June 8, 2010

OMB Memorandum: Identifying Low-Priority Agency Programs (Source: NASA Watch)
"Your agency is required to identify the programs and subprograms that have the lowest impact on your agency's mission and constitute at least five percent of your agency's discretionary budget. This information should be included with your FY 2012 budget submission, but is a separate exercise from the budget reductions necessary to meet the target for your agency's FY 2012 discretionary budget request." (6/8)

Four Companies to Watch in the Brave New Commercial Space Era (Source: Fast Company)
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch on Friday did something much bigger than popping a dummy payload into space: it lit a fuse beneath the next era of space exploration, with commercial efforts alongside government ones. The hope is that by investing billions of dollars in companies that fall outside the traditional aerospace/defense and space business circle, innovative strategies may be created to dramatically reduce the cost of getting to space, as well as relieving some of the tax dollar burden the government faces with the successful, but giant, NASA. Click here to read the article. (6/8)

NASA Langley to Break Ground on Hydro Impact Basin (Source: Space Daily)
What goes up must come down, and it will be NASA Langley Research Center's job to make sure that when astronauts return from space, they land safely. On June 8, NASA Langley will break ground on a $1.7 million Hydro Impact Basin that will serve to validate and certify that future space vehicles, such as NASA's Orion crew module, are designed for safe water landings.

The water basin will be 115 feet (35 m) long, 90 feet (27.4 m) wide and 20 feet (6.1 m) deep and will be built at the west end of Langley's historic Landing and Impact Research Facility, also known as the Gantry, where Neil Armstrong trained for walking on the moon. Construction will begin mid-June and will be completed by December 2010. (6/8)

Obama Keeps Posey Out of Loop on Space (Source: Florida Today)
A familiar and important figure was missing from Friday's town hall meeting on the Space Coast workforce, hosted by NASA administrator Charles Bolden and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. Invited participants at the Orlando Airport included U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, and Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, along with the president of Space Florida and Brevard's two Republican state senators. Missing from the lineup: U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge.

The congressman from District 15 thought he had been included on a list of suggested attendees submitted by Space Florida. But interviews with staffers for Posey and the Commerce Department on Monday pointed to another possible reason: A gaffe by legislative-affairs workers at Commerce, who seldom work on space issues and simply checked to see who represents Kennedy Space Center (Kosmas, not Posey).

"We were on the phone with the people at Commerce, and they said, 'You have nothing to do with this issue,' " Posey spokesman George Cecala told me. Regardless of motive, it was the administration's latest snub of Posey on space issues. Has the White House given Posey the cold shoulder? Or, has Posey received the treatment expected of a freshman congressman in the minority party who serves on one committee and does not yet command Cabinet members' attention? (6/8)

Launch Dates for Last Two Shuttle Missions Likely to Push Back (Source: Florida Today)
Launch dates for the remaining two scheduled shuttle missions are likely to slip, with one possibly moving into next year, Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana said. The Discovery flight to the Space Station, now slated to lift off on Sept. 16, may push back until October. And the following flight, tentatively set for November, could move into next year. As for an additional mission being added, that's still undecided. NASA officials have said it could cost between $600 million to $800 million to add one more mission. (6/8)

Despite BP Oil Spill, Five Game Changers that will Boost Florida's Economy (Source: St. Petersburg Times)
Weep as we may over the devastating BP oil spill and this long recession, there are still reasons to celebrate the state economy. Here are five genuine game changers that mean big boosts for the Florida business world. 1. Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 2. Next-generation NASA. 3. Wind and solar innovation. 4. Legoland Florida. 5. Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Click here to read the article. (6/8)

Industry Mixed Over FAA Mandate on ADS-B (Source: AIA)
The airline industry has had a mixed reaction to a new FAA rule that requires all aircraft flying in Class A, B and C airspace above 10,000 feet to be equipped with the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast system by 2020. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association argued that the new equipment will only duplicate what currently exists and will come at a high cost to general aviation aircraft owners, and others say the only real beneficiary will be the FAA. (6/8)

FAA Unveils New $10M Lab Focusing on Air Traffic Control Research (Source: AIA)
The FAA unveiled a new $10 million lab in New Jersey this week that will focus on updating air travel to make flying more efficient and safer. The NextGen Integration and Evaluation Capability lab takes its name from the Next Generation Air Transportation System and focuses on the innovation of software systems and technological innovations for air traffic control research.

Editor's Note: Embry-Riddle operates a similar NextGen Testbed facility near its campus at Daytona Beach International Airport. (6/8)

Senate Committee Proposal Could Slash DARPA Budget (Source: AIA)
The Senate Armed Services Committee has recommended slashing the proposed 2011 budget for a Pentagon research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, by $143.4 million, leaving the agency charged with investigating far-reaching science and technology ideas with just $3 billion a year. The agency is charged with translating its research into concrete advantages for troops at war, but the director of Defense Research and Engineering, to whom DARPA is supposed to report, has had little impact on the agency. (6/8)

XCOR Aerospace and United Launch Alliance Test Hydrogen Piston Pump (Source: XCOR)
XCOR and United Launch Alliance (ULA), the primary launch services provider to the US Government, announced the first successful demonstration of XCOR’s long life, high performance piston pump technology with liquid hydrogen. ULA asked XCOR if the pump technology could be extended to liquid hydrogen. Implementing rapid prototyping techniques and working on a fixed price basis, XCOR developed a single piston work-horse test article and test bench, and then successfully tested the pump with hydrogen in less than four months. Based on this success, ULA and XCOR have begun the next phase of the project to further mature the technology. (6/8)

Astronauts-4-Hire Expands Commercial Astronaut Candidate Group (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Astronauts-4-Hire has selected six new members, bringing the total number of commercial astronaut candidates in the organization to seventeen. The new recruits bring a great depth of experience to the initiative to develop a pool of qualified commercial astronauts. Many of them are private pilots with a long resume of experience working in the aerospace industry and have extensive experience working in microgravity aboard parabolic flights. One new member is a professional triathlete and author of several books on the topic of astronaut training. (6/7)

Prisma Satellites Will Begin High-Flying Dance Next Week (Source: SpaceFlightNow.com)
Two Swedish satellites are snugly packed inside the nose of a Ukrainian rocket for blastoff next week, when the duo will commence a risky test of new formation-flying and rendezvous technologies on a shoestring budget. (6/8)

Florida A&M Supports Minority Involvement in Tech Prize Competitions (Source: FAMU)
The Minority Innovation Challenges Institute (MICI) is a virtual training ground where minority undergraduate students learn how to compete in NASA technical challenges for both prestige and cash prizes. This NASA funded program, which is managed by Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU), provides a year-round virtual conference platform where students from across the country can participate in free interactive educational sessions of their choosing.

On Jun. 9, at 3:00 p.m. (EDT), Dr. Jayfus Doswell will conduct a live virtual presentation. Dr. Doswell is the founder of Juxtopia, a non-profit organization dedicated to to advancing underserved and disadvantaged learning and application of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) proficiency. He will discuss how he organized the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) team to compete in the DARPA Grand Challenge. Click here for info. (6/8)

Kosmas Praises, Posey Pillories $15 Million Space Coast Relief Package (Source: Sunshine News)
Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, hailed a $15 million grant to assist workers on the Space Coast. The grant was awarded to the Brevard Workforce Development Board to aid thousands of workers who will be laid off by the impending retirement of NASA’s space shuttle program. Funds will provide career guidance assistance as well as training and continuing education. The grant was made available through the Department of Labor’s National Emergency Grants program.

But Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, wasn't nearly so impressed. “While I hope this announcement will help some displaced workers, a series of ill-advised decisions by (the Obama administration) makes the workforce needs all the more dire," Posey said in a statement. “Those poor decisions include: a failure to extend the life of 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. (6/2)

Falcon 9 Development = Cost of Ares I Mobile Service Tower (Source: SpaceX)
For less than the cost of the Ares I mobile service tower, SpaceX has developed all the flight hardware for the Falcon 9 orbital rocket, Dragon spacecraft, as well as three launch sites. SpaceX has been profitable for three consecutive years (2007 through 2009) and expects to remain modestly profitable for the foreseeable future. The company has over 1000 employees in California, Texas and Florida, and has been approximately doubling in size every two years. A majority of the future growth is expected to occur in Texas and Florida. (6/8)

Russian Space Technician in Attempted Suicide (Source: Chosun Ilbo)
A Russian technician working at the Naro Space Center in South Korea tried to commit suicide with just days left before a scheduled second launch attempt of the KLSV-1 space rocket. Police said the 32-year-old software programmer, who arrived in Korea on May 24, slashed his abdomen three times with a knife and was rushed to hospital on Saturday morning. He is in stable condition. He told police he attempted to kill himself because he was "unable to cope with the stress" before the launch of the Naro rocket. He is expected to be released from the hospital soon. (6/8)

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