May 17, 2010

Delta-4 GPS IIF-01 Launch Set for May 20 from Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Space Daily)
The U.S. Air Force will launch the first Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 37 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport on May 20. The launch window is 11:29-11:48 p.m. (EDT). The GPS IIF system brings next-generation performance to the GPS constellation. (5/17)

SES Details Plan To Avert Interference by Failed Intelsat Craft (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator SES on May 17 said it would reroute a just-launched satellite as part of a plan to protect customers from the signal-interference threat posed by an uncontrolled Intelsat spacecraft expected to drift into an SES satellite’s orbital neighborhood, with its electronics payload still active, starting May 25. (5/17)

Review Cites Flaws in U.S. Antimissile Program (Source: New York Times)
President Obama’s plans for reducing America’s nuclear arsenal and defeating Iran’s missiles rely heavily on a new generation of antimissile defenses, which last year he called “proven and effective.” His confidence in the heart of the system, a rocket-powered interceptor known as the SM-3, was particularly notable because as a senator and presidential candidate he had previously criticized antimissile arms. But now, a new analysis being published by two antimissile critics, at M.I.T. and Cornell, casts doubt on the reliability of the new weapon.

Mr. Obama’s announcement of his new antimissile plan in September was based on the Pentagon’s assessment that the SM-3 had intercepted 84 percent of incoming targets in tests. But a re-examination of results from 10 of those apparently successful tests by Theodore A. Postol and George N. Lewis, being published this month, finds only one or two successful intercepts — for a success rate of 10 to 20 percent. Most of the approaching warheads, they say, would have been knocked off course but not destroyed. While that might work against a conventionally-armed missile, it suggests that a nuclear warhead might still detonate. (5/17)

Schweickart Supports Obama Plan, Concerned About Current "Dead End Road" (Source: NASA Watch)
Apollo Astronaut Russell Schweickart wrote to Sen. Bill Nelson "to state my strong support for the proposed NASA space program as modified by President Obama in his April 15, 2010 speech in Florida." However, he's concerned about the loss of U.S. leadership in space. "Our current situation is akin to being on a dead end road. Instead of being on a path toward the goal we all seek, i.e. to regain our leadership position in human space exploration, we must recognize that we are (and have been) on a path to nowhere. We are confronted with arguments to ignore the clear signs of this sad situation and even encouraged to accelerate along this futile path."

The alternative to this is support for the President's proposed plan. It recognizes and eliminates the waste of precious resources in the current program and heads us in a productive direction toward our desired destination. In other words, when you recognize you are on a dead end road, stop, turn around, and head in a direction more useful to your goal...Are we, in fact, on a dead end road? In answering this critical question you should not overvalue either my opinion or the opinions of my fellow astronauts, but rather focus on the considered and thoughtful, and even hard-nosed, analysis of the panel of experts who dealt explicitly with this, the Augustine Committee on our Human Spaceflight Program." (5/17)

Houston, NASA's Spurned Wife, Watches as Florida Hogs the Atlantis Final Flight Glory Too (Source: Culturemap Houston)
Considering how much the space program means to Houston, it seems almost unfair that the last big hurrahs of NASA's manned flight program all put Florida front and center. Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center, with their sunshine, orange juice, Harry Potter theme parks and shuttle launches might be NASA's glamorous mistress, but Houston is the ever-loyal wife. (5/17)

A New Clue to Explain Existence (Source: New York Times)
Physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory are reporting that they have discovered a new clue that could help unravel one of the biggest mysteries of cosmology: why the universe is composed of matter and not its evil-twin opposite, antimatter. If confirmed, the finding portends fundamental discoveries at the new Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, as well as a possible explanation for our own existence.

In a mathematically perfect universe, we would be less than dead; we would never have existed. According to the basic precepts of Einsteinian relativity and quantum mechanics, equal amounts of matter and antimatter should have been created in the Big Bang and then immediately annihilated each other in a blaze of lethal energy, leaving a big fat goose egg with which to make to make stars, galaxies and us. And yet we exist, and physicists (among others) would dearly like to know why. (5/17)

Japanese Launch Scrubbed (Source:
The Japanese Space Agency JAXA were preparing to launch the Venus Climate Orbiter “AKATSUKI” and the Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator “IKAROS” – along with several university-developed secondary payloads – via their H-IIA Launch Vehicle. However, launch from the Tanegashima Space Center (TNSC) was scrubbed due to unacceptable weather. (5/17)

Arianespace Takes Intelsat 17 from SeaLaunch (Source: Aviation Week)
Arianespace has replaced Sea Launch as the launch provider for Intelsat 17. It was the fourth telecom satellite contract of the year for Arianespace. The Paris-based company also was chosen earlier this year to orbit 10 Galileo satellite-navigation spacecraft. Intelsat 17 was initially supposed to be orbited by Sea Launch. However, the U.S.-Russian company has yet to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. And although it filed a reorganization plan on May 12, President/General Manager Kjell Karlsen does not expect the company to return to service before the second or third quarter of 2011, which would be too late to meet Intelsat 17’s anticipated late 2010 flight date. (5/17)

SES Details Plan To Avert Interference by Failed Intelsat Craft (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator SES on May 17 said it would reroute a just-launched satellite as part of a plan to protect customers from the signal-interference threat posed by an uncontrolled Intelsat spacecraft expected to drift into an SES satellite’s orbital neighborhood, with its electronics payload still active, starting May 25. (5/17)

Russian Comsat Fails in Orbit (Source: Space News)
Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC) announced May 17 that its Express-AM1 telecommunications satellite had failed in orbit, apparently following a shutdown of its attitude-control system. The problem first surfaced April 24. Express-AM1, built by ISS Reshetnev of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, with a payload provided by NEC Toshiba Space Systems, was launched in October 2004 and designed to operate for 10-12 years. RSCC did not immediately respond to questions about whether the satellite will be moved into a “graveyard” orbit several hundred kilometers above the geostationary arc. (5/17)

The Long Goodbye (Source: Space Review)
On Friday the space shuttle Atlantis launched on its final scheduled mission. Jeff Foust reports on the launch and efforts to secure one more mission for that orbiter as the shuttle program approaches its end. Visit to view the article. (5/17)

Where Are We Going in Space? (Source: Space Review)
What might the President's redesigned space program look like? Philip Stooke describes a plausible exploration program based on the proposed new plans. Visit to view the article. (5/17)

Beyond, Together (Source: Space Review)
Integrating technology development into operational missions will be a challenge for NASA. Doris Hamill examines how "mission pull" and "technology push" can help make that happen. Visit to view the article. (5/17)

Comsats, Commercial Crew, Congress, and the Future of American Space Exploration (Source: Space Review)
Is the commercial sector ready to handle the transport of astronauts to orbit, as the White House has proposed? Alan Stern sees parallels to the emergence of the commercial communications satellite business decades ago as a reason to believe that it is. Visit to view the article. (5/17)

Rise of the Machines (Source: Space Review)
Part of the next "Transformers" movie will be filmed later this year at the Kennedy Space Center. While no fan of Michael Bay, Dwayne Day says there's reason to look forward to this. Visit to view the article. (5/17)

Boeing Mulls Not Bidding on KC-X Tanker (Source: AIA)
Boeing executives are reportedly debating behind the scenes on whether to opt out of bidding on the Air Force's KC-X tanker contract amid concerns of whether the company could make a profit off of the fixed-price contract, or even win it. Boeing's decision not to bid would leave Europe's EADS as the sole bidder for the multibillion-dollar contract. (5/17)

Congress Works Against Gates' Efforts to Control Defense Spending (Source: AIA)
As Defense Secretary Robert Gates works to slow the "gusher" of money that has flowed to the Pentagon since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress has been going in the opposite direction. Lawmakers are moving towards overriding Gates' plan to cut funding for the C-17 cargo plane and an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and they have also made it clear they will ignore Gates' efforts to stabilize rising military pay raises and health care costs. (5/17)

With Fate of NASA Moon Missions in Limbo, Ares I Tests Planned (Source: AIA)
With uncertainty over whether President Barack Obama's proposal to turn moon missions over to private companies will survive a battle in Congress, NASA has put together an ambitious testing program for the Ares I rocket that would send astronauts to the moon as soon as November 2014. The launch would be four months earlier than NASA's current schedule, which calls for the first manned flight to take place in March 2015, and one official noted that while it seems unlikely that the Constellation program will continue, NASA feels it should continue to operate the program as if it were not going to be canceled. (5/17)

Astrotech Reports Third Quarter 2010 Financial Results (Source: Astrotech)
Astrotech Corp. posted a third quarter fiscal year 2010 net loss of $0.6 million on revenue of $6.6 million, compared with a third quarter fiscal year 2009 net income of $3.6 million on revenue of $11.8 million. Astrotech's net income for the first nine months of 2010 was $1.8 million on revenue of $22.5 million. This compares to net income of $2.1 million on revenue of $21.6 million for first nine months fiscal year 2009. (5/17)

Virgin Galactic Appoints Whitesides as First Chief Executive (Source: Virgin Galactic)
Virgin Galactic, the US based and regulated Space Tourism Company, is delighted to announce the appointment of George T. Whitesides as its first Chief Executive Officer. In this role, Whitesides will guide the business through its transition from a development project to a commercially operational business. Whitesides joins Virgin Galactic from his recent role as Chief of Staff of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). At NASA, Whitesides was responsible for working to implement the NASA Administrator’s policy agenda and staffing decisions. (5/17)

Boeing in Talks to Work with ISRO on Moon Mission (Source: The Hindu)
Seeking to expand cooperation with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on its moon mission, the United States is offering assistance through Boeing, which partners with NASA on its space exploration program. Having worked with NASA on the Chandryaan mission, the ISRO is in talks with Boeing, which has a commercial crew development contract with NASA, as a key teammate to initiate the design and development architecture of a commercial transport to and from the International Space Station. “We are having an initial conversation with ISRO and attempting to set up a more formal arrangement as to how we can work together in space,'' Sam Gunderson, Senior Manager of Boeing Business Development, told a group of correspondents from India here. (5/17)

No comments: