September 7 News Items

Eutelsat Shifts Satellite Launch From Sea Launch to ILS (Source: Eutelsat)
Eutelsat Communications has signed a contract with International Launch Services (ILS) for the launch in mid-November 2009 of the W7 satellite on an ILS Proton. Built by Thales Alenia Space, the satellite will now undergo final preparation for delivery to the Baikonour Cosmodrome. Originally scheduled for launch by Sea Launch, this selection of Proton follows the confirmation to Eutelsat by Sea Launch of their unavailability to orbit W7 within the agreed timeframe. The decision to launch with ILS and Khrunichev was taken on the basis of their commitment to meeting Eutelsat’s critical timeframe to launch W7 in mid-November, enabling Eutelsat to bring the satellite into service by the end of 2009. (9/7)

Italy's SpaceLand Hosts Space Congress Event on Sep. 21-22 (Source: SpaceLand)
Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will open the SpaceLand Expo-Congress on Sep. 21-22 with a discussion on the “militarization of outer space”. Officials from the Italian Space Agency and other nations will present papers on space biomedicine, Moon and Mars - ISRU (In situ resource utilization), and youth educational programs. Also, European Space Agency executives will talk about the European policies on Space Tourism (of the type planned by SpaceLand in Sardinia). The Expo-Congress takes place on the island of Sardinia and is expected to significantly boost the projected start-up this year of mass-tourism activities on board lunar-gravity, Mars-gravity and zero-gravity parabolic flight campaigns, turning Sardinia into the first Island of Space Tourism. Click here for information. (9/7)

Russia to Start Construction of New Space Center in 2011 (Source: RIA Novosti)
The construction of a new space center in Russia's Far East will start in 2011. Russia currently uses two launch sites for space carrier rockets and ballistic missiles tests: the Baikonur space center in the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, which it has leased since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia.

Army Gen. Nikolai Abroskin, head of the Federal Service for the Production of Special Construction Work, said construction of the new Vostochny station would be carried out in three stages, and would be completed in 2018. "In all, seven launch pads are to be built at the space center, including two for manned flights and two for space freighters," the general said. (9/7)

Vietnam's VNPT Plans New Orbital Satellite By 2012 (Source: NASDAQ)
State-run Vietnam Posts and Telecoms Group, or VNPT, is considering purchasing, hiring or launching a new satellite by 2012. The total investment for the Vinasat-2 telecommunications satellite will be between $290 million and $350 million. (9/7)

Earth-Sized Planets are Just Right for Life (Source: New Scientist)
The discovery of extrasolar super-Earths - rocky planets about five to ten times the mass of Earth - has raised hopes that some may harbor life. Perhaps it's a vain hope though, since it now seems that Earth is just the right size to sustain life. Life is comfortable on Earth in part because of its relatively stable climate and its magnetic field, which deflects cosmic radiation capable of damaging organic molecules.

The long-term stability of Earth's climate depends on the way the planet's crust is broken up into plates, which continually slide over and under one another in a process called plate tectonics. Carbon scrubbed from the atmosphere by natural chemical reactions gets buried and recycled within the Earth because of plate tectonics, part of a cycle that stabilises atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Now it seems rocky worlds have to be about the size of Earth to have both plate tectonics and magnetic fields, says Vlada Stamenkovic of the German Aerospace Center in Berlin. (9/7)

NASA Censors Swedish Pupil's Naked Astronaut Query (Source: The Local)
On Sunday night, students from Sätraskolan, a school in southern Stockholm, had the chance to interview Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang, who is on a space mission to the International Space Station (ISS). But NASA thought some of the questions were a bit too risque. When fourteen-year-old Zhiwar Naeimiakbar wondered if you can survive in space “without clothes” if you have access to air, it appeared the American space agency might not approve his question.

“At first I was hysterical. Oh my God, now I won't be a part of this. But then I understood why,” Naeimiakbar said. NASA explained they would not run the question if it included the words "without clothes" ("utan kläder") and instead changed it to "without a spacesuit." Naeimiakbar was thrilled to have his question answered. (9/7)

Rocket Science Done on a Very Small Scale (Source: Baltimore Sun)
Darren Hitt's work really is rocket science. But forget about blinding flames and thundering engines generating millions of pounds of thrust. The Baltimore native is working on propulsion systems built on silicon chips that would generate thrust in tiny puffs of steam. They're the kind of thrusters NASA will need to maneuver a new fleet of 10- or 20-pound "nanosatellites" - spacecraft no bigger than beach balls. His research team at the University of Vermont's School of Engineering in Burlington just received a $750,000 grant to advance development of the technology. He is partnering with engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. (9/7)

Can Vaccine Breakthrough Help Cure NASA's Ills? (Source:
A vaccine to protect people against Salmonella, a deadly bacteria that often contaminates food processing operations, is headed for human testing following commercial development in zero gravity on the space shuttle and International Space Station. Astrogenetix, the Austin, Texas based research company which funded the work, is in the process of applying to the Food and Drug Administration for human trials then, marketing of the space developed Salmonella drug. (9/7)

Augustine Review: October Summit Set to Reveal NASA’s Forward Path (Source:
The strategic direction of NASA is set to be announced in the first week of October, when new administrator Charlie Bolden and Human Space Flight Review panel chairman Norm Augustine conduct a NASA Executive Summit for all Senior Executive Service employees. The news came as center and space industry directors continue to tell their staff to keep their focus during “this period of uncertainty.” (9/7)

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