October 2 News Items

NASA Extends Jacobs Contract at Marshall Space Flight Center (Source: NASA)
NASA has signed a contract modification with Jacobs Technology Inc. for Engineering, Science and Technical Services Contract at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The cost-plus-award-and-incentive fee, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract will conclude Oct. 14, 2010. This final option of $192.5 million brings the total potential value of the contract, awarded in October 2005, to $792.5 million. (10/2)

SpaceX Plans DragonLab Conference in Europe (Source: SpaceX)
SpaceX will hold a second user conference for its commercial product DragonLab, a free-flying, reusable spacecraft capable of hosting pressurized and unpressurized payloads to and from orbit. The event will focus on the needs of European users and take place on Oct. 29 in the Netherlands. DragonLab provides a platform for in-space experimentation, including recovery of pressurized and some unpressurized payloads, as well as deployment of small spacecraft. As a complete system, DragonLab provides a highly capable spacecraft platform that includes propulsion, power, thermal control, environmental control, avionics, communications, thermal protection, flight software, guidance, navigation and control, entry, descent and landing, and recovery.

The user conference is an opportunity for potential customers to explore DragonLab's capabilities, as well as present customer-specific interests and requirements. The agenda includes an overview of the Dragon spacecraft, concept of operations, payload accommodations and cost parameters. DragonLab is an alternate configuration of SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft which, along with the Falcon 9 launch vehicle, has been contracted by NASA to provide cargo resupply services to the International Space Station as early as 2010. (10/1)

EU Upgrades its GPS Service (Source: Inquirer)
THE EU has started a new satellite location service that dramatically enhances the accuracy of the existing US GPS system. Dubbed the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service or EGNOS, the service uses three satellites placed in geostationary orbit over the EU to refine standard GPS signals, improving the accuracy from 10 metres to just two. Antonio Tajani, EU vice-president for Transport, hopes this will spur new business models such as road pricing and a new range of location-based services. The service is not part of the EU’s Galileo satellite GPS system, which is expected to go live in the middle of the next decade, but EGNOS will be integrated into it. (10/2)

Are Venture Investors Ready For The Final Frontier? (Source: Wall Street Journal)
As venture firms explore the landscape for new investment areas, they could find themselves in space. There’s a lot going on that might prove interesting to VCs, according to attendees at Space Investment Summit 7 in Boston Wednesday. And it’s not all related to the Obama administration’s rethinking of the U.S. space program. Communications, environmental monitoring and military programs are opportunities as well, as satellites get smaller and easier to launch. There could even be a business in hauling down the orbiting junk that menaces spacecraft.

Instead of a destination, think of space as infrastructure, “literally a critical part of infrastructure in the national economy,” said Pierre Chao, a managing partner and co-founder of Renaissance Strategic Advisors, an investment and advisory firm. He said he’s identified about $500 million available annually to space-oriented small businesses from various federal government programs, most of them defense-related. Furthermore, Chao said, there’s a growing desire in Washington to look beyond the usual vendors and to rebuild the mid-level tier of suppliers that was hit hard by the recession and before that by the telecom bust. (10/2)

Augustine Panel Plans Meeting to "Score" Exploration Options (Source: NASA)
The Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee will hold a public teleconference on Oct. 8 at 1 p.m. EDT. The only topic for discussion will be finalization of scoring of options the committee presented in their summary report on Sep. 8. The meeting must be held on this date to support the time frame associated with the federal budget process. (10/2)

Federation Urges Spaceport Infrastructure Grants (Sources: Parabolic Arc, CSF)
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is calling upon Congress and the Obama Administration to provide federal funding to the nation’s spaceports under an unfunded 1993 law. Unlike airports, commercial spaceports currently have no opportunity to apply for federal matching dollars for infrastructure to support operations and protect public safety. In the 1993 NASA Authorization Act (Public Law No. 102-588), Congress authorized a new program to support commercial space transportation facilities, but no funding has been appropriated to date.

Under the Space Transportation Infrastructure Matching Grants Program (also known as STIM-Grants), existing and proposed spaceports in California, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Virginia / Maryland, Alaska, Wisconsin, Indiana, and other states, will be eligible for competitively-awarded grants. (10/1)

EADS Astrium Dominates Ariane-5 Mission (Source: EADS)
This week's successful Ariane-5 launch illustrates the wide range of skills that Europe's EADS Astrium offer and how well the different EADS divisions complement each other. Astrium Space Transportation delivered the Ariane-5 launcher to Arianespace. Astrium Satellites developed the mission's two payloads: the German Armed Forces' first military communications satellite and the new telecommunications satellite of the Spanish operator Hispasat. Astrium Services, through its subsidiary MilSat Services, will be responsible for operating two German communications satellites for a minimum of ten years. (10/2)

Spaceport Business Opportunities Expo Planned for Oct. 20 (Source: KSC)
The annual Business Opportunities Expo for KSC and the Cape Canaveral Spaceport will be held on Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Cruise Terminal No. 3 at Port Canaveral. The annual trade show--sponsored by the NASA/Kennedy Space Center Prime Contractor Board, U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing, and Canaveral Port Authority--will feature over 150 business and government exhibitors from the local community and across the country. Government purchasing agents will attend to learn what local and national vendors have to offer. Visit http://expo.ksc.nasa.gov for information. (10/2)

Rocket Racing League May Move to Space Coast (Source: Florida Today)
Like craftsmen fabricating a custom motorcycle, workers in a nondescript hangar are hand-building a futuristic rocket airplane for a blazing-fast, science fiction-inspired sport. By 2011, these craft may zoom at nearly 300 mph in the sky around invisible racetracks two miles long, one mile wide and a half-mile high, leaving roaring trails of fiery-orange flames in their wake.

The fledgling Rocket Racing League is building a one-of-a-kind prototype aircraft at Sebastian Municipal Airport for a battery of high-performance test flights. These aerospace-entertainment entrepreneurs want to conduct televised races at spaceports across the country. And the league might move its headquarters from an Orlando suite to Brevard County. The RRL was launched in 2005 by commercial space pioneer Peter Diamandis.

Joe Radosky, RRL's director of business development, said he prefers to move the RRL to Melbourne International Airport. Someday, he hopes rocket racers powered by liquid oxygen and alcohol will zip across the skies above Kennedy Space Center. The move makes logistical sense: The RRL now owns Velocity Aircraft, the Sebastian aviation manufacturer that is building the "Rocket Racer Tail No. 2" experimental plane. Once engineers settle on a final prototype design, the Sebastian manufacturing firm will assemble 12 rocket planes for the league's debut, President Scott Baker said. (10/2)

Space Coast Sees First Round of Layoffs (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The first round of what are expected to be thousands of layoffs of space-program workers starts today with 258 shuttle contractors losing their jobs in anticipation of the space shuttle's retirement next year. In addition, nine employees of rocket-maker United Launch Alliance also received pink slips Thursday, along with about 70 security workers at Cape Canaveral Air Force station. The 337 layoffs are the first of what local officials estimate will be 7,000 space-program job losses by the end of 2010.

The 258 shuttle workers were employed by United Space Alliance, which services the shuttle for NASA, and most volunteered to leave. About 20 more will be leaving next week. A USA spokeswoman stressed that the losses do "not adversely impact" remaining shuttle operations.

United Launch Alliance (ULA), which makes and operates the Delta-2, Delta-4 and Atlas-5 rockets will be left with 733 local workers after the layoffs become effective on Oct. 15. Both USA and ULA are jointly owned by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. Brevard Workforce offers assistance to laid-off workers, who should register on www.employflorida.com and then visit www.launchnewcareers.com to check the services available to them. (10/2)

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