August 22, 2010

Danish Plan to Launch Space Mission (Source: Metro)
Two amateur astronauts are planning to make Denmark the fourth country to launch into space after the former Soviet Union, the US and China. Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen plan to launch their HEAT rocket into space from the Baltic Sea near Bornholm, in Denmark. But von Bengtson and Madsen’s ambitious plans to oversee the successful launch of the world’s first ever amateur-built rocket for manned space travel are not exactly likely to have NASA bosses quaking in their boots.

They have so far raised almost £39,000 of the £41,000 they asked for before a test launch with a crash test dummy in a week. The average cost of a NASA space mission is a little steeper – at £290million. Eventually, they hope to send Mr Madsen into space, although with room for only one astronaut, he will be in for a lonely mission in the nine-meter long rocket called HEAT-1X/Tycho Brahe. (8/22)

Remembering Challenger: Choctaw Teacher to Speak at NASA Ceremony (Source: Destin Log)
A local science and math advocate will be one of the speakers at the upcoming 25th anniversary ceremony to honor the seven astronauts who died in the Challenger space shuttle explosion. Rick Soria, an assistant principal at Choctawhatchee High School and co-chairman of Okaloosa County’s Engineers for America program, was selected in late July as one of the five speakers for nationally televised event at the Kennedy Space Center on Jan. 28, 2011.

Soria was selected to speak for several reasons, said Stephen Feldman, the President and CEO of The Astronaut’s Memorial Foundation, which is helping organize the event. Soria caught Feldman’s attention after he was selected as the 2009 winner of the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. Editor's Note: Soria has been a teacher at Embry-Riddle's aerospace institute at Choctawhatchee High School. (8/22)

NASA Officials Perk Up Philippine Interest in Space Science (Source: Manila Business World)
A team from NASA visited Sarangani province early last week to promote interest in outer space science among the youth as the United States continues to push the ambitious "Men on Mars" project in 2035. The team, headed by Adam Gilmore, NASA division chief engineer for space shuttle program, visited the Malapatan Central Elementary School on Monday and gave a lecture on basics of space science.

"We want them to see something different and to dream bigger things. We are here to tell you guys that you are the future," he said. "NASA is building an International Space Station and we will be proud to see Sarangani astronauts one day," Mr. Gilmore added. For her part, Sabrina Singh, space suit system engineer and astronaut trainer, shared expertise and experiences to encourage students to love Science and Mathematics as an initial step to become astronauts. (8/22)

US Only Rule for Virgin Passengers? (Source: Independent)
Millionaire businessman Bill Cullen's dreams of becoming Ireland's first space tourist may be at an end because he is not a US citizen. He was one of two Irish people who paid €200,000 to become part of Virgin's dream of space tourism. Irish Psychics Live boss Tom Higgins and Mr Cullen are both hoping to be named the first Irishman in space. However, another Irishman learnt this weekend that he had been excluded on security grounds. Cyril Bennis received a legal notice from Virgin Galactic stating that at present only US citizens can be considered for inclusion. (8/22)

Layoff Anxiety Top Risk to Space Shuttle (Source: Florida Today)
As NASA marches toward its final shuttle flights, the safety of the crew rests with workers who know every bolt they turn, every heat-shield tile they inspect, brings them closer to the unemployment line. Here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, more than 900 people will turn in their identification badges on Oct. 1, a month before Discovery is set for launch on its grand finale. Another 3,000 people, at least, will be out of work in April unless NASA gets the money for an additional flight beyond the two final missions remaining on its schedule. And as it stands, an extra shuttle mission would only provide a reprieve until late July or August. (8/22)

Commercial Astronauts Answer Your Questions (Source:
The results are back from Astronauts4Hire, and they have generously provided both video and written answers for us! These answers are not just well-thought-out and professional -- although they do come from the pros -- but I'm impressed by how personal they are; they give me a real insight as to who these commercial astronauts are as people, as scientists, and as explorers.

They were gracious enough to share not only their expertise, but also their motivations and their personal goals. So without further delay, let's dive in and see what they've got to say! Question 1.) What's a Commercial Astronaut, and how does the "commercial" Astronaut differ from other Astronauts, from Cosmonauts and Space Tourists? Click here to read the article. (8/22)

Our view: Spaceport Road Next Step in Path to Success (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
If we build it they will come ... but we've got to pave the road first. On Tuesday, the Doña Ana County Commission will be asked to sign an agreement with the Spaceport Authority for construction and maintenance of a southern access road to Spaceport America. We see the road as absolutely critical for Doña Ana County to enjoy the full economic development benefits from Spaceport America, and strongly urge commissioners to sign the agreement Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the selection of New Mexico State University by the Federal Aviation Administration to lead a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation continues an outstanding synergy between the university and the spaceport. NMSU will head a national consortium that will guide the development of commercial space flight in the United States. (8/22)

San Diego Air and Space Museum Wants a Shuttle (Source: San Diego Union-Tribune)
The San Diego Air & Space Museum wants to land a space shuttle. It's an ambitious, exciting plan, but... “Houston, we have a problem.” Actually, the museum has several of them: For one thing, the shuttle’s price tag is a cool $29 million. Just a few years ago, the Balboa Park-based museum was operating in the red. (8/22)

Adler in Race for a Space Shuttle (Source: Chicago Tribune)
Chicago's Adler Planetarium is launched against 20 other institutions in a new space race, seeking the right to pay $28.8 million for one of the three soon-to-be-retired space shuttles. Adler sees its qualifications as obvious. "Chicago is the largest population center — and worldwide tourism destination — in the middle of the country," Adler Planetarium President Paul Knappenberger Jr. said in a statement.

He added that landing a shuttle would support Adler's mission "to inspire the next generation of explorers" and "serve as inspiration for math and science education." Adler's competitors in the fierce LeBron-style competition have enlisted former astronauts and officials high in political orbit to back their bids. Lawmakers have even tried to use congressional legislation to give their states a leg up. (8/22)

Africa Considers a Continent-Wide Space Agency (Source: All Africa)
Africa is a step closer to setting up its own space agency, with the approval of a planned feasibility study by the 53 member states of the African Union earlier this month. The African Space Agency, as it would be known, would be intended to help ensure the continent becomes an important player in the global space program. The agreement was made at the close of the third African Union Conference for Ministers in charge of Communications and Information Technologies meeting in Abuja last week.

Ministers said that the feasibility study would also draft a common space policy for the continent, taking into account various existing space technology initiatives. They added that the continent-wide policy would be developed in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. (8/22)

Editorial: Our Economy Needs a Robust Space Program (Source: Houston Chronicle)
As the end of the space shuttle program nears, where and how America next travels into space appears unclear. America's leadership in space exploration is at risk of being set adrift into an uncertain future, cluttered with program cancellations, budget cuts and conflicting directives for government and commercial spaceflight development.

In addition to the need to retain the unique technical expertise of tens of thousands of workers, the future of the space program is vital to the economic future of our nation. No other government program can match the economic impact of space program spin-offs that include applications in medicine, computer technology, communications, public safety, food, power generation and transportation. (8/22)

FAA Starts Considering Private Space Travel Rules (Source: Mercury News)
Private space travel is expected to take off in the next couple of years, and aviation officials and industry officials hope to have figured out by then how to keep a space rocket out of the way of an airline jet, how to prepare passengers for flight and other logistical matters. The Federal Aviation Administration announced this week a partnership with universities and industry groups to address those challenges facing commercial space transportation. (8/22)

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