August 21, 2011

Potential Hurricane Moving Toward Space Coast (Source: SpaceKSC.blogspot)
Tropical Storm Irene "could reach the southeastern United States by Thursday, reaching hurricane status as it moves up from Miami toward Central Florida on Friday, according to current projections. (8/21)

Viet Nam Plans Second Satellite (Source: Viet Nam News)
The VINASAT-1 satellite was successfully launched in 2008 and has become instrumental for the telecommunications industry. There are now developments for the VINASAT-2 satellite. VINASAT-2 is being developed to promote Viet Nam's telecommunications market to meet the requirements of clients, maintain orbital positions and build upon existing VINASAT-1 infrastructure. It will also boost local expertise and further develop Viet Nam's satellite communications technology. (8/20)

Spaceport America on Threshold of Space Tourism (Source: El Paso Times)
A new gateway to space has sprouted in the Southern New Mexico desert, 55 miles north of Las Cruces. Christine Anderson has plenty of reasons to be optimistic as the newest executive director and gatekeeper of New Mexico's Spaceport America. "I like unprecedented jobs that have a big payoff at the end," she said.

Spaceport America is no longer a distant dream conceived by scientists at New Mexico State University, White Sands Missile Range and proponents of commercial space payloads not totally dependent on NASA or the military. The first phase of construction of Spaceport America, New Mexico's $209 million commercial spaceflight launch complex, is 90 percent complete. (8/21)

Alaska Satellite Facility Celebrates 20th Anniversary (Source: Fairbanks News Miner)
Though there were balloons, the Alaska Satellite Facility’s open house Saturday was not your average birthday party. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, the Geophysical Institute was bubbling with visitors, activities, lectures and tours as the Alaska Satellite Facility celebrated its 20th anniversary. Twenty years ago, the facility received its first downlink of images from an Earth observing satellite. (8/21)

Is the Answer to Heavy-Lift Rocket Cost Issue Bringing Back Ares I? (Source: Huntsville Times)
As NASA's new heavy-lift rocket struggles to get off the drawing board, a national space analyst says the answer to moving into deep space may be bringing back Ares I, the rocket NASA just canceled. Dr. Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, raised the Ares option last week as one way out of political and financial thicket that has enmeshed the Space Launch System (SLS), which is the formal name for the heavy-lift rocket project.

Pace said last week it is clear the White House and Congress still have a "difference of opinion" on spending priorities. Pace said the impasse has him wondering about Ares. "Ironically, the budget pressures being put on the program right now would in my mind argue for returning to the previous plan," Pace said, "which was launch and build Ares I first and build Ares V later."(8/21)

Private Space Firms Question if NASA Contracting Policies Will Allow Progress (Source: Florida Today)
NASA's plan to fly astronauts on commercial spacecraft promised a dramatic new way of doing business that could save money and spur a new market for human spaceflight. But some commercial space advocates aren't convinced a "non-traditional" contracting strategy proposed by the agency goes far enough to achieve those goals.

Contracts governed by the voluminous Federal Acquisition Regulations, they say, will divert limited resources from work on spacecraft by requiring the companies to hire armies of lawyers and accountants to track compliance with complex regulations. And unlike a more streamlined alternative, NASA would call the shots on critical design decisions, potentially limiting the innovation needed to reduce costs and attract customers beyond NASA. (8/21)

No Inclination to Homosexuality in Mars-500 Experiment Participants (Source: Interfax)
The participants in the Mars-500 ground-based experiment simulating a manned flight to Mars and back did not manifest any inclination toward homosexuality, Mark Belakovsky, a deputy director of the Mars-500 project, told journalists. "There was nothing indicating any odd inclinations either in the [participants'] thoughts or behavior," Belakovsky said.

The Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medical and Biological Problems very carefully selected the participants in the Mars-500 project, he said. As of August 19, 2011 the six men participating in the experiment had stayed on board a facility isolated from the outer world for 443 days. (8/20)

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