October 7 News Items

Florida Student-Led Google Lunar X-Prize Team Enlists Support (Source: SPACErePORT)
Omega Envoy, a Florida-based multi-university student-led initiative to win the $30 million Google Lunar X-Prize, is looking for people from a variety of backgrounds to help them achieve their goal of landing a rover on the Moon. If you have ever wanted to be a part of a history making endeavor – now is your chance. The Omega Envoy team will hold an open house at the University of Central Florida in Orlando on Oct. 28 from 8-11 a.m. EDT, in the Student Union's Key West room 218 ABCD.

The team seeks highly-motivated students, corporate supporters, and interested investors to help the team win the prize. Near-term corporate in-kind assistance is sought for the team's development of lunar lander and lunar rover prototypes. Visit http://omegaenvoy.org/team/ for information. (10/7)

Iran To Launch Research Rocket Into Space (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
Iran's Aerospace Research Center says country will launch its research rocket called Kavoshgar (Explorer) into space by the end of March 2010. "The rocket can be sent to altitudes at the height of 50km to 150km which is not a fly zone for aircraft and satellites ... it can be employed in different researches and studies." (10/7)

Mikulski Calls for Fully Funding Constellation as Debate Begins on NASA Spending Bill (Source: Space News)
As the U.S. Senate began debate on the 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill Oct. 7, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) urged lawmakers to support $3.6 billion included in the $67 billion spending measure for NASA's Constellation program, the U.S. space agency’s space shuttle-replacement effort that includes development of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and its Ares 1 launcher.

Mikulski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee, noted that the House version of the bill reduced NASA’s funding request for the program by about $500 million, a reduction approved by House lawmakers in June. At the time, Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), chairman of the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee, said the reduction was made “without prejudice” as the White House awaits the complete findings of a blue-ribbon panel tasked in May with reassessing U.S. manned spaceflight plans for the future.

Mikulski said she and subcommittee ranking member Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) worked closely with Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and other members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in drafting the 2010 NASA appropriations legislation. To date, NASA has spent nearly $8 billion on the Constellation program, which includes development of the Ares 1 and Ares 5 rockets at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. (10/7)

Astronaut Glove Challenge Planned in Titusville on Nov. 18-19 (Source: SPACErePORT)
The 2009 Astronaut Glove Challenge is designed to promote the development of glove joint technology, resulting in a highly dexterous and flexible glove that can be used by astronauts over long periods of time for space or planetary surface excursions. The challenge is intended to promote the development of a highly dexterous and flexible glove, resulting in a monetary award to the winning Team(s).

The challenge will be conducted by Volanz Aerospace in a format that brings all competitors to a single location for a "head to head" competition to determine the winning Team(s). Each Team will be required pass a series of minimum performance requirements (as specified in section 2.3) and perform a variety of tasks as outlined in section 2.4 of the Official Rules. Teams will be scored on their performance. The Team(s) that earns the highest score will be the winner.

The venue for this year's event is the Astronaut Hall of Fame, located across the river from Kennedy Space Center. The event will be held on Nov. 18-19. Visit http://www.astronaut-glove.us/ for information. (10/7)

DiBello: Florida Aerospace Dreams Need to Grow Beyond NASA (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Florida’s new top space marketer said Wednesday the state remains well poised to cash in on the heavens after the Space Shuttle program is mothballed. But Frank DiBello, newly appointed president of Space Florida, said the state needs to focus on diversifying its space industry in a less monolithic environment, in which NASA will continue to play a critical but not dominant role.

“Essentially, we’re going to replace a watermelon size volume of activity with a lot of apples and oranges and other smaller bites,” DiBello said following a meeting with Gov. Charlie Crist. “We’re concentrating on a very aggressive business development program to create 300, 400, 200 jobs at a time.” “The more people get involved in space, the more the sea will rise and the more we’ll all rise with it,” DiBello said. “What we have to do is make sure we retain our leadership and involvement in space activities.” (10/7)

Xombie Rocket Qualifies for Lunar Lander Prize (Source: MSNBC)
Masten Space Systems' Xombie rocket has prevailed in its second attempt to qualify for a $150,000 rocket prize from NASA and the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge. The first attempt on Sep. 16, ended at the halfway point of the required round trip due to an engine leak.

Xombie was built to go after the second prize in what's known as the Level 1 competition. (Texas-based Armadillo Aerospace won the $350,000 first prize last year.) The alcohol-fueled rocket had to take off from a starting pad in California's Mojave Desert, rise up to a height of more than 160 feet (50 meters), hover for at least 90 seconds and then land on another pad for refueling, then fly back to the starting point.

The team will have to wait until the end of the month to find out whether any of their competitors for the $150,000 prize - California-based Unreasonable Rocket or BonNovA - can do better. The same goes for Armadillo Aerospace, which qualified for the challenge's more ambitious $1 million Level 2 prize last month. Masten, Unreasonable Rocket and BonNova will be going after that prize as well. (10/7)

NASA Refines Asteroid Apophis' Path Toward Earth (Source: NASA)
Using updated information, NASA scientists have recalculated the path of a large asteroid. The refined path indicates a significantly reduced likelihood of a hazardous encounter with Earth in 2036. The Apophis asteroid is approximately the size of two-and-a-half football fields. "Updated computational techniques and newly available data indicate the probability of an Earth encounter on April 13, 2036, for Apophis has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a million." (10/7)

Instant Stimulus: The Moon (Source: Pasadena Star News)
As the space shuttle program winds down, area businesses and leaders are looking to the moon as a key to reviving the local economy. But firms are concerned about about whether that return is going to get off the ground. If it doesn't, it could mean the loss of jobs for a region already hit hard by the worst recession since the Great Depression.

NASA's planned $100-billion Constellation Program is the next generation. But a commission appointed by President Barack Obama said last month there wasn't enough money in the current budget to go to the moon. They also said the Ares I, which is already in the unmanned testing phase, might not be the best option. The news wasn't exactly reassuring for many local businesses from Santa Fe Springs to Pasadena, which play significant roles in designing, developing and building parts for space travel.

"It would be a difficult pill to swallow," said Tony Gonzalez, president of South El Monte-based VACCO Industries, which produces critical hydrogen flow control valves for the Space Shuttle's propulsion systems. On Tuesday, NASA contractor United Space VACCO for its work on those valves, which the firm acquired from another contractor. (10/7)

Korean KSLV-II Launch in 2019 'Will be Difficult' (Source: Korea Herald)
For Korea to launch a fully indigenous space rocket in 2019 as planned may be difficult because the country has yet to sufficiently secure core technology, a lawmaker said yesterday. During the ongoing parliamentary inspection of the administration, Rep. Lim Hae-kyu of the ruling Grand National Party disclosed a report on the preliminary feasibility study regarding the rocket development project, which will begin next year with a budget of $1.3 billion.

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance recently commissioned the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Evaluation and Planning to conduct the study. The government plans to launch a 1.5-metric ton multi-purpose commercial satellite on an entirely domestically-built rocket, named the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-II, in 2019. Lim said the study results show that Korea needs "collaboration" from a foreign country in developing the space rocket as it has yet to secure some 21.3 percent of the technology, which is mostly related to the development of the engine and the propellant system. (10/7)

Why It Wasn’t a Small Step for Women (Source: Freakonomics)
Women are lighter and thus cost less than men to transport to space, they’re less prone to heart attacks, and they do better in isolation tests, reasoned Randy Lovelace when he founded the Women In Space Earliest program in 1959 to test women for their “qualifications as astronauts,” as this Wired article reports. Female astronaut candidates in the program outscored men in several areas, including sensory deprivation tests, where women beat what was once thought of as the six-hour limit of tolerance by four hours. So why were there no females on Apollo 11? NASA officials were concerned, among other things, about women’s inexperience flying experimental military aircraft (due to being barred from the Air Force) and also about menstruation. (10/7)

Father-Son Team Linked to Vandenberg Launches (Source: Lompoc Record)
More than the same last name links two Hilliers on the Delta team at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The pair are father Ed Hillier and his son, who goes by Marty. Both are employed by United Launch Alliance, where Ed Hillier works at Space Launch Complex-2 on the Delta 2 program. His son works primarily at Space Launch Complex-6 on the Delta 4 program.

“I thought it was great — a son following in the father’s footsteps. I figure he started young enough he ought to be able to take over and become the head guy by the time he’s my age,” Ed Hillier said with a chuckle about the youngest of his three children. An Arroyo Grande resident, Ed Hillier, 55, was first hired at the base 22 years ago, after working in a small machine shop in San Luis Obispo. (10/7)

Brazil, Belgium Sign Space Cooperation Agreement (Source: Xinhua)
Brazil and Belgium signed a cooperation agreement on space technology in the Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday, the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology announced. The accord was signed between the Brazilian Space Agency and the Belgian Space Center of Liege. The four-year agreement includes cooperation in education of space science and techniques, apart from cooperation in such fields as earth observation, conception and proof of space instruments, satellite payloads, university nano-satellites, optic techniques and specific technologies for the space sector. (10/7)

Discovery: Tiny Moon Feeds Largest Ring Around Saturn (Source: AFP)
Stunned astronomers have discovered a new mega-ring around Saturn and believe its genesis is a small, distant moon of the giant planet. Phoebe, a Saturnian satellite measuring only 214 kilometres (133 miles) across, probably provides the record-breaking tenuous circle of dusty and icy debris, they report on Thursday in Nature, the weekly British science journal. The largest ring identified so far in the Solar System, the circle starts about six million kilometres (3.7 million miles) from Saturn and extends outwardly by another 12 million kms (7.4 million miles), within the orbit of Phoebe. (10/7)

"Obameter" Updated Again to Show Progress on Space Promises (Source: SPACErePORT)
The folks at the St. Petersburg Times continue to track the progress of various campaign promises made by President Obama, including a page full of space-related promises. The status of multiple promises was updated last week. View the latest update here.

Not explicitly listed are these remarks made during a campaign visit to Central Florida: "I will help close the gap and ensure that our space program doesn’t suffer when the Shuttle goes out of service...by speeding the development of the Shuttle’s successor, and by making sure that all those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the Shuttle is retired, because we cannot afford to lose their expertise.” With space industry layoffs in progress, Central Florida leaders are now pushing for President Obama to follow-through on these remarks. (10/7)

No comments: