June 25, 2010

New U.S. Space Policy To Emphasize Cooperation (Source: Space News)
The White House is expected to unveil a new U.S. space policy June 28 that emphasizes international cooperation and commercial space. “This policy seeks to strengthen our domestic commercial space industry and reestablish U.S. leadership in the international community,” states a one-page summary of the policy. The June 25 document — “National Space Policy Top-Level Messages” — was created by Peter Marquez, director of space policy for the White House National Security Council. “The United States,” the document says, “considers the sustainability, stability, and free access to, and use of, space vital to its national interests.

“It is the shared interest of all nations to act responsibly in ways that emphasize openness and transparency, and help prevent mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust.” The document also says, “A robust and competitive commercial space sector is vital to continued progress in space. “The United States is committed to encouraging and facilitating the growth of a U.S. commercial space sector that supports U.S. needs, is globally competitive, and advances U.S. leadership in the generation of new markets and innovative entrepreneurship.” Click here to read the article. (6/25)

NASA Awards Space Station Mission Integration Contract (Source: NASA)
NASA has awarded a contract with a maximum value of $273 million to Barrios Technology, Ltd., of Houston for International Space Station mission integration services support. Barrios Technology will provide support for engineering and technical services required to support the International Space Station Program. This includes products and services for space station mission planning; integration and operations; international partner integration; and Russian language and logistics services. (6/25)

Advocates Encouraged to Vote for California Space Center Funding (Source: WashingtonWatch.com)
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) is supporting a $2 million funding request for a new California Space Center near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Local advocates are encouraged to visit http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/history/ED_49129.html to register their support for the proposed appropriation. (6/25)

NSBRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Soliciting Applications (Source: NSBRI)
The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) is soliciting applications for its Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Two-year fellowships are available in any U.S. laboratory carrying out space-related biomedical or biotechnological research that supports the NSBRI’s goals. NSBRI research addresses and seeks solutions to the various health concerns associated with long-duration human space exploration. Detailed program and application submission information is available on the NSBRI Web site at www.nsbri.org/Announcements/rfa10-01.html. (6/25)

Lockheed Martin Trident II D5 Missile Achieves New Record of 134 Successful Flight Tests in a Row (Source: LMCO)
The U.S. Navy conducted successful test flights June 8 and 9 of four Trident II D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles (FBMs) built by Lockheed Martin. The Navy launched the unarmed missiles from the submerged submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738) in the Atlantic Ocean. Click here for details. (6/25)

United Launch Alliance Joins the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (Source: CSF)
The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce that United Launch Alliance has joined the Federation as an Executive Member. ULA operates the Atlas V, Delta II, and Delta IV launch vehicles. ULA is a funded participant in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development Program. So joining the Commercial Spaceflight Federation is a natural fit for us, and we are proud to do so.” (6/25)

NASA Radar Images Show How Mexico Quake Deformed Earth (Source: NASA)
NASA has released the first-ever airborne radar images of the deformation in Earth's surface caused by a major earthquake -- the magnitude 7.2 temblor that rocked Mexico's state of Baja California and parts of the American Southwest on April 4. Click here to view the article. (6/25)

California Space Center Receives Environmental Clearance (Source: CSA)
The California Space Authority (CSA) has received a Finding of No Significant Impact and Finding of No Practicable Alternative (FONSI/FONPA) for the California Space Center. This document is the formal completion of a two-year National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Its completion is a significant milestone toward development of the multi-faceted facility, which is devoted to the inspiration of students to study science, technology, education and math as well as to educate the public about space enterprise in California. Click here for information. (6/25)

Development Begins at New KSC-Based "Exploration Park" (Source: SPACErePORT)
Officials from Space Florida, NASA KSC, and Pizzuti Co. broke ground on Friday for the construction of roadway and utility infrastructure at KSC-based "Exploration Park". With over $7 million from state and county governments, workers will now begin building an access road that will connect the state-developed Space Life Sciences Lab to a nearby "Space Commerce Way" state-funded road. This will allow the SLS Lab to become part of Exploration Park, outside of KSC's security fenceline.

The developers announced a commitment to develop a "spec" building at the park, to be completed in early 2012. They also said they are in negotiations with multiple potential tenants who would like to build other facilities as part of the park's "phase-one", and they expect multiple universities to have a presence there. Companies like Lockheed Martin, NASTAR Center, and XCOR Aerospace were present at the groundbreaking event. (6/25)

Purdue Space Program to Continue, Despite Shuttle Retirement (Source: AIA)
Students have traditionally been attracted to join the elite group of 22 astronauts educated at Purdue University along with the thousands of other engineers who have worked on shuttle missions. But with the government's decision to retire the shuttle program, there could be no jobs in the U.S. along those lines. Purdue says it will nevertheless continue its current space-based curriculum, which has about 600 students. (6/25)

Job Fair Targets Former KSC Workers (Source: CFL-13)
Thousands of space industry workers in Brevard County are worried about their future. But a job fair targeting those that have already been laid off in the space industry gives some hope. Organizers said they didn't know how many people to expect out for Friday’s job fair. They said they had a good turn out Thursday, which was the first day of the space industry job fair. They estimated somewhere between 2,500 to 3,000 people attended the job fair held on site at the Kennedy Space Center.

Friday’s job fair was for current or displaced KSC employees. There were about 41 booths set up, and of those, about 18 are based locally. Organizers said they are planning another job fair for workers in the space industry sometime in the fall, when more layoffs are expected. (6/25)

Kennedy Space Center Job Fair Attracts Thousands (Source: Florida Today)
Hundreds of soon-to-be-unemployed space workers packed into a job fair at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday as they try to prepare for the end of the shuttle program that threatens to idle more than half of the 15,000 workers at the center. "I'm prepared for the worst case," Gary Whitmore, 53, a United Space Alliance safety engineer from Port St. John, said. The worst case would losing his job after 27½ years working in the shuttle program and being forced to leave Brevard County to find work. An uneasy acceptance has settled over the work force, he said.

"They kind of know the end is coming," Whitmore said. "It's something you have no control over, so you accept it." Whitmore was among an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 aerospace workers to show up for the job fair that included 60 government and private employers eager to court the highly trained aerospace workers. The shuttle program's end is no surprise, but Whitmore has procrastinated in preparing for it. "We've had over six years to get ready for it," he said. "I just drew up my resume the other day." (6/25)

California Space Center Expands its Hours (Source: Downey Patriot)
The Columbia Memorial Space Center will expand its hours of operation beginning July 6. The space center will now be open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission prices will remain the same at $5 per person, groups of 10 or more are $3 per person, and children 3 and younger are free. The goal of the space center is to teach young people about careers in space exploration and aviation, focusing on engineering, technology and space. (6/25)

UF Astronomers Pioneer New Planet-Observing Technique (Source: UF)
Using the world’s largest optical telescope, a team of University of Florida astronomers has pioneered a new method of observing planets outside our solar system. The method suggests that large Earth-based telescopes could play a leading role in rapidly accelerating research on “extrasolar” planets.

The results obtained from the Gran Telescopio Canarias, a telescope in Spain’s Canary Islands partially owned by the University of Florida, are of such high precision that the astronomers are already planning to use the technique to learn more about “super-Earth-sized” planets – larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune – that have already been identified by space-based observatories. (6/25)

India Joins Thirty Meter Telescope Project (Source: TMT)
The Minister of Science and Technology of India, Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, announced the decision of India to join the Thirty Meter Telescope Project (TMT) as an Observer. TMT is the next-generation astronomical observatory that is scheduled to begin scientific operations in 2018 on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Observer status is the first step in becoming a full partner in TMT and participating in the engineering development and scientific use of what will be the world’s most advanced and capable astronomical observatory. (6/25)

New Problem Delays Ariane Rocket Launch (Source: Reuters)
A technical problem Thursday delayed for the second day running the scheduled launch of an Ariane rocket carrying two satellites, the Arianespace company said. "We once again had a no-go linked to a problem of the pressurization of the lower stage of the launch vehicle," Jean-Yves Le Gall, Arianespace president said. "So the countdown has been halted and we will investigate and understand what happened." (6/25)

Satellite Firm Cuts Hamas TV Broadcasts to Europe (Source: AFP)
A Gaza-based television station, accused of inciting hatred of Jews and Israel, has had its broadcasts to Europe shut off, Eutelsat said. Paris-based Eutelsat said its client Noorsat, the operator which handles the broadcasting of Al-Aqsa TV to parts of Europe and throughout the Middle East, cut the satellite signal on Thursday.

Reacting to the move, Al-Aqsa director Hazem al-Charawi said: "The legal battle has just started and we are determined to pursue it." He told a news conference in Gaza City late on Thursday that the shutdown of its broadcasts to Europe amounted to "another layer of the Gaza blockade imposed by the Zionist lobby with France's help." Charawi also pledged to expand broadcasts in Latin America by striking deals with Arab satellites that beam to that part of the world "in order to make the (Israeli) occupier and his crimes known" to the world. (6/25)

Climate Change is Leaving Us with Extra Space Junk (Source: New Scientist)
Rising sea levels, vanishing glaciers and earlier blooming of flowers are among the well-documented effects of climate change. An increase in space junk can now be added to that list. The upper layers of the atmosphere have a braking effect on defunct satellites and spent rockets, eventually causing them to drop out of orbit and burn up. Researchers at the University of Southampton studied the orbits of 30 satellites over the past 40 years, and recorded a gradual increase in the time they remain in orbit. They attribute this to the cooling and reduced density of the upper atmosphere caused by increasing carbon dioxide levels.

The researchers calculate that the atmosphere is reducing in density by 5 percent every decade at an altitude of 300 kilometers. "The lower molecular braking means debris can remain in orbit up to 25 percent longer." This raises the risk of collisions with satellites and makes it more hazardous to launch spacecraft. Space agencies may need to double the amount of debris they plan to remove from orbit, the researchers say. (6/25)

New Israeli Recon Sat Targets Iran (Source: Aviation Week)
Israel’s newest reconnaissance satellite is seen as boosting the country’s intelligence capabilities against Iran. With the observation satellite Ofeq-9 placed in low Earth orbit June 22, Israel now has six operational remote sensing satellites in space: the Ofeq-5 and 7 military observation satellites; ImageSat’s commercial/military EROS-A and EROS-B1, and Israel Aerospace Industries’ (AIA) TechSAR day/night all-weather synthetic aperture radar satellite, now designated Ofeq-8.

“From now on, no country in the region will be able to conduct clandestine activities at times when there is no Israeli satellite above it, since there will be no such times,” said Yitzhak Ben-Israel, chairman of the Israeli Space Agency. (6/25)

Russians Deny Fault in South Korean Launch Failure (Source: Flight Global)
The cause of the 10 June explosion that ended South Korea's second attempt to launch a satellite has yet to be determined - but the failure was not caused by the Russian-built first stage of the rocket, says the Russian Federal Space Agency. "The commission investigating causes of the accident continues its work and has several versions. But I am almost positive that the breakdown of the KSLV-1 rocket-carrier was not caused by Russia's first stage," says Vitaly Davydov, deputy chief of the Russian space agency. (6/25)

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