June 20, 2011

Layoffs Await NASA Workforce (Source: WCTV)
Inside the launch control center, Barbara Kennedy has worked on EVERY space shuttle launch for the past 24 years. But once THIS mission ends, so does her job with United Space Alliance, NASA's biggest contractor. Barbara is a single mom with a son heading off to college. On July 22nd, she'll be unemployed. She says:

"I'm thankful that we have another launch to keep us busy, so it kind of keeps your mind off the impending deadline. But it's coming. And you think about it a lot." 2,300 shuttle workers will lose their jobs in July, on top of 4,300 who already have. Brevard County has lost more jobs in the last year than any other county in the state.

Florida's Space Coast is trying to lure new companies with incentives like tax breaks and grants for employee training, but they see the vast NASA talent pool as their main draw. It was a big selling point for Brazilian jet maker Embraer. So far, they've hired 18 former shuttle workers. There are nearly 5,000 people applying for 200 jobs. (6/20)

ESA Chief Hits at 'Anarchy' Over Space Station Planning (Source: PhysOrg)
Europe's space chief on Monday said the International Space Station faced lean times as a result of the US shuttle phase-out and said project planning for transport to the ISS had been "anarchy". Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), said the scheduled phase-out of the US space shuttle meant "we are not in a very comfortable situation, and that's just a euphemism."

"The biggest lesson from the international space station program is entirely the lack of a joint transportation policy," he said. "The International Space Station is a splendid cooperation between five partners, but they did make a mistake... we didn't discuss things sufficiently," Dordain said.

"Each party made a unilateral decision," Dordain said, admitting though that this approach was "justified on individual grounds." "NASA made a unilateral decision to stop the shuttle, ESA took the unilateral decision to develop the ATV, Japan took the unilateral decision to develop an HTV. Anarchy," Dordain said. (6/20)

Iridium Signs With Kosmotras as SpaceX Backup Launcher (Source: Iridium)
Iridium Communications signed a contract with Kosmotras as a supplemental provider of launch services for its next-generation Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. The contract enables Kosmotras to provide Dnepr launch services in 2015 and beyond. Iridium now has the flexibility to launch the satellites on Dnepr and Falcon 9 rockets. (6/20)

NASA Awards Spectrum Management and Engineering Contract to ASRC (Source: NASA)
NASA has modified a contract with ASRC Research and Technology Solutions for Spectrum Management, Engineering Services and Programmatic Resource Management Support. The contract has a base value of $36,238,225.61 with a maximum task order value of an additional $10 million, for a total potential contract value of $46,238,225.61. (6/20)

Aerojet Finalizes Deal to Build Rocket Engines (Source: Sacramento Bee)
Aerojet has finalized its strategic alliance with Teledyne Technologies Inc. to build rocket engines at a facility in Alabama. The deal was first announced June 2. It calls for Aerojet and Teledyne to develop engines for a NASA facility in Huntsville, Ala., where the two companies already have operations. While most of the work would be done in Alabama, Aerojet officials have said it could generate some work at the company's headquarters in Rancho Cordova. (6/20)

China Launches New Comsat (Source: Xinhua)
China successfully launched a new communication satellite, the Zhongxing-10, from its Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest Sichuan Province on early Tuesday. The satellite was carried by a Long March-3B rocket. (6/20)

Fourteen U.S. Senators Call for Weather Sat Funding (Source: Space News)
A group of 14 U.S. senators — many from states hard hit by a rash of tornadoes and ongoing flooding — are warning of potentially grave consequences if Congress continues to short change an overdue effort to replace the nation’s polar-orbiting weather satellites. In a letter to the chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the Senate Appropriations Committee, 13 Democrats and one Republican — Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) — warn that a projected looming gap in weather satellite coverage will worsen without more support for NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). (6/20)

It's Not (Just) About the Starship (Source: Space Review)
A 100-year project to develop the technology needed for a crewed interstellar spacecraft is a sure way to attract attention, especially when it's backed with even a small amount of funding from DARPA and NASA. Jeff Foust reports on how this long-term effort may really be just a nontraditional way to promote short-term research and development. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1869/1 to view the article. (6/20)

Prophets of Science Fiction (Source: Space Review)
As the Space Shuttle program winds down, we're reminded that the shuttles failed to meet the cost and flight rate predictions made during the program's development in the 1970s. Dwayne Day notes that even during the '70s some were skeptical of those claims. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1868/1 to view the article. (6/20)

When the Skies Fall: Hostile Aliens Invade the Small Screen (Source: Space Review)
The concept of alien invasions of Earth has reappeared on television recently in the form of a National Geographic special and a TNT drama. Andre Bormanis examines those shows and why the alien invasion theme may be in vogue today. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1867/1 to view the article. (6/20)

College Rocket Competition Lights Up Utah Sky (Source: Deseret News)
There was fire in the sky in southern Utah last weekend. Rockets flew in an annual competition that's getting bigger every year. Ten college teams from the United States, Canada and Brazil launched rockets in the sixth annual Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition.

The students won points for getting their rockets to reach a high point as close as possible to either 10,000 feet or 25,000 feet, depending on the division in which they're competing. A rocket built by students from California State University at Long Beach reached 9,169 feet before it parachuted back to Earth. Another reached an atitude of 10,310 feet after being launched by students from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.

Editor's Note: Embry-Riddle had teams competing in both the "basic" and "advanced" categories. (6/20)

Students and Educators Attending NASA's Rocket University (Source: NASA)
NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia will become Rocket University June 18 - 25 as nearly 125 high school educators and university students and instructors spend the week learning about rocketry and conducting science experiments in space. During the week NASA will conduct the fourth annual RockOn! workshop for university level participants and the Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) for high school teachers. (6/20)

NanoRacks Announces New Financing (Source: Hobby Space)
NanoRacks LLC has completed its first external round of equity capital, welcoming ten new angel and venture investors from both the U.S. and Europe. Since its formation in 2009, NanoRacks has developed, launched and now operates a commercial space research facility as part of the U.S. National Lab onboard the International Space Station.

The company provides a historically low-cost, commercial path to both the ISS and beyond and today enjoys a backlog of over 50 commercial payloads representing both domestic and international organizations and companies.

Managing Director Jeffrey Manber commented that “these funds will be used to facilitate even further the use of our hardware onboard the International Space Station’s U.S. National Lab and allow us to grow to the next level as an organization... These funds come from both sophisticated space investors and those who consider low-earth orbit a stable marketplace with the operational status of the International Space Station.” (6/20)

Minuteman III Next Up at Vandenberg (Source: Launch Alert)
An unarmed operational test of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled to launch between 3:01 and 9:01 a.m. June 22 from north Vandenberg. The missile's single unarmed re-entry vehicle is expected to travel approximately 4,200 miles to a pre-determined target near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. (6/20)

Embry-Riddle Introduces Degree in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Source: ERAU)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus will launch a B.S. in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Science degree program in the Fall 2011 semester. Open to U.S. citizens who have a basic background in math and physics, this new program will help meet the growing demand for skilled UAS pilots and operators.

Unmanned aircraft are becoming crucial tools for fire-fighting, disaster relief, law enforcement, and military expeditions, among others, mainly because they keep pilots out of harm’s way while allowing those pilots to perform as well as they would if they were inside the cockpit. The B.S. in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Science will focus on the operations aspect of UAS, preparing students for such roles as pilot, observer, sensor operator, or operations administrator. Click here. (6/20)

ATK to Open 615,000 sq ft Aircraft Commercial Center of Excellence (Source: ATK)
ATK is nearing completion of its state of the art Aircraft Commercial Center of Excellence (ACCE) in Clearfield, Utah. The new facility will serve as the headquarters for ATK Aerospace Structures' commercial aircraft programs and will support the manufacturing of commercial airframes and engine components for the Airbus A350, and General Electric and Rolls-Royce engine programs. (6/20)

Long March 3B Set to Launch ChinaSat-10 (Source: NasaSpaceFlight.com)
China is preparing to launch the ZX-10 ZhongXing-10 – also designated ChinaSat-10, Sinosat-5 or Xinnuo-5 – domestic communications satellite on Monday (16:05-16:30 UTC) from the Xi Chang Satellite Launch Center, in Sichuan Province. The launch will be conducted by China’s Long March 3B (CZ-3B/E Chang Zheng-3B/E) launch vehicle. (6/20)

No Space Travel Deals for Shatner and Other Celebrities (Source: CTV)
The billionaire businessman behind Virgin Galactic says William Shatner -- and other celebrities -- shouldn't expect any free rides into space. The space-tourism enterprise is already taking reservations for flights which could begin sometime next year.

But it's become clear that the actor, perhaps the world's most famous fictional spaceman, is not among the 440 people from 40 countries planning to go up. "William Shatner has said that he's scared to go into space and it's quite ironic really when you think of his career," company founder Sir Richard Branson said.

"And, like most celebrities, he would like a freebie." "I'm in the airline business and a lot of people ask for upgrades and we're not going to get the same thing happening with our space program." Branson says since Shatner isn't interested, perhaps other crew members of the fictional USS Enterprise, like "Spock" (aka Leonard Nimoy), would jump at the chance. (6/20)

Editorial: Peterson: Commit to 'Orion' as Future of Our Space Program (Source: Arizona Republic)
In only a few short months, America will not have an active manned spacecraft for the first time in 30 years. With the end of the shuttle program, it's more important now than ever to examine where our space program is heading. It has been nearly four decades since we left low-earth orbit, but recent NASA announcements may put us back on track toward continued exploration of our solar system.

Last month, NASA identified a state-of-the-art spacecraft called "Orion" as the successor to the shuttle program. Officially named the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, this spacecraft is designed to take us back to the moon and beyond to Mars. With test flights possible as early as 2013, the Orion spacecraft will be the centerpiece of our nation's return to space.

We now need to make sure that our space program has the support and resources needed to accomplish its mission... The result of years of investment and American ingenuity, the Orion capsule now needs our nation and our lawmakers to stand behind it and make sure that effort is fruitful. (6/20)

NASA Supporters Find No White Knight in GOP Presidential Field (Source: Huntsville Times)
NASA supporters have strongly criticized President Barack Obama for killing the agency's manned space program after taking office in 2009, but no Republican challenger seems ready to ride to the rescue in 2012.

To the contrary, space enthusiasts in Huntsville and other NASA cities were swapping emails last week about the cold shoulder shown the space program by the GOP presidential candidates in a debate in New Hampshire last Monday night. A collective newspaper headline might have read: "NASA, they're just not that into you." (6/20)

CSA Took $16M in Public Funds (Source: Pacific Coast Business Times)
The recently dissolved California Space Authority used millions of dollars in federal earmarks and grants to shuffle paper and produce reports with little to show for it. It also acted as conduit to help secure federal funding for government contractors, including some who wrote checks to the Space Authority. The group said it played by the rules.

The Space Authority, based in Santa Maria, was a private nonprofit group designed to bring together California’s space industry. Its major supporters included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. But the nonprofit secured only a few hundred thousand dollars per year from those sources, its leaders say.

The Space Authority’s largest source of funding has been government. U.S. and California agencies gave it $15.9 million directly during the past 15 years. These governments also tapped the Space Authority to oversee or screen proposals for $106.6 million in additional government spending. Click here. (6/20)

Musk Wins $250K Heinlein Prize (Source: Parabolic Arc)
Trustees of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust announced today that the second-ever Heinlein Prize will go to Elon Musk, founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX. The purpose of the prize is to encourage and reward individuals for making practical contributions to the commercialization of space. Mr. Musk will receive $250,000, a gold Heinlein Medallion, the Lady Vivamus Sword (as described in Heinlein’s book Glory Road), and a Laureate’s Diploma. (6/20)

Loral To Build Thor 7 Satellite (Source: Space News)
Satellite fleet operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway on June 20 announced it had contracted with Space Systems/Loral to build the Thor 7 Ku-/Ka-band satellite to focus on Central and Eastern Europe and high-speed maritime communications.

Thor 7 will be ready for launch in 28 months, and a launch-services provider will be selected by the end of this month. The launch will occur so that Thor 7 will complete its in-orbit testing and be ready for commercial service in early 2014. (6/20)

SSTL Expands Into State-of-the-Art Technical Facility (Source: SpaceRef.com)
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has moved its technical operations into The Kepler Building, a new state-of-the-art technical facility, providing assembly, testing and integration of satellites platforms and payloads for SSTL's global customers in a single location. (6/20)

Governor Scott Signs HB 143 Creating Florida Defense Support Task Force (Source: FLDC)
Florida Gov. Rick Scottt signed House Bill 143, creating and funding the Florida Defense Support Task Force. The law includes $5 million for the new FDSTF. The mission of the new task force includes promoting defense economic development which will greatly support our Members, affiliates, and the industry.

The state's 20 military installations provide a thriving economic cluster for defense contractors. The state's continued support of defense grant programs enhances the these installations' viability, and in turn, defense contractors' success, in Florida. This is a substantial "win" for Florida defense contractors, their employees, and their communities.

Additionally, the new law includes substantial support for the space industry to help with the transition from the retiring Shuttle program. For a complete summary of the new law, click here. (6/2)

Teledyne Brown / Aerojet Alliance Provides New Offering for Rocket Engines (Source: SpaceRef.com)
Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. (TBE) has finalized its strategic alliance agreement with Aerojet-General Corp. to cooperate in the development and production of propulsion systems for launch and in-space applications. The alliance is a departure from the historical single-source method of rocket design and manufacturing, and provides the customer with improved processes and lower-cost solutions. (6/20)

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