December 4, 2010

The Space Shuttle's Lessons For The Future (Source: Aviation Week)
The second flight of the space shuttle Atlantis was almost its last. What was then NASA’s newest orbiter sustained severe damage to its fragile thermal protection system when it lifted off from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39B on Dec. 2, 1988. But through a combination of military secrecy and plain old human misunderstanding, the problem went unaddressed until Atlantis returned to Earth four days later. Click here to read the article. (12/4)

SpaceX Falcon-9 Engine Test Succeeds (Source: SPACErePORT)
Saturday morning's two-second test firing of SpaceX's Falcon-9 first stage engines was declared a success by the company, paving the way for a launch from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport on December 7. The test followed two aborted attempts. (12/4)

Embry-Riddle Cosponsors International Space-Themed Art Contest (Source: SPACErePORT)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has joined with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) the FAA, the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), and other organizations to sponsor a 2011 international art contest for youngsters between the ages of 6 and 17. This year’s theme is “50th Anniversary of Human Space Flight.” Artwork will be judged, at least in part, for its creative use of this year’s theme in relation to the aviation world. Click here for details. (12/4)

Scott to Visit Space Coast, Jacksonville to Talk Technology, Aerospace (Source:
Florida Governor-elect Rick Scott will be in Melbourne on Monday and Jacksonville on Tuesday to discuss technology and aviation/aerospace, respectively. The visits are part of a weeklong tour devoted to jobs. Click here to see his statewide itinerary. (12/4)

Researchers Continue Starfighters Suborbital Spaceflight Training at Florida Spaceport (Source: SwRI)
As part of their suborbital spaceflight training, Southwest Research Institute researchers and suborbital payload specialists Dr. Alan Stern and Dr. Dan Durda have continued their spaceflight training with a new series of jet fighter flights in F-104 aircraft operated by Starfighters Inc. at the Kennedy Space Center. The latest round of SwRI Starfighter flights and ground training took place Nov. 16.

“Our pilots, Rick Svetkoff and Mike Smith, did a great job for us again, giving us everything we wanted out of these flights, which we scored as an A+ on both the training and the equipment evaluations.” This followed on an intensive, two-day course, which Stern and Durda took to inaugurate this element of their spaceflight training, and which included classroom instruction, aircraft cockpit familiarization and actual flights flown from the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center earlier in 2010. (12/3)

Editorial: Congress Needs to Provide Money to Carry Out the New Course it Set for NASA (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
When a bipartisan majority in Congress finally settled on a new direction for NASA in September, it looked like the months of drift in America's space program had come to an end. But NASA is back in limbo as Congress bickers over the federal budget. Lawmakers need to stop fooling around and follow through with the funding to carry out their new space policy. With space shuttles scheduled to be grounded for good sometime next year, America's long-term leadership in space is at stake.

NASA has been in a fog too long. Congress needs to clear away the cloud of doubt enveloping the space program and give the agency the money it needs. The $300 million — or even the $1.6 billion — that could be saved by starving the space agency's budget is not worth the risk of sacrificing America's space leadership. (12/4)

Win a Trip to Space - Really (Source: The Star)
Looking for a novel idea for your next vacation? Well, you might want to enter a contest run by Ares Institute, a U.S. based non-profit set up to promote space exploration. Ares is offering a free suborbital flight as a prize for a contest it is currently running. The idea came to Matthew Travis, executive director, as a way to raise funds for the organization – specifically to fund a laboratory.

To enter all you have to do is go to their website and follow the instructions. You can either make a minimum donation of $10 and in return receive a DVD of the last flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery or you can just enter without paying any money, Travis said. Canadians are also welcome to enter, he added. The winner will receive a ride on a suborbital flight from one of the companies building planes and planning to offer suborbital adventure flights. Click here to enter. (12/4)

India: Robotic Excavations Could Help Get Helium 3 from Moon to Earth (Source: PTI)
Former ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair has outlined the possibility of getting Helium-3, found on the moon, through "robotic excavations" to earth, in an attempt to resolve the planet's future energy needs. "If we can excavate, release and bring it to the earth, it will be a fantastic contribution," he said Thursday while delivering a lecture on the Moon Mission at a conference.

"In the next 10-15 years we could have robotic excavations that can get Helium-3 here," he said. He3 is a light, non-radioactive isotope of Helium with two protons and one neutron. It is rare on Earth, and is sought for use in nuclear fusion research. The abundance of Helium-3 is thought to be greater on the Moon. (12/4)

India Hands Two Contracts to Arianespace, Renews Deal with European Space Company (Source: PTI)
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has given an estimated Rs500 crore order to Arianespace and renewed the five-year contract with EADS Astrium for joint marketing of satellites. "We have signed commercial agreements with Arianespace for two more launches - GSAT-8 in 2011 and GSAT-10 in 2012", ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said. He did not specify the contract value but ISRO sources said launch cost of each satellite is around Rs 250 crore. (12/4)

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