August 25 News Items

Soyuz Launch From French Guiana Delayed (Source: Space Daily)
Moscow (AFP) Aug 25, 2009 - The first launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket from the European Space Agency base at Kourou in French Guiana has been postponed until April 2010, Russia's Progress space program said Tuesday. The postponement is due to a delay "linked to a mobile launch pad," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Progress director Alexander Kirilin as saying. (8/25)

Space Shuttle Launch Scrubbed Again (Source: Florida Today)
NASA has called off the scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery because of a broken valve during fueling today. The planned 1:10 a.m. liftoff of the space shuttle and seven astronauts was called off just before 6 p.m. while teams were loading supercold propellants into the external tank. NASA is still trying to understand why the valve was stuck. The engineering work will continue into the evening. NASA has not decided when to try again. (8/25)

Lunar Lander Challenge Competition Winning Attempts Scheduled (Source: Northrop Grumman)
The X PRIZE Foundation announced that three teams have registered to make attempts to win the $1.65 million still available in the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The competition is designed to accelerate technological developments supporting the commercial creation of vertical take-off and landing rockets with enhanced safety and performance. The Challenge is divided into two levels. Level 1, requires a rocket to take off from a designated launch area; climb to a low, fixed altitude; and fly for at least 90 seconds before landing precisely on a different landing pad. The flight must then be repeated in reverse. Both flights, along with all of the necessary preparation for each, must take place within a two and a half hour period. Visit for information. (8/25)

NASA Budget Outlook Still Uncertain (Source: Space Policy Online)
As everyone anticipates the final report of the Augustine committee, NASA's FY2010 budget awaits action in Congress and the FY2011 budget request is being formulated. Although Congress Daily reported earlier this month that the appropriations bill that includes NASA (Commerce, Justice, Science) could be among the first action items for the Senate when it returns in September, Space News reported today in its print edition that "The White House is expected to submit an amended 2010 budget request for NASA's exploration program by mid-September..." Nothing is impossible, but it would seem odd for the Senate to move an appropriations bill to the floor if an Administration amendment is expected imminently. (8/25)

White House Budget Guidance for FY-2011 Highlights Space (Source: Space Policy Online)
The White House guidance regarding the FY2011 budget formulation process for science and technology specifically notes the importance of the space program. After listing four "practical challenges," the August 4 memo from OMB and OSTP identifies four requirements for addressing them. The fourth is: "Enhancing our capabilities in space, which are essential for communications, geopostioning, intelligence gathering, Earth observation, and national defense, as well as for increasing our understanding of the universe and our place in it." The extent to which the latter goal is dependent on human space exploration rather than robotic is open to interpretation. At the very least, there is no indication that the White House lacks an appreciation of the space program's potential. The question is whether it will provide the money needed to realize it. (8/25)

Skill Shortage Looms for Military Acquisition Expertise (Source: AIA)
As the Pentagon rushes to add 20,000 procurement experts to its payroll, analysts say the task will be complicated by a lack of qualified candidates and fierce competition among various branches of the armed forces. Next year alone, Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants to hire 4,100 systems engineers, logistics specialists, contracting officers and project managers to bring spiraling acquisition costs under control. But AIA Vice President Cord Sterling agrees with many other industry experts in warning that the rapid buildup could have unintended consequences. "The workforce needs to be grown, not acquired," he says. (8/25)

Aerospace Employment to Fall by 4.5% This Year, Study Predicts (Sources: AIA, Reuters)
A new report from AIA and several partners predicts the U.S. aerospace and defense industry will shed some 30,000 jobs in 2009, shrinking by roughly 4.5%. Further job losses are expected through 2010, though overall the industry will fare much better than it did at the end of the Cold War, when payrolls were cut by about 40%. Retirement eligibility was expected to increase from 13 percent this year to 18 percent in 2011 and 20 percent in 2013, compared with just 5.7 percent in 2008. (8/25)

Behind Moon Travel Goal, Big Talk and Little Money (Source: New York Times)
Forty years after it first landed men on the Moon, NASA has little chance of repeating that accomplishment by the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Maybe not even by the 60th. Five years after NASA was given a goal of returning to the Moon by 2020, the agency is arriving at an uncomfortable realization — that the American human spaceflight program might not accomplish anything new anytime soon.

“Unless the president is willing to step up and take a bold step like President Kennedy did, the manned spaceflight program is going to go in the ditch,” said Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat of Florida. NASA’s current plan is to retire the space shuttles by September of next year after completing construction of the International Space Station, then rely on Russian rockets until a next-generation rocket, the Ares I, is ready in March 2015. The agency would then retire and dispose of the space station in 2016 and use the freed-up money to develop the heavy-lift Ares V rocket, a lunar lander and the technology for building a Moon settlement.

In the last couple of months, the Augustine Panel reached two points of broad consensus. One was that it made little sense to spend 10 years building the space station and then throw it away after only 5 years of operation. The second was at that at present financing levels, about $100 billion for human spaceflight in the decade from 2010 to 2020, the current program was, in the panel’s words, “not executable.” (8/25)

South Korean Launch Places Fails to Deliver Satellite (Source: Telegraph)
South Korea has staged a rocket launch in a move may stir tensions with its neighbour to the north. The launch, which was initially delayed from late July, is likely to rile North Korea, which was sanctioned by the United Nations for its own attempt to launch a rocket earlier this year. North Korean state media said Pyongyang would "closely watch" the reaction of the international community to the launch.

The Naro rocket, partly developed by Russia, was carrying a domestic satellite that was supposed to monitor the atmosphere. But the satellite failed to detach from the rocket and enter an orbit. "All aspects of the launch were normal, but the satellite exceeded its planned orbit and reached an altitude of 223 miles," said Ahn Byong-man, the Science minister. The satellite should have separated at around 187 miles. (8/25)

Weather Scrubs Shuttle Launch, Second Try Tonight (Source: Florida Today)
Rain and lightning forced postponement of the space shuttle launch this morning and could do the same to the 2nd attempt overnight. NASA aims to try again at 1:10 a.m. Wednesday to launch the space shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts on a supply run and crew delivery mission to the International Space Station. The weather forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions. Yesterday's forecast was for an 80 percent of good launch weather, but conditions deteriorated fast late last night. Lightning and rain storms persisted late into the night and NASA could not get Discovery and the crew off the ground. (8/25)

South Korea Launches Rocket; Satellite Fate Unknown (Source: Space Today)
South Korea launched its first orbital rocket on Tuesday, although the fate of the satellite on board was not immediately clear. The Korea Space Launch Vehicle 1 (KSLV-1) lifted off at 4:00 am EDT Tuesday on its inaugural flight, carrying a small experimental satellite. The satellite was supposed to be placed into a 300-kilometer orbit, but initial reports indicated that the satellite failed to separate on schedule. The reports were not clear whether the satellite was placed in a higher-than-planned orbit or failed to separate from the rocket's upper stage at all. Other aspects of the launch vehicle, which uses a Russian-built first stage, appeared to operate well. The long-postponed launch was previously scheduled for last week but scrubbed minutes before liftoff because of pressurization problem traced back to a software glitch. (8/25)

India to Launch Oceansat-2 in Septembner to Track Marine Life (Source: IBN Live)
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is all set to launch Oceansat-2, an exclusive satellite to track marine life and identify potential fishing zones in September. It will also provide inputs for weather forecasting and climate studies. Oceansat-2 will take off on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. (8/25)

Florida Group Updates Federal Policy Wish List (Source: Florida Today)
A council of space industry representatives has completed a final draft of its Federal Space Policy Agenda designed to help state officials present a unified front in their campaign to help the space industry. Years of underfunding have left NASA facing a gap in human spaceflight that will begin when the shuttle is retired in 2010 and last well beyond 2015, the committee says.

"Increase the top line budget for NASA to close the gap..." reads the beginning of the draft document approved Monday by the Aerospace Career & Development Council (ACDC). The group's position calls for both extending the shuttle program beyond next year and speeding the development of the next manned rocket system. Planks in the policy also support an educational center of excellence in Florida and legal language to ease enhanced-use leases at Florida spaceports.

The draft approved Monday will be circulated after a final review by the members this week. The council includes industry representatives, government agencies and universities. Its goal is provide a unified vision to help the space industry maintain employment as the shuttle program ends. (8/25)

Group Ponders BRAC-Like Federal Response to Central Florida Job Losses (Source: SPACErePORT)
The Florida Aerospace Career & Development Council (ACDC) on Monday discussed the unavoidable loss of thousands of high-paying space industry jobs. One suggestion raised by the group was to urge a federal response similar to programs enacted in the wake of recent military base closures. The Dept. of Defense and other agencies collaborated to provide economic transition services to communities impacted by base closures. No such services are planned in response to the Space Shuttle program's closure.

The Brevard Workforce agency is exploring the region's eligibility for other federal funding that could be available in response to major economic transitions. Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation are working to obtain funding to support the community's growing need for workforce training, counseling and placement services. (8/25)

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