April 9, 2010

NOAA, Taiwan Developing Plan for Weather Satellite Program (Source: Space News)
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Taiwan have developed initial requirements for a collaborative weather satellite program, and will spend the rest of the year putting together an acquisition strategy with an eye toward launching the satellites starting in 2014, U.S. government officials said.

The satellites will use a relatively new method for obtaining atmospheric data called GPS radio occultation, which has been used in operational weather forecasting since a demonstration constellation was launched in 2006. That system, called the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (COSMIC), also was a joint U.S-Taiwanese program. (4/9)

NASA Assignments Favor States Hardest Hit by Loss of Constellation (Source: Space News)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden assigned new roles to field centers in states likely to lose thousands of jobs if Congress approves the agency’s plan to cancel the Constellation program, a 5-year-old effort to replace the space shuttle with new rockets and spacecraft optimized for the Moon.

But while the new program assignments could pump billions of dollars into Florida and other states that were counting on Constellation to stem post-shuttle job losses, Bolden said it is too soon to know how many aerospace workers would find employment under Obama’s plan. “We have more money, and that would say that you have more jobs,” Bolden said. NASA has not conducted an independent assessment of estimated job growth under Obama’s plan. “If we use the standard measure for future jobs as money, then yes, there should be more jobs.” (4/9)

Harris Corp. Sponsors Summit on Commercial Tech Spin-On to Military Applications (Source: Harris)
Melbourne-based Harris Corp. is sponsoring a Military and Government Summit on Translating Commercial Technologies to Military Applications. The event will be held on Apr. 13-15 in affiliation with the huge NAB Show in Las Vegas. Click here for information. (4/9)

NASA Plan Would Spread The Wealth (Source: Aviation Week)
Proposed work assignments under NASA’s turnabout Fiscal 2011 budget request would spread the agency’s five-year, $6-billion total budget increase — and the new jobs that may go with it — across the agency’s 10 field centers.

In announcing the field center work assignments, Administrator Charles Bolden said April 8 the specific effects on public and private-sector jobs remains to be seen, but he suggested that the $6 billion in additional NASA spending over the current five-year budget runout will translate into more space workers.

With Congress almost unanimously unhappy with the plan to drop the current in-house approach to human spaceflight — after spending more than $9 billion — and moving to a commercial space-transportation industry, that could improve the new plan’s chances on Capitol Hill. (4/9)

Lost in Space (Source: Fox News)
"The U.S. has surrendered its advantage in space, conceding the high ground to others who are probably our enemies," said Jane Orient, a science policy expert and professor at the University of Arizona. "We are apparently leaving seven astronauts in space as hostages. Their loss would be a tragedy, but only a small part of the total disaster. It would symbolize the lack of respect that America has for its pioneers."

NASA Watch Comment: Huh? who is being left in space as a "hostage"? Who is "Jane Orient"? This whole article reads like a spoof that you'd expect to see on The Onion. Oh wait - its Fox News. Nevermind. (4/9)

Some Details Emerge on Obama Visit (Source: Florida Today)
President Obama wil arrive at KSC at 1:45 p.m. on April 15. He will make live remarks at 3 p.m. and depart at 3:45 p.m., the White House said. On Thursday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Obama would use the visit to make a "major space policy speech." That will be followed by four panel discussions involving invited space experts. Obama's visit will be shown on NASA TV, Bolden said. (4/9)

Embry-Riddle Plans Human Factors Conference in Daytona on Apr. 15 (Source: ERAU)
The 2010 Florida Student Conference on Human Factors and Applied Psychology will be held on April 15 at Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach campus. A keynote address titled "Putting a Face on Human Error" will be given by Dr. Scott Shappell off Clemson University. This year’s conference will draw students from Daytona State College, Embry-Riddle, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of South Florida, University of West Florida, and the U.S. Military Academy.

The goal of the conference is to let students present their research to their peers, network with other students and faculty with similar interests, and prepare for other professional conferences. Editor's Note: One ongoing Master's degree capstone project at Embry-Riddle focuses on whether a training certification program for space transportation industry workers (similar to the FAA's A&P certification for certain aviation industry workers) could reduce the incidence of human errors that have historically been a major cause of launch failures. (4/9)

Despite Constellation's Ending, Kennedy Will Thrive as Launch Complex (Source: AIA)
Florida's Space Coast did not get an extension of the space shuttle program or revival of the Constellation program that were hoped for under President Barack Obama's budget, but the budget will nevertheless bring in an additional $4 billion to the Kennedy Space Center through 2015. Under the plan, NASA will open an office at the space center to oversee the development of commercial space taxis to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station, and the center would also be transformed into a "21st Century Launch Complex." (4/9)

Houston Center Contractors May Face Work Gap under NASA Budget Plan (Source: AIA)
NASA contractors who stand to lose jobs if Congress approves President Barack Obama's budget plan to eliminate NASA's Constellation program may find new work with the agency, but they could be out of jobs for up to a year while new plans are formulated, said Mike Coats, director of the Johnson Space Center. Coats welcomed the proposed addition of a five-year, $6 billion technology development program at the space center, but he expressed concern about the 6,000 or so contractors in positions in the Houston area who could be out of work for a while. (4/9)

Eurockot to Launch Two ESA Earth Observation Missions (Source: ESA)
ESA has awarded a contract to Eurockot for the launch of two of its Earth observation missions. The first will be the next Earth Explorer: Swarm, a constellation of three satellites to study Earth's magnetic field. The contract covers the launch of ESA's Swarm magnetic-field mission and a 'ticket' for one other mission, yet to be decided. Both will take place from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia using a Rockot launcher. With last week's successful launch of the CryoSat-2 Earth Explorer, this new contract highlights ESA's commitment to learning more about Earth from the vantage point of space. (4/9)

Florida 6th Graders Win Space Station Education Project (Source: NASA)
A "Low Gravity Artist" project to study human adaptability to microgravity for drawing, is one of the winning entries for NASA's Kids in Micro-G. This project will involve 6th graders from the Windy Ridge school in Orlando. It is one of nine elementary-to-middle school projects selected nationwide. The NASA program will compare the results of experiments performed by the students with those of astronauts flying on the International Space Station. Click here for a list of the winning projects. (4/9)

California 7th Graders Win Space Station Education Project (Source: NASA)
An experiment to determine if the radius of a circle of revolution affects the speed of the outer revolving object in microgravity is one of the winning entries for NASA's Kids in Micro-G. This project will involve 7th graders from the Hamlin School in San Francisco. It is one of nine elementary-to-middle school projects selected nationwide. The NASA program will compare the results of experiments performed by the students with those of astronauts flying on the International Space Station. Click here for a list of the winning projects. (4/9)

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