June 2, 2010

China Sends Beidou Navigation Satellite to Orbit (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
China launched another satellite Wednesday toward an orbit more than 22,000 miles above Earth, marking another step in building the country's own space navigation system. The Beidou satellite launched on a Long March 3C rocket from the Xichang space center. Powered by three stages and two strap-on boosters, the 180-foot-tall rocket turned east from Xichang and deployed the Beidou navigation satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. (6/2)

NASA Seeks Info on Range Upgrades (Source: Space News)
NASA is looking for ways to spend a proposed $2 billion in infrastructure investments over the next five years at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in an effort to create a new 21st century launch complex for civil, commercial and military users, according to a draft request for information issued June 2 by the agency.

KSC wants to assess potential infrastructure investments that could meet the needs of current and future launch range users with an emphasis on providers of commercial space taxi services for astronauts, as well as more-traditional users including NASA, the Air Force, international organizations, academia and other government agencies, according to the document.

In addition, NASA is seeking outside perspectives on use of existing capabilities that could benefit commercial providers of crew launch services, range safety issues raised by such services, engineering and support, the role of the government in commercial infrastructure development, management and use, and barriers to drawing business to the Florida launch range. (6/2)

Brevard Workforce Partners with Monster.com for Jobs Workshop on June 17 (Source: AWT)
Space Coast space workers are invited to a free job seeker workshop and networking event on Jun. 17 at the Radisson Resort at Port Canaveral. The event is co-sponsored by Monster.com. Pre-registration is required. Click here for information. (6/2)

NASA Kicks Off Student Summer of Innovation Program (Source: NASA)
NASA officially kicks off its Summer of Innovation initiative at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on Thursday, June 10. Through the program, NASA will engage thousands of middle school students and teachers in stimulating math and science-based education programs. NASA's goal is to increase the number of future scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, with an emphasis on broadening participation of low-income and minority students. (6/2)

$15M Grant Announced To Help NASA Workers (Source: WESH)
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis announced a $15 million grant to help workers who lose their jobs when the space shuttle is retired. Solis said the grant is part of the National Emergency Grant program for regions hit hard by economic problems. The grant will provide recruiting, screening, job referrals and career guidance for Kennedy Space Center employees who are losing their jobs as the shuttle is retired.

"The (Obama) administration and the Secretary of Labor stand strongly behind you," Solis told space workers during an announcement at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. "We want to transition people into new jobs." Solis said the grant will be in addition to a $40 million effort proposed by President Barack Obama to stimulate economic growth in Central Florida. (6/2)

New Virginia Spaceport Operations Director Named (Source: DelMarVaNow.com)
Retired U.S. Navy Cdr. Zigmond Leszczynski has been appointed director of operations for the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority. The authority owns and operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport located at NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Billie M. Reed, executive director of the VCSFA, made the announcement at the authority's Board of Directors meeting. Leszczynski is a Certified Navy Space Cadre Expert with Space Systems Engineering, Space Systems Operations and Space Requirement Analyst. (6/2)

Posey's Statement on Grant for Space Workers (Source: SpaceRef.com)
U.S. Representative Bill Posey said he hopes the $15 million grant for space workforce assistance "will help some displaced workers, a series of ill-advised decisions by this Administration make the workforce needs all the more dire...Those poor decisions include: a failure to extend the life the space shuttle, a decision to terminate the Constellation program without a real plan for future human space exploration and the Administration's decision to pay the Russians over $1 billion to launch our Astronauts and cargo to the Space Station."

He also pointed out that "the Congressionally-mandated Space Shuttle Workforce Transition Strategy is nearly two years overdue... None of this would have been necessary if the President had kept his August 2008 promise to the people of the Space Coast - that he would close the gap between Shuttle and Constellation and keep America first in space." (6/2)

Parker Griffith Can Lose After All (Source: Space Politics)
Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL), a congressman whose district includes NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, decisively lost the Republican primary Tuesday to Mo Brooks. With most of the votes tallied, Brooks had 51 percent, enough to avoid a runoff next with Griffith, who was in second. Griffith was elected in 2008 as a Democrat, succeeding the retiring Bud Cramer, but last December switched parties, citing a lack of perceived support from his former Democratic colleagues on defense and space issues.

The switch caused Griffith to lose his original committee assignments, including the House Science and Technology Committee (although he has put in a few “guest” appearances at those hearings, such as last week’s hearing on NASA’s human spaceflight plans.) Many local Republicans, including Brooks, were critical of Griffith’s party switch and a perceived lack of effectiveness.

In April, Brooks said that Griffith’s “inability to work with members of Congress is a major factor in our potential loss of the (NASA) Constellation program”. Brooks said in that interview that he was opposed to the White House’s plan for NASA even though it may result in additional business for the United Launch Alliance factory in the district, citing concerns about having the private sector being in charge of unspecified “national security information”. (6/2)

Thales Lands Iridium Next Contract (Source: Space News)
Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications on June 2 announced it has selected Thales Alenia Space of France (beating Lockheed Martin) to build Iridium’s second-generation constellation of low-orbiting voice and data communications satellites in a $2.1 billion contract that still needs final validation by France’s export-credit agency, Coface.

Coface approval is expected to take several months. To enable work on satellites to start immediately, Iridium and Thales Alenia Space have signed a $53 million authorization to proceed, which is expected to cover three months’ work at the France-based manufacturer. Because some of the Iridium satellite technology is expected to be prohibited from export to France, Iridium had structured its competition so that, whichever company was selected, the final integration and testing of the Iridium satellites would be performed in the United States. (6/2)

Dissecting the Poll (Source: Space Politics)
Daily Kos published the results of a brief poll of space exploration policy commissioned by the progressive web site and performed by polling firm Research 2000. The breakdowns are particularly interesting. Republicans were far more likely to think that the US spends too much on its space program (56%) than independents (48%) or Democrats (38%). Republicans also more frequently believed the private sector should take the lead on space exploration: 55%, versus 29% of independents and 17% of Democrats.

While the aggregate results are a little confusing (people think we spend too much on the space program but want the government to be in control of space exploration?) the breakdowns by party are more predictable: more conservative Republicans think we’re spending too much but want to turn things over to the private sector, while more liberal Democrats are less willing to cut spending but also keep things in government hands.

Regarding the private sector's role in space, the poll posits an all-or-nothing scenario that isn’t reasonable: there’s no real move to hand all of space exploration to the private sector. A better question, perhaps, would be to ask if people if they believe the private sector should take a greater role, or, more specifically, if they believe the private sector should take on the responsibility of transporting NASA astronauts to orbit. (6/2)

Russian 'Rockot' Launches Japanese Satellite (Source: Eurockot)
We announce the successful launch of the SERVIS-2 satellite from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia using a ROCKOT launch vehicle. The spacecraft was injected into a sun-synchronous orbit of 1200 km altitude. The SERVIS-2 mission is the successor to SERVIS-1 also successfully launched on a Rockot in October 2003 by Eurockot for its Japanese customer. (6/2)

Russian Soyuz Spacecraft Lands Safely with Station Crew (Source: Space.com)
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft landed safely in Kazakhstan late Tuesday to return a cosmonaut and two astronauts back home from the International Space Station after nearly six months in space. The Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft touched down on the central steppes of Kazakhstan in Central Asia with Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov and two crewmates – one each from the United States and Japan – onboard. (6/2)

Cosmonaut: Russia Needs Long-Term Space Strategy to Remain Cosmic Superpower (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia needs a long-term space strategy, otherwise it may lose its leadership in the space exploration sphere, Russian cosmonaut and former politician Yury Baturin has said. "Unfortunately, Russia has no long-term space strategy. For some 15 or maybe 20 more years Russia will remain a space superpower, but after this period, Russia will become a second-league space power if a long-term space strategy is not adopted," Baturin said during a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. (6/2)

SpaceX Gears Up for Crucial Rocket Launch (Source: MSNBC)
California-based SpaceX has laid out a Friday timetable for the first test launch of its Falcon 9 rocket — and the first big test of President Barack Obama's plan for human spaceflight. The company said Friday's launch window will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. EDT at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport. (6/2)

Funding Restored for Challenger Center Hawaii (Source: Challenger Center)
Last week, at a news conference held at the Barbers Point Elementary School, Hawai` Lt. Governor Aiona announced that the state of Hawaii has obtained $250,000 in federal funding for Challenger Center Hawaii. Challenger Center Hawaii had originally lost its funding as the result of budget cuts by the Board of Education. Challenger Center Hawaii is located on the Barbers Point Elementary School campus in Kapolei and has been in operation since April 1993. (6/1)

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