October 25 News Items

Airborne Electrical Charge Can Pose Ares I-X Flight Risk (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer)
The test flight of NASA's Ares I-X rocket will carry an upper stage mockup built at Cleveland's Glenn Research Center. The Ares I-X mission's launch weather officer said "triboelectrification," a static electric charge that can build up on flying vehicles, aircraft as well as spacecraft, as they move through particles in the atmosphere, can still cause enough static to garble telemetry between the rocket and ground contollers and threaten the Ares I-X flight. (10/25)

‘By 2015 India Will be Ready for Manned Moon Mission’ (Source: The Hindu)
K. Radhakrishnan, who has been appointed Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, said on Saturday that by 2015 India would be ready for a manned moon mission. Work on Chandrayaan-II was progressing. Efforts would be made to take the benefits of space research to the common man, he told journalists here. Mr. Radhakrishnan received his appointment order while he was at the Sree Krishna Temple. The fax message was received at the devaswom board office in the evening. He had darshan and offered ‘thulabharam’ at the temple. (10/25)

Final WHite House Decision: Wait Till February? (Source: Space Politics)
Shortly after the Augustine committee released its final report, Alan Ladwig of NASA spoke at the luncheon of the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in New Mexico. He said that policy leaders from a number of organizations would now meet to “transform the Augustine options into a recommendation or recommendations to be considered and acted on by the president.” He hoped that decisions would be made in time to influence the FY2010 budget and to be incorporated into FY2011 budget request. He noted that the budget request normally isn’t released until late January or early February. “So while it is likely that we’ll hear something about our fate from the president before the end of the year,” he suggested, “a complete view of the new-and-improved NASA may not be completely defined until the release of the 2011 budget.” (10/22)

Save Space: Catching On or Falling Short? (Source: Space Politics)
Florida Today provides an update today on the status of Save Space, a Space Coast effort to get half a million letters in support of space exploration delivered to the White House. The article gives the impression that the movement is gaining momentum, noting milestones like donated space on digital billboards across the country and the number of partner organizations that have joined.

However, there’s little evidence in the article that Save Space is anywhere near its goal of 500,000 letters by the end of this month. A spokesperson for the Brevard County government, which is hosting the site, says that it’s “impossible to determine” just how many letters have been sent to the White House. The Save Space Facebook page just passed 2,000 fans, the article adds, a stat that sounds good but again is still far short of the 500,000.

If the organizers could come through on their goal of 500,000 letters, they likely would get noticed by the White House. The White House is currently getting 65,000 letters a week, on top of thousands more phone calls, faxes, and emails: enough that there’s a backlog of mail that has to be processed. Dumping 500,000 letters there over a short period of time would presumably get some attention. A few thousand? Not so much. The campaign is now backing away from that October 31 deadline, as the article states it will now be “an open-ended venture” until the president makes a policy decision. (10/25)

Virginia Seeks Improved Space Flight Liability Law (Source: Spaceports Blog)
Virginia, the first state to adopt a human space flight liability and immunity statute, may review the 2007 law to remove a July 1, 2013 sunset provision to conform the state law with those subsequently enacted in Florida in 2008 and Texas in 2009 if State Del. Terry G. Kilgore proceeds with the bill as now planned. Kilgore's space flight legislation has the backing of space advocates in his district including the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council. (10/25)

Editorial: NASA. It's Worth It (Source: Houston Chronicle)
The title of the final report from the presidential commission studying the future course of NASA is “Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation.” Its brutally frank conclusion is that the United States will get what it pays for. According to the report, NASA's current annual budget of $18.7 billion will only buy second-rate status among the space-faring nations of the 21st century.

The government has already allocated close to $800 billion on economic stimulus, so it's difficult to understand why NASA, with a full-time and contractor workforce totaling nearly 60,000 nationwide and 18,000 in the Clear Lake area, isn't worth an additional investment to continue manned space exploration. NASA's role in stimulating technological development with widespread applications to other industries is well established. As retired astronaut Robert Crippen told the Chronicle, a NASA budget boost would save thousands of high-tech jobs at a fraction of the cost of the stimulus package. (10/25)

Why Space Matters... (Source: CSA)
America’s efforts in space inspire, educate, and ignite our innovative spirit. The audacious pioneering achievements of NASA and the aerospace industry continue to motivate young people to study math, science and technology. America’s space program is an investment – in the leaders of tomorrow, in pioneering new technologies and, most importantly, in the future of our planet. It is time to renew our commitment to NASA for the continued exploration of space, science and aeronautics. Our decisions today will affect generations to come. Click here for more. (10/24)

Bolden Discusses Regolith Excavation Winner in Remarks (Source: CSA)
"Over this weekend, NASA just held a competition in California with $750,000 in prizes for anyone in America who could move the most “regolith” — or moon dirt — with a robot. Twenty-three teams competed. The winning team is “Paul’s Robotics”, led by a young man by the name Paul Ventimiglia. Paul not only beat out 22 other competitor teams, he beat teams of professional aerospace engineers, and teams of world-class robotics experts. Paul is a college student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. He heard about the competition from a high school teacher. Now that is inspiring. Let me say a little more. Paul’s team did not win by a nose, say by one or two percent. Paul’s team moved 84 percent more Moon dirt than the second place team that qualified to win the $150,000 prize." Click here to view Bolden's remarks. (10/24)

Columbia Space Center in Downey Set for Lift-Off (Source: CSA)
The launch date for the Columbia Memorial Space Center is set. The two-story, 20,000 square-foot facility, located at 12400 Clark Ave., next door to Downey Studios, has its grand opening Saturday and Sunday, noon-6 p.m. Tickets are required but free and available at the city manager's office, 11111 Brookshire Ave., third floor. For ticket information, call 562-904-1895 or 562-904-7286, or click here.

Nation's Newest USAF Environmental Satellite Launched (Source: CSA)
The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-18 Block 5D-3 spacecraft, built under contract for the U.S. Air Force by Lockheed Martin, was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. at 9:12 am PDT. Click here for the full story. (10/24)

Loral to Name Patrick DeWitt Chairman of the Board (Source: CSA)
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications (NASDAQ: LORL) and the leading provider of commercial satellites, today announced that Patrick DeWitt will be appointed to the SS/L Board of Directors as its Chairman and will relinquish his duties as Chief Executive Officer at the end of the year. Click here to view the article. (10/23)

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