April 2, 2010

Launch of SpaceX Falcon 9 Moves to May (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
SpaceX is inching closer to the maiden voyage of it’s flagship Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule. Although that date has been slipping since the company first earned its way back on to the 45th Space Wing’s schedule last November, the long-awaited test flight looks like it will be in early May. (4/2)

US Makes Light of Venezuela-Russia Space Bid (Source: AFP)
A US government spokesman on Friday made light of Venezuela's pursuit of cooperation with Russia on space, saying that the South American nation would do better to look at "terrestrial" concerns. "We would note that the government of Venezuela was largely closed this week due to energy shortages and to the extent that Venezuela is going to extend resources on behalf of its people, perhaps the focus should be more terrestrial than extraterrestrial."

Editor's Note: Like Russia and China have done, the U.S. could garner much goodwill among Third World countries by supporting their aspirations in space. (4/2)

Alabama Leaders Garner Congressional Support for Constellation (Source: WHNT)
Huntsville's Second to None Task Force is fighting to save NASA's constellation program. In an effort to secure more congressional support for the constellation program, task force members met with Democratic Congressman Lincoln Davis from Tennessee. Davis is on both the House Appropriations Committee and the Science Committee. Both committees play a big role in determining NASA's future.

"I've bristled with the thought that we've now outsourced space flying, and that's something that we cannot afford," said Davis. "This nation should not go down that direction." Davis agrees with local leaders criticizing President Obama's idea to scrap constellation, which includes the Ares 1 Project. He says space exploration is a conversation that must continue and fears what might happen if the program is cut. (4/2)

Russia Offers Space Support to Venezuela (Source: AP)
Russia has offered to help Venezuela set up its own space industry, including a satellite launch site, as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin makes his first visit to the South American country. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Russia's offer before Putin arrived Friday, saying officials would discuss the possibility of setting up a "satellite launcher and a factory." Chavez didn't give details or say how much that might cost. (4/2)

China Offers Space Support to Bolivia (Source: Reuters)
Leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales signed an agreement on Thursday that paves the way for the acquisition of a $300 million Chinese telecommunications satellite, the latest sign of deepening ties between the resource rich Andean country and commodity-hungry China. (4/2)

Glonass: Has Russia's Sat-nav System Come of Age? (Source: BBC)
With the Glonass satellite-navigation constellation nearly complete, Russia's plan to wean itself off the US Global Positioning System (GPS) appears to be coming to fruition. But Moscow now says it wants the Russian system to work hand-in-hand with GPS rather than being a direct competitor. A major Russian producer of navigation technology, KB Navis, also claims that it has developed the world's first revolutionary chipset capable of receiving signals from the GPS, Glonass and other navigation systems.

The head of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said his country had chosen to go down a path of integrated compatibility with the platform operated by its former Cold War foe, as well as with the European Union's Galileo system and China's Compass network. Moreover, we are now working towards reaching similar compatibility with Europe's Galileo and hopefully with China and India as well." (4/2)

NASA Plans One-Stop Shopping for Internships (Source: NASA)
Undergraduate and graduate students who want to apply for a NASA internship or fellowship soon will have access to all of NASA's opportunities at one Web site. NASA has awarded cooperative agreements to five organizations to help attract students to NASA opportunities and provide an easily navigable process from start to finish. The awards will fund a NASA-wide recruitment, application, selection, placement and career development system to engage students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, research, aerospace education, and space exploration. (4/2)

Soyuz Launches Crew to Space Station (Source: Space Today)
A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new crewmembers for the International Space Station lifted off early Friday. On board the spacecraft are Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko and NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, who will join the three people currently on the station when the Soyuz docks with the station early Sunday. The launch took place under tight security in reaction to two subway bombings in Moscow on Monday. (4/2)

Goodnight Moon: Michael Griffin on the Future of NASA (Source: Ars Technica)
It goes without saying that few, if any, federal agencies felt as much uncertainty during President Obama’s first months in office as did NASA. Having led the agency well past the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, former NASA administrator Michael Griffin was tasked with fulfilling President Bush’s ambitious Vision for Space Exploration. Following an administrative shake-up, the administration’s first declared plans for the space agency ended plans for a Moon return. Click here to read an interview with Michael Griffin. (4/2)

Bolden Doesn't Talk About Shuttle 'At All' While Visiting Marshall (Source: Huntsville Times)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Jr. "didn't talk about the shuttle at all" when he visited the Marshall Space Flight Center here Thursday. Instead, Bolden said he spent the day "listening" and "talking about the future."

The former astronaut says he tries to assure NASA workers, including "the incredible engineers here," that he is working hard to make sure they have jobs after the shuttle. "We put people in space. We put things in space. We do something risky every single day." (4/2)

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