November 22 News Items

Atlantis Astronaut Announces Daughter's Birth (Source: Florida Today)
Atlantis spacewalker Randy Bresnik's wife delivered a baby girl, Abigail Mae Bresnik, late Saturday in Houston. Bresnik announced the news this morning, the day after conducting his first spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Bresnik now is the second U.S. astronaut to be in orbit for the birth of a child. (11/22)

Space Florida Hosts Design Discussion for Proposed Commercial Launch Pads (Source: SPACErePORT)
Space Florida hosted a design ‘charrette’ last week to discuss potential user requirements for two launch pads (LC-36 and LC-46) the agency plans to convert for commercial use at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Working with Eastern Range safety officials at the Air Force 45th Space Wing, Space Florida defined a conceptual “Composite Launch Vehicle” (CLV) to represent the different types of rockets that would generally be approved to fly from LC-36. (The Sea Launch Zenit would fit at LC-36.)

At nearby LC-46, a Navy pad previously converted by the state for Athena and Taurus rockets, Space Florida described plans for accommodating Minotaur and other small-class solid-fuel rockets. Companies like Alliant Techsystems, Orbital Sciences Corp., United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, Rocketplane Kistler, and others participated in the meeting to discuss how Space Florida’s plans for the two launch pads, and the state’s proposed investments, could enable their commercial launch operations. (11/22)

Regulators Propose OK Of PG&E Space-Based Solar Deal (Source: Wall Street Journal)
California regulators have proposed approving a long-term contract between PG&E Corp. and developers of a speculative technology that would beam 200 megawatts of solar power to earth from outer space. Under the 15-year contract, Solaren Corp., of Manhattan Beach, Calif., would ship 850 gigawatt-hours of solar power a year starting in 2016, doubling that amount in later years. The power would be sent by radio frequency from an earth-orbiting satellite to a receiving station in Fresno, Calif. The energy- conversion technology has been used by communications satellites for 45 years on a much smaller scale, Solaren said.

PG&E wouldn't disclose the cost of the proposed 15-year contract but said it would be above-market. PG&E and other California utilities are required to use renewable sources for a fifth of the power they sell by 2010, ramping up to one-third of their retail power by 2020. The requirements are part of the state's 2006 plan to combat climate change. Because Solaren's technology is untested, raising "concerns regarding the viability of the project," PG&E can't rely on the contract to comply with its renewable-energy requirements until construction begins on the project and the CPUC gives additional approval. (11/22)

When the Russians Came to Cape Canaveral (Source: Fox News)
From 1994 to 1998 seven NASA astronauts lived aboard Russia's Mir space station. NASA viewed this program as a collaboration; the Russians viewed America as a customer. And Jeffrey Manber was the US representative of RKK Energia, the company that owned the Mir space station. In this exclusive excerpt from Apogee Books' Selling Peace, he recalls the cultural clash that happened when his boss came to visit from Moscow.

With Shuttle-Mir cooperation imminent, RKK Energia president Yuri Semenov made the journey to Florida to witness the first of several shuttle launches. He would arrive at Cape Canaveral with a delegation of senior advisors, including RKK Energia board members and top program managers. The make-up of the group reflected wonder at an improbable dream being realized. Their space station having narrowly escaped the budgetary death of the Russian space shuttle, Mir was now the pivotal center for the American space program. Semenov wanted his closest supporters to experience the moment, and at the same time, he needed key engineers close by in the event of an unforeseen crisis.

There was no more jarring component for the well-oiled NASA prelaunch public relations machine than the Semenov delegation dropping into Cape Canaveral. The Russian's deeply held notions of ownership, pride and tradition went against the collective governmental experiences of those planning the shuttle launches. Every NASA representative, from the driver of our bus to the Mission Control launch director was forced to confront a situation never even contemplated; that the U.S. space shuttle sitting out there on the launch pad was programmatically and politically tied to a space station that — legally or by fiat — belonged to a Russian company. (11/21)

NASA Assumes Ownership of Next Space Station Module (Source:
The European Space Agency formally handed over ownership of the Tranquility module to NASA on Friday, two-and-a-half months before the connecting node's February launch on shuttle Endeavour. Tranquility and a small windowed room called Cupola will be launched together on Endeavour's STS-130 mission, currently scheduled for liftoff Feb. 4. The modules have a combined launch mass of almost 30,000 pounds. (11/21)

Indian University to Offer Space Law Course (Source: Indian Express)
Though several international conventions on space technology are held in India, for the first time a concrete step has been taken in the direction of framing legislation for space applications. In a first across the country, the Gujarat National Law University (GNLU) is launching a degree course on ‘Space Law’ from 2010. The single semester optional course (at PG degree level) will be conducted in coordination with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and will be offered to 160 students. Though India has a space policy, there is no comprehensive law on space legislation. (11/21)

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