November 17 News Items

Japan Aerospace Budget to be Cut, Research Canceled in National Fiscal Reductions (Source: Examiner)
A Japanese governmental advisory committee looking to cut billions of dollars worth of wasteful spending from the country’s 2010 budget has recommended that specific funds to Japan’s aerospace program (JAXA) be reduced, including a call to end research related to the development of a new rocket engine.

As part of a first round of recommendations for cuts and reductions that have amounted to 278.7 billion yen (approximately $3.1 billion USD), the committee on called for an end to research on the over-budget GX rocket engine, the Yomiuri reported. Requested funds for the 2010 fiscal year amounted to 5.8 billion yen (~$65 million USD). (11/17)

Florida Gets $98.7 Million Thus Far for Stimulus Research Projects (Source: WIRED)
More than $20 billion in economic stimulus money has poured into the nation’s universities, according to a new collection of data gathered by a trio of research consortia. “This is the largest investment in science and research probably since Sputnik,” said Bill Andresen, a vice president at the University of Pennsylvania in charge of Federal affairs and president of The Science Coalition.

California’s institutions were the big winners, snagging 1,602 grants worth almost $1.2 billion, but the money was spread across the country. Florida is ranked 21st, with 310 grants worth over $98.7 billion, or $5.39 per capita. Click here to view a table showing data on all 50 states. (11/17)

Could Jupiter Moon Harbor Fish-Size Life? (Source: National Geographic)
In the oceans of a moon hundreds of millions of miles from the sun, something fishy may be alive—right now. Below its icy crust Jupiter's moon Europa is believed to host a global ocean up to a hundred miles (160 kilometers) deep, with no land to speak of at the surface. And the extraterrestrial ocean is currently being fed more than a hundred times more oxygen than previous models had suggested, according to provocative new research.

That amount of oxygen would be enough to support more than just microscopic life-forms: At least three million tons of fishlike creatures could theoretically live and breathe on Europa, said study author Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona in Tucson. Based on what we know about the Jovian moon, parts of Europa's seafloor should greatly resemble the environments around Earth's deep-ocean hydrothermal vents, said deep-sea molecular ecologist Timothy Shank. (11/17)

“Butterflies in Space” Education Project Launches to Space Station (Source: NASA)
Students of all ages can follow the “butterflynauts” aboard the International Space Station as they develop from larvae into Painted Lady butterflies. The educational experiment launched Nov. 16 on space shuttle Atlantis, and the butterfly habitat will be transferred to the Space Station within the first 2-3 days of the mission.

“About 100 elementary and middle school classrooms across the U.S. are participating in a pilot study by setting up ground-based habitats. Students will replicate the space experiment and compare the growth and behavior of their butterfly larvae with those living in the microgravity environment of space,” said Dr. Greg Vogt. Editor's Note: Under an arrangement with Space Florida, several Florida K-12 classrooms are participating. (11/17)

Sri Lanka Signs Agreement with SSTL for Space Capability (Source: SSTL)
Officials from Sri Lanka and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) signed an agreement that starts a Sri Lankan national space capability by providing an SSTL Earth Observation satellite and commencing the definition and design of Sri Lanka’s first communications satellite. (11/17)

First New Zealand Space Rocket Ready for Blast Off (Source: NBR)
In the week beginning November 30 (subject to weather), Rocket Lab’s Atea-1 rocket is due to blast off, carrying a payload 120km into the heavens. Atea-1 will become the first privately-funded rocket to launch from the Southern Hemisphere. Rocket Lab is offering its rocket for suborbital missions.

Compared to past and present US and Russian behemoths, Atea-1 is a tiddler - just 150mm wide and 6m tall. And its payload is restricted to a modest 2kg (compared to the Space Shuttle's 22,700kg). But Rocket Lab's chief executive Peter Beck told NBR that’s all the capacity his company needs for commercially successful launches (although larger rockets are planned). The launch will take place on Great Mercury Island, east of the Coromandel. (11/16)

Developer Selected for NASA Research Park at Ames (Source: Mountain View Voice)
TMG Partners and "The Related Companies" have been selected to be master developers of a unique $1 billion research park at Moffett Field in a partnership with NASA Ames and local universities. The 3-million-square-foot project includes nearly 2,000 homes, a million square feet of commercial space and 600,000 square feet of academic space, according to conceptual plans. The developers say that working with universities and NASA Ames attracted them to project, which could be seen as risky in the current market.

The developers are betting that the economy will rebound in three to five years, said William Berry, president of University Associates-Silicon Valley. "A new community integrating the commercial, science and residential components with technology companies of Silicon Valley can be found nowhere else," said Michael Covarrubias, chairman and CEO of TMG, in a press release. (11/16)

China, U.S. to Cooperate in Space Exploration (Source: People's Daily)
Chinese President Hu Jintao met in Beijing with visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Both leaders agreed to start cooperation in new fields of space exploration and high-speed railway construction. (11/17)

Atlantis Blasts Off in Flawless Launch (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Space shuttle Atlantis roared into orbit at 2:28 pm on Monday, arching through light clouds to begin an 11-day mission to the International Space Station and bringing the 28-year-old shuttle program one step closer to retirement. The successful liftoff -- one of the most trouble-free in the history of the program -- reduces the number of remaining launches to five and marks the first NASA mission completely devoted to stocking the station with spare parts -- such as pumps and gyroscopes -- so that the floating observatory can continue long past the orbiter's 2010 retirement. (11/16)

NASA Wants to Retool Shuttle Logistics Depot (Source: Florida Today)
Until NASA's next spacecraft begins flying, the agency hopes to keep the doors open at the workshop that repairs and refurbishes the orbiter's mechanical and electronic equipment. Repairing military equipment returning from the Middle East could provide temporary work for up to 300 engineers and technicians at the NASA Shuttle Logistics Depot, operated by United Space Alliance.

"We have a skilled set of engineers, technicians and support staff that we need to keep here," USA deputy associate program manager Jim Kell told a gathering of nearly 50 elected officials and government representatives.

"There is no commitment on the (Defense Department's) part to put additional work here," said Frank DiBello, president of Space Florida, a state agency that supports the space industry. "We have to compete for it." U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey attended Monday's meeting. Both said they would work to secure money for the Defense Department to fund the program at the NSLD. (11/17)

EADS Reports Loss for Third Quarter (Source: AIA)
A stronger euro helped drag EADS to a third-quarter loss, the company said Monday, while big new military and commercial aircraft continued to weigh on the company's future. CFO Hans Peter Ring told analysts Airbus may have to take a new charge on the A380 super jumbo, and renegotiated contracts for the A400M could produce "substantial negative income statement impacts ... in future quarters." (11/16)

Things are Rough All Over... (Source: Space Review)
NASA is routinely criticized for failing to bring in projects on time and schedule. Dwayne Day notes that for all of NASA's problems, the Defense Department's project management woes are far more serious, with potentially bigger implications. Visit to view the article. (11/16)

Solar Sailing Gets its Second Wind (Source: Space Review)
The concept of solar sailing is particularly attractive for some missions, but to date no one has been able to successfully launch one. Jeff Foust reports on a new bid by The Planetary Society to do that, and by doing so build upon the legacy of one of its co-founders. Visit to view the article. (11/16)

All These Worlds Are Yours, Except the Moon and Mars (Attempt No Landing There) (Source: Space Review)
Much of the attention about the Augustine Committee report was with one of its options, called the Flexible Path. Michael Huang argues that while the committee might appear to prefer it, there are a number of problems with that architecture. Visit to view the article. (11/16)

Editorial: The Human Moon (Source: New York Times)
Over the past four months, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, which is in a low polar orbit over the Moon, has returned a series of images of Apollo landing sites showing the vessels themselves at rest on the Moon’s surface. The mission of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is loaded with instruments, is to produce a new and vastly sharper glimpse of the Moon from an orbit about 30 miles above the surface — all with an eye toward a possible manned return.

Yet there’s something terribly wistful about the probe's photographs of the Apollo landing sites. The detail is such that if Neil Armstrong were walking there now, we could make him out, make out his footsteps even, like the astronaut footpath clearly visible in the photos of the Apollo 14 site.

Perhaps the wistfulness is caused by the sense of simple grandeur in those Apollo missions. Perhaps, too, it’s a reminder of the risk we all felt after the Eagle had landed — the possibility that it might be unable to lift off again and the astronauts would be stranded on the Moon. But it may also be that a photograph like this one is as close as we’re able to come to looking directly back into the human past. (11/17)

Russian Engines Power American Spacecraft (Source: Russia Today)
From Russia across the Atlantic – and ultimately toward space: the rocket engines used for historic missions like the first spacecraft visit to Pluto are known as RD-180s. They are used to power America’s Atlas boosters, which send satellites into orbit. (11/17)

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