November 20, 2010

Sen. Nelson: White House Staff Kept Obama Too Insulated on Space Issues (Source: Gainesville Sun)
Sen. Bill Nelson criticized President Barack Obama's staff in a speech at the University of Florida, saying they failed him on issues such as the Gulf oil spill, the housing crisis and the space program. "The White House staff has not done a good job reflecting the president's desires and wishes," Nelson said. He put part of the blame on communication failures, such as a misconception that Obama wants to eliminate the manned space program.

The Florida Democrat's comments followed national news reports claiming he ripped Obama in an earlier closed-door meeting with Democratic senators. He said his critique involved the White House staff's failure to heed advice from him and others. "When your two friends go to be president and vice president, what you quickly learn is that a palace guard forms around them and it becomes almost impenetrable," he said.

Nelson said Florida will be the major swing state in 2012 because it will gain electoral votes while Ohio and other states will lose them. Obama will not be able to win re-election without winning Florida, he said. Obama will not be able to win re-election without winning Florida, he said, but the current political climate makes that unlikely. "The president cannot win Florida today," he said. (11/20)

Minotaur 4 Launches Technology Demonstration Satellites From Alaska (Source:
A Minotaur 4 launched six civil and military demonstration satellites into orbit Friday from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska. Payloads included the STPSat-2 for the Air Force's Space Test Program; the Organism/Organic Exposure to Orbital Stresses or O/OREOS satellite for NASA; the Fast Affordable Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) for NASA; and NASA's NanoSail-D2, designed to demonstrate solar sail concepts. The Minotaur 4 used recycled Peacekeeper IBCM motors for its lower stages; this was the second orbital launch for the rocket. The launch was also the first orbital mission from Kodiak since 2001. (11/20)

NASA's $20 Million, Plus a $10 Million Earmark, Would Save Hangar One at Ames (Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Hangar One's future is finally looking bright -- provided Congress cooperates. NASA has committed to spending $20 million to restore the South Bay landmark at Moffett Field, a NASA Ames official said at a Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board meeting. With an additional $10 million pending from earmarks requested earlier this year by U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, the combined funds likely would be enough to restore the hangar.

The cost of replacing Hangar One's PCB-infused siding after the Navy removes it next spring is estimated to range from $15 million to $40 million, Feng said. NASA's $20 million commitment and Eshoo's $10 million appropriation are both in spending bills that need to be approved by Congress. It hasn't yet been determined where NASA would get the $20 million, but Feng said funds would likely be directed away from other agency construction projects to fulfill the commitment. (11/20)

With Departing Workers, Space Coast Unemployment Dips Amid Space Layoffs (Source: Florida Today)
The number improved, but it's still bad news. Brevard County's unemployment rate fell slightly in October to 11.8 percent, down from September's revised 11.9 percent rate, according to the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation. The October decline, however, reflects a loss of both workers and jobs, not improving employment. "We lost more people than jobs," John Calkins, Brevard Workforce spokesman, said. The figures tell the story of a still shrinking economy in Brevard County. (11/20)

Bolden Comments on New Congress in Huntsville Meeting (Source: Space Politics)
During an "all-hands" meeting at Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said he has talked to with “almost every” newly-elected member of Congress and found bipartisan support for the agency. (He cited an unnamed candidate in Florida “who campaigned against the incumbent because the incumbent supported wasteful NASA spending”, but that candidate, who apparently won, now “wants to support wasteful NASA spending”.) “So I am cautiously optimistic that we will be okay once the appropriations bill is signed into law,” he said. (11/20)

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