February 10, 2010

Embry-Riddle to Train Unmanned Aircraft Pilots (Source: ERAU)
As early as 2012, thousands of civilian unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) could take to the sky as soon as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows them to share U.S. airspace with other aircraft. When that happens, professionals will be needed to operate them remotely, both as pilots and as sensor operators, when they carry video and audio equipment.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is stepping up to fill that need with a new minor in Unmanned Aircraft Systems that begins at the university’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus in the fall semester of 2010. The 15-credit minor will consist of five courses: Unmanned Aircraft Systems; Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations and Cross-Country Data Entry; Operational Aspects of Unmanned Aircraft; UAS Robotics; and Unmanned Sensing Systems. (2/10)

Plans to Expand Britain's Space Industry to Create £40 Billion Business (Source: Guardian)
A constellation of satellites that gaze down on Earth will be the centrepiece of Britain's space mission if plans being put before ministers today are adopted. The proposals from the government-appointed "Space Innovation and Growth Team" lay out a 20-year strategy that aims to expand Britain's space industry sixfold into a £40bn a year business and create 100,000 new jobs by 2030.

But one critic has claimed the proposals show "underwhelming" scientific ambition. Under the plans, the space-based observatories could be used to monitor activity in war zones and gauge the progress of construction projects, crop harvesting and deforestation. They could also be used to police greenhouse gas emissions from foreign countries and even individual cities, according to the report by industry experts. (2/10)

Davis, Griffin Critical of NASA Plan (Source: Huntsville Times)
America cannot step back from its manned spaceflight program or suffer any delays by changing course, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, D-Birmingham, said in Huntsville Tuesday during a meeting with aerospace industry executives. Davis, a candidate for governor, joined Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin in the meeting with 20 aerospace executives from companies such as Boeing and Dynetics to discuss strategies to keep the Ares rocket and return trips to the moon in the federal budget.

President Barack Obama sent a budget to Congress Feb. 1 that slashed the Marshall Space Flight Center-managed Ares rocket programs and transferred the money to start NASA technology and science programs. "It's simply too important to our nation and for our national security," Davis said in a presentation at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Griffin, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said the time and money spent on the Ares program would be wasted if NASA were to stop working on the space shuttle replacement that he proposed as NASA administrator five years ago. (2/10)

Boeing Could Benefit as Murtha is Replaced as Head of House Panel (Source: AIA)
If Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., becomes chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, as expected, Boeing, which has had strong support from Dicks for years, could benefit. The former chairman, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., died on Monday, and the House Appropriations Committee will vote on his successor this month. (2/10)

With Moon Missions Ending, NASA Sets Sights on Mars (Source: AIA)
While NASA may be dropping its moon missions, the agency is setting its sights elsewhere -- toward Mars, according to NASA chief Charles Bolden. Bolden said this week the agency's new exploration plan will call for safely sending humans to Mars. While he couldn't give specific dates, he said the early 2030s might be viable. (2/10)

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