September 28, 2010

Who Will Vote Against the Senate Bill? (Sources: Space Politics, SPACErePORT)
One person who hasn’t decided how to vote on the NASA Authorization Bill is Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL). His spokesman tells Florida Today that neither the Senate nor the House bills do enough to close the post-Shuttle gap and that Posey was “still evaluating the details of both the proposals”. Meanwhile, Ohio Congressmen Steve LaTourette (R) and Dennis Kucinich (D) are apparently urging other Ohio representatives to vote against the bill. The vote is expected to be a close one, and groups like the Commercial Spaceflight Federation are urging their members to reach out to their elected officials to recommend "yes" votes. (9/28)

ESA Previews Next Year's Budget Amid Tight Economy (Source:
Europe's top space official says his space agency is preparing for the same budget next year as this year, telling reporters he has received no indications that member states will reduce their contributions during an ongoing financial crisis. Jean-Jacques Dordain also said ESA's 18 member states have not said they need to cut their space funding beyond the levels agreed to in a spending freeze announced early this year. (9/28)

6 Hard Facts About NASA's Next Mars Rover (Source:
NASA's next Mars rover, the car-size Curiosity, is coming together piece by piece. The Mars rover Curiosity, also known as the Mars Science Laboratory, will launch in late 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Its main goal is to assess whether Mars ever had an environment capable of supporting microbial life, NASA officials have said. Click here to see six basic facts from NASA about Curiosity and its $2.3 billion mission. (9/28)

Finding E.T. May Become Harder If Aliens Go Digital (Source:
Scientists may have an extra challenge when it comes to detecting alien civilizations: a time limit. A new study suggests that intelligent aliens, if their technological progression is similar to that of humanity's, are likely to have moved away from noisy radio transmissions to harder-to-hear digital signals within a 100-year time frame. That offers Earth just a narrow window in which to pick up any signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. (9/28)

Chinese Lunar Probe Ready for Lift-off in October (Source: China Daily)
China's second lunar probe, the Chang'e-2, is set to blast off from Xichang, Sichuan province, with the launch possibly taking place on the National Day, media reports have said. The launch rocket, CZ-3C, has been erected with the Chang'e-2 on top, totaling nearly 80 meters in length. As of Saturday, the whole launch system had gone through three pre-launch maneuvers, Guangzhou Daily reported.The probe is likely to blast off from the No 2 launch pad on Oct 1 at the earliest. (9/28)

NASA Modifies Contract for Shared Services Center (Source: NASA)
NASA has awarded Computer Services Corporation (CSC) of Falls Church, Va., a modification to exercise the first option year under its existing contract. This is a one-year option period for the continuation of financial management, human resources, procurement and information technology support services to NASA. (9/28)

Griffin Urges House to Vote "No" on Senate NASA Authorization Bill (Source: Space Policy Online)
Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin disagrees with Rep. Bart Gordon that a flawed NASA authorization bill is better than no bill at all. In an email, Dr. Griffin argues that although the Senate bill is somewhat better than the Obama Administration's plan for NASA, "it is not enough better to warrant its support in law." His bottom line is that "If we cannot do better than that, then I believe we have reached the point where it is better to allow the damage which has been brought about by the administration's actions to play out to its conclusion than to accept half-measures in an attempt at remediation." (9/28)

UK 'Should Seek New Space Partners' (Source: ITN)
The UK should broaden its co-operation in space policy beyond Europe, according to a new report. The Commonwealth states, such as Australia, Canada and India, all have areas of space expertise which the UK could successfully co-operate on, says author Jim Bennett, a space expert with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Australia has extensive launch ranges, Canada has expertise in radar imaging satellites, and India has across-the-board capabilities including launch vehicles, satellites and now interplanetary probes, said a UK space official. (9/28)

Space Florida Launch Pad Among Recipients of Florida Defense Grants (Sources: SPACErePORT, EOG)
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist awarded $5.85 million in defense grants for projects to improve Florida’s defense economy for military installations and activities. Among the projects to be funded is an effort by Space Florida to refurbish Launch Complex 46 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport for new launch systems. A $500,000 grant will flow to Space Florida through the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast.

LC-46 is a U.S. Navy facility, developed originally for the Trident missile program. Space Florida plans to accommodate new solid-fueled rockets like the Air Force's Minotaur family of vehicles, and the new Athena-3 rocket being developed by Lockheed Martin and ATK. (9/28)

Northrop Grumman to Drop 500 Jobs on Expectation of Pentagon Cuts (Source: AIA)
Northrop Grumman announced Monday its plans to eliminate 500 jobs in its aerospace division, with most cuts taking place at its facilities in Redondo Beach and El Segundo, Calif. The layoffs come as the company braces for Pentagon spending cuts, and analysts say further job losses can be expected. (9/28)

NASA Compromise Could Spare Layoffs in Houston (Source: AIA)
A compromise between the White House and Congress over the future of NASA's manned space program, expected this week, would be crucial to Houston's Johnson Space Center and would likely prevent some of the estimated 1,100 aerospace layoffs that NASA contractors forecast before a deal was reached. The deal would affect NASA's moon program, add one shuttle flight and extend operations of the orbiting space station, while delivering 75% of the $812 million the White House wanted to support commercial spacecraft. (9/28)

AIA Offers Recommendations for National Security Space Industrial Base (Source: AIA)
Aggressive actions are needed now to retain the ability of our national security space industrial base to sustain and modernize the space systems that assure American pre-eminence in space and help guarantee our national security. AIA released a report that outlines recommendations to avoid a crisis and maintain a healthy U.S. space industry. Click here to download the report. (9/28)

UK Urged to Expand Cooperation on Space Policy (Source: The Independent)
The UK should broaden its co-operation in space policy beyond Europe, according to a new report. The UK Space Agency must seek to take advantage of NASA's international co-operative programs, which the UK has failed to do in the past, according to the study for the Economic Policy Center. The Commonwealth states, such as Australia, Canada and India, all have areas of space expertise which the UK could successfully co-operate on, says author Jim Bennett, a space expert with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. (9/28)

Santa Rosa Start-Up Wins Hylas 2 Satellite Job (Source: Press Democrat)
A Santa Rosa tech startup is supplying key technology for a $435 million communications satellite that will beam wireless broadband to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “It's really fantastic,” said Simi Ghiasvand, president of SenarioTek, a small test-and-measurement business located near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. It's a big win for a group of ex-Agilent engineers who formed their own company six years ago. SenarioTek won the Hylas 2 satellite contract in an open bid competition with several larger rivals. (9/28)

SpaceX Rocket Demo Delayed (Source: Florida Today)
SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 demonstration flight for NASA is being pushed back to early November to give technicians, engineers and managers additional time to prepare for the launch. The Falcon 9 and a Dragon cargo carrier are being targeted for liftoff Nov. 8 or Nov. 9 at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The mission had been scheduled to blast off Sept. 23.

Originally slated to fly in 2008, the demonstration flight is being carried out under a $1.6 billion NASA contract aimed at developing a commercial sector option for launching supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. The contract calls for three test flights and 12 missions to deliver cargo to the station. Editor's Note: Given SpaceX's use of a Shuttle SRB retrieval ship to recover the Falcon-9 first stage, the Falcon-9 mission would experience a day-for-day slip if the Space Shuttle's Nov. 1 mission is delayed. (9/28)

Lawmakers Vote on NASA's Direction Tomorrow (Source: Florida Today)
A U.S. House vote expected Wednesday could spare NASA months of confusion as a new fiscal year starts Friday without an approved budget. Lawmakers likely will vote on the NASA authorization act already approved by the Senate, said the chairman of the House committee overseeing NASA policy. "For the sake of providing certainty, stability and clarity to the NASA work force and larger space community, I felt it was better to consider a flawed bill than no bill at all as the new fiscal year begins," said Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn. (9/28)

British Satellite Fleet to be Launched Into Space (Source: Telegraph)
The three spacecraft, which are built in Surrey, will be sent into orbit in 2013 to map the surface of the Earth in a project worth £100m. Cameras on board will show the planet in images down to the last meter, meaning individual trees, manhole covers and individual footballs should be visible from space.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, which is making the 300kg 'craft with its data processing subsidiary DMCii, will make money by selling time on the cameras to countries or organizations which do cannot afford their own satellite program. Sir Martin Sweeting, executive chairman of SSTL, said "This constellation of three satellites will be owned and operated from the UK but the capacity on the spacecraft will be leased to different international customers. (9/28)

Matrix Composites Achieves AS9100 Certification (Source: Matrix)
Matrix Composites has been certified to ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100:2004 Rev B. following a comprehensive assessment of the Company’s Quality Management System and operations supporting the Design, Development, Fabrication, and Assembly of Precision Composite Structures. “Certification to the highest quality standards set for the aerospace industry is another important milestone in our growth strategy” said President and CEO David Nesbitt. (9/27)

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