April 19, 2010

Editorial: Obama's Space Plan Adds Insult to Injury (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
With all due respect to President Obama, regarding his speech in Florida on "Space Exploration in the 21st Century," I simply have to ask, "Are you kidding me?" As one who has consulted on and written extensively about our space program, worked in the White House and drafted a speech or two, I know shameless pandering filler when I read it.

The president's speech had more useless and suspect filler than a New York City street hot dog — part of that filler being when the president recognized his chief science adviser, John Holdren. This is the same man who just told students the United States couldn't be No. 1 in science forever. When the nation and the program most needed honesty, true direction and an unwavering belief in the promise of space, the president chose to add insult to the injury that is the dismantling of our human spaceflight program.

Editor's Note: Reaction to President Obama's policy is all over the map. Editorials like this one offer no solutions and are not constructive. Advocates for restoring Constellation are blind to the realities of that program's budget and schedule. And advocates for keeping the Shuttle flying fail to remember that it cannot coexist with a real exploration program. I think President Obama is on the right path. (Though I believe we should accelerate the heavy-lift program, and hope Congress will see this as something they should unite behind.) (4/19)

Lecture Series Adds Panel on Space (Source: BcC)
Brevard Community College's Space & Astronomy Lecture Series will include a May 14 panel discussion titled: "Space, What's In It for Me?". The panelists will include Frank DiBello, Jim Muncy, Jim Banke, and Patrick Simpkins. This free event will be held at the BCC Planetarium & Observatory in Cocoa, beginning at 7:00 p.m. It will be followed by a Star Party hosted by the Brevard Astronomical Society. Visit www.brevardcc.edu/AstroLectures for information. (4/19)

Top Ten NASA Flubs (Source: Time)
Even as NASA welcomes home the crew of one its final shuttle missions (just two days after commemorating the 40th anniversary of the miraculous return of the Apollo 13 crew), it's grappling with how to adapt to a new President's plan for its future. TIME takes a look at the dimmer moments in its history: the canceled projects, the failures and some notable mishaps. Click here to view the article. (4/19)

Space is the Now Frontier (Source: Indiana Daily Student)
In case you had not heard, NASA’s most recent long-term plans have been to bring the International Space Station (ISS) to a close and instead focus on returning to the moon. The Constellation Program was designed to have astronauts on the moon by 2020. However, last Thursday, when President Barack Obama pledged his full support to the future of NASA, he was not speaking about going to the moon. Rather, the additional $6 billion that he intends to invest in space program has at its heart larger goals. The purpose is to travel deeper into space than ever before. And, according to President Obama, the true future of NASA is Mars. (4/19)

Russian Solar Probe Lost (Source: Space Daily)
Russian scientists acknowledged Monday that solar research satellite Koronas-Foton has been lost due to technical problems, barely a year after its launch. The probe, also known as CORONAS-Photon, was launched into orbit by Russia on January 30, 2009 but lost connection with its controllers at the end of the year when a problem with its solar power led to battery failure. (4/19)

Stratcom Rings Missile-Warning-Gap Alarm (Source: Aviation Week)
Concerns are once again surfacing at U.S. Strategic Command about a potential gap in the critical mission area of space-based missile warning. Last December, Gen. Kevin ­Chilton, Stratcom commander, issued an urgent-need request to the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office for alternatives to augment the mission. Delivery of Sbirs GEO-1, which will be the first spacecraft bound for geosynchronous orbit to replace DSP, is at least seven years late. And the program, now estimated at $15 billion, is costing far more than expected. (4/19)

MIT: Aerospace Industry Must Evolve New Ways to Recruit and Retain Future Engineers (Source: AIAA)
Aerospace companies must consider offering newly recruited workers flexible job assignments and a variety of projects to remain competitive with other scientific fields of employment. This was among the conclusions of the "2009 Survey of Aerospace Student Attitudes." The data were drawn from a survey of 600 aerospace engineering sophomore and senior undergraduate students at 23 schools across the country. Click here to view the study highlights. (4/19)

DiBello: What's Next for NASA? (Source: Miami Herald)
It is clear, and has been for many years, that the future of space, along with the investment, innovation and jobs that go along with it, lies in the innovations of the commercial sector. There could have been a less painful path to this evident redirection. But at least for Florida, while we've been engaged in our No. 1 priority -- advocating to save our valuable collective workforce -- we've also had the foresight to gauge the general trajectory. We are more than ready to leverage our assets and embrace our role to support America's leadership in space.

The recent announcements by NASA leadership, and the appearance by President Obama to face his Florida constituents and assure them that national assets will not be squandered, show that although the specifics may not be clear, the future holds promise beyond the near-term. Florida gets it, from every angle. Concurrent with the public outcry and public rallies to save our aerospace talent base, other, less conspicuous efforts are positioning Florida in its rightful role as the world premier center for commercial space launch and technology development. (4/19)

Hitting the Reset Button (Source: Space Review)
Two and a half months after the release of the 2011 budget proposal, President Obama finally discussed his plans for NASA last Thursday. Jeff Foust summarizes the speech and the reaction to it, and the the prospects for change at the space agency. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1611/1 to view the article. (4/19)

President Obama's Vision for Space Exploration (Source: Space Review)
Last week President Obama outlined his vision for human spaceflight and space exploration. In the first of a two-part article, G. Ryan Faith analyzes crew and transportation elements of President Obama's recently unveiled space exploration policy. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1610/1 to view the article. (4/19)

Human Spaceflight: Diversify the Portfolio (Source: Space Review)
Throughout the agency's history NASA has had single, monolithic human spaceflight programs, many of which have failed. Alan Stern argues that it's time to break that pattern and establish a diversity of efforts that together stand a better chance for success. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1609/1 to view the article. (4/19)

Editorial: Obama Should Open the Cabinet to NASA (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Here are four recommendations: create the Department of Science, Technology and Space; reinstitute the National Space Council; create sustainable funding for space infrastructure; and appoint an ambassador to the space-faring nations. As an independent agency, NASA has been left to defend itself to Congress and the public. Those who support continued independent status for NASA have never appreciated that all the Cabinet departments and agencies are in the room with the president and the Office of Management and Budget. NASA and science has not been served well by being outside the room -- the Cabinet room.

President Obama's campaign space policy stated that he would re-establish the National Space Council. The council can be the institution where space policy is coordinated among civilian, military, commercial and national-security stakeholders. President Obama simply needs an executive order to fulfill this promise.

There is a core of basic space infrastructure funded by the Defense Department and NASA, including launch sites, ranges and spaced-based assets. For NASA, this infrastructure takes money away from science; for the military, it takes funds away from defense. A 1-cent monthly tax on space-assisted services would raise enough revenue to modernize and maintain our national space infrastructure. More important, it would enable long-term planning and upgrades without taking funds away from science and defense. Click here to read the rest. (4/17)

No comments: