September 26 News Items

Florida Congressman Urges Cutting-Edge Storm Satellites (Source: Palm Beach Post)
U.S. Rep. Ron Klein has introduced a bill to replace an aging satellite whose status sparked an ugly family spat that helped lead to the ouster of the National Hurricane Center's director. Klein, D-Boca Raton, said the Satellite Modernization Act will pay for "a cutting-edge next-generation satellite system" - two craft that will cover 90 percent of the ocean surface every 12 hours. NOAA said the QuikSCAT hurricane tracking satellite, which is eight years past its original five-year useful life, is showing mechanical wear and is likely to fail in a few months or even weeks. Agencies have been warning for more than two years that the satellite could fail at any time.

Klein's proposed system was recommended by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and would "provide significantly im- proved information to narrow the cone of uncertainty and protect Florida's families when a storm approaches," Klein said in a release. "South Floridians don't want to ultimately rely on foreign countries' satellites for critical information about impending storms." (9/26)

Back to the Lunar Future? (Source: MSNBC)
You might think the latest research is sparking second thoughts among the members of the Augustine Panel. But that's not necessarily so: It turns out that panel members were given a confidential briefing on the research while they were working on their report. "The research we heard about was at a very early stage of development," Charles Kennel, a panel member and chairman of the National Academies Space Studies Board, told me in an e-mail exchange. "It certainly has exciting implications, if true, but it is way too early to base any planning for human spaceflight on it, in my view." (9/26)

Bolivia Set to Buy Chinese Satellite (Source: China Daily)
President Hu Jintao met with Bolivia's President Evo Morales on the sidelines of a series of UN sessions in New York on Sep. 21. China plans to sell Bolivia a $300 million telecommunications satellite it will build and send into orbit for the Andean country, President Evo Morales said. China might also finance the project. "The Chinese president has vowed to build and launch a satellite for all Bolivians," Morales said in a speech in the central Oruro region. The technology could help improve Internet access and help isolated and poor citizens get connected to the modern world, the country's first Indian president has said. The United Nations this month pledged to provide Bolivia with technical help on orbital positions and frequency bands. (9/26)

China to Launch Satellite for Laos (Source: Xinhua)
China will build and launch a communication satellite for Laos, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology has said. The academy, under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, on Friday did not specify when the satellite, dubbed the "Laos-1," would be finished or blasted off, only saying it would be carried by a China-made Long March carrier rocket. The academy would also build land-based satellite tracking stations and the ground broadcast communication network for Laos, it said. (9/26)

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