October 14 News Items

South Korea, India to Begin ISS Partnership Talks in 2010 (Source: Flight Global)
South Korea and India are set to start talks on their membership of the International Space Station program in 2010. The heads of the South Korean and Indian space agencies told the first plenary session of the International Astronautical Congress in Daejeon, South Korea on 12 October that they want to join the ISS. China is another potential ISS partner and could provide crew transport with Shenzhou. (10/14)

Spaceport Signs Electric Agreement (Source: KFOX)
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority will get its electricity from Sierra Electric Cooperative under a new agreement. Sierra Electric Cooperative will build a substation and a six-mile distribution line to connect the spaceport to outside transmission lines. Spceport America's executive director Steve Landeene said the offsite electrical system agreement builds on an earlier agreement signed in April 2008. The cooperative's general manager, Steve Gee, said the spaceport will be a catalyst for new developments that will benefit the community and the state. (10/14)

The Moon Belongs to No One – Yet (Source: New Scientist)
LCROSS was latest in a veritable flurry of Moon missions: between 2007 and 2011 there will have been eight: one from Japan, two from China, one from India, one from Russia and three from the US. The race back to the Moon has been prompted by the realization that exploiting it may now be within reach. And it poses the question: who gets to use the moon's recoverable resources, such as oxygen or water?

This could be resolved through negotiation, as space scientists happily lodging their instruments in foreign spacecraft hope. But the Lunar Treaty drafted by the United Nations in the 1990s has still not been signed by the space powers. Since this leaves the moon unprotected by law - the ultimate terra nulla - we may now see a scramble for territory. "Whoever first conquers the moon will benefit first," as Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's moon exploration program, once told the BBC.

Editor's Note: The Obama Administration should lead an international effort to re-craft outdated treaties that may now discourage foreseeable types of commercial space enterprise. A new treaty regime could establish important incentives for large-scale lunar and asteroid resource projects. (10/14)

Armadillo Grounded Temporarily in FAA Tangle (Source: HobbySpace)
John Carmack says Armadillo's plans to begin flying up to 5000 feet near their facility at Caddo Mills airport in Texas have been stymied for the past month by "yet another regulatory hassle". Someone in the AO-100 aviation section of the FAA, who was previously unaware of Armadillo, saw video of their NGLLC flights and decided that while Armadillo had proper permissions to fly above the airport, they did not have permission to fly from a federally subsidized airport. The AST section was surprised to learn about this issue. John says it will be worked out eventually but unfortunately in the meantime they cannot even do tethered tests because of the crazy ruling last year that labeled such tests as launches. (10/14)

Russians Said to Support to Iranian Nuclear Weaponization (Source: Times Online)
Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has handed the Kremlin a list of Russian scientists believed by the Israelis to be helping Iran to develop a nuclear warhead. He is said to have delivered the list during a mysterious visit to Moscow. “We have heard that Netanyahu came with a list and concrete evidence showing that Russians are helping the Iranians to develop a bomb,” said a source close to the Russian defence minister last week.

In western capitals the latest claims were treated with caution. American and British officials argued that the involvement of freelance Russian scientists belonged to the past. American officials said concern about Russian experts acting without official approval, had been raised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a report more than a year ago. However, Israeli officials insist that any Russian scientists working in Iran could do so only with official approval.

Editor's Note: Incidents such as this raise concerns about U.S.-Russia relations at a time when the U.S. must rely on Russia for access to the International Space Station. (10/14)

Bigelow Comments to NASA on Commercial Space (Source: Space News)
"Many of the misconceptions surrounding “commercial” space transportation spring from the fact that the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 are being left out of the discussion...Bigelow Aerospace has invested a great deal of time and money examining the viability of the Atlas 5 as a commercial crew carrier, and these analyses have made us a strong supporter of the system...the Atlas 5 rocket has time and time again proven itself capable of reliably launching high-value cargo...[and] is unquestionably one of the most reliable and safest space launch systems in operation today."

"Some have tried to marginalize commercial crew as a risky strategy due to the lack of performance and experience of the companies involved...Arguably, no one has more experience in human spaceflight than Boeing, and to ignore their powerful entrance into the commercial crew transportation arena is to do a great disservice to the field itself and the current debate...By funding a commercial crew program...[NASA] can make the commercial purchase of space transportation a reality, freeing NASA forever from the shackles of low Earth orbit (LEO)...A commercial crew program can easily return Americans to space in a mere four years for the amount of funding recommended by the Augustine Committee."

"America has already abdicated its leadership in commercial space launch, with nearly all such activities being conducted by Russian, European, Indian or Chinese entities. Our commercial satellite manufacturing base has also steadily been slipping away, and the decisions you make in the near future will determine if commercial crew transportation becomes yet another domestic industry whose jobs and capabilities are permanently shipped overseas." (10/14)

Space Industry Seen Facing Delayed Economic Crisis (Source: Aviation Week)
Government customers and long-lead planning has protected the global space industry from the worst effects of the ongoing economic crisis, but industry and government representatives at the International Astronautical Congress here worry there may be a downturn in a few years as those same government customers begin paying off the debt they incurred stimulating an economic recovery.

Francois Auque, CEO of EADS Astrium, told conferees that his company increased its work force by 9 percent last year, and expects to add another 4 percent in 2009 despite economic conditions that have forced the world's governments to borrow heavily to generate stimulus packages to keep more traditional industries afloat. Space projects take a long time to complete compared to other manufacturing, and "the space activity worldwide has limited exposure to commercial markets, because globally the governments [largely] fund the activity," he said. "Space is crisis-resistant."

But that could change as the economy recovers and governments begin to balance their books again, according to many members of a panel that included both industry executives from Europe and Asia, and representatives of the government agencies that buy space products. (10/14)

India Eyes More Satellite Launches for Europe, US (Source: Deccan Herald)
The Indian Space Research Organization has reached an understanding with Arianespace under which the European space consortium would scout for small satellites in Europe to be launched by ISRO. Asked if the association with Arianespace would come to an end after the next launch, he said, "No, actually, we are trying to develop it further. They are good for heavy-lift launches. Whenever we have payloads of more than four tons, we may have to depend on them".

"They are not interested in small satellites so they will deflect it to us", he added. In addition, Nair said ISRO expects more launch opportunities from the US and Europe following the recent technology safeguards agreement (TSA) with America. Nair said ISRO has lined up launch of about half-a-dozen foreign satellites in the coming year, including those from France, Algeria, Germany, Canada and Indonesia. ISRO's marketing arm, Antrix, which clocked revenues of over Rs 1,000 crore in 2008-09, is aiming at a respectable growth of 25-30 per cent in the current fiscal. (10/14)

Space Exploration: European Ministers in Prague Prepare Roadmap Toward a Common Vision (Source: ESA)
Ministers from the 29 European Space Agency and European Union Member States will meet in Prague on Oct. 23 for the 1st EU-ESA International Conference on Human Space Exploration, to prepare a roadmap leading to the definition of a common vision and strategic planning for space exploration. (10/14)

New Mexico University Telescopes Helping NASA Search for Water on Moon (Source: KVIA)
Professor Nancy Chanover and the NMSU astronomy team are playing an important role in NASA's LCROSS moon mission. Using three different telescopes in New Mexico, the team has been capturing images of the moon's surface, showing where NASA purposely crash-landed an LCROSS-related spacecraft in the hopes of finding water. (10/14)

Arizona State Univ. Astronomy Open House 'Puts You' on the Planets (Source: ASU)
What would it feel like to stand on Mars? Or on Jupiter? Find out during the free Astronomy Open House at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus on Oct. 30. Guests may come anytime during the evening, which will include telescope viewings, a display of meteorites, fun kid activities, and other astronomy related activities. (10/14)

400 Years after Galileo, Heavens Still Open for Viewing at Embry-Riddle (Source: ERAU)
The view of the heavens that Galileo’s telescope gave him 400 years ago was astounding, if not frightening. It was far more awesome than anything the naked eye could see then or today. On Oct. 23, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is inviting the public to its Daytona Beach campus to see what Galileo saw – and more. Using sophisticated telescopes at the university’s Creekside Observatory (http://observatory.db.erau.edu), stargazers of all ages will observe and learn about the crescent Moon and its craters and mountains, as well as the planet Jupiter and its four bright moons. (10/14)

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