November 9 News Items

Solar Sail to Launch in 2010 (Source: USA Today)
Setting sail for space, a "solar sail" project announced Monday aims to observe storms on the sun. The Planetary Society, a space exploration advocacy group founded by Carl Sagan, outlined its plans for the 2010 launch of its first solar sail. Lightsail-1 will use the pressure of the solar wind to navigate in space. In 2005, a prototype Planetary Society solar sail crashed due to the failure of a Russian launch rocket. The society plans to put the first solar sail into orbit almost 500 miles above Earth to test controlling its four triangular sails, which will be attached to lightweight "nanosat" spacecraft. Two follow-on missions will travel to sun-circling orbits and monitor space for solar storms. (11/9)

Investment in Commercial Spaceflight Grows to $1.46 Billion (Source: CSF)
Total investment in the commercial human spaceflight sector has risen by 20% since January 2008, reaching a cumulative total of $1.46 billion, according to a new extensive study performed by the Tauri Group and commissioned by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. Revenues and deposits for commercial human spaceflight services, hardware, and support services has also grown, reaching a total of $261 million for the year 2008. Click here for more information. (11/9)

High Winds Delay Delta-4 Launch (Source: Florida Today)
The planned Nov. 19 launch of a Delta IV rocket and a military communications satellite is being delayed because high winds at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport prevented the mating of the spacecraft to the launch vehicle. Strict weather rules prohibit crane operators from lifting spacecraft and then carrying out a mating operations when winds exceed 20 knots. Winds Sunday and Monday were above that limit. A new launch date probably won't be established until the spacecraft is returned to the pad. A late November launch is still a possibility. (11/9)

Masten Building On X-Prize (Source: Aviation Week)
Masten Space Systems, fresh from a million-dollar win in the NASA-sponsored Lunar Lander X-Prize Challenge, hopes to use its vertical-takeoff-and-landing rocket technology to launch a commercial enterprise by the middle of next year. The next steps, Masten said, will be to devise an aeroshell to permit faster flight and - eventually - re-entry, and to build a new engine that can deliver 2,500 pounds of thrust, versus the 750-pound rating on the Xoie engine. (11/9)

Extraterrestrial Rafting: Hunting Off-World Sea Life (Source: New Scientist)
If life is to be found beyond our home planet, then our closest encounters with it may come in the dark abyss of some extraterrestrial sea. For Earth is certainly not the only ocean-girdled world in our solar system. As many as five moons of Jupiter and Saturn are now thought to hide seas beneath their icy crusts. To find out more about these worlds and their hidden oceans, two ambitious voyages are now taking shape. About a decade from now, if all goes to plan, the first mission will send a pair of probes to explore Jupiter's satellites. They will concentrate on giant Ganymede and pale Europa, gauging the depths of the oceans that almost certainly lie within them.

A few years later, an even more audacious mission will head towards Saturn to sniff the polar sea spray of its snow-white moon Enceladus. It will also visit Titan, which has perhaps the most astonishing extraterrestrial landscape in our solar system. To explore this giant moon, the spacecraft will send out two seemingly antique contraptions: a hot-air balloon to fly over the deserts and mountains, and a boat that will float on a sea of liquid hydrocarbons. (11/9)

Russia's Energia Doubles Spacecraft Production (Source: Space Daily)
Russia's space corporation Energia is doubling production of manned spacecraft, Energia's president said on Monday. Vitaly Lopota said production of space freighters would increase by 50%. He did not say what the current production levels were or how many spacecraft would be built. Nor did he offer a timeframe. He also said Russia's Moon and Mars mission projects were far more cost-effective than similar U.S. projects. "We can achieve more with less money," he said, adding that NASA had taken an interest in Russian projects. (11/9)

NASA Awards Institutional Support Services Contract for KSC (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected C&C International Computers and Consultants Inc. of Hollywood, Fla., to provide institutional support services at the agency's Kennedy Space Center. The contract begins Dec. 1 with a 10-month base period and two one-year option periods. The maximum potential value of the contract is approximately $31.5 million, which is comprised of an $11.5-million base value and $10 million for each one-year option.

C&C International Computers and Consultants will provide administrative support services personnel including accountants, accounting clerks, administrative assistants, personnel assistants, procurement specialists and analysts, program analysts, resource analysts, secretaries and general clerks. Programs supported under the contract include the space shuttle, International Space Station, Constellation, launch services, engineering, external relations and the Office of the Center Director. (11/9)

Augustine's Questionable Adjective (Source: Space Review)
A key element of the Augustine Committee's report was its emphasis on commercial providers to help support NASA's space exploration efforts. Taylor Dinerman cautions that may be too much to ask the nascent NewSpace industry at this stage in its development. Visit to view the article. (11/9)

A Wild Finish for the Lunar Lander Challenge (Source: Space Review)
The Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge wrapped up at the end of October with the remaining prize money awarded to two teams. Jeff Foust reports on the conclusion of the competition, a bit of controversy, and future plans. Visit to view the article. (11/9)

Losing Gravity (Source: Space Review)
The short-lived TV series "Defying Gravity" went off the air before American viewers could see all 13 episodes. Dwayne Day recounts what you missed and what the series' failure says about public interest in space exploration. Visit to view the article. (11/9)

SpaceX Hires Former Air Force Official for Florida Launch Operations (Source: SpaceX)
SpaceX announces that Colonel Scott Henderson has joined the company. He will serve as the director of Mission Assurance and Integration and will also handle Florida external relations, assisting with state and local governmental, customer and media relations. Henderson will primarily support former astronaut Ken Bowersox, vice president of SpaceX’s Astronaut Safety and Mission Assurance office, working out of the company’s Florida office. (11/9)

SpaceX Dragon Would Bring Big Savings for NASA on ISS Crew Transport (Source: Examiner)
A manned flight to the ISS aboard a Soyuz currently costs about $50 million. According to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, "a seat onboard the Dragon capsule launched by the Falcon 9 rocket and would cost less than $20 million and it is 100% manufactured and launched in the United States. We are estimating that it would create well in excess of a 1000 high quality jobs at Cape Canaveral and an equivalent number in California and Texas, where we do our manufacturing and testing. Moreover, the total cost would only be $1.5 billion, so taxpayers would save $2 billion." (11/9)

Northrop Sells TASC Unit for $1.65 Billion (Source: AP)
Northrop Grumman said Sunday it agreed to sell its advisory services business TASC Inc. to private equity firm General Atlantic LLC and affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. for $1.65 billion in cash. The No. 2 defense contractor says it will use the proceeds to fund a new $1.1 billion increase to its stock buyback program. TASC, based in Chantilly, Va., serves intelligence, defense and civil agencies. It has about 5,000 employees and is expected to record 2009 revenue of $1.6 billion. It is part of Northrop's information systems sector. (11/9)

Nelson Talks Shuttle Extension, Workforce Retention (Source: Florida Today)
Sen. Bill Nelson is not lobbying specifically for flying the shuttle longer, but rather for the president to take the recommendation of his blue-ribbon panel and increase NASA's budget long-term. That would help speed development of whatever replacement is chosen. The senator reinforced that the White House panel had cited safety as a potential drawback of extending the shuttle program.
Nelson added the White House and Congress must "commit to help the workforce during the disruption" between retirement of the shuttles in 2010 or 2011 and the ramp-up toward the replacement system's first flights. Click here to view the interview. (11/9)

MP ‘Mystified’ by Virgin Comments on UK Space Flights (Source: Aberdeen Press & Journal)
Moray MP Angus Robertson last night said he was “mystified” by Virgin Galactic’s claims that British laws must be changed before Moray can be considered as Europe’s international space station base. The company plans to offer space tourism flights to the paying public within five years and Lossiemouth’s RAF base is their first UK choice as a spaceport. Virgin Galactic’s president Will Whitehorn this weekend warned Britain “has no legislation to allow us to fly here – there is no regulatory authority”. He added: “The Outer Space Act, which Britain created in 1986, didn't really envisage a system like this.

Mr. Robertson said he had researched the issue at the House of Commons library and had met with Lord Drayson, the UK’s science minister. Mr Robertson said: “He told me that he did not see there being any legal impediments to commercial space flight.” Mr Robertson added that he was confident, however, that any existing challenges would not be “insurmountable”. (11/9)

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