April 5, 2010

Group Releases Strategic Analysis Report on Space Industry (Source: DSER)
The Deep Space Emergency Response (DSER) organization has released a new report titled “Space Policy via Macro-Economic Analysis.” Conventional wisdom among many space policy experts is that sustainability arises from technology development and job creation, butt subtle, unaddressed drivers are equally critical; and without including them in policy, the manned space flight industry will be unable to graduate from a solely government-subsidized affair.

The authors considered a macro-economic approach to the space flight industry, dealing with the broader issues of why money is spent instead of focusing on details of how much a part costs. This approach, and the studies that followed, ultimately revealed subtle differences between the manned orbital space flight and the remainder of the space industry. These differences explain why that market continues to experience difficulties in achieving commercial independence and the related goal of sustainability. Something else is needed.

“This work has been submitted to NASA and government officials, and met with great unofficial support,” said Dr. Gordon Smith, Ph.D., co-author of the report. “As the debate is moving further into the public eye, we felt it the right time to introduce our ideas on a broader stage.” Click here for information. (4/5)

New Space Record: 4 Women in Orbit at the Same Time (Source: Space.com)
Four women with the right stuff have sailed into the record books as the most female astronauts ever to fly in space at the same time. Discovery launched seven astronauts on Monday, three of them are women. They include former high school teacher Dorothy "Dottie" Metcalf-Lindenburger, robotic arm expert Stephanie Wilson and Naoko Yamazaki, the second Japanese woman ever to reach space. Rounding out the female space quartet is chemist-turned-astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson, who is living on the Space Station after arriving at the orbiting laboratory on Sunday. (4/5)

Russia to Launch CryoSat-2 European Probe on Apr. 8 (Source: RIA Novosti)
The launch of the European Space Agency's CryoSat-2 Earth Explorer satellite on a Russian Rokot carrier rocket is scheduled for April 8. CryoSat-2 will monitor the effects of global warming on polar glaciers. The 140 million euro CryoSat-1, was built by the EADS Astrium for the European Space Agency. It went missing in October 2005 after the satellite's Russian Rokot booster malfunctioned just a few minutes after blasting clear of the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia. It later crashed into the Arctic Ocean. (4/5)

Brazil to Develop Rocket by 2014 (Source: RIA Novosti)
Brazil plans to develop its own carrier rocket for conveying small satellites into orbit by 2014, the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) said on Monday. The agency said the rocket is being built by its main satellite launch vehicle project, VLS. The project was initially frozen in 2003 after an explosion destroyed a rocket on the pad at the Alcantara Launch Center in northern Brazil, killing 21 people.

The test launch of the repaired VLS-1 rocket is scheduled for 2012 and the first launch of the fully loaded rocket is due in 2013, the agency said in a statement. Earlier reports said Russia may take part in the project. In 2009, a delegation from the Brazilian Institute of Aeronautics and Space (IAE) visited the Makeev State Rocket Center in Miass, near the city of Chelyabinsk in the Russian Urals. (4/5)

Debt-Ridden Satmex Puts $2M Down on New Satellite (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator Satmex of Mexico has paid $2 million to manufacturer Space Systems/Loral to begin work on a Satmex 8 satellite to replace Satmex 5, whose fuel will run out in 31 months. But the company has no authorization from its creditors to sign a full construction contract, Satmex announced April 1. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Satmex said its $2 million Authorization to Proceed agreement with Loral expires in June if it is not followed up by a full-scale Satmex 8 contract. (4/5)

Soyuz Mobile Gantry Takes Shape At Kourou (Source: Space Daily)
The final major infrastructure element for Soyuz' new launch site
in French Guiana is taking shape as the large mobile service gantry is assembled for this medium-lift vehicle at the Spaceport. Structural framework for the gantry initially was built up to a height of 27 meters, marking the first assembly phase of this mobile structure, which is now being increased up to 45 meters. The gantry then will receive its external metallic covering, and also be outfitted with the internal movable work platforms that provide access to Soyuz at various levels, along with support equipment. (4/5)

The End of NPOESS (Source: Space Review)
NASA, NOAA, and the Defense Department are all grappling with the decision by the White House to end the troubled NPOESS weather satellite program. Taylor Dinerman examines what the aftermath of NPOESS means for both the agencies that need the data it would have provided as well as the prospects for interagency cooperation. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1601/1 to view the article. (4/5)

Supply and Demand for Commercial Launch (Source: Space Review)
While many debate the commercial elements of NASA's new space exploration plan, the overall commercial space industry is largely focused on other issues. Jeff Foust reports on the latest round of debate between launch services providers and satellite operators about whether there is a sufficient supply of commercial launchers. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1600/1 to view the article. (4/5)

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Source: Space Review)
The pending retirement of the space shuttle will have an impact that goes beyond just the agency and the shuttle workforce at the Kennedy Space Center. Dwayne Day looks at how the end of the shuttle program could affect the center as a tourist destination. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1599/1 to view the article. (4/5)

Spacecraft Stats and Insights (Source: Space Review)
With all the attention that high-profile NASA missions get, it's easy to forget that there is far more space activity elsewhere in the space arena. Claude Lafleur reviews some basic statistics about spacecraft and launch activity to provide insights on the present and future of spaceflight. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1598/1 to view the article. (4/5)

Nuclear Arms Treaty Could Deal a Blow to Missile-Based Economies (Source: AIA)
The economies of towns and cities in American's nuclear heartland could take a major hit from the proposed treaty between the U.S. and Russia to reduce nuclear weapons. Cities in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming could face hardships if the intercontinental ballistic missiles at local bases are put out of commission, and business leaders are lobbying Congress to keep the silos at full strength. (4/5)

Spacesuit Unveiled for Hi-Altitude Freefall Record Attempt (Source: EAA.org)
The Red Bull Stratos science team has revealed the pressure helmet, and suit that will serve as Felix Baumgartner’s sole life-support system when he steps off his capsule at 120,000 feet to attempt a record-breaking freefall from the edge of space. The suit is custom made by The David Clark company which has been making suits since 1941 including launch entry suits for Space Shuttle astronauts and the iconic suit that United States Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Joe Kittinger wore on his historic Excelsior III jump in 1960. Click here for the article and video. (4/1)

Discovery Launches on Mission to ISS (Source: Space Today)
The space shuttle Discovery lifted off on schedule Monday morning on a mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. Discovery launched at 6:21 am EDT (1021 GMT) into clear pre-dawn skies, after a largely problem-free countdown. Discovery will carry out a 13-day mission to the station, ferrying the Leonardo cargo module filled with equipment and other supplies for the ISS. Two astronauts, Clay Anderson and Rick Mastracchio, will perform three spacewalks during the shuttle's time at the ISS to perform maintenance work on the station. (4/5)

Embry-Riddle Students Protest NASA Shift (Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal)
Sam Patel was in the first grade when he first went to the Kennedy Space Center and decided soon after that he wanted to study space and one day become an astronaut. Brian Cleaver was in high school when he and his family stood on their roof and saw the international space station fly across the sky. He decided right then that he wanted to go to the moon.

Both Patel and Cleaver, sophomores at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University majoring in aerospace engineering, worry their dreams will be harder to obtain because of a proposal by the Obama administration that could bring an end to NASA's human space exploration program, particularly the Constellation program to return humans to the moon and take them to Mars.

About a dozen Embry-Riddle students who are members of Save NASA took their concerns public Sunday on International Speedway Boulevard and Clyde Morris Boulevard with what they called an informational rally. Horns beeped as the students carried signs reading -- "Let us go to the moon," "Save NASA," "Our careers are in jeopardy" and "This impacts everybody." (4/5)

Florida Space Incentives Passed in State Senate (Source: Space Florida)
Space industry items in a "Jobs for Florida" bill (SB-1752) include $10 million for project financing and $3 million for business development, which will aid the State’s ability – through Space Florida – to attract and expand aerospace businesses. The aerospace portion of this bill is specifically designed to create new jobs at a time when NASA’s Space Shuttle retirement is expected to result in significant job losses, estimated at a total of 23,000 people, both direct and indirect.

Also included in the “Jobs for Florida” legislation is $3.2 million to be used for workforce retraining and ultimate retention of displaced, highly skilled Shuttle workers. The bill's sponsors include Sen. Don Gaetz, Sen. Mike Haridopolos, and Sen. Thad Altman. (4/5)

If Shuttles Kept Flying, What Would Mission Be? (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
The looming reality of the Shuttle's retirement, and the 9,000 KSC job losses that go with it, has shuttle supporters scrambling to extend the program. But their efforts face several hurdles — not all of them political. Because when asked what they would fly aboard more shuttle missions, NASA officials shrug. "Right now, we wouldn't have a list of things to go fly," said a NASA manager. "The way we built the manifest was to give station everything it needed through 2015 or 2020 without the shuttle flying."

Despite that assessment, Florida lawmakers are pressuring President Obama to add more shuttle flights as he prepares to host an April 15 space summit at or near KSC. They argue the shuttle is the only reliable U.S. vehicle now capable of launching crew or cargo to the station and are pushing NASA to study what the agency cut from its delivery manifest when the Bush administration announced its plans to retire the shuttle, hoping to find something else that can be taken into space.

Editor's Note: If "Shuttle Extension" means slowing the fly-out rate to 2 per year and maybe adding only one mission, that's a lot different than keeping the Shuttle flying at a rate of 5-7 per year. These missions could support ISS crew changeout, transport of "National Laboratory" research experiments, and delivery of parts and supplies beyond the 'austerity-level' that would have to be sustained long-term aboard ISS if Shuttle stopped flying this year. (4/5)

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