September 22 News Items

Space Florida Board Approves Negotiation With KSC on Hangar (Source: SPACErePORT)
Space Florida's new president, Frank DiBello, received approval from his board to negotiate with NASA toward a transfer of ownership of the state-owned Reusable Launch Vehicle Support Complex (the 'RLV Hangar' adjacent to the Shuttle landing strip) to KSC. Under such a deal, KSC would continue to make the facility available for commercial users. StarFighters currently uses the hangar for its jet aircraft, and other suborbital spaceflight companies have expressed interest. It is hoped the transfer would indirectly offset costs that Space Florida currently pays to KSC to host the state-developed Space Life Sciences Lab.

The agency's board was also briefed on an effort to establish a horizontal launch/landing spaceport in South Florida. More on this later. (9/22)

Florida Legislation Proposed for Launch Competitiveness and Aerospace Workforce (Source: SPACErePORT)
Space Florida's board on Tuesday discussed plans for state legislation that would provide various tax and investment benefits for companies operating in proposed "Commercial Launch Zones." Another proposed bill would provide tuition reimbursement grants to companies that pay for their employees' higher education. The bills will be considered early next year during the state's annual legislative session in Tallahassee. (9/22)

Florida Zero-G Video Will Be Used to Demostrate Science Education Standards (Source: SPACErePORT)
Florida's new science education standards will be aligned to on-line supplementary materials that will facilitate/augment classroom instruction. Standards-based science topics that deal with gravity or microgravity will be supported with links to a Space Florida-sponsored microgravity education video developed as part of Zero-G Corp. flight program for the state's STEM teachers and students. (9/22)

A House Divided Cannot Stand (Source: Toffler Associates)
Space exploration first rose to popularity in the United States as a common goal, meant to unify a country struggling with social and political turmoil and with political-military competition with the world’s other superpower. The unity and collaboration that emerged helped drive innovation and extraordinary achievements. Space has since evolved to a hub of business and industry, one of the critical infrastructures driving not only the U.S. but the world.

Today, as other countries develop technologies that reach, operate in and make use of space, America’s position as a leader in space innovation is endangered. Paradoxically, the causes of this decline (and discussions of potential solutions) are fueling less a renewed unity of effort in the American space community and more a debilitating “side effect.” Established industrial and government space innovators are finding themselves at odds with independent entrepreneurs in a needlessly polar contrast of views about the future of the industry, a debate some see as “Old Space vs. New Space.” Click here to view the paper. (9/22)

Augustine: Space Program At Crossroads (Source: Aviation Week)
Norm Augustine told the Senate Sep. 16 that the agency's "program of record" isn't viable at current funding levels, and the situation won't improve much when the space shuttle fleet is retired. Augustine said the situation actually is worse than reflected in agency funding charts because so much of NASA's overhead is charged to the shuttle program. Once the shuttle program is shut down, he said, that overhead will be charged elsewhere on the agency's books - "probably to the Constellation program."

Arguing that Administrator Charles Bolden be given greater flexibility to manage NASA's overhead - its workforce and the infrastructure reflected in its field centers - Augustine repeated his panel's findings that additional funding would give the agency several options for moving human exploration out of low Earth orbit and on toward Mars, which he said is the logical destination even though it is technically infeasible today. (9/22)

NASA Advances Target Date for Ares-1X Test Launch (Source: NASA)
NASA is targeting Oct. 27 for the flight test of the Ares I-X rocket, pending successful testing and data verification. The Oct. 27 target date has been confirmed with the Air Force's Eastern Range. The launch window will extend from 8 a.m. to noon EDT. There is another launch opportunity on Oct. 28. The date will be finalized at a Flight Test Readiness Review scheduled for Oct. 23 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (9/22)

ICBMs: The Basis for All Systems in Space (Source: AFSC)
ICBMs have been, and continue to be, an essential element of the United States strategic global strike equation. In honor of the 50th ICBM Anniversary, Air Force Space Command public affairs, interviewed four space pioneers in efforts to portray their perspective when the ICBM program was young in years. The first element to question, what necessitated inter-continental ballistic missiles? Space pioneer and Peacekeeper ICBM program director, Retired Lt. Gen. Aloysius Casey, said, "ICBMs were created in response to the threat of a large Soviet Union long range missile program."

During the Cold War, the U.S. had a dominant strategic bomber force (B-36 & B-47 aircraft), the Soviets were working hard to establish a missile force capable of an enormous first strike before our bombers could arrive on target. Throughout the Cold War, ICBMs provided the U.S. with a credible deterrent force capable of striking long range targets. ICBMs had about a 35-minute strike rate making them ideal. Click here to view the article. (9/22)

ATK's Sluggish Stock Price Growth Belies Potential, Analyst Says (Source: AP)
The relatively lackluster performance of Alliant Techsystems Inc. belies the military contractor's potential and reflects investors' anxiety about NASA's plans for the Ares rocket program on which Alliant works, an analyst said Monday. Alliant is pursuing "attractive opportunities in space exploration, precision munitions and composite materials that may provide for meaningful additions to growth," said an analyst. Shares have "significantly underperformed" the market and other defense contractors in recent months, primarily due to concerns over the future of Alliant's NASA business, he said. NASA spending accounts for about 20 percent of Alliant's revenue. (9/22)

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