November 26 News Items

Aldrin: In Search of a Real Spaceship (Source: Huffington Post)
Imagine this scenario: you are a tourist coming home from a special vacation jaunt. Or maybe you're a researcher headed home from an assignment at a national laboratory. But instead of a nice gentle landing at an airport, you plunge into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, bobbing about like a cork on a fishing line. Instead of a leisurely stroll to the airport concourse, you have to wait to be fished out of the drink by the U.S. navy.

Sound enticing? That's just the way future Americans will have to return from space visits to the International Space Station - whether you're a fancy high rolling space tourist or someone your government has sent to do space research - because space capsules - much like the tiny Gemini 12 and Apollo 11 capsules my colleagues and I flew more than 40 years ago - have been deemed the replacement shape for the craft that are to follow the Space Shuttle fleet when it retires next year.

Space capsules? That's right, instead of following the Shuttles with something as capable - something that can guarantee American space leadership - we're going to race China, India, and Russia in a competition to build a limited and ungainly spacecraft that America retired a generation ago. And guess what? It will take another seven years before the NASA Orion capsule is ready to ferry astronauts. And that's on top of the five years we've already spent designing the thing. And it will cost the taxpayers, oh more than $50 billion for these Orion capsules and their booster rockets! Washington, we don't have liftoff. Click here to view the article. (11/26)

India Developing Semi-Cryogenic Propulsion Technology (Source: India Times)
India's space scientists are developing semi-cryogenic propulsion technology using kerosene that is expected to give the country the capability to launch six-tonne class satellite, almost three times the weight its rockets can currently handle. The cryogenic technology uses liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, whereas in semi-cryogenic technology, instead of liquid hydrogen, pure kerosene (aviation-grade) is used. (11/26)

Delta IV WGS-3 Launch Set Dec. 2 (Source: PAFB)
The U.S. Air Force will launch the third Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 37 here Dec 2. The launch window is 7:21-8:41 p.m. EST. WGS satellites are designed to provide high-capacity communications to our nation's military forces. They will augment and eventually replace the aging Defense Satellite Communication System, which has been the Department of Defense's backbone for satellite communications over the past two decades. The satellite provides a giant leap in communications bandwidth and technology. (11/26)

Preparations Underway For "Land Launch" Of Commercial Satellite (Source: Space Daily)
Preparations are moving forward at the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan for the fourth Land Launch mission, the first of a satellite for Intelsat. Liftoff on Nov. 29 is planned for the Intelsat 15 satellite aboard a Zenit-3SLB vehicle. Land Launch is operated by Sea Launch, based in California. Orbital Sciences built the Intelsat 15 spacecraft to provide video and data services for Intelsat's customers operating in the Middle East and Indian Ocean regions as well as in Russia. (11/26)

Obama Administration Asks US Supreme Court to Lift Injunction Against JPL Background Checks (Source: Pasadena Weekly)
Scientist Robert Nelson trains his eyes to the sky as an investigator for the JPL team monitoring images from the far reaches of the galaxy. But President Barack Obama — much like his predecessor — wants to know what Nelson and many other low-security government contractors like him have been doing between the sheets and beyond. The Obama administration is petitioning the US Supreme Court to review an October 2007 injunction that Nelson and 27 other JPL contract workers were granted to halt sweeping background checks ushered in under a directive from former President George W. Bush. (11/26)

Canada's Space Program Hampered by U. S. Laws (Source: Whig Standard)
Canada's space program has lots of ideas and commercial potential, but one of the big things holding it back is the lack of a Canadian launch program, the Canadian Space Summit was told over the weekend. Also, both the military and civilian space research programs in Canada are hobbled by the fact that the country needs to rely on rockets launched by India, China or Russia, over which the U. S. holds wide-ranging veto powers.

That was one of the main messages of the summit, held at Royal Military College this weekend, from all sectors of the Canadian space establishment. The summit was held to forge links among, and accelerate the progress of, research and commercial use of space by Canadians. However, laws signed in the United States by former president Bill Clinton have put incredibly tight controls on other countries' space programs. (11/26)

Florida LG Kottkamp Looking Toward Space (Source: Daily Record)
When Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp was a kid his father worked for P.R. Mallory. The company made batteries, but not the kind that go into flashlights. “They made batteries for the Apollo space missions,” said Kottkamp. Through his father’s connection to NASA and the early space flights — Kottkamp says he vividly remembers watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon in 1967 — Kottkamp developed a personal interest in space and space flight. That personal interest has transcended his professional life.

In addition to being second in command for the state, Kottkamp is chair of Space Florida and he’s really sure the state is positioned to take advantage of the economic opportunities that both manned and unmanned space flights present. Kottkamp is running for Attorney General. If he wins, being the state’s top attorney won’t deter him from pushing Florida to become the aerospace capital of the country. Kottkamp says such assets as the NASA facilities at Cape Canaveral and the potential in an airport such as Cecil Field make Florida attractive to any company looking to expand non-celestially. A workforce with plenty of experience in aerospace helps, too. (11/26)

Thousands Add Messages to Kiwi Rocket Ahead of Blast Off (Source: 3News)
The countdown is in progress. In just four days New Zealand’s first commercial space rocket is set to blast off on its maiden test flight. While it is designed to carry mostly scientific payloads, it will also transport a rather odd collection of memorabilia and messages. See a video article here. (11/26)

New Mexico Spaceport Almost Ready for Guided Tours (Source: KVIA)
Spaceport America is not quite ready for space aircraft just yet, but with plenty of construction underway, the project is headed for the stars. ABC-7 caught a glimpse of all the activity on the runway during the first-ever hard-hat tour of the area. "I don't look at it as my runway," Steve Waid, Project Engineer, said. "I look at it as New Mexico's runway." Runway 1634 is nearly two miles long and will be the world's first launch pad for commercial space travel. (11/26)

Russia: No Space for Space Tourists (Source: AP)
There is no space for tourists wishing to fly to the International Space Station, a top Russian space official said Thursday. Since the space station's crew doubled to six people earlier this year, there is no longer room for tourists who pay tens of millions of dollars for a trip on a Russian spacecraft from Earth, said Sergei Krikalyov, the chief of the Cosmonaut Training Center. Each Soyuz craft can accommodate three people. With the doubling of the station's permanent crew, Russia will now make four, rather than two, launches each year to allow for crew rotation. A permanent crew of six means the space program has to have two Soyuz ships permanently docked at the station to be used in case of emergency. (11/26)

NASA Proposes Robotic Rocket-Plane to Explore Mars (Source: Telegraph)
The Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Surveyor (Ares), around the size of a small plane, will be folded into a rocket and launched to the red planet. It would be the first aircraft ever to fly over another world. After entering the atmosphere in a capsule, the aircraft would deploy parachutes and unfold its wings and tail, before firing its rocket motor and flying around a mile above the surface of Mars for around an hour and a quarter. The idea is that an atmospheric craft like Ares can explore far more ground than existing rovers, like Spirit and Phoenix, but in much more detail than an orbital spacecraft. It is hoped that it could cover as much as 600 square miles in its short flight. (11/26)

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