February 12, 2010

Huntsville Unveils Task Force for Constellation Fight (Source: WHNT)
Mayor Tommy Battle unveiled the "Second To None Initiative," his task force for space exploration. It brings together a group of community leaders and national experts with the goal of protecting NASA's future in Huntsville. Mayor Battle spoke at a news conference, along with former U.S. Representative Robert E. "Bud" Cramer. The task force's goal is to restore full funding to NASA's Constellation program.

Mayor Battle is charging the Task Force to be an advocacy group for a national space policy that includes the Constellation program and to support Congressional leaders who will work to restore the Constellation program in NASA's budget. Among the elements of the Constellation program are the Ares I and Ares V rockets currently being developed to replace NASA's Space Shuttle program. The Marshall Space Center is the lead NASA center for Ares development. (2/12)

Florida Gov. Wants $100M for Innovation Incentive, $32.6M for Space Florida (Source: SSTI)
Replenishing the Innovation Incentive Fund and investing in space industry, public research, and green energy technologies are among Gov. Charlie Crist's FY11 budget recommendations to grow the state's innovation economy and establish Florida as a pre-eminent global hub. The governor's budget includes $100 million for the Innovation Incentive Fund, which was established in 2006 to attract R&D companies and create high-wage jobs. The fund was depleted in 2008.

Space Florida would receive a total $32.6 million, of which $20 million is slated for business recruitment activities in order to provide the necessary resources that align with a new national approach to space exploration, according to budget documents. To provide financing for new and expanding space businesses, the governor recommends $10 million. Another $3.8 million is set aside for general operations, $3.2 million for workforce development, and $3 million to fund targeted projects for business development and recruitment.

The remaining $12.6 million is slated for development and management of facilities for space industry businesses. This funding would be used for investment in Exploration Park, a 60-acre technology and commerce park, to refurbish Launch Complex 46, a multi-use commercial launch facility, and to provide for the renovation of facilities for use by entities fulfilling NASA and Air Force contracts. (2/12)

Solar Dynamics Observatory Should Shine Light on sun's Activity (Source: AIA)
The Solar Dynamics Observatory that NASA was scheduled to launch this week should provide scientists with extensive data that will help improve forecasts of solar activity and the space weather it creates, which can impact Earth. With the information, the military could place satellites in safe mode, astronauts in orbit could seek shelter in shielded compartments and utilities could protect the power grid from disturbances. (2/12)

Final Falcon-9 Hardware Received at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: SpaceX)
All flight hardware for the debut launch of the Falcon-9 vehicle has arrived at the SpaceX launch site, Launch Complex 40 (LC-40), at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Final delivery included the Falcon 9 second stage, which recently completed testing at SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas. SpaceX has now initiated full vehicle integration of the 47 meter (154 feet) tall, 3.6 meter (12 feet) diameter rocket, which will include a Dragon spacecraft qualification unit. (2/12)

Flight-Testing Of India's Cryogenic Stage In April (Source: Space Daily)
Indian Space Research Organization Chairman K. Radhakrishnan has said the flight- testing of the indigenous cryogenic stage of the GSLV D3 would be conducted in April. The vehicle will carry GAST-4, a communication satellite. (2/12)

First Russian Launch From French Guiana Spaceport Delayed (Source: Reuters)
The first launch of a Russian space rocket from a site outside Moscow's control has been delayed while engineers test a service tower. A modified Soyuz cargo ship had been due to take off before the end of this year from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana. Its location close to the equator means less fuel is needed to reach a geostationary orbit than launches from Russia's Baikonur site in Kazakhstan. The new vehicle will be able to carry payloads of up to 3 tons into orbit, nearly double the weight that can be launched from the Baikonur spaceport.

"The first launch of the Soyuz-ST rocket is not possible before the end of the year," Vladimir Gnezdilov said. He blamed the delays on the installation of a mobile service tower at the new site, 13 km (9 miles) from the launch site for European Ariane launches, which must undergo further tests in the coming months. The spaceport in French Guiana could be adapted for human spaceflight by Soyuz launchers, but there are no immediate plans to do so. (2/12)

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