May 6, 2011

Cocoa Beach Recognizes Freedom 7s (Source: SPACErePORT)
The City of Cocoa Beach last week issued proclamations honoring the 50th anniversary of Alan Shepard's historic spaceflight. The city now has an elementary school and a senior center named after Shepard's space capsule, Freedom 7. (5/5)

The Air Force Kicks Off a New Space Race (Source: Business Week)
Since 2006, United Launch Alliance has had a monopoly on launching the biggest U.S. military and spy satellites into space. Now, at the urging of Congress, the Air Force is laying the groundwork to open the business to competition. There's big money at stake.

The Air Force is projected to spend $9.9 billion from 2012 through 2016 on its EELV program. That's $3.5 billion, or 54 percent, more than a projection made last year for the same period. "We have seen a cost trend that we feel needs to be turned around," Air Force Under Secretary Erin Conaton said. "One of my goals is that, in a year from now, we don't see the same trend lines." (5/5)

Globalstar Halts Launch Campaign To Check Satellites for Defect (Source: Space News)
Globalstar has scrapped a planned May launch of a second batch of six second-generation satellites following discovery of a defective component on one of the six launched in October. They hope to have the problem resolved in time for a launch in Jully. The component in question is a momentum wheel, which helps maintain the satellite in stable position in orbit. (5/5)

How Many Intelligent Aliens are Out There? (Source: Discovery)
OK, I've had enough. I've been looking up at the night sky for 20 years and not once have I ever seen anything that has aroused my suspicion that an alien visitor has popped by Earth to take a look. I've never seen anything that makes me think UFOs are alien in origin. But ask me if I think aliens exist, somewhere, anywhere, and I answer with a loud and affirmative yes.

Whether UFOs are alien or not will be a discussion that rages for decades, but the question about microbial life in the solar system or intelligent life in the Universe at large, is a different and fascinating one. If "they" are out there -- and for the purpose of this article let's assume they are -- then how many alien civilizations can we expect to come across? Click here to read the article. (5/5)

Round-the-Moon Mission Boosted (Source: MSNBC)
Want to be the first person to go around the moon in four decades? It may already be too late. Space Adventures says one client has made a reservation for a circumlunar flight, and the company is in negotiations to sell the second and last open seat for as much as $150 million. If the scenario works out the way Space Adventures hopes, the three-person crew would make the trip by the end of 2015.

In addition to the Soyuz capsule, a Block-DM upper stage and an extra habitation module would be launched into orbit for the mission. After the Soyuz finishesits zero-G familiarization visit to the International Space Station, it would dock with the other modules, forming a complex capable of taking on the seven-day circumlunar odyssey. The habitation module's 18 cubic meters of volume "basically doubles the size of the Soyuz on the inside," Eric Anderson said. (5/5)

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