August 13, 2010

Gates Warns Congress to Avoid Military Cuts That are Too Deep (Source: AIA)
Defense Secretary Robert Gates called on Congress this week to avoid making the mistake of cutting military spending too excessively in response to growing federal debt. Speaking to an audience at the Marines' Memorial Club in San Francisco, Gates said his belt-tightening plan to reduce spending on contractors and close one of the military's 10 combatant commands could help in avoiding debilitating cuts. (8/12)

Senate Prescribed Heavy-lifter Looks Like Ares 5 (Source: Space News)
Senate legislation authorizing $58 billion for NASA directs the agency to build a heavy-lift rocket that resembles the Ares 5 launcher that President Barack Obama seeks to abandon. The bill's accompanying report states that regarding the heavy-lift rocket, “the most cost-effective and ‘evolvable’ design concept is likely to follow what is known as an ‘in-line’ vehicle design, with a large center tank structure with attached multiple liquid propulsion engines and, at a minimum, two solid rocket motors composed of at least four segments being attached to the tank structure to form the core, initial stage of the propulsion vehicle.”

Editor's Note: It would be more correct to say the Obama Administration seeks to abandon the Ares 1. They recognized the need for a heavy-lift rocket and left it up to NASA to decide its configuration--including Shuttle-derived options--by 2015. The Senate now seeks to accelerate that process by requiring a nearer-term Shuttle-derived approach. With the in-line configuration and allowing four-segment solid rocket boosters, I believe this may be more similar to the Jupiter-130 booster than Ares 5. But if saying it resembles an Ares 5 allows some folks to claim a political victory, then sure, go ahead. (8/12)

Crashed Alaska Aircraft Did Not Use ADS-B System Championed by Sen. Stevens (Source: Huffington Post)
A pilot who spotted the wreckage of the amphibious plane carrying former Sen. Ted Stevens looked down on the gashed mountainside and thought that no one could've survived such a crash. Then, he heard another pilot say on the radio: A hand was waving for help from a window of the red-and-white aircraft.

Officials said a technology that Stevens had long pushed to improve air safety in Alaska wasn't installed in the downed plane. It was unclear whether the instruments would've prevented the Monday crash. FAA chief Randy Babbitt in June credited the technology – a surveillance system intended in part to help pilots have a greater sense of awareness when they're nearing bad weather – with "making a real difference" in air safety in Alaska. Click here to read the article. (8/12)

Space Museum is 'Go' for Launch for Cape Canaveral Spaceport (Source: Florida Today)
A new museum devoted to preserving the history of the nation's space program will open this week just outside the gates of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The U.S. Air Force Space & Missile History Center is in the auditorium of the old Space Florida building next to Gate 1, also known as the South Gate, at the air base.

An offshoot of the Air Force Space & Missile Museum, which is located in a secure area of the base, the new museum will be free and open to the public six days a week. On display at the museum: an exhibit that tells the story of each launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which was established in 1949 as the nation's Joint Long Range Proving Ground. (8/12)

Former NASA Flight Director Wayne Hale Featured on Space Talk (Source: Space Talk)
Former NASA flight director and senior Shuttle program manager Wayne Hale will make his first media appearance since retiring from the space agency on the next “Space Talk with Jim Banke.” His departure from NASA after 32 years of service nevertheless seemed abrupt and caught many in the space community off guard when Hale announced his retirement in a blog posted online July 7. The decision, he said, was “based mainly on family reasons.”

But in the same blog, saying the passage summarized “feelings so similar to my own that it is uncanny,” he quoted from a book by Mark Twain about a riverboat captain who had reached the end of his career only to find “the romance and the beauty were all gone from the river.” Just a few days after retiring, Special Aerospace Services of Boulder, Colo., announced Hale had joined the firm as Director of Human Spaceflight Programs. Click here for details. (8/12)

Energy Group Wants to Leverage Central Florida Space Capabilities (Source: SPACErePORT)
Several Space Coast business leaders are organizing a discussion about energy industry opportunities. They plan an event where stakeholders can understand the existing energy infrastructure of Brevard County and identify new energy-related job opportunities for the thousands of Space Coast employees who face unemployment. This event will showcase existing energy companies, identify synergies, and educate attendees. There will be panel presentations on the following topics: Efficiency & Conservation, Manufacturing, Emerging Technologies, Finance & Policy, and Space & Energy. Click here for details. (8/12)

Space Florida Board to Meet in Cape Canaveral on Aug. 17 (Source: SPACErePORT)
Space Florida's board of directors will hold a public meeting on Aug. 17 at the Radisson Resort at Port Canaveral. This will likely be the final meeting of the agency's current board. Click here to see the agenda. (8/12)

NASA Technologist Gives Tour Focusing on NASA Future (Source: Glendale News Press)
A NASA official on Wednesday outlined an aggressive, multi-decade space technology and exploration development plan that includes sending humans into deep space by 2025, sending humans to orbit Mars by 2035 and landing a human on the surface of Mars sometime shortly thereafter. NASA will make strategic investments in propulsion, robotics, structures and optics — space technologies that will lay the foundation for the agency's future, said Bobby Braun, chief technologist for NASA. (8/13)

NASA Aims For Tech Research Leadership Role (Source: Information Week)
NASA Chief technologist Bobby Braun claims the agency's recently launched Space Technology Program will help boost innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness. NASA's new Space Technology Program fills a void at the agency that will help it provide unprecedented technology leadership for the foreseeable future, the agency's chief of technology said this week.

Speaking in a press conference Tuesday, NASA Chief Technologist Bobby Braun said that the recently launched Space Technology Program -- which in fact is a set of 10 programs aimed at innovative technology research and development -- is the way forward for an agency that is in transition. With the end of the Space Shuttle program drawing near, the Obama administration's future plan for NASA is a shift in focus away from pure space exploration and more toward using space technology to focus on environmental, geological, climate and other issues on Earth. (8/13)

Can Hayabusa-2's Timeline be Met? (Source: Daily Yomiuri)
Having received approval from the government's Space Activities Commission, full-scale development of the next generation of the Hayabusa asteroid probe will culminate with a 2014 scheduled launch. The project represents a new challenge that will take advantage of Japan's space technology, proved by Hayabusa on its seven-year space journey--a feat that stunned the world.

What goals will the next-generation spacecraft aim for? And will it be able to achieve them? Hayabusa-2's destination will be 1999JU3, a one-kilometer-diameter asteroid. The big difference between 1999JU3 and the Itokawa asteroid probed by the first Hayabusa is that chemical compounds, including carbons, are believed to exist on 1999JU3. After landing on 1999JU3, Hayabusa-2 will use explosives to blast a hole in the asteroid's surface to expose rocks unaffected by changes in the outer space environment. (8/13)

India Planning to Send Astronauts to Space Before 2015-16 (Source: Times of India)
The Indian Space Research Organization is planning to send astronauts to space before the year 2015-16, deputy project director of ISRO's Chandrayaan Mission Jaswinder Singh Khoral said. Khoral was addressing the students at the Haryana Space Science Congress Programme at Faridabad which was organized by Space Applications Center, Hisar on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Dr Vikaram Sarabhai, the father of Indian Space Program. (8/13)

Israel Aims to be Space Superpower (Source: Jerusalem Post)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to approve an ambitious plan to turn Israel into a satellite superpower. According to details obtained by The Jerusalem Post, the aim is to increase sales of Israeli space platforms to nearly $8 billion a year. The multi-year plan calls for the government to annually increase support for space research and development by several hundred million shekels. This investment would focus on new platforms – primarily Israel’s niche market in “mini satellites” – intended to yield billions in sales. (8/13)

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