June 1, 2011

SpaceX’s COTS Milestone Progress, Payments and Delays (Source: Parabolic Arc)
SpaceX has “experienced lengthy delays in completing key milestones” in its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft programs over the past two years, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Click here to read the article. (6/1)

Orbital’s COTS Milestone Progress, Payments and Delays (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) is running months behind schedule on its Taurus II rocket and Cygnus freighter programs, and it is likely to experience additional delays in its “aggressive” schedule for delivering supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Click here to read the article. (6/1)

Tech Firms Showcase Planned (Source: TRDA)
Join Space Florida and the Technological Research and Development Authority (TRDA) for the Igniting Innovation Showcase in Port Canaveral, Florida on Sep. 7, 2011. This full-day of business presentations and exhibitions will feature more than 40 aerospace, aviation, biotech, life science, clean tech, defense, homeland security, IT and telecommunications companies from across the state. Chosen from TRDA's Clean Tech Ventures and Capital Acceleration initiatives, these companies represent some of the most innovative and promising entrepreneurial firms. Click here for details. (6/1)

House Panel Proposes $9 Billion Cut to Defense Budget (Source: Bloomberg)
The House Appropriations Defense subcommittee has proposed a Defense budget of $544 billion, which is $9 billion less than what the Obama administration had requested. Some are seeing the move as a symbolic step. "Historically, you've had a lot of Republicans who have refused even to consider the possibility of cuts in the area of defense," said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. "I don't think we have that luxury anymore." (6/1)

NASA Leaders Face an Uncertain Future (Source: NextGov)
For NASA, reaching for the stars is imperative, even when government money is hard to come by, political debate is fierce and sharp policy changes are frequent. And despite Washington's fits and starts, the agency has to plan years into the future--that's the nature of scientific research.

Amid so much uncertainty, NASA scientists still need working plans. Many of NASA's science goals come out of 10-year surveys, which are based on submissions from the broader science community and seek to establish consensus on research priorities. Presidential terms, however, span eight years at most, Congress changes every two years, and the budget is up for consideration every year. These faster cycles can strain any long-term government project, but especially science programs that require methodical continuity. (6/1)

Dead Galaxies Show Signs of Life (Source: Astronomy Now)
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered star formation in old, ‘dead’ galaxies, providing new insights into galaxy evolution. Alyson Ford and Joel Bregman spotted this stellar activity in four galaxies situated 40 million light years away from us. "We have directly detected individual young stars and star clusters in galaxies that were thought to have ceased forming stars a very long time ago," says Ford. "Finding this evidence for low levels of ongoing star formation in these ‘dead’ galaxies was quite surprising." (6/1)

ISS Russia Crew to Grow Tomatoes, Wheat in Orbit (Source: Itar-Tass)
The “dacha season” is beginning on the first day of summer on the Russian segment of the International Space station (ISS), the same as on Earth - the crew is beginning gardening. Andrei Borisenko will assemble the equipment of the Lada onboard mini-greenhouse, will replace the software and conduct test validation.

The onboard greenhouse was dismantled in April last year, as a need arose to replace the outdated control unit. In early 2010, the crop area of the orbital garden was extended twice - the second leaf chamber was delivered to the ISS in which the crew managed to harvest the Mizuna lettuce, before the greenhouse was dismantled. Now, the cosmonauts will plant in these two chambers different cultures – super-dwarf wheat and dwarf tomatoes. (6/1)

Spaceflight May Compromise Immune System, Study Finds (Source: Space.com)
Space is hardly an ideal place to become ill, and because of this, astronauts take precautions to avoid getting sick before a mission. But a long journey in space may actually compromise the immune system and make astronauts more susceptible to disease, a new study suggests. The results show flying in space reduces the integrity of antibodies, making them less able to fight off disease.

The study was conducted in salamanders, and it's not clear if the same thing happens in humans. But the findings agree with those of several earlier studies on astronauts that have suggested space travel weakens the immune system. (6/1)

Desperation Continues for Legacy Space Companies (Source: Washington Examiner)
Faux-libertarian and pretender-to-concern-for-the-taxpayer Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute has once again sullied Forbes with continued disengenuity, repetition of his previous false implications, new rhetorical outrages and smarmy piousness against SpaceX. He hopes to achieve through repetition that which he cannot with facts or logic: to persuade us that we should end the meager funding to this disruptive upstart that threatens the entire comfortable way of life for traditional Cold-War contractors, and actually open up space. Click here. (6/1)

Endeavour Returns to Earth (Source: AP)
The Endeavour's final mission was a success, as the space shuttle landed on a runway at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in Florida on Wednesday morning. Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, piloted the shuttle on its final mission. "It's sad to see her land for the last time," he said, "but she really has a great legacy." He will return to Houston Thursday to reunite with Giffords. The space shuttle Atlantis, meanwhile, is scheduled for its final flight on July 8. (6/1)

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