March 6, 2010

Workforce Agency Sees Surge in Space Workers (Source: Florida Today)
More than 1,500 aerospace workers registered with a state Web site last month geared toward preparing them for new careers. That surge represents nearly half of the 3,186 space industry employees who have signed up since November with Brevard Workforce's Aerospace Worker Transition Program, which provides help job searches, career planning and specific job training and workshops. The program also can help workers receive grants for retraining. Brevard Workforce estimates that 9,000 of the 11,000 shuttle workers at Kennedy Space Center will lose their jobs when the program ends after four more missions and work on Constellation ceases. (3/6)

Alex Sink: “No Florida issue more important than the Space Coast” (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Florida Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Alex Sink made the obligatory campaign stop in Brevard County on Saturday to hear from state aerospace leaders about the impending economic crisis facing the region when the space shuttle is retired later this year. “You could aptly argue that there is no issue more important in the state of Florida than to address the issue of the Space Coast,” Sink said to applause of the 12 industry and community leaders who met her at a meeting held a Rockledge City Hall.

Accompanied by U.S. Rep Suzanne Kosmas, Sink listened as Several speakers told her that despite the doom and gloom they thought that there were several opportunities Florida needed to seize such as attracting more commercial launch business from overseas and bringing high-tech research and development jobs to the area. Sink said it was clear that the Space Coast is in a political and economic “ICU,” or intensive care unit. After the meeting, Sink appeared to take a swipe at Gov. Charlie Crist, saying that if she were in charge she would have not waited until the situation reached a crisis point.

“I would have started on this four years ago, because we have known all along that there was the possibility of the wind down of the programs. And I would have been much, much more aggressive earlier on at focusing on diversifying the economic base and the types of industries that are here that could take advantage of hiring engineers and these highly skilled laborers that we have,” she told reporters. (3/6)

Sink: We're Leaving Money on Table for Space R&D (Source: SPACErePORT)
Florida gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink told space industry leaders on Saturday that Florida lags way behind other states (as low as #45) in winning R&D grants from the Federal Government. In discussing the need to diversify the state's space industry with more R&D, she said if Florida received a share of R&D spending that is commensurate with the state's size (and number of Congressional seats), we would see an additional $5-6 billion come into the state every year. She once worked with a small business that won a federal SBIR grant and said such grants are important for high-tech growth. She liked the idea of providing a state funding match for Florida firms that win SBIR grants. (3/6)

Orbital's GD Acquisition is 'Good News for Eastern Shore' (Source:
The message Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland residents should take away from the announcement of Orbital's acquisition is that, while the company's activities at Wallops are strategically important, "people on the Eastern Shore ought to know that Orbital is involved in many (space-related activities). The company is a well-established, vibrant, growing company -- we're not a start-up."

General Dynamics' spacecraft unit is located in Gilbert, Ariz., 10 miles from Orbital's rocket engineering and manufacturing facilities in Chandler, where the company currently employs about 1,300 people, according to a press release from Orbital. The acquisition will add 325 new employees -- mostly engineers, technicians and program managers -- to Orbital, which also is acquiring a four-year-old, state-of-the-art, 135,000-square-foot manufacturing, integration and test facility there. (3/6)

Florida Yuri's Night Celebrations Planned on Apr. 10 (Source NSSFL)
Yuri’s Night is an international celebration normally held on April 12 every year to commemorate the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, and the first Space Shuttle launch on April 12, 1981. This year we are also celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 13! A Space Coast bash is planned at the US Astronaut Hall of Fame near Kennedy Space Center.

At 8pm the doors will open to a variety of space simulators, science demonstrations, and performance artists. A networking reception will start at 10pm with a DJ, prize drawings, and special guest speakers toasting humanity’s achievements in space. Everyone is welcome to attend. A cash bar will be available for guests 21 and older. VIPs get extra treats! Click here for information. (3/6)

Seattle Museum Commits to Shuttle Capture (Source: Komo News)
The Museum of Flight is taking a pricey gamble that could hit the jackpot - or go bust. The opportunity to display a soon to be retired Space Shuttle is at stake. The museum is going to build a $12 million facility to display the shuttle, but even if it's built, the shuttle may still not come. NASA has retired three shuttles that it is offering to museums across the country. Two of them have been to space -- Endeavour and Atlantis. NASA doesn't make the decision for several months, but requires that a facility already be in place for consideration. The museum board decided to go ahead with construction and compete with about 20 other museums going for the shuttles. (3/6)

China Studies Moon Rocket (Source: Aviation Week)
China is studying the design of a Moon rocket in the class of the Saturn V, as the Obama administration proposes canceling the U.S. successor to the Apollo launcher, Ares V. The country also is developing another new rocket, the “medium thrust” Long March 7, the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology says. This new launcher joins the Long March 5 heavy rocket and the Long March 6, which was mentioned last year and is now defined as a “small-thrust” launcher. Long March 5, 6 and 7 will form a family of rockets, it says.

Chinese space officials have said that the Long March 6 was based on the side boosters of the Long March 5. Those side boosters come in two sizes, which could be arranged variously as first or second core stages or as boosters. Long March 7 is therefore likely to be a more powerful combination of the same collection of equipment. (3/6)

Recent High Profits for Space Insurers Attracting New Underwriters (Source: Space News)
The recent good performance of insured satellites and launch vehicles has helped generate substantial profit for underwriters, causing new insurance capacity to enter the market and lowering premiums, insurance underwriters and brokers agreed. One of the most visible signs of the confidence insurers have in the industry is the fact that underwriters are willing to insure single launches for ever-higher amounts of coverage.

Ten years ago, it was difficult to assemble enough underwriting capacity to insure a single launch for much more than $400 million in combined coverage. Then as now, the most expensive launches are likely to be European Ariane 5 rockets carrying two telecommunications satellites. But as insurers moved past the big satellite claims that punished the industry in the late 1990s, and as the Ariane 5 rocket logged repeated successes, underwriters became more comfortable with placing ever-larger amounts of coverage on a single launch. (3/6)

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