June 28, 2010

Lawmakers Plan Bill to Force NASA to Fund Constellation Program (Source: Huntsville Times)
U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, is leading a group of lawmakers that will try to force NASA to continue funding the Constellation rocket program for the rest of the fiscal year. Aderholt will introduce a bill in the House titled the "Protecting Human Space Flight Act of 2010." It would require NASA to spend 90 percent of the remaining funds on the program in this last quarter of the fiscal year. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden would also be barred from terminating or shrinking any Constellation contract. The legislation specifically issues the spending order "notwithstanding" the federal Anti-Deficiency Act NASA cited earlier this month to stop most spending on Constellation. NASA said Constellation contractors hadn't set aside nearly $1 billion required by that Anti-Deficiency law as a shutdown contingency fund, so NASA would set the funds aside itself. (6/28)

Space Florida Announces Forum to Gather "Best Ideas" for Federal Task Force (Source: Space Florida)
The Best Ideas Forum is an open, participatory workshop to showcase projects and concepts that may help the region create new jobs and diversify its economy as the state’s aerospace sector transitions after the Shuttle program. Forum topics and presentations will be driven by participants. All concepts that are submitted will be provided to The Federal Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development for consideration. The event will be held on July 6 at the Orlando Airport Hyatt, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Click here for information. (6/28)

Russia Moves Ahead on Angara, Nuclear Rockets (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Production of Russia's new Angara rocket (Russia's answer to the US family of EELV rockets) could begin by the end of the year. Engineers expect to complete test firings of Angara’s first and second stages in the third quarter. Financial issues that had delayed construction of an Angara launch pad at Plesetsk have been resolved. An official also said Russia will start developing super-heavy LV after 2018 and consider designing of reusable space vehicles. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev tasked Keldysh R&D Center to design the megawatt nuclear propulsion system. (6/28)

Obama Reverses Bush’s Space Policy (Source: New York Times)
The Obama administration on Monday unveiled a space policy that renounces the unilateral stance of the Bush administration and instead emphasizes international cooperation, including the possibility of an arms control treaty that would limit the development of space weapons. In recent years, both China and the United States have destroyed satellites in orbit, raising fears about the start of a costly arms race that might ultimately hurt the United States because it dominates the military use of space. China smashed a satellite in January 2007, and the United States did so in February 2008.

The new space policy explicitly says that Washington will “consider proposals and concepts for arms control measures if they are equitable, effectively verifiable and enhance the national security of the United States and its allies.” The Bush administration, in the space policy it released in August 2006, said it “rejects any limitations on the fundamental right of the United States to operate in and acquire data from space,” a phrase that was interpreted as giving a green light to the development and use of antisatellite weapons. (6/28)

UCF Plans Graduate Education Fair at KSC (Source: UCF)
The University of Central Florida will be holding a Graduate Education Fair on Wednesday July 7th from 3:30-6:00 p.m. at the Center for Space Education at Kennedy Space Center for all Brevard County residents who are interested in learning more about graduate programs offered by UCF. If you would kindly forward the attached flyer with more information on to employees at your organization, I would really appreciate your assistance. Representatives will be present at the fair on July 7th to answer questions about undergraduate programs offered on our UCF Cocoa and UCF Palm Bay campuses as well. Click here for information. (6/28)

University Of Hawaii Approves Giant Telescope (Source: Huffington Post)
The University of Hawaii Board of Regents unanimously approved a plan Monday to build the world's largest telescope at Mauna Kea's summit. The decision clears the way for managers of the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope to seek a permit from the state to build the facility on conservation land. Some Native Hawaiians have opposed the telescope on the grounds it would defile Mauna Kea's summit, which they consider sacred. Environmentalists say the telescope would harm the rare wekiu bug. But the board was moved by the potential it offered for advancing science, providing jobs and helping the economy. (6/28)

White House Releases New National Space Policy (Source: Space Policy Online)
The White House released a new national space policy on Monday. Its tone is markedly different from that of the 2006 policy released by President George W. Bush, reaching out to industry and international partners. In a written press statement, the President said that "above all, this policy is about the boundless possibilities of the future...We do not fear the future; we embrace the future. Even in times of trial, we do not turn inward; we harness the ingenuity and talents of our people, we set bold goals for our nation, and we lead the world in new frontiers..." Click here to view a fact sheet on the new policy. (6/28)

NASA Plays Key Exploration Role in New Administration Space Policy (Source: NASA)
"NASA is pleased to be an integral part of President Obama's National Space Policy," said Administrator Charlie Bolden. NASA's new direction, announced as part of the fiscal year 2011 budget, is embodied in the new National Space Policy...NASA has a key role in achieving the goals defined in the new policy. We are committed to working with other agencies, industry, and international partners to achieve national goals in exploration - human and robotic - and technology development that will ensure a robust future for the U.S. and our friends around the world." (6/28)

Florida Next-Gen Suborbital Space Research Workshop Planned for July 27 (Source: FSGC)
The Florida Space Grant Consortium will sponsor a July 27 workshop focused on Next-Gen Suborbital Research Opportunities. The workshop will be held at the KSC Center for Space Education, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and running until early afternoon. Briefings by Alan Stern will describe the capabilities of the emerging fleet of suborbital vehicles. Workshop participants will individually present and discuss concepts for how Florida Space Grant institutions might exploit the opportunities presented by these vehicles, and how Florida Space Grant can move forward with other entities in the State to be at the forefront of next-generation suborbital applications. Please RSVP to jmukherj@mail.ucf.edu by July 15. (6/28)

Falcon Upper Stage & Dragon Meet Fiery End After Three Weeks in Orbit (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
After riding a flame into Earth orbit more than three weeks ago, the dormant upper stage of the first Falcon 9 rocket plunged back into the atmosphere this weekend, a fiery finale for the historic privately-developed spacecraft. The Dragon qualification unit and Falcon 9 second stage during launch preparations earlier this year. The rocket and its dummy payload entered Earth's atmosphere around 8:50 p.m. EDT Saturday, according to U.S. military tracking data. The truck-sized vehicle probably streaked back into the atmosphere and burned up over Iraq and Syria. But the uncertainty in the exact re-entry time means the rocket and Dragon capsule could have come back to Earth anywhere along its ground track for more than two orbits. Most of the 12-foot-wide rocket stage likely burned up during re-entry. (6/28)

Arianespace, Russia Expand Soyuz Agreement (Source: Flight Global)
With a new Soyuz launch site under construction at the Centre Spatial Guyanais outside Kourou, French Guiana, Arianespace and Russian space agency Roscosmos have signed a contract for 10 Soyuz launches. The additional launches and related support will run until 2016. The deal brings the total of number of Soyuz flights from the center to 24. Arianespace already has 17 Soyuz launches on the books for various customers, including five for Europe's Galileo navigational satellite system. (6/28)

Florida Ranked a National Leader in Infrastructure (#1) and Workforce Development (#2) (Source: Enterprise Florida)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation have ranked Florida a national leader in infrastructure (#1) and workforce development & training (#2). Click here for the "Enterprising States" report, and here for the Florida profile. The Florida profile describes some of the state's commercial space tax incentives. (6/28)

Pentagon Acquisition Chief, Defense Industry Leaders to Tackle Costs (Source: AIA)
Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter was set to meet with defense industry leaders on Monday to discuss the Pentagon's efforts to trim more than $100 billion in administrative costs over the next several years. The discussion is expected to address overhead costs built into many deals and question the amount of profit that is attached to certain contracts. (6/28)

Arizona's Aerospace Jobs Impact Greater Than You Might Imagine (Source: Arizona Republic)
With the United States engaged in two conflicts and with an economy struggling to get back on its feet, no other industry finds itself in such a pivotal position as the defense and aerospace industry does right now. On the economic side, a recent Arizona Chamber Foundation analysis reveals that defense and aerospace are directly responsible for more than 37,000 jobs in Arizona and represent 21 percent of total manufacturing jobs in the state. Moreover, defense and aerospace jobs are desirable ones, paying an average salary of $85,000 - more than double the average Arizona salary across all industries. (6/28)

Picking Up the Torch vs. Dropping the Ball (Source: Space Review)
Have recent achievements demonstrated that the development of space launch systems is now within the realm of individual investors? Dwayne Day criticizes a recent analysis that tried to make that case. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1655/1 to view the article. (6/28)

An Embarrassment of Riches (Source: Space Review)
It sounds like the perfect definition of "swords into plowshares": converting ICBMs into satellite launch vehicles. Wayne Eleazer discusses the controversy proposals to do so have generated in the US launch industry over the years. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1654/1 to view the article. (6/28)

An Intrepid Quest for a Shuttle in New York (Source: Space Review)
Among the sites seeking one of NASA's space shuttles upon their retirement is New York's Intrepid museum. Jeff Foust examines how the museum stacks up against the competition and whether a shuttle would be good fit in the Big Apple. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1653/1 to view the article. (6/28)

Space Leaders Support Commercial Crew to ISS and Accelerated Human Exploration Beyond (Source: Space Review)
Last week a diverse group of space industry leaders released a joint letter supporting key elements of NASA's proposed new direction. Alan Stern provides some background about the letter as well as the letter itself. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1652/1 to view the article. (6/28)

NASA and International Space Agencies Discuss Exploration Collaboration (Source: NASA)
NASA senior managers met with their counterparts representing other space agencies on June 23 to discuss globally-coordinated human and robotic space exploration. The meeting participants agreed that significant progress has been made since the joint release of The Global Exploration Strategy (GES) in May 2007. They agreed steps should be taken to coordinate a long-term space exploration vision that is sustainable and affordable.

The meeting included representatives from the Italian Space Agency, the French Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, China National Space Administration, Canadian Space Agency, German Aerospace Center, European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Korea Aerospace Research Institute, NASA, National Space Agency of Ukraine, Russian Federal Space Agency and the U.K. Space Agency. (6/28)

No Sex for Astronauts in Space (Source: Straits Times)
There is no room for romance on board the cosy confines of the International Space Station, a NASA space shuttle commander said on Monday when asked what would happen if astronauts had sex in space. 'We are a group of professionals,' said Space Shuttle Discovery Commander Alan Poindexter during a visit to Tokyo. 'We treat each other with respect and we have a great working relationship. Personal relationships are not ... an issue,' he said. The April voyage broke new ground by putting four women in orbit for the first time, with three female crew joining one woman already on the station. (6/28)

Journey Into the Unknown: Simulating a Trip to Mars (Source: The Independent)
In a large hall at the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, six astronauts have begun the first full-duration Mars simulation mission. After a brief ceremony, the hatch of their mock-up spaceship was closed on 3 June. It will not open again for 520 days – the time it takes to get to Mars and back using conventional rocket technology. It's not certain they will make it. They'll be subjected to the psychological stress of isolation, and forced to live and work with others. Their health, moods, performance and interactions will all be monitored, Big Brother-style. Few will be surprised if before the year is out some are hammering at the walls trying to get out. (6/28)

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