June 1, 2010

Former Colorado Governor Had Missing Moon Rock (Source: AP)
A missing moon rock awarded to Colorado in 1974 has turned up in an ex-governor's house. The lunar souvenir was given to former Gov. John Vanderhoof by the Nixon administration, which awarded bits of moon rubble to all 50 states and more than 130 foreign countries. Vanderhoof is now 88 and living in Grand Junction. He has kept the rock on a plaque in his house and didn't think much of it until college students started looking for the moon rocks. On Tuesday a Denver television station called to ask if he had Colorado's. Vanderhoof joked that he had offered the rock to museums, but no one was interested. Its estimated value is $5 million. (6/1)

Labor secretary Plans "Major" Announcement on Shuttle Workforce (Source: Florida Today)
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis plans a "major announcement" related to helping the shuttle workforce during a Wednesday morning visit to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and local dignitaries are expected to attend the press event. According to a Department of Labor press release, Solis will "make a major announcement to assist NASA workers who will be dislocated as a result of the impending retirement of the Space Shuttle Program." (6/1)

Telesat Selects Loral To Build Anik G1 Satellite (Source: Space News)
Telesat Canada’s Anik G1 telecommunications satellite will be built by Loral and launched in late 2012 aboard an International Launch Services (ILS) Proton-M rocket to provide direct-broadcast television to Canada, a broad suite of telecommunications services to Latin America and — in a first for Telesat — X-band capacity in anticipation of government demand. (6/1)

Florida Among States Vying to Host New Air Force Jets (Source: AP)
Air Force officials at 11 bases in seven states are being joined by civilian leaders to persuade the Pentagon to choose their bases to house the new F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter jet. Some face strong opposition in their own communities, however, as the jets, which may be twice as loud at takeoff and four times as loud on landing as an F-15C Eagle, threaten to diminish home property values near bases and compromise residents' quality of life.

Five sites are training-mission candidates, where American and foreign pilots from U.S. allies that buy the planes would come to learn their way around the cockpits: Florida's Eglin Air Force Base is competing with bases in Arizona and New Mexico. Operational squadrons are slated for another six bases, including Jacksonville Air Guard Station and bases in Vermont, Utah, and South Carolina. (6/1)

AIA Supports 2020 Deadline for NextGen Equipage (Source: AIA)
The Aerospace Industries Association has applauded last week's FAA announcement that most aircraft must be equipped with NextGen avionics by 2020. The new system "represents a quantum leap forward over the current radar-based air traffic control system, and when the Next Generation Air Transportation System is fully operational, it will bring enormous economic and environmental benefits to the nation," said AIA President Marion Blakey. As "required airborne infrastructure," Blakey said the federal government should find ways to help fund the mandate for commercial and general aviation operators. (6/1)

Moon Rocks Given to Colorado Have Vanished (Source: Denver Post)
A set of moon rocks presented to Colorado's governor in 1974 — and valued at $5 million on the black market — seems to be lost. Few knew the rocks even existed until an amateur sleuth started nosing around a few months ago. "I had no idea we had a second set of moon rocks," said Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, who tracked down the first set of "lost" moon rocks about 10 years ago, stashed in storage at the Colorado History Museum. Those rocks, collected in 1969, are now displayed on the third floor of the state Capitol.

"No one else had ever heard of a second set of rocks," Weissmann said. Nationwide, about half of the Apollo moon rocks presented by President Richard Nixon to 50 states and about 160 countries can't be located. Clues are few. Still, there's always the random success. The plaque, with its golf-ball-sized sphere enclosing bits of the moon, was presented to Gov. John Vanderhoof by astronaut Jack Lousma on Jan. 9, 1974. The Colorado History Museum doesn't have the rocks, nor does the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. (6/1)

China May Become Space Station Partner (Source: Xinhua)
The European Space Agency (ESA) supports China's inclusion in the International Space Station (ISS) partnership, the agency's director -general Jean-Jacques Dordain said. Dordain said international cooperation on space exploration has been progressing slowly. To achieve more, the partnership needs to be expanded, he said. "I am really willing to support the extension of the partnership of the ISS to China and South Korea. Obviously, this should be a decision by all partners, not the decision by one partner," he said. (6/1)

China to Launch Fourth Orbiter for Global Satellite Navigation Network (Source: Xinhua)
China is to launch its fourth orbiter into space as a part of its indigenous satellite navigation and positioning network known as Beidou, or Compass system. An official said the satellite would be launched on the Long March 3III carrier rocket "in a few days." If launched successfully, the orbiter will join another three satellites in orbit to form a network that will eventually total 35 satellites. (6/1)

Editorial: Shuttle Belongs at KSC (Source: Florida Today)
Shuttle Atlantis is safely back after its bittersweet mission to the International Space Station. It was the orbiter’s last planned flight, leaving just two more before the fleet’s demise. Where Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour will be displayed in museums remains to be seen, but as the program’s end rapidly approaches, this is obvious: One should stay at its Kennedy Space Center home, joining other rockets that form a historic testament to a half-century of space exploration.

However, that no-brainer is no sure thing. The competition is tough with at least 21 institutions — including the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Johnson Space Center in Houston and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio — vying for a shuttle. (6/1)

Do Fewer Sunspots Mean More Hurricanes? (Source: Florida Today)
The calmest sun in a century may rustle up more hurricanes, as the season officially begins. Research by Robert Hodges and Jim Elsner of Florida State University found the probability of three or more hurricanes hitting the United States goes up drastically during low points of the 11-year sunspot cycle , such as we're in now. Our star is just beginning to eke out of the lowest period for sunspots in a century. Years with few sunspots and above-normal ocean temperatures spawn a less stable atmosphere and, consequently, more hurricanes, according to the researchers. (6/1)

NASA Continues Planning for Contingency Launch-On-Need Mission (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
As NASA continues its internal review of the pending launch dates for the final two Space Shuttle missions in history, preparations are also continuing in earnest for the mission that everyone hopes will never be needed: the STS-335 (Atlantis) flight to rescue the STS-134 crew in the event that Endeavour becomes disabled during the program’s final flight. As with STS-133 (Discovery) and STS-134 (Endeavour), the specific launch date for STS-335 is currently “Under Review” pending resolution of Discovery’s and Endeavour’s launch dates. (6/1)

Moon and Mars Advocates Team Up (Source: Space Politics)
Paul Spudis is an advocate for an immediate return to the Moon. Bob Zubrin, by comparison, sees the Moon as something of an unnecessary detour to the real goal, Mars. However, they both agree on something: their opposition to the White House’s plan for NASA. In an op-ed in Tuesday’s Washington Times, they note that while “we are known for holding different opinions on the order and importance of specific objectives in space, we are united in our concern over this move to turn away from the Vision for Space Exploration.”

Specifically, they’re concerned over plans to abandon Constellation and focus on commercial crew and technology development, which they believe threatens the agency’s existing spaceflight infrastructure. “By adopting the new program, we will lose – probably irretrievably – this space-faring infrastructure and, most certainly, our highly trained, motivated and experienced work force,” they claim. “It will be prohibitively expensive and difficult to restart our manned program after five to 10 years of agency navel-gazing, effectively signaling the end of America’s manned space program and our leadership in space.” (6/1)

Space Program End Forces Space Coast Hotel Closure (Source: WESH)
With the end of the space shuttle program just around the corner, Brevard County businesses are already suffering. A local hotel known for its great shuttle launch view has shut its doors, leaving 25 people without a job. The Clarion Inn in Titusville overlooks the Indian River Lagoon and Kennedy Space Center. People have watched launches there as far back as Apollo. The hotel managers said with only two more shuttle missions left, they fear business will only get worse, so the hotel was sold for conversion into a church retreat.

At Steve’s Family Diner down the street from the hotel, the manager said the hotel’s closing will have a ripple effect. “As you can see, one-by-one all the businesses will start closing,” restaurant manager John Houvardas said. The Clarion Inn isn’t the only hotel that has been shuttered, and it’s not the only business on U.S. Highway 1 that has been put up for sale. (6/1)

Brick by Brick: a Lego Spaceflight Paradigm (Source: Space Review)
What is the best way to develop a sustainable, flexible space exploration architecture? Simon Vanden Bussche describes how the space industry can take a lesson from Lego. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1638/1 to view the article. (6/1)

Rockets and Rhetoric in Chicago (Source: Space Review)
Government officials, industry executives, and space activists all traveled to Chicago last weekend for the International Space Development Conference. Jeff Foust reports on two key themes of the conference: NewSpace developments and NASA debates.
http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1637/1 to view the article. (6/1)

What Will You Say if SpaceX's Test Rocket Fails? (Source: Space Review)
The upcoming inaugural launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket comes as the company has become the focus of attention about NASA's plans to rely more on the commercial sector. Alan Stern notes that while immediate success is not assured, a launch failure may only be a temporary setback. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1636/1 to view the article. (6/1)

Mars as the Key to NASA's Future (Source: Space Review)
The American space industry is facing an uncertain and potentially troubled future. James McLane argues that the best way to reinvigorate it, and the nation, is to sprint to Mars. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1635/1 to view the article. (6/1)

Poll Finds Weak Support for Space Spending, Misrepresents Commercial Role (Source: SPACErePORT)
A Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll on space spending and private sector involvement in exploration reveals that most respondents believe the U.S. is spending too much on space (47%), compared to only 27% who believe the right amount is being spent, and 12% who believe more should be spent. The poll also asked if the government should "leave such space exploration to the private sector?" 56% favored government and 32% favored the private sector. Given the fact that the private sector's proposed role is not geared toward exploration, but rather toward ferrying crews to Low Earth Orbit, this poll question is both misleading and damaging to the ongoing space policy debate. See the poll numbers here. (6/1)

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