September 2, 2010

Russian Cosmonauts Long for Hot Showers on Space Station (Source: RIA Novosti)
A team of Russian cosmonauts working at the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) are unhappy about the absence of hot showers onboard, a Russian cosmonaut said on Thursday. The U.S. segment of the station has a shower cabin that was delivered by the Endeavor shuttle in 2008. "There are wipes and towels onboard instead of a shower. It is not so easy to do without it for six months. Besides, it turned out that the towels we wipe ourselves with are not only damp, but also cold. Even if they are heated up a bit, they cool down very quickly," said Oleg Kotov, who recently returned from the orbiting platform. (9/2)

NASA: Only Two Asteroids Currently Fit Bill for Astronaut Visit (Source: AIA)
NASA says that it has identified only two asteroids that appear to be suitable destinations for astronauts in the next 20 years, but it says more could emerge as it gains knowledge about objects that pass within 28 million miles of Earth. President Barack Obama has set a goal of a manned mission reaching an asteroid by 2025, and a mission requires an asteroid that is large enough and that astronauts could reach within a few months of launch from Earth. (9/2)

Young Emirati Women Aim for the Stars at NASA (Source: The National)
On June 1, Shamma al Qassim boarded a plane bound for the US as the first Emirati woman to become a NASA intern. On Sunday, Reem Ketait will become the second. Ms. al Qassim, 19, along with two other Emirati students – Hazza Bani Malek, 20, and Hamad Rajab, 21 – spent 10 weeks training alongside NASA engineers as part of the Educational Associates program. Until a few months ago, the program admitted only US citizens. But thanks to an agreement between NASA and the RAK-based Arab Youth Venture Foundation, Emirati students may well become a regular feature at the Ames Research Center in California.

Garver: “A Lessening of Tensions” in the NASA Budget Debate (Source: Space Politics)
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver sounded an optimistic and even a bit of a conciliatory note about the ongoing debate in Congress about the future direction of the space agency. “All four bills, I believe, do acknowledge that there are things in our budget proposal that are important to do,” she said, mentioning the extension of the ISS and increased funding for Earth sciences as two examples of items supported in House and Senate versions of NASA authorization and appropriations legislation. However, she added, “we clearly still have priorities like fully funding the commercial crew element of the budget, like fully funding our technology portion of the budget.”

One additional area of concern she mentioned that has not gotten as much publicity is funding the transition and closeout of the Constellation program. The budget proposal includes $2.5 billion over two years for that, but Garver noted that no funding for that is included in any of the current Congressional legislation. “Just because you don’t have that in the budget doesn’t mean we’re not going to have to spend that money,” she warned. “Those dollars will have to be embedded in some of the other programs if it is not singled out in a line item.”

On heavy-lift, she said that NASA was “working with Congress to get a broader, deeper understanding” on how to go forward on this. She suggested that the agency didn’t feel it should be restricted on the design of an HLV by language such as that in the report accompanying the Senate’s authorization bill, which mandates a specific shuttle-derived approach. “We don’t feel that the best way to make those technical decisions is at the level of political leadership” but instead where the technical expertise resides at NASA and in industry. Political leadership, she said, can instead drive the “figures of merit” for such a system, such as affordability. (9/2)

San Diego Museum Plans 'Legends of Flight' Event on Oct. 23 (Source: SDASM)
"Join us on Saturday October 23, as we honor the accomplishments of famed air and space pioneers. They are the innovators, the scientists, the aviators, the engineers, the explorers who positively influenced the technologies we now take for granted. They made a difference in the lives of others and are the examples for our future generations to emulate. Don't miss this evening of a lifetime!" Click here for details. (9/2)

Editorial: Seattle Museum of Flight Deserves to Showcase a Space Shuttle (Source: Seattle Times)
Three museums will be given a space shuttle next year, when the shuttles are retired. Seattle's Museum of Flight should be one of them. Aerospace is in Seattle's blood. We design and build jet aircraft. Seattle developed the shuttle's heat-shielding tiles, at the University of Washington. Seattle has made its Museum of Flight one of the finest aircraft museums in the country — because flight is something people care about here. We have an astronaut, Bonnie Dunbar, as president of the museum.

NASA is insisting that all applicants have a space ready for a shuttle by July 2011. The Palmdale, Calif., people offer a hangar. The New York people have a barge. Seattle's Museum of Flight has broken ground on a beautiful glass building. Seattle is not Chicago or New York. But to them, a shuttle would be just another thing. Here, it would be part of our identity. (9/2)

Counting Down to Commercial Space Launches (Source: Technology Review)
A small fleet of privately developed spacecraft will head into orbit in the next few years--assuming that current levels of public and private funding can be sustained. If it happens, this will mark a new chapter in space exploration and research, as NASA comes to rely more on private companies for the technology to put manned and unmanned vehicles in space.

To develop their new spacecraft, these companies have received financial assistance from NASA for reaching various milestones under the so-called Commercial Orbital Transportation Services and Commercial Crew Development programs, which are oriented toward getting commercial providers to deliver cargo, and eventually crews, to the International Space Station. But since supplying the ISS is a somewhat limited market, and subject to the funding whims of Congress, the manufacturers hope to bring in additional revenue by opening up new markets for their vehicles. Click here for more. (9/2)

Frustration Grows Over Russian Rocket Stalemate (Source: Korea Times)
South Korea looks to rely on Russian technology to jumpstart its efforts to involve in the Asian space race, but engineers and officials here seem increasingly frustrated over being at the mercy of a capricious business partner. The country has bungled on its first two attempts to launch as satellite from the Naro spaceport in South Jeolla Province and claims that Russia’s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center bound by contract to provide a third attempt.

However, the Russians, who have clearly approached the Korean rocket project as an experiment on course of developing their next-generation Angara rockets, are reluctant to build any more Korea Space Launch Vehicles 1s (KSLV-1s). Fighting words are flying left and right between Korea’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Khrunichev Center as the discontent over the Russian rocket holdout becomes uglier and uglier.

The Khrunichev Center will fully burden the cost for building and transporting another KSLV-1, ministry officials said, and the new rocket will be launched at the Naro Space Center sometime during next year, ministry officials said. But the Khrunichev Center is now saying this isn’t true, claiming that there were no discussions over the possibility of an additional launch in the recent FRB meeting. The countries have yet to agree on what caused KSLV-1 to explode just two minutes into its June flight, and Khrunichev insisted that the decision over a third launch could only be possible after the investigation over the second launch is concluded. (9/2)

India to Build World's Largest Solar Telescope (Source: sify news)
India is inching closer towards building the world's largest solar telescope in Ladakh on the foothills of the Himalayas that aims to study the sun's microscopic structure. The National Large Solar Telescope (NLST) project has gathered momentum with a global tender floated for technical and financial bidding by the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA). It calls for expression of interest to design, manufacture and install the two-meter class solar telescope at a cost of around $31 million. (9/2)

Boeing Weather Satellite Accepted Into Service by NASA, NOAA (Source: Daily Breeze)
A Boeing-built satellite completed on-orbit testing and was accepted into service by NASA and NOAA. Boeing manufactured the satellite at its facility in El Segundo. GOES-15, Boeing's eighth Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, "completes the fleet of advanced meteorological satellites that Boeing designed, built and launched to provide enhanced weather monitoring over North America," said a Boeing official. (9/2)

Buzz Aldrin Calls for New Zealand to Help in Mars Exploration (Source: Stuff)
Moonwalk pioneer Buzz Aldrin says Australia and New Zealand should be part of an international coalition to explore and colonise Mars. International co-operation in space was very difficult and in many ways inefficient, the second man to walk on the moon said. "But I think if we can take the English-speaking people ... we can have American science, technology and bring together the UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa ... and have a togetherness organization," he said. (9/2)

China Publishes Official Chinese Names for Places on the Moon (Source: Xinhua)
China's Ministry of Civil Affairs has published the official Chinese names for places on the earth's moon, in a first that eliminates confusion and will help the nation's lunar exploration efforts. The ministry published the Chinese names for 468 places and will publish more at a later date. The International Astronomical Union has given names to more than 9,000 places on the moon, said a ministry official Thursday. The project to standardize Chinese lunar names was initiated by the ministry. The ministry is also drafting technical regulations for the naming of places on the moon in Chinese, according to the official. (9/2)

Russia Launches Navigation Satellites on Proton Rocket (Source:
A Proton rocket blasted off overnight Wednesday with three spacecraft to help expand Russia's Glonass satellite navigation system to provide positioning services around the world. The Proton rocket launched from pad 81 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where the first pink hues of sunrise splashed the dawn sky. (9/2)

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