June 12, 2010

End NASA's Moon Mission Would Impact Tennessee Valley Jobs (Source: WHNT)
There are concerns across the Tennessee Valley over Boeing's plans to lay off about 100 people connected to NASA's moon mission. One local leader fighting to save the moon program says Boeing is moving too fast. Former Congressman Bud Camer is leading the effort to save Constellation in Huntsville. He says Boeing's announcement to lay off people comes prematurely ... after all, Congress has not yet approved the Obama Administration's plan to do away with Constellation. "Until Congress reacts, don't be so fast to because you have a work force that's being demoralized over this."

Ultimately, Congress makes the decision about whether to nix Constellation. Cramer says that could happen a few weeks from now or as late as next year. In the meantime, he's worried layoffs will continue. "Our fear is that if this is allowed to happen now, this is the beginning of several waves of this that will happen," says Cramer. (6/12)

India Not Part of Simulated 'Mars Mission' in Russia (Source: Business Standard)
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) may have lost out on an opportunity to be part of an experiment aimed at simulating a manned mission to Mars. Mars500, the first full-length simulated mission to Mars which began on June 3 in Moscow has a six-man crew. The experiment will run until November next year. The crews’ mission is to ‘fly to Mars’ in 250 days, ‘land on and explore Mars’ for a month and ‘return to Earth’ in 230 days, using their imitation interplanetary spacecraft, lander and martian surface. The hatch will remain closed until November 2011 and the crew must manage using the food and equipment stored in the facility. Only electricity, water and some air will be fed into the compartments from outside. (6/12)

Virgin Astronauts Could Boldly Go from Scottish Base (Source: Times Online)
Space tourists could be launched from an airbase in Scotland within the next five years, the head of Richard Branson’s space tourism company said yesterday. According to Will Whitehorn, the Virgin Galactic president, the UK Space Agency is already pushing for changes to legislation that would allow commercial space flights to take off from British soil. He singled out Lossiemouth, an RAF base in Scotland, as the most likely location for a future Virgin space launch. Speaking to The Times before his talk at the Cheltenham Science Festival, Mr Whitehorn said: “It’s one of the first things that the UK Space Agency is looking at. Lossiemouth would be ideal — a long runway and clear airspace is what we’d want." (6/12)

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