October 1 News Items

Another Ariane-5 Launches Dual ComSats (Source: Space Daily)
On Thursday evening, October 1, Arianespace boosted two payloads into geostationary transfer orbit: the Amazonas-2 civil communications satellite for the Spanish operator Hispasat, and the ComsatbW-1 military communications satellite, built by Astrium for the German Ministry of Defense. The launch was the 47th Ariane 5 mission and the 33rd successful launch campaign in a row. (10/1)

Delivery Delayed for Lockheed Martin’s Warning Satellite System (Source: Bloomberg)
The delivery and launch date for the Pentagon’s newest early warning satellite system, made by Lockheed Martin Corp., has slipped another year, partly because of suspect workmanship on components, the Air Force said. The delay to early 2011 from this December marks at least the fifth time since the program’s start in 1996 that the delivery and launch date has been pushed back, according to the Government Accountability Office. The launch of the five- spacecraft constellation originally had been scheduled for September 2002. (10/1)

US 'Red Tape' Dogged India Moon Mission (Source: BBC)
The recent discovery of water on the Moon by India's inaugural lunar mission almost never happened because of a twin helping of good old-fashioned red tape and lingering Cold War suspicions, reports science writer Pallava Bagla. Hidden behind the euphoria of the find is a less publicized tale of complex back room dealings between Indian and American space science teams. Back in 2004, scientists from the two countries were eager to collaborate, but the Bureau of Export Control in the US did not share this enthusiasm. In fact it was seen by some on the Indian side as being singularly obstinate. It is accused of not being willing to clear the paperwork that would allow sophisticated American-made instruments to be airlifted to Bangalore for the mission. (10/1)

NASA Commercial Funds Suffer 40% Cut (Source: Flight Global)
Funding for NASA's commercial crew and cargo work has been slashed from $150 million to $90 million with just $1 million for a human rating study contract that was announced and withdrawn in September. The original $150 million was going to be spent with $80 million for a crew transport program and $70 million for supporting work. That has been torn up and the $90 million is split four ways. There is $50 million for the Commercial Crew Development program, $24 million for launch site and test infrastructure, $15 million for docking system development, and the $1 million human rating work. (10/1)

NASA Faces Tough Timeline for Atlantis Launch (Source: AIA)
A launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, currently planned for November, could be pushed into next year by a combination of rocket launches, meteor showers and a traffic jam at the International Space Station. The scheduled blast-off date is Nov. 12, but the sun's angle that time of year means NASA will have a window of only eight days to get Atlantis off the ground. Failing that, Jan. 7 could be the next launch opportunity. (10/1)

Air Force: Missile-Warning Satellites Delayed Until 2011 (Source: AIA)
Software malfunctions and assembly problems are among the reasons cited for the Air Force's decision to delay launching a constellation of five satellites designed to give an early warning of missiles. Officials now hope to put the $11.6 billion constellation into orbit in early 2011. The satellites originally were slated to launch in September 2002, but a series of delays pushed the target date back at least four times, most recently to December 2009. (10/1)

Space Station Docking Standards Under Development (Source: Hyperbola)
There seems to be multiple new efforts for docking systems to support the International Space Station. NASA will spend $15 million on docking system work for the agency's commercial crew and cargo program, and last week the European Space Agency explained that it too was co-operating with NASA on a docking system that is called the Common Berthing and Docking Mechanism. Meanwhile, the Low Impact Docking System (LIDS) is the baselined docking mechanism for Constellation/Orion.

LIDS would replaces the existing Pressurized Mating Adapter (PMA) based [Androgynous Peripheral Assembly System (APAS)] docking system used for Shuttle. The APAS-to-LIDS Adapter System (ATLAS) has been transferred from Orion to ISS and integrated into new project called Common Docking Adapter (CDA). The CDA team has been asked to develop a new International Docking Standard, which would identify key technical requirements that would allow many different designs for docking spacecraft. The standard is being worked by an international group representing the U.S. Canada, Europe, Japan and Russia for use by any nation or commercial company to provide the ability to dock spacecraft. (10/1)

Another ATK Layoff Imminent (Source: Tremonton Leader)
For the second time in less than seven months, one of Utah's largest employers is facing another layoff. ATK announced plans in July for a potential layoff of up to 500 employees, the result of changes in budget, programs and lost contracts. ATK said the layoffs will “take place primarily in Utah with minor impact to ATK Space Systems remote operations.” (10/1)

Augustine Panel Final Report Now Expected by Mid-October (Source: Huntsville Times)
A much anticipated independent report about the future of NASA and human space flight probably will not be sent to President Barack Obama until the middle of October, a spokesman said. "I don't see a firm date just now," said Augustine Commission spokesman Doc Mirelson. "What we are seeing is probably the second week of October." (10/1)

GAO to NASA: How Much Does Ares Rocket Program Cost? (Source: Huntsville Times)
A Government Accountability Office report released recently found that NASA's Constellation Program - including Marshall Space Flight Center-developed Ares rockets - had no clear goals or firm cost figures. According to the report, NASA estimates Ares will cost more than $49 billion of about $97 billion estimated for its Constellation Program, which the space agency hopes will one day loft crews to the International Space Station and perhaps to the moon and Mars. However, the GAO reports, because these programs are slated to run out into the 2025 time frame no firm costs can be estimated. NASA managers agreed with the reports findings. (10/1)

ViaSat Buying WildBlue for $568 Million (Source: San Diego Union-Tribune)
Carlsbad-based ViaSat plans to buy satellite Internet provider WildBlue Communications in a cash and stock transaction valued at $568 million. For ViaSat, the move highlights the big bet it's making on bringing high-speed Internet service via satellite to rural regions outside the reach of cable or DSL.

WildBlue, based near Denver, was started in 1999 by EchoStar co-founder David Drucker and is backed by John Malone's Liberty Media. It owns one satellite and leases capacity on another and has 400,000 residential and small-business customers nationwide. Until recently, ViaSat has been a low-profile maker of modems and ground equipment for the military and commercial satellite customers. But last year, the company surprised Wall Street by announcing it would build and launch its own $450 million satellite to provide high-speed Internet service. (10/1)

Hawai‘i Shoots For The Moon (Source: Maui Weekly)
Hawai‘i astronomers and telescopes are set to play a key role in NASA mission. “This could potentially completely change the future of space exploration for mankind.” You may not know it, but this year, the State of Hawai‘i designated the second week of October as Hawaiian Aerospace Week. And the timing couldn’t have been better. In the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 9, stargazers across the globe will keep an eye on the sky, watching with anticipation as a spacecraft is intentionally crashed into the moon. This will create a plume of debris that will rise more than three miles above the surface of the moon, an event that will hopefully determine if water exists beneath the lunar surface. (10/1)

India Develops Tech to Boost Satellite Life by 5 Years (Source: PTI News)
For the first time, India's space scientists have developed electric propulsion technology that is expected to boost the life of geostationary satellites by upto five years. In other words, the satellites which today have a lifespan of ten years, could last upto 15 years. The system - plasma thrusters - would be tested in GSAT-4 spacecraft slated to be launched on board GSLV later this year, ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair said. (10/1)

China's First Mars Mission Delayed (Source: China Daily)
China's first Mars probe mission will be delayed because of Russia's decision to postpone the launch of its mission to the Martian moon Phobos from next month to the year 2011. Russia's Phobos-Grunt mission had been slated to lift off aboard a Zenith rocket in October on a three-year mission to study Phobos and return soil samples to Earth. Yinghuo-1 orbiter was set to be launched with the mission. Russia's the mission will be delayed from October to the next launch window in 2011, in order to enhance the reliability of the project. (10/1)

Alabama Prepares for Atlas Manufacturing (Source: WAFF)
The first Atlas V hardware is being transported from Denver Colorado to Decatur. Once that delivery is finished Decatur will be the production home for both the Atlas and Delta rockets. Two second stage fuel tanks came aboard a big cargo plane today and traveled in a special made trailer to the Decatur plant. Locals say this will also brings about 150 new jobs to the area. Editor's Note: If the Air Force is so interested in assured access to space using Atlas and Delta rockets, I fail to see the wisdom in consolidating the production of these rockets in a single location. (10/1)

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