November 16, 2010

Gulfstream to Hire 1,000 in Georgia, Build new Plants (Source: AIA)
Gulfstream says it will add 1,000 jobs in Savannah, Ga., and invest $500 million over seven years to build plants for large-cabin planes such as the G650. The plans for expansion follow a survey last month from Honeywell indicating that recovery for the global business-jet market could begin in late 2011 and gain ground in 2012. Editor's Note: Some former Space Shuttle workers in Florida are finding work in South Carolina as Boeing expands its aircraft manufacturing there, or in Huntsville. Savannah may offer another out-of-state alternative for Space Coast aerospace workers...despite Florida and NASA efforts to prevent a local "brian drain". (11/16)

Defense Bill Unlikely to Pass This Year, New Chairman Says (Source: AIA)
Congress likely will not pass the massive 2011 defense authorization bill by the end of the year, meaning the incoming Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., will be tasked with overseeing the bill's passage early next year. The bill has been surrounded by debate over repealing the ban on openly gay people serving in the military, and Congress has been pressured by a compressed post-election work schedule, but McKeon said he would try to bring the bill to passage early next year. (11/16)

Northrop Grumman Asks Public to Oppose Defense Cuts (Source: San Diego Union Tribune)
Northrop Grumman has launched an advertising campaign that urges the public to lobby Congress not to cut budgets for Global Hawk, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that the company largely develops in San Diego. The "Support Global Hawk" comes as the government is considering cutting the defense budget by about $100 billion over the next five years. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has recommended that defense contractors bear a large portion of the cuts. (11/16)

Scientists Propose One-Way Trips to Mars (Source: AP)
It's usually cheaper to fly one way, even to Mars. Two scientists are suggesting that colonization of the red planet could happen faster and more economically if astronauts behaved like the first settlers to come to North America — not expecting to go home. "The main point is to get Mars exploration moving," said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University professor who co-authored an article that seriously proposes what sounds like a preposterous idea. At least one moon-walking astronaut was not impressed.

"This is premature," Ed Mitchell of Apollo 14 wrote in an e-mail. "We aren't ready for this yet." Also cool to the idea was NASA. President Barack Obama has already outlined a plan to go to Mars by the mid-2030s, but he never suggested these space travelers wouldn't come home. "We want our people back," NASA spokesman Michael Braukus said. The article titled "To Boldly Go" appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Cosmology, which featured more than 50 articles and essays on Mars exploration. (1/16)

New Mexico Spaceport Authority Seeks Operator for Spaceport America (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) has issued Requests For Proposals (RFPs) for the day-to-day operation of Spaceport America. The RFPs cover three distinct areas of operations: General Services (including but not limited to operations and maintenance of facilities); Protective Services (including but not limited to site security and safety and environmental and health management); and Technical Services (including but not limited to airfield and launch support, IT management, airspace management and flight safety engineering). Mandatory pre-proposal meetings and visits to Spaceport America have been scheduled on Dec. 1 and 2 for each of the three RFPs. Click on the “Proposals” tab at (11/16)

NASA IG Identifies Top Management Challenges (Source: Space Policy Online)
NASA's Inspector General (IG), Paul Martin, has issued his office's annual listing of the top management and performance challenges facing the agency. According to Martin's Office of Inspector General (OIG), the key challenges are: Future of U.S. Spaceflight; Acquisition and Project Management; Infrastructure and Facilities Management; Human Capital; Information Technology Security; and Financial Management. In the last area, the report notes that for seven years NASA received "disclaimed" audits because auditors could not obtain sufficient usable information from the agency to determine whether NASA was in compliance with relevant government financial standards.

NASA auditors at Ernst & Young gave the agency a "qualified" opinion this year. Though not as good as an unqualified opinion, Martin indicates it is a step in the right direction. Click here to see a copy of the NASA audit document. (11/16)

Hayabusa Confirms Return of Asteroid Particles (Source: JAXA)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been engaged in collecting and categorizing particles in the sampler container* that were brought back by the instrumental module of the asteroid exploration spacecraft "Hayabusa." Based on the results of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) observations and analyses of samples that were collected with a special spatula from sample catcher compartment "A", about 1,500 grains were identified as rocky particles, and most of them were judged to be of extraterrestrial origin, and definitely from Asteroid Itokawa. (11/16)

“Space” Vegetables: More Tasty and Healthful Than “Earth” Vegetables? (Source: RIA Novosti)
Chinese scientists plan to improve agriculture from beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. They showed vegetables grown from “space” seeds at Airshow China 2010 in Zhuhai. Click here to see the video. (11/16)

Authorities Probe Hedge Fund Behind New Satellite Venture (Source: Wall Street Journal)
One of America's most prominent hedge funds is being probed by federal authorities, who are investigating whether the firm gave illegally preferential treatment to its founder and to some clients. The Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan are looking into whether Harbinger Capital Partners misled investors by failing to disclose in a timely fashion a $113 million personal loan it extended to founder Philip Falcone from the firm's funds, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Falcone has been pushing an ambitious plan to launch a global wireless-satellite network, and has dedicated the majority of his assets in his biggest hedge fund to the venture, called LightSquared. In the process, Harbinger has come to look less like the hedge-fund firm it was when many investors came to it, and more like a private-equity firm making a concentrated, long-term bet. (11/16)

Florida Aerospace Industry Launches Online Info Resource (Source:
Florida's Space Transition and Revitalization Network has launched its online information hub. Representing the formal coming together of the aerospace industry, including economic development, workforce and related sector leaders, Florida STARnet provides a single, open online repository for information from all aerospace companies, partners and stakeholders. Via the online channel, and a range of collaborative communication and promotional endeavors, Florida STARnet is designed to promote cooperation and information exchange in support of the region's active and aggressive efforts to transcend the state's aerospace industry into new and dynamic areas for growth. (11/16)

NASA Selects Air Products to Supply Liquid Hydrogen (Source: America Space)
NASA has selected Air Products and Chemicals Inc. located out of Allentown, Pa., for the follow-on contract for the agency-wide acquisition of liquid hydrogen. Liquid Hydrogen is used in NASA’s launch vehicles, including the space shuttle, as a source of fuel. Air Products will supply approximately 10,860,000 pounds of liquid hydrogen to Stennis Space Center; Marshall Space Flight Center; and Kennedy Space Center, in support of the agency’s Space Operations Mission Directorate (SOMD) and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD). Liquid hydrogen, when combined with liquid oxygen, serves as fuel in cryogenic rocket engines. Editor's Note: Air Products produces some of its product for NASA at its plant in Northwest Florida, near Pensacola. (11/16)

Groundbreaking: Tehachapi Residents Helping Build Dreams (Source: Tehachapi News)
Promise filled the air Nov. 9 as dignitaries broke ground ceremonially for the 68,000-square-foot clear-span building that will house the manufacturing plant for The Spaceship Company (TSC) at Mojave Air and Space Port. Like Kitty Hawk, S.C. where man first flew or the little building on Lake Union in Seattle that gave birth to the behemoth Boeing, the Mojave desert dirt is destined to take its place as the origin of private space travel.

Management of the East Kern Airport District planned ahead for such a day. “It's the first construction project on our field of dreams,” said Mojave Air and Space Port Manager Stuart Witt. “We knew if we didn't have a place to build, there would be no building in the future. “Where you're standing is where new jobs will be.” Witt said that individuals who have been responsible for visionary breakthroughs “didn't do it with 35,000 people. They did it (in the beginning) with 30 people.” (11/16)

Space Junk: a Risky Game of Space Invaders (Source: Telegraph)
When, in the early hours of February 10, 2009, an American communications satellite called Iridium 33 smashed into a Russian military satellite 500 miles above Earth's surface, the experts called it an "unprecedented event". A better description might have been "an accident waiting to happen". The space around our planet is no longer a lonely place. Vital orbits near and far from Earth's surface are shrouded in a perpetual and perilous shroud of debris and defunct satellites. In addition to thousands of large fragments,

NASA estimates there are at least half a million objects between 1cm and 10cm wide circling Earth. Even objects this small can, when hurtling at orbital velocities, cripple a satellite. And as their number grows, so does the risk of further collisions, and the release of even more shrapnel. The resulting vicious circle threatens not only the satellite industry, but the safety of manned missions into space. (11/16)

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