October 29 News Items

Arianespace Orbits Two Commercial Satellites (Source: Space Daily)
The sixth Ariane 5 flight of 2009 marked another success for this heavy-lift launcher, carrying the first satellite launched by Arianespace for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting, THOR 6, along with the 32nd spacecraft for SES. "It...confirms that Arianespace is the only launch services company capable of orbiting four commercial satellites in four weeks - which I also think is a new record." (10/29)

Will Ares I-X Success Change Minds About the Embattled Program? (Source: Huntsville Times)
Will Wednesday's successful test launch of the Ares I-X rocket, coming on the heels of the Augustine Commission study that recommends its cancellation, change perceptions of the embattled NASA program? "A successful flight test can never help you because it is expected. But a failure can hurt you," said former NASA Administrator Dr. Mike Griffin, now King-McDonald Eminent Scholar at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. "So today, with this brilliant engineering success, the NASA team avoided potential political damage," he said. (10/29)

NASA Assessing Dented Booster from Ares 1-X Launch (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
One of the three 150-foot-wide parachutes designed to gently lower NASA's Ares I-X first stage deflated after deployment, resulting in a harder splashdown than expected. An initial inspection of the retrieved booster, sources said, revealed the sort of paint blistering that is typically found on shuttle boosters, along with an area of apparent buckling in the lower segment.

The test of the new parachute system was one of several major objectives of the Ares I-X test flight, intended to generate data needed to perfect the design of NASA's planned shuttle replacement, the more-powerful Ares I rocket. (10/29)

Requested Falcon 9 Range Date Has Conflict (Source: Space News)
SpaceX has requested a Feb. 2 range date for the maiden flight of its Falcon 9 medium-lift rocket, according to a 90-day launch range forecast issued Oct. 28 by the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing. But SpaceX’s proposed 11 a.m. EST liftoff would conflict with an already approved Atlas 5 launch of NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory, the range forecast shows. (10/29)

Space Junk Threat Delays Japanese Spaceship's Station Departure (Source: Space.com)
A piece of space junk orbiting Earth has forced NASA to tweak upcoming plans for the Friday departure of Japan's first cargo ship to the International Space Station. The debris, a wayward chunk of an old Russian satellite, poses no risk to the space station, but could be a threat to the H-2 Transfer Vehicle, an unmanned Japanese freighter making its maiden flight, after it departs Friday. (10/29)

Huge Explosion Was Biggest Space Rock to Strike Earth Since 1994 (Source: Space.com)
A space rock explosion earlier this month over an island region of Indonesia is now being viewed as perhaps the biggest object to tangle with the Earth in more than a decade. On Oct. 8, reports from Indonesia told of a loud air blast around 11 a.m. local time. One report indicated a bright fireball, accompanied by an explosion and lingering dust cloud. The blast is thought to be due to the atmospheric entry of an asteroid more than 30 feet (10 meters) in diameter. Due to atmospheric pressure, the object is thought to have detonated in the atmosphere, yielding an energy release of about 50 kilotons (the equivalent of 110,000,000 pounds of TNT explosives). (10/29)

MDA Eyes Role as Telecom Satellite Prime Contractor (Source: Space News)
Satellite component manufacturer MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates Ltd. (MDA) of Canada wants to move up the food chain to produce complete commercial telecommunications satellites and is targeting opportunities among Central Asian nations that were once part of the Soviet Union. (10/29)

NASA Targeting Nov. 16 Atlantis Launch (Source: Florida Today)
The Space Shuttle mission dubbed STS-129 is one of six remaining shuttle flights. It will deliver critical spare parts to the International Space Station and bring home station flight engineer Nicole Stott. NASA is targeting 2:28 p.m. on Nov. 16 for the liftoff. (10/29)

Launch Pad Suffers Damage With Hazardous Gas Leaks After Ares-1X (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
NASA says there has been another leak of toxic propellant at launch pad 39B this morning after yesterday's launch of the Ares 1-X test rocket caused more damage to the complex than normal. Today's leak involved plumbing for hydrazine fuel, a caustic substance used by the space shuttle's maneuvering jets while in space. Sensors at the pad detected concentrations of the fuel around 8:30 a.m. EDT this morning. Leaking nitrogen tetroxide oxidizer formed a reddish-brown cloud of toxic vapors a few hours after launch yesterday. The propellants are considered hazardous and could cause injury or death with exposure. (10/29)

NASA Finds Issues With Ares-1X Upper Stage Separation (Source: Huntsville Times)
One area of concern comes from the separation of the first-stage solid rocket booster and the upper stage mockup, Davis said. "We are looking into that. It appeared the upper stage could have come back and made contact with the first-stage booster," he said. "That's what testing a design is all about, though. We've had some concerns, and now we've got hard information coming back so we can improve on Ares. (10/29)

AIA: Obama Merits an "A" on Pentagon Spending Initiatives (Source: AIA)
President Barack Obama signed a $680 billion Pentagon spending bill Wednesday, marking a successful effort at spending restraint that some predicted would be impossible. "They probably get an 'A' from the standpoint of their success on their major initiatives," said Fred Downey, Vice President, National Security at AIA. "They probably got all of them but one or maybe two, and that's an extraordinarily high score." (10/29)

Russia Eyes Nuclear-Powered Successor to Soyuz Spacecraft (Source: AIA)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is backing a proposal to build a $600 million nuclear-powered spaceship capable of transporting humans to Mars. Anatoly Perminov, the chief of the Russian space program, says the technologically challenging design could be ready as early as 2012, though production of the ship would take nearly another decade. (10/29)

Jacksonville's Cecil Field Celebrates Expansion (Source: JAA)
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority owns and manages the 6,000-acre airport portion of Cecil Commerce Center, which includes three, 8,000-foot runways, one 12,500-foot runway and 1.4 million square feet of aircraft hangar and office space. Today, Cecil Field has 11 mostly aviation-related tenants that together employ about 3,000 personnel.

Florida State College at Jacksonville and JAA broke ground on an Aircraft Services Educational Facility. The 104,000-square-foot aircraft painting facility will consist of one hangar bay capable of housing an aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767 and two hangar bays capable of housing a Boeing 757 size aircraft in addition to shop, office, and other space set aside for the educational component.

The $20 million complex is being funded by JAA and Florida State College at Jacksonville and will provide about 200 new jobs when it opens in the fall of 2010. Flightstar Aircraft Services, a current tenant at Cecil, will operate the facility. (10/29)

ATK Has Huge Stake in Ares, Which Faces Uncertain Future (Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune)
The minutes-long test flight of the prototype Ares I rocket, equipped with hundreds of sensors, was a major achievement for Alliant Techsystems, a key contractor on the Ares I program. But the contractor still faces political clouds, as the Obama administration considers pulling the plug on the Ares I project, heralded as the next-generation of America's space program.

Decisions in Washington are closely tied to Alliant Tech's bottom line and employment levels. In its most recent fiscal year that ended in March, about 70 percent of Alliant's business was linked to the Department of Defense and NASA.

The company's space systems division supplied about $1.6 billion in sales revenue in fiscal 2009, out of total sales of $4.6 billion. About $700 million of that revenue came from Alliant's work on the space shuttle and Ares programs. Another $700 million will flow to Alliant Tech in the 2010 fiscal year for those two programs. (10/29)

Florida Groups Offer Space Industry Stats (Sources: Save Space, Enterprise Florida)
In FY-2008, the total economic impact of NASA in Florida was: $4.1 billion in output; $2.1 billion in household income; 40,802 jobs; $246 million in federal taxes; and $103 million in state and local taxes. In 2007, Florida had 175 companies involved in space and missile industries, employing over 9,000 workers with an annual payroll of over $850 million. The aerospace industry's total economic impact has been identified as $43.9 billion statewide. Click here to view a map of the state's aerospace employers. (10/28)

China's 4th Satellite Launch Center to be Built in Hainan (Source: Xinhua)
A new satellite launch center is now under construction near Wenchang in China's southernmost island province of Hainan. Once completed, it will be the country's fourth satellite launch center and replace the Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) for geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and other space launch missions. Covering 20 square kilometers, the complex will include a launch tower that is about 800 meters away from the seaside. (10/29)

No comments: