January 8, 2010

SpaceX Aims To Debut Falcon 9 Before May (Source: Space News)
The maiden launch of the Falcon 9 rocket could still take place this winter. The rocket's second stage "will soon be packaged for shipment and should arrive at Cape Canaveral by end of month,” Elon Musk wrote. “Depending on how well full vehicle integration goes, launch should occur one to three months later.” Falcon 9’s debut was planned for 2007 but development of the rocket has taken longer than SpaceX anticipated. (1/8)

France Seeks ITU Help To Halt Satellite Signal Jamming by Iran (Source: Space News)
French regulators have asked the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to intervene with the Iranian government to persuade Tehran to stop jamming satellite signals from the BBC World Service’s Persian-language broadcasts into Iran. The appeal to the ITU was made the first week of January only after numerous French requests to Iran to stop the interference went unanswered over the past seven months. (1/8)

2010 Shaping Up as Busiest Year Yet for EELV (Source: Space News)
Rebounding from a lost year in 2008, United Launch Alliance (ULA) posted a strong campaign in 2009 that included eight launches between its Atlas 5 and Delta 4 families of rockets. Now the company will be put to the test in 2010 as the U.S. government asks it to launch the Atlas 5 and Delta 4 vehicles a combined 10 times. The EELV rockets have tallied a combined perfect record of 29 successful launches since 2002. ULA also operates the smaller Delta 2 rocket, which is being phased out by the U.S. Air Force and NASA.

ULA plans to conduct seven EELV launches for the military and intelligence community and three launches for NASA this year, the Air Force says. The launches begin Feb. 3 with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, to be lofted aboard an Atlas 5 rocket out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. ULA will also conduct one Delta 2 launch, of the Italian Cosmo-4 radar satellite, during the year. (1/8)

Cooling Hose Issue Threatens Shuttle Mission Delay (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
NASA has a problem with cooling hoses designed for a new “room” scheduled for delivery to the International Space Station by space shuttle Endeavour next month. It’s not clear, however, if the issue could delay the mission. Endeavour and a crew of six astronauts are currently scheduled for launch at 4:39 a.m. EST on Feb. 7 to deliver the Tranquility node, to the station. Tranquility is the final large “room” to be added to the space station which is now nearly complete. A seven-windowed cupola is attached to it which will provide the station with panoramic views of space. (1/8)

Nuclear Energy on the Moon (Source: Discovery)
When the Apollo astronauts were on the moon, they only stayed a few days at a time, and batteries or fuel cells did them just fine. But now NASA is talking about astronauts staying for weeks or months. Batteries just won’t do it. They’re going to need a long-term source of power for their exploration and scientific activities. NASA engineers are working on an ultra-compact nuclear power plant for the Moon that should generate enough electricity to run an average American house. They are convinced that a lunar reactor would be safe. (1/8)

Cornell Enters New Phase with Mars Rover Program (Source: WSYR-TV)
It has far outlived what anyone could have imagined, but Cornell university scientists may have no other choice but to enter a new phase with the Mars rover program they’re heading up. The first rover to land on the red planet is stuck. They were designed to each last for 90 days. Spirit was first to land on mars in January of 2004. In that time Steve Squyres, a Rover Chief Scientist at Cornell University says it's turned out an invaluable amount of science about Mars and also how to explore the red planet. But its days of roaming mars may have finally come to an end.

"I think what's happened is fundamentally we've turned with Spirit from a Rover mission into a Lander mission, now a Mars Lander is still a valuable thing, we're still doing lots of science but I think Spirits days of driving around the countryside are probably over,” Squyers said. (1/8)

NASTAR Begins Suborbital Scientist-Astronaut Training Course (Source: NASTAR)
Environmental Tectonics Corporation’s The National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR®) Center’s inaugural Suborbital Scientist-Astronaut Training Course begins next week at its facility just outside Philadelphia, PA. Thirteen researchers aimed at accompanying experiments on upcoming commercial space missions are expected to train. The two-day course includes classroom instruction, overview of the commercial spaceflight industry, altitude chamber training, multi-axis centrifuge training for launch and reentry accelerations, and several distraction factor exercises with the goal of fully acquainting and preparing trainees for the physical rigors and time, pressure constraints involved during suborbital human spaceflight. (1/8)

Crist Short on Details on Help for Brevard During Visit to Space Coast (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
With the Space Coast facing the loss of as many as 19,000 jobs when the space shuttle is retired later this year, Gov. Charlie Crist came to town to check out what the state might be able to do to soften the blow. But anybody hoping that Crist was going to throw a lifeline to a deeply anxious region was left disappointed. Crist was long on platitudes and short on specific promises. In meeting with industry leaders and elected officials before heading to a campaign stop in Viera, Crist was asked to back everything from creating an investment account for aerospace, to making sure that inventions developed at Kennedy Space Center were licensed to companies in Florida, to cutting red tape for businesses wanting to set up shop in Brevard County, to backing a call for $3.2 million in funding next year to help retrain shuttle workers.

Crist said he was listening carefully to all the requests and was committed to helping the region. "The commitment has never been stronger," he said. But when it came to specifics, especially on setting up an investment fund or backing the request for $3.2 million in retraining money as suggested by state Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, Crist was not willing to commit. "As we all know it's an awfully tight budget year, but I understand and appreciate how important this is, not only to the future of the Space Coast but also to all of Florida and America," Crist said after the nearly hour-long meeting. (1/8)

Boeing to Consolidate St. Louis Divisions (Source: AIA)
The Boeing Co. says its St. Louis-based Integrated Defense Systems has been given a new name -- Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and will become a smaller organization, with some divisions consolidated and new leaders assigned. Divisions that will be consolidated include the Combat Systems division and the Command, Control & Communications Networks division, which will become the new Network and Tactical Systems. (1/8)

Lockheed Sees Steady Demand for Missile Defense (Source: AIA)
Despite an expected cut in spending by the new government of Japan, missile-defense sales should hold steady overall for 2010, a Lockheed Martin Corp. executive said Thursday. Missile defenses, including the Patriot and THAAD systems, accounted for roughly 10% of Lockheed's 2009 sales. (1/8)

New Mexico Observatory To Receive $4 Million For Expansion (Source: Mountain Mail)
The Magdalena Ridge Observatory, an arm of New Mexico Tech, is getting $4 million to continue the expansion of the nine telescope interferometer. The existing facility is currently being used to support the Department of Defense in applications including sensor development and testing, space weather monitoring and the rapid tracking of Low-Earth Orbit objects and debris. The newly acquired allocation will enable the facility to carry out the Smart Instrument Development project, that will make it a test bed for numerous astronomical and DOD projects, and will enhance the capabilities of the existing observatory, particularly in the area of Space Situational Awareness. (1/8)

California Space Center Could Take Off (Source: Ties Press Courier)
After years of groundwork, efforts to develop the California Space Center on Air Force property at Vandenberg Air Force Base may roar to life in 2010. The project envisioned by California Space Authority for education, entertainment, cultural activities and office space could achieve several critical milestones this year — and may even hold a groundbreaking ceremony this fall. “It’s like we’ve set up all these dominoes in a row and the dominoes are falling in the right places. It just takes a little bit of time,” said Janice Dunn, deputy director and general counsel for CSA. Click here to view the article. (1/8)

Earth-Like Planet Find 'Imminent' (Source: UKPA)
Astronomers say they are on the verge of finding planets like Earth orbiting other stars, a key step in determining if we are alone in the universe. A top Nasa astronomer and other leading scientists say that within four or five years they should discover the first Earth-like planet where life could develop, or may have already. A planet close to the size of Earth could even be found this year if preliminary hints from a new space telescope pan out. (1/8)

China Space Program Shoots for the Moon (Source: Washington Times)
In November, Chinese air force commander Gen. Xu Qiliang observed that "competition between military forces is now turning toward the realm of space, [and] military modernization is ceaselessly expanding into space." But during his visit to Beijing a few days later, President Obama talked about "cooperation" rather than competition. In a joint statement with Chinese President Hu Jintao, the two leaders called for "a dialogue on human space flight and space exploration, based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit."

China's aerospace industry firms - which for decades have supplied dangerous missile technologies and equipment to Iran, North Korea and Pakistan, and which have been sanctioned ceaselessly by four successive U.S. presidents for their transgressions - will find the United States in a new suppliant posture. The atrophying U.S. space program suggests that America will be forced to cooperate with China in space, or else cede the high frontier of space to China altogether. Senior Chinese space officials have told their state media that China could be on the moon by 2022 at the outside.

NASA sees China's strategy for a manned lunar landing as launch vehicle intensive. While America's notional Constellation moon project centers on a single - and still unbuilt - Ares-V "superheavy" lift booster for a direct ascent to the moon and two "lunar orbit rendezvous" operations, China will likely opt for two complex "Earth orbit rendezvous" maneuvers. This will require four "Long March V" rockets - in the same class as the Pentagon's Delta IV heavy lift launch vehicles. Click here to view the article. (1/8)

Obama Space Education Promise Ranked as "In the Works" (Source: Politifact.com)
Among President Obama's multiple space-focused campaign promises was one focused on establishing K-12 school programs that highlight U.S. space and science achievements. The folks at PolitiFact have reviewed progress on this promise and have categorized it as "In the Works." Says PolitiFact: "We're reluctant to consider it a 'Promise Kept' because the administration sought a reduction in funding for NASA's K-12 educational activities, and Congress ended up providing less money than allocated in the prior year. So we'll await next year's budget and call it, for now, In the Works. Click here to view their analysis. (1/8)

Orion Could Fly Atop Europe's Ariane-5 (Source: Hyperbola)
NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle (CEV) could be launched by the latest version of Europe's EADS Astrium Ariane 5 rocket by 2019 according to a French government funded study. The Ariane 5 Mid-Life Evolution (ME) variant, planned to begin operations by 2017, is capable of launching Orion for its missions to the International Space Station and the Moon. The French space agency CNES declined an interview about the study saying that the work was "at an early stage" and that its subject matter was a "long term objective." (1/8)

No comments: