December 1, 2010

Malaysia to Train Experts for Aerospace Industry (Source: Xinhua)
Malaysia will set up an institute next year to train people in the area of component manufacturing for the aerospace industry. Malaysian Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili said new institute, to be named the Aerostructure Manufacturing Innovation Center ( AMIC), will be the research and development center for three areas.

These areas include the design of new aerostructure, manufacturing process of aerostructure, and utilization of new materials for aerostructure, Ongkili said. Ongkili said a total of 40 million ringgit (12.94 million U.S. dollars) would be used for training programs, helping Malaysia develop the capability in aerostructure research and design. (12/1)

ULA Enters its Fifth Year with 45 Launches in 48 Months (Source: ULA)
As 2010 nears its end, United Launch Alliance (ULA) is proud to celebrate its fourth anniversary with 45 successful launches in the company's 48 months of operation. ULA closed out 2010 in impressive fashion with the launch of the fourth Delta IV Heavy in program history. The Nov. 21 launch capped a year of 100 percent mission success, including the launch of four Atlas V, one Delta II and three Delta IV rockets. Click here for details. (12/1)

Kranz: America Should Re-Enter Space Race (Source: Beaumont Enterprise)
America should reclaim space pre-eminence with investment and a clear vision of the future, a veteran NASA flight director told a rapt Rotary Club audience in Beaumont. Gene Kranz, the man for whom failure was not an option in engineering the rescue of the stricken Apollo 13 and its astronauts in 1970 - said he urges the United States to return to the moon and on to Mars with manned missions. (12/1)

Russian Space Boss: Spaceship Fixed After Incident (Source: AP)
A Russian spacecraft that suffered rough handling during transportation to the launch pad has been repaired and is safe to carry the next crew to the International Space Station. Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov said the Soyuz TMA-20 was sent back to the manufacturer after the October incident. He said a thorough check revealed no damage to the ship's systems but that some components were replaced to make it absolutely safe. (12/1)

Florida Senators Concerned About NASA Plans (Source: Capitol News Connection)
Florida lawmakers have questioned whether the White House is fully committed to moving forward with plans for NASA. Some lawmakers accuse officials at the space agency of dragging their feet or demanding too much flexibility. Senator Bill Nelson helped craft the plan, which he says will help save jobs at the Kennedy Space Center. It extends the Space Shuttle program and reworks NASA’s future with many existing resources. Plus, it accelerates the development of a new rocket.

Yet uncertainty continues to be a problem. Senator George LeMieux, a Republican, said Washington is partly to blame for that uncertainty. “I am concerned that Congress has gotten in the way of you implementing this bill,” he said. That’s because Congress passed the NASA plan but not an appropriation bill to pay for it, says LeMieux. White House officials have promised skeptical lawmakers they will follow the new law to the letter even under budget constraints. (12/1)

Deficit Commission Removes NASA Cuts From Report (Source: Space Policy Online)
President Obama's deficit commission has released its final report entitled "The Moment of Truth." One change from the draft released weeks ago is that it does not call for canceling funding for NASA's commercial crew program. In fact, NASA is not specifically mentioned at all, though the commission does recommend significant cuts to discretionary spending of which NASA is a part.

The 18-member bipartisan commission is tasked with making recommendations to bring the budget into "primary balance" by 2015 and to "meaningfully improve the long-run fiscal outlook." For discretionary spending, it offers "over $50 billion in immediate cuts to lead by example," and provide a "$200 billion in illustrative 2015 savings." Under its bylaws, at least 14 of the commissioners must vote in favor of the report for it to be forwarded to Congress for consideration. A vote is currently scheduled for Friday. (12/1)

Russia, U.S. to Seal Deal on Joint Space Projects (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, and NASA are to sign a protocol on joint projects in manned and unmanned space travel, the Russian agency's head, Alexei Perminov, said on Wednesday. "We are considering different variants of cooperation, including flights to asteroids, to a Lagrange point, carrying out joint work on the Moon and in a near-earth orbit," Perminov said.

He added that Roscosmos had also asked NASA for assistance during the flight of the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft late next year. The Phobos-Grunt spacecraft will be sent to the surface of Phobos, one of the moons of Mars, and will return to Earth with soil samples. The mission is expected to begin in November 2011 and last some 330 days. (12/1)

Nelson Concerned About Potential KSC Cuts (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Asked where the agency might cut if it received less money than requested, NASA Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Robinson immediately pointed to a project near to Nelson’s heart: a five-year modernization of Kennedy Space Center estimated to cost $1.9 billion. “The best place to [find] that money would be the 21st-century launch initiative for 2011,” she said, referring to the $429 million slated for the project next year.

Her response prompted Nelson to make a post-hearing call to NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, whom Nelson backed for NASA chief last year. Nelson said Bolden assured him that any money taken from KSC in 2011 would be reinserted in 2012 or beyond. The flap is the latest sign of a breakdown in relations between Nelson and the White House. Several times, Nelson said administration officials were trying to torpedo the NASA plan that he backed — although he would not name who he thought was responsible. (12/1)

Alaska Sees Opportunity to Snare More Rocket Launches (Source:
On the southern shore of Kodiak Island, a state-owned launch complex is vying to draw space business to America's last frontier. The Kodiak Launch Complex hosted its first satellite launch in more than eight years Nov. 19. Another USAF Minotaur 4 rocket is being readied for blastoff in May, but the picturesque and modern facility could then fall silent. It's up to Dale Nash, a former space shuttle engineer and operations manager, to showcase the perks and benefits of Kodiak to the launch industry.

Nash is chief executive officer of Alaska Aerospace Corp. (AAC), a state-owned corporation tasked with luring space enterprises to one the least populated states in the union. The federal government has invested about $150 million in the complex, while the state of Alaska has provided approximately $25 million. Kodiak has one of widest launch ranges in the world, supporting rocket flights flying to the southeast, south and southwest toward polar and other high-inclination orbits. Kodiak is also outfitted to conduct back-to-back responsive suborbital or space launches thanks to a state-of-the-art range and control infrastructure.

Besides space launches, Kodiak has also been the site of missile defense tests. Nash is working on deals with small satellite launch providers and companies with medium-lift rockets to take advantage of Kodiak's geographic fortune. AAC, established in 1991, owns and operates the Kodiak Launch Complex. The corporation employs about 50 people, about 30 of which work full time at Kodiak. Another contingent is based in Anchorage, home of AAC's corporate headquarters. (12/1)

NASA-German SOFIA Observatory Completes First Science Flight (Source: NASA)
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, completed the first of three science flights on Wednesday morning to demonstrate the aircraft's potential to make discoveries about the infrared universe. The airborne observatory is an international collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Center. SOFIA is a heavily modified Boeing 747SP that cruises at altitudes between 39,000 and 45,000 feet. It will allow researchers to better understand a wide range of astronomical phenomena. This premiere science flight took off from California on Nov. 30, flying for approximately 10 hours. (12/1)

KSC Modernization Funds to be Cut Under Flat NASA Budget (Source: Florida Today)
The first year of an effort to modernize Kennedy Space Center's launch infrastructure for the post-shuttle world will likely be scaled back significantly if NASA's budget remains flat this year. Given that the fiscal year is already a almost quarter over, said a NASA official, it would be difficult to obligate the money for contracts this year even if it came through. (12/1)

China-Made Satellite Keeps Remote Areas in Venezuela Connected (Source: Xinhua)
A China-made-and-launched communications satellite has for two years helped develop education and communications in Venezuela, especially in this South American nation's remote regions. More than 1,700 education centers, 89 energy resource stations and 214 agricultural infrastructure points have been connected through the Venesat-1 satellite that was launched on Oct. 30, 2008 by China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC). (12/1)

Super-Earth Exoplanet Atmosphere May Be Mostly Water (Source: WIRED)
The first direct measurement of a super-Earth exoplanet's atmosphere finds the world is either shrouded in steam or covered in clouds. "This is the first probe of an atmosphere of a super-Earth planet," said exoplanet observer Jacob Bean of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. "It's a real big step in the direction of doing this kind of work for a planet that's potentially habitable."

The planet, called GJ 1214b, is the smallest planet yet to have its atmosphere examined -- but it's just the latest in nearly a decade of probing exoplanet atmospheres. The others have all been gas giants. When the first exoplanet atmosphere was measured in 2002, many astronomers dismissed it as a one-time success. Now, just 8 years later, exo-atmosphere studies are a thriving field. (12/1)

Major Cash Infusion for JWST is Unlikely This Year (Source: Space News)
NASA does not expect to boost funding this year for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as recommended by an independent panel that found that the astronomy mission was at least 15 months behind schedule and would cost some $1.5 billion more than the previous estimate of $5 billion. The panel, led by John Casani of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said poor management led to the cost overruns, and that funding increases of $250 million in both 2011 and 2012 would be needed just to keep JWST on track for a Sep. 2015 launch date. The previous launch date was Jun. 2014. (12/1)

Sierra Nevada Studying X-34 As Rocket Testbed (Source: Aviation Week)
Sierra Nevada is emerging as the likely front runner to use the former NASA X-34 reusable launch vehicle demonstrator as a flying testbed for its Dream Chaser orbital space vehicle. The two surviving Orbital Sciences-built X-34s have been in storage since the program was canceled in 2001.

The two 58.3-ft. vehicles were developed under a NASA program begun in 1996 to provide a low-cost advanced technology flight demonstration testbed vehicle for space access. Sierra Nevada Executive Vice President Mark Sirangelo confirms the company is studying the X-34 for a supporting role in the Dream Chaser development effort. “We are interested in this project with our interest being adapting our hybrid rocket motor for our orbital space vehicle Dream Chaser program to the X-34 as a test platform.”

Editor's Note: X-34 was designed to be air-launched from underneath a carrier aircraft. As Virgin Galactic looks at options for launching small payloads to orbit, I wonder if they are the other company looking at using the X-34...perhaps as an air-drop platform to fly underneath the WhiteKnightTwo. (12/1)

Senators Vow To Enforce NASA Authorization Act (Source: Space News)
Lawmakers accused the Obama administration of trying to undermine legislation directing NASA to develop a heavy-lift rocket while continuing work on a deep-space capsule. During a Dec. 1 hearing, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and fellow members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee sought assurance that NASA intends to carry out the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, despite fiscal uncertainties in the absence of an appropriations bill.

An expected "continuing resolution" would yield $18.74 billion for FY-2011, a figure that is just 1.67 percent shy of the $19 billion lawmakers authorized for NASA. “We want to see this law implemented without a lot of griping and moaning and groaning if we’re able to get that kind of appropriation,” said Nelson.

Nelson said he is concerned NASA is putting off plans to initiate development of a new space launch system as directed in the law. Specifically, the bill authorizes $3 billion next year for continued work on a multipurpose crew capsule based on NASA’s Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and development of a new heavy-lift rocket with core elements capable of delivering between 70-100 metric tons to orbit by the end of 2016. (12/1)

Florida Spaceport Improvements Would Fall Victim to NASA Cuts (Source: Space News)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) said Congress is already working on new language for a continuing resolution or omnibus spending package that would remove impediments that keep NASA from moving forward with recently authorized programs. However, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) asked what programs might suffer if NASA is forced to continue operating under a continuing which would leave the agency $276 million short of the $19 billion Congress authorized.

"The [NASA] administrator has already considered that and he decided that the best place to take that money would be the 21st century launch initiative for 2011,” she said, referring to $429 million authorized over several years that would pay for upgrades at Kennedy Space Center. “It would be difficult at this point once we get clearance to actually obligate all that money so we wanted to take the reduction there with the thought that we would take it up later.” (12/1)

'Trillions' of Earths Orbit Red Stars in Older Galaxies (Source: BBC)
Astronomers say the Universe may contain three times the number of stars as is currently thought. Their assessment is based on new observations showing other galaxies may have very different structures to our Milky Way galaxy. More stars probably means many more planets as well - perhaps "trillions" of Earth-like worlds.

The Yale University-led study used the Keck telescope in Hawaii. It found that galaxies older than ours contain 20 times more red dwarf stars than more recent ones. Red dwarfs are smaller and dimmer than our own Sun; it is only recently that telescopes have been powerful enough to detect them. (12/1)

Space Pork: How the Utah Delegation is Betraying Fiscal Conservatism (Source: Pajamas Media)
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) seems to have no qualms about either strong-arming federal agencies to supply pork to his state, or to vociferously take pride in such actions. In a meeting at NASA headquarters with other members of the Utah delegation, he reportedly bullied NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and his deputy, Lori Garver, to ensure that any new rockets NASA designed are built to congressional specifications.

At the beginning of October, following passage of the new NASA re-authorization bill, the senator gloated about his success in inserting language in it that he hoped would guarantee continuing contracts for ATK, the northern-Utah manufacturer of the Shuttle-style solid rocket boosters... In defending their home-grown pork, the delegation issued statements that were...well, let’s just say uninformed, so as not to impugn their honesty.

Fortunately, the law does not require NASA to continue to derive the new vehicle from Shuttle bits. It must only do so if “practicable,” and any sensible study result will show that it is not, relative to more modern and affordable approaches. But expect Hatch and other Utah representatives to continue to betray fiscal-conservative principles (and our prospects for affordable spaceflight) in favor of state and district jobs. At least, that is, until the Utah Tea Party decides that they will have to make more examples in the 2012 primaries. (12/1)

NASA Digital Learning Program Links Students, Teachers with Experts (Source: AIA)
NASA uses digital technologies to reach out to students and teachers and promote careers in science, technology, engineering and math. The agency's Digital Learning Network, which runs through the Internet or through video conferencing software, is used by 10 NASA field centers across the country and links teachers to more than 50 space-related modules, providing access to NASA engineers, scientists and mathematicians. (12/1)

NSS Urges Congress to Pass NASA Spending Plan Now (Source: Parabolic Arc)
In late September 2010, after many months of debate, Congress passed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. This three-year authorization demonstrated a bipartisan, cooperative effort on the part of both the House and the Senate to provide a framework for engaging the Executive Branch in a comprehensive dialog on the future of NASA. On October 11, 2010, the bill was signed into law by the president.

In an era when such strong bipartisan agreement is rarely seen, the overwhelming support on both sides of the political aisle for our nation’s space program and for the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 reaffirmed our nation’s strong commitment to a space program that is dynamic, engaging, and sustainable. It is now incumbent upon Congress, the Administration, NASA, commercial concerns, and non-governmental organizations to work together to implement both the spirit and the letter of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. It is now time to enact legislation that appropriates the required funding in compliance with the Authorization Act. (12/1)

Sarkozy to Address Indian Space Scientists (Source: sify News)
Indian space agency ISRO is gearing up to host French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni at its headquarters here Saturday and will interact with top scientists. He will be arriving in India Dec 4 on a four-day visit, during which India and France are likely to further increase cooperation in civil nuclear energy. India and France are jointly developing two satellites that are expected to be launched sometime next year. One of them is Megha Tropiques Mission to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere and the other is SARAL (Satellites for Argos and Altika) to monitor the sea water level. (12/1)

Delta IV Heavy Could Power Astronauts to Moon, Asteroids (Source: Examiner)
Back in the days after the announcement of the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) one of the proposals to reduce the space flight ‘gap’ between the shuttle program and the Constellation Program was to attach the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) to a Delta IV Heavy rocket. With all the political wrangling this simple solution appeared lost – or so it was thought.

The idea of man-rating a Delta IV heavy never seemed to quite fade away and now a plan is under way to launch the Orion spacecraft on top of one of these massive launch vehicles – within the next three years. More importantly by launching these test flights, NASA will be able to review up to three-quarters of the technical challenges involved with a flight to either the moon or to an asteroid – without risking a crew. (12/1)

Editorial: NASA Down Payment (Source: Florida Today)
In the grand scheme of things, $300 million is less than a pittance in the mammoth federal budget. But to NASA it's a must-have down payment on its future. That's how much additional money the agency stands to gain under President Obama's new plan for the agency that has passed Congress and that would bring its budget for fiscal year 2011 to $19 billion. The funding would ramp up production of private rockets to ferry astronauts to space from Cape Canaveral, and start a NASA heavy-lift rocket to fly from Kennedy Space Center and eventually carry astronauts to asteroids and Mars. It would also pay for one last shuttle flight.

But here's the rub: Congress still hasn't passed spending legislation that specifies how much money NASA will have for the projects next year, stopping the next generation of spaceflight dead in its tracks. New Republican leaders in the House are talking about reducing discretionary spending to 2008 levels to fight the federal deficit. Should that occur, it would slash NASA appropriations to $17.8 billion, likely killing key elements of the new blueprint and worsening post-shuttle economic problems and unemployment along the Space Coast.

Space experts have outlined two things that could be immediately at risk with severe repercussions for the Cape: Scratching the final shuttle mission planned for next summer that would keep about 4,000 workers on the job several more months and ease the transition as the new programs begin; and Curtailing, or perhaps eliminating, the modernization of KSC into a 21st century spaceport with infrastructure upgrades that would start with $453 million next year. (12/1)

Sixth-Graders Explore Future of Space Industry (Source: Florida Today)
As the space industry heads in a new direction with the shuttle's upcoming retirement, the focus of the popular Space Week program, which allows sixth-graders to visit KSC's Visitor Complex, also is changing. "It's more looking at the future of space exploration and the impact or the connection that these students have with that," said a Brevard Public Schools teacher. "We're trying to plant the seed that they will be the people supporting the program. They might be the next astronauts."

The district's 5,400 sixth-graders are visiting the space center as part of the eighth annual Space Week. They're getting to see the new Hubble 3D IMAX film, hear a presentation from astronaut Mark Lee and ride aboard the Shuttle Launch Experience. Space Week runs through next week. Instead of touring the Apollo/Saturn 5 building as they did in previous years, students now visit the new Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted exhibit, where they take part in interactive activities and learn about careers they could have in the space industry.

Space Week, which costs about $113,000, is entirely funded by grants and donations, the largest donor being the National Space Club, Florida Committee. For about 50 percent of the district's sixth-graders, this will be their first visit to Kennedy Space Center, district officials said. (12/1)

NASA's Human Spaceflight Program is 'Adrift' (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Just seven weeks after members of Congress applauded themselves for brokering a grand compromise on the future of NASA, the new law — meant to broadly benefit the aerospace industry and key NASA states — is in deep trouble. Looming budget cuts are threatening to undermine the whole concept, especially the development of a powerful "heavy lift" rocket by 2017 that one day is supposed to take humans to the moons of Mars.

Officials are questioning whether the rocket, which is supposed to be built using key parts of the space shuttle, can be done on time and for the $11.5 billion that Congress called for — but now is unlikely to give the agency. Without a new rocket, there is a growing fear in the space community that NASA's human space program might be grounded forever. In response, one of NASA's primary contractors is making a power play to change the terms of the debate.

"The United States' human spaceflight program is adrift," said John Karas, the general manager of Lockheed Martin's human space flight division, in a recent interview. "Everybody's arguing, debating. We are in this giant storm with no direction, and more than likely we're gonna get hit with more waves of money cuts. So we have to have some future plan here; some future direction — or we're just going to get capsized," he said. (11/30)

Would Lockheed Martin Concept Support NASA Heavy-Lift? (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Lockheed Martin is proposing a program it says will permit deep-space exploration in affordable stages culminating in a trip to Mars in 2031. Not surprisingly, it centers on the company's Orion capsule, on which NASA already has spent $4.8 billion. Lockheed proposes launching a test version of the capsule in 2013 aboard a Delta IV-Heavy, and has already agreed to purchase the rocket.

The proposal envisions initial unmanned flights as stepping stones to more-ambitious manned missions, such as a visit in 2018 to the Earth-moon "L2" Lagrange point — a place on the far side of the moon where the combined gravity of the Earth and the moon allows a spacecraft to hover over one spot – followed by trips to asteroids and then to Mars by 2031.

Lockheed insists that these later flights are dependent on NASA developing a "heavy-lift" rocket. But others in the aerospace industry, and the politicians who support them, fear that an initial successful launch could undermine the need for a new rocket — and cost them contracts and jobs. (11/30)

Lockheed: Budget Pressures Should Make Orion More Attractive (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Almost no one thinks NASA will get the full $19 billion requested by the White House in the 2011 budget. The size of the cuts — combined with NASA's propensity to deliver projects late and over budget — could significantly impact NASA's ability to fund any future beyond the space shuttle, which will be retired next year.

With this fiscal environment in mind, a Lockheed official argues that Orion is the only NASA project far enough along to fly — and may be the only way to keep the agency's space-faring ambitions alive. "The reason we decided not to wait for a rocket any more is because we'd be sitting on the ground until 2020 which means we would atrophy..." he said.

Putting Orion on a fast track would certainly help Kennedy Space Center, which is set to lose at least 6,000 more jobs when the space shuttle is retired next year. Orion is supposed to be assembled at KSC, and test launches would ensure more work and would attract tourists to the area. (11/30)

Falcon 9 Static Fire Test Nears (Source: Aviation Week)
Challenged by an unprecedented series of “firsts” for its upcoming initial flight of Falcon 9 with a Dragon space capsule, SpaceX stresses that even if the capsule is not recovered intact as planned, the mission should be judged an overall success. The plan is for Dragon to reenter Earth’s atmosphere and be recovered by parachute en route to a splashdown in the Pacific off the California coast.

The flight also will be the first test of the Dragon’s operating system, heat shield and Draco maneuvering thrusters. The flight represents the first processing of hypergolic fuels for those thrusters on the launch pad, as well as the first time an FAA-licensed commercial space company has attempted to bring a spacecraft back through Earth’s atmosphere. And the flight marks SpaceX’s first interaction with the Dragon spacecraft from its newly opened mission control center in California.

Given the number of firsts involved in the deployment and recovery of the Dragon, Elon Musk concedes that “there’s maybe a 60 to 70% chance of Dragon coming back fully intact, so when you multiply those probabilities [including an 80-90% launch success], then there’s maybe a 60% chance of success for the mission as a whole...The reason we’re doing this mission is to learn. There’s no operational payload.” (11/30)

Cassini Finds Warm Cracks on Enceladus (Source: NASA JPL)
New images and data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft give scientists a unique Saturn-lit view of active fissures through the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus. They reveal a more complicated web of warm fractures than previously thought. Cassini's composite infrared spectrometer and its high-resolution imaging camera have provided the highest-resolution heat intensity maps yet of the hottest part of a region of long fissures spraying water vapor and icy particles from Enceladus.

These fissures have been nicknamed "tiger stripes." Additional high-resolution spectrometer maps of one end of the tiger stripes Alexandria Sulcus and Cairo Sulcus reveal never-before-seen warm fractures that branch off like split ends from the main tiger stripe trenches. They also show an intriguing warm spot isolated from other active surface fissures. (11/30)

Space Debris May Cause Mysterious Ball Lightning (Source: New Scientist)
Space debris falling into the atmosphere may cause mysterious ball lightning. Thousands of people have seen floating orbs of light, sometimes during thunderstorms, but their origin has never been established. Earlier this year, scientists proposed that ball lightning was merely a hallucination caused by magnetic fluctuations during storms.

However, the weather was clear when Don Vernon, a farmer in Queensland, Australia, spotted two green balls descending from the sky on 16 May 2006. Oddly, the second rolled down a hill, bounced over a rock and then vanished. More than 100 people on Australia's east coast reported seeing a bright fireball like the first green ball that Vernon saw, but no else saw the bouncing ball.

The observations suggest that the first orb was probably a bright meteor caused by debris from Comet 73P, which came closer to Earth at that time than any other comet in 20 years. The second, Hughes says, was ball lightning triggered by the meteor. Click here to read the article. (11/30)

Landing a Space Shuttle Still Part of Tulsa Museum Director's Plans (Source: KJRH)
The Tulsa Air and Space Museum is often called one of the area's best kept secrets. Glenn Wright wants to change that perception. The museum will continue to pursue one of NASA's space shuttles, though it's unclear whether or not the agency will actually follow through with earlier plans to retire the fleet. (11/30)

Court Vacates Stay on Rocket Launches as ISRO Relaxes Fishing Ban (Source: Times of India)
A stay on launch of rockets from Sriharikota by the Indian Space Research Organization was vacated by the Madras high court after the space agency explained that fishermen are restrained from entering the sea for just four hours and not 15-20 days. (11/30)

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