August 20, 2011

Tours Shine Light on Cape's 'Heart, Soul' (Source: Florida Today)
It was business as usual this week for about 3,000 employees working at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. But for about a dozen people getting a free tour of the property -- including a close-up view of a Delta II rocket on Launch Complex 17B, a climb to the fourth floor of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and visits to launch control rooms and blockhouses -- their time on the base was special.

In an effort to connect with the many space fans who live in and visit Brevard County, Patrick Air Force Base's 45th Space Wing is now offering free tours of the Air Force station twice a week. The three-hour tours, which for several years had been run once a month, are now being conducted on Wednesdays and Thursdays. A third day could be added if the demand increases. (8/21)

Hawaii Telescope Back After Lightning Strike (Source: AP)
A Mauna Kea telescope that was knocked out by lightning more than two months ago is fully operational again after undergoing repairs, the telescope's director said Friday. The final problem was a faulty electronics card that helped synchronize the movement of the 2.2-meter telescope dome and the telescope itself. The telescope, which belongs to the University of Hawaii, became fully usable on Wednesday evening once that was fixed. (8/21)

China to Deepen Space Cooperation with Russia (Source: PTI)
China said it is keen to step up cooperation with Russia in the aerospace sector, especially in manned space flight and deep space exploration programs. Yin Liming, president of the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), said his company has kept extensive contacts with Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos and major aerospace enterprises in recent years, as the two countries are seeking closers ties in the field.

In accordance with the 2010-2012 China-Russia Space Cooperation Outline, China and Russia will continue to strengthen their cooperation in the field, in particular in the creation of a satellite navigation system, joint deep space research, moon exploration and manned space missions, Yin currently attending the Moscow air show told state run Xinhua news agency. (8/21)

Florida State Rep.: Space Must Be Public/Private Frontier (Source: NewsMax)
NASA must play a part in any resurgence of the manned space program but a private/public partnership would be good for the industry, Florida state Rep. Steve Crisafulli said. The end of the NASA’s 30-year-old shuttle program has hit Crisafulli’s 32nd District hard. NASA and related contractors have cut thousands of jobs in the state.

“Certainly we’ve done a lot here in the state of Florida to give Space Florida, our economic development agency for space, the toolbox to operate and be attractive and draw commercial opportunities here but I do believe that NASA needs to have a part in that,” he said in an exclusive Newsmax interview. “So I would say a good mix of public private partnerships would be good for the industry, and I would hope that Washington would recognize that and build on that.” (8/20)

Aerospace Workforce Crisis Deferred (Source: Aviation Week)
North Charleston, S.C., is 400 miles from Cape Canaveral, but as far as aerospace workers are concerned the two places are a world apart. At the Cape, NASA’s space shuttle program dropped 3,200 contract workers the day after the final mission ended. Many of these are engineers who have little hope of finding similar work in Florida. The picture couldn’t be more different in North Charleston, where Boeing has hired 4,000 workers for an assembly line that opened last month for its 787 jet. Suppliers feeding the new plant are expected to hire hundreds more. Click here.

Editor's Note: A couple weeks ago, the Space Coast's workforce agency got the green light from an advisory board to use federal workforce grant funding to assist local workers to relocate to places like South Carolina. (8/20)

Vietnamese Deal Puts Spacebel in the Mix for Small Satellites (Source: Space News)
A small Belgian company’s victory over larger French and British competition to provide an Earth observation satellite to Vietnam has added a third European company into the international mix of small-satellite providers as demand for these spacecraft appears to be growing.

Backed by national and regional government authorities, Liege-based Spacebel is expected to sign the contract for the 100-kilogram Vietnamese satellite in March during a Belgian state visit to Vietnam. The satellite will carry an optical imager capable of taking pictures with a 2.5-meter resolution in black-and-white mode, and 10 meters in color. (8/20)

Huchison Calls on NASA to Immediately Announce Heavy-Lift Design (Source: Sen. KBH)
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement regarding NASA's implementation of the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, particularly with regard to the direction of U.S. human spaceflight programs:

"Today NASA is scheduled to formally receive the independent cost assessment for the Space Launch System (SLS) that was requested by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). I expect this independent assessment will confirm what myself and the NASA technical staff have known for many months - that the SLS plan is financially and technically sound, and that NASA should move forward immediately." Click here. (8/20)

Inquiry Finds Cable Clip to Blame for Telstar 14R Deployment Failure (Source: Space News)
The May 21 solar array deployment failure on the Telstar 14R/Estrela do Sul 2 telecommunications satellite was caused when a small clip holding the array’s graphite cabling in place came loose, allowing the cable to swing wildly and snag on a piece of metal used to hold the array in folded position against the satellite’s body during launch, an independent board of inquiry has determined.

The stress on the cabling from the deployment energy built up and eventually forced the cable to snap, and also caused a piece of the solar panel to break off, the inquiry board concluded. the absence of 50 percent of the satellite’s intended solar power will limit the satellite’s operational life to about 12 years and reduce the number of transponders it can use to serve customers. An insurance claim in excess of $200 million is likely to be filed in the coming weeks, industry officials said. (8/20)

Nevada Senators Supporting Utah Rocket Maker (Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's senators have jumped into a debate over rocket motors to outer space, pressing NASA and the White House in support of a Utah company looking to preserve a role in human spaceflight. The Obama administration's decisions could mean billions of dollars in contracts for Alliant Techsystems, of Utah.

The issue also has ramifications for Nevada. American Pacific Corp., headquartered in Las Vegas, produces ammonium perchlorate, a key rocket fuel ingredient, and the Utah company is a significant customer. The senators are urging the Obama administration to stick with existing solid rocket motor technology as it moves forward on a new space launch system as a follow-up to the shuttle program. (8/20)

ViaSat-1 Launch Delays Ripple Around Globe (Source: Aviation Week)
An anomaly on a satellite launched by Telesat Canada in May is having a ripple effect through the global satellite industry, delaying a mid-summer launch of the $400 million ViaSat-1 satellite to September and gumming up International Launch Services’ (ILS) busy manifest. (8/20)

At Florida Spaceport, Commercial Operators Prepare To Move In (Source: Space News)
Privately owned U.S. space companies are preparing to move into high-value launch support facilities in Florida, partially filling a vacuum left by the end of the space shuttle program and the retiring of the Delta 2 expendable rocket.

SpaceX already has confirmed that it will use money from the state of Florida to expand its presence at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Meanwhile, an announcement is expected in the coming weeks from NASA regarding bids from industry to take over shuttle facilities at KSC. (8/20)

Back in January, NASA put out a request for proposals to put launch support infrastructure at KSC to work after the end of the shuttle program. “Several dozen viable responses” poured in to NASA, and the agency now expects to announce the proposals it has selected “in the next several weeks,” KSC's Allard Beutel said. (8/20)

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