March 31, 2010

AeroAstro Wins DOD Satellite Contract from SBIR Work (Source: DOD)
AeroAstro, Inc. is being awarded a $37,923,746 cost-plus-fixed-fee completion contract for the purchase of a highly-capable, low-jitter, high-accuracy spacecraft bus to support the Joint Milliarcsecond Pathfinder Survey mission. This bus will be designed, built, and tested by AeroAstro, and will use the spacecraft conceptual design that was developed as part of the enhancement of the Small Business Innovative Research Phase II effort. This contract contains an option which. if exercised, will bring the contract value to $42,110,248.

Rep. Posey Writes The White House About Space (Source: AmericaSpace)
When the White House announced its re-alignment of NASA and America’s human spaceflight program, it created a political and policy firestorm of epic proportions. And that was just nationally. What the White House’s termination of Constellation created in Florida was something that would make the hurricanes that occasionally hit Florida look like a thunderstorm.

In an effort at damage control in a state that will be critical to the President’s re-election bid in 2012, the White House announced in early March that the President would visit the Space Coast to hold a town hall summit conference to talk about his vision for NASA. The only problem is, here we are three weeks later and no details what-so-ever have emerged about the President’s event, which is a mere 2 weeks out.

In an attempt at priming the engine of information, Congressman Bill Posey (FL-15) wrote the President to enquire about the President’s upcoming trip and remind him of his past statements of strong support for NASA’s human space program. Click here to view the letter. (3/30)

Florida Legislators Debate Space Funding (Source: Florida Today)
As the Florida House of Representatives prepares its budget proposal this week, members are initially planning to allocate about $8 million less toward supporting the space industry than the $32.6 million requested by Gov. Charlie Crist. State Rep. Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island said the House has marked $24.5 million to support the space industry. "The process is not over," Crisafulli said. "We're fighting for what we believe is a priority for us." The Senate last week approved a broad jobs bill with about $24 million in appropriations for the space industry, including $3.2 million to retrain shuttle workers and $10 million to support financing for commercial space efforts. (3/30)

Virgin Galactic Plane and Spaceship to Fly Over Spaceport America This Year (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
The WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceshipTwo vehicles will conduct a flyover at Spaceport America later this year, at the inauguration of the spaceport's runway. It will be the first long-distance test flight of the spaceship and mothership together. The flight will take place Oct. 22, marking the conclusion of this year's symposium. (3/30)

Researchers Begin Starfighters Suborbital Spaceflight Training (Source: SwRI)
As part of the next phase in advancing suborbital research opportunities and their own flight preparations, Southwest Research Institute researchers and suborbital payload specialists Dr. Alan Stern and Dr. Dan Durda have begun a new element of spaceflight training with a series of jet fighter flights in F-104 aircraft operated by Starfighters Inc. at the Kennedy Space Center. The first SwRI Starfighters flights and the associated ground training, took place March 15-16. The intensive, two-day course, which Stern and Durda took to inaugurate this element of their spaceflight training, included classroom instruction, aircraft cockpit familiarization, and actual flights flown from the Shuttle Landing Facility. (3/29)

USAF Payload Manifesting Changes Could Swap Launch Sites, Rockets (Source:
In an attempt to streamline procedures and relieve cramped manifests, managers could transfer some Atlas and Delta rocket missions from Florida to California and assign U.S. military payloads to specific boosters closer to launch, according to the Air Force's top space official. "We're looking at better ways to manifest satellites on a particular rocket. Right now, we do that about two years in advance," said Gary Payton, the undersecretary of the Air Force for space.

"A particular satellite is married to a particular launch vehicle about two years in advance." Officials are considering reducing that time to cushion the impact of a payload problem on downstream flights in the launch manifest. The unavailability of payloads has triggered ripple delays on the Atlas and Delta launch schedule more often than rocket problems.

"We would like to be able to get to the point where we can project six months or a year down the road that we're going to have a surge of launches all ganged too close together, that we may pull a GPS launch over to Vandenberg," Payton said. "The same rocket and orbitology allows you to launch out of Vandenberg. The only issue is whether proper facilities are available at Vandenberg to prepare GPS spacecraft for launch. (3/29)

SkyTerra Buyer Commits to Multibillion-Dollar Ground Network (Source: Space News)
A U.S. hedge fund that has invested in three mobile satellite services providers and is acquiring full control of one of them is guaranteeing to U.S. regulators that it will spend several billion dollars, starting immediately, to deploy a nationwide mobile-broadband network that will reach “at least 260 million people” by early 2016. Harbinger Capital Partners, whose purchase of mobile satellite services provider SkyTerra was approved March 26 by the FCC, agreed as a condition of the deal to an aggressive roll-out of services using ground-based signal boosters employing the same L-band radio spectrum to be used by the two SkyTerra satellites planned for launch in the next 12 months. (3/29)

Some Feel Spaceport Construction Isn't Creating Local Jobs (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
As construction progresses on the $200 million Spaceport America, some southern Doña Ana County residents say they're concerned the project is picking up steam without them. Arturo Uribe, community activist in Mesquite, said there's frustration among some area truckers, who aren't seeing the benefits of spaceport contracts. The companies carrying out the work, he noted, aren't obligated to make use of local employees or subcontractors.

"You have a lot of folks looking at the job situation," he said. "Why are we as Doña Ana County residents, who are paying the most of the two counties paying a tax, not getting a lot of jobs that are coming out?" Uribe referred to a 1/4 of 1 percent sales tax Doña Ana County voters imposed upon themselves in 2007 to help pay for the spaceport. The measure generated about $49 million toward construction. (3/29)

Cape Breton, Fort Churchill Eyed for Satellite Launches (Source: CTV)
Cape Breton may become a Canadian version of Florida's historic Cape Canaveral where astronauts and rockets have been launched into outer space for decades. The Canadian Space Agency is looking at the Nova Scotia island as one of two possible sites to blast small satellites into orbit using an indigenous rocket launch system. The other possible micro-satellite launch site is Fort Churchill in Manitoba, near Hudson Bay, where hundreds of small research rockets have been launched in the past. Pre-feasibility studies were done in 2008 and the first indication is it would be possible for Canada to launch its own rockets. (3/29)

Space Conference at UCF Set for 2011 (Source: Central Florida Future)
In 2011, UCF will host the Second Annual Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference. The three day event will be held Feb. 28 to Mar. 2 and will attract people interested in the fields related to suborbital science and microgravity research from all over the world. “We anticipate up to 500 individuals from colleges and universities, NASA, commercial launch providers, museums and science centers and other government agencies,” UCF's Josh Colwell said.

The conference will provide a forum for researchers, engineers, educators, government officials and launch providers to learn about progress in research. Independent companies and developers will showcase their suborbital vehicles under development and discuss the educational and public outreach possibilities. Some of the companies include Armadillo Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace. (3/29)

Virginia Suborbital Launch Carries Kentucky Payload (Source:
A nonprofit has launched a student-build spacecraft carrying test hardware and software nearly four miles into space. Frontier 1 went into space for about 10 minutes on Saturday after being launched from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's eastern shore aboard a NASA rocket. Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation president Kris Kimmell says the spacecraft was built to test hardware and software systems that will be flown on an orbital satellite, KentuckySat 1, set to launch in November with NASA's Glory Mission. (3/28)

Sens. Gillibrand & schumer Support Effort to Land Shuttle in NYC (Source: NY Daily News)
Take it from the kids - a space shuttle in New York would be out of this world. "You could see a real space shuttle and all the controls and how they get into space," said Will Siverson, 6, who came to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum Sunday with his Cub Scouts den from Fairfield, Conn. The students joined New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Intrepid President Bill White to help boost the museum's chances of getting one of three soon-to-be retired shuttles for permanent display. (3/28)

Sen. McCain Joins Fight to Bring Shuttle to NYC (Source: NY Daily News)
New York's quest to get a space shuttle docked at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum just got a boost from the ship's most famous fighter pilot - John McCain. The 2008 GOP presidential nominee and Arizona senator, who served on the aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, is giving the Big Apple a big thumbs up. "As a former Navy pilot who flew air missions off the deck of the Intrepid in the 1960s, I can think of few better locations for a retired NASA space shuttle," McCain said. (3/28)

Iridium Solicits Piggyback Payloads (Source:
The U.S. Air Force is answering a call from Iridium to put payloads, experiments and sensors on the company's next-generation satellites, a top military official said this week. "We've looked at a couple of different potential applications of secondary hosted payloads on Iridium," said Gary Payton, undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs. (3/27)

Virgin Galactic One Step Closer to Middle East Space Tourism (Source: Arabian Aerospace)
Space tourism in the Middle East came a step closer this week after Virgin Galactic's successful test flight of its new spaceship over the Mojave desert in California. Tests will continue on the VSS Enterprise until 2011, before the first commercial flights take place in the USA. As reported in an earlier edition of Arabian Aerospace there will eventually be space tourism flights from Abu Dhabi. (3/27)

3 Astronauts, Lt. Governor to Address 'Save Space' Rally in Florida (Source: Florida Today)
Three astronauts who flew on the space shuttle will be among the featured speakers at a "Save Space" community rally April 11 at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center. During a planning meeting Friday, rally organizer and Brevard County Commissioner Robin Fisher said astronauts Jon McBride, Winston Scott and Bob Springer have agreed to be speakers. Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp also is expected to speak at the event, along with various elected officials and community leaders. Fisher is hoping to attract 5,000 people to the event. (3/28)

Virginia May Give More Money For Commercial Spaceflight (Source: Daily Press)
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority will receive nearly $838,000 for each of the next two years. The authority in the past has received about $100,000 a year. Del. Lynwood Lewis, an Eastern Shore Democrat who district includes Wallops, argues the funding isn't enough. In a blog post on his Web site, Lewis states the authority should receive $1.2 million, which is near its original request of $1.37 million. Gov. Bob McDonnell's office has indicated a willingness to amend the budget to include $1.2 million before the GA meets April 21. (3/28)

Florida Students Building Moon Buggy for Huntsville Race (Source: Palm Beach Post)
No cup holder. But just about everything else is on the moonbuggy designed by five Jupiter High School engineering students including old bicycle gears, brakes and handlebars. So creative is their lunar rover, that NASA has selected them as the only Florida high school team to attend the Great Moonbuggy Race in Huntsville on April 9-10.

"The final product is not determined by the materials. It's how creative you are with what you got," said Malachi Rosenfield, 15, a ninth-grader. The buggies are based on the four-wheel-drive vehicles that American astronauts unpacked and drove across the dusty moon's surface during the Apollo 15, 16 and 17 missions in the early 1970s. Winners get a weeklong visit at the space camp at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. (3/29)

Space Issues Gain Momentum in Tallahassee (Source: SaveSpace)
Space is receiving significant attention in Tallahassee where the 2010 legislative session is at the midpoint with 30 days remaining. There are seven bills moving through the committee process that would directly benefit the Space industry with various incentives, workforce initiatives, enhancements to the Space Florida board, and funding for business development and infrastructure projects. One has passed the House and one has passed the Senate. There are also several memorials urging congress to support NASA, space exploration and Florida’s Space economy, and two bills that would provide additional opportunities for high tech industries like Space.

There are significant funds for Space in the budget proposals for all three branches of state government, including $32.6 million in the Governor's budget; $27.5 million in the Senate budget; and $24.5 million in the House budget. You can check the status of all the Space bills at www.SaveSpace.US. Just click on the BILLS tab at the top. (3/31)

Space Florida Partners with Lockheed Martin for Undergraduate Academy (Source: Space Florida)
Space Florida and Lockheed Martin will sponsor a May 10-14 five-day undergraduate academy program. This workforce and education program will be held at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and is provided free to accepted applicants. Additional partners include the Florida Space Grant Consortium and NASA-KSC. Academy goals are to provide opportunities for Florida undergraduates to visit KSC and interact with the knowledgeable workforce, while gaining valuable hands-on experience by building scientific payloads. Application forms and further details are available at (3/31)

Celebrate Space Day With Events Nationwide (Source: NASA)
This year’s official Space Day celebration takes place on May 7. And the fun continues on May 8, 2010, with the Space Day Family Day event taking place in Washington, D.C. Since its launch in 1997, the Space Day educational initiative, which takes place on the first Friday of each May, has evolved into a massive grassroots effort dedicated to the extraordinary achievements, benefits and opportunities in the exploration and use of space. Visit (3/31)

Russians Report Snag in Space Safety System (Source: MSNBC)
When astronauts blast off to the International Space Station in a Soyuz spacecraft on Friday, they'll be relying on a safety system that failed in a still-unexplained manner less than a year ago, a top Russian space official said. NASA representatives in Russia had heard about the problem with the Soyuz's launch escape system — but were assured that it was no big deal. Other NASA sources said that they hadn't been told that the system malfunctioned during a launch last May. And by all accounts, the cause of that malfunction has not yet been determined. (3/31)

Orbitec Gets Piece of Five-Year NASA Contract (Source: Madison
Madison-based Orbital Technologies Corp. (Orbitec) is one of five companies nationwide to be awarded a piece of a five-year contract worth a total of up to $50 million to develop space propulsion systems for NASA. CEO Eric Rice on Wednesday said he didn’t know how much of the $50 million his company could receive, noting it depended on how work was parceled out over the years. He said each of the companies was guaranteed at least $30,000 worth of work supporting research and technology development activities at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. (3/31)

South Korean Rocket will Launch Again in June (Source:
South Korea plans another flight of its small satellite launcher in June, nearly a year after the rocket's first mission was doomed when its payload shroud did not separate, according to the rocket's Russian contractor. The KSLV's first launch in August 2009 fell short of orbit. The first stage of the Korea Space Launch Vehicle is about to be shipped from Russia to South Korea. The 93-foot-long first stage was transported by train from Khrunichev to an airfield Wednesday. The vehicle will next be loaded into a cargo plane to fly to Busan, South Korea. (3/31)

Discovery To Help Prep ISS For Research (Source: Aviation Week)
NASA’s workhorse space shuttle orbiter Discovery is set to deliver a load of science racks and other gear to the International Space Station (ISS) for long-term operations, as assembly gives way to research on the orbiting laboratory. Discovery will carry the Italian-built Leonardo pressurized logistics module, packed with science supplies that future station crews will use for what the station-partnership space agencies hope will be at least a decade. The seven STS-131 astronauts will help the six ISS crewmembers unload Leonardo and refill it with scientific samples, trash and other material that needs to be returned to Earth while the shuttles’ commodious payload bays are still available. (3/31)

Official: New NASA Vision Change In Method (Source: Aviation Week)
NASA’s abandonment of the Constellation program represents a “change in approach and philosophy,” but not a change to the ultimate goal of sending human explorers into the Solar System, according to the agency’s number two exploration official. “The change in philosophy and approach is more of a multidestination approach,” Deputy Associate Administrator for Exploration Laurie Leshin said. Leshin characterizes these future deep-space human exploration systems as “only a few years away.” She told Aviation Week she hopes firmer schedule details may emerge by the time NASA’s Fiscal 2012 budget is formulated. (3/31)

India Plans to Launch 10 Satellites Every Year (Source: IANS)
Indian space scientists and engineers are bracing up to launch an average of 10 satellites per year to meet the rising demand for various space applications, including communications and remote sensing, a top space scientist said. "We have a series of satellites and launch vehicles at various stages of preparation," Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) chairman K. Radhakrishnan said. (3/31)

Houston, We Have a Real Problem (Source: Politico)
There has been much speculation about the future of NASA without Constellation. But this goes beyond the future of NASA — to the future of America as a whole. No one has to be reminded of the motivation and imagination that human space flight has inspired. Many a career in science, engineering or math began with a young child dreaming of space flight.

The administration’s decision to kill NASA’s Constellation program isn’t just the death knell for U.S. human space exploration, it is a decision to place America’s space program in the category of second, or even third, in the world. America’s dominance in space has always been so much more than a race to be first. It has signaled our nation’s commitment to forge paths once unimaginable. Scientific and technological discoveries are born from both necessity and risk taking.

The journey of space exploration has taken the United States to global leadership on many fronts. Our dominance in human space coincided with our status as a superpower. That is no accident. Our commitments to be the best in national security and space exploration go hand in hand. This is one reason why there has been long-standing bipartisan support for NASA and human space flight. (3/31)

Security High as Russian Rocket Rolled Out for Launch (Source: AFP)
Armed interior ministry forces patrolled the train tracks at Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome on Wednesday, amid heightened security ahead of a launch to the International Space Station. The Soyuz rocket set to blast off on Friday was rolled out of its hangar and out across the barren Kazakh steppe under tighter than normal security two days after a pair of suicide bombers killed dozens in the Moscow metro. (3/31)

Transportation Dept. Seeks NASA's Help in Toyota Probe (Source: USA Today)
Federal transportation officials have asked NASA and the National Academy of Sciences to help them investigate unintended-acceleration problems in Toyota and other vehicles and look at potential causes ranging from driver error to mechanical problems to electromagnetic interference (EMI). The Transportation Department is "determined to get to the bottom of unintended acceleration," Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday. (3/31)

Space Fans Save Buzz Aldrin from Elimination on "Dancing with the Stars" (Source:
Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin went from last place to first-to-be-spared Tuesday night, when ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" host Brooke Burke named him as "safe to dance again" during the opening moments of the reality TV show's live broadcast. Judging by the moment's pause that it took him to react to the news, Aldrin was indeed surprised. (3/31)

Analyst: Space Tourism Poised to Blast Off (Source: USA Today)
Space is the next frontier in adventure travel, suggests a survey analysis, with sub-orbital tourism perhaps embracing the modern-day jet set this year. In the current Acta Astronautica journal, Véronique Ziliotto of Holland's European Space Research and Technology Center, looks at recent polls and industry estimates to reckon the chances of space tourism getting off the ground. Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo effort, in particular, looks to start flights as soon as this year, she notes, and already has about 200 flight reservations.

"In 2003, luxury travel had 20 million customers globally and generated 91 billion in revenue, which represents 20% of tourism revenues worldwide. This large untapped market represents a unique chance for space tourism," Ziliotto writes. Since then, she adds, "(t)hanks to recent technological achievements such as Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne in 2004, Bigelow's Genesis I in July 2006 and Genesis II in July 2007 and the success of space adventures' flights to the ISS, space tourism is leaving the realm of science-fiction." (3/31)

GAO: GPS 2F Launch Schedule May Slip Further (Source: Space News)
The long-delayed launch of the first U.S. Air Force GPS 2F navigation satellite, now scheduled for May, could be pushed back further due to recently identified technical issues, according to a government watchdog agency. Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of Seal Beach, Calif., is the GPS 2F prime contractor, responsible for delivering 12 spacecraft. The program has more than doubled its original $729 million price tag and is already three-and-a-half years behind schedule. (3/30)

Unmanned Space Shuttle to Get Trial Run (Source: Discovery)
As NASA wraps up 30 years of experience flying reusable space planes, the military is preparing to launch an unmanned mini shuttle drone that can stay in orbit for nine months at a stretch, then leave orbit and land itself on a runway. Launch of the Orbital Test Vehicle, which is about one-quarter the size of a space shuttle orbiter, is planned for April 19 aboard an unmanned Atlas 5 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. The military is vague about what it plans to do with the space plane, but using it to fly astronauts is not among the options. (3/31)

Editorial: Athena Plan a Step in the Right Direction for Florida (Source: Florida Today)
The debate in Washington on NASA's plans for Constellation should not stop efforts to build a robust commercial launch industry at Cape Canaveral — nor is it — as one new announcement shows. Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems are teaming up to fly next-generation Athena rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in at decision that could create 100 jobs. It sends another signal the Cape’s open for businesses and creating an environment that’s more pro-businesses and less government red tape, which in the past has sent space entrepreneurs elsewhere.

However, there’s this caveat: The rockets also can be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska and NASA-Wallops Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia, showing the intense competition the Cape’s facing. That’s why we again urge the Legislature to significantly increase Space Florida’s funding to $32.6 million, an allocation that’s passing key hurdles in the Senate but still faces the House. The funds would be used in a variety of ways to gain space businesses, and if not forthcoming will damage Florida at a time when it cannot afford it.

A major part of that equation would involve private companies that may launch astronauts. That includes start-ups such as SpaceX, which is planning a major test flight of its Falcon rocket from the Cape next month. Meanwhile, aerospace giant United Launch Alliance is also expected to enter the game by trying to convert their Delta IV or Atlas V rockets to carry NASA crews. In short, Florida must take the broadest approach to gain commercial space business, and that includes snaring rockets such as the Athena that can fill a market niche. (3/30)

Boeing Eyes Collaboration with ISRO (Source: The Hindu)
Boeing has evinced interest in collaborating with Indian Space Research Organization in the area of communication satellites, and the two entities are exploring joint opportunities, a senior ISRO official said. But the future possible cooperation with Boeing is unlikely in the field of joint-building of communication satellites as the Indian Space agency already has a tieup in this segment with EADS Astrium. (3/30)

Britain Needs a Damn Good Rocket (Source: Telegraph)
For more than 30 years Britain has not done space rockets. But perhaps there is hope. There are two new UK space facilities planned: the International Space Innovation Center and the British location for a European Space Agency base. This cluster of expertise is already drawing interest from abroad, including Russia and America, and could catalyse a far more prominent British space program. And even more excitingly, the seeds of a new generation of space rockets is being planted. They will be powered by novel types of engine that breathe air at low altitudes before switching over to tanked propellants as they near space.

When these vehicles fly, the cost of reaching orbit will really start to drop, and a new Space Age will dawn. And then, perhaps, a few more people will realise how Britain has pushed mankind towards the stars. Editor's Note: A couple decades ago, there was an effort to establish a launch capability on Ascencion Island in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean. Ascension is a British territory that has been used by the U.S. Air Force as a launch vehicle tracking station for the Eastern Range. (3/30)

NASA Continues Constellation Work According to Fiscal 2010 Budget (Source: AIA)
Top NASA managers say they are in the tough position of preparing for a White House-ordered shift to commercial human flights for the Constellation program and long-term exploration technology development -- while trying to comply with a congressional directive that none of the funds appropriated in fiscal 2010 be used to cancel or modify Constellation contracts without lawmakers' approval. Work on the Ares I Crew launch vehicle and Orion crew exploration vehicle continue, while companies also forge ahead on alternatives to the Constellation alternatives. (3/31)

Second Educational Rocket Launch Set (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
The second annual educational rocket launch at Spaceport America is slated for May 1. In addition to carrying payloads designed and built by New Mexico students, the vehicle also will be dedicated to the memory of Debbie Prell, a Farmington science and technology teacher who died of breast cancer in 2005.

"The promise of a new commercial space industry has created an increased interest in technology and science programs in New Mexico classrooms," said Patricia Hynes, director of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium. Last year's launch, carrying high school and college students' payloads, failed to reach its target altitude of 75 miles. (3/31)

Russia May Supply Soviet-Era Engines for U.S. Space Rockets (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia could soon sign a contract with a U.S. space company on the delivery of Soviet-era rocket NK-33 boosters in support of the development of the Taurus II space launch vehicle by Orbital Sciences Corp. The basic NK-33 engine was originally designed and produced in Russia in late 1960s for the Russian N1 lunar launch vehicle.

"Aerojet bought about 40 NK-33 engines in mid-1990s, paying $1 million for each unit. The U.S. company has 30 engines at present and will need 20 for 10 launches to the International Space Station," Nikitin said. "The price for newly delivered engines should be much higher," he said, adding that comparable RD-180 space engines are sold to the U.S. (for Atlas-5 rockets) by Russia's Energomash company for $6 million. (3/31)

NASA Picks Contractors for Rapid Satellite Development (Source: NASA)
NASA has awarded contracts to eight aerospace firms for Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition III spacecraft and related services. Each contractor has one or more core spacecraft offerings available under its Rapid III contract. Contracts have a combined potential maximum value of $4 billion. The contractors are: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Orbital Sciences Corp., Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC, Northrop Grumman, and Thales Alenia divisions in Italy and France. (3/30)

NASA Extends Ames Supercomputing Contract (Source: NASA)
NASA will exercise a one-year extension option on a contract with Computer Sciences Corporation to provide supercomputing support services at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. The extension is valued at approximately $57 million. The contract consists of a two-year base period and eight one-year priced options with a maximum value of approximately $597 million if all options are exercised. (3/30)

India Developing Winged Reusable Rocket (Source: Space Daily)
India is developing a winged reusable rocket and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has configured a Technology Demonstrator as a first step towards realizing it. This is a first step towards realizing a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully re-reusable launch vehicle, according to Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Editor's Note: Looks a lot like the USAF spaceplane demonstrator that will be launched soon from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. Click here. (3/30)

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