July 18, 2011

Three Embry-Riddle Teams Sweep FAA Runway Safety Design Challenge (Source: ERAU)
In an unprecedented achievement, three student teams from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus recently took first, second, and third place in the Runway Safety/Runway Incursions Challenge category of the 2010-2011 Design Competition for Universities sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). (7/18)

The Decision to Retire the Space Shuttle (Source: Space Review)
When the shuttle Atlantis lands later this week, it will mark the end of the Space Shuttle program, an ending tinged with regret and controversy. Dwayne Day looks back at how the decision to retire the shuttle was reached in the aftermath of the Columbia accident. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1887/1 to view the article. (7/18)

Heavy-Lift Limbo (Source: Space Review)
Congress has mandated that NASA develop a heavy-lift launch vehicle, but in the eyes of some the agency has made little progress on the Space Launch System (SLS). Jeff Foust reports on when a design for the SLS might finally be ready, and possible funding and schedule issues for the program. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1886/1 to view the article. (7/18)

Did Space Exploration Sow the Seeds of its Own Demise? (Source: Space Review)
Space exploration has ushered in a number of major technological advancements, including microelectronics that led to today's information-saturated age. Bob Mahoney worries that this space-enabled advance, ironically, may undermine the future of humans in space. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1885/1 to view the article. (7/18)

On Survival, Goals, and Human Space Flight (Source: Space Review)
The uncertainty many people feel about the future of human spaceflight with the imminent retirement of the Space Shuttle leave many wondering how to sustain a long-term human future in space. Donald C. Barker says that future ventures much be sold and sustained on the survival of humanity. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1884/1 to view the article. (7/18)

Lessons From NASA: Managing (Very) Remote Teams (Source: CIO)
With the end of one era in space travel, marked by the final launch of the United States' Space Shuttle last week, NASA looks to the future of space exploration in its new book, Psychology of Space Exploration. In addition to offering insights for the next generation of space travelers, the book may also provide guidance for more earth-bound professionals, such as CIOs.

Information technology is a global endeavor, requiring cooperation among team members often drawn from several nations. These teams may be based overseas, and so not have face-to-face contact with their managers. Stress levels can be high, and communication can suffer. Many of the same challenges are faced by astronauts on long-duration space missions, and a their experiences may provide helpful lessons for CIOs who need to manage a diverse workforce at a remote location.

Canadian psychologist Peter Suedfeld and his colleagues wanted to know how astronauts deal with being a guest on space missions led by a foreign country. These researchers discovered that foreign astronauts worked well with the astronauts from the host country, contrary to early reports that astronauts from different countries have conflicts due to cultural differences. Click here. (7/17)

NASA Releases Book About Psychology of Human Spaceflight (Source: NASA)
NASA’s History Program Office is releasing a new book that examines the different psychological factors that affect astronauts during space travel, especially long-duration missions. The book, “Psychology of Space Exploration: Contemporary Research in Historical Perspective,” is a collection of essays from leading space psychologists. They place their recent research in historical context by looking at changes in space missions and psychosocial science over the past 50 years.

What makes up the “right stuff” for astronauts has changed as the early space race gave way to international cooperation. Different coping skills and sensibilities are now necessary to communicate across cultural boundaries and deal with interpersonal conflicts. The book is available for purchase through the Government Printing Office at: http://cot.ag/nyCekB. (7/13)

Subscribe to NASA Tech Briefs (Source: NASA)
The monthly magazine features exclusive reports of innovations developed by NASA and its industry partners/contractors that can be applied to develop new/improved products and solve engineering or manufacturing problems. Authored by the engineers or scientists who did the work, the briefs span a wide array of fields, including electronics, physical sciences, materials, computer software, mechanics, machinery/automation, manufacturing/fabrication, mathematics/information sciences, and life sciences.

NASA Tech Briefs also contains feature articles on successful NASA spinoffs, profiles of NASA tech transfer resources, news briefs, and application stories. Regular columns describe new patents, industry products, software, and literature. Click here to request a free subscription. (7/18)

Shuttle Retires as New Mexico Spaceport Ramps Up (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
While many folks might see the final shuttle flight as a dark day for the American space exploration effort, it's not all that gloomy for the New Mexico Southwest. It's true that the NASA White Sands Space Harbor is going to shut down. Space Harbor was one of the alternate landing site for the shuttle in case the primary landing area at Kennedy Space Center in Florida wasn't available.

And, in fact, Space Harbor was used in 1982 when shuttle Columbia, STS-3, landed at White Sands. It's the only time the facility welcomed a shuttle. Space Harbor also was used as a major training site for shuttle astronauts. With no more shuttle astronauts, that need goes away. So while nostalgia mourns the closing of Space Harbor, reality sheds no tears. It was never a real economic driver for the area. It was never a tourist draw of note. However, its place in history is secure.

As Space Harbor closes, a new spaceport rises from the desert not many miles to the west. And as one chapter of space flight ends, another is beginning. There are interesting differences in the two space efforts. One was a U.S. government-backed effort sending highly trained astronauts into space for working trips. At Spaceport America--when it's completed--the plan is for private enterprise to take anyone with enough money into a suborbital swing into the lower reaches of space. At first, anyhow. There's really no limit to what Spaceport America can host and achieve in coming years. (7/18)

Russia, Kazakhstan to Build Joint Launch Site at Baikonur (Source: Interfax)
Russia plans to use the Baikonur spaceport until 2050 and modernize it in the course of operation, Federal Space Agency head Vladimir Popovkin told reporters at the spaceport on Monday. "Russia intends to continue space launches from Baikonur until 2050, when the rent agreement expires," he said.

One more launch pad of Baikonur will be modernized for Soyuz-2 rockets, he said. "We have plans to send astronauts on mission onboard these rockets," he added. In addition, the Baiterek launch site will be formed together with Kazakhstan in Baikonur before 2017. (7/18)

Russian Observatory Reaches Orbit (Source: Roskosmos)
The Russian astrophysical observatory Spectrum-R has reached the targeted orbit after separating from the Fregat-SB upper stage atop a Zenit-3M rocket. The rocket was launched from the Baikonur spaceport on July 18. Spectrum-R, developed under Radioastron project in the framework of Russian Federal Space Program, is intended to study the Universe. The aim of the mission is to use the space telescope to conduct interferometer observations in conjunction with the global ground radio telescope network in order to obtain images, coordinates, motions and evolution of angular structure of different radio emitting objects in the Universe. (7/18)

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