November 4, 2010

India: Militarizing Space With U.S. Help (Source: Counter Currents)
U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have a meeting scheduled in Delhi on November 8. Certain to be on the agenda is the removal of the last remaining export controls on U.S. dual-use technology and military hardware to India, including technology appropriate for development of space weapons. Since President Obama pledged in 2009 to seek a ban on space weapons, the United States should not be helping other countries develop these weapons, especially in dangerous regions that have nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert. But with the final hurdles of export control removed, Washington could be doing just that for India, with so far little or no objection.

India is using space development as a way to advance a stronger geostrategic position in the region and globally. The U.S. defense industry is facilitating this military expansion with its aggressive move in to South Asian markets to supplement reductions in their Pentagon contracts. The potential long-term ramifications of both moves have been neglected in favor of short-term, understandable, gains. Nevertheless, the U.S. arms control community, by failing to address this dangerous situation, is asleep at the wheel. Click here to read the article. (11/4)

Election Adds To Space Policy Uncertainty (Source: Aviation Week)
The Nov. 2 midterm U.S. congressional elections gave NASA a new House appropriations “cardinal” and a tight-fisted Republican majority in the House that might scuttle plans for an extra space shuttle flight next summer. NASA needs $600 million to keep the shuttle program running long enough to send one more shuttle-load of supplies aloft to keep the International Space Station stocked until commercial cargo carriers come online.

The Democrat-controlled House authorized the mission, but NASA still does not have a Fiscal 2011 funding appropriation. Unless the post-election lame duck session – controlled by the outgoing Democratic majority – finds a way to fund the STS-135 mission, it will be a tempting cash cow next January as the Republican majority looks for ways to match their belt-tightening campaign rhetoric with legislative action. (11/4)

Using Space-Time Distortions, Scientists Discover Hidden Galaxies (Source:
Previously hidden behind veils of dust, ancient galaxies have been detected using an effect caused by the space-time distortions in the vast distance between those galaxies and Earth. The discovery of the distant galaxies could shed light on formation of the early universe and galaxies, researchers said.

Distant galaxies are normally difficult to see, but those whose dim light are shrouded in dust are especially difficult to detect, even using the largest available telescopes. However, astronomers are able to essentially boost the effectiveness of their telescopes by relying on lenses of a sort — massive galaxies or clusters of galaxies between the astronomers and the objects they want to look at. (11/4)

Florida Group Starts Process for Setting Space Priorities (Source: SPACErePORT)
Florida's Aerospace Career & Development Council (ACDC) met on Thursday to discuss the development of a 2011 Space Advocacy Plan for Tallahassee and Washington. Among the likely Tallahassee priorities: full funding for Space Florida; passage of a Space Business Revitalization Act to incentivize space industry development; an Aerospace Jobs Retention Tax Credit; an R&D Tax Credit for industry; eliminating the sunset of a commercial human spaceflight liability limitation; continued investment in aerospace workforce transition programs; and enhanced inclusion of space transportation projects in the state's transportation investment process. (11/4)

Florida Governor-Elect to Focus on Job Creation (Source: SSTI)
Gov.-elect Rick Scott (R), has proposed a seven-step economic plan that he says will create jobs and allow Florida to become a job creation model for the nation. In seven years, his 7-7-7 economic plan aims to create 700,000 jobs and generate $74 billion in state GDP, $41 billion in higher personal incomes, and $1 billion in total state revenues as a direct result of increased economic growth.

To grow and retain jobs, Scott would continue to invest in the Innovation Incentive Fund, established in 2006 under former Gov. Jeb Bush to attract major life sciences institutions and create high-tech jobs. Scott's plan also includes nurturing new cutting-edge technology clusters, such as the biotechnology cluster in Orlando. To eliminate overlapping economic development agencies, he would designate one group to assist local economic development agencies and serve as the statewide recruitment agency.

Citing a world-class university system as necessary to establishing a workforce capable of enhancing the state's technology sectors, Scott would invest in university research, laboratories, business incubators and technology transfer. The plan refers to connecting university research to the state's economic development process and leveraging investments in the state's medical colleges to invest in new or emerging technologies. (11/4)

What Does the GOP Takeover Mean for Space? (Source: Space News)
According to Bill Adkins of the Center for Space Strategic Studies: "The current FY11 budget may be NASA’s high-water mark for a while. If NASA’s budget is reduced to 2008 levels — basically a 10% cut back to $17.3 billion — it will put a lot of pressure on NASA to address fundamental questions about the size and scope of what the agency does. The House may have trouble getting the Senate to go along with such cuts, but the budget hawks seem to be growing in strength in the Senate as well. A key question is whether the new Congress will view NASA as an investment in the nation’s future or a drain on the economy."

According to Marcia Smith of "The Republican takeover of the House is not good news for NASA. It’s not that Republicans don’t like NASA...But they love NASA more in good economic times than in bad...The $6 billion increase over 5 years [President Obama] included for NASA in his FY2011 budget request was always just a proposal and it is difficult to believe that it can survive the current economic and political climate...

What does the election mean for NASA? Probably a continuation of being asked to do too much with too little coupled with extended uncertainty about what human spaceflight program the country wants NASA to pursue and how much taxpayers are willing to invest in “commercial” endeavors. In short, Groundhog Day." (11/4)

Space Florida Explores Economic Opportunities with Europe (Source: Space Florida)
The European Business Innovation Centre Network (EBN) and Space Florida last week initiated a Memorandum of Understanding to develop new market opportunities and resources for Small and Medium Aerospace Enterprises in Europe and Florida. Ongoing activities will further business development and job creation initiatives in the aerospace sector for Florida, as well as establish Florida as the threshold to American markets for European SMEs. The agreement was signed at the European Satellite Navigation Conference in Munich. (11/4)

NASA Scrubs Discovery Launch Due to Rain; Will Try Again Friday (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Heavy rains over Kennedy Space Center Thursday forced NASA managers to delay the launch of space shuttle Discover another day. The new launch time will be Friday at 3:03 p.m. NASA’s Mission Management Team made the decision after a 5:30 a.m. meeting looking at the weather and deciding there would not be a break in the rain and cloud cover that would allow them to launch Discovery on its final mission to the International Space Station. (11/4)

Obama's Dream of Mars at Risk from Radiation (Source: Physics World)
Higher levels of space radiation between 2020 and 2040 could endanger US President Barack Obama's vision for a manned mission to Mars, according to a NASA scientist. The result of two separate solar-activity cycles, which are both predicted to hit their maximum during the period, the increased radiation could cause radiation sickness and an increased cancer risk for any astronauts venturing away from the safety of the Earth's atmosphere. (11/4)

Deep Impact Gets First Look at Hartley 2 Comet (Source:
NASA's Deep Impact probe flew by the second comet of its mission Thursday, successfully navigating near an unusually active ball of ice and rock more than 13 million miles from Earth. The probe hit its aimpoint and navigation was spot-on, according to controllers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Controllers stayed in contact with the craft during the flyby, proving it survived the risky flight through a cloud of icy debris surrounding its rocky core. Flying past the comet at a relative speed of more than 27,500 mph, the Deep Impact spacecraft was in autopilot mode to enable the probe to quickly pivot and keep the comet nucleus in view of two scientific cameras. These five images were the first snapshots returned from the probe more than 13 million miles away from Earth. Click here to see them. (11/4)

Hughes Projects Strong Broadband Subscriber Growth (Source: Space News)
Satellite broadband hardware and services provider Hughes Communications on Nov. 3 reported continued success of its U.S. consumer broadband business in the teeth of a sharp economic downturn and said it will have more than 930,000 subscribers by late 2015. That would be a 67 percent increase over the 558,000 U.S. subscribers that Hughes counted as of Sept. 30, for an average 19 percent annual growth in net subscribers between 2010 and 2015. (11/4)

UF Researcher's Work Taking Ride Into Space (Source: Gainesville Sun)
University of Florida researcher Wagner Vendrame said his experiment is getting a free ride aboard the space shuttle Discovery. He said he's hopeful the experiment will speed the development of the jatropha plant as a major alternative fuel source. He's researching whether low gravity will trigger genes that allow for widespread cultivation of the jatropha plant, which produces seeds used to make biodiesel. But with the shuttle program coming to a close next year, he must wait to see whether a private company will fill the void in bringing his research into space. (11/4)

ATK Reports FY11 Second-Quarter Operating Results (Source: ATK)
ATK reported operating results for the second quarter of its Fiscal Year 2011, which ended on October 3, 2010. Second quarter sales of $1.2 billion were in line with the prior-year quarter. Second quarter net income rose 34 percent to $97 million compared to $73 million in the prior-year quarter. Second quarter sales in the Aerospace Systems group declined by 10 percent to $376 million, compared to $417 million in the prior-year period. The decrease primarily reflects lower sales on the Space Shuttle's Reusable Solid Rocket Motor program as the program nears completion, partially offset by higher sales on the Ares I program. (11/4)

Space Requires New Thinking, Practices, Lynn Says (Source: DOD)
Once the private preserve of the United States and the Soviet Union, space has become “congested, contested and competitive,” requiring a shift in the military space community’s thinking and practices, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said. Lynn noted that the United States has “derived tremendous benefits from its presence in space” for more than 50 years.

“We are -- and continue to be -- the world’s pre-eminent leader in space,” he said. “But the environment we operate in has changed so markedly that we have reached a historical inflection point.” Space has become congested, he said, because 60 nations now have a presence there. “Nine-thousand satellite transponders will be active by 2015,” he noted, “and the skies over Earth are so cluttered with debris that further collisions could eventually put usable orbits in jeopardy.” (11/4)

Baikonur Film Blasts Into History (Source: Russia Today)
The hub for Russian and Soviet space explorers for decades, Baikonur is now raking on a new role as German art house director Viet Helmer has brought his cast and crew to the Star City to shoot his new movie. “Baikonour” is a love story with a twist, featuring a French cosmonaut who blasts off from the cosmodrome as a space tourist only to crash land upon re-entry. (11/4)

Editorial: Don't Cut NASA (Source: Florida Today)
Republicans made major gains in Tuesday’s congressional elections, taking control of the House and gaining seats in the Senate. They wasted no time Wednesday pressing their agenda, promising to start cutting the federal budget deficit in a way that could mean trouble for NASA and the Space Coast. Incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he wants to reduce discretionary spending to 2008 levels, saying it would save taxpayers $100 billion the first year alone.

That would put NASA in the crosshairs, because its budget is to rise to $19 billion next year in a new blueprint that ramps up production of private rockets to ferry astronauts to space and design a NASA heavy-lift rocket that would fly from Kennedy Space Center. NASA funding could fall to the $17.3 billion allocated in 2008, killing elements of the plan to begin the next-generation of spaceflight and worsening economic problems and unemployment in Brevard County.

That makes it critical NASA’s spending plan pass Congress now with Florida lawmakers leading the way. They include Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who has rightly called possible cuts “devastating” for NASA. Two new Florida players — GOP Sen.-elect Marco Rubio and GOP Rep.-elect Sandy Adams — are blank slates on the new space policy. NASA wasn’t on Rubio’s radar during the campaign, and Adams exhibited a total lack of knowledge about NASA during her campaign to unseat Kosmas, even though she now represents KSC and thousands of Brevard space workers. (11/4)

NASA Could be in Budget Limbo for Months After Tuesday's Election (Source: Huntsville Times)
Get used to limbo, NASA. You're going to be there a while. Political observers say it could be February or even longer before NASA gets a budget to pay for the new space program Congress authorized in late September. Chances are almost zero that the outgoing Congress will write a new FY 2011 federal budget when it convenes Nov. 15 in a lame duck session, according to former North Alabama Congressman Bud Cramer.

Cramer is now a Washington lobbyist and political consultant who heads Huntsville's Second to None Initiative. That's a committee formed by Mayor Tommy Battle to lobby for NASA's role in Huntsville. "The feeling is the leadership will not push for an omnibus spending bill in the lame duck," Cramer said Wednesday by telephone from Washington. "Respecting the will of the country" that government should move another direction, Cramer said, the outgoing House Democrat leadership will likely OK a continuing resolution to keep funding at 2010 levels. (11/4)

Russo-Chinese Space Meeting Wraps Up in Beijing (Source: Parabolic Arc)
The 11th meeting of the Russian–Chinese Space Cooperation Subcommittee finalized in Beijing on Nov. 2. The meeting is attended by the delegation of Federal Space Agency led by Roscosmos Head Anatoly Perminov. The Subcommittee deals with preparation of the Heads of the Governments. Perminov noted that Russian-Chinese Space Program of 2010–2012 approved in Oct. 2009 laid reliable grounds for further development and intensification of cooperation for the upcoming years, as it implies mutually beneficial collaboration aimed at improving space science and products. (11/2)

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