October 16, 2010

North Florida Transportation Agency Could Support Jacksonville Spaceport (Source: Jax Daily Record)
The development of a spaceport at Cecil Field could soon gain support from a local transportation organization. Board members of the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization began discussion Thursday on a resolution to support the space tourism and research effort. If it meets eligibility requirements, the backing would mean the transportation projects associated with the development could receive North Florida TPO allocated dollars.

Editor's Note: Some years ago, space transportation was formally established as a transportation mode supported by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), making spaceports eligible for FDOT funding. Spaceport infrastructure funding must therefore follow a five-year prioritized investment planning process, typically managed by regional planning agencies like TPO. A similar Central Florida agency works closely with Space Florida to include Cape Canaveral Spaceport infrastructure investments in its five-year plan.

FDOT also recently funded its first space transportation research project, an analysis of local, state and federal regulatory roles for commercial space transportation, currently being conducted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (10/16)

Posey Challenger Wins Orlando Sentinel Endorsement (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
"Mr. Posey's hyper-partisanship has ruined his effectiveness. So has the Republican's disregard for the facts. His Democratic opponent, Cape Canaveral Council member Shannon Roberts, clearly would better represent the district's residents... [Mr. Posey] claimed Mr. Obama "said he wanted to abolish NASA." Mr. Obama said no such thing. Mr. Posey questioned why the president would consider other countries' health systems while reforming the U.S. system. For example, he said Sweden has a higher suicide rate. Huh?

Ms. Roberts, a former strategic planner with NASA and other federal agencies, makes far more sense. On the need to exact savings from the Department of Education and other agencies. On the need to plan better at NASA to prevent thousands of job losses. And on the need to close egregious tax loopholes. We endorse Shannon Roberts." (10/16)

Global Economic Woes Mean More International Space Cooperation, Should Include China (Source: Space Policy Online)
Representatives of Japanese and European space agencies told a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) audience about the difficult economic conditions facing their space programs, like here in the U.S., and how international cooperation is key to moving forward -- and China should be part of it. Click here to read the article. (10/16)

Sharing the Google Sky (Source: MSNBC)
Google and the Slooh virtual-telescope company have announced a deal to integrate tens of thousands of pictures captured by Slooh's members automatically into Google Earth's astronomical database. The arrangement could bring scientific crowdsourcing to a whole new level. Millions of Internet users have already been participating in space-themed projects such as SETI @ Home, Galaxy Zoo and Moon Zoo, but those projects mostly involve sifting through data collected by the professionals. The Google collaboration immediately puts images of more than 35,000 celestial objects into a Google Sky layer within the free Google Earth standalone program. New Slooh pictures will be added as soon as they're taken. (10/16)

Reporters Experience Shuttle Landing Thrill (Source: Florida Today)
Now I know what it feels like to land in the space shuttle. I've made that daunting, bricklike dive toward the landing strip at Kennedy Space Center and plunged seven times steeper than commercial airliners, with the ground approaching the cockpit windows at an alarming pace. I've screamed down out of the atmosphere flying at full-reverse thrust before doing a 1.8 G pullout, a surprisingly smooth maneuver that leaves us fully poised for a tire-smoking 225-mph touchdown.

NASA gave the news media this week a rare glimpse of the training that astronauts undergo as they prepare for flight, inviting journalists to board NASA 945, a Gulfstream II modified to mimic the shuttle's final approach and landing. Shuttle mission commanders are required to tally at least 1,000 approaches, and pilots 500 -- training aimed at making certain it's second nature to land the winged orbiters. (10/16)

Stormy Skies for NASA's Chief (Source: Houston Chronicle)
With a gold-plated résumé — and the political heft of Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democratic kingmaker in the electoral battleground of Florida — it came as no surprise that Obama would make Bolden the first African-American to lead the $19 billion-a-year space agency. Yet Bolden's career-capping accomplishment has suffered unexpected setbacks amid growing congressional scrutiny of his goodwill mission to China, a slap on the wrist by the NASA inspector general for an ethics faux pas and growing signs that White House officials are quietly maneuvering the NASA administrator offstage.

This is raising questions from some Washington insiders who wonder whether he will be replaced in coming months. Instead of standing out front, Bolden has been relegated to reading prepared statements and taking no questions during telephone news conferences. He has crisscrossed the globe to represent NASA well beyond the limelight. When asked, administration officials decline direct comment on the future of Bolden, who came on board months after White House science adviser John Holdren and transition policy czar Lori Garver charted the space agency's new direction. (10/16)

No comments: