January 22, 2011

Japan Launches ISS Cargo Spacecraft (Source: SpaceToday.net)
H-2B launch of HTV-2 (JAXA) An H-2 rocket successfully launched on Saturday the second Japanese spacecraft carrying cargo for the International Space Station. The H-2B lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan and placed the H-2 Transfer Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), also called Kounotori 2, spacecraft into low Earth orbit. The spacecraft carries nearly 4,000 kilograms of cargo, over half of it for NASA. The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the ISS on Thursday, where astronauts will use the station's robot arm to grab the spacecraft and berth it with the station's Harmony module. (1/22)

Uncertainly Surrounds Colorado's NASA-Supported Technology Park (Source: Windsor Beacon)
Things don't look good for a proposed aerospace and clean energy technology park coming to Windsor. Although sites in the Great Western Industrial Park and the empty buildings at Eastman Kodak had previously been mentioned as possible locations for the park, there has been no communication from the group to the town. The park is projected to need about 600,000 square feet of space.

The Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology (CAMT), in association with NASA, have been seeking sites for a park that would bring together existing companies that focus on aerospace technology, energy, bioscience and information technology. Federal funding would help build up the park's power, as well as shared space and uses, such as supplies, test facilities and manufacturing areas.

NASA would provide an innovation ambassador to the park, who could act as a liaison between businesses in the park and the space giant. New technology ideas could come down from NASA into the local companies, and better manufacturing or other solutions could work their way back up. (1/22)

Editorial: Congress in NASA's Way (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
With mixed signals and micromanaging, Congress is making a mess of the U.S. space program. "I don't think I've ever seen so much confusion in terms of projects, and priorities, and where we're heading," a NASA scientist lamented in a recent report on the website Science Now. NASA was in limbo for months last year as different factions in Congress deadlocked with each other and the White House over the space program's future. They finally settled on a policy outlined in a law signed in October by President Obama.

It called for NASA to abandon Constellation — the moon-Mars program running years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget — and design a new rocket for manned exploration to launch in 2016. But this month the space agency's inspector general reported that NASA is on track to waste $215 million on Constellation by March. Say what? Congress has gone so far as to lean on NASA when it comes to which contractors and workers to use. That's not Congress' business. It's clear that senators and representatives aren't rocket scientists.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden could help work through the uncertainties plaguing his agency by pushing back harder against meddling from Congress, but little has been seen or heard from him on the issue. He must be more assertive and effective in dealing with lawmakers. Is it really too much to ask that Congress and NASA be in the same solar system when it comes to space policy? (1/22)

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