May 3, 2010

President Formally Establishes Task Force to Deal With Post-Shuttle Economic and Workforce Impacts (Source: SPACErePORT)
President Obama has formally created a multi-agency Task Force on Space Industry Workforce & Economic Development, with the following mission: (a) provide leadership and coordination of Federal Government resources to facilitate workforce and economic development opportunities for aerospace communities and workers affected by new developments in America's space exploration program. Such support may include the use of personnel, technical expertise, and available financial resources, and may be used to provide a coordinated Federal response;

(b) provide recommendations to the President on ways Federal policies and programs can address issues of special importance to aerospace communities and workers; and (c) help ensure that officials from throughout the executive branch, including officials on existing committees or task forces addressing technological development, research, or aerospace issues, advance the President's agenda for the transformation of America's space exploration program and support the coordination of Federal economic adjustment assistance activities. Click here to see the memorandum. (5/3)

Task Force Opens Door to Supporting Other States (Source: SPACErePORT)
The memorandum creating the new Task Force on Space Industry Workforce & Economic Development has explicit language to allow support to other states and communities dealing with the space industry's ongoing transition. The Task Force's plan (due on Aug. 15) shall: explore "future workforce and economic development activities that could be undertaken for affected aerospace communities in other States, as appropriate".

And, support from the Task Force's members: "may include the use of personnel, technical expertise, and available financial resources, and may be used to provide a coordinated Federal response to the needs of individual States, regions, municipalities, and communities adversely affected by space industry changes". (5/3)

Shuttle Extension Possible Under 'Continuing Resolution' Budget (Source: NASA Watch)
Under a Continuing Resolution with everything at FY 2010 levels, shuttle funding would be retained at a level sufficient to enable continuing operations. There is nothing anywhere in statute requiring shuttle termination (anything written in recent statutes has pushed AGAINST that termination, actually, while not actually requiring continuation). The issue would be whether the agency could "reprogram" those funds to other uses consistent with the FY 2011 request as an administrative action. That's technically "possible" but it will depend on whether the appropriators would find that acceptable. (No reason right now to think they wouldn't but the debate on these major issues is really just beginning to gather steam within the Congress, so who knows?) (5/3)

Oil Spill Stands in Route of Penultimate Shuttle Fuel Tank (Source: Spaceflight Now)
The oil slick threatening the Gulf Coast is throwing a wrench into NASA's plans to transport a new shuttle fuel tank from Louisiana to Florida this week. Usually towed by one of NASA's solid rocket booster recovery ships, the external tank barge will be pulled from port near New Orleans using commercial tugs Monday at around 9 p.m. EDT. NASA's Freedom Star vessel sailed from Kennedy Space Center to Gulfport, Miss., where it will meet the Pegasus tank barge after it leaves New Orleans. (5/3)

Declining US Space Power Requires Greater Cooperation (Source: Huffington Post)
The U.S. is still the clear dominant player in outer space -- more so than on Earth -- but it cannot unilaterally dominate for long. We should work to enhance cooperation and coordination in space while we still have the power to shape the system. The long-term goal should be to create an effective international regime that coordinates space activities, creates rules governing behavior, and punishes infractions.

In the short-term, the U.S. should seek to strengthen adherence to the voluntary Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines, which were formulated by the world's major space agencies in 2002; it should facilitate coordination and information-sharing among satellite operators; it should support transparency and confidence-building measures with regards to satellite launches; and it should work with space-faring nations to create a set of basic voluntary guidelines about acceptable behavior in space.

The era of U.S.-Soviet space dominance has ended. Governing space can no longer be accomplished through bilateral agreements between superpowers. A comprehensive space governance regime is necessary, and the Obama administration needs to start laying the foundation now. (5/3)

NASTAR Appoints Former NASA Official as Advisor for Space and Research (Source: ETC)
The National AeroSpace Training and Research (NASTAR) Center has retained Dr. Alan Stern as an advisor for space and research related business including the Suborbital Scientist Training Program, which provides researchers and educators with training to perform experiments aboard suborbital vehicles. (5/3)

New Mexico Governor and Business Leaders Visit Mojave Space Businesses (Source: XCOR)
Former Energy Secretary, UN Ambassador and current New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and a group of 160 prominent business leaders from his state visited XCOR Aerospace and the Mojave Air and Space Port in a bid to learn more about the top players in the new commercial space launch industry. Richardson and his group arrived on a chartered 737 flight and were given a whirlwind tour of XCOR that included talks by key XCOR personnel, culminating in a live rocket engine demonstration.

"XCOR is the only sub-billion dollar aerospace company currently putting important development work into pump-fed rocket engine technology," said XCOR Senior Engineer Mike Valant. "This is a key piece of technology that is essential to truly re-usable and cost-effective space travel." (5/3)

Iran to Launch Two Telecom Satellites in 2010 (Source: Xinhua)
A senior official of Iran's Ministry of Telecommunications, Mohammad Hosseinpour, said Iran will launch two telecommunication satellites in 2010. The new satellites, which are designed and produced to decrease telecom traffic between Russia and Europe, will be equipped with filming applications and data-image transmission sensors, according to Press TV.

In February, Iran successfully test-fired a satellite rocket and unveiled three new satellites and a satellite carrier. The "Kavosh 3" (Explore 3) rocket carrying an "experimental capsule" has been successfully test-fired and will transfer telemetric data, live pictures and flight and environmental analysis data. (5/3)

Cyberstates Report Shows Florida Ranks High in Space and Defense Manufacturing (Source: TechAmerica)
Nationally, the high-tech industry lost 245,600 jobs in 2009, for a total of 5.9 million workers. This recession–induced, four percent decline in tech employment is slightly lower than the five percent decline experienced by the private sector as a whole and follows four years of steady growth in tech industry employment. Florida remained the 4th ranked cyberstate employing 292,300 workers in 2008, the most current year for which state data is available. Florida also ranked second in space and defense manufacturing employment, with over 16,000 jobs. (5/3)

Russian Rocket to Launch Japanese Satellite in June (Source: Itar-Tass)
A Russian rocket will be launched from the Plesetsk spaceport in June to deliver a Japanese satellite to orbit. The Space Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System (SERVIS) satellite is being developed to assess various components and design principles for their further use in space programs. (5/3)

ISRO May Launch Climate Satellite with France (Source: PTI)
The Indian Space Research Organization is mulling launching of 'megha tropiques' satellite to study climate in collaboration with France. The satellite will provide data on atmospheric humidity, radiation budget and amount of precipitation to help in climate study. "India and France are jointly developing the scientific payloads of 'megha tropiques'," an official said. (5/3)

U.S. Space Leadership Seen At Risk (Source: Aviation Week)
A preliminary version of an upcoming report on the link between national security and U.S. commercial launch capabilities warns that U.S. leadership in space is threatened by poor coordination in setting space policy. The Center for Strategic and International Studies is seeking website comment on its report — “National Security and the Commercial Space Sector” — in the hope that several ongoing government space policy reviews will incorporate the best advice on sound commercial launch policy in their findings.

“We do not have a very sophisticated approach to industrial security and technology,” said John Hamre, president of CSIS and a former deputy U.S. defense secretary, during an event in Washington April 30. Hamre charged that export-control techniques set up to keep the Soviet Union from using valuable U.S. defense technology don’t work today, when modern communications make it much more difficult to contain industrial secrets.

“We now have the most reliable commercial launch vehicle in China, and we thought we were going to freeze them out so they could never move forward,” Hamre said. The report cautioned that U.S. space policymaking is “stovepiped,” even though it affects the defense, civil, commercial and intelligence space sectors. (5/3)

The Next Logical Step Becomes Logical (Source: Space Review)
The International Space Station, now almost completed, has had a long and tortured history. Roger Handberg examines that history and how, after nearly being discarded, the ISS is getting a chance to realize its full potential. Visit to view the article. (5/3)

Looking for a Silver Bullet (Source: Space Review)
Proponents of NASA's new exploration plan take note of the benefits of relying more on the commercial sector and on enhanced investment in technology. Daniel Handlin argues that this increased reliance may simply repeat the mistakes of the past. Visit to view the article. (5/3)

The Post-American Moon (Source: Space Review)
NASA's revised exploration plan all but ignores the Moon in favor of missions to near Earth asteroids and, later, Mars. Taylor Dinerman considers the prospects should other countries decide to devote their energies to lunar exploration, including establishing bases there. Visit to view the article. (5/3)

Bill Aims to Help Space Workers Land Teaching Jobs (Source: Florida Today)
U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Bill Posey want to take advantage of all the bright people working at the space center by putting them in classrooms across the country. Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, introduced the Space to Schools Act, which would provide a $5,000 stipend for eligible displaced aerospace workers to obtain a teaching certificate. Posey, R-Rockledge, signed on as one of 13 co-sponsors. The bill's sponsors think former space workers could energize students about STEM education, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, by giving them real-world examples. (5/3)

Musk An Inspiration for Iron Man (Source: Time)
When I (Jon Favreau) was trying to bring the character of genius billionaire Tony Stark to the big screen in Iron Man, I had no idea how to make him seem real. Robert Downey Jr. said, "We need to sit down with Elon Musk." He was right. Musk, 38, is a rocket scientist. He designed the Falcon 9 booster that may serve as NASA's next vehicle to transport cargo and humans into space. Click here to read the article. (5/3)

Bolden, Griffin Display Space Policy Differences (Source: Aviation Week)
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and his predecessor, Mike Griffin, found themselves at professional odds over the nation's future course in space when they gathered Friday night at a banquet to honor mutual colleague Bill Gerstenmaier, the 2010 recipient of the National Space Trophy. Bolden, the keynote speaker, urged space agency veterans to support President Obama's initiative to develop commercial launch systems to transport astronauts to Earth orbit.

Mike Griffin was among three people who nominated Gerstenmaier for this year's trophy. When he rose to introduce the recipient, the former administrator re-endorsed Constellation and its lunar destination. "It has become much to fashion lately to compare Constellation to Apollo, with the thought of course that we don't want to do anything that might look at all like Apollo," said Griffin.

"I wonder about that sometimes because Apollo made me pretty proud to be an American. That drive has sustained a couple of generations of space professionals. So, today we have a space policy choice confronting us. Do we want to do innovative, game-changing technologies? Or, do we want to do something that might look a little bit like Apollo?' Note from NASA Watch: "What happened to 'Apollo on Steroids', Mike?" (5/3)

White House Unveils KSC Task Force (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
President Barack Obama is expected to release a memo on Monday that will outline the members of a task force that will decide how to spend $40 million in federal funds aimed at helping Kennedy Space Center workers find new jobs after the space shuttle is retired this year. NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will co-chair the committee, with Locke taking the lead of day-to-day operations. The commission will include members from a spectrum of agencies, including Defense and Education. (5/3)

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