June 19, 2010

NASA Would Provide Funds for Other Area Employment Efforts (Source: Space Politics)
The proposed amendment to NASA's budget includes $30 million that will go to the Commerce Department for regional economic growth on the Space Coast and $10 million that will go to the Labor Department for job training in that region. The amendment also includes an additional $45 million that will go to Commerce for regional economic growth “in other areas affected by job losses associated with programmatic changes in this account” and $15 million more to Labor for job training in those other areas.

All the money—-$100 million total-—would come out of the Exploration portion of the budget, although the document doesn’t specify what specific areas of Exploration would lose money to fund these initiatives (the original $40 million was to come from Constellation closeout costs.) Despite effectively getting its budget cut by $100 million, NASA put a positive spin on the amendment: a spokesman said the money was “essential” to helping the workforce and regions most affected by the agency’s changes. (6/19)

LA Pleading for Missile Warning Satellites To Track Wildfires (Source: Space News)
Los Angeles County is seeking to add a new tool to its arsenal of firefighting weapons: satellites. Before California’s next fire season, county officials hope to gain access to infrared data gathered by U.S. Air Force missile warning satellites to assist them in detecting wildfires. On June 16, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors sent letters to senators and representatives in Los Angeles’ congressional delegation asking for help in establishing a program. A recent county report on automated, fire-detection systems found that U.S. Air Force Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites would be particularly useful in spotting fires. (6/19)

VC Funding One Void In Commercial Space (Source: Investors Business Daily)
For many investors, the reality of commercial space tourism's potential is grounded in its challenges. True, some wealthy entrepreneurs such as Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Virgin brand founder Richard Branson and Pay-Pal co-founder Elon Musk have poured millions into the emerging field. But venture capitalists who have fueled so many industries have stayed off the launch pad.

The problem is that VC funds aim to show profitable returns in a relatively short time. It's not clear enough people will get aboard to make the business profitable, says Paul Guthrie, an analyst at research firm Tauri Group. "Consumer demand hasn't been established in any public documents, from an investor's point of view," Guthrie said. "There's some demand (for space travel), but some question if it can sustain the cost of the hardware." (6/19)

Seattle Museum Could House Space Shuttle (Source: Daily Journal of Commerce)
Seattle's Museum of Flight will break ground next week on a glass building that could permanently house one of the space shuttles. Even though there's no guarantee Seattle will get a shuttle, the museum must have the building done by July 2011 to be considered, said Bonnie Dunbar, a veteran of five shuttle flights and president and CEO of the museum next to Boeing Field.

The estimated cost of the building, called the Space Gallery, is approximately $12 million, according to museum Marketing Director Mike Bush. The museum is proceeding with the project because securing a shuttle would help it achieve its mission to be the world's foremost educational air and space museum. (6/18)

NASA Worried About al-Qaeda Attack on Shuttle (Source: Washington Post)
NASA officials worried that al-Qaeda might attempt to attack the space shuttle Columbia on its launch pad in 2003 because there was an Israeli astronaut aboard, according to a new book by a former CIA operations officer. Their concern was shared by national security officials in the Bush White House, Richard G. Irwin writes in “KH601,” his memoir of 28 years of CIA service. (6/18)

Completed SD HLV Assessment Highlights Low-Cost Post-Shuttle Solution (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
The Shuttle Derived Heavy-Lift Launch Vehicle (SD HLV) Assessment has been completed, the result of applying years of historical expertise from members of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP) and others into a follow-on vehicle. The focused effort over 15 months to create a post-shuttle masterplan has fostered HLV options that could be completed to a Block II Full Operational Capability for around $7.8 billion. Click here to read the article. (6/19)

Lockheed: With Less NASA Oversight, Orion Lifeboat Could Cost $4.5 Billion (Source: Space News)
Lockheed Martin could deliver an Orion-based crew rescue vehicle for the space station for as little as $4.5 billion if NASA relaxes some of the oversight it normally exercises on manned spaceflight contracts, according to the company’s top executive. Click here to read the article. (6/19)

Huntsville: Laid-off Constellation Workers "Ideal Candidates" for Incoming BRAC Jobs (Source: Huntsville Times)
The chairman of the Tennessee Valley BRAC Committee said Friday that laid-off NASA Constellation workers will have a "really good" chance of finding jobs in the growing defense industry here. "There are plenty of positions open," Joe Ritch said. "Those people are ideal candidates." Ritch spoke as 21 local NASA contractors continued Friday to calculate how their payrolls will look after new cuts in Constellation spending. (6/19)

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