January 3, 2010

U.S. Seeks Transparency and Confidence Building Measures for Space (Source: Space Policy Online)
The United States is seeking new bilateral space transparency and confidence building measures (TCBMs) with Russia and China that could lead to multilateral space TCBMs. Garold Larson, Alternative Representative to the United Nations First Committee, laid out these U.S. goals in a statement to the U.N. First Committee in October. He said the U.S. and Russia met to discuss bilateral TCBMs in the wake of the collision between a U.S. Iridium satellite and a defunct Russian satellite in February 2009 and welcomed "Russia's willingness to view this as a 'teachable moment.'"

Later, criticizing China for the debris created by its 2007 antisatellite (ASAT) test, he called on China to provide "greater transparency regarding its intentions for the development, testing, and deployment of direct-ascent ASAT weapons and other elements of its multi-dimensional counter-space program." He warned that any future Chinese ASAT tests would "undermine the credibility of the PRC's declaratory statements" condemning the weaponization of space and stressed the importance of Chinese assurances in 2008 that "China will not conduct future ASAT tests in space."

Florida Wrestles With the Symbols of the Space Shuttle’s End (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
And so it begins, a new year and the final countdown to the end of the space shuttle program. With NASA due to mothball the orbiters in at least 10 months, officials in Florida are gearing up for the hardship and change that the passing of an era will bring. Governor Charlie Crist is expected to visit Cape Canaveral on Thursday to meet workers and some space companies, as well as look at some alternative employment possibilities for a few hundred of the thousands of Kennedy Space Center workers who will lose their jobs when the program ends.

There are also some unexpected issues companies and cities are facing in Brevard County, such as what to do with their company logos and city seals that feature the shuttle. Already, the City of Titusville is giving thought to whether it wants to swap out the shuttle from its coat of arms. But removing an image that for the last three decades has become the symbol for Florida’s Space Coast is not an easy undertaking. It costs money to repaint signs and vehicles and replace stationery. It’s also emotionally wrenching. (1/3)

Person Of The Year: The Space Entrepreneur (Source: Aviation Week)
Working quietly in the background since the days of viewgraphs, a group of space entrepreneurs has long been pitching far-fetched ideas to skeptical moneymen with the fervor of evangelists. Now their viewgraphs—updated to Powerpoint and CAD/CAM—are becoming reality, and metal and fire are streaking through the upper atmosphere into low Earth orbit.

Collectively, they are in the vanguard of a new industry, poised to transform how humans venture into space in ways that most observers can scarcely imagine today. Space entrepreneurs had a big influence on aerospace in 2009, although it does not begin to compare with the impact they are likely to have in years to come. That is why Aviation Week chose this intrepid group of engineers and visionaries as the 2009 Person of the Year.

Two developments have set the stage for space entrepreneurs to begin breaking down barriers, financially and otherwise. After investing more than $1 billion in hard-won private capital on hardware, they are finding increased acceptance for their business plans. And they have finally made it to space with humans onboard—three suborbital flights with SpaceShipOne that won Scaled Composites the Ansari X-Prize and launched a fledgling commercial space-tourism business. (1/3)

NASA Offers Up Space Shuttle for $42 Million (Source: Fox News)
NASA has told museums around the country that they can have a genuine space shuttle if they're willing to pay $42 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. That's NASA's price tag for cleaning up each of the three remaining shuttles -- now scheduled to be retired in 2010 -- and delivering one to an airport near the museum. It includes $6 million for shipping and handling. About 20 institutions, including a group of bidders led by Space Center Houston, are reportedly interested, but no decisions have been made. (1/3)

For Shuttle, Race to Finish in 2010 (Source: Florida Today)
NASA will have to nearly double its post-Columbia annual flight rate if the agency is to complete the shuttle's five final missions this year. It can be done, as last year proved. "I would tell you that the odds are high that we'll make it," said Mike Moses, NASA's shuttle launch integration manager at Kennedy Space Center. "I think we have a really good shot at it."

"I think we're ready to execute," echoed Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for space operations. Under the current plan, the first mission of the year is scheduled to blast off on Feb. 7, and the last shuttle to fly is set to touch down on Sept. 24, ending a program that has stretched for nearly three decades.

The Bush administration in 2004 set Sept. 30, 2010, as the deadline for completing the Space Station and retiring the shuttle fleet. President Obama's administration eased that deadline to the end of 2010, and both the White House and Congress have signaled support for funding the shuttle program in 2011, if needed. Click here to read the article. (1/3)

Canada's Space Program Looks for More After Positive Year (Source: CTV)
After a year of milestones in orbit, the Canadian Space Agency is searching for an encore as the shuttle program gets set to wind down in 2010. President Steve MacLean has spent over a year preparing a long-term space plan to chart the future of the agency. With no more government astronauts set for spaceflight after two flew in 2009, it's possible the next Canadian to fly in space will be a private tourist just like Guy Laliberte, who flew in September. (1/3)

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