November 24 News Items

Russia Schedules Proton Launch for Tuesday Evening (Source: RIA Novosti)
The launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket carrying the European Eutelsat W7 satellite has been scheduled for Tuesday evening, a spokesman for Russia's Khrunichev space center said. An official had no information on whether Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov, who is on an official visit to Hong Kong, had signed a government resolution on the launch. The launch was earlier scheduled for Monday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan but was postponed due to organizational disagreements between the Russian and Kazakh space agencies Roscosmos and Kazcosmos. (11/24)

Air Force Space Plane Shooting for April Launch (Source:
The U.S. Air Force has released new images of its experimental new X-37B space plane as the secretive mission's launch date next April draws near. The X-37B, or OTV, spacecraft is pictured here in launch configuration at a Boeing factory. In a response to written questions, an Air Force spokesperson said the unmanned spaceship is scheduled for launch April 19 on an Atlas 5 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The winged X-37B, also named the Orbital Test Vehicle, is managed by the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office under the direct supervision of the secretary of the Air Force and the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics.

The military is tight-lipped on the demonstrator's payload for the April mission, but the Air Force says it will test space technologies and prove concepts for small reusable spacecraft. The spacecraft measures more than 29 feet long and nine-and-a-half feet tall. Its wingspan is 14 feet, 11 inches, and it will weigh about 11,000 pounds at launch. The OTV will be shrouded inside a bulbous five-meter diameter payload fairing for launch. The Atlas 5 rocket will fly in the 501 configuration with the large nose cone, no solid rocket boosters and a single engine Centaur upper stage. (11/24)

Double Jeopardy for Commercial Space on Dec. 2 (Source: Space Politics)
The House Science and Technology Committee has released the witness lineup for its hearing next Wednesday, December 2, on “Ensuring the Safety of Human Space Flight”. Meanwhile, at the exact same time (10 am December 2) a hearing on “Commercial Space Transportation” is planned by the aviation subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. No hearing information, including planned witnesses, has been released. The chairman of the full committee, James Oberstar, has been critical of commercial space transportation laws and regulations in the past. Click here to view the article, with a list of witnesses for the spaceflight safety hearing. (11/24)

Texas Governor's Race Might Get Spacey (Sources: SPACErePORT)
Instead of running for the U.S. Senate to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is running for Governor of Texas, Houston Mayor Bill White may instead run against Hutchison for Governor. White is a popular "conservative-to-moderate" Democrat who, as Houston's Mayor, may win the support of space industry workers in the region surrounding Johnson Space Center. Hutchison, meanwhile, has been a solid supporter of space industry issues in Washington. (11/24)

Weird Data Suggest Something Big Beyond the Edge of the Universe (Source: Cosmos)
Something strange appears to be tugging a 'dark flow' of galaxies across the universe. is this evidence that parallel universes really exist? Astronomers have found the best evidence yet for the weird idea that our universe is one of many in the 'multiverse'. What's more, these parallel universes seem to be exerting a strange force on our own, causing galaxy clusters to stream across space towards the edge of the known universe. The new evidence comes from studies of 'bumps and wiggles' in the temperature of the cosmic background radiation (CMB), the leftover afterglow of the Big Bang. The mystery is about what exactly is 'pulling' at the galaxy clusters to cause the flow, and this is where parallel universes come in. Click here to view the article. (11/24)

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