November 30 News Items

Space Jobs Go Wanting (Source: Space Daily)
The average age of current space industry professionals has risen steadily since the days of Apollo. today, it is not unusual to see many positions filled with post-65 year old grandparents who have the experience and knowledge needed to compete in a very-competitive international space environment. It has come to our attention that there are literally hundreds of professional positions available in the space industry that cannot be filled. At a time when there are millions of people out of work due to the worldwide recession the space industry seems to be booming with projects, contracts and a variety of other activities that require space professionals with some experience in all levels of organization.

So, where are these very essential people? This simple answer is that there are not enough space professionals who have the training and experience needed to do the required work. All of the qualified people that we know are working, and they are working very hard, putting in long hours and making sacrifices to try and get the many funded space projects completed. What is wrong with this industry? During the 1960s and 70s aerospace companies were notoriously poor employers. One day, thousands of people would be laid off and the next day thousands would be hired. Space professionals had to be mobile and expect to change jobs every two or three years. Click here to view the article. (11/30)

Land-Launch Zenit Rocket Launches with Communications Satellite (Source:
A new satellite to broadcast video and data services to Russia and the Middle East began a six-hour journey to geosynchronous transfer orbit Monday, following a middle-of-the-night blastoff from Kazakhstan aboard a Land Launch Zenit rocket. (11/30)

Presto! Black Hole Creates a Galaxy (Source:
Astronomers have long wondered which came first, the black hole or the galaxy around it. The leading theory holds that the two co-evolve, starting small and building over time. But colossal black holes may zap galaxies into existence from scratch, new observations suggest. Astronomers recently observed a peculiar large black hole that did not belong to a surrounding galaxy as expected. Until now, scientists thought that this black hole's host galaxy was merely shrouded in dust and rendered invisible to us.

The astronomers think the black hole is powering star formation in a nearby galaxy by spraying its jets of high-energy particles toward it. In fact, the quasar could have triggered the galaxy's formation in the first place when its energetic jets hit nearby clouds of gas. And as time goes on, the neighboring galaxy will likely grow to encompass the black hole at last. (11/30)

Com Dev Sees Lower Q4 Results (Source: Reuters)
Canadian satellite technology company Com Dev International said it expects to post lower fourth-quarter results, hurt by weakness in two of its domestic government programs. The global designer and manufacturer of space hardware subsystems expects to post net income of less than C$1 million, down from C$4.8 million last year. Com Dev forecast revenue between C$56 million and C$58 million, down from C$59.8 million a year ago. For 2010, the company forecast revenue growth of at least 10 percent. (11/30)

Space Station Crew Will Shrink to Two (Source:
The International Space Station, which was crowded last week with 12 astronauts onboard, is set to go down to a crew of two Tuesday. Seven astronauts departed the station Nov. 25 on the space shuttle Atlantis, and now three more station residents are set to undock from the orbital outpost Monday to land their Russian Soyuz spacecraft in Kazakhstan. The barebones remaining crew of two — NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev — will be left to handle the space laboratory themselves for about three weeks. (11/30)

Russia's Space Industry Output to Grow 18% in 2009 (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the output of the national space industry in 2009 will increase by about 18%. Despite difficulties caused by the global financial crisis, "financing of the space industry has always been and will remain sufficient," Putin said at a meeting on the development of defense-related industries. He added that overall production growth in the defense industry would increase by up to 3.8%.

The prime minister also noted that the quality of production needs improvement. "Despite all our efforts, many Russian-made spacecraft are not as advanced as their foreign equivalents... and the R&D work takes longer than planned," Putin said. He urged improvements to production efficiency, and said priority projects must be tackled, including the Angara-family carrier rockets and the development of new communications, navigation and remote Earth sensing spacecraft.
Putin reiterated that in the past two years Russia's space industry enterprises have received and spent over 21 billion rubles ($609 million), and that half of those funds were allocated for technical upgrading of production facilities. (11/30)

Northrop VIIRS Ahead, Finally (Source: DOD Buzz)
After two years or so of claiming that they had the key sensor on one of the most troubled programs in recent Pentagon history it looks as if Northrop Grumman has finally found a fix. The program is NPOESS, the nation’s most sophisticated weather and climate satellite managed and funded by a tortured trio of the Pentagon, NOAA (at the Commerce Department) and NASA. The sensor is the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The essential news is that the sensor “completed testing in late October, including 112 days of thermal vacuum and post-thermal vacuum testing.” A key detail — VIIRS was put into a shipping container, clearly indicating this is not another case of, we have a fix on hand and it looks promising. (11/30)

Colorado's Ball Aerospace Lands NASA Contract (Source: Boulder Business Report)
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder will build an instrument for NASA that collects data about rainfall. Boulder-based Ball Aerospace will build a Global Precipitation Measurement Microwave Imager that is scheduled to launch in 2014. The instrument collects higher quality and more frequent data and allows for temporal sampling of rainfall accumulation as part of the Global Precipitation Measurement mission. The mission is part of an international effort to collect better precipitation data. (11/30)

Piece of Rocket Found Off New Zealand Coast (Source: TVNZ)
Part of New Zealand's first space rocket has been found bobbing in the ocean off the Coromandel Peninsula coast. A fisherman called researchers just after 10am to say he had seen the booster floating off Great Mercury Island. The rocket had reached an altitude of 100 kilometers before splashing down. Rocket Lab technical director Peter Beck says the booster will be closely studied. "We've only literally pulled it up a minute ago so we're just looking at things like the fins and noticing that the fins are all melted so that tells us we achieved velocity. We're learning a lot." (11/30)

Caltech Scientists Explain Puzzling Lake Asymmetry on Titan (Source: CalTech)
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) suggest that the eccentricity of Saturn's orbit around the sun may be responsible for the unusually uneven distribution of lakes over the northern and southern polar regions of the planet’s largest moon, Titan. Saturn's oblong orbit around the sun exposes different parts of Titan to different amounts of sunlight, which affect the cycles of precipitation and evaporation in those areas. Similar variations in Earth's orbit also drive long-term ice-age cycles on our planet. (11/30)

Ares Team Pressing Forward with Ares I-X Prime Flight, For Now (Source:
Despite apparently failing to be short listed for President Obama’s upcoming decision on the forward path for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, the Ares I teams are pushing forward with new plans to follow up the Ares I-X test flight with a 2012 to 2013 flight of Ares I-X Prime – a replacement test launch for the cancelled Ares I-Y flight. (11/30)

A New Recipe for Rocket Fuel (Source: MIT Technology Review)
Researchers are using aluminum and frozen water to make a propellant that could allow rockets to refuel on the moon or even Mars. Last week researchers from Purdue and Penn State University launched a rocket that uses an unconventional propellant: aluminum-ice. The fuel mix, dubbed ALICE, is made of nano-aluminum powder and frozen water, and gets its thrust from the chemical reaction between the ingredients. The propellant is environmentally friendly, and it could perhaps allow spacecraft to refuel at locations like the moon, where water has been discovered.

Using aluminum for fuel is not completely new--the space shuttle's solid rocket boosters use a small amount of the metal, as will NASA's Ares rocket. But the new work involves making aluminum one of the key ingredients by using nanoscale particles. These tiny particles, when ignited, combust more rapidly than larger particles, forcing more exhaust gases out of the metal and giving the rocket the necessary kick. (11/30)

Prized Shuttle 'Relics' Will be Tough 'Get' (Source: Florida Today)
The deadline for schools, museums and other organizations to get in their proposals to get some priceless artifacts from the soon-to-end space shuttle program has now passed. A real flight simulator used by astronauts in training, spacesuit gloves and parts, a piece of an orbiter wing panel and a host of other items are up for grabs once the space shuttle program no longer needs them -- sometime in the next two years. The competition to nab those display pieces will be tough because there are so many excellent aerospace and science exhibits across the United States. (11/30)

First Stop for Flexible Path? (Source: Space Review)
The "Flexible Path" option included in the Augustine committee report has attracted a lot of interest, but where exactly should that path begin? Dan Lester proposes using the Earth-Moon L1 point as a logical starting point for journeys beyond low Earth orbit. Visit to view the article. (11/30)

From Fulton to Falcon (Source: Space Review)
Some people have become impatient with the pace of progress in the development of the commercial space industry. Bob Clarebrough looks back two centuries to the development of a different industry to find lessons of innovation for today's space entrepreneurs. Visit to view the article. (11/30)

Just How Soft is NASA's Soft Power Going To Be? (Source: Space Review)
A joint statement issued during President Obama's visit to China earlier this month included a passage about cooperation in space exploration. Taylor Dinerman warns that the US should not appear to be too eager to work with the Chinese. Visit to view the article. (11/30)

No comments: