August 15, 2010

UW-Sheboygan to Host Annual Wisconsin Space Conference (Source: Sheboygan Press)
The University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan will host the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium's 20th annual Wisconsin Space Conference Aug. 19-20. Members of the consortium, including space and aerospace professionals, researchers, students and educators, will share the latest research in the field for this year's anniversary conference. All Sheboygan-area astronomy enthusiasts — even those who are not members of the consortium — are welcome to attend this year's conference and enjoy the keynote addresses or the entire conference. (8/15)

Images From Space Can Save Lives (Source: Florida Today)
Vantage point can change everything about how we view things. Our outposts in space -- both robotic and manned spacecraft -- give us such an advantage in understanding what's happening on Earth. Our ability to view the Earth from above, in incredible detail, provides us practical protection because it means we can monitor the movement of potential threats, such as dangerous weather formations or worrisome military deployments. Intelligence experts can track terrorists' training bases. Scientists can see how Earth's atmosphere and environment are changing. Sometimes, it just means we can marvel at incredible -- otherwise unavailable -- views of our planet. (8/15)

Ohio Needs to Fight for a Retired Shuttle (Source: Columbus Dispatch)
There are lessons to be learned from last month's skirmish over legislation that would have given preferential treatment to Texas and Florida museums to receive retired space shuttles. A shuttle is a large, impressive spacecraft and would become the centerpiece for any museum that gets one. Consequently, competition is intense. About 20 museums have asked NASA for the four shuttles. The only contender in Ohio is the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

There are real economic consequences for the winners. Some competitors are estimating that the increased visitation and museum activity as a result of receiving a shuttle would create 700 or more jobs and add $40 million to $70 million in direct spending in the state's economy. Texas and Florida are both particularly aggressive in the pursuit of a retired shuttle. Earlier this year, a bill backed mostly by members of the Texas and Florida congressional delegations was introduced that would require NASA to give the shuttles to museums in those states.

When that bill didn't go anywhere, a provision turned up in a draft NASA spending bill that would have ordered NASA to give priority to museums that met certain conditions - and only the museums in Texas and Florida fit. (8/15)

JAXA Improving Plans for Unmanned Cargo Spacecraft to Bring Back Supplies from ISS (Source: Mainichi Daily)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has unveiled three basic plans it has worked out for the design of its unmanned cargo spacecraft that will be capable of bringing back supplies from the International Space Station (ISS). Based on the H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), JAXA is developing a new cargo spacecraft called the "HTV-R."

The three plans for the HTV-R are: equipping the HTV with a capsule measuring dozens of centimeters in diameter; equipping the HTV with a capsule similar to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft's return capsule measuring 2.6 meters in diameter; and remodeling the HTV's cargo space into a large capsule measuring 4 meters in diameter and 3.8 meters high. (8/15)

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, in Santa Clara (Source: USA Today)
It was 50 years ago that astronomer Frank Drake began searching for radio signals that might indicate there was intelligent life on other planets. This weekend in California, a host of scientists, astronomers, philosophers, thinkers and just plain believers are meeting in Silicon Valley to listen to lectures, meet authors and generally geek out about that project, which evolved into the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI. (8/15)

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