September 11, 2010

Japan Launches Navigation Satellite on H-2 Rocket (Source:
An H-2A rocket flew to space Saturday with a Japanese satellite to meet a pressing need for improved navigation services amid the country's numerous mountains and high-rise buildings. The rocket's payload is the first of three planned satellites to fill coverage gaps from U.S. Global Positioning System satellites caused by signal blockage from mountains and skyscrapers. (9/11)

The Big Rockets Jostle for Market Share (Source: BBC)
"We call it a Honda, not a Ferrari." That is Gwynne Shotwell's description of the Falcon 9 rocket which completed its successful maiden flight in June. Already, it has a queue of spacecraft operators who want to use it. The most high-profile contract to date is probably the one with satellite phone company Iridium, which will send most of its 66-spacecraft, next-generation constellation into orbit on Falcons. A big part of the attraction has to do with price. SpaceX prices are about a third lower than its competitors - some $12,000 per kilo to geostationary orbit (GEO) compared with something just over $20,000.

The business of launching big commercial satellites - the ones that provide our TV and telephony/data services - is dominated by just two companies right now: Arianespace and International Launch Services who fly the Ariane 5 and the Proton, respectively. Between them, they'll put 18 large commercial satellites in GEO this year, and it's fair to say they're not keen on seeing other rockets join the fray.

But, that's precisely what's about to happen. As well as SpaceX, the market will soon see the return from bankruptcy of Sea Launch, the company that lofts its rockets from a converted oil rig in the Pacific. The American Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets dally with commercial work occasionally. The Chinese, too, have aspirations in this field, although their participation is hampered by trade restrictions that prevent US satellite components entering China. (9/11)

Boeing May Have Interest in Buying Northrop (Source: LA Times)
Speculation about a merger is fueled by a Boeing executive's comment that the company is exploring purchases of unmanned aircraft and cyber security businesses — fields in which Northrop is a key player. The aerospace industry is bracing for major consolidation among contractors, and Boeing could lead the way in a colossal merger with Northrop Grumman Corp. that would create the world's largest defense contractor.

The possibility of such a combination arose this week after a Boeing executive disclosed that the Chicago aerospace and defense contractor is actively looking at potential acquisition opportunities amid prospects of sharp cuts in defense spending. Neither company would comment. Defense industry analysts said a possible merger of the two makes financial sense for Boeing. But government approval of such a deal would be far from certain, they said. (9/11)

Hot Earths Have Atmospheres of Rock (Source: Astronomy Now)
Hot rocky exoplanets may have atmospheres of vaporised rock, says Brian Jackson of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, USA at the Exoclimes conference at the University of Exeter. He adds that these planets, which are likened to the planet Mercury, do not completely expose their rocky surface to the Sun thanks to the planet’s exosphere – the uppermost, thin layer of vaporized rocky material which is composed of elements from the surface of the exoplanet. It is these exospheres which provide clues to the planet’s composition. (9/10)

Space Access Society Urges Action Against House Bill (Source: Parabolic Arc)
"We have a chance to head off HR.5781 at the pass over the next 24 hours. The House will be back in session starting next Tuesday 9/14, and is scheduled to remain in session through the first week of October. Only legislation formally placed on the House Calendar will be considered, and the contents of the Calendar will be decided before the end of this week, by Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader. We ask that you call your Representative’s DC office in the next 24 hours.

Editor's Note: The AIA automated letter generator allows users to customize letters that will be automatically sent to the appropriate elected officials. (9/11)

What Kind Of Top-Secret Assassination Tech Does $58 Billion Buy? (Source: Popular Science)
...By leaving the Earth’s atmosphere and traveling at 15,000 mph, an intercontinental ballistic missile can reach any point in the world within 30 minutes. Take the nuclear warhead off, and it becomes a conventionally armed Prompt Global Strike weapon. But until Washington and Moscow find a way to distinguish conventionally armed ICBMs from nuclear ones, firing an ICBM at Afghanistan with the intention of killing even just one person could trigger a nuclear war.

An alternative is a hypersonic weapon, essentially a cruise missile faster than anything in today’s conventional arsenal. The Pentagon is conducting at least five hypersonic or near-hypersonic research efforts, including the Air Force’s X-51 WaveRider, which used a scramjet engine to accelerate to Mach 6 in May; the Navy’s Revolutionary Approach to Time-Critical Long-Range Strike project, known as RATTLRS; and the DARPA-sponsored HyFly, a dual-combustion ramjet. (Ramjets and scramjets achieve rocket-like speeds without the heavy burden of liquid oxygen by mixing jet fuel with compressed air that enters the engine from the atmosphere.)

The proliferation of hypersonic research may mean that the Pentagon has faith in the technology. But it also makes black-budget watchers like John Pike suspicious. Pike believes the military’s hypersonic programs may just be a cover for yet another black project. Although this could just be typical Pentagon duplication, Pike sees something more suspicious. “If I was building a cover for something, I would either reduce the signal or increase the noise,” he says. “I think they’re increasing the noise.” (9/11)

Politicians Throw Weight Behind Museums' Shuttle Bids (Source: Seattle PI)
If you thought politics wouldn't play a part in who got a retired space shuttle orbiter, well, nobody really thought that, right? On Wednesday, the New York Daily News quoted Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., saying a number of sources had told him that New York's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum has the inside track to land a shuttle. "I believe we are in good shape," Schumer said. "It's not a done deal, but the arguments we have made about why the shuttle belongs in New York are resonating." Schumer said in the story that New York has stiff competition from at least two other cities, which he refused to name. He said he is hearing that a decision will be announced in the next "few weeks."

One of the contestants is Seattle's Museum of Flight. So I queried members of Washington's delegation. "We have been working on this," said John Diamond, press secretary for Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee. "We got some language put in the NASA reauthorization bill that was designed to kind of help the cause in terms of a possible Seattle bid," Diamond said, adding that Schumer and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, sought to tweak that language on the Senate floor to advance the bids of the New York museum and the National Museum of the United States Air Force, outside of Dayton, Ohio. (9/10)

Space Policy Debate Set To Resume With New Issues (Source: Aviation Week)
U.S. human spaceflight could take off in any direction as lawmakers buckle down to a high-pressure pre-election session before fleeing Capitol Hill for the mid-term elections, including deciding whether to begin work on a shuttle-derived heavy-lift launcher next year under a new NASA concept.

Congressional staffers worked behind the scenes last week to hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions of new legislation authorizing NASA programs for the next three years; but publicly, the two chambers remained even more divided than before the August recess. The House Science and Technology Committee, which had endorsed a loan-guarantee scheme to support development of a commercial crew transportation industry, dropped that approach after the Congressional Budget Office found it too expensive.

That leaves the Obama administration’s dramatic shift away from government crew vehicles dangling as the two chambers try to reconcile their NASA authorization bills. The White House favors commercial-crew language that has passed the full Senate, which retains $612 million of the $810 million in the original NASA request for commercial spaceflight in Fiscal 2011. But members of the House panel—which has yet to get its bill to the House floor—appear to be hardening their opposition to the commercial approach. (9/10)

NASA HEFT Plan Meshes With Senate Authorization (Source: Aviation Week)
NASA's House and Senate authorization bills both call for the government to develop its own crew vehicle and a way to launch it, and the Senate bill specifies a heavy-lift launcher able to put 70-100 tons of payload into low Earth orbit without an upper stage, and should be able raise that to at least 130 tons with an upper stage capable to moving beyond LEO.

That would mesh nicely with a new space-exploration architecture generated by the Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT) set up at NASA to flesh out the broad-brush exploration strategy implicit in the agency’s Fiscal 2011 budget request. The team of managers and subject experts from across the agency produced an approach to meeting President Barack Obama’s April 15 call for a human landing on an asteroid in the mid-2020s en route to a human Mars mission a decade later.

The HEFT approach would begin work on a heavy-lift vehicle meeting the Senate requirement next year. Agency launch-vehicle experts concluded this summer that a heavy lifter based on the space shuttle would be the fastest way to get a new U.S. booster. The vehicle would start out as an 'in-line' shuttle stack without the orbiter, with twin four-segment solid boosters. For a 100-ton capability, the solid motors would be stretched to five segments. Two additional SSME liquid engines would be added, for five in total. (9/10)

Orion Testing Continues At Michoud (Source: Aviation Week)
The first Orion capsule passed a structural proof pressure test at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La., on Aug. 30. The proof test article will be used for ground and flight evaluations, which will correlate test data with analytical models to validate Orion’s flight design engineering. Tests included pressurizing the spacecraft up to 15.55 lb. per sq. in. (1.05 atmospheres) to check for leaks in the friction-stir welded aluminum-lithium alloy structure.

Prime contractor Lockheed Martin is now outfitting the test unit with its final configuration of interior and exterior mass and volume simulators. The installation includes secondary structure, simulated astronauts, instrumentation, heat shields and other equipment. Around December the Orion will be delivered to the company’s Denver, Colo., facility for performance testing in an acoustic chamber. (9/10)

RapidEye in Hunt for New Equity Financing (Source: Space News)
Commercial Earth imagery supplier RapidEye AG is looking to raise 20 million euros ($26 million) in equity to manage its expansion into new product areas and has hired an investment consultant for the task, RapidEye Chief Executive Wolfgang G. Biedermann said Sept. 10. RapidEye's five satellites entered service in 2009. The Brandenburg, Germany-based company reported about 10 million euros in revenue for the year, with most of the business generated in the second half. For 2010, RapidEye is targeting about 25 million euros in revenue. Equity capital is not needed to prepare RapidEye’s second-generation system, but to give the company a more-solid base to handle its growth. (9/10)

New Services, Financing Could Boost Satcom (Source: Aviation Week)
Satellite manufacturers and launch providers think strong demand for new services, coupled with the availability of export credit agency financing, may largely compensate for an expected dip in replacement-satellite buys, helping to avoid a severe order downturn. (9/10)

Texas NASA Contractors Get Help Finding New Jobs (Source: Govt. Executive)
Lone Star State federal contractors who lose their jobs as NASA's space shuttle program is retired will receive assistance from the Obama administration in finding new work. The Labor Department announced Thursday it would provide a $5.4 million grant to the Texas Workforce Commission to assist roughly 600 former contractor employees, most of whom worked at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. The funding will give displaced workers access to employment services, including skills assessments, job training and career counseling. (9/10)

Leak to Reduce Lifespan of China's Sinosat-6 (Source: Space News)
The Chinese Sinosat-6 satellite launched Sept. 5 has a leak in its helium-pressurization system that likely will force ground teams to resort to exceptional measures to bring it into operational orbit that will result in a reduced operational life. The problem, which resembles glitches on two European telecommunications satellites launched in recent years, will trigger an insurance claim estimated at around $60 million, according to one industry official.

Sinosat-6, designed to last for 15 years in geostationary orbit, may secure a 10-year operating life, depending on how serious the leak is. Owned by China Satellite Communications Corp of Beijing, the satellite was insured for $200 million for a total loss, with partial losses resulting in a pro rata claim in most cases. Chinese underwriters took about one-third of the coverage, with Western insurers taking the rest, according to one official. (9/10)

U.S. Talks with Allies About Buying Into WGS (Source: Space News)
The U.S. Air Force is in discussion with a number of allied nations about possibly funding construction of the ninth Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) communications satellite in exchange for access to the constellation, Boeing officials said. Boeing in August was awarded a $182 million contract from the service to begin buying long-lead parts associated with the seventh spacecraft in the series. By the end of the year, Boeing expects to have a contract in place that fully funds WGS-7, partially funds WGS-8, and includes options for four additional clone spacecraft. (9/10)

More on HEFT (Source: Space News)
NASA's Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT) spent four months looking at the hardware that would be needed to heed the president’s call for sending astronauts to an asteroid by 2025. They designed a human asteroid mission that could launch several years past Obama’s 2025 deadline, recommending that NASA begin work immediately on a space shuttle-derived heavy-lift rocket (skipping the five years of exploratory research Obama proposed). “There is no benefit to delaying work” on the heavy-lifter, said HEFT charts.

The HEFT’s preliminary assessment found key elements of the president’s plans untenable and recommended retaining Orion for deep space missions. Before proposing a shuttle-derived design that represents NASA’s best choice for an exploration-class rocket capable of boosting 100 metric tons into orbit, the HEFT considered a heavy-lift design that would incorporate kerosene-fueled main engines and boosters of the sort the Obama administration has talked about developing under its $3 billion heavy-lift propulsion research initiative.

However, building such a rocket, the HEFT charts say, would cost more than NASA could afford without help from the U.S. Defense Department, which currently relies on the Russian-built RD-180 kerosene engine to power the Atlas-5. The HEFT plan incorporates the Orion crew capsule, but says building a crew lifeboat for the station “diverts near-term resources” that could be better aligned with exploration beyond low Earth orbit. (9/10)

China's Next Moon Probe to Be Faster, Better Than First (Source:
China's second moon probe will launch this year and will fly faster and reach lunar orbit sooner than its predecessor, Chang'e-1, according to the country's state-run media. The new probe, Chang'e-2, is set to launch in late 2010, China's Xinhua news agency reported. It is the second step in China's three-phase Chang'e moon exploration program, named after China's mythical Moon Goddess. Chang'e-3 is slated to land on the moon in 2013. (9/10)

Space Colonists Could Use Bacteria to Mine Minerals on Mars and the Moon (Source: Scientific American)
Microbes currently are used in mining to help recover metals such as gold, copper and uranium. Now researchers suggest bacteria could be enlisted for "bio-mining" in space, to extract oxygen, nutrients and minerals from extraterrestrial bodies such as the moon and Mars for use by future colonists there. More than a quarter of the world's copper supply is currently harvested from ores using microorganisms. As such, geomicrobiologists reasoned that microbes could get drafted for use in space exploration as well—"it's just a question of transferring that technology to other planetary surfaces...It would be a way of living off the land in space." (9/10)

UK Space Agency Needs Continuous Thrust (Source: BBC)
MPs have now taken both written and oral submissions in their probe into the new UK Space Agency. Some of the leading lights in the British space sector went before the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday to give their "thrupp'nce" on the topic. There were no major headlines but we did get some insight into the progress - or lack of it, depending on your point of view - of the move towards a new way of doing space in the UK. Click here to read the article. (9/10)

Wallops Island Rocket Launch Set for Tuesday (Source: Virginian-Pilot)
NASA has scheduled its next suborbital rocket launch for Tuesday morning. The launch of the Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket will happen between 8 and 11 a.m. at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility, according to NASA. The backup dates are Wednesday and Thursday. (9/10)

Utah State Second in Nation for Space Research Funding (Source: USU)
Utah State University is the number two university in the United States when it comes to funding for space research, joining the ranks among other prestigious research institutions that include Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With more than $51.8 million in research and development expenditures in 2008, USU ranks second among all universities in the nation in money spent on aerospace research and development, according to the most recent National Science Foundation statistics. The majority of the funding comes from grants, contracts and appropriations.

The top 10 universities in aeronautical research are, in order of their ranking, Johns Hopkins University, Utah State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Wichita State University, U.S. Air Force Academy, Texas A&M University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Colorado and Mississippi State University. (9/10)

House NASA Bill Draws Protests Ahead of Possible Vote (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A vote on the House NASA authorization bill — seen in some quarters as an attempt to revive the Constellation moon program’s controversial Ares rockets – appears to be looming despite protests from 20 members, including Suzanne Kosmas, D-New Smyrna beach, that the bill needs to do more for commercial space. The bill has gained the support of former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and other Constellation supporters opposed to president’ Barack Obama’s plans to cancel the program. Ahead of the vote, some of the bill’s detractors, gathered under the banner “Reform Space Now”, have made a video attacking the bill, calling it “pork”. (9/10)

Space Pork and Astronaut Nepotism (Source: National Review)
Space policy isn’t typically high on the voters’ agenda, but this year, the issue has been a venue for pork-filled congressional antics. In February, NASA announced a change in direction. Their previous plan had involved building an unaffordable new rocket, Ares I, to get astronauts to low-Earth orbit. The new NASA plan is much more cost-effective; better yet, it’s a baby step toward a market-based approach to space. It involves using competitive and redundant commercial providers to get astronauts into orbit. But Congress has different ideas for the space agency.

While some congressmen were bemoaning the supposed “end of U.S. human spaceflight,” an authorization bill was proposed in the House that would essentially force NASA to resurrect the Ares program (though still without enough funding to successfully execute it). The House bill also slashes the requested budget for paying commercial companies to deliver astronaut crews into orbit. The space subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.), tried unsuccessfully to ram this bill through the House in August. Next week, her committee will try again. Why are they doing this?

It would appear to be a combination of nepotism and pork. Representative Giffords happens to be married to Mark Kelly, an astronaut who has been assigned to the next (and possibly last) space-shuttle mission this fall. Kelly also worked on the old NASA program (not the Ares rocket, but a related part) and has been an outspoken advocate for that unsustainable approach. Yet Representative Giffords has not recused herself on this issue, let alone declined the committee chairmanship, despite the clear conflict of interest. Click here to read the article. (9/10)

NASA's Constellation Hallucination and the Congressional Money Drug (Source: Huffington Post)
In the coming weeks some in Congress will try to kill America's future in space as they desperately work to prop up the tax sucking, pork eating dream murdering monster known as the Constellation rocket program. Right now a bought and paid for cabal of hypocritical puppets in the House and Senate are trying to prop up this corpse of a dead end plan to go to the Moon and Mars that not only failed to deliver on President Bush's promise of a permanent U.S. presence in space, but continues to eat the budgets of the very exploration it was meant to support.

Worse, in order to line the pockets of a few old space contractors, those who support what I call the Constellation Hallucination want to block President Obama's plan to re-invigorate our space program that gets NASA back to exploring by kickstarting our commercial NewSpace transportation industry. With some democrats turning against their own president and so-called conservatives lying to their own constituents about the choice between their strangely socialist space agenda and the NewSpace frontier enabling Obama's space plan, it is obviously all about the money -- our money, and making sure it goes into the right pockets, not into opening space.

Those defending the status quo with hollow arguments that the president's plan is destroying our space program have succeeded so far in confusing the public as to what this is all about, and worse, made American enterprise look like the bad guys while defending a NASA human spaceflight status quo that has been a failure to launch when it comes to the dreams they have peddled us for all the decades since Apollo. Click here to read the article. (9/10)

Ex-NASA Administrator: Congress Will Shape U.S. Space Strategy, Not Obama (Source: Huntsville Times)
While President Barack Obama's vision for America's space program has generated much debate, Congress will have the final word. That's according to a speech Thursday by Mike Griffin to the Space Transportation Association in Washington. "We are no longer facing a future in which the administration's proposal is one of the possible outcomes," Griffin said in his speech.

Griffin has been one of Obama's harshest critics in the space industry. Griffin stepped down as NASA administrator in January 2009 as Obama was coming into office. There are differences in the bills being written in the Senate and House. But there is common ground, Griffin said. "The Congress, while not yet unified as to what the nation should do in space, is clearly unified in regard to what will not be done," Griffin said.

"The Senate has passed an authorization bill that takes a more mature approach to human space exploration," Griffin said, "and the House Science and Technology Committee has issued a draft bill which is even better. "As is to be expected, differences exist between the two bills, but either represents a substantial practical improvement over the administration's proposal." (9/10)

NASA Announces Strategic Sustainability Plan (Source: NASA)
NASA has released its Strategic Sustainability and Performance Plan (SSPP) as part of a government-wide effort to achieve goals without compromising the planet's resources. The plan focuses on reducing greenhouse emissions, preventing pollution, increasing water use efficiency and constructing and maintaining high performance, sustainable buildings. The plan follows President Obama's executive order to increase federal effectiveness in pursuing these "green" goals and includes guidance for evaluating effectiveness and providing updates and review. Click here to see it. (9/10)

HUD Gives Brevard More Housing Money (Source: Florida Today)
Brevard County will get an additional $3 million and Titusville an extra $1 million to help buy abandoned homes in neighborhoods hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced. The new money is part of $1 billion awarded to communities across the nation. The money is contained in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. (9/10)

Slipped Nut Puts Discovery's Connection to External Tank On Hold (Source: Florida Today)
Kennedy Space Center teams have paused their operation to mate Discovery to an external tank after a nut that fastens to a separation bolt fell out of position late this morning inside the rear section of the orbiter. Engineers gathered at 11:30 a.m. to determine how to correct the problem. Discovery rolled into the Vehicle Assembly Building on Thursday morning and was hoisted into a high bay where a tank and twin solid rocket boosters awaited on a mobile launcher platform. (9/10)

Space Coast Energy Symposium Attracts Broad Audience (Source: SPACErePORT)
From Space-Based Solar Power to alternative-fuel vehicles, the Space Coast Energy Symposium planned for Sep. 14 in Cocoa is attracting a broad array of panelists, exhibitors and attendees from industry, academia and government. They want to leverage the region's space-related companies and workforce to build a diversified energy-centric economy. Among the exhibitors now confirmed for the event is Embry-Riddle's EcoCAR, part of a collegiate competition that allows students to design advanced technologies into a competition vehicle.

Unfortunately, the event occurs after the Congressional recess, so staff members will attend on behalf of elected officials like Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, Sen. George LeMieux, Sen. Bill Nelson, and Rep. Bill Posey. State and local elected officials are also planning to attend, as will candidates challenging them in the upcoming elections. Over 200 people are expected to register for the event. Click here for details. (9/10)

U.S. Regulators Approve Energia’s Purchase of Sea Launch (Source: Space News)
The U.S. government has approved the purchase by a Russian space hardware builder of commercial launch service provider Sea Launch Co., an event that should trigger the flow of cash to the launch operator in the coming weeks, Sea Launch President Kjell Karlsen said Sept. 10. Karlsen said the interagency U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on Sept. 9 gave its approval for the purchase of Sea Launch by Energia, a large Russian space hardware manufacturer that has long been a Sea Launch shareholder and contractor. (9/10)

China Signs Accord for Greenhouse Gas Mission (Source: Space News)
German space hardware manufacturer OHB Technology has signed an agreement with the Chinese government with a view to developing a small constellation of satellites to measure methane and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, OHB announced. Bremen-based OHB and several partners in Europe have been working in recent months on a constellation called CarbonSat, which company officials say ideally will be a multinational effort including China. China, whose economic growth has made it a principal source of greenhouse gases, is unlikely to agree to stiff measures to reduce global warming unless it has its own data to verify the severity of the problem, OHB officials have said. (9/10)

The Fight's On to Keep a Retired Space Shuttle in Florida (Source: WTSP)
They've flown from Florida for 30 years, but there's a very real chance once the space shuttles are retired, you'll have to travel more than 1,000 miles to see one on display. One by one, after their final flights this year and next, America's three priceless space shuttle orbiters will be sent off to museums. The application process to get one is high-stakes, and despite the fact that every space shuttle has lifted off from here and more than half have landed here, there's no guarantee any of the ships will stay in Florida.

"There are so many men and women in Brevard County and around the area who supported every single mission for almost 30 years now," said Bill Moore, whose Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex wants desperately to be a retirement home for one of the shuttle orbiters. "This is its home. And this is where they belong," he said. To display a "flown" orbiter," the complex's existing Shuttle Plaza -- which is currently home to a launch simulator ride, a full-size mockup of a black-and-white shuttle orbiter, and real rocket boosters and an orange fuel tank -- would be enclosed in a monstrous hangar several stories tall. (9/10)

Defense Industry Apprehensive About Gates' Retirement (Source: AIA)
The defense industry is demonstrating a mixed reaction to suggestions that Defense Secretary Robert Gates may retire. While Gates has slashed many big budget items, such as the Air Force's F-22 Raptor program, he is also credited with being a strong supporter of predictable growth. Some are hesitant to discuss Gates' possible departure at all. "I think those who have made a job of predicting Secretary Gates' next move have often been proven wrong, so I'm not going to put myself in that category," said Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association. (9/10)

Utah Aerospace Industry Takes Off With $100M New ATK Plant (Source: AIA)
ATK Aerospace Systems says it will invest as much as $100 million in a new manufacturing facility in Clearfield, Utah, that will create 802 high-paying jobs over the next 20 years. The facility will be used to make composite frames and engine structures for military and commercial planes. ATK's announcement immediately followed the groundbreaking ceremony for another Utah aerospace development -- a new $19.5 million manufacturing plant being built by Janicki Industries, which will make composite parts intended largely for ATK. (9/10)

NextGen Test Center Unveiled in Daytona Beach (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
A research center at Daytona Beach International Airport on Thursday offered the first demonstration of a $50 million project that's being called the future of air-traffic-control technology. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach is running one of the nation's only three locations to test "NextGen," the FAA program to upgrade air-traffic control from radar to satellite-based technology.

U.S. Rep. John L. Mica said the test facility unveiled in Daytona Beach will revolutionize the aviation system and be an economic boon to Central Florida. "This will set the blueprint for the future," Mica said. "Central Florida will be the leader not only in the nation, but in the world, for developing these systems. The research here will lead to the manufacturing, the software and systems development with a great potential for jobs and economic development."

Embry-Riddle is partnering with aerospace companies for the test facility, which will open in February and will be equipped to test satellite-based programs and technology that would supplement, and could potentially replace, radar. The university, which will run the test site at the Daytona airport, is expected to receive up to $50 million for the facility through 2014. FAA officials have only two other test sites for NextGen, in Atlantic City, N.J., and at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas. (9/10)

AIA Urges Letters to President Obama, Congress Supporting Space (Source: AIA)
The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) is encouraging people to send a message to President Barack Obama and Congress to support initiatives that will keep the U.S. space program strong. Learn more and send your note at

Editor's Note: The automated AIA letter generator allows letters to be customized, so you can specifically ask your elected representatives to support whichever NASA Authorization bill you like best, or recommend support for specific elements of NASA's space exploration plan. (9/10)

National Aerospace Week Begins Sunday! (Source: AIA)
Are you ready to celebrate National Aerospace Week? Running Sept. 12 to 18, the week commemorates the work of more than 800,000 aerospace and defense workers in the U.S. and the contributions our industry has made to the economy. Check out the blog, send a letter to Congress, or see what events are planned in your area at (9/10)

Shelton To Lead Space Command (Source: DOD Buzz)
Lt. Gen. William Shelton, Air Force assistant vice chief of staff and air staff director, will be nominated for a fourth star and has been proposed to lead Air Force Space Command. A key factor in Shelton’s promotion may well be that he played what one source says was “a key” role in the February 2008 shoot down of US 193, the highly classified but failed reconnaissance satellite. At the time, Shelton was commander of Strategic Command’s joint functional component command for space. All this highlights what is clearly a strong ability on Shelton’s part to execute joint operations, something Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz both highly prize. (9/10)

Boeing Teams Up With Space Tour Firm (Source: MSNBC)
Space Adventures, the Virginia-based company that has worked with the Russians to send seven millionaires to the International Space Station, says it has reached "a unique agreement" with Boeing on space transportation services — and executives from both companies will be talking about the deal next week. A news briefing will be conducted Wednesday at Boeing's offices in Arlington, Va. Speakers will include Brewster Shaw, vice president and general manager of Boeing's space exploration division (and a former astronaut); as well as Eric Anderson, co-founder and chairman of Space Adventures. (9/10)

Pinellas Students Make Call to International Space Station (Source: St. Petersburg Times)
Former astronaut Bob Springer answered questions Thursday from middle school students at the Pinellas Science Center. Space-related demonstrations were led by an educational specialist from Kennedy Space Center as part of a program of space-related activities for area students. Pinellas County middle and high school students also put a call in to the International Space Station on Thursday, with a communications link provided by NASA and help from the Science Center of Pinellas and hundreds of other kids who came to watch.

As the space station orbited 220 miles above Earth, excited students gathered in the science center's auditorium and about 15 got to ask three U.S. astronauts questions. "Oh, my gosh, it was mind-blowing, it really was," Donisha Pate, a 15-year-old sophomore at St. Petersburg Collegiate High, said after asking a question about robotics. "Not everyone gets this opportunity, this chance to be able to talk to someone in outer space." (9/10)

NASA, DOE Agree to Clean Up Their Portion at Rocket Test Site (Source: Camarillo Acorn)
Negotiations took a turn for the better last week in the more than 30-year battle to rid the Santa Susana Field Laboratory of its chemical and radiological contamination. The state of California reached a tenative agreement with two of the three parties responsible for the pollution at the former rocket engine and nuclear test site in the hills above the west San Fernando Valley.

After months of negotiations, the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced last Friday that NASA and the Department of Energy (DOE) have agreed to clean up their portions of the field lab to meet the strict environmental standards set by Senate Bill 990. There’s still the issue of getting Boeing, which controls around 2,100 of the field lab’s 2,850 total acres, to come to terms. (9/10)

China to Launch Next Lunar Space Mission (Source: AFP)
China is on track to launch its second lunar satellite by year's end, as the country pursues its plans for a manned mission to the moon by 2020, state media said Friday. Preparations for the launch of the Chang'e-2 probe, which will go into orbit within 15 kilometres (nine miles) of the moon, are going smoothly, People's Daily said, citing Wu Weiren, a senior engineer overseeing the program.

The Chang'e-2 mission "is currently undergoing pre-launch testing and preparations -- the plan is to carry out a trial flight mission by the end of the year," the paper quoted Wu as saying. Space programme officials had said previously that the mission would be launched in October, but no precise date has been given. (9/10)

Space Station Cargo Vessel Launched from Baikonur (Source:
A robotic Russian resupply ship to service the International Space Station successfully soared into orbit Friday carrying two-and-a-half tons of cargo, food and water for the high-flying laboratory. The Progress freighter blasted off atop a Soyuz booster from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and quickly disappeared into the overcast sky. The liftoff had been delayed two days because of high winds at the remote launch site. (9/10)

AIA and Embry-Riddle Plan Free Executive Webinars During National Aerospace Week (Source: AIA)
Join the Aerospace Industries Association and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University during National Aerospace Week for two national executive Webinars focused on Aerospace Leadership, Business Outlook and Strategy. On Sep. 14 at 2:00 p.m., Dr. Kees Rietsema of Embry-Riddle's Center for Aviation and Aerospace Leadership, and Dr. Ken Jennings of ThirdRiver Partners, will discuss Leadership in the Aerospacce and Aviation Industry.

On Sep. 15 at 1:00 p.m. another free webinar will feature Brig. General Robert Mansfield (USAF-Ret.) and Bruce Ellis, both of Embry-Riddle's Center for Aviation and Aerospace Leadership. Their focus will be on Aerospace Business Outlook and Strategy. Participation in the webinars is free of charge. Click here for information and registration. (9/10)

Embry-Riddle Offers Certificate Courses in Aerospace Safety (Source: ERAU)
The Office of Professional Programs at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers stellar, educational opportunities for professionals and organizations in the aviation/aerospace industry. Embry-Riddle's Center for Aerospace Safety / Security Education (CASE) Courses include Accident Investigation and Management, Aviation Safety Management and Occupational Safety and Health/Aviation Ground Safety. Completion of these three courses results in the Certificate of Management in Aviation Safety, which combines the latest in safety, security, human-error and aircraft accident investigation topics in a professional and dynamic classroom environment. Click here for info. (9/10)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It’s really interesting that BrahMos is going hypersonic in the new version. I wonder how it will compare to X-51 Waverider. Here are some amazing videos of both hypersonic missiles at