March 20, 2011

U.S. and Brazil Announce Joint Space Efforts (Source: Space Politics)
President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff issued a joint statement that included three paragraphs devoted to space policy. President Rousseff welcomed the emphasis the U.S. National Space Policy has placed on international cooperation and expressed her wish to expand the dialogue with the U.S. They affirmed the commitment of their countries to security in space and decided to initiate a dialogue in that area.

They instructed the appropriate agencies in the two countries to discuss the establishment of a Brazil – U.S. Working Group on satellite-based earth observations, environmental monitoring, precipitation measurement, and natural disaster mitigation and response that would facilitate future dialogue and cooperation in these fields. And they expressed their desire to commence negotiations of a new agreement to protect launching operation technologies.

The "launching operation" item appears to refer to the long, difficult road to launching U.S. satellites, or even US launch vehicles, from the Brazilian spaceport at Alcântara. Interestingly, a WikiLeaks cable from 2008 reports that Ukrainian officials met with staff of the US embassy in Brazil, asking for US government support for their project to launch Cyclone rockets from Alcantara, in exchange for the Ukrainians lobbying the Brazilian congress for an earlier U.S./Brazil space agreement. (3/20)

$18,000 in Prizes Offered by Yuri's Night Exploration Ad Competition (Source:
Yuri's Night is excited to commemorate the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight by launching two contests: the "Call to Humanity" Space Exploration Ad Competition, which calls on talented graphic designers, artists, and other creative individuals to create a powerful and inspiring print campaign that will move people to think about and support humanity's future in space, and the "International Space Sweepstakes," a free global drawing.

The Ad Competition Grand Prize is a 4-day Space Travelers "Zero-G Flight-Russia" travel package (with a $1,000 voucher for travel to and from Moscow), which consists of a microgravity flight aboard an Ilyushin-76 aircraft and a 4-day tour of the homeland of Yuri Gagarin. The submissions will be rated by a panel of celebrity judges based on their emotional impact, artistic merit, and adherence to the themes. The deadline for submissions is March 31st.

Simultaneously, Yuri's Night is launching the International Space Sweepstakes to give anyone in the world the chance to travel to Russia, witness a rocket launch at Baikonur, and experience the history of the Russian space program first hand. Entries are free (though donations to Yuri's Night are encouraged), but are limited to one per person. All interested and eligible participants are welcome (and encouraged) to participate in both the Competition and the Sweepstakes. (3/20)

Smithsonian Buys Meteorite that Fell in Virginia (Source: AP)
A small meteorite that crashed through the roof of a Virginia medical office last year is becoming part of the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington. The Smithsonian paid $10,000 for the meteorite to Marc Gallini and Frank Ciampi, the Lorton, Va. doctors who found it. They have in turn given the $10,000 check to the Doctors Without Borders charity. (3/20)

Museum Exhibit Traces Nevada Ties to Space Program (Source: Las Vegas Sun)
A northern Nevada museum is launching a new exhibit about rockets and the role area residents have played in space exploration. The Sparks in Space exhibit at the Sparks Heritage Museum was developed with the help of the Challenger Learning Center of Northern Nevada and a group of Sparks High School astronomy students.

The museum includes information on rocket testing, animal "pioneers" sent into orbit and the next generation in space exploration. Dick Dreiling is a museum volunteer and board member who dug up information for the From Railroads to Rockets portion of the exhibit. He says he found little-known facts about Rocketdyne testing thousands of Apollo and Gemini rocket engines on property the company owned in what is now Spanish Springs. (3/20)

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