February 5, 2011

New Space Strategy Mentions Vandenberg (Source: Lompoc Record)
The Defense Department’s new National Security Space Strategy proposes an expanded international role for an operations center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in an effort to foster better global cooperation when it comes to outer space. The Joint Space Operations Center based at Vandenberg involves the Air Force along with Army, Navy and Marine Corps. Nicknamed the JSPoC, the facility serves as the focal point for U.S. space forces and ensures satellites are available for U.S. military operations across the globe. (2/5)

STEM Should Have Two Ms (Source: ERAU Center for Aviation & Aerospace Leadership)
There has been much written and discussed about improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in the United States. There is no doubt that by most all indicators, students in the U.S. are lagging in the basic knowledge that is needed for future global competitiveness. In 2007 the National Academies found that the U.S. education system simply is not producing enough people with STEM skills and degrees.

I believe, however, there is something missing in this discussion. Most all the discussion is about education. More attention and ink needs to be given to the use of such an education that would excite American youth about what basic knowledge of STEM subjects can provide them. Jobs, well paying jobs in manufacturing, particularly aerospace manufacturing, are one such way. (Bureau of Labor statistics have shown aerospace manufacturing jobs can exceed $1,400 a week.) Manufacturing is unique in its ability to provide an important entry into STEM-based careers.

Editor's Note: Embry-Riddle's Center for Aviation & Aerospace Leadership (CAAL) is sponsoring an annual Aviation/Aerospace Manufacturing Summit on Feb. 23-25 at Disney World in Orlando. Click here for details. (2/5)

Gov. Rick Scott to Propose 2-Year Florida Budget (Source: AP)
Gov. Rick Scott will propose a two-year budget for Florida rather than just an annual one because he thinks it's more forward-looking, a spokesman said. He wants to reduce spending in the $70.4 billion budget by about $5 billion. He's said he expects to save $1 billion over two years by streamlining the state government and consolidating agencies. He also hopes to slash business and property taxes by more than $2 billion. The state faces a projected budget shortfall of $3.6 billion to $4.6 billion. The Florida Constitution requires legislators to adopt annual budgets. Lawmakers are not bound by the governor's budget recommendations. (2/5)

Editorial: An Answer to Affordability of Space Systems (Source: Space News)
I think our space leaders understand the unrelenting pressures that are placed on the acquisition, deployment and operation of space missions — the community faces tremendous competition on budget priorities, all while our young troops have grown more dependent on and demand more and more capabilities provided from space. U.S. government space budgets are not going to continue rising, at least for many years. They are even likely to decline.

Spacecraft acquisition programs are struggling as they have been saddled with non-executable technical, schedule and cost baselines, and onerous acquisition rules. Our major acquisitions are suffering severe cost growth and overrun problems. Additionally, capabilities have become contested at the same time that they are critical to our warfighters. So, how do we assure that space capabilities will remain available for our troops on the ground, at sea, and in the air? Cutting back on systems and capabilities is just not a viable answer.

The first bold step to address the space acquisition crisis is to apply disaggregation approaches. While aggregating missions heretofore has been done in good faith, and by those who thought aggregating would help program advocacy and lower costs, the actual result in terms of cost was the opposite. Costs have gone through the roof. Disaggregation is the concept of splitting the missions into smaller and more consistent and achievable requirements. This strategy presents a good opportunity to confront and reduce overall acquisition costs, and acquisition rules should be revised to encourage it. (2/4)

Minotaur I Launch from California Delayed (Source: USAF)
The launch of a Minotaur-I launch vehicle from Space Launch Complex-8 here has been delayed due to a power issue affecting mandatory range safety equipment. During the countdown, Western Range controllers observed a power fluctuation on a transmitter used to maintain positive control over the launch vehicle throughout range operations. "Safety is our number one priority, so we are analyzing the situation and taking every necessary precaution," said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander and launch decision authority. The launch has been rescheduled for 4:26 a.m. (PST), Feb. 6, pending resolution of the power issue. (2/5)

The Final Countdown (Source: Prospect)
Some time this year, NASA’s space shuttle will touch down for the last time. Bereft of their jobs and their mission, what will happen to the people of Florida’s Space Coast? You know you’re in Brevard County when you start seeing rockets. As soon as you reach the Atlantic edge of Interstate 4, the highway that sways across central Florida, depictions of spacecraft begin to adorn the stores, diners and payday loan places. These are the towns of Titusville, Rockledge and Port St John, communities that for the past 50 years have made sure America’s astronauts have reached the Beyond.

Their livelihood is visible long before the road finally sweeps up and crosses the wide rivers and cane reeds of Cape Canaveral and you see the distant red blinks of the launch pads, the shimmer of the vast buildings of KSC. NASA has 18 facilities across the US, from Maryland to California, and its major contractors, companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, have dozens more. But no place has assumed the identity of the country’s space program quite like Brevard County. A mosquito-bitten slip of coast, 20 miles wide and 70 miles long, it was somewhere people used to drive through on their way to Palm Beach, until the US army decided to start testing its missiles there in October 1946.

And then, quite suddenly, it was colonized. The arrival of Wernher von Braun, designer of the V2 rocket, and the other founding fathers of the US space programme, made Brevard the fastest-growing county in America. NASA, founded in 1958, built bridges and water systems, and when the space race reached its exorbitant heights in the mid-1960s, Brevard was the edge of the world. Astronauts raced their cars on the beach, newsmen camped out on their lawns and the county was given the dialling code 3-2-1 after the launch sequence. In 1973, Brevard put the Moon landing on its county seal. Click here to read the article. (1/26)

What the Strange Persistence of Rockets Can Teach Us About Innovation (Source: Slate)
The phenomena of path dependence and lock-in can be illustrated with many examples, but one of the most vivid is the gear we use to launch things into space. Rockets are a very old invention. The Chinese have had them for something like 1,000 years. Francis Scott Key wrote about them during the War of 1812 and we sing about them at every football game. As late as the 1930s, however, they remained small, experimental, and failure-prone. Click here to read the article. (2/4)

California Space Week Coming to Washington DC (Source: CSA)
California Space Week Washington DC will begin Tuesday, March 29, in the capital offices of Governor Jerry Brown, 444 N. Capitol Street, Suite 333. Space Week participants will meet privately that day with key executive branch officials from federal agencies including the White House, Department of State, NASA, Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, and Department of Commerce from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. the executive branch meetings will be followed by a unique networking opportunity—a Capitol Hill reception to which members and staff of the California Congressional delegation have been invited.

On Wednesday, March 30, Space Week participants will meet with Congressional members and staff to discuss significant issues for California space enterprise. There will be a CSA no-host dinner that evening to discuss the events of the day at 6:00 p.m. Meetings in the Congressional offices will continue on Thursday, March 31, until 1:00 p.m. If you have questions or would like to participate in California Space Week Washington DC, please contact Dianna Minor at dm@CaliforniaSpaceAuthority.org or (805) 349-2633, ext. 110. (2/5)

Japan To Certify U.S. Space Crew Vehicle (Source: Aviation Week)
Experts from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will certify any commercial crew transportation vehicle put forward by U.S. companies as safe to fly. Only then will the Japanese agency accept them as substitutes for the space shuttle in the complex barter deals that govern International Space Station operations.

Under those arrangements, reached before the Columbia accident sounded the death knell for shuttle operations, NASA is responsible for delivering Japanese astronauts to the ISS, where U.S. scientists have access to some of the equipment and rack space on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM). NASA will pay as much as $55.8 million a person for seats and training on Russia’s Soyuz crew capsules to accommodate its own astronauts and those from Europe and Canada as well as from Japan. (2/4)

NASA Eyes Spaceplanes For Crew Transport (Source: Aviation Week)
Private industry could be prepared to go where NASA fears to tread and develop a spaceplane to replace the space shuttle and ferry crews to and from the International Space Station. But if industry succeeds, it will be thanks to decades of work by the space agency on lifting-body reentry vehicles.

The Dream Chaser, developed by Sierra Nevada Corp. subsidiary SpaceDev, is based on NASA’s HL-20 lifting-body design, which reached the stage of a full-scale research model before work was discontinued in the early 1990s. With NASA now considering bids for a second round of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, another spaceplane contender has emerged.

The “blended lifting-body” vehicle proposed by Orbital Sciences Corp. for CCDev 2 is based on the larger Orbital Space Plane (OSP) the company designed in the early 2000s under NASA’s Space Launch Initiative, a previous but abortive effort to develop a next-generation reusable launch system to replace the shuttle. (2/4)

Space or Spouse? Most Back Kelly's Decision (Source: MSNBC)
Robin Davidson doesn't know Rep. Gabrielle Giffords personally, but as a wife herself, she knows one thing in her heart: The congresswoman wouldn't want her astronaut husband's professional dreams to become yet another casualty of the horrific Tucson shooting that nearly killed her. And so, as Giffords recovers, Mark Kelly should head to outer space in peace come April, said Davidson. "He needs to make this historic and honorable mission as part of their healing process," she said.

As a couple's dilemma, it's almost unfathomable: If your spouse was recovering from a bullet wound to the brain, would you be able to leave the planet? Of course, nobody outside the couple's inner circle knows to what extent the congresswoman herself has been able to contribute to Kelly's decision to fly. Kelly didn't answer that question directly in a news conference, saying only: "I know my wife very well and I know what she would want, so that makes the decision easier." (2/4)

Hawking Meets the Queen of the Galaxy (Source: Physics World)
Stephen Hawking’s annual pilgrimage to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) seems to be turning into quite a celebrity tour. Only last month the Los Angeles Times reported that “hundreds” turned out to hear the cosmologist speak at Caltech. Before his talk, 13-year-old “physics fan” Evan Hetland raved “It’s like seeing the nerd pope!” While another devotee said they wouldn’t “stand in line this long for our favorite rock star”.

Now Hawking is living up to his status and hanging out with the great and the good from Hollywood. On Tuesday, Hawking met the actress Jane Fonda - known for her starring role in the science fiction film Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy. He got together with the 73-year-old backstage at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles after watching the Academy-Award-winning star in the play 33 Variations, which is about how Beethoven created the piano composition Diabelli Variations. (2/5)

European Space Prepares to Make a Really Big Decision (Source: BBC)
More than 300 of Europe's leading space scientists gathered in Paris this week to discuss how to spend more than a billion euros. The options? Well, try to choose between these three: (1) a 20m-long telescope called IXO that could see the very "edge" of a black hole; or (2) a trio of satellites collectively known as LISA which might be able to detect the ripples in space-time left by the moment of creation itself; or (3) a pair of spacecraft that would visit two of the most promising locations for life beyond Earth in our Solar System. This is called EJSM/Laplace.

The European Space Agency is working through the process of selecting a large mission to do something extraordinary, with the idea of launching the venture in 2020 or soon after. The start of the next decade might seem a long way away, but in the business of space this type of extended planning is very common. (2/4)

U.S. Space Strategy Recommends Updated Acquisition, Export Rules (Source: Bloomberg)
The U.S. Defense Department’s space strategy recommends the government update how it acquires and exports satellite technology amid increasing global competition. Space is no longer the “private preserve” of the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn said. The U.S. share of the global market for satellite manufacturing has fallen and the volume of space debris has surged over the past decade, with about 60 nations operating about 1,100 satellites, he said.

“Given those changes in the environment, we thought the strategy needed to be changed as well.” Lynn said the Pentagon’s fiscal 2012 budget, due for release Feb. 14, will include “concrete manifestations” of the strategy, including additional funding for the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, more “block buys” of satellites, fixed-price contracts, and stable funding to protect the industrial base.

“We think that’s going to lead to lower costs for the department and a more stable market for the industrial base,” he said. Export controls should also be updated to protect satellite suppliers should also be updated, according to the strategy. Gregory Schulte, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, said the strategy is designed to promote international norms and partnerships, as well as alternatives to the U.S. military’s space-based platforms. (2/4)

Russia has Good Reason to Stay at Baikonur (Source: Central Asia Newswire)
Because Russia rents Baikonur from Kazakhstan, and because Russia cannot use Baikonur for sensitive, secret military launches, the Russians constructed a second and more modern cosmodrome at Plesetsk, nearly 500 miles north of Moscow. And it is building a new one at Vostochny, close to China and the Pacific Coast. However Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov said his country was determined to keep operating at Baikonur even after Vostochny begins space flight operations later this year. "We will not abandon Baikonur till the end of times," Perminov said.

Perminov also said that eventually Roscosmos would only use Baikonur for its commercial satellite business. "(Eventually) space cooperation with Kazakhstan would be gradually switched to the entirely commercial tracks," he said. That will be welcome news to the government of Kazakhstan. It gets great prestige, a useful source of revenue, and most importantly, priceless operating experience for its country's administrators, maintenance staff, engineers and other personnel who operate the space center in the heart of the Central Asian steppe.

Russia has very solid reasons to hold on to Baikonur. It has poured in hundreds of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure over the past half century. Baikonur also has far better weather conditions than Plesetsk and it is not next door to China as is Vostochny, which could be a security consideration. Most of all, it was built there in part because it was in one of the most southerly positions in the former Soviet Union. Baikonur is far to the south of either Plesetsk or Vostochny. (2/4)

Space Wars (Source: What's Brewin)
The Defense Department released its National Security Space Strategy, which amounts to the policy equivalent of an iron fist inside a velvet glove. The United States seeks "a stable space environment in which nations exercise shared responsibility to act as stewards of the space domain and follow norms of behavior." The strategy warns that while the U.S. will support diplomatic efforts "to promote responsible behavior in space," deterring aggression against U.S. space systems is a key part of the strategy.

The United States "will retain the right and capabilities to respond in self-defense, should deterrence fail. We will use force in a manner that is consistent with longstanding principles of international law, treaties to which the United States is a party, and the inherent right of self defense," the strategy concluded. (2/4)

Virgin Galactic: ‘We Don’t Set Dates; We Set Milestones’ (Source: Business World)
BW’s Rajeev Dubey spoke to Stephen Attenborough, CEO of Virgin Galactic, on the ifs, whys and whens of the venture. When will we see the first human going on a private space flight? "SpaceShipTwo’s system consists of the aircraft and the spaceship itself; both these are flying now. We also have the propulsion system, which is being ground tested. The big aircraft has finished its test flights and it has performed flawlessly. The spaceship...will probably have 5-6 glide flights. Then, later this year, we expect to test the rocket launcher for the first time. As soon as the propulsion tests start, provided the first couple of tests go well, we will undertake the first space flight."

"I am hopeful (it will be) this year or early next year. We will undertake a series of space flights until we know everything we need to know. At the same time, we will be getting the regulatory clearances. Once that is complete, we start commercial service. We are on the final stretch. Richard (Branson) can’t wait to fly; he will be on the first commercial flight. The big moment this year will be the first propulsion test when, for the first time, the rocket will power the spaceship. We don’t set target dates; we set milestones. You are completely dependent on the data that comes out from the space flight to determine what the next milestone would be. (2/5)

Bigelow Turns to NASA for ISS BEAM Support (Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal)
After spending what he calculates as $215 million of his own money to develop a space station, Robert Bigelow has turned to NASA for help with his next step. The entrepreneur has asked the space agency to fund construction of a Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, that would bolt onto the International Space Station and expand it by approximately 10 percent.

More importantly, Bigelow said the BEAM would serve as a proving ground for the company's space station design and viability. Among other things, he hopes to demonstrate that private enterprise can make space travel and commercialization financially more viable than the government. "It's so expensive the government way," said Bigelow. "If we do it the private way, it's going to be a game changer for cost." Bigelow executives did not disclose how much they had requested from NASA in their proposal. (2/5)

Giffords Would Attend KSC Launch (Source: New York Post)
The astronaut husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is heading back to space as commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavour -- and he vowed that his wounded wife would be there for the April liftoff. "I have every intention that she'll be there for launch. I've talked to her doctors about that," said Mark Kelly. (2/5)

1 comment:

Jim Brazell said...

Father of GPS Responds to Obama's ''Sputnik Moment'' in State of the Union

21st Century Rocket Boys and Girls

At work today in your high school or a neighboring high school is a group of students who are learning by creating, designing, building and breaking some new fangled rocket, robot, car, dragster, or video game. These are the rocket boys and girls of the 21st century and the American answer to national innovation, competitiveness and security.

In the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg High School students are launching rockets at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2). Systems Go, a high school aerospace program, has propelled Justin Junell into work as an analysis engineer at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center. During his senior year, Junell and classmates launched a 22-foot-tall Red Bird 12 rocket at the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.