November 8 News Items

Embry-Riddle Students Aim for Spot on NASA Zero-G Mission (Source: Prescott (AZ) Daily Courier)
A team of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students is hoping that NASA officials will select their senior project for a flight on the "Weightless Wonder" microgravity aircraft. As part of their senior preliminary design course, the students' project was to develop a micro satellite system and an algorithm to measure the affect of torque on the mass moment of inertia (movement).

If successful, team member Brittany Wells said, "The program should tell us if a spacecraft will turn or move when you apply torque. The idea is that if you can determine the effect of torque as it is changing, you can point the satellite better." The students are building a small micro satellite to test their theory. They must test their project under condition similar to those in space. NASA officials will announce the four university projects accepted for free-float at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in June or July. (11/8)

Russian Rocket Ready to Launch Space Station Module (Source:
A Soyuz rocket topped with the new Poisk module for the International Space Station took a train ride to historic Launch Pad No. 1 at the Baikonur spaceport on Sunday morning, two days before the new component begins its trek to the orbiting complex. (11/8)

Three November Launches Upcoming at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: SPACErePORT)
Three launches are upcoming before the end of November at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. A commercial Atlas-5 mission lifts off on Nov. 14 at 12:48 a.m. A NASA Space Shuttle mission is on tap for Nov. 16 at 2:28 p.m. And a military Delta-4 mission is planned for Nov. 19 at 7:45 p.m. (11/8)

Kepler’s Search for Small Worlds Hampered by Noisy Electronics (Source: Space News)
In spite of electronic components that are creating extraneous noise on board the Kepler space telescope, NASA officials are confident the mission will be able by 2011 to either detect Earth-size planets or reveal that those planets are uncommon. A Kepler principal investigator at the NASA Ames Research Center, told members of the NASA Advisory Council that noise produced by three of the 42 amplifiers used to boost signals from the telescope’s charge-coupled devices was creating image artifacts, or features present in the Kepler data sets that reflect noise rather than an accurate picture of the stars. (11/8)

NASA Updated Guidelines for Aerospace Vehicle Development (Source: CSA)
NASA has updated guidelines and information regarding the natural environment for altitudes between the surface of the Earth and 90 km altitude for the principal NASA aerospace vehicle development, operational, and launch locations and associated local and worldwide geographical areas. Atmospheric phenomena play a significant role in the design and operation of aerospace vehicles and in the integrity of aerospace systems and elements. The terrestrial environment design criteria guidelines given in this handbook are based on statistics and models of atmospheric and climatic phenomena relative to various aerospace design, development, and operational issues. Click here to view the guidelines document. (11/8)

Zero-G Flight Carries Italian Crew from Florida (Source: SPACErePORT)
Zero-Gravity Corp. flew a weightless mission for tourists from the Space Coast Regional Airport on Saturday. The sold-out flight included a team from Italy's SpaceLand group, which featured European media coverage. The group held an underwater training session at a nearby resort pool. (11/8)

Virgin: Law Change Needed for Scotland Spaceflight (Source: BBC)
A change in the law is needed before Scotland can be considered as a launch site for commercial space flights, the head of Virgin Galactic has said. The firm's president Will Whitehorn said locations in Scotland and Sweden were being considered as bases for Virgin's European operations. But he said UK laws would have to be amended to allow flights to take place. Mr Whitehorn said UK ministers and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was currently looking at the issue.
Virgin Galactic expects to start taking fare-paying passengers on short space hops in the next few years, but claims current rules would prevent launches from the UK. (11/8)

China to Launch French-Made Communications Satellite (Source: Xinhua)
China will launch a French-made communications satellite for the Hong Kong-based APT Satellite Holding Limited in the first half of 2012. A contract for the launch service was signed in Beijing Sunday. The satellite, dubbed APTSTAR-7 and made by the Thales Alenia Space, will be sent into space by China's Long March 3B/E carrier rocket at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwestern China, according to a statement issued by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC). (11/8)

When E.T. Phones the Pope (Source: Washinton Post)
A little more than a half-mile from the Vatican, in a square called Campo de' Fiori, stands a large statue of a brooding monk. Few of the shoppers and tourists wandering through the fruit-and-vegetable market below may know his story; he is Giordano Bruno, a Renaissance philosopher, writer and free-thinker who was burned at the stake by the Inquisition in 1600. Among his many heresies was his belief in a "plurality of worlds" -- in extraterrestrial life, in aliens.

He might take satisfaction in knowing that this week the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences is holding its first major conference on astrobiology, the new science that seeks to find life elsewhere in the cosmos and to understand how it began on Earth. Convened on private Vatican grounds in the elegant Casina Pio IV, formerly the pope's villa, the unlikely gathering of prominent scientists and religious leaders shows that some of the most tradition-bound faiths are seriously contemplating the possibility that life exists in myriad forms beyond this planet. Astrobiology has arrived, and religious and social institutions -- even the Vatican -- are taking note. (11/8)

South Korean Launch Failure Blamed on Indigenous Fairing (Source: Korea Herald)
An independent panel — tasked with finding the cause of the partial failure of Korea’s first rocket launch — confirmed yesterday that problems in the nose-fairing caused the satellite to veer off course. Based on its analysis of the data collected during the liftoff and flight of the two-stage rocket, the panel said one of the two fairings failed to separate, which prevented the satellite from gaining sufficient velocity to reach the intended orbit.

Other parts, such as engines, functioned normally and the separation of the satellite proceeded properly after the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, or Naro, blasted off on Aug. 25 in the Naro Space Center in South Jeolla Province, the panel said. The fairing set was attached to the second-stage rocket of the KSLV-1 to cover and protect a 100-kilogram experimental satellite. The fairing was one the rocket's components that was built by South Korea. Others were provided by Russia. (11/6)

Ben Bova: The "Cannonization" of Space Launches (Source: Naples News)
Rockets are very inefficient, and space travel is expensive. It costs upwards of $10,000 per pound to launch payloads into orbit around the Earth. A private firm called Quicklaunch Inc., however, is developing a high-tech cannon that will — company officials believe — launch small, unmanned spacecraft into orbit for a few hundred dollars per pound, rather than the $10,000 per pound, or more, that rockets cost. Shades of Jules Verne!

Quicklaunch’s personnel have been working on high-velocity gas-driven cannons for space launches for more than 30 years. One of the company’s founders is John W. Hunter, who has worked on this daring technology with the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Click here to view the article. (11/8)

Japan Serious About Space Solar Power Beaming (Source: AFP)
It may sound like a sci-fi vision, but Japan's space agency is dead serious: by 2030 it wants to collect solar power in space and zap it down to Earth, using laser beams or microwaves. The government has just picked a group of companies and a team of researchers tasked with turning the ambitious, multi-billion-dollar dream of unlimited clean energy into reality in coming decades. With few energy resources of its own and heavily reliant on oil imports, Japan has long been a leader in solar and other renewable energies and this year set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets.

But Japan's boldest plan to date is the Space Solar Power System (SSPS), in which arrays of photovoltaic dishes several square kilometres (square miles) in size would hover in geostationary orbit outside the Earth's atmosphere. "Since solar power is a clean and inexhaustible energy source, we believe that this system will be able to help solve the problems of energy shortage and global warming," researchers at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, one of the project participants, wrote in a report. (11/8)

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