April 22, 2011

Orbital May Wind Down its Commercial Crew Effort (Source: NewSpace Journal)
“It was disappointing that we weren’t selected” for a CCDev-2 award, Orbital CEO Dave Thompson said. “I don’t, at this time, anticipate that we’ll continue to pursue our own project in that race. We’ll watch it and if an opportunity develops we may reconsider. But at this point, I would not anticipate a lot of activity on our part in the commercial crew market.”

Thompson, though, was supportive in general of the commercial crew effort. “NASA is on a good track to turn over astronaut transportation to commercial operators, and I think ultimately the agency will be successful at doing that,” he said. (4/22)

CNN's Jack Cafferty on Government Space Spending (Sources: SpaceKSC Blog, CNN)
"Lawmakers from states where NASA and the corporations typically awarded its contracts operate have long pushed for the continuation of space programs, even when they aren't exactly popular. These are states such as Alabama, Maryland, Texas and Utah.

Lawmakers from those states insist their support of projects like this one stems from the overall importance of the U.S. space program, and they say the value goes far beyond job creation in their own states. But you've got to wonder how much value a trip to the moon can really provide when the growing debt problem is sinking this country to new lows." (4/22)

Posey Introduces Moon Bill (Source: SPACErePORT)
Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) and four co-sponsors from Texas, Virginia and Utah have introduced HR-1641, officially titled the "Reasserting American Leadership in Space Act." The bill would direct NASA to plan to return to the Moon and develop a sustained human presence there. A human return to the moon would be required by 2022. Click here for details. (4/22)

Japanese Satellite Shuts Down While Surveying Tsunami Damage (Source: Space News)
Japan’s Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) is feared lost after abruptly powering down April 22 as it was carrying out a mapping mission of the nation’s earthquake- and tsunami-ravished coast line. Engineers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) were struggling to find what caused the 5-year-old satellite to suddenly lose power shortly after dawn. (4/22)

U.S. Satellite Supports Relief Efforts in Japan (Source: USAF)
The Wideband Global SATCOM system's unique dual-band and crossbanding capabilities are proving to be critical in the ongoing earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan, officials said. Intended for use with military operations, WGS is now using its capability to communicate across the frequency spectrum to assist emergency aid efforts in Japan. (4/22)

Tweetup At NASA's JPL Previews Missions To Mars, Jupiter And More (Source: NASA)
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will host a Tweetup for approximately 120 Twitter followers on Monday, June 6. With four space missions launching this year and an asteroid belt encounter nearly underway, 2011 will be one of the busiest ever in planetary exploration.

Tweetup participants will interact with JPL scientists and engineers about these upcoming missions: Aquarius, to study ocean salinity; Grail, to study the moon's gravity field; Juno to Jupiter; and the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover. Participants also will learn about the Dawn mission and its upcoming encounter with the asteroid Vesta. (4/22)

Want to Visit Spaceport America? Tours Start May 13 (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
Even though all the work is not yet complete and the date for the first flights with space tourists is unknown, you will soon be able to go visit the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Albuquerque-based Follow The Sun tour company has been brought on board to offer bus tours to the spaceport site, starting May 13. The tours will take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and cost $59 and $29 for children younger than 12. (4/22)

Bullet Found at Kennedy Space Center (Source: CFnews13)
Just a week before the historic launch of shuttle Endeavour, a particularly odd and potentially dangerous item was found inside one of the facilities at the Kennedy Space Center. NASA confirmed to News 13 a bullet was found at KSC and that it belonged to a contractor. Both NASA Public Affairs and a rep from United Space Alliance said this contractor had no ill or criminal intent in this situation.

We've learned the shuttle worker is an avid hunter, and accidentally brought the small caliber bullet to work -- that's when it fell out of his pocket in the large break room shared by the orbiter processing facilities of shuttle Atlantis' and Discovery. The bullet was found about mid-afternoon on the floor and NASA security was notified. NASA said a short time later the worker voluntarily stepped forward saying it was his. Security performed a search of him and his vehicle, however, no firearms were found. (4/22)

Pope to Talk with International Space Station Crew (Source: RIA Novosti)
Pope Benedict XVI will talk with International Space Station (ISS) astronauts on May 4 during the space shuttle Endeavour's final mission to the orbiter, the official newspaper of the Holy See said on Thursday. The 84-year-old pontiff's linkup with the space station will also come at a time when there are two Italian astronauts on board, L'Osservatore Romano reported. (4/22)

Earth Day Observations Include Space Activities (Source: MSNBC)
The planet celebrates its 42nd annual Earth Day on Friday, and a lot of the coolest gifts to mark the occasion are coming from places that are out of this world: the dozens of satellites that are keeping watch from orbit. Here are just a few of the goodies that NASA and other satellite operators are providing to mark the occasion. (4/22)

Russia: No ISS Docking for SpaceX Unless Safety Proven (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia will not permit the first U.S. commercial spacecraft to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) unless its safety is fully tested, a high-ranking Russian official said. "We will not issue docking permission unless the necessary level of reliability and safety [of the spacecraft] is proven. So far we have no proof that those spacecraft duly comply with the accepted norms of spaceflight safety," said Alexei Krasov. (4/22)

Rockwell Collins Raises Forecast on Higher Quarterly Profit (Source: AIA)
Rockwell Collins reported a quarterly profit of $150 million, a 1.4% increase from the same period last year. The increase prompted the company to raise its full-year earnings forecast. "Halfway through our fiscal year, we see continued improving market conditions and sufficient reductions in areas of risk," said Chairman and CEO Clay Jones. (4/22)

Pentagon, NRO Go Separate Ways on Satellite Development (Source: AIA)
The Pentagon and the National Reconnaissance Office have been trying for years to work together to develop satellites that serve their various needs. However, they seem to have realized the coordinated effort is not panning out and have decided to forge their own paths. (4/22)

Tea Party in Space (Source: Tea Party in Space)
"TEA in Space is a place on the internet where TEA Party conservatives can come together to talk about the United States Space Program: NASA. I found my party spinning its wheels as it tried to define its stance on NASA, Human Spaceflight (HSF), and robotic exploration. I found republican senators treating NASA as a jobs program and not a space exploration program. It is time that the TEA Party start molding NASA in its own image of fiscal responsibility." (4/22)

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