September 6, 2010

EDA Official Supports Space Coast Energy Symposium (Source: SPACErePORT)
Barry Johnson, Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Initiatives for the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) collaborates with the White House, other federal agencies and regional leaders to implement innovative regional solutions to improve competitiveness and foster economic growth throughout the nation. As part of EDA's response to the Space Coast's fragile post-Space Shuttle economic situation, Mr. Johnson will participate in the Space Coast Energy Symposium on Sep. 14. Click here for information. Clean and renewable energy programs were identified among the targeted types of industry for diversifying the Space Coast economy. (9/7)

State Legislatures Group Offers Energy Policy Solutions (Source: NCSL)
By 2035, nearly 40% of all new energy capacity will come from renewable sources according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). It is necessary to develop a comprehensive plan that includes a combination of many technologies and resources. This plan may include energy efficiency, natural gas, cleaner coal technologies, nuclear energy, smart grid technologies and renewable energy. Local, state and federal governments will play an important role in shaping the future sources of energy, electricity transmission & delivery systems and electricity production & supply system.

A list of "state policy options" is included in the NCSL report. It provides a toolbox of policy alternatives currently utilized by states to shape energy policy. They include policy options in coal technologies, natural gas, transmission, nuclear energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energies (including specific policies for solar, wind biomass, geothermal and small hydropower). However, NCSL strongly encourages states and regions to develop their policies and energy plan based upon financing options, environmental impacts, and sources that are economically viable for citizens. Click here for more. (9/7)

Rep. Gordon: NASA Given 'More Mission Than Money' for Ambitious Goals (Source: The Hill)
The Obama administration's refusal to seek additional funds for NASA make the president's ambitious plans for the agency impossible to execute, according to a letter from the chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) released his response Friday after a number of prominent former NASA officials, researchers and scientists including 14 Nobel laureates wrote to House leadership last week urging them to increase funding for research, robotics and human space flight. The scientists also praised the administration for its focus on developing the commercial space industry.

"The hard reality is that the Administration has sent an unexecutable budget request to Congress, and now we have to make tough choice to the nation can have a sustainable and balance NASA program," Gordon wrote. Gordon said the administration has failed to address the Committee's concerns about the cost and structure of Obama's plans for the human space flight program, despite requesting clarifications for months. He said the administration's silence on the issue is evidence of the unrealistic nature of the president's plans. (9/7)

Russian Rokot Carrier Rocket to Orbit Gonets-M Satellite on September 8 (Source: RIA Novosti)
A Russian Rokot carrier rocket will take off from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia on September 8 to put a Gonets-M satellite into orbit. Pre-launch preparations are currently being completed at the space center in the Arkhangelsk region, Lt. Col. Alexander Zolotukhin said. The Gonets-M satellite will be part of Russia's large-scale Glonass satellite navigation system. (9/7)

Copenhagen Suborbitals Rocket Left Standing in Cloud of Smoke (Source:
The first launch attempt of a homemade rocket built by two Danes has failed due to a technical glitch. Eccentric engineer Peter Madsen founded Copenhagen Suborbitals with Kristian von Bengston two years ago with the aim of building the world's largest amateur space rocket. The pair raised more than $71,000 through online donations and used volunteers to build the HEAT1X rocket and the micro spacecraft it was supposed to launch, called Tycho Brahe-1.

Tycho Brahe-1 would eventually carry one human passenger, in a half-seated position, into space and back down again. Unfortunately for Copenhagen Suborbitals, live footage of the launch off the Baltic island of Bornholm yesterday appeared to show brown smoke coming out of the rocket after the countdown. Experts interviewed by TV2 News said the likely cause was a failure of the ignition system. (9/6)

Isle of Man Firms 'Lead Euro Space Race' (Source: BBC)
The Isle of Man has been ranked as one of the most likely nations to next get its flag on the moon. Industry analyst Ascend rated the island's space firms as 50-1 to win the race back to the lunar surface, behind the USA, China, India and Russia. It cites the growing number of Manx space tourism firms with interests in manned lunar flyby flights as evidence.

Despite Barack Obama's cancellation of a NASA program to design new moon rockets, the USA remains favorite. Its even odds were ahead of nearest rivals Russia (3-1), China (5-1) and India (33-1). The Isle of Man ranked fifth on 50-1, ahead of the United Kingdom (300-1) and Iran (1,000-1). Government officials hope the ranking will lead to further investment in the island's burgeoning space industry. (9/6)

Astronauts Say World Should Prepare for Asteroid Threats (Source: Globe and Mail)
Canadian and American astronauts say the world should already be preparing for the big one — the asteroid that could some day strike the Earth causing death and destruction. “You're just sticking your head in the sand if you think the world will live out its entire natural life until the end of our sun and never be hit by another big rock,” Canada's Chris Hadfield said in an interview.

“That's just foolishness. That's just ignorance.” The Canadian Space Agency astronaut is the current president of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), which submitted a report to the United Nations outlining a detailed plan to deal with any asteroid threat. “We're rolling the dice that the big one is not coming right away,” Mr. Hadfield warned. Click here to view the article. (9/6)

Space Inflators (Source: The Engineer)
Lightweight inflatable structures are set to play a major role in future space exploration. When holidays to the Moon become a reality, most tourists will probably hope that there will be something more than a soft, inflatable tent to come between them and the deadly vacuum of space. But that is exactly the vision the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA have for space accommodation in the coming decades.

Their concept is to develop inflatable habitats that could allow people to live on the Moon by 2025. The inflatable modules could act as an outpost where supplies would be kept for research missions or they could be made into larger structures to house space tourists. If their plans are successful, inflatable habitats could open up a whole new world of exploration and, according to the ESA, make visiting distant planets a reality. Click here to read the article. (9/6)

UK Rocketry: Out of This World (Source: The Engineer)
A team of rocket engineers could propel the UK to the forefront of commercial space flight. In the quiet suburbs of Oxfordshire, a small team of engineers may be on the way to achieving what NASA scientists couldn’t - the development of a spaceplane that could reach far into the solar system. Reaction Engines has designed the Skylon plane to take payloads - or even passengers - into space from a conventional airport and return them back down to the same runway. The design can carry a 12-ton payload and could, according to the company, fundamentally change the way we view space travel. Click here to read the article. (9/6)

Boeing Offers India Tech Help for 2016 Manned Space Trip (Source: Times of India)
The Indian Space Research Organization has an offer too tempting to resist: Boeing has said it is ready to collaborate and offer technological know-how for India's human space flight program, scheduled tentatively for 2016. This will include construction of a crew vehicle to the International Space Station (ISS), journey to the station and re-entry into earth's atmosphere, which is the most crucial aspect of the program.

A Boeing official said: "Boeing has initiated discussions with ISRO to offer our support to India's human space flight program. With our legacy in space exploration design, development and integration, we believe we can provide value-added assistance to India's national program... We plan to submit a formal request to the US Department of State to enable us to proceed down this path should our services be accepted." (9/6)

India to Launch Two More Satellites by December (Source: Times of India)
India has planned two more launches a PSLV and a GSLV mission in December. The first would be PSLV-C16 mission which would place Resourcesat satellite and two other satellites -- a 90 kg satellite developed by Singapore University and a 90 kg Youthsat, developed by students of Russian and Indian universities -- in orbit. This would be followed by a GSLV-F06 mission, using the Russian cryogenic stage, to place Indian Communication Satellite GSAT-5B in the GST orbit. (9/6)

Kick-Starting Israel's Place in Space (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
While costs will be high, rewards are expected to be even higher for a local space industry in Israel, based on the existing defense and communications enterprises. With a promised $80 million cash injection every year for the next five years, its lucrative defense and communications industries as a solid base, and a new satellite research accord with NASA, Israel is looking to space as its newest high-tech business frontier.

Capitalizing on its defense, communications and IT industry, Israel plans on kick starting a potential $10-billion-a-year business in a $250 billion global civilian space industry. The country already boasts a $5 billion defense industry. The 25 Israeli firms in the defense business, which include industry leaders such as Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Elbit and Rafael, are very interested in the country's new national space program, supported by the Netanyahu government and President Shimon Peres.

Israel is one of the world's few countries to build and launch satellites. In 1988, it became the seventh nation to launch an indigenous satellite into space and Israelis are experts in satellite technology, products for satellites and ground stations. (9/6)

First Milestone Reached on AEHF 1's Long Road to Orbit (Source:
The U.S. Air Force has completed the initial phase of its multi-step, multi-month strategy to maneuver the new AEHF secure communications satellite into the proper orbit without the main engine operating. Satellite-tracking hobbyists report that the Advanced Extremely High Frequency 1 spacecraft has climbed into the intermediate orbit that project officials were targeting. The craft spent the week performing four orbit raising burns using tiny steering thrusters to boost the low end of the satellite's highly elliptical orbit by more than 400 miles. (9/6)

Swarming Spacecraft to Self-Destruct for Greater Good (Source: New Scientist)
Future space probes that operate in cooperative swarms must commit hara-kiri if they begin to fail and risk damaging their comrades, says a recent patent application by NASA. The agency foresees a day when space missions are undertaken not by one large spacecraft but by swarming formations of much smaller, cheaper ones. Such craft could collectively provide a "floating optics" system for a space telescope comprising separate craft flying in formation, for instance.

However, should one spacecraft in such a swarm begin to fail and risk a calamitous collision with another, it must sense its end is nigh and put itself on a course that takes it forever away from the swarm – for the greater good of the collective. Failing that – perhaps because it has too little fuel to move – it must "passivate" itself by deactivating all its systems. This would mean discharging its batteries so as to pose no risk of shock in a collision, and venting any last vestiges of fuel that could explode in a crash. (9/6)

NASA's Next Giant Leap (Source: Houston Chronicle)
Hollywood fancies that when an asteroid threatens Earth, NASA will respond by rounding up a crew and nuking the space rock. Before doing this, though, it would be nice to know exactly what we'd be nuking, and the fact is scientists just don't know. But that may soon change.

There's growing support for the idea that NASA's next human flight beyond low-Earth orbit should target a near-Earth asteroid, rather than our already visited celestial neighbor, the moon. "It's a concept that I think a lot of people can relate to," said Laurie Leshin, deputy administrator for NASA's Exploration Program. As a destination, an asteroid appeals to NASA because it's a challenging but doable mission that will test much of the technology that would be needed for a flight to Mars. (9/6)

Are Aliens Eavesdropping On Us? Not Likely (Source: Discovery)
The seeming infinity of stars we see in deep exposures of the Milky Way belies the fact that our galaxy has been dead silent when it comes to detecting a radio or optical signal saying “hello” from any neighboring extraterrestrial civilization. Maybe extraterrestrials are out there but they might not have gone to the effort and expense of building a powerful radio beam and aiming it at us.

This may not be in their annual science budget. Or they simply may not want to make their presence known to the universe, as astrophysicist Stephen Hawking recently warned us not to do. Therefore the idea of eavesdropping on the normal telecommunications of a civilization has always been compelling because it doesn’t require that aliens do anything special for our sake. Any civilization within a few dozen light-years of Earth -- having comparable technological capabilities -- could be detecting our artificially produced electromagnetic radiation right now. (9/6)

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