July 21, 2010

Space Florida and UK Trade & Investment Team to Develop Opportunities (Source: Space Florida)
Space Florida and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding that will facilitate beneficial commercial space opportunities between the State of Florida and the UK’s aerospace and commercial space industries. UKTI is a British government division that helps UK-based companies suceed internationally and brings high-quality investment to the UK. The agreement establishes a conduit to pursue commercial space business opportunities in both markets. (7/21)

NASA Compromise Takes Small Step Forward (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A compromise plan for NASA moved one step closer to reality Wednesday when the Senate panel with oversight of NASA spending adopted a $19 billion budget for the agency that largely adheres to a deal worked out last week by the White House and key senators. The 2011 NASA spending plan would allocate $3 billion for the development of a new NASA spacecraft while investing $562 million to help commercial aerospace companies build new rockets and capsules that could one day reach the International Space Station.

Funding both these priorities is an attempt to end a months-long feud between the White House and Congress. President Barack Obama wants to put commercial companies in charge of resupplying the station so that NASA could concentrate on building futuristic new vehicles. But Congress has balked because they want an in-house NASA spacecraft that could meet that capability too. (7/21)

San Diego Museum's Education Director Honored with Award (Source: SDASM)
The San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) is proud to announce the forthcoming induction of Francis French, the Museum's Education Director, into the US Space & Rocket Center's Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. The center's Space Camp Hall of Fame is designed to honor graduates, former employees and supporters who have distinguished themselves in their respective careers. (7/21)

Kucinich Rallies Ohio Delegates to Fight for NASA Glenn (Source: SpaceRef.com)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) rallied Members of the Ohio Delegation to send a bipartisan letter to the Science and Technology Committee requesting funding for vital research and development programs that benefit NASA Glenn Research Center and the nation's human space flight program.

The letter asks the Committee to support aspects of President Obama's Fiscal Year 2011 NASA budget request that diversify programs and projects at NASA Glenn Research Center and ensure the Center's long term health. The letter also asks the Committee to oppose provisions that could compromise NASA's civil-servant workforce and asks for an extension of a ban on involuntary layoffs. (7/20)

Former Visit Florida Official Assists Virginia Space Tourism Efforts (Source: DelMarVaNow.com)
With major rocket launches to begin in earnest next year by the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport Authority on Wallops Island, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and its northern counterpart, Maryland Office of Tourism are developing a marketing plan to best capture the dollars of those who will visit for the thrill of the blast-off experience.

A Space Tourism Retreat is planned for Wednesday and Thursday on Chincoteague Island with representatives from Virginia -- including Eastern Shore tourism officials -- Maryland, Delaware, NASA Wallops and MARS. The 20-member marketing panel is a subcommittee of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Space Tourism Taskforce organized earlier this year by the Greater Salisbury Committee.

Bud Nocera, a former director of Florida Tourism, has been hired as the marketing consultant and will facilitate the retreat. Nocera has extensive experience with Cape Canaveral and packaging space tourism that goes beyond just watching blast-offs to include other events and venues an active space program can spawn. (7/21)

House Panel Eviscerates Funding Request for Commercial Space Sector (Source: New York Times)
The House Committee on Science and Technology wants to devote $750 million to developing a commercial space industry -- far less than the $6 billion requested by the Obama administration. The House authorization bill would also instruct NASA to continue developing its own rocket, while the administration is seeking to kill the agency's Ares I rocket. The House bill provides less private-sector funding than the Senate version and stipulates that about two-thirds of the money should come in the form of loans and loan guarantees, rather than outright grants to private companies. (7/21)

Houston Mayor Optimistic About Senate NASA Plan (Source: Examiner.com)
Houston Mayor Annise Parker called Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s NASA funding compromise measure approved by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation a step in the right direction, but cautioned it is not the final step. “This gives us some breathing room and the opportunity to continue the ongoing work to protect the great work being done at Johnson Space Center. There is still much to do and we can take nothing for granted.” (7/21)

Compromise Preserves JSC Role in Spaceflight (Source: Houston Chronicle)
Louis L’Amour, the great writer known for his novels about America’s frontier, once wrote, “Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.” That bit of wisdom is apropos in assessing the news about the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, a legislative compromise passed out of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last week.

This bipartisan compromise strikes the right balance between the Obama administration’s commercial initiatives while maintaining U.S. space leadership. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, was a hard-won compromise that maintains the Johnson Space Center’s important role in human space exploration and serves as a blueprint for NASA’s future. Equally important, the legislation, if passed into law, would also prevent the loss of as many as 7,000 jobs in the Houston region. (7/21)

Yvonne Pendleton Named Head of Lunar Institute (Source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Yvonne Pendleton, a pioneer astrophysicist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, has been named director of the center's Lunar Science Institute, the space agency announced. The institute leads teams of scientists both at Ames and across the nation and abroad whose research focuses on the moons of Earth and other planets of the solar system. Pendleton succeeds planetary scientist David Morrison, who has led the institute for three years and is an expert on asteroids whose paths carry them toward possible impacts on Earth. (7/21)

Futron: U.S. Space Edge Erodes, Non-Traditional Players Ascend, Competition Intensifies (Source: Futron)
The recently-released third edition of Futron’s Space Competitiveness Index: A Comparative Analysis of How Countries Invest in and Benefit from Space Industry is a tool that can help policymakers, executives, analysts, and others compare the strengths and weaknesses of major space-participant nations.

The U.S. today is one of many spacefaring nations-—a fact recognized by the new U.S. National Space Policy, which places a greater emphasis on international cooperation. Understanding the capabilities of the many countries now active in space is essential to an effective implementation of such a policy. Futron’s latest Space Competitiveness Index: A Comparative Analysis of How Countries Invest in and Benefit from Space Industry shows that "even as countries continue to collaborate in space, competition is growing more intense,” according Futron Chief Operating Officer Peggy Slye. “Dominant actors are increasingly challenged by a second and third tier of space leaders, and the competitive gaps among all nations are narrowing.”

The U.S. remains the clear global leader, but the county’s position has eroded in each of the past three years. The formulation of a new national space policy is a step in the right direction, but as Futron CEO Joe Fuller notes, “To retain its leadership position, the U.S. must leverage its secret space weapon—American industry—and align it with strategy, policy, and budget.” Click here for more. (7/21)

Extreme Hobbyists Put Satellites Into Orbit With $8K Kits (Source: WIRED)
Attention wannabe supervillains: Putting your own, personal satellite into orbit is not such a far-fetched idea after all. Interorbital Systems, which makes rockets and spacecrafts, created a kit last year that lets almost anyone with a passion for electronics and space build a satellite. The $8,000 kit includes the price of the launch. The company is now ready to launch its first sub-orbital test flights in California next month.

“$8,000? That’s just the price of a cool midlife crisis,” says Alex “Sandy” Antunes, who bought one of the kits for a project that will launch on one of earliest flights. “You could buy a motorcycle or you could launch a satellite. What would you rather do?” Click here for more. (7/21)

“NewSpace Journalism” and “Pioneer of NewSpace” Awards Announced (Source: SFF)
The path to commercial space is blazed by the winners of the “Pioneer of NewSpace” and “NewSpace Journalism” awards, and this year they go to Art Dula and Miles O’Brien, respectively. Dula led the industry by creating innovative commercial space companies and O’Brien by spreading the news about NewSpace. The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) will present these honors at the NewSpace Awards Gala on July 24th during the NewSpace 2010 Conference in Silicon Valley, CA. (7/21)

Raytheon To Assemble Standard Missiles in Alabama (Source: Space News)
Raytheon plans to build a Standard Missile (SM) production facility at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. Raytheon intends to break ground later this year on the 6,500-square-meter facility that will be used for final assembly and testing of the SM-3, a key element of the ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, and SM-6. The facility will be constructed in two phases, with each phase tied to SM-3 and SM-6 production contracts. The facility is scheduled for completion in 2013. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency manages testing, integration and fielding activities from Huntsville.

Editor's Note: More good news for Huntsville's aerospace workforce. This must be the good news that Alabama's governor was anticipating from the Farnborough event in England. (7/21)

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