August 25, 2010

Commercial Crew Life-Support Unit Passes (Source: Aviation Week)
A modular air revitalization system for future human spacecraft bound for the International Space Station and other low-Earth-orbit (LEO) destinations has completed preliminary design review, clearing the way for work to begin on a ground-test unit. Working with federal economic stimulus funds under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) project, Paragon Space Development Corp. of Tucson, Ariz., passed the milestone with its Commercial Crew Transport Air Revitalization System.

By the end of the year, the small company — which added its own funds to $1.4 million in federal money provided under a Space Act Agreement with NASA — expects to finish building an engineering development unit and complete initial integrated ground tests to pass its final two CCDev milestones. (8/25)

Prime Minister Touts Canadian Satellites (Source: Toronto Sun)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the government is ready to proceed with the design and construction phase of Canada’s next generation of the cutting-edge Radarsat satellite system, a technology that he said will help Canada guard its northern borders. “With this Canadian technology, you can spot a spill as small as a five-gallon pail of engine oil,” Harper said. “Radarsat is already helping us police our environment.” (8/25)

Paul McCartney Joins PETA in Asking NASA to Halt Monkey Experiments (Source: Houston Chronicle)
There's a new twist in the campaign by several animal rights groups to pressure NASA, as singer Paul McCartney has joined the fray. NASA wants to expose 30 squirrel monkeys to radiation to better understand the effect of cosmic rays on human health. It's an essential test, NASA says, to safely send astronauts beyond Earth orbit for long-duration trips. Locally the story took a more poignant turn when a rising engineer, April Evans, resigned from her dream job because she was morally opposed to the tests. (8/25)

How to Survive the Long Haul in Space (Source: New Scientist)
From blackout-inducing g forces to withered muscles and bones, there aren't many tougher physical challenges than going into space. This has been highlighted by the release of medical records from astronauts who worked on board the Russian space station Mir, which detail the gruelling effects space travel has on human health before, during and after a mission.

Along with research on muscle wastage in astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS), the records demonstrate the need for better countermeasures against the hazards of living in space before any interplanetary missions are attempted. Click here to read the article. (8/25)

Florida Ranks #6 in Graduate Student Enrollment in Science & Engineering (Source: SSTI)
U.S. graduate enrollment in science and engineering increased by 3.3 percent in 2007 over comparable data from the previous year, according to the National Science Foundation. This marks the largest increase since 2002 and follows several years of stagnant enrollment. Female enrollment grew by 3.4 percent, slightly more than the 3.2 percent growth for men. Florida was ranked #6 nationwide, with 21,766 students (4.22% of the national total). (8/25)

Airlines May One Day Have NASA to Thank for Genetically Altered Biofuel (Source: AIA)
Scientists at the University of Florida hope that jatropha genes altered in space might yield a more commercially viable source of jet fuel. Researchers sent hundreds of jatropha samples to the International Space Station, where microgravity will alter their genes -- though just how the plants will change remains unknown. A commercial developer in South Florida wants to develop a genetically altered strain that will grow to a uniform size and be more resistant to drought, making harvesting easier. (8/25)

Former Air Force Officer Named to Head Ohio Aerospace Hub (Source: AIA)
Retired Air Force intelligence officer Kerry Taylor has been hired to serve as the first director of the aerospace hub of innovation in Dayton, Ohio. The state-established hub's partners include the University of Dayton, the city of Dayton, Montgomery County and other local entities. A committee for the hub chose Taylor from among 50 applicants. (8/25)

Cameron Teams With NASA to Promote Earth Science (Source: NASA)
James Cameron, director of "Avatar," the most successful film ever released, is featured in a series of new NASA public service announcements that describe the many contributions of the agency's Earth science program to environmental awareness and exploration of our home planet. (8/24)

State Legislator Becomes Kosmas Challenger (Source: Space Politics)
In a hotly-contested Republican primary for the 24th Congressional District in Florida, state representative Sandy Adams declared victory and will face Suzanne Kosmas in her bid for reelection to the district that includes KSC. In a recent statement, Adams expressed general support for NASA, calling the space program “both an economic and homeland security issue” but offering few specifics other than an apparent rejection of the administration’s human space exploration plans (“It is not reasonable to believe we will maintain our leadership, brain trust, equipment and expertise until 2025, when this administration decides to return to manned space flight.” Evidently sending crews to and from the ISS doesn’t count as “manned space flight”.)

In a statement on her web site, though, she said she would work to keep the shuttle program “solvent” until a replacement is ready and “be a strong, vocal advocate for the increased Research & Development funding” needed for the “next generation of ‘miracle’ products” spun off from NASA technology development. (8/25)

All Decisions Made to Start Work on Vostochny Spaceport (Source: Itar-Tass)
All necessary decisions are in place for launching the construction of the spaceport Vostochny in the Amur region in 2011, the head of the federal space agency (Roscosmos), Anatoly Perminov, said at a meeting of the Scientific and Technical Council devoted to the sketch of a future high-capacity next-generation space rocket complex of middle-class for the spaceport Vostochny.

The Roscosmos chief recalled that "the Russian federal space program for 2006-2015 provides for the implementation of priority guidelines for space activities and the creation in the Amur Region of a spaceport for research, social, economic, and commercial dual-purpose tasks, preparations for and launches of space vehicles, cargo spacecraft and modules of orbital stations, manned space missions and future space programs for the study and exploration of celestial bodies, as well as the implementation of international cooperation in this sphere.” (8/25)

Become Risk-Sharing Partners with Us, India Tells Industry (Source: The Hindu)
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) wants the industry, which already accounts for 60 percent of its budget, to become a risk-sharing partner as the country’s space program gets bigger and into the fast-track. ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan urged the industry to become a risk-sharing partner in the coming years, which he said, would add strength to both parties. The idea is to leverage each other’s strengths, with the industry even providing sub-assemblies and very large systems for rockets, other space programs and ground segment. (8/25)

India To Launch GSAT-5P In October (Source: Aviation Week)
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is gearing up to launch the 2,000-kg. GSAT-5P communication satellite in October using a Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The satellite is expected to expand existing telecommunication and television bandwidth. A Russian cryogenic engine will be powering the GSLV-F06; ISRO plans to launch a GSLV with an Indian-made cryogenic engine within a year. Meanwhile, former ISRO chief Madhavan Nair said in Bengaluru Aug. 22 that through combined efforts, India might launch a manned mission to the Moon by 2021. (8/25)

Bud Cramer Won't Lobby for SpaceX (Source: Birmingham News)
Former U.S. Rep. Bud Cramer, a prominent advocate for Huntsville's effort to save local NASA jobs, is no longer a lobbyist for a commercial space firm that could benefit as NASA prepares to move certain human space flight missions to the private sector. Cramer, the congressman who represented the Huntsville area for 18 years, joined a lobbying firm after he left office and registration forms showed one of his first clients was Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX. (8/25)

What Lift-off: Should Congress Design the Next Big Booster? (Source:
Consider how many space initiatives the United States didn't pursue in the past half century. A fully reusable launch vehicle. A 20-person expendable space station. New heavy lift boosters. A permanent lunar colony. The Orbital Space Plane. NERVA and Prometheus. An outpost on Mars. In fact, there have been more false starts and failed approaches than those that worked. By setting budget limits, the hand of the Congress can be seen in all of these programs, but the "failure to launch" can be squarely placed on the Defense Department, the Air Force, and of course NASA.

Consider this history as the House and Senate move, albeit slowly, to finalize a NASA FY 2011 spending bill that could wind up as guidance in a Continuing Resolution to allow Uncle Sam to keep the doors open past October 1st. Thus far, common to both bills are a virtual rejection of the space plan submitted by President Barack Obama last February and a resurrection of key elements of the Constellation program, only without the name. (8/25)

NASA Official: Commercial Space companies Will cut Costs (Source: Wichita Eagle)
The U.S.'s new national space policy views the use of commercial space companies as a vital component, a NASA Ames Research Center official said Tuesday. "Why are we pursuing commercial space?" said Alan Weston, the NASA official. "In a single word, it's cost." The government isn't as motivated as the commercial sector to be cost-E he said. (8/25)

Dark Matter Experiment is Space Shuttle's 'Last Hurrah' (Source:
After a late magnet switch forced NASA to order a six-month deferment of the final planned space shuttle flight, the Kennedy Space Center is preparing to receive a $1.5 billion physics experiment Thursday to seek out the cosmic signature of enigmatic, ubiquitous dark matter. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer will soak up cosmic rays to detect nearly indistinguishable aberrations originating in the deep universe, potentially uncovering the origin of dark matter. (8/25)

"Keep A Shuttle In Florida" On Facebook, Internet Petition Site (Source: Florida Today)
A local bid to land one of two shuttle orbiters up for grabs after fleet retirement next year is gaining a few extra campaigners. A Facebook site called "Keep A Shuttle In Florida" popped up in late July and already has more than 6,300 fans. Separately, a group called the National Air, Sea and Space Foundation has set up a "Keep A Shuttle In Florida Petition. (8/25)

Danish Amateur Rocket Designed to Send Humans to Space (Source: Daily Mail)
It might not look like much. In fact, it looks practically suicidal. But two Danish inventors hope to launch the world’s first amateur-built rocket for human space travel. It is due to launch from a submarine in the Baltic Sea on August 30th and, if successful, they will repeat it with a human passenger on board as soon as possible. Denmark would become only the fourth nation to send a human into space. Click here to view the article. (8/25)

Group Calls Out Obama on Lack of Support for Space-Based Solar Power (Source: Space Energy)
"Your words are visionary but they are not being followed with action by the agencies in your administration. Three agencies in your administration are unwilling to even acknowledge a promising alternative energy source, Space Based Solar Power... Space Based Solar Power has only gotten a total of $80 million of funding from the US government since the 1970's, none of it in the last decade. The Europeans and Japanese are working on Space Based Solar Power. The Japanese are committing $21 billion to the technology. The Russians, Chinese, and Arabs are also interested in Space Based Solar Power...."

"Mr. President, please direct your agencies to hold the interagency conference on Space Based Solar Power, proclaim that one agency is responsible for developing Space Based Solar Power, and direct funds for Space Based Solar Power research and development, such as, an end to end systems study, lab work, flight tests and tests from the International Space Station, followed by a Space Based Solar Power pilot plan able to generate power in the megawatt range. Now is the time for the United States to seize the day and develop Space Based Solar Power and secure our future freedom and prosperity." Click here for more. (8/25)

Space Initiatives Featured at Next-Gen Expo in West Palm Beach, Oct. 15-17 (Source: SPACErePORT)
The NEXT-GEN-EXPO, planned on Oct. 15-17 in West Palm Beach, will unite global visionary leaders committed to developing the Next Generation products, companies, strategies And cities for a better world. Featured presenters include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Robert Zubrin, John Mankins (Space-Based Solar Power), Terence Martin (Space Island Project), Martha Catalina (Astronaut Teachers Alliance), and others. Click here for information. (8/25)

Space Artifacts Auction to Help Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (Source: Florida Today)
A flag flown to the moon, an autographed transcript of the Mercury Seven's first news conference and a piece of a space shuttle tire are among artifacts up for auction to raise money for college scholarships. Registration for the Titusville-based Astronaut Scholarship Foundation's semi-annual auction of artifacts and astronaut experiences opened Tuesday. Bids begin online Sept. 16 and culminate Sept. 25 at the Autographica show in England. (8/25)

Melbourne Board Backs Aerospace Jobs Potential (Source: Florida Today)
An advisory committee threw its support behind an unidentified aerospace company that could bring up to 200 jobs to Melbourne International Airport and said the City Council should do the same. The board that oversees the Melbourne Economic Enhancement District unanimously recommended that city leaders approve a resolution supporting Project Trident's pursuit of state job creation tax credits. The resolution would be on Melbourne City Council's meeting agenda for Sept. 7.

No one at the Tuesday morning meeting said who Project Trident is, but the airport's land development director Larry Wuensch, who also is an advisory committee member, said it is a publicly traded firm. The firm is looking to relocate one of its divisions, not the entire company, he said. (8/25)

Trapped Miners In Chile to Get NASA Help (Source:
With 33 miners trapped deep underground, Chile is seeking advice from NASA on how to keep the miners mentally and physically fit as they wait for a complicated rescue mission that could take months to complete. "We received a request from the Chilean government about advice related to our life science research," John Yembrick, a NASA spokesman, told

NASA, which routinely trains astronauts to cope with the isolation of months-long International Space Station missions, is providing survival tips to the miners, who could be trapped 2,300 feet (700 meters) below the Earth's surface for up to four months, according to press reports. (8/25)

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