October 19 News Items

Lawmakers Near Agreement on White House Spy Satellite Plan (Source: Space News)
Lawmakers with the U.S. House and Senate intelligence oversight committees are nearing an agreement that would lead to approval of the White House plan for a new generation of classified electro-optical imaging satellites, a key member of the House said Oct. 19. One of the issues to be settled in the bill is the White House imaging plan, which entails procuring two highly capable imaging satellites from incumbent contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. and relying on commercial providers for less-technically challenging collection requirements. (10/19)

What Did The Moon Scientist Spy Tell The Israelis? Some Clues (Source: The Atlantic)
There's nothing like a good, diverting spy scandal. Stewart David Nozette allegedly agreed to sell information about American nuclear weapons to an operative of Israel's Mossad -- only the agent turned out to be an undercover FBI agent. Nozette was the principal investigator on the NASA team that discovered water on the moon. But he spent years as a top scientist at the Department of Energy, where he specialized in satellite technology. It's hard to figure out what he might have given the Israelis and what he tried to sell to the undercover agent. But his resume provides a clue.
Take it as a given that Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile and its half dozen nuclear facilities in the country are targets for U.S. espionage -- from the NSA's SIGINT satellites to the NRO's imagery satellites. At the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Agency, Nozette ran a program that focused on dual-use nuclear compliance monitoring satellites. The Clementine satellite that discovered water on the moon was, before it was used by civilian scientists, a platform for a sohpisticated nuclear compliance sensor. Among the technologies that Clementine validated was a capacity to peer beneath the ground -- one of the ways that hidden water was discovered.

No doubt that Nozette would be in a good position to know how easily it is for U.S. technologies to pierce the veil of Israel's secret nuke program. Nozette had a "Q" clearance from the Department of Energy, which gave him access to data about nuclear weapons themselves, which might have been of interest to the Israelis. More generally, though, since Israel has nuclear weapons, its espionage efforts are probably more directed towards figuring out what the U.S. knows about them, how the U.S. monitors, say, Israeli launch preparation sites, and who the U.S. shares this data with. During the Reagan administration, Nozette was a special assistant to the Strategic Defense Initiative "Star Wars" program's Office of Survivability, Lethality and Key Technologies. (10/19)

Lawmakers Near Agreement on White House Spy Satellite Plan (Source: Space News)
Lawmakers with the U.S. House and Senate intelligence oversight committees are nearing an agreement that would lead to approval of the White House plan for a new generation of classified electro-optical imaging satellites, a key member of the House said Oct. 19. One of the issues to be settled in the bill is the White House imaging plan, which entails procuring two highly capable imaging satellites from incumbent contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. and relying on commercial providers for less-technically challenging collection requirements. (10/19)

Maryland Space Scientist Charged With Attempted Espionage (Source: NASA Watch)
"A criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Columbia charges Stewart David Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, with attempted espionage for knowingly and willfully attempting to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating to the national defense of the United States to an individual that Nozette believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case." (10/19)

Travel to Mars – On a One-Way Ticket? (Source: Houston Chronicle)
What if NASA could land astronauts on Mars in a decade, for not ridiculously more money than the $10 billion the agency spends annually on human spaceflight? It's possible, say some space buffs, although there's a catch. The astronauts we'd send would never come home. The concept of a one-way mission to Mars has circulated among space buffs for years, with a Houston-based former NASA engineer, James C. McLane III, among its chief champions. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has endorsed the plan. Relieving NASA of the need to send fuel and rocketry to blast humans off the Martian surface, which has slightly more than twice the gravity of the moon, would actually reduce costs by about a factor of 10, by some estimates. And it would captivate the country, if not the world. (10/19)

Europe Proposes Common Space Transport Policy (Source: Flight Global)
The European Space Agency is proposing a far-reaching common space transport policy for low Earth orbit that could help overcome potential logistics problems for International Space Station utilization. Currently only Russia is providing ISS crew transport. NASA's Discovery flight in August was the last scheduled Shuttle-based ISS crew rotation. After the Shuttle fleet retires, ISS will rely on the cargo spacecraft of ESA, Russia and Japan until NASA's commercial providers - SpaceX and Orbital Sciences - begin. If any of these are delayed or fail then station research could become very limited and its crew of six could have to be reduced to three.

ESA director general Jean-Jacques Dordain explained that a common policy could end the situation where "everyone is buying something but there is no coordination". He says ISS partners need to understand what capabilities the others have or are developing, and agree on what launchers and spacecraft - and how many - are needed for LEO access. Some co-ordination has begun. For example, for two years now ESA and NASA have been working on a common docking and berthing mechanism standard. This could be adopted by new ISS members able to provide transportation. Next year talks are expected with India and South Korea to join the ISS programme and India expects to fly its own three-man capsule by 2016. China also wants ISS membership and its Shenzhou spacecraft could provide crew transport and the country has plans for a cargo vehicle. (10/19)

Geologists: Outer Space is Source of the Earth's Mineral Riches (Source: U. of Toronto)
According to a new study by geologists at the University of Toronto and the University of Maryland, the wealth of some minerals that lie in the rock beneath the Earth's surface may be extraterrestrial in origin. Geologists have long speculated that four and a half billion years ago, the Earth was a cold mass of rock mixed with iron metal which was melted by the heat generated from the impact of massive planet-sized objects, allowing the iron to separate from the rock and form the Earth's core. Brenan and colleague William McDonough of the University of Maryland recreated the extreme pressure and temperature of this process, subjecting a similar mixture to temperatures above 2,000 degrees Celsius, and measured the composition of the resulting rock and iron.

Because the rock became void of the metal in the process, the scientists speculate that the same would have occurred when the Earth was formed, and that some sort of external source – such as a rain of extraterrestrial material – contributed to the presence of some precious metals in Earth's outer rocky portion today. "The notion of extraterrestrial rain my also explain another mystery, which is how the rock portion of the Earth came to have hydrogen, carbon and phosphorous – the essential components for life, which were likely lost during Earth's violent beginning." (10/19)

Shuttle Launch Moves to Nov. 16 in Range Conflict with Atlas-5 (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
Atlantis has been reduced to just one launch attempt – on November 16 – after STS-129 lost the battle for the Eastern Range to two satellite launches from Cape Canaveral. A second launch attempt on November 17 is being negotiated, prior to standing down for a Delta IV launch. The previous opening launch attempt on Nov. 12 was ruled out due to an Atlas V launch two days later. Atlantis is patiently waiting for her opportunity to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) by proceeding through the complex operations of her pad flow. All nominal operations on the integrated milestone chart are on schedule – even though four days have since been added to the flow due to the launch date slip. (10/19)

UCF to Manage KSC’s Educational Resources (Source: Orlando Business Journal)
The University of Central Florida College of Education signed a new agreement aimed at helping area teachers bring NASA’s resources in life science, astronomy and energy into their classrooms. A team of UCF educators will help manage Kennedy Space Center’s Educator Resource Center, a vast collection of audiovisual and printed materials about NASA research and technology, according to a UCF release. UCF’s goal is to provide current and future teachers with more opportunities for developing lessons based on shuttle missions and scientific research. (10/19)

China Works for Mars and Moon Missions (Source: RIA Novosti)
The launch of a Russian Phobos Grunt probe to Mars on October 16 has been delayed until 2011. The delay also affects China's first mission to Mars. The 240-pound Chinese Yinghou-1 spacecraft was to be mounted atop the Russian spacecraft for transport to the Martian orbit, where it was to be released before the Russian spacecraft landed on Phobos. The delay, however, gives us grounds to analyze China's achievements in space exploration, when the Chinese economy has growth 8% despite the global economic downturn.

China spends over $3.5 billion on space exploration annually and "has made eye-catching achievements, and ranks among the world's most advanced countries in some important fields of space technology," Summing up China's space achievements of the past ten years, we can pinpoint the following trends. It has increased the sphere of satellite application and orbited over 100 of its own and foreign spacecraft. Working in the interests of national security and economic, social and technological development, China has focused on several spheres of space exploration, including telecommunications and broadcasting satellites, weather satellites (there will be eight of them), research and technological experiment satellites, Earth remote sensing satellites, and a navigation system. (10/19)

Spacesuit Maker has Spot Near JSC (Source: Houston Chronicle)
Spacesuit maker ILC Dover has settled into a satellite office close to NASA's Johnson Space Center, where it has maintained a presence since the 1960s. A dozen of the company's 45 Houston employees now work at the site, which opened in April. The company designs and makes soft goods to support NASA space missions. The move enables the Dover, Del.-based firm to compete for jobs in other industries outside of the space sector, said Don Lacey, Houston business manager.

ILC Dover is best known for making sewn fabrics for pressurized vessels that not only include spacesuits, but other inflatable goods. Even though its name is not on it, chances are ILC Dover made the “envelope” of a blimp you see in the sky, Lacey said. The spacesuits are primarily made in Dover, while a range of products and services are handled out of Houston. The company performs manned suited test support and evaluations and provides design and fabrication of specialized soft goods for unique applications. A recent example was a prototype of the Cabana, a patio-size protective enclosure for suited astronauts on the lunar surface. It also makes a number of kits for spacewalk-related tools and consumables that are in orbit. (10/19)

Scientists Announce Planet Bounty (Source: BBC)
Astronomers have announced a haul of planets found beyond our Solar System. The 32 "exoplanets" ranged in size from five times the mass of Earth to 5-10 times the mass of Jupiter, the researchers said. They were found using a very sensitive instrument on a 3.6m telescope at the European Southern Observatory's La Silla facility in Chile. The discovery is exciting because it suggests that low-mass planets could be numerous in our galaxy. (10/19)

Space Club Luncheon Honors News & Communication Leaders on Nov. 10 (Source: NSCFL)
During their Nov. 10 luncheon, the Florida Committee of the National Space Club will recognize two leaders in Florida space-related corporate communications and media news coverage. Jessica Rye of ATK and Scott Harris of Channel 13 News will be the guests of honor at the DoubleTree Hotel in Cocoa Beach. Contact LaDonna Neterer to RSVP at mailto:ladonna.j.neterer@boeing.com. (10/19)

Five Technologies That Could Change Everything (Source: Wall Street Journal)
It's a tall order: Over the next few decades, the world will need to wean itself from dependence on fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gases. Current technology will take us only so far; major breakthroughs are required. What might those breakthroughs be? Here's a look at five technologies that, if successful, could radically change the world energy picture: #1) SPACE-BASED SOLAR POWER - If we could place giant solar panels in orbit around the Earth, and beam even a fraction of the available energy back to Earth, they could deliver nonstop electricity to any place on the planet. Click here to view the article. (10/19)

Launcher-Out Capability (Source: Space Review)
Many exploration architectures that feature heavy-lift launch vehicles do so because they are an efficient way of launching large payloads. Ronald Menich argues for a more robust approach of using smaller vehicles that provides redundancy in the event of a launch failure. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1495/1 to view the article. (10/19)

Using the Space Station: Where Does the US Go From Here? (Source: Space Review)
With the International Space Station nearly completely assembled, attention now turns to how to best utilize it. Taylor Dinerman explains how that will depend on how much access scientists will have to it once the shuttle is retired. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1494/1 to view the article. (10/19)

How Competitive is Commercial Launch? (Source: Space Review)
A coalition of commercial satellite operators is seeking policy changes that would open up the launch market to EELVs and even Chinese vehicles. Jeff Foust reports on those efforts and the perspectives of the commercial launch industry. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1493/1 to view the article. (10/19)

The Second Fifty Years: Expanding Human Presence on the Space Frontier (Source: Space Review)
Many see Mars as the ultimate goal of any new space exploration policy. Doris Hamill describes the steps needed to make human missions to the Red Planet possible. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1492/1 to view the article. (10/19)

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