January 15, 2010

Satellites Beaming Images of Quake Devastation Help Rescuers (Source: AIA)
Satellites have seen data streams from Haiti skyrocket since a massive earthquake struck the country on Tuesday, as emergency responders, military personnel and others seek details on the devastation. The satellite images are helping to provide support for aid organizations on the ground, and imagery from the GeoEye-1 satellite, for instance, is providing images that can be compared with imagery taken before the quake. (1/15)

NASA Revises Cost and Schedule for Displaying Retired Shuttles (Source: NASA)
NASA has issued a follow-up Request for Information (RFI) for ideas from education institutions, science museums and other appropriate organizations about their ability to acquire and publicly display orbiters after the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program. The original RFI in December 2008 noted that a potential shuttle recipient would have to pay an estimated $42 million for the cost of "safeing" an orbiter, preparing it for display and ferrying it to a U.S. destination airport.

NASA has updated the requirements and tasks needed to make each orbiter safe for disposition. The agency will not ask recipients to provide the funds for this activity. NASA revised the estimated display preparation and ferrying costs to $28.8 million. The schedule for transferring the orbiters may be six months earlier than originally anticipated. NASA also desires to make selections a year before receipt of the orbiters. RFI responses are due by Feb. 19. (1/15)

50% Favor Cutting Back on Space Exploration (Source: Rasmussen Reports)
Fifty percent (50%) of Americans now say the United States should cut back on space exploration given the current state of the economy, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just 31% disagree with cutting the space program, and 19% more are not sure. The new findings mark a six-point increase in support - from 44% last July - for cutting back on space exploration. Still, Americans are almost evenly divided when asked if the space program should be funded by the government or by the private sector. Thirty-five percent (35%) believe the government should pay for space research, while 38% think private interests should pick up the tab. Twenty-six percent (26%) aren’t sure which is best. (1/15)

Alaska Legislation Changed Spaceport Authority Name (Source: AAC)
Senate Bill 125 in late 2009 changed the name of the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation. The word “Development” in the corporation’s title gave the perception that they were a not-for-profit administrative body that simply encourages aerospace development, rather than an organization that owns and operates space launch facilities that are fully developed and capable of launching rockets into space. The name change assists in securing launch and other aerospace related contracts that generate significant economic benefits to Alaska by providing long-term, high-paying, stable jobs; by providing local economic diversity; and by creating short-term benefits from projects and construction activities. (1/15)

California Space Week Planned in Washington DC on Mar. 8-11 (Source: CSA)
California Space Week will begin on Mar. 8 in the capitol offices of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Participants will meet privately with key executive branch officials from agencies including the White House, Department of State, NASA, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, and Department of Commerce, followed by a Capitol Hill reception to which members and staff of the California Congressional delegation have been invited. Breakfast is planned with Senator Dianne Feinstein and her staff on Mar. 9, followed by an Orientation of Congressional issues important to California space enterprise with House of Representatives members and their staff. Please contact Dianna Minor at mailto:dm@CaliforniaSpaceAuthority.org for information and to confirm your participation. (1/15)

Global Space Warfare Technologies: Influences, Trends & the Road Ahead (Source: Crypttome)
One has to look to beyond forefront military space technologies in order to begin to map the future of space warfare. This is partly due to the fact that in recent years, research and development partnerships related to sensitive military space systems and dual-use commercial systems have grown broader and more inclusive. This trend has resulted in greater access for the United States to talented minds from all over the world and low-cost scientific contributions from university-based researchers and small commercial operations. It has also resulted in a greater probability for technologies developed in the U.S. to leak outside its borders. The realignment of the global economy stands to further shift the international balance of space power in the years to come.

For nations that possess the relative wealth, infrastructure, and knowledge to develop space warfare technologies, their ability to become a leading military space power requires only the will to do so. The “brain drain” that hampered the space programs of many nations in decades past is weighing less on them today. The stagnancy of foreign economies that resulted in a flood of scientific minds to the U.S. is slowly ebbing, as many are now returning home to profitable jobs in booming defense and space industries. Click here to read the article. (1/15)

State Considers Making Columbus Primary Spaceport (Source: The Republic)
Columbus is being considered as the state's primary port to space under an Indiana House bill that would approve tax incentives for space-technology businesses. House Bill No. 1227 would designate the area around the Columbus municipal airport as Indiana's primary spaceport and authorize the city's board of aviation commissioners to establish an airport development zone. If approved, the bill will make new research and development equipment for space transportation technology eligible for abatements in economic revitalization areas and make the purchase of that equipment eligible for sales tax exemption. It also would provide tax credits for the loss of taxpayer-owned space vehicles, according to the bill.

The results of such tax incentives could draw more companies to Columbus, business and economic development officials said. "It will create a competitive advantage for us for economic development, specifically for space transportation technology," said Corey Carr, president of Columbus Economic Development Board. Columbus Municipal Airport already is home to Space Port Indiana Inc., a company which serves military and commercial customers and educational institutions. It specializes in researching commercial space flights and testing high-altitude balloons, rockets and platforms from which people can travel back and forth from space. Click here to view the article. (1/15)

US DOT Names Spaceport Indiana As Eligible for Federal STIM (Source: Spaceport Indiana)
The US Department of Transportation has named Space Port Indiana as eligible for STIM (Space TRansportation Infrastructure Matching Grants) funding. The granting authority was orginially created in 1993 but 2010 is the first time that the funding has been approved by Congress. The funding will allow Space Ports to improve or add infrastructure that will make the national space program even better. Privatization of certain activities has made space accessible for many who were simply left out because of cost or access. The infrastructure request being made by SPI will help add capability to Indiana that will serve both military and civilian activities. The funds will be administered by the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation. (1/3)

DiBello Takes on Space Florida Challenges (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
In the six years since President George W. Bush announced plans to retire the space-shuttle fleet, federal and state officials have promised much — but delivered little — to the anxious residents of Brevard County, which stands to lose thousands of jobs when the shuttle era ends this year. Frank DiBello, the new head of Space Florida, is trying to buck that trend. Since taking over the troubled state aerospace-development agency in September, DiBello has been scrambling to get money and plans in place to soften the double blow of 7,000 shuttle-related layoffs and a minimum five-year gap before NASA resumes human spaceflight.

He has canceled consultants' contracts, fired his Washington-based lobbying firm, abandoned — at least for now — the agency's ambitious plans to create a public-private spaceport and is cutting staff. He has also refocused the agency on projects — however small — that can create jobs and preserve at least some of the launch and high-tech rocket-processing skills that have been honed during the past three decades. "I inherited an organization that sucks up the budget by itself just with the staff it has. So between the contracts it had and the size of the organization, there's no money for projects," DiBello said. "Without projects, there can be no hope." Click here to read the article. (1/15)

Bolden to Review Heavy-Lift Rocket Study – Sidemount in Doubt (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden on Friday will review the findings of a team he set up to evaluate heavy-lift rocket alternatives to the current plan. Pre-empting the overview, NASA officials all-but ruled out the Sidemount HLV, while noting a couple of In-Line heavy lifters – one of which appears to be a DIRECT Jupiter launch vehicle – made it through to the Bolden meeting.

With Ares I’s chances of survival in serious doubt, its related Ares V heavy lifter also became the subject of debate on whether to continue development or change direction to one of several heavy lift alternatives. Very little has been heard from the Sidemount HLV evaluations since the turn of the year, until this week when the Exploration Project Office made a reference to the Friday review with Mr Bolden, citing Ares project manager Jeff Hanley. "Sidemount doesn’t buy anything and takes hit on safety. A couple of versions of In-Line going to Bolden on Friday,” noted the memo.

As to which In-line vehicles were being referenced, the only concepts that have received positive attention are variants of vehicles that are not unlike the appearance of an Ares V, one of which is understood to be a Jupiter-241 Stretched Heavy. No further mentions – other than in the NASA Flexible Path findings presentation – have been made to the monster 200mt Heavy Lifter. Sources expanded on the vehicle that appears most favorable per evaluations, noting an In-line SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engine) based vehicle, which has a Block-I configuration of 2x 4-seg SRB (Solid Rocket Booster – with 5th segment ’spacer’), 8.4m Stretched Core powered by 4x SSME Block-II, an Upper Stage powered by a cluster of 4-6x RL-10A-4-3, and an EDS (Earth Departure Stage) optimized for LOR (Lunar Orbit Rendezvous). (1/15)

Colonel to Command 45th Space Wing (Source: Florida Today)
Col. Burke E. "Ed" Wilson has been selected as the new commander of the 45th Space Wing and director of the Eastern Range. Wilson now is the commander of Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. He will take over at Patrick Air Force Base during a ceremony on Feb. 12. In his present position, Wilson, who entered the Air Force in 1985 as a graduate of the Air Force Academy, oversees 1,000 military personnel, government civilians and contractors. Previously, he was commander of the Space Operations Group and deputy commander of a 3,000-person satellite ground station for several multimillion-dollar national space programs. (1/15)

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