February 9, 2010

Atlas Ready to Fly at Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite now sits on Launch Complex-41. The launch of the SDO mission is set for Wednesday with a launch window of 10:26 – 11:26 a.m. EST. SDO is the first satellite of NASA’s Living with a Star (LWS) program. Its purpose is to examine the sun, the source of all space weather. (2/9)

Editorial: Obama's Plan Reaffirms Our Commitment to Space Exploration (Source: Huffington Post)
President Obama's proposed budget for the space program envisions a radical redesign of America's space program for a new era. If the President is a socialist, as so many of his adversaries claim, his space proposals certainly don't show it. He wants to stake the future of much of the U.S. manned space program on the success of free private enterprise.

In a recent national poll, 63 percent of Republicans said they think the President of the United States is a socialist. Even a few Democrats may agree. But look closely at what he has recommended in his proposed budget for NASA. Something entirely different emerges. From Gemini to Apollo to the space shuttle, NASA has always designed and built its own launch systems. That's what the space agency been doing the past few years in designing new rockets and a new crew capsule for the "Constellation" program that's been supposed to take Americans back to the moon by 2020.

But we're nowhere near returning to the moon. The Constellation program has been plagued by technical problems, delays, and ever-rising costs. NASA has been squeezed tighter and tighter by a budget with many more missions than money to pay for them. And, following the recommendation of a blue-ribbon panel he appointed shortly after taking office, the President has proposed canceling the entire Constellation effort. (2/9)

Russia Plays Space Monopoly With Soyuz Rides (Source: Space Daily)
Russia, which is set to hold a monopoly on flights to the international space station (ISS), wants to charge more for rides on its Soyuz rocket, the space agency head said. "At a meeting of the space agency chiefs in Tokyo, I want to discuss the maintenance of transport to the station," Roskomos head Anatoly Perminov said. "We have an agreement until 2012 that Russia will be responsible for this. But after that? Excuse me but the prices should be absolutely different then!" (2/9)

Editorial: Obama's NASA Plan Needs Clear Goal, Deadlines (Source: AIA)
If done correctly, President Barack Obama's strategy to shift NASA's focus from moon missions to long-distance space travel could be well rewarded, but if not, it could start the decline of the nation's role as a leader in space travel, according to this editorial. One concern about the plan is a lack of a clear goal, such as Mars, and an inspirational deadline. (2/8)

Johnson Space Center Director Concerned About Future of Facility (Source: AIA)
In his first public comments since the announcement of President Barack Obama's proposal to end NASA's moon program, the director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston said he was "very anxious" about the future of the facility. As many as 7,000 people work under the shuttle and Constellation lunar programs, and director Mike Coats said he couldn't promise that all of the jobs would be replaced. (2/9)

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