September 11 News Items

Augustine Panel Exploration Options Summarized in New Chart (Source: SPACErePORT)
The Augustine Panel offered five exploration options (some with multiple variants) to President Obama in their summary report. The options differ significantly in many ways, and the summary report does a fairly good job explaining these differences. In an attempt to present even more details on each option, FLORIDA SPACErePORT has developed a chart that incorporates more information than is provided in the panel's own charts. Click here to view the chart. (9/10)

ULA Offers EELV Solution for Exploration, Gap (Source:
United Launch Alliance (ULA) is offering an expansive plan to use Atlas and Delta rockets in an architecture that both reduces the gap and provides greater flexibility – when compared to NASA’s current Ares-based plans. ULA’s plans range from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) access, to the ability to cater for NASA’s most ambitious lunar base plan. In multiple proposal documents, ULA addresses several key items that resulted in the EELV family missing out as the preferred architecture in NASA's Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS). They claim the EELV systems comply with Human Rating requirements defined by NASA, boosted by a flight history that demonstrates the vehicles' reliability. Click here to view the article and ULA's proposal documents. (9/11)

Discovery Returns to Earth with California Landing (Source: NASA)
Space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven astronauts ended a 14-day journey of more than 5.7 million miles with an 5:53 p.m. PDT landing Friday at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The mission, designated STS-128, delivered two refrigerator-sized science racks to the International Space Station. One rack will be used to conduct experiments on materials such as metals, glasses and ceramics. The results from these experiments could lead to the development of better materials on Earth. The other rack will be used for fluid physics research. Understanding how fluids react in microgravity could lead to improved designs for fuel tanks, water systems and other fluid-based systems. Editor's Note: Only seven Shuttle missions remain on NASA's manifest. Atlantis will fly the next mission (STS-129) on Nov. 12. (9/11)

NASA Exercises Boeing Payload Processing Contract Option at KSC (Source: NASA)
NASA is exercising its final option in the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services contract known as CAPPS. The option is the second of two on the cost-plus-award-fee CAPPS contract awarded to Boeing Space Operations Company of Titusville, Fla., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Boeing Company. The option's performance period is from Oct. 1, 2009 through Sept. 30, 2012, with a maximum potential value of approximately $156.5 million. The total maximum potential value of the CAPPS contract with both options is approximately $824.8 million. (9/11)

Space Florida and BioServe Offer K-12 “Butterflies in Space” Opportunity (Source: Space Florida)
Space Florida and BioServe Space Technologies (based at the University of Colorado), are providing an opportunity for 10 Florida elementary schools to participate in a unique International Space Station (ISS)-bound life science investigation to launch aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis’ upcoming mission (STS-129) in November. Classrooms will support the study of differences in developing butterfly larvae on the ground, versus those in microgravity aboard the ISS. Images from the ISS space flight experiment will be downlinked daily, so that participating students can observe the difference in results for each test group of larvae. Classroom butterfly habitats will be provided by BioServe’s “Butterflies in Space” program. (9/11)

Zubrin Editorial: Augustine’s Pathway to Nowhere (Source: Space News)
According to the Augistine Panel, it would involve too much risk for NASA to aim to reach Mars by the end of the next decade. Indeed, according to Mr. Augustine and his fellow worthies, it is beyond the capability of the United States to return astronauts to the Moon half a century after they first went there. A more responsible option, say the eminences of the committee, would be to continue to fly the space shuttle until 2015, and then initiate a program to deorbit the space station by 2020. In other words, rather than embracing the risk of attempting Mars, the Augustine Committee believes that it is fully responsible for NASA’s human spaceflight program to plan to spend $100 billion of the taxpayers’ money over the next 11 years in order to accomplish absolutely nothing. (9/11)

Editorial: Human Spaceflight Mythbusting: Human Rating EELVs (Source: Space News)
Consider the myth that the “time and expense to man-rate an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) is prohibitive.” A cold-hearted analysis of the same launch vehicle that today carries billion-dollar satellites to orbit and are insured at market set rates reveal that they are reliable enough to carry humans with less actuarial value. If you are uncomfortable with that view, then the addition of an ultra-reliable launch abort system should be on your critical path. A stock Delta-4 or Atlas-5 could be flying humans the day after that abort system is available...Over time, these rockets can be incrementally improved upon with redundancy and health management systems, but those improvements need not hold back a waiting Orion or Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program vehicle. (9/11)

Editorial: Human Spaceflight Mythbusting: Shuttle-Derived Heavy-Lift (Source: Space News)
The shuttle external tank design has to be modified to handle the compression caused by five or six rocket engines pushing from below. These “heritage” designs require all of the structural and thermal loads analysis and testing that a clean sheet design would require along with band aids addressing the original design’s inefficiencies. Accordingly, preliminary design reviews and critical design reviews have gapped to the right from their original heritage-based streamlined prognostications. Also, a heavy-lifter approach that puts a significant fraction of one-of-a-kind, high-value mission hardware on a single launcher, bets the program each time ignition occurs. (9/11)

Griffin, Not Bolden, to Testify at Augustine Hearing (Source: Space News)
Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin — not his successor Charles Bolden — will testify Sep. 15 before the House Science and Technology Committee on options detailed in a forthcoming blue-ribbon panel report on the future of manned spaceflight. Bolden was originally slated to testify alongside Norman Augustine, who led the blue-ribbon panel. But the House Science and Technology Committee released a revised witness list Sept. 10 that did not include Bolden, and added Griffin and Joe Dyer, chair of NASA’s Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. Griffin has blasted the Augustine Panel for failing to render a “clear-eyed, independent assessment of the progress and the status of Constellation.” (9/11)

Excalibur Almaz Releases More Details on Space Tourism Plans (Source: Flight Global)
Excalibur Almaz (EA) Vice President Leroy Chiao revealed some interestind details to Flight Global on the company's plans to use Russian spaceflight hardware and launch services to support commercial human spaceflight. Historically the Almaz spacecraft were launched by Proton and EA is looking at whether to launch its updated Almaz on Proton or Soyuz FG. Either way the launches would be from Baikonur. The mass of the service module required to provide a week long mission would probably determine whether Proton or Soyuz vehicles are used. SpaceX Falcon-9 rockets are also being considered.

EA has "comfortably enough" funding to take it through preliminary design review with its spacecraft. EADS Astrium is working on the service module concepts. EA has also purchased two Almaz space station hulls and has them in storage. Only if there is a business case for providing an orbital complex will it develop the Almaz station modules. An Almaz space station module was flown by the Soviets and crewed by three crews.

EA has been talking to the FAA about the formation of orbital tourism rules, as EA feels that FAA has made a lot of progress on suborbital transport but not orbital. EA also has a contract with United Space Alliance subsidiary Space Flight Operations as well as Astrium for its service module concept work. (9/11)

Horizontal for Science (Source: Baltimore Sun)
Ever wake up and wish you could just stay in bed and still get paid? This may be your best shot. NASA scientists are looking for 34 people (including 10 women) willing to spend 60 days in bed for science - and $13,800. And they do mean STAY in bed. Subjects must spend every minute of those two months in a bed, with the head tilted down 6 degrees. You can have your laptop, books, visitors and TV. But you'll have to eat, sleep, shower and give, um, "specimens" as required, all lying down. (9/11)

New Military CommSat Begins Final Testing at Lockheed Martin (Source: Lockheed Martin)
The first Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) military communications satellite built by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force has entered final testing at the company's Sunnyvale, Calif. facilities. AEHF will provide global, highly secure, protected, survivable communications for all warfighters serving under the U.S. Department of Defense. The AEHF system is the successor to the five-satellite Milstar constellation which has accumulated over 50 years of combined on-orbit operations. (9/11)

U.S. and Europe Agree on Civil Space Transportation Cooperation (Source: NASA)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and European Space Agency (ESA) Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain signed a memorandum of understanding Friday for cooperation in the field of space transportation. The agreement will allow NASA and ESA to exchange technical information and personnel, which will aid the eventual development of new transportation systems. It is expected that ESA's Ariane 5 development and flight experience will provide valuable engineering analyses and technology concepts for NASA's new launch and spacecraft systems. (9/11)

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