September 9 News Items

Aerospace Expert Says Job Loss Will Damage NASA (Source: CFL-13)
The projected 8-year gap between the Space Shuttle and Constellation program could be a strategic nightmare for NASA's manned spaceflight program. It could cost the region thousands of jobs lost associated with the space program at KSC. One Florida Tech professor says the impact will be felt locally and nationally, as seasoned workers with years of experience will have no comparable place to go. (9/9)

Strengthening Canada - US Space Collaboration (Source: Space Daily)
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 10, 2009 - Reaffirming nearly 50 years of collaboration in the peaceful use and exploitation of space for the benefits of their citizens and humanity, Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space Agency and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, in the presence of Michael Wilson, Canadian Ambassador to the United States, have signed an overarching Framework Agreement on Space Cooperation. (9/9)

US, Russian Capsules Vie for Orbital Domination (Source: Flight Global)
The history of human spaceflight has seen just seven operational crewed capsules - Russia's Vostok, Voskhod and Soyuz, the USA's Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, and China's Shenzhou. Almost that many more again are under development today to meet NASA's International Space Station needs and build a budding market for space tourism. The six under development now are Russia's Soyuz replacement, NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle (CEV), India's planned three-crew capsule and three commercial projects, from Bigelow Aerospace, Excalibur Almaz, and SpaceX.

Russia and NASA's spacecraft are planned to go to the Moon and India's three-man capsule will orbit for a week of research. But where is the market for the three commercial vehicles? Bigelow's capsule will serve its proposed orbital habitation modules it will lease-out for industrial and government activity. Excalibur Almaz's capsule will orbit for a week of tourism. SpaceX's Dragon will make 12 ISS cargo deliveries for NASA for $1.6 billion from 2010 to 2015. (9/9)

Commercial Crew Capsules: The Missing Link? (Source: SPACErePORT)
The Augustine Panel's projected seven-year post-Shuttle human spaceflight gap apparently did not take into account (or give credence to) the plans of U.S. commercial providers who claim to be capable of launching humans aboard their own capsules as early as 2012. Bigelow Aerospace's proposed Orion-based capsule could be launched atop an Atlas-5 (perhaps in an unmanned test) as early as 2012, and SpaceX's Dragon capsule could fly crewed missions atop their Falcon-9 during that same year. (9/9)

NASA Considers Bigelow Module for ISS (Source: Flight Global)
NASA is considering attaching a Bigelow Aerospace inflatable module to the International Space Station, in a return to a concept the agency had more than a decade ago. In 1997 NASA examined the possible attachment of its Transhab inflatable module to the ISS, but abandoned the technology project.

Internal NASA documents passed to Flightglobal show the agency is now interested in attaching a Bigelow module, but neither the company or NASA were available for comment. The interest in the Bigelow technology follows NASA's decision to permanently attach its Italian-designed and built Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to the ISS. (9/9)

Bolden Editorial: Next Generation is NASA's Most Precious Resource (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The beginning of another school year provides a terrific opportunity to reflect on what America has accomplished in space during NASA's first half-century and how critical education is to what we will achieve during the next 50 years...They are feats NASA and its partners must boldly surpass in the coming decade if America is to continue to lead in space, aeronautics and Earth science. That is why I believe we need to continue investing in our most important resource: the next generation of scientists and engineers.

We must continue to cultivate new astronauts, scientists, robot designers and computer engineers. As President Obama recently noted, the average age in NASA's Mission Control during the Apollo program was just 26. The average age in the control room for space shuttle Endeavour's July 31 landing was considerably older, and we need to ensure that we are getting an adequate influx of new engineers and scientists to fill our needs. This is a concern shared by many of the nation's engineering and science-related organizations. We need new scientists and engineers if we are to remain competitive and retain our role as the technological leaders in the world. (9/9)

Editorial: Human Space Travel Deserves a Prepaid Ticket (Source: Christian Science Monitor)
Nothing pushes frontiers in science and technology – and the human imagination – like space travel. Breaking the bounds of Earth is now the pursuit of more than a dozen nations, all eager for the economic spin-offs such a pursuit brings. Yet the pioneer in space, the United States, faces a shortage of money from Congress and may be forced to surrender its global leadership.

That's the take-away from a report issued Tuesday by a 10-member panel set up by President Obama to evaluate human space exploration. Without an additional $3 billion a year, more international cooperation, and private industry sending rockets into low orbit, NASA has no pathway that "permits human exploration to continue in any meaningful way," according to the panel's summary report...The president must ask Congress to set America's vision for space even farther out – and more firmly fund for the future. (9/9)

Hunt for Space Florida President Heats Up (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Since Space Florida's last president Steve Kohler resigned from the agency under a cloud of criticism in May, the state body has been run under what is widely considered the steady hand of Frank DiBello, acting as interim leader. But while DiBello has been trying to chart a course for agency, board members have been hunting for a full-time replacement for Kohler. The search has not been easy because DiBello has garnered so much praise that many of the candidates the board had hoped to attract would not enter the race.

But after three months, the board has come up with a short list of five candidates, including DiBello; Shana Dale (former NASA deputy administrator and Bush White House insider); Debra Fackor-Lepore (president of AirLaunch LLC and former vice-president at Kistler Aerospace); Andrew Aldrin (son of legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin and business development official at United Launch Alliance); and Will Trafton (consultant and former executive vice president of Rocketplane Kistler).

Pamela Dana, a former economic development director for Gov. Jeb Bush, has actively tried to recruit candidates for the Space Florida job. With no relationship with Korn/Ferry International, the recruitment firm hired by Space Florida to look for leadership talent, the reason for Dana's involvement is unclear. Dr. Dana, on behalf of board member Ken Ford, presented and recommended the controversial Andrews Institute space tourism deal to the agency. Brice Harris, who resigned from Andrews when it emerged he probably violated state ethics rules, was hired at the Governor's Office by Dr. Dana. (9/9)

Buzz Aldrin Answers Your Questions (Source: New York Times)
Last week, we solicited your questions for former astronaut and second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin, and we asked him a few of our own. Click here to view the Q&A. (9/9)

Budget Thwarts Goals Of NASA, Panel Says (Source: Aviation Week)
NASA won't be able to get human beings out of low Earth orbit (LEO) without about $3 billion a year more than it is getting for exploration, and even then it won't be able to meet the ambitious back-to-the-moon goals of its current program, according to the presidential commission established to review U.S. human spaceflight. "Human exploration beyond low-Earth orbit is not viable under the FY 2010 budget guideline," the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee starkly states in a 12-page summary of its still-incomplete final report. (9/9)

Precourt Doubts Commercialization (Source: Florida Today)
A former head of NASA's astronaut corps has little confidence that commercial launch companies can develop a rocket quickly that meets the space agency's specifications for safety. Four-time shuttle flier Charlie Precourt, now a vice president at ATK, said the NASA would not be eager to send astronauts into space on a commercial rocket developed outside NASA's rigorous inspection and review procedures. "I wouldn't be if I were the chief astronaut. You have to understand what the risk is," Precourt added. (9/8)

Efforts to Reform Export Controls Getting Support From the Top (Source: AIA)
Experts say a move by Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., to loosen export restrictions on sensitive technologies could prove successful this time around due to support from both the White House and the Pentagon. "Reviews did not get far in the past because they have been bottom-up rather than top-down," says Bill Reinsch of the National Foreign Trade Council, noting that this time the president himself called for a review. The Aerospace Industries Association and other industry groups have long called for updating export rules to bolster economic growth. (9/9)

Bolden Calls for Greater Emphasis on STEM Education (Source: AIA)
As a new school year begins, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says future U.S. efforts in space depend on students with solid education in science, technology, engineering and math. "We need new scientists and engineers if we are to remain competitive and retain our role as the technological leaders in the world," Bolden writes in an op-ed. "We must find innovative ways to inspire and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers or watch other nations assume our leadership role. The choice is ours." (9/9)

DiBello Represents Florida on Commercial Space Panel (Source: SPACErePORT)
The Next Step in Space Coalition and the Commercial Spaceflight Federation held a joint teleconference in advance of Augustine Panel's summary report release. The event provided an opportunity for commercial space industry leaders to voice their support for the Augustine Panel's findings that there should be increased government support for private sector involvement in U.S. space exploration programs. Space Florida's Frank DiBello joined senior executives from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Space Adventures, Sierra Nevada Corp., and Spaceport America during the event to take calls from news media. (9/9)

Musk Begs to Differ on Seven-Year Gap (Source: SPACErePORT)
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Tuesday that his company could close the post-Shuttle human spaceflight gap in much less than the seven years suggested by the Augustine Panel. If given a contract to proceed with his Dragon capsule plans, he said SpaceX could fly humans within three years. This suggests that if a contract were awarded next month, Falcon-9 rockets could be launching humans to the Space Station by the end of 2012 from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. (9/9)

Virginia County Hires Spaceflight Recruiter as Consultant (Source:
Rick Tumlinson envisions humans launched into space from Wallops Island in the not-too-distant future. Tumlinson is the man who signed up Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist, who spent over a week in orbit in 2001 and reportedly paid up to $20 million for the trip on a Russian rocket. He sees the growth potential and open space around the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport as attractive to private enterprise. And in Accomack County, he has been hired as a consultant to maximize the area's possibilities related to the spaceport by marketing them.

"It's a very excellent use of funds," County Administrator Steve Miner said this week of hiring Tumlinson. He said the county needs to promote its assets and Tumlinson is the man to do that. "It's a weird business; we're competing with a select group of people," Miner said, adding, "Only a few places will ever have this chance." Payment for Tumlinson, who lives in Los Angeles and was named by Space News magazine in 2004 as among the 100 most influential people in the field, was approved by Accomack's Board of Supervisors last month. It approved using $10,800 from the county contingency fund for his services. (9/9)

Embry-Riddle Gets Money for Arizona NASA Resource Center (Source: ERAU)
Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona) announced the U.S. House of Representatives approved $200,000 for the NASA Educator Resource Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Kirkpatrick said the appropriation passed through Congress, and that she would be talking to Arizona's senators to garner their support for the program. The money would support the distribution of NASA educational resources to K-12 teachers through Embry-Riddle's campus in Prescott, Arizona. "We want to reclaim our position in leading the world in math and science, through NASA," she said. (9/9)

No comments: