released by NASA. But the June 1 Aerospace Corp. analysis also said that course of action would lead to an increase of $1.1 to $3.5 billion, and perhaps more, to develop its Ares V heavy-lift launch vehicle -- the estimated cost of completing the development of five-segment solid rocket boosters and a second stage engine needed for both the Ares I and the Ares V rockets. What's more, NASA estimates it would cost an additional $14.1 billion to $16.6 billion to finish development of the Orion crew exploration vehicle. (8/11)

Embry-Riddle Alum & Florida Native to Live Aboard Space Station (Source: NASA)
Nicole Stott, a native of Clearwater and an alumnus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, will make her first journey into orbit on space shuttle Discovery's upcoming mission to the International Space Station. She will live and work aboard the station for three months. Discovery is targeted to launch at 1:36 a.m. EDT, Aug. 25, from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. (8/11)

ILS Proton-M Launches with AsiaSat 5 (Source:
International Launch Services (ILS) has launched the AsiaSat 5 telecommunications satellite via their veteran Proton-M launch vehicle and Breeze-M upper stage. Lift-off was from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan. Separation of the AsiaSat 5 satellite is scheduled to occur approximately 9 hours, 15 minutes after lift-off. AsiaSat 5 is a new generation satellite equipped with the latest technology and new beam coverage to provide highest quality television broadcast, telephone networks and VSAT networks for broadband multimedia services across Asia Pacific. (8/11)

Planetary Smashup Leaves Trail of Frozen Lava (Source: New Scientist)
A vast mess of frozen lava and vaporized rock has been found orbiting a nearby star, evidence of a cataclysmic collision between planet-like bodies outside our solar system. Such collisions are thought to have created Earth's moon and left other scars in the solar system, but it's not yet clear how common they are around other stars. Hints of past violent collisions abound in our solar system. Many suspect the moon formed from the debris created when a Mars-sized object smashed into the Earth. Other smashups may have pulled off most of Mercury's crust, tilted Uranus on its side, and caused Venus to spin backwards. Now a team has found evidence of an intense impact surrounding the star HD 172555, which sits some 100 light years away in the southern constellation Pavo, or Peacock. (8/11)

Rovers Rev Up for Google's Moonshot Jackpot (Source: New Scientist)
It's been 36 years since NASA's last Apollo lander left the moon's surface. But while the agency's plans to return humans to the moon remain confused, a pack of private teams are racing to send robots to kick up lunar dust and claim the $20-million Google Lunar X Prize announced nearly two years ago. So far 19 teams have registered for the contest. To win, they must land a rover on the moon that will then drive 500 metres before turning to photograph its landing site – all before the end of 2012. The team that does it first will pick up $20 million. Second place will earn $5m and a further $5m in bonuses will be awarded for finding relics from past US or Soviet moon missions. (8/11)

Citing U.S. Threat, Russia Plans Space Defenses by 2020 (Source: AIA)
Russia's top air force commander says his country will develop new defenses by 2020 in response to alleged efforts by the U.S. to militarize space. "Air forces of foreign states, primarily that of the United States, will gain an opportunity to make coordinated, high-precision strikes on a global scale at practically all targets on the territory of the Russian Federation," Gen. Alexander Zelin predicts, saying that Russia will counter such threats with its own air and space defenses, including the fifth-generation S-500 rocket. (8/11)

SpaceX’s Falcon 1e Rocket Replaces Cheaper Falcon 1 (Source: Space News)
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., will replace its Falcon 1 rocket by the end of 2010 with the more capable and more expensive Falcon 1e rocket, the company said Aug. 6. The upgraded version of the rocket uses a more powerful engine than the one originally designed for Falcon 1 and will be able to put larger, heavier payloads into orbit. A Falcon 1e launch will cost “under $11 million,” Rob Peckham, SpaceX vice president of business development, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Originally marketed as a $6-million rocket, SpaceX more recently pegged a Falcon 1 launch at $8 million. (8/11)

NASA Cargo Awards Draw New PlanetSpace Protest (Source: Space News)
Chicago-based PlanetSpace has filed a second protest of NASA's December 2008 decision to award $3.1 billion in contracts to Orbital Sciences Corp. and SpaceX for delivering cargo to the space station. PlanetSpace filed a protest with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims July 23 asking for NASA to reconsider the awards or reopen the competition. PlanetSpace's first protest against the NASA award was filed with the GAO on Jan. 14. The GAO denied the protest April 22. PlanetSpace, a start-up company whose subcontractors include Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems, earned a higher score and offered a lower price than Orbital Sciences. NASA, however, selected Orbital Sciences and SpaceX to haul 20 tons of cargo to the space station through 2016 under separate contracts potentially worth more than $3 billion. The initial award calls for SpaceX to provide 12 flights for $1.6 billion and Orbital Sciences to provide eight flights for $1.9 billion.

SpaceX earned the highest score from NASA's Source Evaluation Board and offered the lowest price, followed by PlanetSpace, which earned the second highest score, NASA source selection documents show. NASA spokeswoman Ashley Edwards declined to comment on the ongoing legal matter, but SpaceX Vice President of Strategic Relations Lawrence Williams said Aug. 6 that while the company does not comment on ongoing litigation, "... we do not anticipate any disruption of our progress within our NASA programs." (8/11)

Congress Cuts Plutonium Funding, Imperiling NASA Missions (Source: Space Policy Online)
The House and Senate have cut the funding requested by the Department of Energy (DOE) to restart production of plutonium-238 (Pu-238) that is needed to power some NASA space science and lunar exploration spacecraft. Pu-238 is needed to fuel radioisotope power sources (RPSs) that supply power for systems and instruments on spacecraft that cannot rely on solar energy because they travel too far from the Sun or land on surfaces with long "nights" or other characteristics that make solar energy a poor or impossible choice. Under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, only DOE is allowed to possess, use and produce nuclear materials and facilities. Thus, NASA must rely on DOE to produce these power sources and the fuel. (8/9)

Dish Sees Net Fall Amid Gain in Users (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Dish Network Corp.'s second-quarter earnings fell 81% despite its first subscriber gain in a year, while profit at former unit EchoStar Corp. doubled. Dish, the No. 2 satellite-television provider in the U.S. has felt escalating pressure to come up with a new survival strategy in the face of competition from No. 1 DirecTV Group Inc. and from cable providers and local-phone companies. (8/11)

N. Korea Criticizes Seoul's Rocket Launch, Now Scheduled for Aug. 19 (Source: Korea Times)
North Korea said Monday that it will closely watch if members of the six-party talks refer Korea's Space Launch Vehicle-1 (KSLV-1) to the UN Security Council. It claimed that it had been unfairly punished for conducting its own launch four months ago. "These countries condemned our satellite project and reinforced sanctions against us," a ministry spokesperson said. "Their reaction and attitude toward South Korea's satellite launch will demonstrate if the principle of equality still exists," the Pyongyang official said. The remarks indicate that North Korea is expecting the UN Council to recognize the "unfairness" of punitive measures imposed on it following the launch of a long-range rocket in April and a nuclear test in May.

"Korea's launch of a space rocket is a peaceful and transparent mission. Therefore, it is inappropriate to compare the two," Kim Bo-hyun, a spokesman of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said. The rocket, developed at a cost of 502.5 billion won ($409 million) is expected to take off from the Naro Space Center, 485km south of Seoul, on Aug. 19. (8/11)

Orion Capsule Offers Glimpse Into the Future of Space Travel (Source: Tallahassee Democrat)
Looks can be deceiving, but make no mistake: Orion is nothing like Apollo. Nearly 500 people got a look at a mock-up of the next generation of space travel Monday at Tallahassee's Challenger Learning Center. "This is the next generation of human flight," said Jessie Riley Eason, Challenger Learning Center marketing and communication manager. "These children will be the ones flying it." The craft is travelling from Kennedy Space Center to Johnson Space Center in Houston this week and will make several public stops along the way. (8/11)

Jacobs Receives $250 Million Contract Ceiling Increase at Marshall (Source: Jacobs)
Jacobs Engineering Group has received a $250 million ceiling increase to its Engineering, Sciences, and Technical Services (ESTS) contract at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Ala. Originally valued at $542.5 million, this contract is now worth up to $792.5 million. The contract, which began on Oct. 15, 2005, consists of a one-year base period and four one-year options. Jacobs is providing services across a wide range of engineering, technical, science, propulsion, program management, and business disciplines, including support to major NASA programs such as the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, and the emerging Constellation program. (8/11)

Scientist Tackles Ethical Questions of Space Travel (Source: New York Times)
Q. As NASA’S Chief Bioethicist, what does your work involve? A. I’m an adviser to the chief medical officer for the agency. I don’t make decisions. Instead, I analyze situations and policies and offer bioethical perspectives on specific problems. NASA does hundreds of research studies. Every astronaut who goes into space is, essentially, a human research subject. NASA’s looking at the effects of weightlessness, of G-forces and radiation on the human body. One of the things I do is look over the research protocols and make sure they are in compliance with earth-bound regulations about informed consent and health and safety. I also try to help solve some of the thorny ethical problems of medical care for astronauts in space. Click here to view the article. (8/11)

NASA: It’s Your Move, Mr. President (Source: WIRED)
With the Space Shuttle nearing retirement (seven flights remaining), the International Space Station almost finished, and plans for putting send more astronauts out of this world under fire, the Augustine Panel has a lot to figure out — and not a lot of time. Before the end of August, Mr. Norman Augustine and the other members of the panel will deliver the group’s consensus. I am very much looking forward to the presentation. At that point, the ball will be in Mr. Obama’s court. Traditionally, the President has been the one to set priorities for NASA and where the country takes its space program. (8/11)

Lockheed Martin Donates Clean Room to the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (Source: NASA Watch)
Lockheed Martin has donated a class 10,000 clean room to the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP). This clean room will help protect our refurbished 1960's era Ampex FR-900 tape drives from the environment inside NASA Ames Research Park Building 596 aka "McMoons", which was originally constructed to house a McDonalds restaurant. In the 1960's these tape drives were operated in an old style computer room, with raised floors ultra-clean air, and constant air conditioning. Since our building's air conditioning system was sized for the heat of the kitchen and lots of customers, we are able to maintain the temperature to near optimum conditions. However, dust and dirt are still a problem with the finely tuned machine. (8/11)

Ariane 5 Potential Role In US Human Space Flight Is Outlined (Source: Space Daily)
Ariane 5 is available to support the future of U.S. space exploration, including cargo resupply flights for the International Space Station, along with missions to the Moon and Mars. This was the message of Arianespace Chairman and CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall in a presentation to the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, which was created to evaluate America's future human spaceflight operations after NASA's planned retirement of the Space Shuttle. "Originally human-rated, the Ariane 5 has adapted to its present day role as the leading large capacity launch vehicle for satellite operators and international partners the world over," Le Gall explained during his committee presentation in Washington, D.C. "The Ariane 5 can reach lunar orbit, the lunar surface, and Mars - objectives that are compatible with NASA's exploration missions." (8/11)

Final LockMart Modernized GPS IIR Satellite Set For Launch (Source: Space Daily)
The last in a series of eight modernized Global Positioning System Block IIR (GPS IIR-M) satellites built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force is set to launch aboard a Delta II rocket on Aug. 17 from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The spacecraft, designated GPS IIR-21(M), completes the IIR and IIR-M series of satellites the company designed and built for the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. Modernized spacecraft deliver increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals to improve accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency. (8/11)

Two California Astronauts to Fly on Next Space Shuttle Mission (Source: NASA)
NASA's next space shuttle mission will carry two California- born astronauts into orbit. Veteran space flier Rick Sturckow, from Lakeside, Calif., will command shuttle Discovery's mission to the International Space Station. Jose Hernandez, who considers Stockton, Calif., his hometown, will make his first trip to space. Discovery, with its crew of seven astronauts, is targeted to launch at 1:36 a.m. EDT on Aug. 25. (8/10)

No comments: