May 19, 2010

Russian Module Added to Station (Source:
STS-132: Rassvet added to station (NASA) Astronauts on the International Space Station added a new module to the orbiting outpost on Tuesday. Astronauts used the robotic arms on the station and the shuttle Atlantis to move the Mini-Research Module 1 from the shuttle's cargo bay to the Earth-facing port on the Zarya module. The Russian-built module, also known as Rassvet, or "Dawn", was launched containing nine tons of cargo for the station. The module will later be outfitted as a lab space and will support a separate Russian lab module scheduled for launch in 2012. Astronauts Michael Good and Steve Bowen will perform the second spacewalk of the STS-132 mission on Wednesday, replacing several batteries mounted on the station's truss. (5/19)

Group Makes Appeal for Space Program Budget (Source: Galveston Daily News)
The Citizens for Space Exploration received positive responses during the group’s first day on Capitol Hill urging Congress to approve more money for NASA’s human space flight program. About 150 members from across the United States are a part of the grass-roots organization that travels to the Capitol every year supporting the manned space flight program. Residents from the Galveston Bay Area made the trip, along with representatives from the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. (5/19)

Stephen Colbert Sneaks In (and Out) of Houston (Source: CultureMap)
As his bloviating talk show host character from The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert can barely finish a sentence without yelling, wagging his finger or putting someone on notice. So maybe it says a something about big Texas personalities that Colbert slipped in and out of Houston with almost no fanfare. On Friday, Colbert fulfilled his April pledge to enter astronaut training at Johnson Space Center. Colbert stayed busy in his whirlwind trip to NASA, sitting down for an interview segment with former NASA Chief of Astronauts Steve Lindsey, watching the Atlantis space shuttle launch with employees — and yes, going through astronaut training exercises, all while wearing a bright orange astronaut jump suit. (5/19)

Russia Seeks Cooperation With U.S. in Space Effort (Source: Wall Street Journal)
Russian leaders are trying to use the current thaw in relations with the U.S. to enhance cooperation in space, pushing for joint exploration efforts extending past the life of the international space station. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov spoke over the weekend with NASA's Charles Bolden and gave the Kremlin's strongest indication to date that it wants to team with the U.S. to explore more deeply into the solar system. Mr. Ivanov said the time is right for the two countries to share financial and engineering resources on possible ventures that would be launched past 2020 and travel beyond low-earth orbit. (5/19)

Father Of Range Safety at the Cape Passes Away Peacefully (Source: Florida Today)
Louis J. Ullian has passed away. He was the father of rocket range safety on Florida's Space Coast, the engineer who established the independent safety office that has overseen some 3,500 missile, rocket and shuttle launches without a single injury or death outside the gates of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center. Ullian, former chief safety engineer at the Air Force Eastern Range, ruled range safety with an iron fist, always striving to ensure rockets never would endanger increasingly populated communities around the two launch sites. He told his son, Mike, recently that his greatest accomplishment in life was the extraordinary safety record achieved since the range safety office was established in the early days of the nation's space program. (5/19)

Six Men Get Ready for 520-Day Simulated Mars Trip (Source: Reuters)
Six men from Russia, Europe and China are preparing to spend 520 days together in a sealed-off warren to take a simulated trip to Mars to test how long isolation would affect humans. On June 3, three Russians, an Italian-Colombian, a Frenchman and a Chinese man will be locked up in a set of cramped compartments as the record-breaking Mars500 simulated flight to the Red Planet gets underway to last until November 2011. "This 520-day flight to Mars ... is unprecedented in its overall duration," Martin Zell, European Space Agency (ESA) head of the experiment, said.

The six men, allowed just three square meters of "personal space" each at the facilities at Moscow's Institute of Biomedical Problems, will follow a seven-day week, with two days off, except when special and emergency situations are simulated. The crew, to be led by a Russian, will live and work like ISS astronauts, and their life will resemble that of Station members: maintenance, scientific experiments and daily exercise. (5/19)

Russia Offers Glonass Joint Venture to Ukraine (Source: Itar-Tass)
Russia offers Ukraine to set up a joint venture for developing and introducing the Glonass satellite navigation system on national and third markets, a source at the Navigation Information Systems federal network operator said. “We offer partners to develop cooperation in all areas, including the joint development of products for Ukraine, Russia and third countries. Thus, we offer to set up a joint venture,” company head, Alexander Gurko, said at a meeting of Russian and Ukrainian businessmen. (5/19)

Why We Exist: Matter Wins Battle Over Antimatter (Source:
The seemingly inescapable fact that matter and antimatter particles destroy each other on contact has long puzzled physicists wondering how life, the universe or anything else can exist at all. But new results from a particle accelerator experiment suggest that matter does seem to win in the end. The experiment has shown a small — but significant — 1 percent difference between the amount of matter and antimatter produced, which could hint at how our matter-dominated existence came about. The current theory, known as the Standard Model of particle physics, has predicted some violation of matter-antimatter symmetry, but not enough to explain how our universe arose consisting mostly of matter with barely a trace of antimatter. (5/19)

Astrium To Build SES Satellite Covering the Americas (Source: Space News)
Astrium of Europe will build the SES-6 C- and Ku-band telecommunications satellite to be launched in 2013 for coverage of the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean region under a contract announced May 18 by SES and Astrium. SES-6, to be stationed at 319.5 degrees east longitude, will replace the NSS-806 satellite currently at that slot and expand Luxembourg-based SES’s capacity in Latin America, where SES and its competitors say demand is growing. The smaller NSS-806, which was launched in 1998 and is expected to operate until 2016, will be redeployed elsewhere. (5/19)

Gulf Oil Slick Looks 'Very Scary' From Space, Cosmonaut Says (Source:
The dramatic flood of oil in the Gulf of Mexico is an alarming sight from space, cosmonauts and astronauts on the International Space Station said Tuesday. The huge oil slick off the Louisiana began April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by British Petroleum exploded and later sank. The devastating oil flow has caused untold damage to the environment and wildlife, and it is still leaking. It is a heartbreaking sight from space, station astronauts said. (5/18)

Editorial: Privatization in Sace Wise, to a Point (Source: Orange County Register)
Now that President Barack Obama has unveiled his plans for our stale space agency, we fear the only way is down, not up. The problem lies in this seeming paradox: A left-leaning president is pushing space privatization while opposed by conservatives in Congress fighting to protect what has become an overpriced jobs program. To his credit, Mr. Obama is entirely correct that America's future in space can only be secured by a vibrant, free-market commercial space industry liberated from annual budget scares, quadrennial presidential campaigns and congressional meddling. Such a commercial space sector can serve as an essential catalyst to create the jobs and technologies needed to drive our economy in the 21st century.

While we wholeheartedly agree with the president's privatization goals, we remain skeptical of the implementation schedule and wary of the implications for national security. While we have long been big fans of the private-sector companies working with passion in this field, we must also keep it real. At least to date, the private space sector has demonstrated very limited capability to move either cargo or crews into orbit or to dock with anything. Moreover, none is human-rated for orbital space flight while there are very difficult challenges requiring large infrastructure and access to larger investment.

In contrast, nothing more is needed to highlight the failure of our socialist space model than this current NASA conundrum: With the space shuttle schedule for its last flight this fall and nothing in hand to replace it, America will be relegated to purchasing flights from an entrepreneurial Russian Space Agency. Even the most psychedelic visitor from the 1960s heyday of NASA moon shots would see this as a very bad trip. While we wholeheartedly agree with the president's privatization goals, we remain skeptical of the implementation schedule and wary of the implications for national security. While we have long been big fans of the private-sector companies working with passion in this field, we must also keep it real. (5/18)

FAA Chief Sees NextGen "Tipping Point" on the Horizon (Source: AIA)
The NextGen roll-out is advancing faster than expected, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said Tuesday, and most of the benefits should be felt by 2016 rather than 2018, as originally planned. Babbitt noted that about 30% of aircraft are currently equipped with NextGen avionics, and a "tipping point" could come around 50%, when airlines find they must have the technology in order to compete. The FAA chief also said airlines bear much of the blame for flight delays because too many flights are scheduled for a narrow departure window. "De-peaking is the answer here," he said, adding that the FAA "is not going to sit back and simply be the scapegoat" for delays. (5/19)

'Times' Aarticle Praises Shuttle Launch, Criticizes Titusville, Cocoa Beach (Source: Florida Today)
A travel article in Sunday's The New York Times encouraged tourists to catch one of the two remaining shuttle launches from Kennedy Space Center, but discourages them from staying in Cocoa Beach or Titusville. The article is generally positive about the experience of viewing a launch, which it describes as "an unforgettable and intense experience." But it refers to Titusville as "a small, sleepy and, some might say, seedy town with a handful of not too luxurious motels and hotels that jack up their prices whenever there is a scheduled shuttle liftoff." It says Cocoa Beach "isn't a dream destination either (read: crowded, touristy and tacky) and there, too, prices are astronomical during shuttle launchings." (5/19)

Citizens for Space Exploration Invade DC (Source: SPACErePORT)
Officials from Brevard Workforce and other Space Coast organizations visited Washington DC last week as part of the annual Citizens for Space Exploration event. They joined officials and students from several other states to advocate continued Congressional support for U.S. space leadership. With heated debate ongoing about which direction our space policy should go, it's no surprise that many of the participants held divergent views. One participant told me that they stuck to a generic "support space" message in most meetings. (5/19)

Bolden Frustrated With Gridlock on Space Policy (Source: SPACErePORT)
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden expressed frustration that companies like ATK and various NASA Centers are resistant to change, and demand the preservation of programs and capabilities. He said the industry should not demand that the U.S. lead the world in every facet of space. He also said it is 'unfathomable' that U.S. industry is not trusted to do what Russia's space industry does with human spaceflight. (5/19)

FAA Suggests Prize Approach to Small Payload Delivery (Source: SPACErePORT)
The Obama administration has established a policy that encourages agencies to use prize competitions to advance the state-of-the-art in various fields. During last week's COMSTAC meeting, Dr. George Nield of the FAA suggested a couple of ideas for space transportation prizes, including a competition for the lowest cost to deliver a CubeSat to orbit using at least one reusable stage. (5/19)

Russia & US May Jointly Develop Spacecraft Engines (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia and the United States may soon reach an agreement on the joint development of new engines for spacecraft designed for exploration of deep space, a Russian deputy prime minister said. Sergei Ivanov said future exploration of outer space will require nuclear-powered engines for carrier rockets and spacecraft, and work on these costly development projects should start as soon as possible. "A decision [on Russian-U.S. cooperation in this area] may be adopted soon, probably during the upcoming visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to the United States," Ivanov told reporters in Washington. (5/18)

Experts Forecast 2010 and Future Space Law and Policy Issues (Source: NewsWise)
Varied uses of outer space present a wide-array of present-day and future legal and policy challenges - to international institutions, commercial enterprises, and the U.S. government. These issues were highlighted by experts taking part in Space Law and Policy 2010, convened May 11 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Building in Washington, D.C. This first-ever symposium was sponsored by the International Institute for Space Law-International Academy of Astronautics symposium, held in partnership with Secure World Foundation, Arianespace and the European Space Policy Institute.

Ambassador Ciro ArĂ©valo, Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) gave a keynote address: “Space is a ‘global commons’ to enhance prosperity and security,” ArĂ©valo pointed out, underscoring an argument for more effective governance of outer space. “The space arena is evolving rapidly” and there are a growing number of States seeking to develop or extend their space capabilities. He said there is a need for the establishment of standards to guarantee the long-term sustainability of space activities and strengthening international legal and policy frameworks for outer space. (5/18)

No comments: