October 8 News Items

Delta 2 Successfully Delivers Satellite From California Spaceport (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
A commercial Earth-imaging satellite built to see the planet's true colors for high-resolution mapping and monitoring was launched into orbit atop a Delta 2 rocket from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thursday. This is the 91st consecutive successful Delta 2 rocket launch dating back to May 1997. The Delta 2's overall history since debuting in 1989 has achieved 144 successes in 146 flights.
"Delta 2 has achieved a launch success record of nearly 99 percent. The next Delta 2 rocket launch will occur from Vandenberg Air Force Base on December 7 at 6:10 a.m. local time. That mission will deploy NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer space observatory. (10/8)

Bolden Says U.S. Risks Losing Leadership Role in Space (Source: Space News)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told an audience of U.S. lawmakers and space industry representatives that if the United States abandons its position as the global leader in space, other countries will step in to fill the void. “We should not fool ourselves. We should not pretend that if we decide we’re going to take a break from human spaceflight that nobody’s going to do that,” Bolden said. “That’s not going to happen ... China, Russia — they’re the natural leaders and they will ascend to leadership.” (10/8)

U.S. Loosens Restrictions on Commercial Radar Satellites (Source: Space News)
The U.S. government has relaxed licensing restrictions on commercial radar satellites, permitting U.S. companies to distribute higher quality data and potentially opening the door for a domestic market to blossom, industry officials said Oct. 7. Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of Los Angeles is the first company to receive a license to operate a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite under the new regulations. The company was granted a license to develop and operate a satellite called Trinidad, which would be based on the Israeli TecSAR satellite now on orbit. (10/8)

Nowak Trial Will Start Dec. 7, Judge Decides (Source: Florida Today)
The judge in the long-awaited trial of former astronaut Lisa Nowak told attorneys in the case Wednesday the trial will get under way in early December. "I intend to pick a jury on Dec. 7," Judge Marc Lubet said in court Wednesday during a hearing to determine whether the state withheld evidence from the defense attorney. Nowak is charged with attempted kidnapping, battery and burglary of a car with a battery.

Investigators say she drove from Houston to Orlando to confront Colleen Shipman on Feb. 5, 2007, a rival for the affections of another astronaut, William Oefelein. Nowak is seen on surveillance video dressed in a disguise and following Shipman throughout the airport as Shipman waited for her luggage to arrive. (10/8)

Obama's R&D Pledge for NASA? It's News to Charlie Bolden (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
While honoring winners of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation, President Obama vowed to devote three percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product to federally funded R&D projects, up from about 2.4 percent now. NASA chief Charlie Bolden was on hand for the announcement. Some saw the pledge as a sign that the President might increasing funding for NASA’s human space flight plans after the Augustine Panel found that NASA needs an additional $3 billion a year for a meaningful human space exploration program.

If the president was going to give more money to NASA, it was news to administrator Bolden. Bolden applauded Obama's goal of raising U.S. spending on research and development , saying he hoped NASA would be included in that effort. "That's an incredible number if, in fact, he's going to do that. Because I would like to have some of that." Bolden noted that NASA recently has sapped money from R&D to pay for other programs. (10/8)

Obama Voices Support for Space Funding, Leadership (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
President Barack Obama signaled Wednesday that the White House will likely approve increased funding for NASA to carry out a new U.S. manned flight goal beyond Earth orbit, but he gave no hint about which of several options will be pursued. Obama's comments came during a White House ceremony announcing the winners of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

He made the achievements of NASA and other space developments a focal point of the presentation, although no NASA personnel received the award this year. Obama also made a point of introducing together new NASA Administrator Charles Bolden as well as Dr. John Holdren, Presidential Science Advisor. Holdren has openly discussed the possibility of new space cooperation with China, including the use of Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft for the transport of joint U.S. and Chinese astronaut crews to the International Space Station in the out years following phase out of the space shuttle by 2010-2011.

White House comment on the new NASA options are expected soon after the Administration officially receives the report by late October. But it has already received a detailed summary of Augustine's options. Science Advisor Holdren has also already held unofficial sessions with the Augustine team to gain a detailed understanding of the report. Sources tell Spaceflight Now that Holdren has received those options favorably and expressed optimism that the White House can help with funding shortfalls toward modification of the Bush plan. (10/8)

Atlas 5 Rocket Launch Delayed by 5 Days (Source: Lompoc Record)
An Atlas 5 rocket that is in line to be the second of back-to-back daylight missions from Vandenberg Air Force Base this month has been delayed five days. Instead of blasting off Tuesday, Oct. 13, the mission is targeting a liftoff on Sunday, Oct. 18. Air Force officials this week blamed a battery issue, connected to a flight-termination system, for the delay. The flight-termination system allows Western Range ground crews to destroy a rocket or missile that veers off course after launching from Vandenberg. (10/8)

What's Space Ever Done for Me? (Source: The Independent)
This week marks the 10th anniversary of World Space Week (4-10 October), an international celebration of science and technology, which commerates the launch of the first human-made satellite, Sputnik 1. But far from solely being a celebration of space exploration, this week recognises the space research that has led to benefits in our everyday lives that people might not know about. Click here to view the article. (10/8)

New Satellite Gets a Boost from 3 Colorado Companies (Source: Denver Post)
DigitalGlobe's Worldview-2 satellite will provide the "highest-resolution satellite imagery of Earth" available commercially. It will be peering at Earth from about 500 miles high, thanks to three Colorado companies. The Longmont-based company's satellite was assembled by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Boulder. Sending Worldview-2 aloft is a Delta II provided by United Launch Alliance of Centennial. (10/8)

NASA's Moon-Mars Chief Says Augustine Panel Way Off Base (Source: Florida Today)
The director of NASA's embattled moon-Mars program says President Barack Obama's human spaceflight commission is making false claims about the advantages of alternatives and ignores "anything positive" about the program NASA spent $9 billion on over the past five years. In an e-mail obtained by Florida Today, NASA Project Constellation Program Manager Jeff Hanley also says the committee is "dismissive" of the recommendations of Columbia accident investigators. To treat astronaut crew safety as a 'sine qua non' -- a given -- "is a cop out...plain and simple," Hanley said in a candid, 3,376-word e-mail to Johnson Space Center Director Michael Coats. (10/8)

Florida Astronomers Make Key Sighting with Sea-Level Telescope (Source: UF)
This summer, University of Florida astronomers inaugurated the world's largest optical telescope on a nearly 8,000-foot mountaintop 3,480 miles away. But it was a far more modest observatory, located just above sea level in rural Levy County and just down the road from the UF campus, that proved key to a new discovery about what one astronomer termed "one of the weirdest" planets outside our solar system. Three UF astronomers are among the authors of a paper pinning down the extravagantly unusual orbit of HD 80606b, a Jupiter-sized planet nearly 200 light years away. The astronomers made observations of the planet eclipsing its star from a 41-year-old telescope at the department's Rosemary Hill Observatory 30 miles west of Gainesville. (10/8)

White House Aims Middle Schoolers Eyes to Stars (Source: AP)
Call it a star party with real star power. The White House set up 20 telescopes, an inflatable dome with a three-dimensional video tour of the universe, and displays of moon rocks and meteorites as President Barack Obama was hosting a South Lawn star party for about 150 middle schoolers Wednesday evening. It was a nearly cloudless night ideally suited for looking into the cosmos — if only the city lights weren't around to obscure the best views. And if the moon, Jupiter, stars and the entire universe weren't enough, the party also was to include the president, his family, four pioneering astronauts and science teachers dressed up as Isaac Newton and Galileo. (10/8)

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