October 17 News Items

One Giant Step for China (Source: Times Online)
Any day now, at a hidden airbase in the forests of northeast China, a panel of doctors and air-force officers will make the final choice of the first Chinese woman to go into space. When that happens, she will step out of the shadows of military secrecy to become the most famous woman among 1.3 billion people.

We can guess a little bit about her identity. She will be one of the 16 women who graduated in April as fighter pilots to join an elite band of China’s “top guns”. She has made it through the most daunting selection process on Earth — 200,000 women between 17 and 20 years old applied for the aviation course, but only 35 made it to China’s Air Force Aviation University. The chosen woman will have three years to prepare herself for a mission to a Chinese space laboratory that may take place as early as 2012. (10/17)

Chemical Signature Could Help Locate Earth-Like Planets (Source: Physics World)
New insights into the Sun's chemical composition may provide a new way to search for Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars – claims an international team of astrophysicists. Astronomers have already discovered hundreds of planets (called exoplanets) orbiting stars other than the Sun. However, most of the known exoplanets are gas giants like Jupiter – rather than rocky Earth-like worlds. This is probably because the two techniques currently used to find exoplanets work best on large planets.

The scientists believe that the Sun's unusual chemical composition could be related to the formation of Earth and the other rocky planets – and this chemical fingerprint could be used to identify other stars with rocky satellites. “Very excitingly, the star most similar to the Sun in this respect that we have found so far is Alpha Centauri A, the second nearest star,” said Martin Asplund of Germany's Max Planck Institute. He said that this is “excellent news” because, if Earth-like planets do exist in that system, it is close enough for them to be observed directly. (10/16)

China Begins Lunar Landings Study (Source: Aviation Week)
China is laying the groundwork to land astronauts on the moon, which would follow an ambitious lunar robotic precursor program that also could pave the way for the country's first unmanned probe to Mars. Dong Nengli of the China Manned Space Engineering Program says his organization is already looking beyond the planned deployment of a 60-ton Chinese space station in 2020.

"During the course of the third step of the China manned spaceflight program, we will conduct a manned lunar mission conception study, validate the key technologies and finally pave the way for manned lunar exploration," Dong said at the International Astronautical Congress. Chinese officials stress that there has been no government approval for a manned lunar landing, and say China would "welcome" a chance to join the larger international exploration effort that has coalesced around the International Space Station. (10/17)

AGI Unveils Ability To Stream STK Over the Web (Source: CSA)
Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) can now "share the view" of Satellite Tool Kit® (STK) over the world wide web. STK/WebCast version 1.0 will allow two- and three-dimensional STK output to be continuously streamed across the Internet or local intranets/networks via RealNetworks' freely distributed RealPlayer plug-in. STK/WebCast will be available in the April 2000 release of STK version 4.1.1. Click here for information. (10/16)

NASA Launches “MyExploration” Web Site (Source: CSA)
On Oct. 27, NASA launches the first flight of a new era with the flight test of the Ares I-X rocket. In preparation for the flight test, NASA has launched a new Web site to involve the public in this exciting and historic event.
The “MyExploration” Web site encourages visitors to learn, explore and participate in the upcoming mission. NASA is asking the public to upload 60-second videos that finish the statement “Space exploration is important because …” These videos will be posted on the site for others to see.

The “MyExploration” Web site also has links to Ares information on the Web, including links to the latest news and information on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To learn more, upload your video, view videos submitted by others, and take the “MyExploration” quiz, visit http://www.nasa.gov/myexploration. (10/16)

NASA Conducts Airborne Science Aboard Zeppelin Airship (Source: CSA)
NASA launched its first airborne science mission this week featuring a 246-foot-long Zeppelin NT airship equipped with two imaging instruments to learn more about environmental conditions in the San Francisco Bay Area. Click here for information. (10/16)

California Space Center Could Bring In Thousands Of Jobs (Source: KEYT)
A new space center in the Lompoc Valley could send job opportunities and the economy sky rocketing. Plans for the project were unveiled Tuesday at Lompoc City Hall. The California Space Center is expected to bring between 1,700 and 3,000 jobs to the area.

The site will be just outside the gates of Vandenberg Air Force Base. A lease is expected to be signed next spring, and construction will take about two years. The center will include a premier viewing area, an I-Max type theater, and an educational center for children. Click here for information. (10/16)

Lockheed Martin Participates In Air Force's ICBM 50th Anniversary Symposium (Source: CSA)
Lockheed Martin is participating in a Tech Exposition at the 50th Anniversary of ICBMs Symposium and Commemoration Oct. 7-9 at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. The symposium commemorates the U.S. Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force being on alert since Oct. 31, 1959, and its continuing role as an enduring deterrent to war. Click here for information. (10/16)

Lockheed Martin and Jeffco Public Schools Launch Solar System Walking Tours (Source: CSA)
It’s taken billions of years to create the real thing but only a few years to replicate it. Students at Jeffco’s Windy Peak and Mount Evans Outdoor Education Laboratory Schools (OELS) will now be able to take a walking tour of our solar system with the help of rocket scientists and engineers from Lockheed Martin. Click here for information. (10/16)

Loral Delivers the Intelsat 14 Satellite to Florida Spaceport (Source: CSA)
Loral has delivered a satellite built for Intelsat, the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services, to the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in Florida, where it is scheduled to launch later this year aboard an Atlas V rocket. The Intelsat 14 satellite (IS-14), which includes the first Internet Router In Space (IRIS), expands on Loral's’s experience integrating hosted payloads on commercial spacecraft. Click here for information. (10/16)

Loral Delivers SES World SKIES Satellite to Europe's Spaceport (Source: CSA)
Loral has shipped a communications satellite built for SES WORLD SKIES, a subsidiary of SES, to Kourou, French Guiana, where it is scheduled to launch later this year aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Click here for information. (10/16)

Loral Engineer Honored by Satellite Group (Source: CSA)
Dr. Max Kamenetsky, a Loral engineer, has been named a "Future Leader" by the Society of Satellite Professionals International, for his leadership in driving technical developments. The award, which recognizes young and promising executives and leaders in the global satellite communications industry. Click here for information. (10/16)

Bolden's "Heavy Lift Vehicle": Ares V and HLV Battle It Out (Source: Hyperbola)
Talking to sources within the Ares V project and close to the Space Shuttle program office's Shuttle-derived Heavy Lift Vehicle team it has become clear that multiple heavy-lift concepts are still being considered by NASA.

Charles Cockrell, associate director at NASA's Langley Research Center's systems engineering directorate, said that the Ares V project office was working on "trade studies of Ares V variants to feed that [human spaceflight policy] decision making process." Sources close to the HLV team tell Hyperbola that "Yes the shuttle derived side mount, HLV, is one of the heavy lift launch vehicles being considered"

As Bolden is an ex-Shuttle astronaut it is perhaps not surprising that he might be open to the Shuttle programme office's ideas and so this blog asks the question, will anything of Constellation survive this review? (10/16)

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