October 8, 2010

Community Leaders Focus On Florida's Future In Space (Source: Florida Today)
A public forum focused on the Florida's future in space and technology will be held in Cocoa on Monday as community leaders come together to create a public policy agenda for the state's next legislative session. Hosted by the agenda for the Economic Development Commission (EDC) of Florida’s Space Coast, the forum will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday at the Florida Solar Energy Center. The forum is open to the public and admission is free but registration is required. Click here to register. (10/8)

Legislative Leader Criticizes Gov. Crist for Inaction on Space Florida Board (Source: SPACErePORT)
Outgoing Florida House Speaker Larry Cretul (R-Ocala) sent a letter to Governor Charlie Crist criticizing his failure to appoint a new board of directors for Space Florida. Gov. Crist was supposed to have announced his appointments by August 24. Cretul wrote that the board appointment delay has kept Space Florida in "limbo" and unable to proceed with projects requiring board approval. Click here to see a copy of the letter. (10/8)

NASA Selects Community College Students to Design Rovers, Explore Tech Careers at Field Centers (Source: NASA)
Community college students in a pilot program will take the first steps toward potential technology careers as they develop robotic explorers at NASA field centers. Ninety students from community colleges in 23 states have been selected to travel to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston or the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for hands on experience with technology development and direct interaction with NASA experts.

Included are nine Florida students from Lake-Sumter Community College, Brevard Community College, Palm Beach State College, State College of Florida (Manatee-Sarasota), and Valencia Community College. Click here for a list of participants. (10/8)

Hutchison: Bill Ensures Houston has Future in Space Flight (Source: Houston Chronicle)
Members of the Houston NASA Community: For more than 40 years, the United States has led the world in human space flight and the critical research and technology development that supports both exploration and scientific study. Each of you has worked tirelessly to maintain this leadership and to inspire the nation and the world to improve our understanding of the universe. We do not often pause to publicly acknowledge the critical work you do.

On Sept. 29, Congress passed an authorization bill for NASA that will go a long way toward preserving the future of human space flight in America. Some members of Congress disagreed on several aspects of the legislation, but the realities of the federal budget forced us to downsize our approach even as we maintained our ambition. The president is expected to sign this measure into law. I believe the new law provides a robust mission for NASA with significant increases in funding for scientific research and technology development and a continuing commitment to exploration. (10/8)

Spaceport Seeks Information for Visitor Services (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority has issued a Request for Information (RFI) to help in the planning and development for the operation of visitor services directly related to Spaceport America. The RFI process is intended to gather input from all interested parties later this year for a single contract to manage visitor services. This includes two off-site welcome centers, transportation services to and from the site, an on-site visitor complex with experiential exhibits and activities, concessions, retail, food and beverage opportunities and special events. Click here for information. (10/8)

Does Dark Matter Trigger Strange Stars? (Source: Physics World)
The energy needed to convert a neutron star into a so-called strange star may come from annihilating dark-matter particles. That is the conclusion of a new study by physicists in Spain, the UK and the US, who propose that this conversion mechanism may be a good way to put a lower limit on the mass of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs), a leading candidate for dark matter.

Once their nuclear fuel has burnt up, stars below a certain mass collapse to form neutron stars. These incredibly dense objects consist almost entirely of neutrons, the gravitational collapse having forced protons and electrons to merge. It has been proposed, however, that, given some kind of source of additional energy, neutron stars can convert to strange stars, objects consisting of strange matter – a soup of unbound up, down and strange quarks. (10/8)

JPL Scientists Demand Retraction in Supreme Court Privacy Case (Source: Pasadena Star-News)
Jet Propulsion Laboratory employees Thursday accused the federal government's lawyers of lying to the U.S. Supreme Court when the justices heard arguments this week in a legal battle involving new security background checks. During his presentation to the court, Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said employees cleared through the new background checks would receive new security badges that would give them access to high-security areas at other NASA facilities.

"And it's such an important credential that it would allow them to get within, for example, 6 to 10 feet of the space shuttle as it is being repaired and readied for launch. So this is a credential not just for JPL and getting onto JPL, but other places as well," Katyal said.

JPL employees suing over the background checks on grounds they are invasive and snoop unnecessarily into their private lives, said that statement simply isn't true. It also shows, they said, a broader ignorance by the federal government about the relationship between NASA and JPL. "It's an insult to our colleagues who work at the Kennedy Space Center," said JPL engineer Robert Nelson, the lead plaintiff in the case. (10/8)

"Spaceflight Services" Announces Lunar and GTO Mission Pricing (Source: Spaceflight Services)
Spaceflight Services (Spaceflight) announced pricing for small payloads to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and Low Lunar Orbit (LLO). Spaceflight, as part of a Google Lunar X-Prize Team, is responsible for mission integration and providing space transportation services to Low Lunar Orbit. Spaceflight is providing flight opportunities for spacecraft weighing less than 180 kg interested in launch services to GTO and Low Lunar Orbit.

The proposed mission, which is slated for Q4 2013 or Q1 2014, will deploy three payloads into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit and two additional payloads in a Low Lunar Orbit. The mission is also open to smaller spacecraft looking for a low cost ride to either of these destinations. Mission pricing for small payloads to GTO begins at $795,000 for a 3U CubeSat and up to $13,950,000 for a full ESPA spacecraft. Mission pricing for transport to Low Lunar Orbit begins at $995,000 for a 3U CubeSat and up to $24,500,000 for a full ESPA-class spacecraft. (10/8)

Yates & Glisch to Receive Space Club Awards at Nov. 9 Luncheon (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club, Florida Committee, will honor Tracy Yates of United Space Alliance and John Glisch of Florida Today with the club's annual Harry Kolcum Memorial News & Communication Awards. Yates wins the "communications" award for her work as a Communications and Public Relations Manager at USA. Glisch wins the "news" award for his work as an Editorial Page Editor at Florida Today. The awards luncheon will be held on Nov. 9 at the Radisson Resort in Cape Canaveral. Click here for information and to RSVP by Nov. 3. (10/8)

Memorial Event Planned for Spaceport Workers on Oct. 19 (Source: NSCFL)
The Space Walk of Fame Foundation (SWOFF) will hold a memorial for workers who died doing their jobs at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Bob Crippen, former KSC director and Shuttle astronaut, and Bob Cabana, KSC center director and Shuttle astronaut, will do the service. The event will be held in Titusville at Space View Park's Apollo monument on October 19 from 6-7 p.m. (10/8)

Stennis Officials: Commercial Partners Keep Workforce Active (Source: WLOX)
The new rocket test stand under construction at Stennis is supposed to test NASA’s new J2X engine. Changes in NASA’s mission could change that plan, and Stennis officials say that’s okay. “If that’s not the engine selected, we can test other engines,” Engineer Lionel Dutreix said. “We can also partner with commercial industry.”

Later this month, Stennis will test the Aerojet AJ26 for a private company. Orbital Sciences Corporation will use it to shuttle supplies to the International Space Station. “We’re actually in the end of the Shuttle program that we saw coming six or seven or ten years ago,” said Stennis Director Patrick Scheuermann. “We started to diversify back then and ensure that these nationally unique test stands are available to any and all customers, commercial, military or NASA engines.” (10/7)

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