February 4, 2010

Soyuz Booster Rocket 100 Times More Reliable Than US Shuttles (Source: Pravda)
Richard Garriott, a videogame developer, who once boarded Russia’s Soyuz rocket for a space flight said that the Russian-made ship was much more reliable than its foreign analogues. The Soyuz spacecraft is launched by the Soyuz rocket, initially as part of the Soyuz program. Soyuz spacecraft were used to carry cosmonauts to and from Salyut and later Mir Soviet space stations, and are now used for transport to and from the International Space Station. The International Space Station maintains docked Soyuz spacecraft at all times to be used as escape craft in the event of an emergency. (2/4)

Will We See the Dawn of Cyborg Astronauts? (Source: Discovery)
Hundreds of years ago, when most people thought that the universe ended somewhere just beyond Saturn and that one could acquire knowledge of all history, science and theology in a single lifetime, exploring space would've seemed like a much easier task. However, today, when we know the edge of the visible universe is actually closer to 558 billion trillion miles away and that evolution only braced us for existence on one planet, we're very aware that truly reaching beyond our cosmic cradle is an immense challenge.

But despite having nature's deck stacked against us in this regard, we're still trying to set foot on Mars, the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and beyond. If you've been following some of the recent developments in the world of medicine, you know that humans today can use their thoughts to manipulate machines, artificial limbs which interact with their nervous systems, and even use voice synthesizers to quite literally speak their mind if their ability to talk has been take away from them.

Now imagine space being explored not by people in space suits, but by cyborgs who were specially modified to cope with just about everything alien environments can throw at them. Radiation? How about your own personal little magnetic field that repels most cosmic rays and maybe even some genetic engineering to repair damaged DNA via the same process used by extremophiles on Earth? Click here to view the article. (2/4)

Embry-Riddle Icarus Rocket Team Completes Prototype Test (Source: ERAU)
The Project Icarus student team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University successfully test fired its 40% sub-scale prototype of the Icarus III sustainer motor on Feb. 3. The carbon composite motor case, hardware, and thrust stand were designed and fabricated completely in-house by the student team. All major performance metrics - thrust (450 lbs.), burn time (2.5 s), chamber pressure (1600 psi), and total impulse (5000 N-s) - were within ten percent of predicted values. Please see the attached footage of the test. The team's attention now turns to fabrication and test of the full scale prototype - the 2500 pound thrust upper stage of the Icarus III sounding rocket vehicle. (2/4)

Could Life Exist on Jupiter Moon? (Source: BBC)
Discovering life on another planet would change our sense of place in the Universe. And the encounter may be closer than we think. Are we alone in the Solar System? In his novel, 2010: Odyssey Two, the sequel to the hugely successful 2001, Arthur C Clarke imagined a manned space mission discovering biological life on one of Jupiter's icy moons, Europa. And 400 years after Galileo first discovered Europa, scientists believe that more recent data on this icy moon might just prove Clarke right. Last year, NASA and the European Space Agency announced plans for a joint mission to Jupiter's satellites, scheduled to launch around 2020. One of their main objectives is to look for evidence of life on Europa. (2/4)

James Cameron Endorses Obama Space Plan (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
James Cameron, whose lifelong interest in space included a three-year stint on the NASA Advisory Council, wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, shrugging off critics who have castigated Obama for canceling the Constellation moon-rocket program.

“[T]he president and NASA have crafted a bold plan that truly makes possible this nation’s dreams for space,” Cameron writes. “Their plan calls for the full embrace of commercial solutions for transporting astronauts to low Earth orbit after the space shuttle is retired this year. This frees NASA to do what it does best: deep space exploration, both robotic and human. By selecting commercial solutions for transportation to the international space station, NASA is empowering American free enterprise to do what it does best: develop technology quickly and efficiently in a competitive environment.” (2/4)

ESA Chief to Propose China, India, Korea Join Space Station Program (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The head of the 18-nation European Space Agency (ESA) has endorsed the new direction U.S. President Obama proposed for NASA, saying a firmer U.S. commitment to the international space station and space-based Earth science would further tighten trans-Atlantic cooperation. ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain also said his agency was ready to propose to NASA and the other space station partners — Russia, Japan and Canada — that China, India and South Korea be invited to join the station partnership. (2/4)

Stennis Leaders Optimistic About Future Work (Source: WLOX)
Stennis Space Center leaders on Wednesday affirmed their confidence as NASA's lead rocket engine testing facility, despite President Obama's proposal to cut funding for space exploration to the moon. Right now, work on the A-3 engine tests stand at Stennis is moving forward. Once complete, the stand will be used to test the Ares one rocket motor.

"The exploration directive with NASA that's responsible for Constellation is reviewing all of the work in the Constellation program," Center Director Gene Goldman. said. "The completion of A-3 will be one of those things that is reviewed by exploration. In the mean time, we continue to do work on the A-3." Goldman said although the President's proposed budget cuts the Constellation program, it adds $6 billion to NASA's budget over the next five years. Half of that would be to develop propulsion technology. (2/4)

Oklahoma Spaceport Funding Bill Voted Down in Oklahoma House (Source: The Oklahoman)
Frustrated over the legislative budget process and not having a direct say in money discussions, House Democrats and Republicans rallied together Wednesday to vote down a bill that would fund the Space Industry Development Authority. "It’s not a transparent process,” said Rep. Mike Reynolds of the method used to OK funding bills.

Additional appropriations bills remain so the authority, which administers the Oklahoma Spaceport near Burns Flat, eventually will get funded for the 2011 fiscal year, which starts July 1. But the vote angered key Republican leaders as it slowed down the process to move along appropriation bills and embarrassed the GOP’s newest lawmaker. Reynolds said some negative votes were about the spaceport itself, but most were about disliking the budget process. (2/4)

Watchdogs Wary of NASA's New Course (Source: Florida Today)
NASA watchdogs voiced caution Wednesday about changing the agency's course toward greater research rather than returning to the moon. The White House also plans to funnel money to private industry to develop rockets that can ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Joseph Dyer, a retired Navy vice admiral who heads NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Board, told Congress that the Ares rocket represents the safest bet to return people to space after the shuttle fleet retires.

Leaders at NASA and private space firms argue that they can field a new crew transport system before 2017, when the Constellation program's rocket was to be ready. Top NASA officials said private transport could be ready as early as 2016. Leaders of two companies already working on such projects said they're aiming for 2014. (2/4)

Rep. Griffith: A Slap in the Face (Source: WAFF)
A slap in the face - that's what Congressman Parker Griffith is calling words spoken by a member of the President's administration concerning the cancellation of the Constellation project. A Washington higher-up was quoted in a Florida newspaper as saying it is not necessary for man to return to the moon. "Language like this is a slap in the face, is disrespectful to the lives lost, the thousand of hours put into research and development that have gone in to manned space flight," Griffith said. (2/4)

Who Would Beat U.S. in Space Race (Source: WAFF)
Parker Griffith (R-AL) says the United States is no longer accepting the challenges from international communities and that we'll soon fall behind in the space race. Some countries are positioned to gain power if NASA quits pushing for manned missions to the moon and Mars. The consensus among experts we talked to say China will benefit the most. One professional explains countries like China, India, Russia, and both Koreas, view human space flight as a way to show their capabilities and they're just as competitive as we are. (2/4)

Obama Gets Space Funding Right (Source: Wall Street Journal)
We could send hundreds of robots to Mars for the cost of one manned mission. In the federal budget released this week, President Obama calls for increasing NASA's funding by 2% while cutting its manned space flight program. If enacted by Congress, the cuts will likely end plans to return astronauts to the moon. Some claim these cuts will damage America's capabilities in science and technology, but the president's spending plan will likely boost both. The manned space flight program masquerades as science, but it actually crowds out real science at NASA, which is all done on unmanned missions. (2/4)

Wallops: PETA Protest at NASA Gets Range of Reactions (Source: DelMarVaNow.com)
Three volunteers from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wearing cardboard masks caged themselves in front of a NASA Wallops Flight Facility sign Wednesday to protest a radiation experiment on squirrel monkeys. Two other PETA representatives held protest signs along the Chincoteague Road site as some driving by pointed, stared straight ahead or took photos of a rare Eastern Shore appearance by the Norfolk-based international animal-rights group.

“People are totally surprised that NASA is still radiating monkeys when they could be testing humans who have been to space,” said David Shirk, a PETA campaigner. Ashley Edwards, a Washington D.C.-based NASA spokeswoman, said none of the monkeys are at Wallops and they won’t be harmed. (2/4)

Atlas-5 Set to Carry NASA Payload at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket will launch NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on Feb. 9, between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. SDO will be the first mission for the space agency's "Living With a Star" Program. The rocket will fly in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. (2/4)

No comments: