January 8, 2011

NASA to Extend Soyuz Contract Into 2016 (Source: Spaceports Blog)
NASA will presumably continue launching American astronauts on Roscosmos Soyuz booster rockets and capsules into mid-2016 based upon the release of the presolicitation procurement announcement made by NASA Johnson Space Center earlier this week. NASA intends to contract with Roscosmos for services on a sole-source basis for up to 12 Soyuz seats and associated services beginning in 2014 for a period up to 2 years and 6 months, through June 30, 2016. The previous contract extension was made last year for flights into 2014. (1/8)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Wife of STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly, Shot (Source: NASA Watch)
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot outside a grocery store in Tucson while holding a public event on Saturday. The Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at the Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting. Rep. Giffords' husband is Astronaut Mark Kelly, commander of the STS-134 crew. His brother Scott is on orbit on the ISS is a member of the Expedition 26 crew. (1/8)

New Mexico Governor Says Her Administration Supports Spaceport (Source: KFOX)
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said her administration supports Spaceport America and explained a shake-up in staffing this week. Martinez said her administration wants to see Spaceport American succeed but feels taxpayer money should be spent wisely in helping the multi-million dollar project. Martinez said support for Spaceport America should move toward the goal of making it self-sustaining. Spaceport America board members told the Las Cruces Sun News that they felt like they've been put on hold. (1/7)

Discovery May Launch Feb. 24 at the Earliest (Source: Florida Today)
NASA is trying to determine whether a Feb. 24 launch opportunity might become available for shuttle Discovery. A robotic European space freighter would need to dock at the space station a few days earlier than planned to clear the way for a Feb. 24 shuttle launch. Liftoff time that day would be targeted for 4:50 p.m. The next definite available opportunity is a seven-day window that opens Feb. 27, unless changes could be made to the European cargo carrier's schedule. (1/7)

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