September 3, 2010

NASA Proposes System to Power Spacecraft with Earth's Magnetic Field (Source: AIA)
NASA is preparing a bid to demonstrate an innovative, chemical-free technology that would propel spacecraft without fuel but with the use of a tether that generates an electric current that pushes against Earth's magnetic field. In addition to propelling spacecraft, the tether could lower a satellite's orbit to allow it to more quickly re-enter Earth's atmosphere at the end of its life and avoid becoming another piece of space debris. (9/3)

NASA Selects Investigations for First Mission to Encounter the Sun (Source: NASA)
NASA has begun development of a mission to visit and study the sun closer than ever before. The unprecedented project, named Solar Probe Plus, is slated to launch no later than 2018. The small car-sized spacecraft will plunge directly into the sun's
atmosphere approximately four million miles from our star's surface.

As the spacecraft approaches the sun, its revolutionary carbon-composite heat shield must withstand temperatures exceeding 2550 degrees Fahrenheit and blasts of intense radiation. The spacecraft will have an up close and personal view of the sun enabling scientists to better understand, characterize and forecast the radiation environment for future space explorers.

NASA has selected five investigations costing approximately $180 million for preliminary analysis, design, development and tests. The will be built by scientist at the Smithsonian, Naval Research Laboratory, Berkeley University, Southwest Research Institute, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (9/2)

Embry-Riddle and AIA Sponsor Webinar on Aerospace Business Outlook and Strategy (Source: AIA)
Join us during National Aerospace Week for a free webinar presented jointly by AIA and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Learn about current economic and other key industry drivers and their potential impact on the competitive strategies of U.S. aerospace manufacturers in the coming years. Click here to register. (9/2)

Top U.S. Military Space Officer Tapped To Lead Strategic Command (Source: Space News)
U.S. Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler was nominated by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to be the next commander of U.S. Strategic Command. Kehler has been the commanding general at Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., since October 2007. He will succeed Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, who is set to retire from duty in December. In their previous assignments, Kehler was the deputy commander of Strategic Command and Chilton was the commander of Air Force Space Command. (9/2)

Space Station Crew Talks with Florida Students (Source: NASA)
Approximately 500 middle school students and teachers at the Pinellas County Science Center in St. Petersburg, Fla., will have an out-of-this-world phone conversation with NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock, Tracy Caldwell Dyson, and Shannon Walker will make the long-distance phone call on Sep. 9, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. EDT.

Students have prepared for the downlink by using data from NASA's satellite network to complete lessons in robotics and marine science. NASA astronaut Robert Springer will be on hand at the center to speak with the students and answer questions. NASA education staffers also will conduct experiments with the students. (9/2)

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