September 8, 2011

Wind Delays NASA Launch of Twin Moon Spacecraft (Source: ABC News)
High wind has forced a one-day launch delay for NASA's newest moon spacecraft. An unmanned rocket was supposed to blast off from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport on Thursday with the twin probes. But the countdown was halted because of gusty wind in the flight path. NASA says it will try again Friday, despite another poor weather forecast. Launch time is 8:33 a.m. The space agency has just two single-second launch windows every day. (9/8)

McKeon Says Continuing Resolution is Needed for FY-2012 (Source: Defense News)
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-CA and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, says Congress will not approve an appropriations bill for 2012 by the Oct. 1 deadline and therefore must pass a continuing resolution. Lawmakers relied on a series of such measures last year before eventually passing a 2011 spending bill. However, it caused uncertainty at the Department of Defense and across the defense industry. (9/8)

EADS Plans to Move Forward with U.S. Expansion (Source: Reuters)
Sean O'Keefe, North America CEO for EADS, says the European aerospace company is prepared to delve into its considerable cash pile to move ahead with its U.S. expansion plans. "The resource capability we have right now is in the range of about $15-16 billion -- this is liquidity we have available for acquisitions," O'Keefe said. (9/8)

JAXA Successfully Ignites Venus Probe's Engine (Source: Mainichi Daily News)
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency successfully conducted a test ignition of the space probe Akatsuki's main engine to prepare for a reattempt to send it into orbit around Venus in 2015 after its failure to do so last December. The engine boost lasted for about two seconds as the agency, known as JAXA, had planned, it said. (9/8)

More Growth Appears on Ellington's Horizon (Source: Houston Chronicle)
Except for a big annual air show and the occasional roar of military jets, the Houston landmark long known as Ellington Field mostly has flown under the radar. It's about to climb higher, though, with a new control tower, a complex of aviation museums, a business park, expanded military presence and, possibly, the campus of an aeronautical university. Airport official Mario Diaz also envisions Ellington as a home for space exploration.

Diaz said the airport could become a space base as soon as 2016 if it can attract a space travel operator and get federal approval.Several companies are testing prototypes of systems that within a few years could take paying passengers on short trips to the edge of space, more than 60 miles above the earth's surface.

More down-to-earth expansion plans hinge on the possibility that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will build its third U.S. campus at Ellington. The Florida-based aviation school plans to open a $50 million campus in the Houston area or in Rockford, Illinois. "Houston, I think, is a big player right now. I really see the university stepping up and doing more there," said a university official. (9/8)

NASA Releases 9/11 Images From Space (Source: Huffington Post)
NASA has released footage shot from space during the September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center. On the morning of the attack, American Frank Culbertson was aboard the International Space Station with two Russian cosmonauts. As they orbited the earth, they passed over New York City and captured heartrending video of a massive smoke plume issuing from downtown Manhattan. Click here. (9/8)
Braun: Technology Investment Critical for NASA, Nation (Source: Space News)
American technological leadership is paramount today, vital to our national security, our economic prosperity and our global standing. America is the nation we are today in no small part because of the technological investments made in earlier decades, because of the engineers, scientists and elected officials who had the wisdom and foresight to make investments required for our country to emerge as a global technological leader.

Those investments accelerated our economy through creation of new industries, products and services. Investments in research and technology are required to enable flight of NASA’s bold future missions. The administration of President Barack Obama has demonstrated its commitment to our nation’s future, making investments in innovation and technology a priority, even in challenging fiscal times.

I remain convinced that a NASA focused on grand challenges and operating at the cutting edge is not only critical for our nation’s future in space, but also for our nation’s technological leadership position in the world. Click here. (9/8)

ATK to Relocate Corporate Headquarters to Northern Virginia (Source: ATK)
ATK announced today that it will relocate its corporate headquarters as of Oct. 1, 2011 to Arlington, Virginia, where the company will expand its existing office space. The company will continue to maintain a strong presence in Minnesota, including approximately 210 Minnesota-based corporate employees. ATK currently employs approximately 3500 people in the Mid-Atlantic region, where it operates facilities in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. (9/8)

New Report Warns that Space Missions are Injuring Astronauts (Source: Orlando Sentinel)
Like a veteran NFL team, NASA's aging astronaut corps is piling up injuries -- raising concern that the agency may not have enough healthy astronauts available for rigorous six-month shifts aboard the International Space Station, according to a new report. Most worrisome is a recently diagnosed -- and not fully understood -- eye problem that has caused headaches and blurry vision among some astronauts returning from space.

"This condition has led to several members of the Astronaut Corps being medically disqualified from flying again until the condition improves," noted researchers for the National Academies in a report made public Wednesday. The affliction, known as papilledema, is a swelling of the optic disk and can cause blurred vision, blind spots or – in severe cases – loss of vision. It was found in nearly half -- seven of 15 -- astronauts examined in one study by NASA. (9/7)

Meteorites Brought Gold to Earth (Source: Science)
Gold and platinum shouldn't be rare on Earth—-they shouldn't be here at all. Or at least, they shouldn't be in Earth's crust. These elements, along with iridium and similar metals, love iron, and thus they were sucked into our planet's molten iron core soon after Earth formed. According to high-precision measurements of two isotopes, or atomic variants, of tungsten in 4-billion-old rocks from Greenland, precious-metal-bearing meteorites struck Earth around this time, coating the planet in a veneer containing gold, platinum, and other elements long after their native counterparts had disappeared into the planet's core. (9/7)

Medical Devices Firm Wins $100K From Space Florida (Source: SPACErePORT)
C2C Development, a Space Coast based medical devices startup company, develops products for the treatment of neurological disorders. On Wednesday the company beat out 19 other Florida startup and early-stage businesses to win a $100,000 grant from Space Florida during an "Igniting Innovation" showcase organized by the Florida Technological Research & Development Authority (TRDA).

The showcase event is designed to promote entrepreneurial business development and employment, including among the area's highly skilled space workers. The event was also sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. (9/7)

Infinity and Beyond for Aussie Space Lawyer (Source: Lawyers Weekly)
Adelta Legal's Michael Davis has made his astronautical passion a working success, becoming Australia's only dedicated space lawyer. He even has a Masters degree in space studies from the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France, and is the only Australian lawyer to do so.

It's a job he loves, and when he's not advising on the impact of international law on launching and operating satellites, liaising with the Australian Government and assisting clients to apply for the necessary licenses, or lobbying and developing policy on behalf of the space industry, he is able to reflect on what has become - quite by accident - a remarkable and enjoyable career.

For Davis, the road to becoming Australia's only dedicated space lawyer (through his firm Adelta Legal) has been a long and varied one, but ultimately one which allows him to indulge his long-standing interest in the space sector and enjoy the independence and uniqueness that comes with working in a highly-specialized boutique firm. (9/7)

First-Ever "Industry Day" to be Hosted at Spaceport America (Source:
Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company (TSC), in cooperation with the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, will host their first-ever "Industry Day" on Oct. 18., 2011 at Spaceport America near Las Cruces, N.M. While the event is designed to educate potential suppliers on what sorts of goods and services will be needed by both companies, the underlying message is that widespread, commercial space travel will soon be a reality.

Suppliers can learn more during the full-day event, which will feature a chance to see the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo up close in their new home, as well as presentations by Virgin Galactic President and CEO George Whitesides, New Mexico Department of Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Jon Barela and New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Christine Anderson. (9/7)

Astrotech Subsidiary Wins $4.0 Million Contract (Source: Astrotech)
Astrotech Corp. has been awarded a $4 million contract for payload processing services in support of the U.S. government. From Titusville, Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Astrotech Space Operations provides all support necessary for government and commercial customers to successfully process their satellite hardware for launch.

Our service offering includes advance planning; use of our unique facilities; and spacecraft checkout, encapsulation, fueling, and transport. Additionally, ASO has extensive experience in designing, building, and operating spacecraft processing equipment and facilities. In its 29 year history, ASO has supported the processing of more than 290 spacecraft without impacting a customer's launch schedule. (9/7)

Russia to Sink $170 Million Into Plesetsk Spaceport (Source: RIA Novosti)
Russia will spend over 5 billion rubles ($170 million) on the development and expansion of the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia this year. The money will be spent on reconstruction of a local motorway, the construction of a new barracks and a cafeteria. The center's energy supply system will also be modernized. New facilities will be built, including a dormitory, a medical center, parking lots, a hospital, and healthcare facilities.

Plesetsk is used especially for military satellites being put into polar orbit since the area to the north of the launch pad, where debris might fall, is virtually uninhabited. (9/7)

NASA Gives Race Car Fans a Reason to Cheer (Source: NASA)
NASA has launched a new interactive online program that allows race fans to learn about the many contributions the agency has made to the racing industry. The "Rockets to Race Cars" site allows users to navigate through the NASA garage and learn about heat-resistant paint, fire-resistant materials, the development of better brakes and several other agency spinoffs that have helped the racing community. (9/7)

NASA Awards Contract Modification to Computer Science Corp. (Source: NASA)
NASA has awarded Computer Science Corp. (CSC) of Falls Church, Va., a contract modification to exercise the second option year under the current contract. This one-year option period increases the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) support contract by more than $41 million and provides services through Sept. 30, 2012. CSC will continue financial management, human resources, procurement and information technology support services to the agency. (9/7)

Honeywell Wins $450 Million NASA Contract for Goddard Support (Source: Honeywell)
Honeywell has won a five-year, $450 million contract with Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to provide Ground Systems and Mission Operations services for the agency's fleet of scientific research satellites. The NASA research satellite program is focused on planetary exploration, natural disaster characterization, climate change, ground topography mapping, agricultural efficiency, and electromagnetic effects on the earth. (9/7)

SES and Gazprom Form Satellite Partnership (Source: Space News)
Satellite operators Gazprom Space Systems of Russia and SES of Luxembourg on Sept. 7 announced a strategic partnership that ultimately could seek to replicate a longstanding relationship between SES rival Eutelsat of Paris and Russia’s largest satellite operator, Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC). (9/7)

No Hazardous Substances in Progress Crash Area (Source: Itar-Tass)
The sanitary-epidemiological situation in the supposed site of the Progress M-12M cargo spacecraft debris fall in the Altai Republic has not worsened. It is confirmed by the results of monitoring of the situation conducted by sanitary doctors of the region, the republic’s department of the Russian Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Human Health Control Service (Rospotrebnadzor) reported on Wednesday. (9/7)

Astronomers Losing Sleep to See Star's Explosion (Source: USA Today)
Skywatchers are training their sights on an exploding star, or supernova, that is the closest of its kind to be seen in four decades. Expected to peak in brightness Thursday and Friday, the exploding star is practically next door cosmically speaking, about 21 million light years away, or about 1,240 million-trillion miles. It was first spotted in telescopes Aug. 23. (9/7)

Mike Griffin Would Have Given Huntsville a Shuttle (Source: Huntsville Times)
Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin would have sent a space shuttle to Huntsville, published reports say. Griffin is quoted in Houston, where the town is still smarting over being passed over for the right to display one of the four retired shuttles. "I'd have sent a shuttle to KSC, MSFC, and JSC. In the absence of political considerations, it is not a difficult decision," Griffin said. (9/7)

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