October 1, 2010

GOES-R Protests Hurt Backup Coverage Plan (Source: Space News)
A contract dispute in 2008 over which company would build the next generation of U.S. geostationary orbiting weather satellites delayed progress on the program and could leave the nation without a backup weather capability for one year, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

NASA in 2008 awarded Denver-based Lockheed Martin Space Systems a contract to build the first two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) series spacecraft. Losing bidder Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of Seal Beach, Calif., twice filed protests of the award and twice was rebuffed, holding up the start of spacecraft development until August 2009. (10/1)

NASA Set To Seek Bids for New Round of CCDev Work (Source: Space News)
NASA intends to make multiple yearlong space act agreement awards to firms seeking to mature technologies in support of U.S. President Barack Obama’s commercial space transportation initiative by spring of next year. "Through this activity, NASA may be able to spur economic growth as capabilities for new space markets are created and reduce the gap in U.S. human spaceflight capability” when the space shuttle retires next year, states the announcement posted on the agency’s procurement web site. (10/1)

Experimental Falcon Rocket Proposed to Launch First Azerbaijan Satellite (Source: ABC.az)
An experimental SpaceX Falcon rocket has been proposed to Azerbaijan for launch of its first national communications satellite. Recently SpaceX has conducted test firing of engine and full-functional version of rocket Falcon 9. The second launch of Falcon 9 will take place on 23 October. Also being considered are Russia’s ILS, France’s Arianespace, and Ukraine-Russia’s Ukroboronservis (SeaLaunch?). (10/1)

SpaceX Fined for Hazardous Waste Violations (Source: EPA)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined SpaceX $45,600 for violating hazardous waste requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. During a 2009 inspection of the facility, EPA investigators found that SpaceX, a designer and manufacturer of orbital space delivery systems, had multiple hazardous waste violations, including improperly storing hazardous waste on site for longer than the 180-day time limit; failure to close hazardous waste containers; not labeling or improperly labeling hazardous waste containers; storing hazardous waste in crowded conditions that impaired inspection; and failure to perform waste determination. (10/1)

John Glenn Blasts Plans to End the Space Shuttle Program (Source: Vindy.com)
Former U.S. Sen. and astronaut John Glenn isn’t mincing words about federal plans to end NASA’s space shuttle program and the international space station. “I could give you about a two-hour dissertation on my feelings on that,” he said. “We have spent about $100 billion on the [international space station] and setting up [the] most unique laboratory ever put together. And then to just end the shuttle and end the space station I think is just crazy.” (10/1)

NASA Chief Who Called Muslim Outreach 'Foremost' Job Heads to Saudi Arabia (Source: Fox News)
The NASA chief who caused an uproar over the summer when he said outreach to the Muslim world might be his "foremost" priority has embarked on a trip this weekend to Saudi Arabia. A NASA spokesman said the visit is part of a multicountry tour. Administrator Charles Bolden and a delegation of several other NASA officials arrive in Saudi Arabia on Friday following a trip to Prague. From the Middle East, they will head next to Nepal where Bolden will give a keynote address at a climate change conference. (10/1)

Dido Sued by Astronaut for Using Space Flight Picture (Source: Bloomberg)
Dido, the singer who was named best British female artist by the British Phonograph Industry in 2002 and 2004, was sued by former NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless for using his 1984 space flight picture for an album cover. McCandless said in a complaint that he never gave permission for Dido to use the photograph that shows him “free flying” about 320 feet away from the space shuttle Challenger. The photograph is used on the cover of Dido’s 2008 album “Safe Trip Home.” See the album cover here. (10/1)

Cosmic Accidents: Killer Asteroid with a Silver Lining (Source: New Scientist)
The upping of atmospheric oxygen was followed by a frenzy of evolutionary innovation, during which most of the animal groups known today popped up. By 350 million years ago, the coal beds laid down in the carboniferous period speak of a world covered in lush greenery, too. Soon this verdant Earth became home to animals of a size never seen before: the dinosaurs. The age of the reptiles lasted for more than 160 million years. It took an extraterrestrial intervention to clear the way for a new world order.

A 10-kilometer-wide rock may have killed the dinosaurs, but smashed open a window of opportunity for unimpressive little animals called mammals. Nothing like the late heavy bombardment has hit Earth in recent geological time, but every 100 million years or so something big wallops the planet. If it happened now we would be wiped out. Yet curiously, we probably owe our existence to the last such impact. (10/1)

Exploration Park Receives IEDC Honorable Mention (Source: SpaceRef.com)
This week, Pizzuti Solutions was honored by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) with an "Honorable Mention" for Exploration Park in the "Public/Private Partnerships" category of IEDC's "Excellence in Economic Development Awards" in communities with a 500,000+ population. IEDC's Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognizes the world's best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year's most influential leaders. (10/1)

Boeing Bids for NASA Cargo Mission Contract for ISS (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Boeing has submitted its final bid for NASA’s Cargo Mission Contract (CMC) for the International Space Station (ISS). Boeing’s bid draws on more than 50 years of the company’s human spaceflight experience, as well as first-hand knowledge of ISS operations and cargo processing. The contract calls for technical support services, including analysis and physical processing of pressurized cargo and flight crew equipment to be transported between the ISS and Earth. It also includes launch preparations and post-landing activities related to processing cargo and flight crew equipment.

NASA plans to select a contractor in November. Work is expected to begin on April 1, 2011, following a 90-day phase-in period. The performance period for the contract is three years with four one-year options, for a potential total of seven years. (10/1)

International Partners Update ISS Launch Manifest (Source: Arianespace)
NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) on Friday agreed to update the International Space Station launch schedule. The target launch dates for the last planned space shuttle flight, STS-134 on Endeavour, will be Feb. 27 and the Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 (ATV-2) will be Feb. 15. Roscosmos will continue to look at Soyuz launch and landing options to provide manifest robustness. (10/1)

NASA and Univision Collaborate to Engage Hispanic Students (Source: NASA)
ANASA and Univision Communications Inc. are teaming up to launch an on-air and online initiative to help engage Hispanic students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 2, Univision will air a series of Spanish-language educational video segments produced by NASA and titled "NASA and You" (NASA y Tu). Featuring Hispanic employees from NASA as role models, the 30-second videos will present new perspectives on education and STEM careers. (10/1)

NASA Still Expects Huntsville Layoffs, But Says Jobs May Come Back (Source: Huntsville Times)
NASA expects between 150 and 250 Huntsville space workers to be laid off as the agency begins moving from one rocket program to another today, but some of those jobs could come back with the new program. The workers are employed by contractors working on Constellation, the rocket program ended by a vote of Congress this week.

NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver told a teleconference Thursday it was decisions "made much, much earlier than now - certainly not in this bill, frankly, or the continuing resolution, that have led to these layoffs." Because of existing federal law, NASA cannot terminate Constellation without congressional approval. But it has been "re-planning" and projecting to contractors what's ahead. (10/1)

Russia's Energiya to Build First Space Hotel (Source: Financial Times)
Energiya, the Russian rocket and space group, will build the world’s first commercial space station in a partnership with Orbital Technologies, the US high technology company. Capable of housing up to seven people, the CSS will serve as a hotel for space tourists and a possible emergency refuge for astronauts in distress. It will also help Energiya attract private investment as Russia strives to maintain a leading role in space. The CSS would “be a true gateway to the rest of the solar system,” Energiya said in a statement. “A short stop over at our station will be the perfect beginning to a manned circumlunar flight.” (10/1)

China Launches Lunar Probe (Source: CNN)
China launched its second lunar probe Friday, as the country celebrated more than six decades under communism. The rocket carrying the unmanned probe blasted off at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. The Friday launch date falling on China's National Day is a coincidence, space officials said. More than 2,000 residents within 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) of the launch pad were evacuated as a precaution ahead of the launch.

Chang'e-2 is to orbit within 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) of the moon. The probe will test key landing technology for Chang'e-3, and provide high-resolution photographs of the landing area, China Daily said. Chang'e-2 is expected to reach lunar orbit within five days. (10/1)

Spaceport America Receives FAA Grant, Matching Funds From Virgin Galactic (Source: Spaceport America)
Spaceport America has received its first federal grant from a newly funded spaceport infrastructure program at the FAA. The funding, $43,000 from the FAA matched with $4,300 from Virgin Galactic, will allow for the acquisition of an Automated Weather Observation System III (AWOS III). (10/1)

Space Workers Preferred as Extras for Transformers Filming at KSC (Source: Florida Today)
Space Coast residents who applied in recent months to be acting extras in "Transformers 3" while shooting takes place here appear to be out of luck, unless they work for NASA or a space contractor. They also must have the proper clearance to be in the secure areas. Instead of using extras from a cross-section of the community, the "Transformers 3" production crew focused on hiring extras from among those who already had security clearance to be on Kennedy Space Center grounds. (10/1)

Rocket Company Launches Stock Offering (Source: Tico Times)
The Ad Astra Rocket Company, founded in 2005 by Costa Rican astronaut and physicist Franklin Chang, announced Wednesday that it will become a limited public corporation, offering stock to investors willing to pay a minimum of $25,000 on Costa Rica’s National Stock Exchange. Ad Astra Rocket Company, headquartered in Houston, Texas, also has a branch in Liberia, capital of Costa Rica’s northwestern Guanacaste province. (10/1)

1,200 NASA Workers to be Laid Off (Source: CNN)
More than 1,200 NASA workers will be laid off Friday, despite Congress passing a $19 billion budget for the space agency two days earlier. Lori Garver, NASA's deputy administrator, said she didn't believe the bill would affect planned layoffs, "certainly not for tomorrow." Thursday was the last day for laid-off employees to report to their workstations. Shuttle workers on their last day were to receive their final paperwork. Many of the departing workers have worked on the shuttle program since its beginning in the early 1980s. (10/1)

Raytheon Wins 2 Contracts from NASA (Source: Denver Post)
Raytheon Co. has been awarded two contracts by NASA worth up to $1.7 billion over the next eight years. One contract is for ground systems for the Joint Polar Satellite System — weather satellites and sensors for both civilian and military needs. A second contract is for development of the Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite, or VIIRS. The contracts were awarded by NASA on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (10/1)

Aerospace Companies Invited to Participate in Florida Pavilion at Paris Air Show (Source: Enterprise Florida)
Florida aerospace companies are invited to join Enterprise Florida as exhibitors and participants at next year's Paris Air Show on June 20-26. Several affordable options are available. Contact Ken Cooksey at kcooksey@eflorida.com for information. (9/30)

Editorial: NASA's New Course (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Congress finally brought an end to months of drift in America's manned space program when members settled this week on a new and better plan for NASA. The plan yields to pressure from President Obama to give up on NASA's Constellation program, which is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule in its mission to return astronauts to the moon. It promotes commercial space launches, another White House priority.

Private launches could ease the sting for Florida's Space Coast from the end of the shuttle program by opening new possibilities for the region's economy. But the plan also moves up the target for launching a new NASA rocket to 2016. That should help the agency maintain the initiative in exploration it might have lost under Mr. Obama's original plan to put off launches until the 2020s. Now that NASA has a plan, Congress must make sure the agency has the dollars it needs to meet its goals. (9/30)

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